Political Whoredom

The Saga of Judge Roy Moore

As anyone who’s been paying the slightest attention to the media lately know, Judge Roy S, Moore, the controversial, devout Christian (Baptist) Alabama judge running as the Republican nominee for the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been “accused” of “sexual misconduct” (whatever that is) by a number of women in their 50s and 60s. They claim that when they were teenagers and in their early twenties, Judge Moore, who was not a judge back then, did something sexual to them. In most of the claims, all the judge did was take them out on dates or ask them out, with the impropriety being that Moore was considerably older than they, by as much as eighteen years in one alleged case. Now, with one possible exception, the difference in ages was not illegal and, in fact, by historical standards, wasn’t even unusual. Since the “allegations” came out in an article published in the Washington Post a few days after the D.C. paper came out condemning Judge Moore as “unfit for office” (they said the same thing about Donald Trump) numerous commentators have referred to Moore as a “much older” man, when, in fact, at the time of the allegations, he was actually a young man in his very early thirties and the women were in their teens and twenties. The original “accusations,” which really aren’t accusations of anything, were that three women went out on dates with Moore while another said that he had asked her out but she declined because her mother wouldn’t let her go. The first woman claimed that she went with Moore to “his house” twice and that the second time they engaged in what can only be classified as “petting,” and that at the time, she was possibly underage. (I say possibly because she alleges that she was fourteen at the time and the age of consent in Alabama today is 16. No one seems to know what it was in 1977, when she claims she went with Moore.) A fifth accuser went to notorious Democratic Party activist Gloria Allred to claim that Moore assaulted her in his car. Another jumped on the bandwagon and made no allegation other than that she claims Moore pestered her for dates and that she “got him banned from the mall” where she worked – she was in her twenties. Since then, another woman, one of Roy Moore’s clients, claims he “grabbed my butt.”

Before we get into this, bear in mind that these claims came out a month before the Alabama special election in which Judge Moore is the Republican candidate. That alone makes the claims extremely suspicious. The judge has held office in Alabama for 40 years and has made untold numbers of political enemies, not only in Alabama, but throughout the nation and in the media, because of his strong stands on legal issues. His national notoriety dates back to when he was sued by the ACLU for displaying a wooden placard of the Ten Commandments in his courtroom, but his local notoriety in Etowah County, Alabama where he grew up started soon after he began practicing law when he spoke out against the way local attorneys and judges were handling the courts. Animosity toward him increased when he ran for circuit judge and made accusations against the attorneys and the judges. Claims were made against him to the state bar association. His name became well known in the county and there was stiff opposition to him. It is also during this period that the claims made by the women are supposed to have occurred. Furthermore, the claims all date back to the late 1970s and very early 1980s, with one exception, the one made by his later client, which dates to the 1990s.

The earliest – in terms of when the incident is supposed to have occurred – was made by one Beverly Young Nelson, who claims that Moore offered her a ride home from the restaurant where she worked, sometime after December 1977, then assaulted her in his car. Nelson’s claim is suspect because she was not one of the women interviewed by the Washington Post reporters; instead, she engaged notorious lawyer and Democratic Party activist Gloria Allred to represent her and made her claim in a dramatic press conference in New York City, obviously for political purposes. Now, Nelson and Moore are residents of Alabama, the allegations are set in Alabama, and any court action would have to be filed there, which raises the question of whether Allred is even licensed to practice law there. (In fact, complaints against Allred have been made in California and she is under investigation by the California Bar.) There are holes in Nelson’s story. For one thing, she claims Moore locked the car doors so she couldn’t get out. Unless his vehicle had electric locks, which is doubtful in early 1978, he would have had to reach across in front of her or she would have had to raise up so he could reach behind her to lock the door. (Nelson says his car was a 2-door. She also says she thinks it was “older” which makes it unlikely to have had electric locks.) Furthermore, the purpose of door locks is to lock the doors so they can’t be opened FROM THE OUTSIDE! Most car doors are unlocked from the inside simply by pulling the handle. There is also the question of why she let Moore drive her home. She says she was waiting for her boyfriend to come and pick her up, but he was running late. Why didn’t she want to wait a few minutes? She says he showed up a few minutes after the alleged assault. She claims she had bruises and her clothes would have undoubtedly been disheveled but her boyfriend seems not to have noticed. Members of her own family have said the story is made up. Her stepson says she is not an honest woman and is out for money. A former boyfriend who knew her then has told the media he doesn’t believe her. A woman who worked at the barbecue joint Nelson claims she worked at says that she worked there three years from 1977-80 and never saw Roy Moore in the place – Nelson claimed he was a regular who ate there every night and always sat in the same chair. (Now, bear in mind that Moore lived in the country some 25 miles or so by road from Gadsden. It’s extremely unlikely he would have been in the restaurant at the time Nelson claims the assault occurred.) Nelson claims that Moore pulled her head toward his crotch. She also says he was trying to get her shirt off while he was trying to get her to his crotch, but then says he let her go. Now, bear in mind that none of the other “accusers” mention any kind of assault or threats. In fact, except for Leigh Corfman, none of the women interviewed by the Washington Post mention any kind of sexual contact other than kissing at all. Nelson claims she never told anyone because she was afraid Moore would do something to hurt her or her family. She says she didn’t tell her boyfriend because he had a violent temper and she was afraid he would do something. Regardless, there is no way Nelson’s allegations can ever be proven. They are alleged to have occurred 39 years ago and the statute of limitations have long since expired.

Leigh Corfman alleges that she went out with Roy Moore twice when she was fourteen years of age. She claims that she met Moore in 1979 in the Gadsden County courthouse when she went there with her mother, who had filed suit to give up custody because the girl had behavior problems (although Corfman doesn’t mention that in her account.) She claims that she and her mother were waiting to go into the courtroom when Moore came over and offered to stay with her outside the courtroom. Now, this doesn’t make sense (although her mother has corroborated the story.) Corfman was fourteen years old, an adolescent, not a child. Why would a 14-year old need someone to wait with them in the foyer of a courthouse? She claims that she gave Moore her telephone number and asked him to call her. She claims that she’d slip out of the house and meet him on a street corner near her house. She says that she went out with Moore at least twice, and that he took her to “his house” on both occasions. Now, at that time – and for years afterward – Moore was living in a mobile home, a trailer, he had purchased while he was in the Army on 16 acres of land in the Gallant community west of Gadsden, where Corfman was living with her mother. In 1979, he was in the process of adding-on to the trailer to make it into a house but it wasn’t until 1982 that it resembled a house. In fact, when he and his wife first married in 1985 she had to cook in an electric skillet in the washroom because he hadn’t built a kitchen (and didn’t for at least a year after their marriage.) Corfman remembers that the “house” was up a gravel road but makes no mention of him living in a trailer.

Bear in mind that Moore’s trailer was at least 25 miles from Gadsden where Corfman lived, one way. He would have had to drive around 50 miles, at least, to take her to his house then take her home. It would have taken them at least half an hour to get from her house to his and another half hour to get back, but she makes no mention of this in her accounts. For her to have gone to Moore’s trailer, she would have had to have been gone from home a minimum of an hour, not counting the time she spent there. Where the hell was her mother? Her mother had just gone to court to give custody to her father because she couldn’t handle her. Wouldn’t she have been curious, at least, to know where her daughter had been? If she wasn’t home, why did Corfman go somewhere else to meet Moore? She claims that the first time they went there, they did some kissing but then says that the second time, he put his hand on her breast – over her bra. She also says he went in the bedroom and took off his clothes then came out in his underwear. This doesn’t make sense. Why would a man leave a hot girl on the floor of his living room to go to his bedroom to take off his clothes? No, he would have either taken his pants and shirt (that’s all he took off) there in the living room where they were making out or would have taken her into the bedroom. In fact, a man would have removed the girl’s clothes first. Now, this sounds more like something a high school boy would do, not a 32-year old man! Or, from a Harlequin Romance.

There is a strong possibility that Corfman may have concocted a fantasy about Roy Moore after he talked to her and her mother at the courthouse. She said in her appearance on the Today Show that she read a lot of romance novels. Now, I’ve read a few over the years, although not recently. One of the topics of romance novels is of a young woman meeting an exciting older man and being swept off her feet while her bodice heaves. Corfman was a disturbed young teenager whose parents had been divorced for five years. She admits she lived in a fantasy world and that when she was going out with Roy Moore, she was experiencing a fantasy of being in the adult world. Now she says she was a child but she evidently considered herself an adult at the time. There is a very thin wall between fantasy and reality and our memories often concoct fantasies we later remember as real. For example, for years I believed a certain experience had happened to me while I was in the Air Force. I believed it and even wrote about it but then it occurred to me that what I was “remembering” was actually the image that came in my mind at the time one of my friends was telling about something had happened to him. I also sometimes have dreams about relationships I had with young women before my first marriage and between my marriages. I eventually realized that these women only exist in my dreams. They are not real. Leigh Corfman’s recollections of her relationship with Roy Moore may only exist in her imagination.

There is something important in the Corfman account – if her allegations are true, their actions were consensual. She says that on both occasions, when she became uncomfortable and told him to stop and take her home, he did. The only illegality was her age. She was younger than the age of consent as expressed in the Alabama Code of 1975 (the code still in force in Alabama.) However, she makes no insinuation that she had intercourse with Moore. Neither do any of the other women who have made the news. However, since Corfman was under the age of 16 and Moore was older than 19, he would have been guilty of sexual abuse in the second degree.

Corfman has some credibility issues for a number of reasons. First, she was a child of divorce, which causes problems for many children. (I know all about this – I had four children at the time of my divorce and it was very hard on them.) Corfman has admitted both to being involved with drugs – which affect the brain – and promiscuity. She was involved in a number of questionable activities as a teenager and as an adult and claims to have attempted suicide at age 16. Since her mother gave up custody to her father due to the girl’s disobedience, she was obviously already having problems before she met Moore. She is alleged to have made allegations against other prominent men – particularly pastors – and she may have actually been as old as seventeen at the time she claims to have been involved with Moore. She says she told people about the incident but her mother has said she didn’t tell her until ten years later, after Moore had become a circuit court judge. One of her friends claims Corfman told her she was going out with an older man and the woman says she warned her it wasn’t a good idea. Regardless of who she told, the fact remains that there is no case against Judge Moore – Corfman has allegations but that’s all, and the only place those allegations will be heard is in the media.

There are also problems with the time frame of Corfman’s claim. According to court records, her mother was in court to give up custody to her father because she had discipline problems. The court proceedings were on February 21, 1979, a Wednesday. The order stated that she was to be placed in the custody of her father, who lived in Ohatchee, a community some 15 miles south of Gadsden, on March 4, a Sunday. Corfman claimed that Moore called her at her mother’s and that she slipped out of the house and went to meet him on a street corner – which may have been more than a mile a from the house and on the other side of a major thoroughfare. She claims he took her to his house twice. There is only a 12-day window for Corfman’s proceedings with Moore to have occurred (actually 10, since she was at the courthouse on the first day and moved to her father’s house on the twelfth.) She did not mention that she left her mother’s home and moved in with her father. She say that when Moore called, she made excuses but never mentioned that she had moved, which would have been a logical reason for the relationship to have ended.

The third accuser is a woman named Tina Johnson who was 28 years old at the time of her allegation, which is supposed to have occurred sometime in the 1990s. She and her mother had hired Moore to represent them in her effort to relinquish custody of her 12-year old son (which means she was 16 when she had him) to her mother because she lacked the means to support him. She claims that as she and her mother were leaving his office, Moore grabbed one of her cheeks. Yet, she never told her mother and continued to use Moore in the case. I suspect that she just wanted to get on the #MeToo bandwagon.

None of the other “accusations” are actually accusations at all. Two are women who admit to going out on dates with Moore. All were in their teens but over the age of consent. One claims she met Moore when she was fourteen and that he asked her out two years later but she didn’t go because her mother wouldn’t let her. One, who was eighteen at the time, says that Moore took her to a pizza parlor and ordered a bottle of Matuese Rose, a popular Portuguese wine, even though she was under twenty-one. (She doesn’t seem to say that she drank any.) Then there is another, one Becky Gray, who apparently just wanted to get on the bandwagon. She was in her twenties when she claims she knew Moore, and working in a store in the Gadsden Mall. She claims that Moore asked her out several times and she complained to the store manager that he was bothering her. However, she makes no claim of sexual impropriety. She claims she “got Roy Moore banned from the mall” but the fact is, according to the mall manager, he was never banned from the mall at all. That he was banned from the mall is apparently a rumor started by mall workers who had seen him there then when he quit appearing – because he had left the area – they thought he had been banned. Bear in mind that this was during the time when Roy Moore was engaged in a bitter dispute with local attorneys and a campaign for county judge, which he ended up losing, and there was a lot of animosity against him. There can be no doubt that a lot of stories were being spread about him by his opponents (just as there are now.) Some Gadsden residents claim that Moore had a reputation for trying to pick up teenage girls at the mall, but no woman has come forward claiming he tried to pick her up except the one woman who worked in a store, and she was in her twenties. A former police officer, a woman, told a TV commentator that while there were rumors about Moore, no one ever made a complaint. She said it “was all rumor.” There is also the question of whether Moore was even going to the mall at all because at the time residents claim he was, he was engaged in building his house when he wasn’t at work as a prosecuting attorney. (This raises another issue – the kids no doubt knew that if they got in trouble, Moore would prosecute them.) Moore was living in a mobile home on sixteen acres of land he had purchased in Gallant, a small rural community some 15 miles west of Gadsden. Gallant is one of those places “you can’t get to from here,” By road, the distance appears to have been at least 25 miles just to Gadsden and the Gadsden Mall is south of town and even further from Moore’s home. Considering that he was busy building his house, it’s doubtful he’d have had time to spend at the mall.

There are some things about the current controversy that really upset me. Certain segments of the media and some politicians are branding Judge Moore as a “pedophile” and “child molester.” In fact, even if the stories about him were true, Moore would not be a pedophile. Pedophilia is sexual attraction to prepubescent children. None of the women who have made claims regarding Judge Moore were prepubescent. Even Leigh Corfman, the youngest, was older than fourteen and even if she was below the age of consent (to engage in sexual intercourse, which neither she or any of the other women have claimed occurred), she was still an adolescent and no longer a child. Pundits also refer to Moore as a “sexual predator” when, in fact, no sex is alleged to have occurred. Nelson claims Moore forced her head to his crotch but then says he “gave up” and let her go – and her account isn’t even believed by some of her own family members and friends. Critics also insinuate that the fact that Moore went out on dates with women still in their teens is somehow sordid. In fact, romantic relationships between older men and teenage women has been common throughout history. Texas Governor Sam Houston married Margaret Lea when she was 21 and he was 47; they had been romantically involved for 2 years before their marriage. Abraham Lincoln was nine years older than his wife Mary Todd. Mark Twain was ten years older than his wife Olivia. When my parents married in January 1943, my mother had just turned 19 and my father was a few weeks short of his thirtieth birthday. I have a photograph of my great-grandfather, a Methodist preacher, taken with his daughter on her wedding day – she was thirteen and entering a marriage that would last for more than half a century. I myself am almost twenty years older than my current wife – we’ve been married for seventeen years – and I was six years older than my first wife, to whom I was married for eighteen years. No, relationships between women and men many years older than they are is not at all uncommon. In fact, many girls are married in their early to mid teens, usually to men several years older than themselves.

Something also needs to be understood about the time frame of the allegations. The 1970s and 1980s were a turbulent and confusing time for young people. The so-called “Sexual Revolution” had started in the 1960s (or before) and was in full swing through the 1970s and into the 1980s. It was a permissive time, with sex as the focal point. Movies included sex scenes that wouldn’t have been thought of a generation before. Abortion became legal in 1973 and birth control was becoming common. Drug use had become rampant, with young people whose parents had thought beer was exciting smoking pot and taking other, more powerful, illicit drugs to get high. Leigh Corfman has admitted to having been a drug user – and promiscuous – as a teenager.

Roy Moore, on the other hand, had become a devout Christian at a young age then after graduating from high school had gone off to the US Military Academy at West Point, New York where he spent four years in a generally isolated, heavily disciplined environment. After graduation, he went to Germany for two years then straight to Vietnam, where the US was in the process of disengaging from a war that had become unpopular and where the remaining troops had become an undisciplined rabble. Although he had been an infantry officer, in Vietnam the young Captain Moore was put in command of a company of military police whose duties were to guard the stockade at Da Nang. Even though they were supposed to be in charge of disciplining miscreant soldiers, the men of Moore’s company were ill disciplined and resentful of him because he sought to restore the discipline he found lacking. His men resented him and he was fearful of being “fragged,” a practice that had become all too common in Vietnam. “Fragging” meant tossing a fragmentation grenade into the hooch of a hated officer or sergeant. One of Moore’s men fragged the company top sergeant but, fortunately, the man lived and recovered from his wounds. The culprit had announced that he was going to frag Moore, leading the captain to sleep outside of his hooch. There are rumors being spread about Judge Moore’s conduct as an Army officer. One claim is that he made his men salute, and thus violated a military precept about saluting when in the presence of the enemy. Well, Moore’s company wasn’t in the presence of the enemy. He was commander of a rear area MP company in charge of the stockade. Saluting is a military courtesy and, yes, soldiers, sailors and airmen saluted officers in rear areas such as Da Nang. How do I know this? Because I spent over four years of my life of which a good portion was in South Vietnam. After returning to an assignment at Fort Riley, Kansas, the young officer served out his military commitment then resigned his commission and returned to Alabama where he enrolled at the University of Alabama School of Law. Fresh out of the Army and a Vietnam veteran, Moore found himself among a crowd that had protested the war and hated the military, and the veterans who had served. His professors and some of his classmates ridiculed him. Nevertheless, he graduated and passed the bar, apparently on the first try, then returned to his home in Etowah County to practice law.

Just what Roy Moore’s relationships with women had been during his years at West Point and in the Army are unknown. He doesn’t discuss relationships with any women prior to his wife in his memoir. He did have female friends when he was in law school but whether or not he was close to any of them is unknown. He came back to the Gadsden area after having been away for twelve years. His female high school friends had most likely married or moved away, as is common in small towns and rural areas. He was thirty years old and it’s doubtful there were any single women around town his age so, naturally, his attention would have been directed towards younger women, some of whom were in their teens. Another Gadsden attorney believes he was behind in social development. However, it is a long stretch to say that he “preyed” on teenagers even though he apparently did go out on dates with at least two women in their late teens. However, there is nothing illegal about this as the age of consent in Alabama was sixteen. Moore says that he never went out with a young woman without her parent’s approval. Moore has been criticized for going to high school basketball games but it’s important to remember that he had four younger brothers and sisters as well as other younger relatives. Furthermore, except for Corfman and Nelson, neither of whom mention the mall, no women have accused Moore of sexual impropriety. If he was hanging out at the mall to prey on teenagers, there would have been accusations.

The rumor that Moore was “banned from the mall” is likely due to him leaving the Gadsden area after his loss in the Democratic Primary for the circuit judge position. In those days, primaries were usually held in August. He says he entered the race in June 1982. He had resigned from his position as deputy district attorney and the campaign had caused most of the local attorneys and judges to turn against him. He decided to take a break. While at West Point, Moore had taken up boxing and had lettered in the sport. He organized a boxing tournament in his company in Vietnam and took on all-comers, and won most of the bouts. He was interested in the Oriental sport, karate and decided to take his remaining funds and travel to Galveston, Texas to study the sport under Ishmael Robles, a champion competitor and instructor. He found work on construction crews to support himself while he spent nine months studying the sport. (He entered competitions after he returned to Alabama and seems to have won many of them.) After working his way through the various belts, he decided to leave Galveston and the country and travel to Australia. He had planned to go there on R&R from Vietnam but because his unit was transferred back to the States as part of President Richard Nixon’s de-escalation of the war, R&R trips to Australia were discontinued. Moore spent a year in Australia traveling around and working, including several months on a “small” 52,000-acre station (ranch) in the Australian Outback. Local kids who hung out at the mall didn’t see Moore, not because he had been banned, but because he had left the area. In 1985, Moore returned to Alabama and opened his own office with another attorney and friend. Soon after his return, he met his future wife and was married within a year. He was 38, his new wife Kala was 24.

One thing that has disgusted me is how certain “establishment” Republicans jumped all over Judge Moore without even considering that the accusations against him are politically motivated. I used to live in Kentucky and met Mitch McConnell a few times. I used to hold him in high regard, as I did John McCain, but they’re both disappointments, as is Lindsay Graham. McConnell and Graham are both Baptists, as is Judge Moore, but they seem to be Sunday morning Christians rather than true believers. Ted Cruz, who is a hypocrite if there ever was one, also came out against Moore. My other Senator, John Cornyn, withdrew his endorsement of Judge Moore. Personally, I am very upset with these men, all of whom seem to be more concerned with keeping Moore out of the Senate than with giving him the benefit of the doubt in what is obviously a politically motivated action against him. They were eager to throw him to the wolves, but as he’s been doing all his life, Judge Moore is not going down. The most recent poll, of more than 11,000 people, shows him with a 6-point lead over his opponent in spite of the allegations.

There has been a new development in this situation. Since I began this missive, Moore’s Democratic opponent has been running an online ad calling Moore an “abuser” and listing the names of the nine women who have made claims about him. Since the women would have had to approve the use of their names, this ad proves that there claims are political. They have shown themselves as political whores.

 

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The Travesty of Obamagate

A second prominent Democrat, one Mary Anne(a) Marsh, a consultant and activist, has admitted on national television that the Trump Administration spied on Donald Trump.  Marsh appeared on Judge Janine’s program on Fox recently and stated that not only did the Obama Administration began spying on Donald Trump “in the spring of 2015,” it is a well-known fact. Now, just who is supposed to have known this fact is NOT known, but it obviously means it was known within not only the Trump Administration, but also within the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign. Marsh’s comments confirm what former DOD under secretary Evelyn Farkas admitted a month ago, and which Farkas has been trying to say she didn’t say. (Farkas apparently realizes she was confirming an illegal act but Marsh apparently doesn’t realize it.

There are a number of issues in play. For one thing, surveillance of US citizens without authorization by a court is illegal and even if such surveillance is conducted, the information is classified. That means that if it is “well known” as Marsh claims, someone was disclosing classified information to people who had no “need to know.” That in itself is felony. It also indicates that the information was used for political purposes; both Farkas and Marsh were involved with the Clinton campaign. It also means that a lot of Democratic politicians, including Congressman Adam Schiff and Senator Mark Warner, know the surveillance took place – AND THAT IT WAS ILLEGAL! It also implicates a lot of people high up in the Obama Administration, INCLUDING OBAMA HIMSELF! It has already been revealed that the individual who unmasked members of the Trump team, and now it appears, Trump himself, was very high up in “the intelligence community,” and that it was not Director Comey of the FBI. That leaves former Director of Intelligence General James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan – and former President Barack Obama himself.

The admission of spying on Donald Trump raises a lot of questions. For example, who else was spied on? President Trump didn’t declare his presidency until June, and Marsh indicated that the spying took place “in the spring.” (Granted, June is partly in the spring.) It’s likely that Obama and the Democrats were so confident that Hillary Clinton was going to win that they’d never be found out, which seems to be what Evelyn Farkas indicated in her fear that the Trump Administration would learn “what we knew and how we knew it.”

Regardless, #Obamagate is just beginning!

 

 

Evelyn Farkas Farked Up

Almost a month ago on March 2, former Deputy Secretary of Defense Evelyn Farkas appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program and discussed the intelligence gathering of the Obama White House with host Mika Brzezinski, a well-known journalist and member of the Democratic Party. In the clip, which can be seen in its entirety, Ms. Farkas basically indicted both herself and the Obama Administration for conducting surveillance of President Donald Trump, apparently both when he was a candidate and during the interim between his election and inauguration. Ms. Farkas, who is well-known for her outspoken criticism of Donald Trump and who has written a number of negative articles about him and criticized him on MSNBC, allowed herself to use the pronoun “we” when discussing intelligence on Mr. Trump and how she “encouraged” the Obama Administration to move this intelligence to “the Hill” prior to the inauguration.

The clip remained unnoticed for almost a month, probably because it appeared on MSNBC where it was only seen by people who are largely critical of the president. It finally came to light a few days ago thanks to members of the conservative media who first made it known on the web site Conservative Treehouse on March 28. The unedited clip has since become widely circulated. Of course, Democrats defend Farkas, who claims her comments were “taken out of context.” In fact, her comments are very straight forward and can only be taken as she uttered them. Incidentally, her comments were made TWO DAYS BEFORE President Trump’s widely criticized tweet in which he asserted that President Obama had the Trump Tower “wiretapped.” (The word is in italics in his tweet.)

It turns out that Farkas, who carries the title “doctor,” is a “Russia expert” with a decidedly anti-Russia bent. During her tenure, she argued that the United States should equip the Ukrainian military with “heavy weapons.” She resigned her post in 2015 and then is alleged to have become an advisor to the Hillary Clinton campaign. The daughter of a Hungarian immigrant – which may explain her anti-Russia bias – Farkas wrote a paper condemning presidential candidate George W. Bush and the Republican Party’s policies for a buildup of the military after Bill Clinton had practically destroyed it. Farkas was a Clinton Administration representative on an international organization team in Bosnia in 1996 then served as an election observer in 1997. She is a member of the Center for National Policy, a left-wing organization based in DC that represents itself as a “non-partisan” think tank “dedicated to advancing the economic and national security of the United States. (Secretary of Defense General James Mattis is a representative of their Edmund S. Muskie Distinguished Service Award, as is Senator John McCain.) During the Bush Administration, she was a staff member on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

In her appearance, the basically outlines how the Obama Administration (and evidently the Clinton Campaign) worked feverishly to gather intelligence on candidate, then President-elect Trump, and make it known on “the Hill,” meaning to Democratic members of Congress. By using the pronoun “we,” she implies that she was personally involved in the spreading of classified intelligence information among members of Congress, some of whom may not have been (and most likely weren’t) cleared for classified information. She now claims that her comments were taken out of context and that she didn’t have access to classified information but her comments imply that she did, which means that someone in the Obama Administration was feeding classified intelligence documents to her and the Clinton Administration.

Where will this go? If Democrats have their way, not far. However, Republicans are in charge and they’re not going to let this die. As I’ve been saying, #Obamagate is just beginning.

 

The Russian “Intelligence” Farce

Our country is in crisis. For the first time in American history, the losing political party in the presidential election is making every possible effort to delegitimize the new president. The effort centers around the two most prominent, at least in their own minds, newspapers in the United States, the New York Times and the Washington Post. Both papers came out vigorously against Donald Trump before the election and now that he’s president, they’re doing everything they can to oppose him. It’s no accident – both papers, particularly the New York Times, have long been propaganda outlets for the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Party. Neither paper – or any other media outlet – has an inside track on government and the White House but they try to give the impression that they do. They publish “breaking news” based on “information” provided by “sources” who go largely unidentified. Neither paper can be believed but they serve as the basis for most of the national political news published in the United States.

Having a dishonest media is a major part of the problem but there’s also another. Thanks to books and movies, many Americans have a misperception of the abilities of the various “intelligence” agencies of the Federal government. Thanks to James Bond and other such fictional heroes, they think that intelligence agents – spies – know everything about other governments. In fact, “intelligence” is actually speculation. How do I know this? For two reasons – first, I spent twelve years in the military and was briefed by intelligence officers and, second, I have more than a passing interest in history, particularly military history, and know more than a little about the role played by military intelligence over the past century and a half. I know that “intelligence” is actually supposition based on information that has been obtained by a variety of sources and which may or may not be valid.

“Intelligence,” which is actually a misnomer, has been a function of military forces and governments for many centuries, but it has become more refined since the 1930s due to the development of new methods of obtaining the information that constitutes what the military, and now government, refers to by that term. In the United States, Army and Marine Corps general staffs, at levels ranging from their general headquarters down to the battalion level, the Intelligence function is referred to as G-2. The Air Force and Navy refer to the same functions as simply “intelligence.” Their function is to obtain information to provide to commanders to allow them to make command decisions, information that can be anything from enemy troop strengths and positions to secrets.  In addition to military information, intelligence includes economic, agricultural and civilian education and morale information, among many things. This information may be collected by simply reading newspapers, but can also include interrogation of prisoners of wars or defectors as well as interception of enemy dispatches. It might also be derived by agents working undercover, or from paid sources inside enemy camps or countries. Since the 1930s, intelligence has also been derived by intercepting communications, including telegraphs, telephones and radio. With the advent of the internet, it also includes digital information obtained by breaking into servers used by the target government or military force. In recent years, there has been much talk of “cyberwar,” which is nothing more than interfering with internet communications in some way. However, there is a difference between electronic eavesdropping and hacking into a server in order to disrupt communications. Eavesdropping is passive while hacking is aggressive.

Prior to 1947, intelligence in the United States was primarily a military function. It still is to a large extent, with the various intelligence “agencies” depending to a large extent on the military for it’s intelligence-gathering functions. For example, the National Security Agency (which was often referred to as “No Such Agency” in the 50s and 60s), depends heavily on the Air Force, Army and Navy for its intelligence collection. All three services have special units whose role is monitoring of communications of foreign governments and military forces by recording transmissions. All told, there are now six or seventeen intelligence-gathering agencies in the United States government and all but four are either part of or directly involved with the military, and with good reason because it is the military – and the military’s commander-in-chief, the president – who are in most need of intelligence. It is important to understand that every single one of the sixteen or seventeen intelligence agencies are all part of the Executive Branch of government and, as such, are ultimately responsible to the President of the United States.

“Raw intelligence” is meaningless because it can be interpreted in various ways, and may or may not be valid. Therefore, intelligence has to be analyzed and interpreted and turned into a report, which is then passed to the commander who needs it. A failure to properly interpret intelligence can change the course of history, and can lose battles and wars, as happened in the European Theater of Operations in World War II when General Dwight Eisenhower’s vast intelligence staff failed to detect the massive buildup of German troops in the Ardennes in preparation for their attack on inexperienced American divisions that became the famous Battle of the Bulge. Fortunately, the German attack stalled when their vehicles ran out of fuel and the surrounded 101st Airborne Division was kept in the fight by aerial resupply. Even more important, General George Patton’s own G-2 had correctly predicted the attack and his Third Army was able to break away and rush to the aide of the beleaguered paratroopers.

The claim that “the Russians” were behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee Emails was made immediately after WikiLeaks released the Emails by Robby Smook of the Hillary Clinton Campaign, which is a good indication that the claim was a fabrication designed to lessen the effect of the revelations. The allegation is based on claims by a computer security firm called CROWDSTRIKE the DNC had contracted to monitor it’s network. However, when the FBI looked into the claim, it was not allowed to look at the DNC’s computers but instead relied solely on information provided by CROWDSTRIKE, a company founded by a Russian émigré named Dmitri Alperovitch who came to the United States as a teenager when his father took a job with the Tennessee Valley Authority, after emigrating to Canada on a visa.  Alperovitch has a connection to Hillary Clinton dating back to when she was Secretary of State.

In January, the Obama Administration released an “intelligence assessment” of Russian hacking efforts. However, the “report” really doesn’t say anything and offers nothing other than supposition. The report was made public largely thanks to the outgoing director of the CIA, James Brennan, who has strong leftist beliefs and admittedly once voted for the Communist Party, USA candidate for president because he “didn’t agree” with the other two parties. Although Director Comey of the FBI strongly agreed with the analysis, Admiral Mike Rogers of the NSA was less in agreement and only expressed moderate agreement. In fact, all that has been heard about the claim are allegations, with one of the most recent coming from a former NSA director who retired before Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president.

A new twist came about back on March 2 when former Deputy Secretary of Defense Evelyn Farkas made a startling admission that she had encouraged the Obama Administration to leak classified information to “the Hill.” Farkas made her statement on March 2, two days before President Trump tweeted that Barack Obama had Trump Tower “wiretapped” but the media failed to pick up on it. Her comments came to light thanks to conservative bloggers who had seen the segment. Farkas, who served as an advisor to the Hillary Clinton campaign, is now downplaying the significance of her comments, claiming that she did not have access to classified information even though her words plainly indicate that she did. Farkas, who is alleged to be an “expert” on Russia, was not in intelligence and only had access to reports, not to the actual intelligence on which they were based. In fact, Farkas shot her mouth off about Donald Trump’s alleged “ties” to Russia all through the campaign and is often quoted by leftist journalists in articles on the subject. She was a member of the Trump administration and has no credibility as an impartial observer (nor does Brennan.) It is no wonder that many conservative journalists such as Tucker Carlson and Britt Hume believe that Democrats invented the story because they still can’t understand how Trump won the election.

Last week the House Intelligence Committee had a “hearing” with FBI Director Comey and NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers and this week the Senate Intelligence Committee got in the act. I watched the House hearing in its entirety but have no intention of watching the Senate hearing after seeing Virginia Senator Mark Warner claim that Russian intelligence “paid 1,000 hackers” to put out “fake news” against Hillary Clinton just before the election. Now, where did the 1,000 number come from? In fact, it was the Clinton campaign that was using paid trolls to post anti-Trump and pro-Clinton screeds in comment sections on news sites. Warner, whose entire adult life has been spent in Democratic Party politics, is coming out to be just as much of a snake oil salesman as Congressman Adam Schiff. The reality is that there is plenty of information available about the Clintons, so much that there’s no need for “fake news” about them.

There is one thing that needs to be addressed, and that is that even if there is “intelligence” that members of the Trump campaign and even the administration have “ties” to Russia, this is not reason for concern. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and since then Americans have been doing business in Russia. Paul Manafort, for example, is a political consultant who did work, not in Russia, but in Ukraine. Former EXXON CEO Rex Tillerson was head of a large corporation that has been engaged in oil exploration in Russia since the 1990s. Donald Trump held the 2013 Miss Universe Contest in Moscow. Those are all legitimate business interests and they are but three of literally tens of thousands of Americans who have done business with or in Russia over the past three decades. Some, in fact, were associated with the Clinton campaign. For that matter, former President Bill Clinton gave a speech in Moscow. He also accepted a $500,000 payment from a Russian bank and his wife approved the sale of an American uranium company to Russia.

It’s all a farce and the American people are once again getting the shaft by the Democratic Party.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Russians (and Donald Trump) Did It!

http://intelligence.house.gov/

I just finished watching yesterday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing with FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers. I came away from it with the opinion that the Democrats on the committee are only interested in advancing a political agenda, as evidenced by the many, many statements they made rather than actually asking questions of the two subjects. Those statements were all based on information taken from the media, which is ironic because Director Comey made clear that media accounts regarding classified information are almost without exception inaccurate. (He gave them an accuracy of maybe ten percent.)  He also said that the “sources” used by the media are often some distance removed from the actual information and that the information they provide members of the media is usually inaccurate. Yet, even after he made this statement, the Democrats on the committee continued to read their obviously pre-written statements that were largely based on media accounts. Such a travesty!

The purpose of the hearings was, at least ostensibly, to hear from the two agency directors regarding the ongoing investigation into Russian “meddling” in the 2016 presidential election. The Director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, was not there, probably because he just took over the agency. At the time of the alleged “meddling,” the CIA director was John Brennan, an Obama appointee who left office on January 20. Congressman Trey Gowdy, a former Federal prosecutor, insinuated that Brennan may have been responsible for some of the highly illegal leaks of information that have appeared in the media since President Trump’s election, leaks that Director Comey made clear are criminal and that the leakers should be found and prosecuted. The most serious is the leaking of information pertaining to Lt. General Mike Flynn, the short-lived Director of Intelligence in the Trump Administration. (Gowdy may have even been insinuating that Obama himself is the leaker. Someone in his administration authorized the “unmasking” of the general after his voice was found on recordings of the Russian ambassador.)

As the hearings proceeded, it became obvious that the object of Democrats was to attempt to influence Director Comey to investigate/prosecute various members of the Trump circle, particularly General Flynn. Congresswoman Terri Sewell, a black woman from Alabama, was the attack dog. She kept harping on General Flynn, insinuating that he is a criminal, in spite of Director Comey’s continual refusal to answer her questions. Comey had made it clear at the beginning of the hearing that he was not going to answer any questions related to individuals or information that had appeared in the media. (It has recently come to light that General Flynn’s company was paid $500,000 for consulting work for a Dutch company that is suspected of “having ties” to Turkey.) Sewell was obviously trying to get Comey to have Flynn charged for not registering as a foreign agent (which he did on March 8.) GOP Congressman Trey Gowdy, insinuated that the Obama White House leaked information about General Flynn that had been obtained illegally by the NSA. Remember that General Flynn is alleged to have engaged in a number of conversations with the Russian ambassador, information that could have only been obtained by surveillance, which is illegal since General Flynn is an American citizen and surveillance requires a court order.

When it comes to the actual Russian “interference” in the election, very little was actually said about it. At the beginning of the hearing, Congressman Nunes solicited statements from both directors that there is no evidence that the Russians changed the vote in any of the states that President Trump won by a narrow margin. Both Director Comey and Admiral Rogers stated that there is no evidence of any Russian interference in the actual election in those states. The two directors referred to the findings of the three intelligence agencies – CIA, FBI and NSA – that the Russians meddled in the election primarily by spreading “propaganda” on the Russian government-owned television station RT and it’s associated web site designed to hurt Mrs. Clinton. (There was no mention of the American propaganda stations – ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC. However, as stated previously, Director Comey stated that their stories are highly inaccurate.) In reality, the information I’ve seen on RT was no different than accounts I have seen on other outlets dating back to the 1990s. Both Director Comey and Admiral Rogers referred to Russia as an “adversary” of the United States, but neither actually stated why they considered the two countries to be adversaries. (Adversary is not the same as an enemy – adversary is actually synonymous with opponent, as in a contest.)

Are Russia and the United States actually in competition with one another? If so, just how? Back when the Soviet Union was still in power, there was the matter of ideology as the Soviet Union was the leading advocate of the spread of communism. Those days are over, however. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and since then Russia and the United States have had a different kind of relationship. Russia is not trying to manipulate ideology in the West; in fact, Russia is now capitalist even if the country is run, at least allegedly, by an oligarchy (another word that is often thrown about without consideration – some allege that the United States is an oligarchy, or was before Donald Trump became president. Since then, it’s often called fascist – by people who are actually Marxist themselves.) The truth is that the United States has nothing Russia wants. Yes, Russia now owns a company that owns a uranium mine in the US but it also has large uranium reserves of its own, more than twice as much as the United States. It’s the same with oil – Russian oil reserves are more than double those of the United States. The fear and hatred of Russia characteristic of so many Americans, particularly those in government, is actually a holdover from the Cold War combined with animosity over Russia’s occupation of Crimea and influence in Ukraine, both of which have strong connections to Russia dating back for centuries. It’s actually Europe that fears Russia, and that fear has spread into elements in the United States.

Director Comey stated something that has been made public in the past, that the FBI never had access to the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers. The claim that they were hacked by “the Russians” (the hackers were actually not from the Russian government, but are alleged to have been working for it) is based on information provided by a third party internet security company contracted by the DNC. He alleged that this is not abnormal, but that the FBI often depends on information from third party internet security companies when investigating cyber crimes.

Personally, I doubt that the hearings and the House (and FBI) investigations will accomplish anything. One writer has referred to the hearing as a “nothing burger.” I tend to agree.

 

 

Freedom of “the Press” – Or, Don’t Believe the Media

 Members of the modern media have a highly exalted opinion of themselves, a completely unjustified opinion, an opinion based on misrepresentation of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, an opinion that is completely false. It has been a long time coming because it hasn’t been so obvious, but the result is an emerging war between television news networks, newspapers and the administration of President Donald Trump, a war fought with words rather than the kind of bullets that kill and maim. To hear them tell it, the media is on a mission from God to “tell the truth” about the United States government. However, the real truth is that media is and always has been highly partisan and editors, journalists and TV newsmen and women rarely ever relate anything resembling truth. Instead, newspapers and TV news publish opinions and represent it as truth when it is anything but. “Fake news” is a new term but it accurately describes the media as it exists in the United States (and the world) and how it has existed since the printing press first came into being, for much of what has claimed to be “news” has always been politically motivated and has been slanted to represent a particular political point of view.

When the First Amendment was adopted, its meaning was far different than it is represented as today. It reads as follows – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The amendment begins with the words “CONGRESS shall make no law…” which is a clear indication that it was intended to apply to only one body of government, the United States Congress. Left-wing legal scholars have reapplied it to every level of government by disregarding the Founders’ original intent and substituting their own but original intent is still there. It was not intended to apply to state, county, or local government nor was it intended that the duly elected officials of government at any level were not free to challenge those exercising either of the three “freedoms” spelled out in the amendment, the first being religion, followed by speech and then by “the press” as represented by only three words. (Challenging and making laws are not the same.) Those words do not establish the press as “the watchdog of the people” in any form. In fact, the words “the press” doesn’t refer to what we consider today to be “the media” but actually refers to the printing press, regardless of how it is used, whether to print books, political pamphlets or, both last and least, “newspapers.” In fact, the phrase refers to exactly the same thing “speech” refers to, which is the expression of individual opinion although through the published, rather than the spoken, word. The problem is that the media has developed practices of expressing opinion and passing it off as “news”. They also misrepresent their opinions as being the corporate opinion of the nation as a whole.

When it comes to members of the media, it is important to understand that while they represent themselves as vast repositories of knowledge, they really have no knowledge of, well – anything, especially not the inner workings of government – nor do they have “facts”. The only “news” agencies that actually might have real knowledge are those that are part of government, regardless of level. They put out the official statement of whatever government body they represent, whether it is the White House itself, a government agency or a branch of the military. Only official press releases are based on any knowledge of the actions of government; any other “news” is mere speculation and depends on information provided by “sources” who may or may not be reliable and who, as often as not, have some kind of political ax to grind. A classic example is the “Watergate” scandal – the scandal, as it developed, didn’t become public knowledge because Bernstein and Woodward “uncovered” it by “investigative reporting”, but rather because the assistant director of the FBI, William M. “Mark” Felt, a Democrat, fed them information about the ongoing investigation into the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel. (Although he had become an FBI agent in 1941, Felt had been a staffer for two Democratic senators from Idaho. He was at odds with President Nixon, although whether it was for political reasons or because he wanted to somehow protect the FBI is unclear. Woodward, who knew him from when he had served in the White House as a naval officer, referred to him as “a terrible gossip”.)Without that source, they would have had nothing.

Speaking of nothing, there is nothing in the Constitution or its amendments even implying a “public right to know.” This is an invention of (Who else?) the media themselves! Now, granted, official information services may not tell everything that the public thinks they want to know and sometimes they may not be completely truthful but the media is even worse, far worse, because members of the media quite often make up stories and represent it as truth. In fact, this is quite common. Journalists are employees, whether fulltime or freelance, and in order to earn a living, they must produce copy that editors want to publish. Newspapers, news magazines and TV “news” put out whatever their editors want to put out, as often as not in an attempt to sway public opinion and with little regard for the veracity of the content. Their stories are often false, although they represent them to be “truth” and may actually believe them to be. Much of “news” is the publishing of the opinions of members of the party not in power, and of so-called “activists” group, which are actually political action groups, nearly all of which are far left-wing. The media also publishes fake news fed to them by political campaigns and by the political parties themselves – and they publish fake news distributed by Federal agencies. For example, the Central Intelligence Agency feeds fake news to foreign news outlets in an attempt to influence elections and promote or discredit the party in power. The CIA is barred by law from domestic activities but they doesn’t mean they aren’t involved, as evidenced by the current “revelation” of information damaging to President Donald Trump by the previous CIA director. The CIA has a long history of illegal activities.

I first came to realize that journalism cannot be depended on in the spring of 1966 when I was a twenty-year old airman in the United States Air Force assigned to duty in Thailand flying nightly missions (actually every other night) over southern North Vietnam and Laos looking for truck and river traffic on the complex of roads, trails and rivers leading out of North Vietnam through Laos into South Vietnam that had come to be collectively known as “the Ho Chi Minh Trail.” Once we spotted something that looked like it might be traffic, our pilot initiated a complex series of communications to obtain clearance to direct air strikes against the targets. He radioed an airborne command post that orbited high overhead with a team of battlefield controllers on board. The airborne controller then contacted higher headquarters, who then went even further to obtain permission for air strikes against the targets. Over Laos, the contact went to the American embassy in Vientiane and from there to the local province chief. On missions over North Vietnam, permission had to come from the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam through a joint command center in Saigon. The purpose of this complex procedure was to minimize civilian casualties. By the time we received clearance to send fighters in to attack the targets, the trucks would have pulled into one of the fake villages the North Vietnamese had constructed along their infiltration routes and thus be impervious to air attack. That, however, was not what newspapers in the United States were reporting – we saw the articles – they were reporting that US airmen were conducting “unrestricted warfare” even though that was nowhere even close to the truth; it was, rather, an outright lie. Reporters, who lived and worked primarily in Saigon, and who attended daily news briefings, had no idea what American airmen were actually doing so they made up a story to tell, a story designed to embarrass the Johnson Administration and the military. Reporters knew that air attacks were only on specified targets but they wanted to tell a different story. In short, newspapers, particularly the New York Times, were lying to the American people about what was really taking place in Southeast Asia. They continued to lie until the United States withdrew from the war in Vietnam and continue to lie about it to this day. Very much of what has appeared in print about the Vietnam War over the past five decades came from journalists who made up their stories in the bar of the Caravelle Hotel in Saigon and never actually saw a military operation firsthand.

Members of the media claim they are impartial but in reality, American newspapers – and newspapers around the world for that matter – have NEVER been impartial. In fact, American newspapers were originally organized to represent a particular political viewpoint, whatever it might be. They can be traced back in the United States to the conflict between Thomas Jefferson and his Republican Democrats and Alexander Hamilton’s Federalists in the earliest days of our nation. Both sides used the press to produce pamphlets advocating their viewpoint. The pamphlets were then distributed by various means. Pamphleteering led to newspapers, which published under a name that often indicated their particular political viewpoint. Of course, modern news media’s main purpose is to make money for their owners but they also have a particular political agenda and are often associated with a political party – and always have been. For example, at one time there were newspapers all over the United States that had either “Democrat” or “Republican” in their names. Papers had – and still have – political agendas as do broadcast networks, both radio and television. This is also true of national news magazines, with some representing a more conservative viewpoint while others have adopted the “progressive” viewpoint. Since the 1930s and the complete control of government by the Roosevelt White House, the slant has been increasingly toward the “progressive” viewpoint, a viewpoint based on a decidedly European view of socialism and Marxism. This should come as no surprise since Marxism began spreading throughout the world in the mid-nineteenth century and had become firmly entrenched in political thought by the turn of the Twentieth Century. In order to give themselves legitimacy, such outlets began claiming a nonexistent status for themselves as “guardians of the public trust.” In fact, however, they are no such thing. They fancy themselves to be public opinion makers and, until the advent of electronic means of communication, they were.

The current conflict between the national media and President Donald Trump is due to his not being a politician, and not willing to play the political game. President Trump couldn’t care less what the media thinks of him. He knows that the so-called “mainstream” media was opposed to him as a candidate and that most journalists, editors and publishers were caught by surprise when he won the election. He knows that they based their opinions on polling methods that have become unreliable now that Americans have Caller ID and simply don’t answer calls when they don’t know who he is calling. He furthermore knows that certain media outlets, particularly the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN are working hard to delegitimize his presidency. This should come as no surprise since the editor of the New York Times declared open war on Mr. Trump when he was a candidate and even went to the extent of offering payment for information obtained by illegal means. Nearly every large city newspaper in the country endorsed Hillary Clinton, often  claiming that Donald Trump was “unfit to be president” but without offering any solid reasoning for such a claim. (The Constitution establishes the qualifications for the presidency and they are very liberal, being only that the president must be 35 years of age or older and must be a “natural born citizen” of the United States. (The media and academics have caused considerable confusion regarding the meaning of the “natural born” phrase, which simply means that they are citizens by birth and require no action on the part of government to make them citizens.)

Cable news is as political as newspapers. CNN founder/owner Ted Turner is a lifelong Democrat who makes no secret of his political views. Turner supports Democrats and, like newspaper editors and owners of the past, has long been using his “cable news” network as a means of advancing the progressive political agenda. Australian-born media magnate Rupert Murdock, who is generally conservative, owns Fox. MSNBC is Far Left in its political viewpoint, representing the socialist view. All claim to be broadcast “news” but they mostly broadcast political opinion. Since Donald Trump was inaugurated, instead of letting media publish “news” that is not really news but is actually political opinion, the White House is pushing back and calling them out for what they put out. As President Trump recently stated, journalists don’t know what is actually happening in the White House or any branch of the government. They rely on unidentified sources who may or may not be telling the truth and who usually are grinding an ax. Good examples are the stories about Trump campaign officials “ties with Russia.”

There is an effort to equate the Federal Government of Russia with the former Soviet Union, which disbanded and ceased to exist almost thirty years ago. Media accounts frequently refer to the KGB, the Soviet Union’s counterpart to the American Central Intelligence Agency even though the KGB ceased to exist along with the Soviet Union. This is being done in an effort to cause Americans, who grew up in fear of a Soviet Union that was often equated with Russia since it was the largest member state, to believe that the Cold War has resumed or, more accurately, that it never ended. Media accounts refer to “ties” between Trump campaign officials and Russia, without acknowledging that Americans, particularly businessmen, have been involved with Russian nationals since the early 1990s when the collapse of the Soviet Union and the establishment of a new Russia opened up both dialogue and business opportunities between Americans and Russians. Large numbers of Russians immigrated to the United States and became involved in various businesses, including financial and communications. American oil companies – most of them – became involved in oil exploration in Russia, which, after all, is not only the largest nation in the world, is the richest in natural resources. Doing business with Russia has been quite common for three decades but you’d never know in to hear the media tell it – they represent having “ties” to Russia as some kind of Federal crime.

Ever since documents from the Democratic National Committee were leaked to the world by Julian Assange’s Wikileaks, Hillary Clinton supporters have been claiming they were leaked by “the Russians.” As soon as the leaks came out, the Clinton campaign claimed the DNC computer server had been “hacked” although no proof of such a claim has even been offered. They put out claims that there was “evidence” of hacks by actors “associated with Russian intelligence” which is actually a play on words because (1) evidence of hacks can only be assumed and (2) the word “associated” has multiple meanings. In fact, when the “intelligence community” put out a statement that the DNC was hacked by “the Russians”, the statement merely contained the same allegations put out by the Clinton campaign and offered no solid proof. They also stated that such evidence as they had came from “third party” sources. In short, the statement has the appearance of political propaganda, which is no surprise since the primary advocate was former CIA head John Brennan, an Obama political appointee and a critic of Donald Trump. (Brennan is also known to have strong ties to left-wing politics, and has admitted to voting for the Communist Party, USA candidate for president in an election in the 1970s.) As I write this, a major “news story” is that that are calls for a special prosecutor to “investigate ties to Russia by Trump campaign officials,” calls made by Democratic Party politicians and activists.

Regardless of the stories appearing in the various forms of media, just remember one thing – you can’t trust media, whether it’s newspapers, news magazines, cable “news” or major television “news” networks. They are all accomplished liars.

 

 

 

 

 

Red Blood of Patriots

Dong Ha Takeoff (2)

This morning as I was watching coverage of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, I was keeping track of Twitter. In his speech, President Trump spoke this line – “It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag.” Immediately after he said it ,  Conservative, Inc. writer John Podhoretz, who has a reputation for arrogance, tweeted that traitors have red blood too, which is true enough but the way he said it really pissed me off. The president’s line reminded me of my own experience with red, American blood, although it was Podhoretz’ comment that caused me to dwell on it for some time. I know exactly what the blood of our armed forces, whether patriot or not, looks like after it has been spilled.

During the late Southeast Asian unpleasantness, I was an Air Force flight crewmember, a loadmaster assigned to squadrons that flew the now-famous, but not so much then, Lockheed C-130 Hercules. It was sometime in the spring of 1967. I was nearing the end of my tour. A year before, I was flying on missions over North Vietnam and Laos dropping flares for fighters to attack trucks bringing supplies south to the communists who were seeking to overthrow the government of South Vietnam. I had returned to routine transport flying, or hauling trash, as we were beginning to call it. Our flying really was routine – hauling troops and cargo, but mostly cargo, around South Vietnam and Thailand. We were physically based at Naha, Okinawa but we’d go TDY for sixteen days at a time to either Cam Ranh Bay in South Vietnam or Bangkok, Thailand to fly airlift missions. We called the stints “shuttles.” We’d take off early on our first day in country, then start later and later each day until we were flying mainly night missions, then we’d have a day off and start over again on the day missions. After two weeks, we’d go home for a few days then come back and do it all over again.

On this particular shuttle, I was flying with Captain Tom McQuaide, an experienced C-130 pilot who had come to our squadron from a Tactical Air Command C-130 squadron at Lockbourne AFB, Ohio. Some of our pilots had come from other commands and other aircraft types, and were restricted to airfields with runways at least 4,000 feet long because of several prop-reversal accidents involving the C-130As we were flying. Flying with them truly was routine but when flying with an experienced C-130 pilot like Captain McQuaide, we got into the short, unimproved airfields out in the boondocks where the war was. (We actually got shot at no matter what airfield we went to – one night after landing at Tan Son Nhut, the huge airport at Saigon, the air freight people who met us told me they’d watch us come in and that we’d been trailed by tracer bullets.)

We were a little over half-way through our two weeks of flying. We took off for our first sortie late in the afternoon and had then gone to night missions, which usually involved moving backlog cargo out of Cam Ranh to the major airfields around South Vietnam, particularly Qui Nhon. We went north to Da Nang for the last part of our mission and after dropping off our load, air freight brought out a stack of five empty pallets – we were required to always have five pallets on the airplane to insure a supply of pallets in the country – and were supposed to take off and fly south to Qui Nhon to pick up cargo for Cam Ranh. When we reached Cam Ranh, we’d be finished for the night. I had just finished chaining the empties to the ramp when a dispatch truck drove up to the back of the open ramp. The driver stuck his head out of the window and informed me that our mission had been changed – we were being diverted to a combat emergency air evacuation mission to Dong Ha. Combat emergency was the highest priority for airlift missions in Southeast Asia. My adrenaline started pumping just at the words.

I was well-acquainted with Dong Ha. I took the above picture there in the fall of 1965 when I was at a tiny island in the Philippines called Macton on temporary duty from Pope AFB, North Carolina. We took a hit that day, although we didn’t know it until we got back to Mactan. Miraculously, it was only one of two hits I took in more than 1,200 combat sorties although we got shot at on nearly every flight. I had flown air evac missions before, but not a CE. In fact, although air evac was one of our missions, we rarely flew them because Army and Marine helicopters usually flew wounded men to rear area hospitals. As the dispatcher was pulling away, a forklift came up to  remove the forklift. As soon as the pallets were removed, I went to the front of the airplane and got the emergency escape ladder and installed it just behind the wing – the ladder was part of the litter system. Then another truck pulled up and the air evac crew got out, a nurse and two enlisted medical technicians. The nurse was male – only male nurses were assigned to combat missions. They loaded their equipment on the airplane and got on.

The nurse, a lieutenant, told me that Dong Ha was under attack and that a Marine had been hit in the head. We were to pick him up and bring him back to Da Nang, hopefully in time for emergency surgery to save his life. Casualties were mounting and there were other wounded, some in litters and some walking, and we would be bringing them back as well because the field hospital at Dong Ha was running out of space. After engine start, I continued setting up litter stanchions and dropping the straps from the ceiling that served to secure one side of each litter. We continued rigging stanchions and dropping straps while we taxied out and took off. Each stanchion had steps that could be dropped down so someone could climb up and reach the straps – since it was my airplane, that someone was me. The medical crew and I also dropped the nylon seats on the sides to have them available for walking wounded.

The flight wasn’t that long, not more than twenty minutes at most. Dong Ha was about 50 miles northwest of Da Nang. It sat right on the Demilitarized Zone. On the other side was North Vietnam. When I went in there the first time in the fall of 1965, there was nothing much there but since then, the Marines had moved in and made it a major base. Navy Seabees had laid 2,900 feet of pierced-aluminum planking on the dirt runway, making it an “all-weather” runway. C-130s went in there every day, but not normally at night.  North Vietnamese troops probed the base nearly every night; it was considered too dangerous for routine missions at night.

The firefight was still going on right off the runway when we landed. The guys in the cockpit saw the green and red tracers flying back and forth. I didn’t see them. I was too busy in the back. I was so pumped up on adrenaline that I went outside and started opening the doors that covered the gas turbine compressor, the auxiliary power unit that provided power when the engines weren’t running with the #2 propeller still coasting down. As soon as I got the rear ramp opened, Navy ambulances began arriving with the wounded Marines. The number had increased drastically since we left Da Nang a half hour before. I don’t recall the exact number but there were around a dozen or so men in litters and around twice that many walking wounded. I remember noticing that none of the men were black. I noticed this because civil rights leaders in the US, particularly Martin Luther King, were claiming that blacks were being killed and wounded at rates far in excess of their numbers.

The men had received only minimal medical care and many were bloody and still bleeding. In addition to the Marine with the head wound for which we had initially been sent out, there was at least one other patient whose life was in danger. While the medical crew took care of the litter patients, I helped the walking wounded settle into their seats and fasten their seatbelts. Now, I had always thought I was squeamish; Vietnam proved that I’m not. The men were all bloody but they seemed lucid enough. Once all of the patients were loaded, we fired up the four engines. When the flight engineer switched power from one generator to another, there was a momentary power loss. A huge sigh of dismay went up from the patients. The loss was only momentary and the airplane was only dark for a couple of seconds. Captain McQuaide took off right over the firefight. He reckoned it was safer than taxiing to that end of the runway and then turning around, and exposing the airplane to AK-47 fire in the process. By taking off over them, we’d only be in range for a few seconds. As far as I know, we took no hits.

There wasn’t anything I could do once we were airborne but keep watch on everybody. The medics and the nurse were tending to the litter patients. They were cleaning their wounds and nipping away pieces of flesh, although I didn’t notice it at the time as they were in the back of the cargo compartment and I was sitting in the first seat aft of the entrance door at the front. The nurse was devoting his attention to the Marine with the head wound. He looked up then started walking toward me. I knew the Marine was dead. He told me to ask the navigator for our coordinates so he could put it in the death certificate. He told me not to say anything to the other wounded. He left the dead Marine’s head uncovered. I felt very deflated.

We continued to Da Nang. We taxied to the ramp and were met by a blue Air Force ambulance/bus. They are large busses that had been configured with litter stanchions in the back and seats in the front. More medical personnel were with them. I stood by the dead Marine while the medical crew offloaded the litters and the walking wounded filed by. The nurse had put me there to try to keep the other Marines from realizing he had died. It didn’t work. The other litter patients had been offloaded and the one litter remained in place. The walking wounded had to go right by it and they realized something was wrong.

The bus pulled away and the medical crew got their stuff and went with it, leaving me with the dead Marine. Because we were only a few minutes out when the copilot called and advised that we needed Graves Registration, it was some time before they arrived to take the body. The nurse had given me the paperwork recording the man’s death. I didn’t cover up his head. I looked at him and thought to myself, “What a waste.” I wondered about him. He had the rough face of a coal miner or a football player. I wondered if he might be from Pennsylvania. I didn’t have a clue how old he was. I was twenty-one myself. He could have been older or he could have been nineteen for all I knew. One of the officers, I think it was Capt. McQuaide, came back to where I was keeping watch over the dead Marine and kept me company until Graves Registration finally came out in their olive drab ambulance to pick up the body, or KIA as they are referred to in the military, or were before the military became “sensitive.” After they left, I went outside to keep watch on the engines during engine start then came back inside and closed the ramp. Once the engines were started, I went to work stowing the litter straps and moving the stanchions to their stowage at the front of the cargo compartment.

It was after I had put everything away that I realized that our airplane looked like an operating room after multiple surgeries. Normally, I would sweep the floor and put the dirt in the trash can that was part of every airplane’s extra equipment. We were on our way back to Cam Ranh empty as we had already exceeded our crew duty day. I called Captain McQuaide on the intercom and told him we were going to need a firetruck. I’d never called for one before but had heard of others doing it. The floor was covered with blood but there were also pieces of flesh where the nurse had snipped them off of the wounds. The only way to clean it up was to wash it out.

By the time we landed at Cam Ranh, the sun was up. There was no firetruck but there was a water truck waiting for us. We pulled into our parking spot and shut down the engines. The maintenance dispatcher’s truck pulled up and the airplane’s crew chief got out. He bounded up the steps and took one look at his airplane, then turned around with his hand over his mouth and ran back down the steps, then started retching. The water truck driver took one look then handed me the hose and left. The officers and flight engineer had all left. It was just me, a water hose and a bloody, gory airplane. I started washing. The water mixed with the blood and turned red.

I grew up in West Tennessee about 75 miles from Shiloh Battlefield where one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War was fought. I’d been there once on a field trip when I was in elementary school. One of the features on the park is a pond called The Bloody Pond. According to local tradition, the waters of the pond turned red with the blood of the wounded soldiers, Confederate and Federal, who went there to drink and wash their wounds. As I washed the blood and gore out of the airplane that was now being returned to its crew chief, the bloody water reminded me of that pond.

Now, I don’t know if those young Marines considered themselves to be patriots or not. Seriously, I doubt that they did. Patriotism was not something young soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines talked about in those days. I’m sure they were volunteers, at least most probably were. Draftees only went into the Army as a rule, although the Marine Corps had started accepting them due to the lack of volunteers in a country where the youth were becoming violently “anti-war” and pro-Viet Cong. Nevertheless, we were serving our country, no matter our motivations – and we all bled red.

What upset me about Podhoretz’ Tweet is that he’s never seen anyone shed blood for their country and never will. He, along with the rest of the Conservative, Inc. crowd are good at using the word processor as a weapon but none of them will ever hear a shot fired in anger. They’re all talk. As for “traitors,” a traitor is a patriot to the country he or she supports. We all bleed red.