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.

 

 

The Military, Heroism and “Gold Star Families”

 

DFC                                    AirMedal

The current flap over Pakistani immigrant Khizr Khan’s appearance at the Democratic convention prompted me to write about something that’s been bugging me for a long time. There seems to be a belief that anyone who serves in the military is a hero, particularly those who’ve died, and some seem to think that family members of military members and of those who died while in military service are somehow deserving, although deserving of what I’m not sure.

In the summer of 1963 my dad signed a document granting permission for me to enlist in the United States Air Force. He – or my mother – had to sign it because my birthday is late in the year and I was still seventeen when I graduated from high school a few weeks before. Air Force regulations required that although seventeen-year olds could enlist, they had to have parental permission. My dad had been in the Army Air Corps during World War II – his brother had also and had remained in service for twenty years – and he had mixed emotions about my plans to join the Air Force. He would have preferred that I stay home and farm, or perhaps go to college. I had been accepted at several colleges but didn’t know where the money was going to come from. I would also be subject to the draft once I turned eighteen and as a single teenager, would have been prime meat. So, daddy signed. (I heard later that my maternal grandmother accused him of “signing Sam’s life away.” No one ever told me until after she was dead.) A few months later I turned 18 but by that time I was already in the Air Force and in the final weeks of training to become a jet aircraft mechanic.

When my dad signed the papers for me to join the Air Force, the United States was not at war, at least not officially. Yes, we had military personnel in some Asian country called Vietnam few Americans were even aware of it. I wasn’t expecting to go to war myself and certainly wasn’t expecting to see combat, although I wouldn’t have minded. As it turned out, I spent 12 years in the Air Force with a good chunk of it in Vietnam where I saw war up close and personal. However, it was MY service and my family didn’t have a damn thing to do with it. I collected quite a few medals and decorations during those 12 years but just because I’m a decorated combat veteran doesn’t make me a hero. Had I died, it would have been my death, not theirs, and while they would have grieved over me, they were deserving of a no particular status other than that of a family that had lost a son. It wouldn’t have mattered if I’d died wrapping my car around a tree, I’d have been dead just the same as if I’d been shot down on a mission over North Vietnam. Maybe my mother would have joined Gold Star Mothers but somehow I doubt it since she never joined the DAR even though she had ancestors who fought in the American Revolution. No member of my family has ever joined the DAR, the DOC, SAR or SOC. I’m a member of three veterans organizations, one which I had a role in founding, another I was coerced into joining and the DAV, which I joined because I’m a disabled veteran and I thought they’d be of help dealing with the VA (I was wrong, they’re not.)

In recent years – mainly since Reagan – an idea has developed that anyone who’s ever served in the military is some kind of hero. People like to greet veterans with “thank your for your service” or, if a veteran “welcome home.” Now, I don’t care for such bullshit. I do sometimes wear caps, one that says “C-130 Hercules Vietnam” and one with an emblem of the Distinguished Flying Cross on it but I don’t wear them to get recognition. I only wear them in hopes of attracting the attention of a fellow C-130 veteran so I can tell them about the organization I helped found. I don’t want anyone to thank me for my service because I didn’t do it for them and I don’t need to be welcomed home. I don’t want anyone to think me a hero because I’m not, even if I did fly some 1,500 combat sorties. My dad flew 30 missions over Germany and Occupied Europe during World War II and he didn’t think of himself as any kind of hero. He put his DFC and Air Medal lapel pins in the lapel of his suit but he hardly ever wore a suit. The fact is that just being in the military -and even being in combat – doesn’t make a person a hero, not even if they die while in service. To be a hero, a person has to do something heroic.

The modern perception of military service seems to be shaped largely on the service of the men who served during the period from World War II to Vietnam when military service was to a large extent compulsory, as it was in World War I and the Civil War. Young men were forced to serve in the military against their will, and their service was seen as sacrificial, particularly by politicians eager to get their vote after they returned to civilian life. But military service hasn’t been compulsory in the United States since early 1973 when the Department of Defense announced that there was no longer a need to draft men for military service. (The end of the draft came as the United States withdrew the last military personnel from South Vietnam.) Since that time, all men and women who have served or are serving in the military are there of their own free will. They are making no sacrifice as their fathers and grandfathers did who were drafted into interrupting their lives for a period of military service. They are compensated with a pay check, a pay check that is substantial for men and women in the modern military and often in excess of what they would likely be making in civilian life. This is true even of the lowest ranking enlisted men and women. Those who elect to stay in the military for a 20-year career draw 50% of their base pay; those who stay longer draw a higher percentage all the way up to 75%, which can amount to a considerable sum for senior officers and enlisted men and women.

Contrary to popular belief by those who’ve never served, military service isn’t particularly hard. New recruits must complete a period of basic training which consists primarily of physical conditioning and military training in regulations and such disciplinary skills as learning to march in formation and small arms training. Upon completion of basic training, a new recruit is sent on to additional training that may involve additional military training if they’re assigned to the infantry but may be classroom and practical training to learn a particular technical skill. Such courses consist of as little as a few weeks from some skills to as much as two years for skills such as nuclear reactor operators. Some new officers are sent to special courses such as military pilot training or submarine officer training. Once a young man or woman has completed their training, they are assigned to an operational unit, which may be a combat unit but could also be support. If they are assigned to a combat unit, they can expect to spend their time in continued training since combat units aren’t engaged unless they are actually in a combat zone. Military training in itself can be dangerous and hundreds of young men and women die each year in accidents, both while on duty and in vehicle accidents when off duty. In fact, accidental military deaths have exceeded deaths from hostile actions in many years since the beginning of the so-called “War on Terror” after the 9/11 attacks. This was true in the years 2002 and 2003 and has been true since 2008. In fact, in the years from 1980 to 1989, accidental deaths in the military exceeded 1,000 a year; the most hostile deaths in a year since 2002 is 847 in 2007. My point is that a military member is more likely to die due to accident than from hostile action. Military Deaths by Year, which brings me to my next point.

Just because a person serves in the military – or dies while on active duty – does not make them heroic. There have been men who truly were heroic in the military, starting with Sgt. Alvin C. York in World War I and continuing through such men as Lt. Audie Murphy, Major Edwin Dyess and Colonel Paul I. “Pappy” Gunn, but such men usually became heroes because of desperation. York decided to take matters in his own hands when he saw his buddies being mowed down by German machine guns, Murphy defended his men against a German attack, Dyess carried out attacks on Japanese ships in Subic Bay in one of the few remaining Air Corps fighters left in the Philippines and Gunn waged an essentially one-man war against the Japanese to free his family from captivity in Manila. Since then, military heroes tend to have been men who performed “selfless” acts such as jumping on hand grenades, acts that might be more correctly identified as thoughtless since they happened so quickly the individual didn’t have time to consider the ramifications of his actions.

In truth, much of what is hailed as heroism is merely a military member doing the job they were trained to do, whatever it may be. Some medals – the Bronze Star in particular – are often awarded as commendations for routine performance of one’s administrative duties. In fact, the Bronze Star was originally authorized as a counterpart to the Air Medal, which was authorized in 1942 to recognize the role of airmen flying combat missions – often against great odds – at a time when ground forces had yet to enter combat. A colonel felt that infantrymen, in particular, should be awarded some kind of decoration to recognize that they had been in combat. No particular act of valor was required for award of the medal – any soldier who had qualified for the combat infantryman’s badge was eligible – and the award was also approved for administrative actions, such as maintaining files in an orderly room.  The Bronze Star It and the Air Medal were equal in prestige – until 1985 when military politics led to the elevation of the Purple Heart from a low-level award to prominence above the Meritorious Service Medal and dropped the Air Medal to the lowest precedence of any combat award and below the level of the MSM, which is only awarded for non-combat  service. (By doing so, the DOD robbed hundreds of Army Air Corps and pre-1985 USAF airmen of the recognition they so richly deserved for their meritorious service in aerial flight.)

Military medals are a story in themselves. Prior to the Civil War, there were no medals and even then, the Confederacy did not recognize its heroes with medals. The Medal of Honor was authorized during the war and was often awarded for such mediocre actions as reenlisting. (Hundreds of Medals of Honor were taken away when the criteria for the medal was changed in the early Twentieth Century.) The Distinguished Service Cross and Silver Star were authorized just before World War I and the Purple Heart was authorized in 1932 for presentation primarily to men who had been wounded. The Distinguished Flying Cross was authorized in 1926; it was awarded to civilians such as the Wright Brothers and Amelia Earhart. The Air Medal and Bronze Star came along during World War II, along with the Legion of Merit, which is essentially an award for high-ranking officers. Since Vietnam, a veritable library of new awards have been authorized, to the point that it seems that the modern military man and woman gets medals just for showing up for chow! In short, most military medals today are meaningless.

This brings us to “gold star families,” a term little heard of before a Pakistani immigrant named Khizer Khan made a speech at the Democratic Convention. To begin with, there is no such thing as a “gold star family.” It’s a term that the Army has on its web site to refer to families of military members who lost their lives on active duty. However, there’s no official organization or recognition of such families even though the military was authorized to present lapel buttons to family members – parents, spouses, children, step-children, brother and sisters – of those who die while  on active duty starting in 1947. The lapel button carries no significance and no benefits to those to whom it is presented except recognition. It’s something for family members to have to remember their family member, the same as the flags used to drape coffins and which are then presented to the family, usually to either the wife or mother of the deceased. The design is different for those who died in a combat theater, regardless of the cause of death. There is no organization and they have no official standing.

There is, however, a formal organization for Gold Star Mothers, women whose son or daughter has died while on active military service. Gold Star Mothers was formally organized in 1928 when the mother of a US Army Air Services pilot who died during the war decided to start an organization for mothers of men who had died while in military service. They got their name from the gold-starred flags family members displayed in their windows during the recent war – families with men in uniform displayed a flag with a blue star and those whose sons were lost displayed gold stars. The blue and gold starred flags became prominent during World War II but they died out after the Korean War. They were not popular during the Vietnam War – in fact, they were hardly ever mentioned. They were resurrected in the 1990s and began attracting some attention from the media – and politicians. In September, 2012 Barrack Obama proclaimed the last day of September as “Gold Star Mothers and Families Day.” However, the memo must have got lost because no one seems to know anything about it.

Families of men and women who die while on active duty have recognition, but not status or standing, as members of the media proclaimed that Khizer Khan and his wife have. The Khans claimed they have made some kind of sacrifice because their son died in Iraq. In fact, they have made no sacrifice at all and whether their son’s death was a sacrifice is debatable. Captain Khan’s commander, Maj. General Dana Pittardi, (Gen. Pittard was Bill Clinton’s military aide 1996-1999), wrote a piece for the Washington Post but was very vague as to how the officer died. He says only that he was killed by a suicide bomber and that he “may” have been trying to prevent the death or injury of innocent Iraqis. The captain was awarded a Purple Heart, which is awarded to all military personnel who die as a result of enemy action, and a Bronze Star, which is basically a glorified commendation medal. If his actions had been seen as “heroic,” he would have been awarded at least a Silver Star and possibly a Distinguished Service Cross. In the Khan’s minds, their son died a hero but in reality he was the victim of a bomb. Regardless, their son’s death reflects solely on him, not on them.

Military valor reflects solely on the individual, not corporately on their family, regardless of how close. My actions while in the military reflect solely on me and if I’d died, while my family would have suffered loss, they would have made no sacrifice. Neither would I if my son’s submarine had gone to the bottom of the China Sea while they were playing cat and mouse with the Chinese navy. Several of my ancestors served in the Revolutionary War but I have never been a member of the Sons of the Revolution and no one in my family has ever joined the DAR (except my great-aunt.) At least two of my ancestors were Confederate soldiers but I’ve never joined the Sons of Confederate Veterans – and never will. My valor is my own and no one else’s. Similarly, while I’m proud of my father for flying 30 missions in B-24s over Europe, his service is no reflection on me, nor was it a reflection on his parents, brothers and sisters.

What I’m saying is that military service and any recognition for it only applies to the one who serves, not their mother, father, spouse, brother, sister, children, grandchildren or anyone else.

 

 

 

 

 

The Despicable Clintons

I have just finished reading David Shippers’ account of his experiences as the Chief Investigative Counsel for the House Judiciary Committee prior to and during the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton in 1999. The book, called SELLOUT, is available from Amazon.com at this link – SELLOUT Considering that the wife of only the second US president to be impeached has just been nominated for the same office, it is important that Americans understand why her husband was impeached and realize that her character is just as lacking as his, or maybe more although she has never been publically accused of rape.

David Schippers was a Chicago lawyer and a lifelong Democrat who was asked by Congressman Henry Hyde to head up an investigative unit whose mission would be to investigate the US Department of Justice. Schippers had previously led the Justice Department’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Unit and had the experience. Although Hyde was a Republican, he wanted a Democrat to lead the new unit. When Schippers took the job, no action had been taken toward impeachment, although word of the sexual harassment suit against the president by one Paula Jones, a young Arkansas state employee, and his relationship with a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky had hit the media. The first action taken by the new committee, which was made up of lawyers and law enforcement personnel, mostly from Chicago, that Schippers knew, was to look into White House interference with the Immigration and Naturalization Service in regard to rushing the citizenship process of an estimated 1 million immigrants so they would be eligible to vote in the 1996 election – presumably for Clinton. Both Clinton and Vice-President Al Gore were involved in the action, which was a flagrant abuse of power that resulted in the granting of citizenship to several hundred applicants with criminal records. (In order to expedite the process, the INS was forced to forego it’s normal vetting procedures.) They were also planning to investigate Janet Reno’s Justice Department. Before the unit could pursue action, they were handed the job of investigating the president’s actions in regard to the Paula Jones’ suit and other improper actions turned up by Independent Prosecutor Ken Starr. Specifically, they were to investigate the president’s actions in regard to his relationship with Monica Lewinsky and his possibly having committed perjury and other crimes and misdemeanors in his deposition in the Paula Jones case.

The Clinton impeachment was in 1999, two decades ago, and many of today’s voters are too young to have known what took place while others didn’t really understand it. Briefly, two things happened: The first was the Paula Jones case; the second was Monica Lewinsky.

Paula Jones filed her suit against the president for something that took place while he was governor of Arkansas and she was a state employee. Clinton saw the 25-year old woman and told one of his state trooper escorts to bring her to his room in the Excelsior Hotel. When Jones got there, Clinton pulled out his penis and told her to “kiss it.”  Jones Suit Against Clinton  Jones refused and fled the room. She didn’t say anything about what had happened until a story came out in a magazine about it. She was convinced to file suit, which she did on May 6, 1994. The case was initially dismissed but Jones appealed. Clinton’s lawyers claimed that a sitting president could not be sued and the case went to the Supreme Court, which ruled unanimously that presidents are not above the law and are subject to the same legal actions as any citizen. Things got really hot for Clinton when the judge in the case decreed that Jones’ attorneys were free to interview other women Clinton had been sexually involved with or had made advances toward to show a pattern of sexual harassment. That’s where Clinton’s depravity came to light.

That Clinton has a reputation for philandering was well-known. He also has a strong tendency to lie. In 1992 during his presidential campaign, a woman in Little Rock named Gennifer Flowers came forward with the revelation that she and Clinton had been engaged in a 12-year affair. As Clintons are prone to do, Bill lied and said it wasn’t true – but in 1998 he admitted under oath that he had been sexually involved with Flowers. Schippers’ team wasn’t interested in Flowers but they were interested in other women who had been subpoenaed in the case, including – particularly – Lewinsky. However, it wasn’t the Lewinsky case that revealed Clinton’s depravity and ruthlessness.

The Jones team subpoenaed a number of women who had some kind of history with Clinton. When the Clinton legal team learned the women had been subpoenaed, The White House stepped in and contacted the women and sent them affidavits to sigh denying any kind of wrong-doing on the part of the president. Two in particular refused, and they both had sordid stories to tell. Schippers and members of his team interviewed them both extensively. Kathleen Wiley, a Virginia woman, had been pursued by Clinton even though she rejected his unwanted advances. On one occasion at a campaign event, he had groped her. Schippers and members of his team met with her and her attorney several times and believed she was telling the truth. Wiley and her attorney said that the White House put pressure on her to sign the affidavit Clinton’s legal team had drawn up, pressure that went to the point of intimidation. After her pet cat disappeared, she received threats insinuating that the cat had been taken. After she gave her deposition, a small animal skull appeared on her doorstep. She was accosted by strange men who advised her to sign the affidavit. Schippers and his team decided to have Wiley testify against Clinton in the impeachment trial.

The case of Juanita Broaddrick was different because her allegations stemmed from when Clinton was attorney general in Arkansas. Broaddrick was listed as a “Jane Doe” in the Paula Jones case who had filled an affidavit denying that Clinton had assaulted (raped) her. Because the focus of the case against Clinton was on witness intimidation and perjury, To interview her, Schippers sent Diana Woznicki, one of his staff members who had formerly worked for him as a legal assistant before she joined the Chicago PD, where she had risen to the rank of sergeant. She had a background in rape counseling. Schippers had previously found two files with FBI interviews of women who had claimed Clinton had sexually assaulted them. Starr’s staff had said they shouldn’t have been sent to the Judiciary Committee and asked that they be returned. After Broaddrick’s name resurfaced, Schippers called Bob Bittman on Starr’s staff. Bittman said that the Independent Counsel had determined that the accusations stemmed from before Clinton became president however, she had been subpoenaed by the Jones’ attorneys but had filed a motion to quash, a memorandum of law and a false affidavit. Schippers told Bittman they were conducting an impeachment investigation and to send the Broaddrick file back. He found that it consisted of several extensive interviews of her and a number of corroborating witnesses. Schippers sent Woznicki to talk to Broaddrick. Broaddrick admitted that the affidavit was false, over the protest of her attorney. However, Broaddrick later phoned Woznicki and told her the whole story. Woznicki told Schippers that “Juanita fits the pattern of the classic rape victim.”

In 1978, Juanita Broaddrick was a young married woman in Fort Smith who worked in the nursing home industry. She met Clinton when he was campaigning for governor. (I was living in Arkansas at the time.) Clinton told her to call him and visit his headquarters in Little Rock the next time she was in Little Rock and pick up campaign materials. When she was in Little Rock for a conference, she decided to call him. He wasn’t there so she left a message. A short while later, he called her back and suggested that he come to her hotel and meet her in the coffee shop to talk about his campaign. A few minutes later, he called back and said there were reporters in the coffee shop and suggested he come to her room. She had a roommate but the other woman was out and Broaddrick hestitated, but then thought “this is the attorney general; if I can’t trust him who can I trust?”

Broaddrick was alone in her room when Clinton arrived. They engaged in small talk then she ushered him to the window where a coffee service had been set up. Suddenly, Clinton began kissing her, she said “not forcefully at first.” But then he threw her on the bed and kept kissing her. She struggled to get away but he got on top of her and bit down on her lower lip – the pain was excruciating. Every time she struggled, he bit down harder. He pushed down his pants and forced her legs apart, then entered her and raped her. At one point while he was mating with her – over her protest – he said “Don’t worry about getting pregnant. I’m sterile. I had mumps as a kid.” (So did I, but I have four children!) When he finally finished, she thought the ordeal was over. Clinton rose up slightly and she thought he was going to pull out of her, but he said “My God, I can do it again!” He continued the attack.

The woman was close to collapse by the time Clinton was finished with her. She was sobbing uncontrollably and afraid he might do something else. She was in a panic but Clinton didn’t appear to even be fazed by having just raped a woman. He “cooly rose from the bed and went in the bathroom.” Broaddrick lay paralyzed on the bed, afraid to move. He came out after a few minutes and started to leave, then turned and said “You better do something about that lip. Get some ice on it”. He then put on his sunglasses and left.  She was still sobbing when her friend returned. She noticed her swollen lip and the rumpled bed and asked what happened. Broaddrick put a bag of ice to her lip and the two women got in their car and drove back to Fort Smith. During the drive. Broaddrick decided not to tell anyone else what had happened and told her friend to forget about it. A few weeks later, her husband told her they had been invited to a Clinton fund-raiser. She didn’t want to go and feigned illness but her husband talked her into going. She avoided Clinton but Hillary sought her out. She came over to her and said “I’ve heard so much about you, you’ve done so much for us!” Then she put her face close to Juanita’s and said “We appreciate everything you do.” Broaddrick thought it was a strange comment because she hadn ‘t done anything for the Clintons. She told Woznicki that she wondered if Hillary knew what had happened and was thanking her for keeping her mouth shut.

During the impeachment, a Republican woman Congressman looked at the Broaddrick file. She told Schippers, “This is his MO.” She then told about her experience at a reception for pro-choice women Hillary had hosted. When her husband came in the room, Hillary froze, scowled and stalked out of the room. The president then walked around the room putting his arms around women. He singled out two young blonde women. She later found out that Clinton had called them both and invited them to meet with him – individually – in the Oval Office. The two women talked and were surprised to learn they had each received the same invitation. They declined.

(Article About NBC News Interview with Broaddrick)

The centerpiece of the Clinton impeachment was a young woman named Monica Lewinsky, a dark-haired Jewish beauty from California. Like Paula Jones, she is buxom. In 1995 she became an unpaid intern in the White House. Apparently, the young woman – she was 21 at the time – offered herself to Clinton and he accepted. They began an affair that lasted until December 1997 when Monica wrote Clinton a letter and ended it. They both claimed that they never had intercourse – which is doubtful – and confined their activities to oral sex. Clinton claimed he never had any kind of sex with her until it came to light that she had a blue dress with the president’s semen on it.

Now, Clinton supporters claim the impeachment was all about sex – it wasn’t  it was about perjury, witness tampering, obstruction of justice and abuse of power. Clinton and Lewinsky’s affair was consensual but it became a legal matter when they realized she was likely to be subpoenaed for the Jones case and came up with a plan to deny it. They already had a cover story for their affair; they would claim that Lewinsky’s visits to the Oval Office were to deliver “papers” or to see Betty Currie, the president’s secretary. They agreed to use the same story in her affidavit and later testimony to a grand jury. When news of the affair became public, Clinton’s actions were despicable – the White House planted news stories claiming that Lewinsky was “a stalker.” Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangle claimed “the child has serious emotional problems.” He went on to say “She’s fantasizing. And I haven’t heard that she played with a full deck in her other experiences.” Arkansas columnist Gene Lyons claimed “the President was, in a sense, the victim of someone like the woman who followed David Letterman around.” In short, the White House and Democrats launched a campaign of character assassination. They did the same thing with Paula Jones and Dolly Kyle Browning, a longtime Clinton friend and high school classmate with which he had a sexual affair until 1992 when he found out she was writing a novel based on their relationship. Clinton even went so far as launching air strikes against Iraq the night before the debate on the impeachment articles was to take place. The debate was postponed.

In the end, Schippers and his investigators determined that Clinton was guilty of no less than 15 separate felonious acts involving perjury, witness tampering, obstruction of justice and abuse of power. To make a long story short, the House impeached Clinton in a vote that included five Democrats voting in favor. However, the Senate refused to remove him from office for political reasons. Not a single Democratic Senator bothered to look at the evidence. They were determined to vote against removal of Clinton and the Republicans were afraid to due to public opinion. (Yes, the 1999 public is responsible for the Clintons!)

Even though William Jefferson Clinton was not removed from office (neither was Andrew Johnson, the only other president to be impeached), the investigation revealed that he is not only dishonorable, he is despicable, particularly for his treatment of women. Juanita Broaddrick is not the only woman to accuse him of sexual assault but she went further and accused him of rape. Had she brought charges against him at the time, he would have never been elected governor of Arkansas and Hillary Clinton would not be the current Democratic Party nominee for the office of President of the United States.

That Hillary is also despicable has been reinforced by her recent actions as Secretary of State as well as her actions during her husband’s impeachment, which she blamed on “a vast right-wing conspiracy” rather than his own actions. Even though her responsibility for the death of the ambassador to Libya and three others is debatable, there is no doubt she lied to the families about the reason for the attacks and that she and the White House lied to the American public, blaming the attacks on a You Tube video rather than on Libyan Islamic militants. She and her campaign lied to the American public about the (illegal) personal Internet server she had set up at her home in New York to use for government and personal communications so she wouldn’t be susceptible to NSA monitoring – although it turns out her server was susceptible to monitoring, not only by the NSA but by foreign intelligence services. She lied about the FBI counter-intelligence criminal investigation of her use of a personal server. She claimed it was a “review” rather than a criminal investigation. In fact, it has long been known that Hillary lies about everything, just as her husband does. She was branded a liar when she was still First Lady by conservative columnist William Safire, who said she was “a congenital liar.” Journalist Carl Bernstein said “Hillary and Truth rarely walk together.”

Hillary’s conduct regarding the army of women her husband has been involved with has been despicable. She often referred to them as “trailer trash” and called Monica Lewinsky a “bimbo.” When Clinton’s Arkansas opponents filed a suit claiming that he maintained a slush fund to maintain five women, Hillary got her buddies at the Rose Law Firm, where she worked, Vince Foster and Web Hubbell, to coerce the five women into signing affidavits claiming they had not slept with Clinton, a tactic White House lawyers used against the women subpoenaed for the Paula Jones case. One of those women was Gennifer Flowers, who signed the affidavit but who Bill Clinton later admitted had been his lover (he said “only once.”) (Hubbell was later convicted of wire fraud; he was indicted three times for various infractions of the law. Foster died of an apparent suicide – under mysterious circumstances – while White House Counsel. )

Hillary Clinton is now running for the office her slime-ball husband once occupied. If she wins the election, the disgraced politician who was impeached will be returning to the White House and the two most despicable people today will again have the power to rape, lie and steal.

Schippers’ House Broken Into

 

 

Trump

It’s been some time since I’ve written anything in my blog, mainly because I’ve been busy doing other stuff, such as writing books. That doesn’t mean I’ve not been keeping up with current events, particularly the presidential race. Now that Donald Trump has definitely been nominated and Hillary Clinton is the presumptive nominee for the Democrats, I might as well get into it.

Let me start this off by stating unequivocally that there’s no way I would ever vote for Hillary Clinton. Even before she was definitely revealed as a compulsive liar with no regard for the protection of classified information by the FBI, I knew she had violated Federal policy by establishing her own Email server rather than using government communications channels as she should have done when she was Secretary of State. She did it because she knows that the National Security Agency monitors all government phone lines and Email accounts to insure that no Federal employee discusses classified information on unsecure outlets. Why she did is obvious – she didn’t want someone else reading her Email. The reason should also be obvious; she wanted to be able to communicate with people she shouldn’t be communicating with, people who were going to pay large sums of money to her family foundation in order to gain favor. Hillary was revealed as corrupt and dishonest years ago; the FBI investigation confirmed it.

My topic in this blog is not Hillary but Donald, or The Donald, as the media often refers to him. When he first announced he was running for president, like most everyone else, I thought he’d bomb out early in the campaign like he did in 2012. I’ve never been a huge Trump fan but at the same time, I did not see him as a joke as many have tried to imply he is. They like to refer to him as a “birther” without acknowledging that the idea that Barrack Obama was born in Kenya didn’t originate with him – in fact, it originated several years before Trump took up the issue. (My personal opinion about Barack Obama’s birth can be found at www.sammcgowan.com/obama.html.) As for Ted Cruz, his birth is beyond doubt – he was born in Calgary, Alberta to a Cuban father and an American mother and lived there until he was at least four years old. Although he was entitled to citizenship by virtue of his mother’s birth, he is not a natural born citizen – he’s a citizen because his mother at some point reported his birth to a US consulate or the INS and he received citizenship papers. Those who make fun of Trump as “a birther” have got rocks in their heads. The birthplaces of both Obama and Cruz are a definite matter for discussion. Criticisms of Trump for questioning their birth is not only invalid, anyone who offers it is showing their ignorance of the matter and the US Constitution.

Now, I did not watch the GOP debates and. As far as I’m concerned, debates are worthless because they do not show whether the candidate is actually capable of occupying the office for which they are running. Much has been made of Trump’s “lack of qualification” for the office of president of the United States but the Constitutional requirements for a president are really quite simple – he/she must be a natural born citizen of the United States, at least 35 years old and a resident of the US for the fourteen years prior to assuming office. Trump meets those qualifications, as does Hillary Clinton and all of the GOP candidates with the exception of Ted Cruz, who is not a natural born citizen. That Trump has never been a professional politician means nothing. In fact, it’s more of an asset than a liability. Professional politicians have been running this country for the past fifty-six years and they’ve made a mess of it. (Every president since Dwight Eisenhower has been a professional politician.)

Trump is often castigated for things he didn’t say, such as the claim that he’s against Mexican immigration. What he actually said is that we need to stop ILLEGAL immigration through Mexico. Yes, he said that Mexico sends us their lowlifes, which is not entirely without merit. Crime among Mexican immigrants is common – I live in the Houston, Texas area where there are a lot of illegals from Mexico and every evening there is something on TV about crimes committed by people of Mexican origin and many of them are illegal. Trump has not said he would curtail Mexican immigration – he has said he would curtail ILLEGAL immigration. That’s why he wants to build a wall along the Mexican border – to make it harder for illegals to cross into the United States. As for Muslims, it should be obvious to anyone who watches the news that there are problems in the world – and in the US – caused by radical Islamists. To let Muslim immigrants into the US without extensive vetting is folly.

Trump won the nomination not so much because of his stand on immigration, but on his concern over trade agreements that have led to the export of millions of American jobs overseas. I grew up in West Tennessee and returned there to live for a few years after I got out of the Air Force then lived in Arkansas for a few months and back to West West Tennessee. I then moved to Virginia, the home of my first wife, and from there to Kentucky and finally to the Houston area. I was transferred back to Kentucky then to Ohio where I retired and moved back to Houston. As a corporate pilot, I traveled all over the United States, parts of Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. What I saw – and what politicians and political pundits who spend their lives in Northern Virginia and journalists from the Northeast and West Coast don’t see – is that the America I grew up in no longer exists. Even as recently as the late 1970s when I lived in West Tennessee, there were still garment factories all over the area along with factories that made automotive parts. The garment factories are gone now, moved to Mexico or overseas, and the automotive parts factories have shut their doors. A large Goodyear plant that employed thousands shut its doors a few years ago. When I lived in Virginia, I saw how a local foundry that dated back to the nineteenth century was suffering. In Kentucky and nearby West Virginia and Ohio, it was the railroad yards and foundries. For a time, I worked for a company owned by the holding company that used to be US Steel – it now makes very little steel. What happened to all of these companies? Some have gone out of business but in many cases it was because they moved their manufacturing out of the country. This is particularly true of the garment industry, which used to have factories all over the South where cotton is produced.

Now, I don’t know if Trump will be able to make good completely on his promise to “make America great,” but there’s one thing for certain – he’s got a much better chance of following through than Hillary Clinton, who has yet to even mention any plans for government. All she does it talk about how she’s going to help special interests. She has no plan at all for the country – Donald Trump does.