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The following is a partial transcript of President’s press rant (dtd: 9 April 2018) about the execution of a multiple location search warrant on Attorney Michael Cohen (Trump Organization attorney) in a start of the day “raid”.  You can find a full copy of the statement on multiple internet news sites.  The statements were made by the President at a special meeting of the President’s National Security Team where he was surrounded by the Joint Chiefs of the military and they were supposedly there to discuss the proper response to the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against their own people.  [All comments (which appear in italics) are my own.  —  KMAB]:
President Trump: So I just heard that they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys — a good man.  And it’s a disgraceful situation.  It’s a total witch hunt.  I’ve been saying it for a long time.  I’ve wanted to keep it down.  We’ve given, I believe, over a million pages’ worth of documents to the Special Counsel.
[The FBI did NOT “break” into the office / residence of the attorney.  They “executed” a legally authorized search warrant.  The situation does not appear to be either disgraceful or a witch hunt.  President Trump has indeed been stating both “for a long time”.  That doesn’t make the statement that “it’s” a witch hunt factually accurate / true.  The volume of documents given over to the Special Counsel is irrelevant and another attempt by President Trump to misdirect / mislead his supporters.  The vast majority of documents have been conveyed voluntarily, rather than under seizure.  This means, there “may” be some unknown volume of documents (it could be one or it could be ten million) which were not conveyed.  Without seizure, there is no way to verify the number which should have been conveyed.]
They continue to just go forward.  And here we are talking about Syria and we’re talking about a lot of serious things.  We’re the greatest fighting force ever.  [Wag the Dog“, Donald.  “Wag the Dog.]  And I have this witch hunt constantly going on for over 12 months now — and actually, much more than that.  You could say it was right after I won the nomination, it started.
[Actually, the FBI investigation may have begun before his announcement to run for the nomination and that as the investigation of George Papadopoulos certainly pre-dates Trump’s campaign.]
And it’s a disgrace.  It’s, frankly, a real disgrace.  It’s an attack on our country, in a true sense.  It’s an attack on what we all stand for.
[Like many of President Trump’s comments, this is completely incorrect.  The investigation is “exactly” what is supposed to be happening.  The lawful tools of government are being used to prosecute a response to the Russian interference in our democratic election process for the purpose of ensuring it does not happen again.]
So when I saw this and when I heard it — I heard it like you did — I said, that is really now on a whole new level of unfairness.
So this has been going on — I saw one of the reporters, who is not necessarily a fan of mine, not necessarily very good to me.  He said, in effect, that this is ridiculous; this is now getting ridiculous.  They found no collusion whatsoever with Russia.  The reason they found it is there was no collusion at all.  No collusion.  This is the most biased group of people.  These people have the biggest conflicts of interest I’ve ever seen.
[When you know you are guilty and before the evidence can become public knowledge, attack the potential accusers with a claim of bias.]
Democrats all — or just about all — either Democrats or a couple of Republicans that worked for President Obama, they’re not looking at the other side; they’re not looking at the Hillary Clinton — the horrible things that she did and all of the crimes that were committed.  They’re not looking at all of the things that happened that everybody is very angry about, I can tell you, from the Republican side, and I think even the independent side.  They only keep looking at us.
[There is no need to “look” at Hillary Clinton.  Clinton has been under a Republican microscope for almost a quarter century and they have not been able to offer proof of a single crime.  Questions of judgement, yes, but not evidence of criminality.  And Republicans have spent millions of dollars trying to find proof – and haven’t been able to.]
So they find no collusion, and then they go from there and they say, “Well, let’s keep going.” And they raid an office of a personal attorney early in the morning.  And I think it’s a disgrace.
So we’ll be talking about it more.  But this is the most conflicted group of people I’ve ever seen.  The Attorney General made a terrible mistake when he did this, and when he recused himself.  Or he should have certainly let us know if he was going to recuse himself, and we would have used a — put a different Attorney General in.  So he made what I consider to be a very terrible mistake for the country.  But you’ll figure that out.
All I can say is, after looking for a long period of time — and even before the Special Counsel — because it really started just about from the time I won the nomination.  And you look at what took place and what happened, and it’s a disgrace.  It’s a disgrace.
I’ve been President now for what seems like a lengthy period of time.  We’ve done a fantastic job.  We’ve beaten ISIS.  We have just about 100 percent of the caliphate or the land.  Our economy is incredible.  The stock market dropped a lot today as soon as they heard the noise of this nonsense that’s going on.  It dropped a lot.  It was up — way up, and then it dropped quite a bit at the end.  A lot.
[No.  Trump’s Administration has not done a “fantastic job” – except in his own mind.  They have not “beaten ISIS”.  ISIS – in Iraq – is being eliminated, but they (or whatever they evolve into) remain a worldwide threat.  The caliphate in Iraq has certainly been beaten down.  But, we should not imagine it has been defeated – once and forever.  Also, the American “economy” is not doing well.  The stock market is still doing well – a carry on from the Obama Administration – despite multiple days this year with massive losses, but main street and Joe Citizen (the “99%”) are both still doing poorly.]
But that we have to go through that — we’ve had that hanging over us now from the very, very beginning.  And yet the other side, they don’t even bother looking.  And the other side is where there are crimes, and those crimes are obvious.  Lies, under oath, all over the place.  Emails that are knocked out, that are acid-washed and deleted.  Nobody has ever seen — 33,000 emails are deleted after getting a subpoena for Congress, and nobody bothers looking at that.  And many, many other things.
[Again, #IncompetentDonald with the specious attacks on Clinton.  Hey, Donald.  News flash…  She lost the election in 2016 and you’ve been President for almost 15 months.  In another tiresome display of public relations / attempted manipulation we once again see President Trump acting as if he can “Wag the Dog” and at the same time drip, drip, drip his lies in a torturous attempt to discredit the rule of law and its enforcement via the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.]
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On This Day In:
2017 Bricolage Art
2016 Just A Shame
2015 Treasures Of The Mind
2014 Not Quite Exceeded Reach
2013 Who’s Side?
2012 Why I Joined The Army And Not The Navy…
2011 Is It Your Turn Yet?
Just Trippin’
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The effective use of violence implies a preponderance of destructive power at vital places through the entire operation.
   —  Harold Lasswell
[When I first wrote this in my journal I was in the military and “studying” leadership and the art and science of warfare.  Re-reading the quote in modern days, I recognize it applies equally well to President Trump’s attacks on the Department of Justice, the FBI and (repeatedly) on legitimate news organizations (cable / TV and print).  American political norms and our Constitutional form of government are under attack.  It remains to be seen how sturdy our government and the rule of law actually are and whether / if they can survive these attacks from the literal head of our government.   —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2017 Playing The Same Music
2016 Survival Instinct
2015 Tears
2014 Bourne Again (4)
2013 God’s Protection
2012 Happy Easter!!
Edge, Class, Clash, And Flight
The Value Of Bureaucracies
2011 Logic Cuts

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Andrew McCabe was the Deputy Director of the FBI under Director James Comey.  Director Comey was fired by President Trump, who then appointed McCabe to replace Comey as Director.  Comey refused to “pledge” his loyalty to Trump and when McCabe supported Comey’s statements in Congressional testimony, Trump subsequently forced McCabe from his position, too.  McCabe “fell on his sword” to protect the FBI after an Inspector General’s report of improper handling of the Hilary Clinton’s e-mail investigation during the 2016 Presidential campaign.  The result of the “improper handling” was to the benefit of Trump and hurt Clinton’s campaign.  I am not aware of any evidence this effect was intentional by Comey, McCabe or the FBI.
I have heard some Republican supporters / Conservative analysts offering up the suggestion Attorney General Jeff Session fired McCabe in order to maintain his own (Session’s) position and thereby “protect” Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller.  In essence, Session has fired a man with over 20 years of distinguished FBI service for personal and political reasons to punish McCabe and satisfy President Trump’s vindictive personality.  Session is himself a pitiable (if not tragic) figure in this drama because he has been subject to Trump’s “personality” and diminution, but that still (in my opinion) does not justify his actions in this matter.
My reaction to the Session’s firing of Andrew McCabe from the FBI at 10PM on a Friday night less than two days before his scheduled retirement can be summarized by a few quotes from the movie “Judgment At Nuremberg”  (1961)…  (in these quotes Janning represents Session and McCabe is the “one” man.)
Judge Dan Haywood:  Janning, to be sure, is a tragic figure.  We believe he loathed the evil he did.  But compassion for the present torture of his soul must not beget forgetfulness of the torture and death of millions by the government of which he was a part.  Janning’s record and his fate illuminate the most shattering truth that has emerged from this trial.  If he and the other defendants were all depraved perverts – if the leaders of the Third Reich were sadistic monsters and maniacs – these events would have no more moral significance than an earthquake or other natural catastrophes.  But this trial has shown that under the stress of a national crisis, men – even able and extraordinary men – can delude themselves into the commission of crimes and atrocities so vast and heinous as to stagger the imagination.  No one who has sat through this trial can ever forget.  The sterilization of men because of their political beliefs…  The murder of children…  How easily that can happen!  There are those in our country today, too, who speak of the “protection” of the country.  Of “survival”.  The answer to that is: survival as what?  A country isn’t a rock.  And it isn’t an extension of one’s self.  It’s what it stands for, when standing for something is the most difficult!  Before the people of the world – let it now be noted in our decision here that this is what we stand for: justice, truth… and the value of a single human being!
Later in the movie…
Ernst Janning: Judge Haywood…  the reason I asked you to come:  Those people, those millions of people…  I never knew it would come to that.  You must believe it, You must believe it!
Judge Dan Haywood: Herr Janning, it “came to that” the first time you sentenced a man to death you knew to be innocent.
Also:
The following is the reaction of the former head of the CIA to President Trump’s mocking Tweet about this firing:

Former CIA Director John O. Brennan’s reaction to Trump’s mocking of McCabe firing.

History will be a harsh judge of Trump and those in Congress who protect his Administration by trying to halt an unhindered and complete investigation of Russian interference in our last Presidential election and Trump and his campaign’s collusion with Russia in their efforts to get him elected and undermine our country.
America will triumph over Donald Trump and Vladimir Putkin.
Please do not take anything above as a defense of AG Session.  I did not like him as a Senator and did not support his nomination to Attorney General because I did not (and do not) believe Session is able to defend the laws of the United States independent of his own opinions – particularly laws supporting Civil Rights or Equal Justice under the law.  I also believe he knew early on that the Trump campaign was involved with Russia.  I am not (yet) convinced Session was personally involved in the collusion with Russia, but I feel it is highly probable based on his “selective memory” and failures to recall (29 times) during his testimony before Congress.
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On This Day In:
2017 Odds Are
2016 Prayer, Too
2015 History, n.
2014 See It Sometime
2013 Precious Friend
2012 It Couldn’t Be Done
Feeling Surrounded?
2011 Surprise!

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Trump Is Woody Allen Without the Humor

Half his tweets show utter weakness.  They are plaintive, shrill little cries, usually just after dawn.
By Peggy Noonan
(Former speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan)
July 27, 2017 6:06 p.m. ET
This opinion piece originally appeared in:  The Wall Street Journal
The president’s primary problem as a leader is not that he is impetuous, brash or naive.  It’s not that he is inexperienced, crude, an outsider.  It is that he is weak and sniveling.  It is that he undermines himself almost daily by ignoring traditional norms and forms of American masculinity.
He’s not strong and self-controlled, not cool and tough, not low-key and determined; he’s whiny, weepy and self-pitying.  He throws himself, sobbing, on the body politic.  He’s a drama queen.  It was once said, sarcastically, of George H.W. Bush that he reminded everyone of her first husband.  Trump must remind people of their first wife.  Actually his wife, Melania, is tougher than he is with her stoicism and grace, her self-discipline and desire to show the world respect by presenting herself with dignity.
Half the president’s tweets show utter weakness.  They are plaintive, shrill little cries, usually just after dawn.  “It’s very sad that Republicans, even some that were carried over the line on my back, do very little to protect their president.”  The brutes.  Actually they’ve been laboring to be loyal to him since Inauguration Day.  “The Republicans never discuss how good their health care bill is.” True, but neither does Mr. Trump, who seems unsure of its content.  In just the past two weeks, of the press, he complained: “Every story/opinion, even if should be positive, is bad!”  Journalists produce “highly slanted & even fraudulent reporting.”  They are “DISTORTING DEMOCRACY.”  They “fabricate the facts.”
It’s all whimpering accusation and finger-pointing: Nobody’s nice to me.  Why don’t they appreciate me?
His public brutalizing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions isn’t strong, cool and deadly; it’s limp, lame and blubbery.  “Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes,” he tweeted this week.  Talk about projection.
He told the Journal’s Michael C. Bender he is disappointed in Mr. Sessions and doesn’t feel any particular loyalty toward him.  “He was a senator, he looks at 40,000 people and he probably says, ‘What do I have to lose?’  And he endorsed me.  So it’s not like a great loyal thing about the endorsement.”  Actually, Mr. Sessions supported him early and put his personal credibility on the line.  In Politico, John J. Pitney Jr. of Claremont McKenna College writes: “Loyalty is about strength.  It is about sticking with a person, a cause, an idea or a country even when it is costly, difficult or unpopular.”  A strong man does that.  A weak one would unleash his resentments and derive sadistic pleasure from their unleashing.
The way American men used to like seeing themselves, the template they most admired, was the strong silent type celebrated in classic mid-20th century films — Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Henry Fonda.  In time the style shifted, and we wound up with the nervous and chattery.  More than a decade ago the producer and writer David Chase had his Tony Soprano mourn the disappearance of the old style: “What they didn’t know is once they got Gary Cooper in touch with his feelings they wouldn’t be able to shut him up!”  The new style was more like that of Woody Allen.  His characters couldn’t stop talking about their emotions, their resentments and needs.  They were self-justifying as they acted out their cowardice and anger.
But he was a comic.  It was funny.  He wasn’t putting it out as a new template for maleness.  Donald Trump now is like an unfunny Woody Allen.
Who needs a template for how to be a man?  A lot of boys and young men, who’ve grown up in a culture confused about what men are and do.  Who teaches them the real dignity and meaning of being a man?  Mostly good fathers and teachers.  Luckily Mr. Trump this week addressed the Boy Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, where he represented to them masculinity and the moral life.
“Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts, right?”  But he overcame his natural reticence.  We should change how we refer to Washington, he said: “We ought to change it from the word ‘swamp’ to perhaps ‘cesspool’ or perhaps to the word ‘sewer.’ ”  Washington is not nice to him and is full of bad people.  “As the Scout Law says, ‘A Scout is trustworthy, loyal — we could use some more loyalty, I will tell you that.”  He then told them the apparently tragic story of a man who was once successful.  “And in the end he failed, and he failed badly.”
Why should he inspire them, show personal height, weight and dignity, support our frail institutions?  He has needs and wants — he is angry! — which supersede pesky, long-term objectives.  Why put the amorphous hopes of the audience ahead of his own, more urgent needs?
His inability — not his refusal, but his inability — to embrace the public and rhetorical role of the presidency consistently and constructively is weak.
“It’s so easy to act presidential but that’s not gonna get it done,” Mr. Trump said the other night at a rally in Youngstown, Ohio.  That is the opposite of the truth.  The truth, six months in, is that he is not presidential and is not getting it done.  His mad, blubbery petulance isn’t working for him but against him.  If he were presidential he’d be getting it done — building momentum, gaining support.  He’d be over 50%, not under 40%.  He’d have health care, and more.
We close with the observation that it’s all nonstop drama and queen-for-a-day inside this hothouse of a White House.  Staffers speak in their common yet somehow colorful language of their wants, their complaints.  The new communications chief, Anthony Scaramucci, who in his debut came across as affable and in control of himself, went on CNN Thursday to show he’ll fit right in.  He’s surrounded by “nefarious, backstabbing” leakers.  “The fish stinks from the head down.  But I can tell you two fish that don’t stink, and that’s me and the president.”  He’s strong and well connected: “I’ve got buddies of mine in the FBI”; “Sean Hannity is one of my closest friends.”  He is constantly with the president, at dinner, on the phone, in the sauna snapping towels.  I made that up.  “The president and I would like to tell everybody we have a very, very good idea of who the leakers are.”  Chief of Staff Reince Priebus better watch it.  There are people in the White House who “think it is their job to save America from this president, okay?”  So they leak.  But we know who they are.
He seemed to think this diarrheic diatribe was professional, the kind of thing the big boys do with their media bros.  But he came across as just another drama queen for this warring, riven, incontinent White House.  As Scaramucci spoke, the historian Joshua Zeitz observed wonderingly, on Twitter: “It’s Team of Rivals but for morons.”
It is.  And it stinks from the top.
Meanwhile the whole world is watching, a world that contains predators.  How could they not be seeing this weakness, confusion and chaos and thinking it’s a good time to cause some trouble?
[I found this on her site at: http://www.peggynoonan.com/trump-is-woody-allen-without-the-humor/
I apologize to any who are offended by my posting this editorial without prior permission.  Hopefully my full attribution to both Ms. Noonan and the WSJ mollifies you somewhat…  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2016 Discontent
2015 Do You Know Me?
Appetite For Life Update
2014 Tough Journalism
2013 Things I’ve Learned
2012 Abstainer, n.
2011 Rain, Rain, Rain
Test Your Strength
2009 End the mistakes…

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It is significant that we take an oath to support and defend the Constitution and not an individual leader, ruler, office, or entity.  This is true for the simple reason that the Constitution is based on lasting principles of sound government that provide balance, stability, and consistency through time.  A government based on individuals — who are inconsistent, fallible, and often prone to error — too easily leads to tyranny on the one extreme or anarchy on the other.  The founding fathers sought to avoid these extremes and create a balanced government based on constitutional principles.
[This quote is taken from an FBI web page (https://www2.fbi.gov/publications/leb/2009/september2009/oath.htm) which explains the Oath taken by FBI Agents on their first day of work.   Actually the same oath is taken by all U.S. Federal employees (other than the President) when they start work.
The following is the “actual” Oath of Office:
I [name] do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.  So help me God.
And, yes, I too have taken this oath  —  on entering the military and later civilian service.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2016 Patronage
2015 For Blogs, Too!
2014 Righteous Anger
2013 An Irish Blessing
2012 But Is It Worth It?
2011 Let Us Start

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