Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky may be the only Republican who can beat Hillary Clinton for president in 2016.
(Clip from 2012, when Rand Paul was stopped by the TSA.)
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky may be the only Republican who can beat Hillary Clinton for president in 2016.
(Clip from 2012, when Rand Paul was stopped by the TSA.)
Short answer? Nobody knows at this stage. Not even former Governor Mike Huckabee. Well, maybe he knows at some unconscious level.
Yes, he is going through the motions. He is visiting with supporters in Iowa, where he leads the field in the latest poll. And he has made trips to South Carolina. He will be back to both places for events again this Spring. He has mended fences with Paul Pressler and the conservative crowd of leadership in the Southern Baptist Convention. Their support of Fred Tompson in South Carolina, arguably, cost Huckabee the GOP nomination in 2008. Yes, he has been connecting with evangelical leaders for the last six years, leaders he ignored last time around. But that is all work he has to do to keep the option open. It doesn’t mean he will run.
Republicans are famous for sending “the next man in,” that is, selecting the candidate who has earned his turn. Nixon,
Ford, Reagan, Bush, Dole, McCain all benefited from that imagination deprived process. And many would say that Huckabee is the next man on the list. But the world “it is a changin.” Not many see Hukabee beating Hillary Clinton and the national media in a 2016 fall election showdown.
In the race for the GOP nomination, Huckabee will have FOX NEWS as a friend. They may not fall all over him like they did Giuliani and Christie but at least they won’t actively try to destroy him. Some at FOX will probably now tilt to Paul Ryan but Huckabee will get his moments in the sun.
Huckabee’s problem has always been money. Organically, the former governor of Arkansas will be able to raise more money on the stump this time, because he is a television celebrity. He won’t need Chuck Norris to tag along. People will pluck down $1,000 for a picture with just him alone, the FOX NEWS star.
But there will still be a gap. Evangelicals give to World Vision, Convoy of Hope, their local church and not much is left over for political candidates. Specifically he needs a big donor, someone who will chuck in a few million to a Huckabee super pak. Without it he is dead in the water. Rand Paul will have it. So will Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan. To look at it another way, Governor Huckabee is only ONE person away from making a strong run at the GOP nomination. He just needs one. But that one must be a multi-millionaire.
It may be a temptation for someone to take. History is full of things that turned out differently. Hillary Clinton is not guaranteed the White House. Just ask President Dewey, or President Muskie, or President Hart. Anything can happen. And Huckabee would be there to pick up the pieces and his billionaire would be at the pinnacle with him, like Raymond Tusk.
He needs for Sarah Palin to stay out of the race. She might get to thinking that a run would be a good career move. Like Rick Perry, she may want to get into the debates to win back some intellectual respect. Her involvement would suck a lot of air out of a Huckabee presidential campaign.
Then there is Karl Rove. He and his powerful pak will be watching. Ready to take out Huckabee if he gets too close.
Perhaps the best evidence of Huckabee’s chances are two numbers. The presidential preference polls, which have him as the GOP leader. And the bathroom scales.
If the numbers continue to climb in the GOP polls he will have to run. It is a case of “good stewardship.” A Southerner, raised with the Protestant work ethic cannot let such a moment pass without taking action.
But if the numbers continue to climb on the bathroom scale his subconscious may be saying, “Don’t do this to me Mike. You are rich and famous already and you won’t win.”
This latter process can be easy for all of us to track. Just keep Googling for the latest pictures. If the Governor starts getting trim in spite of all that good food and the difficulty in exercising when you are living on the road, well, his subconscious might be saying, “Get with it Mike. We’re going to do this things with or without you.”
Mike Huckabee can run but he can’t hide.
In 1990, only days after his release from a South African prison, Nelson Mandela was a hero to blacks worldwide but a question mark for many statesmen and world leaders. Would he use his newfound popularity to take power and revenge?
One American president broke the ice and made his opinion clear. In 1990, Mandela was invited to the White House where the president of the United States stood by Mandela’s side on a stage on the South Lawn. Who was that president?
George H. W. Bush.
Only Bush, a Republican could give such a meaningful endorsement and so quickly. He had served as the vice president to Ronald Reagan who had visited the apartheid nation of South Africa as a private citizen and had many friends there. Indeed, Bush spent his life championing Black causes from the Civil Rights Act of 1968 to major contributions to the Negro College Fund.
“We don’t do it for political reasons,” Barbara Bush once told me, we were sitting next to each other at a charity event, “the media will never give us credit. We do it because it’s the right thing to do.”
Likewise, George H. W. Bush was the first president to invite in openly gay activists to White House events. The national news narrative would have us all believe that these things happened on Bill Clinton’s watch. But hey, let’s not let the facts get in the way of a good narrative. Such is the state of journalism these days.
One would get the impression from watching the news coverage of the past week, including the funeral and memorial services for Nelson Mandela, that the American president who first championed the South African leader was Bill Clinton.
All networks were alive with interviews with Clinton. They were good friends, Clinton and Mandela. Or so we were told. Clinton warmly revealed that Mandela had told him that he had forgiven his accusers and that, he, Bill Clinton had to do the same. Of course, the implication could not be missed. The accusers were equally evil and Mandela and Clinton were equally victims.
This narrative was so strong and so deliberately force fed to the American public that one of the major news networks virtually copied the interview with Clinton that their rival network had shown the previous night. It must have gagged veteran journalists to see their national news show reduced to copying a story but most of us have long ago resigned ourselves to the fact that television news has become the personal plaything of TV executives and it is increasingly obvious that they have decided Hillary Clinton should be the next president.
Of course, there are differences between Mandela’s accusers and Clinton’s. Mandela had to forgive racists who were wrong about him and who told lies. Bill Clinton had to forgive young ladies who were victims of his misogynist advances, who were right about him, and who told the truth.
It was one thing for Clinton, a Democrat who courted and depended on Black votes, to reach out to Nelson Mandela in 1994, when the controversy had passed and Mandela was the president of South Africa. And at a time when Clinton needed the association. It was something else for a Republican, who knew he would never get credit for it or even be remembered for it, to do it because it was right to do.
As a newborn follower of the Liberty Movement I have become a fierce critic of our monetary system and its exploitation of the masses, especially the poor. All, it seems, for the sake of an oligarchy who needs to see its net worth – Wall Street portfolio rise with inflation. It remains to be seen when and how the Bush administration had a role to play in all of that. And yet, I can’t help but feel that in time, when the full story of George H. W. Bush and his record will be known, he will be seen as the leader I knew and for whom I worked.
George H. W. Bush ended the Cold War, brought China into the world marketplace and briefly united the world for a single cause, a feat that Metternich would envy. And so too, his improbable record on Civil Rights will be seen accurately for what it is without the bias lens of myopic journalists who cannot be bothered by facts. And when it is seen, Bush Senior will emerge from the fog of history as a leader who acted with courage and with wisdom when it was risky to do so.
Probably not. But we will have to wait another generation to know for certain because political forces even to this day prevent any objective discussion.
As we approach the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, controversy still surrounds the work of the Warren Commission, the official government investigation into the tragedy. I have interviewed some of the members of the Commission, including former President Gerald Ford, whom my wife and I have hosted in our own home on two occasions.
While there is still debate about whether or not there was a conspiracy behind the assassination, there can now be little doubt that there was indeed a “conspiracy” behind the Warren Commission’s inadequate report. Upon his assassination, Kennedy, as in the case of Abraham Lincoln before him, was instantly declared a saint and no politician, investigator, judge or media mogul would risk revealing anything that might appear otherwise.
The result was that any loose ends that brought out into the open the Kennedy family’s ties to the Mafia or the President’s dalliances with other women or the government’s repeated attempts to assassinate Cuban Premier, Fidel Castro, could not be pursued. It may be that Kennedy was indeed killed by an emotionally disturbed, lone gunman, with a “lucky” shot but unfortunately, thanks to an impotent media and compromised investigators, we may never know.
In the next few columns I will offer my best arguments for the most popular theories about this tragic event, including the lone gunman theory. I start with the so called Mafia Conspiracy.
During the presidential primary season, JFK’s father, Joe Kennedy, had called on old Mafia connections that had helped him in earlier, nefarious business dealings. He asked for their influence in the West Virginia presidential primary. Mafia violence, through the Miner’s unions, helped his son beat Minnesota Senator, Hubert Humphrey, and go on to win the Democratic nomination.
During the general election of 1960 the Mafia went to work again, this time in Illinois where ballot boxes from Republican precincts were “lost” and ballot boxes from Democratic precincts were stuffed. It helped Kennedy narrowly beat Nixon in this key state and thus win the White House by a razor margin.
When the President’s brother and newly appointed Attorney General, Robert Kennedy, began to aggressively prosecute those same Mafia leaders there was outrage and feelings of betrayal. Led by Chicago boss Sam Giancana, leaders of the underworld began discussing how to kill the president and his brother.
At the time of the assassination the public was not told of the ties between the Kennedy family and leaders of the American mafia. Nor were they shown FBI transcripts of top mafia leaders threatening to kill the president and his brother. Today, all of this is accepted history and the narrative appears in Pulitzer Prize winning books. The FBI transcripts are public.
According to CBS News, “The House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in 1979 that it was likely Kennedy was killed by a conspiracy.”
The gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, who had lived in Russia and had a Russian wife, also had an uncle with ties to the Mafia. Oswald stayed with him in New Orleans shortly before the assassination.
Finally, there is much support for the once dismissed story of Judith Campbell Exner who claimed to have had an affair with the president, even as she was the girlfriend to Chicago mobster Sam Giancana. Ms. Exner claimed that she relayed messages and even money from the government to the Mafia for purposes of funding an assassination attempt of communist, Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro.
Her story, at first dismissed by critics has been buttressed by extensive corroborating evidence, including FBI wiretap transcripts, diaries, travel logs, and released government documents showing her regular visits to the White House.
Finally, only days after the Kennedy assassination, Lee Harvey Oswald was gunned down on live television by nightclub owner, Jack Ruby. Taking out the hit man before he can talk is a classic Mafia tactic.
David Belin, counsel to the Warren Commission, scoffed at this notion. ”Of course, common sense would dictate otherwise; as a practical matter, so-called Mafia ‘hit men’ do not chose an area where they are surrounded by the police and immediately apprehended.”
Actually, the most famous Mafia hits do indeed happen in public. Ask Carmine Galante, Albert Anastasia, Crazy Joe Gallo, “Big Paul” Castelllano, John Gotti and many others. They were all killed in restaurants, barbershops or on the streets of Manhattan.
In 1971, Joe Colombo was shot at the podium of an Italian Unity Day rally. He survived. His assailant was wrestled to the ground whereupon another man stepped forward and shot him dead. Police were all over the event but could not stop it.
Contrary to the “common sense” of the Warren Commission, the purpose of a Mafia public hit is to scare everyone else into silence.
Start reading about Joe Kennedy and his president son and the Mafia in The Raising of a President on Kindle now.
“The president does not have the authority, under the Constitution, to unilaterally authorize a military attack, unless there is a direct threat against this nation.”
- Senator Barack Obama, 2007
The word is that the regime of Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons against its own people. Reportedly 1,500 have died, including 400 children. It is a heinous crime. Some are calling for America to invade Syria and put down this regime. So I pose this question. What would Ronald Reagan do?
Absolutely nothing. At least for now. For eight years Ronald Reagan tolerated a tyrant far more malevolent than Bashar al-Assad of Syria.
If we prove that Assad did indeed use chemical weapons then the whole world should condemn this act and such condemnation will likely, eventually, lead to action. Syria’s wealthy Arab neighbors, such as Saudi Arabia, who arm themselves with our latest jets and weapons may have a moral obligation to respond. But don’t hold your breath. Americans like to do these things. And the rest of the world is smart enough to let us shed our blood to keep things in order.
The fact is that the atrocities of the Assad regime cannot compare to the reign of Cambodian leader, Pol Pot, who may have killed as many as 3 million of his own people during the Carter-Reagan years and he was never brought to justice, nor was it seen as America’s responsibility to do so.
The Pol Pot regime practiced true genocide against helpless civilians. Marked for execution were Cambodian doctors, nurses, teachers, journalists, college graduates and people who could read, including children. Even people who wore eye glasses were marked for execution. It was rationalized that if they wore eye glasses they could probably read. Pol Pot wanted his regime to start over again without any taint of the past.
I personally appealed to both presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan for help. Carter, who had made human rights a major part of his foreign policy agenda, told me that Pol Pot had driven all of the fork lifts into the sea. There was no means of unloading aid at the ports. Hundreds of thousands of Cambodians were starving to death. At a dinner with the Reagan’s in their home in Pacific Palisades I described images from a recent trip I had taken to the Cambodia border and Ronald Reagan appeared heart broken. Meanwhile, in Cambodia, the bleached bones of the dead piled up. It was called “the killing fields.”
Pol Pot led the Kymer Rouge from 1963 to 1998. They took over in Cambodia in 1979. I met some of the survivors who fled the country and entertained the Cambodian Prince, son of Norodom Sihanouk, in my home during this ongoing massacre. Pol Pot was eventually placed under house arrest by his own people. He died in 1998. At no time throughout the Carter-Reagan years was there any substantial political movement calling for military action against Pol Pot nor were any public figures calling for the capture and trial of the worse tyrant since Hitler.
Because our founding fathers never envisioned that we would rule the world. Nor does the U.S. Constitution make provision for that futile and arrogant exercise.
Because there were and still are many evil regimes doing evil things to its people and America could not rid itself of evil within its own borders, let alone throughout the whole world. What kind of justice would now take out Syria but leave North Korea standing?
Because the U.S. president did not have the authority to go to war without the nation’s duly elected representatives debating and then making such a declaration. Even Franklin D. Roosevelt, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, needed the U. S. Congress to make a declaration of war.
Because corporations did not yet have the powerful lobbies in place to make sure their companies got the contracts and profited from such wars and in return gave part of the money back to the politicians who supported it.
Because the corporations who owned the national media were not yet subsidiaries of other corporations who profited from such wars and were financed by banks that gave them preferential interest rates on loans, nor were they yet fully compromised by corporate advertisers who were beneficiaries of the same system. In other words, some measure of journalism, real journalism, still existed in the Carter-Reagan years.
So why is it likely that America will now take action against Syria? Cruise missile attack perhaps? Drones? What has changed? Why should America be installing governments all over the Middle East with unintended blowback such as governments that kill their own Christian citizens?
Since 9-11 some parts of the American form of constitutional government have been weakened or abandoned altogether. This in the name of security. Some departments and agencies of the Federal Government operate without laws, with only a self imposed sense of ethics limited by their interpretation of popular will which is in turn influenced by a compliant, uncritical media.
The presidency is now a virtual dictatorship limited only by fifty unelected men and women who run the television industry. This is not the creation of Barack Obama, the process has been ongoing for years and took a great leap forward with George W. Bush and 9-11. It is the price we paid for security. It is a process dictated by events as well as the unquenchable thirst for power.
The president’s personal reputation is on the line since he warned Syria not to use chemical weapons. He said that this represented a line they could not cross. Now, given his personality, and the need to uphold his personal honor, he will likely use the newly won dictatorial powers of the American presidency to take action.
We have come a long way from the ideal of Thomas Jefferson who dealt with the Barbary Pirates, the Islamic terrorists of his day. Thomas Jefferson once said, “The more you use your power, the less you have.” American may wake up soon to find itself very weak indeed. Strong with weaponry but abandoned by a world who has grown tired of our arrogant rule.
Barbara Bush, not the former First Lady, but the daughter of former president, George W. Bush, has said that Hillary Clinton is “unbelievably accomplished” and hopes she will run for president in 2016. It’s about as close to an endorsement as a Bush could give a Clinton and surely qualifies as news. Former First Lady and former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is a member of the Democrat Party. Barbara’s father and grandfather were former presidents and both are Republican. Her uncle, former Florida governor, Jeb Bush, is also a Republican and a possible candidate for president in 2016.
If Ms. Bush eventually endorses Secretary Clinton, it would not be the first time that a son or daughter of a president supported a candidate of the opposing political party. Ron Reagan, Jr. and his sister Patti Davis, both offspring of Republican president Ronald Reagan, are openly Democrats. Mr. Reagan addressed the Democrat National Convention in 2004
Democrat president, Franklin Roosevelt, had sons, who supported candidates and causes other than his own. John Aspinwall Roosevelt, the youngest in the family, complained openly about the New Deal and became a high profile Republican. He endorsed Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan for president. In 1954, when FDR, Jr. ran for governor of New York, his brother, John endorsed his Republican opponent. Meanwhile, Jimmy Roosevelt, the eldest of FDR’s sons, led “Democrats for Nixon in 1972.” FDR’s son, Elliott, worked for FDR’s lifelong enemy, William Randolph Hearst. When his father announced he would run for an unprecedented third term as president, Elliott told friends it should be unconstitutional.
Political and cultural differences between the generations is nothing new in political dynasties nor should it be surprising to the rest of us. Each member of a family seeks a separate identity and that is often found in differing political views. Helen Taft Manning, daughter of conservative, Republican president, William Howard Taft, was one of the most effective leaders of the Women’s Suffrage Movement and openly Democrat on many issues. Barbara Bush is an advocate of Marriage Equality and other gay issues and has “partnered” with the Clinton Health Access Initiative and Michelle Obama’s “let’s Move” campaign.
Children of presidents have often played a role in helping a candidate get elected and govern. Robert Tyler, son of the tenth president, John Tyler, helped promote the career of Pennsylvania congressman, James Buchanan, who became the fifteenth president. James Garfield, son and namesake of the twentieth president helped Theodore Roosevelt win the presidency. His younger brother, Harry Garfield, helped elect Woodrow Wilson. Both of the Garfield sons became cabinet officers with distinguished careers. In all three cases the Presidents’ children not only offered a powerful endorsement, they had inside knowledge and experience that was crucial to the success of the candidates.
Help from a presidents’ son or daughter is not always rewarded. After he won the White House, James Buchanan shunted aside Robert Tyler whose presence was a reminder of his early political struggles in Pennsylvania. Tyler moved to Alabama, became a newspaper publisher and passed from the public eye with dignity never complaining about the thankless role he had played and the president’s shabby treatment.
Caroline Kennedy nearly suffered the same fate. Her endorsement of Illinois Senator Barack Obama came at a crucial time in his race with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. Kennedy, a political and social icon, gave Obama cache when he needed it most. But the Obama White House staff chaffed at the idea they owed their election to Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the slain president, and derailed attempts to reward her. If Barack Obama had not been re-elected in 2012, the Kennedy endorsement would have gone down in history as one of the greatest unpaid political debts in modern campaign history. But Obama won re-election, some measure of sanity returned to the Obama White House and Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the 35th president was nominated Ambassador to Japan.
It remains to be seen if Barbara Bush will formally endorse Hillary Clinton for president. Most Bush watchers doubt it will happen until her uncle Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, officially declares his non candidacy. If not, this statement is probably even better for Clinton, at least from a political standpoint. It adds to the idea of Clinton’s broadening support without tying her to a president who is unpopular with her base. It is the ultimate irony. Having been sunk by one presidential daughter, a Kennedy, she now finds herself buoyed by another, a Bush.
The Top Ten Most Dramatic July 4ths in American History.
There are many dramatic days in the history of our Fourth of July. Two American presidents were born on that day, Ulysses S. Grant and Calvin Coolidge. George Steinbrenner, Geraldo Rivera and Malia Obama are just a few of the many public figures who celebrate their birthdays on July 4th. It was on this day in 1939 that Lou Gerhig appeared at Yankee Stadium and gave his retirement speech, calling himself “the luckiest man on earth.” And on this day in 2004, the cornerstone was laid for the Freedom Tower in New York City, a building that would rise from the ashes of the World Trade Center.
Here, in chronological order, are ten of the most dramatic July 4ths in American history.
1.) 1776: The Second Continental Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence.
2.) 1802: U.S. Military Academy opens at West Point.
3.) 1826: Thomas Jefferson, the third American president, and John Adams, the second president, both die. American songwriter Stephen Foster is born.
4.) 1831: President James Monroe dies. Samuel Francis Smith writes “My Country Tis of Thee” for July 4th festivities.
5.) 1863: The Union armies win the battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania and the Battle of Vicksburg in Mississippi. Both victories are crucial. It is the turning point of the Civil War.
6.) 1876: News of the Battle of the Little Big Horn reaches New York City. It is learned that George Armstrong Custer and the 7th Cavalry were massacred by Sitting Bull and the Sioux Indians on June 25. The nation goes into shock as the news from the remote battlefield finally reaches civilization. It is the 9-11 of its generation.
7.) 1881: President James Garfield hovers between life and death after being shot twice on July 2. He would die in September. His vice president Chester Arthur would become president.
8.) 1886: The Statue of Liberty is given to the United States by the nation of France.
9.) 1946: The U.S. grants independence to the Philippines. America reaffirms to the world that it is not an empire but respects the independence of nations.
10.) 1997: US Pathfinder space probe lands on the planet Mars.
Which three presidents died on the Fourth of July?
John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. Adams, the second president, and Jefferson, the third president, both died on the same day in 1826, Monroe died in 1831. (Thanks to David Gurowsky for catching a typo on the dates.)
What other presidents died close to the 4th of July?
On July 4, 1850, President Zachary Taylor attended ceremonies for the Washington Memorial and returned to the White House for a bowl of cherries and milk. He became sick to his stomach that night and died five days later. On July 2, 1881, President James Garfield was shot. He died several months later.
How many people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th?
When was the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence?
It was July 8, 1776. The Liberty Bell rang out from Independence Hall to summon the crowd.
On what date did most of the signers actually sign the doc?
August 2, 1776.
Who was the oldest signatory?
Benjamin Franklin. He was 70.
Who was the youngest?
Edward Rutledge. He was 26 years old. Rutledge owned 50 slaves. He later became governor of South Carolina.
Name the State that had the most delegates sign?
Pennsylvania. There were nine.
Who was the last signatory of the Declaration of Independence?
Thomas McKean, January, 1777. He was at one time the president of the continental congress, later became a governor of Pa.
When did Abraham Lincoln give his 1863, July fourth address?
On July 7, 1863. On July 4, citizens in Washington were celebrating what appeared to be a victory at Gettysburg and wanted Lincoln to give a speech but he would only issue a short proclamation. He was waiting to get a complete report and for further news out west, where General Grant was laying siege to Vicksburg. He later found out that Vicksburg had fallen on July 4th. Lincoln gave his speech three days late.
What other countries celebrate the 4th of July?
Denmark, Norway, Sweden and England.
In what year did July 4 become a paid legal federal holiday?
It became an unpaid federal holiday in 1870. And a lot of trivia sites say that it became a paid holiday in 1941 but it was actually passed by congress in 1938.
How did Nathan’s, Fourth of July, Hot Dog contest begin?
It started out as a dispute among four immigrants over who was the most patriotic. And so, that explains why this country is overweight. We are patriotic?
What American President was famous for playing golf every Fourth of July?
Dwight D. Eisenhower.
What modern First Lady wore a bejeweled American Flag in her lapel on every Fourth of July? Pat Nixon, Jackie Kennedy, Hillary Clinton or Betty Ford?
Jackie Kennedy. And the jewelry actually sells on e-bay.
So what are we to make of the NSA data gathering? Is it okay for the government to snoop on us? Does it keep us safer? And what juicy secrets have they now found from a previous White House administration?
The government says, “Yes, the program is a necessary evil. It will help us catch terrorists.”
But then, this is the same government who denied they were snooping on us in the first place.
Senator Wyden, ” Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”
CIA Director Clapper answered, “No, sir.”
If they lied about what they were doing, at the risk of perjury, why should we believe them now? When any answer could be very subjective?
And if spying on more than a hundred million phone calls and emails couldn’t help the NSA detect that one of its own employees was about to leak its secret snooping operation, how can we expect then to efficiently find terrorists?
As Ronald Reagan often said, “Remember, these are the same people who run the post office?”
What about the competence of a government that employs 4.2 million persons with security clearances while 43% of the American people believe we should be cutting back on programs that threaten privacy and only 20% think we should be doing more to fight terrorism, even at the expense of privacy? Isn’t that a disaster waiting to happen? If the leaker wasn’t Edward Snowden wouldn’t it have been someone else?
In an exchange between CNN’s Erin Burnett and former FBI counter-terrorism agent Tim Clemente, we are told that the content of all our phone calls is being recorded and stored, even if it is not audited.
Now we learn that “the National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls.”
Then there is this from the chief technology officer at the CIA. “We fundamentally try to collect everything and hang onto it forever.”
Only days after the NSA story broke we learned that there is tracking of emails in real time.
The terrorists are not idiots. If they hide behind civilians from drone attacks, why wouldn’t they hide behind civilians in the cyber war? Implicating innocent others by false flag emails and phone calls?
Then there is the question, what will the government do with all of this information? And what should it do? Hunt for terrorists? Find Edward Snowden? Purge its own “top secret clearance” list?
What about solving murders? Locating abducted teenagers caught up in the sex slave traffic?
Most agree that it shouldn’t be used to go after “Joe the plumber?” Remember him? The average citizen from the 2008 election? Surely not. We shouldn’t go after the parish priest for sex abuse without first clearing the Bishops and the Cardinals. What hypocrisy to prosecute or punish the little guy and ignore the sins of the powerful?
So let’s start at the top. Think of all the problems we can solve? We now have phone calls, letters and emails to show any link between the IRS offices in Cincinnati to the White House. Why not reconstruct what happened? We could exonerate or implicate the president and others?
First order of business? Have transcribers compose the massive conversations of the rulers of our country. The Supreme Court, the Senate, the Justice Department, starting with the Attorney General, the Cabinet and the President. Even past presidents. No one should be in a position to pass judgment if they, themselves, are guilty of crimes.
There is the new scandal in the State Department, where their own whistleblower, Aurelia Fedenisn. is being intimidated for reporting sex crimes with minors, even an Ambassador involved.
Are there big shots accessing child pornography sites? Why leave that task to Chris Hansen of NBC’s Dateline? First let’s clear the people at the top.
Let us suppose that a presidential aide calls a friend of the president about a donor who wants to give a million dollars in soft money to a campaign? And the aide tells him that the presidential candidate wants that million dollars in soft money to go to the NRA or some Catholic voter registration program. And let’s suppose that the presidential aide is getting indirect kickbacks from the Catholic voter registration program? And let’s suppose that the presidential candidate affirms his desire in later conversations. It’s illegal right?
And let us suppose that the presidential candidate, worried about his crime, makes calls to destroy the career of the witness, let’s say he talks to a major network president and gets him banned from TV appearances which dramatically impacts his income. Shouldn’t we know those kind of things first, before we go after Joe the plumber?
And after clearing the top government officials, shouldn’t we clear the media too? How hypocritical for them to hold the subjects of their reports to a higher standard. Let’s know their own habits and words and crimes and biases? We hear what they say in public, influencing millions, what do they say behind close doors?
How many stories are out there? Waiting to be told? And now we have the evidence to find them all. Now we can apply equal justice. If we persecuted Bill Clinton for his infidelity, now we can learn about the marital affairs of other more beloved presidents who weren’t so unlucky. They had no Linda Tripp recordings but perhaps the NSA can fill the gap.
Shouldn’t someone know what the NSA knows? Couldn’t the agency use its information to blackmail its superiors? What about the Freedom of Information Act? Doesn’t a US Senator, a Federal Judge, a President, have the right to know what conversations the NSA has and what is in them? Things taken out of context can be dangerous.
If the existence of this program can be leaked to the public by a concerned citizen, when can the demographics of the program be leaked to a political campaign? Has it already happened? When can the details or content be leaked to companies or employers? Wouldn’t you want to run a check before hiring? Would you want to hire a baby sitter who talks dirty on the phone? Or an accountant who does a Google search on how to embezzle money without being caught? Or a chauffeur who is an alcoholic?
Cardinal Richelieu supposedly once wrote, “Give me six lines written by any man and I can have hung as a criminal” Imagine what he could have done with the NSA? He could have killed France.
Can you see the nightmare? The injustice? The conflict? Can you see why the Founding Fathers wrote the Fourth Amendment?
Welcome to America, in its post constitutional drift. When you start to violate your own Constitution, step by step, you become a nation without laws, where the ends justify the means. It is survival of the fittest. The powerful rule and will take from you what they want.
You can be sure of one thing. The massive information collected by the NSA will not be used to hurt the rich or powerful. Don’t hold your breath to learn what really happens in the lives of the people at the top. They will continue their crimes and the flow of riches from the weak to the powerful will continue uninterrupted.
But Joe the plumber? You, my friend, are in big trouble.
(If you want to learn more about Rand Paul’s Fourth Amendment Restoration Act S.1121 click here.)
What did the President know and when did he know it?
During Watergate, Senator Howard Baker made that question famous. It was a different time, a different president and a different second term scandal. But now, once again, the question is raised and it goes to the heart of the issue. Was Obama behind the IRS attacks on his political enemies? Or was it happening on its own, a bureaucratic “planchette,” moving across the political Ouija board with many biased hands guiding it? And if it was the latter, when did the president finally know about it?
According to the Inspector General, the IRS asked illegal questions of politically targeted groups and organizations. This included “requests for donor information, positions on issues, and whether officers have run for public office.” One disgusting national news story revealed that IRS agents had asked an organization to report the content of their prayers.
Now comes the shocking news. The former IRS commissioner, Douglas Shulman, visited the White House 157 times since 2009. Sarah Hall Ingram, the woman responsible for the IRS division that targeted conservative and constitutional groups, made 165 visits to the White House since 2011. Incredibly, according to the official White House visitors’ records, none of the visits of the two IRS officials overlapped.
During those 322 visits to the White House, which represents almost every other working day, did they ever encounter the president? And if so, what did they talk about? Baseball? Did they ever talk about work?
Did they feel comfortable about quizzing nonprofit applicants about their prayer language because they knew the president wouldn’t mind? How could Barack Obama possibly not know what was going on? When they met with him, did they lie to him?
Ken Walsh – arguably America’s preeminent authority on modern presidents – makes the point in a recent book that President Obama, as other presidents before him, may be isolated from what is happening in his own administration. (Prisoners of the White House: The Isolation of America’s Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership. Paradigm Publishers, Boulder – London. )
As Walsh points out, presidents’ aides often give their boss some distance so he has deniability when a scandal erupts. There is nothing new about this. History has showed how sovereigns and mafia dons get things done without giving a literal command. Frustrated over Thomas Becket, King Henry II supposedly bellowed, “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” Aides figured out what Henry wanted and butchered Becket.
Having worked in a White House I personally experienced this first hand. A good staffer knows when the president should not be bothered by something, when his fingerprints should not be on the paper. But can one meet with the president hundreds of times and not talk about ones work? Isn’t the president too busy to talk about life? Or to quiz an IRS official about personal gossip at the agency? Wouldn’t a chief executive want to know what she is doing and how she is doing it? And would she really make hundreds of visits without the details of her work ever coming up? What would be the purpose of the visits?
As Kenneth T. Walsh shows in Prisoners of the White House and I was to experience firsthand, isolation happens to all presidents. But then so does hubris.
Even if one accepts the most generous account of President Obama’s innocence it does not explain how he continues to relentlessly reward and punish his enemies after the fact.
Sarah Hall Ingram, the administrator of the IRS division that targeted conservative groups, the one who made 165 visits to the White House and supposedly never uttered a word about what she was doing, was given a $100,000 bonus and promoted to run the enforcement of ObamaCare.
What is that? Coincidence? A payoff?
The president can claim he didn’t know when it happened, which seems far fetched, but he surely knows now. And like Richard Nixon before him, he is paying off the Watergate Burglars.