Droppin’ Roosevelts

Thanks to a suit filed by the Washington Post, we found out that Michael Flynn was droppin’ Roosevelts like there was no tomorrow while cooperating with the Special Counsel’s office.  While thinking of this post, I had to check my mirror to see whether I was wearing a tinfoil hat because of the thoughts going through my head.  I’ll take you on a short trip to give you an idea of why I think the revelations on Flynn’s cooperation is damning.  Also, Flynn’s cooperation shows why Barr and others do not want the Special Counsel’s report to be read un-redacted and in full.

From the WaPo:

The newly unsealed portions of court records showed Flynn was a deep source of useful information to the special counsel’s team in 2017 and 2018, helping it probe the Trump campaign’s effort to gain stolen emails and the question of whether Trump sought to criminally interfere in the investigation bearing down on him.

The records confirm the questions that Flynn, a retired lieutenant general and former military intelligence officer, helped federal prosecutors answer after his guilty plea. Flynn admitted in 2017 that he tried to conceal the nature of his conversations with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and then began cooperating with Mueller’s team to try to reduce and possibly avoid a prison sentence.

Flynn also provided the special counsel with information about efforts by the Trump campaign and Trump allies to seek out stolen emails during the campaign after WikiLeaks began publishing internal Democratic correspondence in July 2016, the records show. He also provided evidence of “multiple efforts” by people connected to Trump that could have impacted his willingness to cooperate with the probe, useful information as Mueller explored whether the president obstructed justice.

At the same time, Flynn assisted federal prosecutors based in Alexandria, Va., who were preparing criminal charges against his former business partner, Bijan Kian, for working as an unregistered agent of Turkey. Kianhas pleaded not guilty to the charges. He is expected to face trial in July, and Flynn is expected to be a critical witness for the government.

Release of this information makes one wonder why Barr claimed there was no obstruction found by Muller or his team when there is clear obstruction all around the whole investigation.  Here’s where things go all tinfoily (if that’s a word).

First of all, Barr is not an idiot nor is he willing to fall on a sword for Trump.  We’ve seen this because Barr has repeatedly claimed the Mueller report did not exonerate Trump nor was he going to exonerate Trump.  This is true as standing DoJ policy is the sitting president cannot be indicted or charged.  Barr simply avoids that topic whenever he can because he is not going to hammer home the fact that Trump is not in the clear.   What Barr has not said or brought attention to is the 12 sealed indictments that were mentioned in Mueller’s report.  That information is redacted, and I’ll bet that Barr will do everything he can to keep it that way because of the fallout.

I’ll speculate those 12 sealed indictments, in part or whole, involve a truck load of obstruction and other charges for individuals that were pointed out by Flynn.  Those indictments were never unsealed because of the fact that the DoJ will not seek charges against Individual-1, which all those charges are centered around.  If those indictments were unsealed, then they would also violate DoJ policy on discussing unindicted people.  Remember, the sitting president cannot be indicted.

People originally speculated that Mueller wrote his report as a road map to impeachment.  If that holds true, those redacted sealed indictments are likely a major component to paving and striping Pennsylvania Avenue.  In order to avoid the impeachment trap, Barr and others are trying their best to divert attention to investigating the investigators.  As such, we now have three different investigations into how the whole Russia counterintelligence investigation began.

Flynn likely played a major role in the Mueller investigation as he was able to bring light to a lot of things the SC was unaware of.  Flynn even had recordings of administration officials reaching out to him in regards to his cooperation with Mueller.  Those tapes likely provide damning evidence of obstruction, witness tampering, suborning perjury, and a host of other charges for those involved.  Since Flynn was no longer an adviser to Trump, there is no Executive Privilege tied to those conversations either if memory serves me correct.  Flynn was involved with direct conversation with Russians involving sanctions relief too, so there’s no telling of how far and wide his total contacts with Russians went.

Notice that you have not seen many Republicans going on public record in seeking information into the counterintelligence aspect of the investigation.  We’ve recently been told that hackers infiltrated Florida election systems, but we’re not being told how far they got or what they did.  This is after former Sen. Ben Nelson claimed that Russians hacked Florida voter rolls and the FBI basically called him a liar.  Now, the very same FBI is briefing members of Congress on Russian hacking involving Florida.  I’m not going to say the FBI is playing any particular role in all of this, but there is something peculiar about their actions.

The DoJ has until May 31st to make the information public based on the judge’s ruling.  Something tells me the DoJ will do everything within their capacity to not release the information as ordered.  Kudos to the Washington Post for filing suit to get public access to this information.  As we’re seeing, the government is not very willing to share things with us.  I don’t know if it is to avoid chaos and/or riots, or if it is an effort to cover up major misdeeds by elected officials.

Michael Flynn apparently made it rain on Mueller with all the dimes he dropped.  This would explain why he received a slap on the hand considering the amount of charges that he potentially faced.  As such, I think America deserves to know the totality of what he said as well as who he implicated.  If we’re going to say “Case closed” then we really need to close the case.  We do that by releasing all information to prove there is no “there” there.  Otherwise, we’re left to crafting tinfoil conspiracy theories.

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Reframing the abortion debate in America

As of today May 10, 2019, I will no longer refer to the continuous debate on abortion using the terms pro-choice or pro-life.  I feel they do not accurately convey the context of the ongoing debate in America.  If we were truly honest with ourselves, the terms would be pro-choice and anti-choice.  The anti-choice group will never refer to themselves in a negative light, and that is why they refer to themselves as pro-life.  In reality, 100% of America is pro-choice.  The debate lies in who gets to make the choice, the woman or the government.  Therefore, I will reference the pro-lifers as pro-government mandate (pro-government for short) and the pro-choicers as pro-individual freedom (pro-freedom for short).

Recent anti-abortion laws passed by conservative governments in several states, Georgia included, made me step back and take a macro view of the entire debate.  From a macro level, the debate boils down to who will make medical decisions for pregnant women, the women themselves or the government.  Irrespective of whatever argument is put forth by either side, those are the two options.  Someone will have to make a choice.

As I’ve posted before, I am not a proponent of abortion.  I don’t think I could ask or force a woman to have one.  I come from a large family, and we are well equipped to raise children.  I also understand that there are people who have different views than I do.  That’s what makes me place my marker within the pro-individual freedom camp.  I know what my personal views are.  However, I recognize that I cannot impose my personal views on someone who doesn’t agree with me or involve myself in someone’s personal life choices where I have no nexus to get into their business.

I know the recent spate of abortion restriction laws are a concerted attempt to overturn Roe v Wade.  It’s not like folks are trying to hide their intent any longer.  If you don’t want to take my word for it, then ask Alabama State Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur) about this effort.  What I don’t understand is the means being employed to try to lower the number of abortions in America.  If you want to end abortions, wouldn’t it be more beneficial and cost effective to try to eliminate unwanted or unexpected conception?  As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

What amazes me about the whole argument is that you have one group who is adamant about using government edict to make abortions illegal.  As a good friend puts it, they want to force women to give birth at gunpoint.  Some folks are so hardcore that they refuse to consider allowing any exceptions for rape or incest.  Then, some laws make it a criminal act punishable with prison term for any actions that lead to the death of a fetus.

This same group who wants government to make the decision on pregnancies is the same group that has fought tooth and nail to limit access to healthcare insurance coverage and care itself.  They’ve sued to stop expansion of insurance programs that would offer people insurance coverage.  They’ve sabotaged laws to ensure that insurance coverage isn’t more affordable for people as well.  That’s why I refuse to call them pro-life.  Their actions are not consistent with the notion of being pro-life.  Their actions are nothing beyond pro-forced pregnancy.

I don’t want to get too deeply into a religious debate here as I know people have their own sincerely held beliefs.  I’ll just offer this gem for folks to consider.  Any reference to someone being brought to life in the Bible involves them being upright on their own and/or breathing on their own.  Adam was formed in Genesis, but he was not alive until he was given the breath of life.  When Jesus was reborn and ascended to Heaven, he was not alive again until he arose in the tomb and rolled the stone back from the opening.  Lazarus was not alive until he was brought back from the dead and breathing on his own.  In that train of thought, the stories from the Bible goes along with the concept of calculating our age from the time we’re born.  We spend months and months in our mother’s womb, but we are not actually alive until we leave our mother’s womb and take that first breath of life on our own.

I’ll leave with this.  If you want to limit or even end abortions, then give people the freedom to make their own choices.  Give people all the necessary tools and educations to make an informed choice.  That means that we need to have affordable healthcare whether a woman chooses to carry to term or abort.  We need effective family planning education to curtail unintended conception.  We also need to have faith that people will make the right decisions on their own when given the full freedom to make those decisions.  It’s not an anomaly that countries with better sex education and family planning also have lower abortion rates than America.  We need to quit acting exceptionally stupid and allow common sense to be our guides.

Sen. McConnell, why do you hate America and the Constitution?

Sen. McConnell on February 12, 1998:

Full 9:30 video can be found at C-SPANSenator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spoke on the chamber floor about the Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr and the investigation of President Clinton. He said the allegations of obstructing justice were serious and that the nation was at a critical point. Senator McConnell said Mr. Starr’s inquiry was being hampered by criticism of the independent counsel.

So, if a single count of obstructing justice was serious in 1998, what does 10 counts amount to in 2019?  I went back and researched things to ensure that your oath has not changed, and you’re still under the same oath to protect and defend the Constitution now as you were then.

When will you go to the floor as Senate Majority Leader and proselytize on the danger to the Constitution we face now?  I know you won’t make that speech, and I’ll tell you why I feel that way.  You will not make that speech because it is you, Sen. Mitch McConnell, who is the most direct threat to the US Constitution right now.  Your actions over the past decade is the definition of a domestic threat to the Constitution.  Let’s discuss why.

In 2008, you and others met in secret to conspire to totally obstruct then President-elect Obama and not allow him any achievement.  Nobody can lie and say it didn’t happen as it has been referenced numerous times in multiple publications such as here, here, here, and here.  Now, it’s one thing for the opposition party to stop the majority party from doing harm to the country.  It’s altogether different to block everything as a means of winning elections and returning to majority status.  That was the plan and agenda behind the opposition to Obama plain and simple, and you were one of the architects of that plan.

Your plan worked in part, but you didn’t deny Obama that second term as you wanted to do.  Since he won that second election, you did everything within your power as Minority Leader to stop the Senate from functioning to the point where Reid ended the filibuster on judicial nominees.  Looking back on that, I now see that was part of your shrewd plan as well.  Using Reid’s decision as cover, you have since gone on and eviscerated Senate norms as Majority leader in order to shore up your political power at the expense of the Constitution AND the American people.

When you became Majority Leader, you kicked your plan for power into high gear further eroding the Constitution as the Founders envisioned it to govern America.  Since you were unable to stop Obama from winning that second term, you used your perch in the Senate to deny him the Constitutionally granted powers of his office culminating in denying Merrick Garland a single hearing in regards to his nomination to the Supreme Court.  We know your intent because now you’re using your power grab as a joke on Obama and a means to raise funds for your re-election campaign.  Conservatives are gleeful with this display too as seen by these headlines.

When Russia tampered with our election in 2016, you threatened Obama to keep him from informing America about what was happening.  Based on your actions, I’m going to assume that you did this to ensure you got the president elected that you wanted to fulfill your agenda.  You even said that was your goal in denying Obama that second term.  You won.  You were able to deny Clinton that office and installed your puppet president with the assistance of Russia.  In return, we now see reports of a $200 million Russian investment into an aluminum plant being constructed in Kentucky.  It could all be coincidence, but your actions makes that seem quite implausible.

Now that Robert Mueller has laid out 10 cases of obstruction in which the sitting president has violated his powers under the Constitution, the proper course of action would be to begin a congressional investigation to see if impeachment is warranted.  As we’ve seen, no such investigation is likely to happen because of you and your total obstruction regarding upholding your oath of office as a sitting Senator.  Does your lust for power exceed your duty to office to defend the Constitution?

I will openly admit that I am relieved that Mueller’s investigation did not find any Russian assets or complicit agreement between Trump’s people and Russian intelligence.  I’ll also add that the report did confirm Russian interference as well as what appears to be somewhat coordinated efforts between Russia and Republicans to ensure Trump won the election.  What’s not said is that you were complicit in that effort to get Trump elected in regards to your actions towards the previous president.

America is sitting at a crossroad, and you are a major reason why.  You’ve distorted the Constitution and Senate norms for a decade, and the result is a president who was stopped from decimating his office only because of the people around him were decent enough to uphold their oaths to defend the Constitution.  Now, it’s time for members of Congress to do theirs.

Whether or not they decide to act upon this perceived domestic enemy of the Constitution will determine the future course for America.  If Congress sit silently and allow things to go unchecked, we’re setting a precedent for future actions to be much worse than what we’ve seen thus far.  I didn’t think Trump should be removed by impeachment before, and I still have that opinion now.  Trump needs to go by way of losing an election, not by being removed from office even in light of the multiple instances of obstruction.  McConnell on the other hand, needs to feel the full wrath of the Constitution on him to make him an example to others who will undoubtedly seek those same powers in the future.

Congress, do what you were elected to do, or we, the people, will work hard to get you removed from office at the next available election.

It’s Friday!!!

Here we are at the end of another week on this spinning rock that didn’t end in a cataclysmic disaster resulting in the death of the entire world.  It’s not like some folks are not trying to end things.

This week alone, we’ve witnessed reports that:

  • The president gave orders to Border Patrol Agents to openly break U.S. and international law…
  • The president allegedly told the head of CBP that he’d issue him a pardon if he broke the law as Trump wanted his officers to do.
  • The president openly lied about his love for and knowledge of WikiLeaks.

Since we’re still here and breathing, why not have a jam session and dance the night away.  I’ll lead things off with an old favorite among the long-term Bookman readers.   I don’t think this one needs an introduction either.

Destruction of personal liberty

Georgia has now officially joined in on the wholesale assault on personal liberty in the United States thanks to our GOP controlled legislature.  Today, an anti-abortion bill that would criminalize abortion after 6 weeks and installs the state government inside a woman’s cervix was sent to the governor’s desk for his signature.  If it’s not already obvious, I am not a fan of this kind of legislation at all.

I’ll qualify my personal views first and foremost so there is no misunderstandings at all on where I sit with this issue.  I am personally against abortion.  I would not seek an abortion nor would I ask anyone to get one on my behalf.  That is my choice to make, and I love that I can make that choice free of government intervention into my nutsack.  At the same time, I also believe that every single person in this country, man or woman, should have the freedom to make their own choice without government interference or intervention.  That is called freedom, and that is a pillar of our society here in America.  If we don’t exercise and protect our freedoms, we don’t have America to begin with.  That includes protecting rights and freedoms even when they contradict with our own personally held beliefs.

Now, Georgia Republicans are actively seeking to restrict a woman’s right and freedom to make her own medical choices for herself.  That is what this whole debate is about.  It is not about protecting life.  If you claim that you’re seeking to protect life in this instance and support the death penalty, then you’re lying to yourself.  If you claim that you’re trying to protect life yet you don’t contribute a single solitary penny to ensure that life you want to protect can actually live, then you’re lying to yourself.  If you claim that you’re trying to protect life and you were not one of the two people engaged in coitus that created that life, then it is not your decision to make.  Period.

Thanks to Georgia Republicans, my hard-earned tax dollars will be spent trying to defend an obviously unconstitutional bill.  Similar bills have already been ruled unconstitutional, and there’s nothing to believe the fate of this one will be different.

We know this is nothing more than a religious right assault on Roe v Wade and an attempt to legislate by judicial activism.  Here is a simple, one word solution for you pro-criminalization people to employ if you seek to get me to support your endeavors to stop abortions.  Education.

Instead of forcing government into a woman’s womb, why not educate people on how to not create life in the first place?  Abstinence only programs do not work 100% just as contraceptives.  In countries where sex education isn’t frowned upon, abortion rates are lower than the U.S.  In countries where people actually have freedoms to exercise their own personal medical decisions, abortion rates are lower.

Two quick points on Georgia’s actions today and then I’m done…

First, this law goes beyond simply criminalizing abortion.  This a back door attempt to pass one of those life begins at contraceptive laws as well.  From the AJC:

The bill would also allow parents, once a heartbeat is detected, to claim an embryo on their taxes as dependents and count a fetus toward the state’s population.

So, what happens when a woman gets pregnant, files taxes, gets a refund on that embryo, and then suffers a miscarriage after the tax filing is done?  Does that woman face a charge for murder?  Tax fraud?  That is dumb in and of itself, but I’m not surprised at the underhanded attempt being done.  Republicans have become obsessively stupid recently, and I believe it’s all due to the realization that they are a very small minority who share these beliefs that they’re trying to force upon the rest of America.

Second, a tip of the hat to State Reps. Deborah Silcox, Butch Parrish, Sharon Cooper, Chuck Martin, and Jay Powell of Camilla for crossing party lines and voting against this bill.  I don’t know of your reasons for voting against this, but I am glad that you didn’t simply march to party orders.

So, now we are left to await the actions of a governor who has openly supported this bill.  This is the same governor who used his daughter’s boyfriend in a campaign ad to tout his 2nd Amendment bona fides.  I guess the 2nd Amendment is the end of the Constitution for some conservatives.  The protection of the 4th Amendment to be secure against government search or seizure without warrant doesn’t exist for them.

Guess I need to get some sleep before work.  Someone’s gotta generate the tax dollars that our government will undoubtedly spend to defend this unconstitutional crap.  That money could be better spent providing expanded medical coverage to all the “new” residents they seek to create out of thin air, but there’s no provision in that bill to do this.