Sometimes Reality Is Tough To Admit

September 7, 2016

As a child I believed in various things that I later learned weren’t true – Santa Claus, for example – and was very disappointed when I found out the truth. As an adult I’ve seen lots of false promises and scams, many of them perpetrated by people or organizations I thought I could trust. But through it all there was one government agency that never let me down: the FBI. Their job was to protect the citizens from the criminal element and more recently, terrorists. I believed they were dedicated men and women who operated above politics and followed leads wherever they led, regardless of whose toes got stepped on in the process. I greatly admired them. While doing research for my true crime books I met and interviewed several retired FBI agents and found them to be the committed professionals I had envisioned. To me, the FBI was beyond reproach. But today, in light of the recently disclosed documents regarding the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email practices, all that has changed.

I spent several years as an investigator (both private and for a state government agency) and conducted many interviews, so I have a basic understanding of how interviews should go. When I first saw the released documents I was concerned about several things, such as the apparent acceptance of her answers  without follow-up questions and the failure to ask questions that seemed to me to be pertinent to the investigation. I also had concerns over how the interview was conducted. Why wasn’t it recorded? Was Hillary asked to submit to a polygraph? Why wasn’t Director Comey present at an interview of this importance? I didn’t like it, but I had to face the obvious: Hillary’s people had dictated the terms of her interview and Comey had caved.

When I coupled these issues with the failure to convene a grand jury, the “chance” meeting between Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton on an airport tarmac, almost immediately followed by Comey’s announcement that charges would not be recommended against anybody, I knew that in this case the one government agency I had so much faith in had sold out. If I needed any further proof it was that the FBI used the standard Washington D. C. practice of dumping bad news on a Friday afternoon, and in this case it was also a long weekend. I would have expected that tactic from the Clinton campaign or the White House, but not from the FBI.

Since then, I’ve heard a retired deputy director of the FBI and several law enforcement and legal professionals confirm my thoughts. Hillary’s hacks and spinners are out there claiming the documents exonerate her, of course. However, that is laughable to anyone who takes an honest look at the facts.

At the present time, it appears that those of us who believe in justice are left to rely on the voters to hold Hillary and her gang accountable, because it’s obvious that Comey and his FBI have joined Hillary’s camp. It is a bitter pill to swallow, but it is what it is.

What If?

September 3, 2016

The release of the FBI documents yesterday (conveniently a Friday prior to a long weekend when fewer people will see or hear about them) caused me to think of what will happen if Hillary wins the election.

For those of you who haven’t read my previous posts, I’m in the “never Hillary” camp. I realize that she has supporters that will vote for her no matter what, some because she’s a woman or a Clinton, some because she’s a Democrat and other various reasons. What I’m about to say isn’t directed at them because their minds are closed. My comments are intended for those with open minds and average common sense to consider.

I’m a senior citizen and have experienced the Clintons and their politics for decades. Over those years they have been the subject of scandal after scandal and have learned how to play the game very well. I consider them to be experts at it. Deny and stonewall are two strategies that work exceptionally well for them. By the time contradictory information comes out they and their surrogates claim “That’s old news. It’s time to move on.”

Should that strategy fail (such as when the infamous blue dress showed up during Bill’s  Monica Lewinsky episode) they have a Plan B ready, they play the role of victim. In Lewinsky they being attacked by a “vast right wing conspiracy” and the perverted special prosecutor Ken Starr and his “bedroom police.” Their hacks cried, “This is a personal matter and Ken Starr doesn’t need to be in their bedroom. It’s time to move on.” A majority of people bought into that argument and the matter faded away.

And so it went scandal after scandal. The Clintons either didn’t do what they were accused of or they were victims of their political enemies.

As for the present, Hillary is still under scrutiny regarding her email practices while she was Secretary of State, her handling of classified information, the cozy relationship between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department and the Clinton Foundation itself. These issues aren’t going away and I expect more shoes to drop over the coming weeks. So I know what to expect if Hillary and Bill get back into the White House, and it won’t be pretty.

Regarding the released FBI documents, let me say that I may have been born at night, but not last night. To claim “I don’t recall (or can’t remember),” nearly forty times in her interview is simply not credible. That’s a standard dodge to avoid answering questions. But let’s give Hillary the benefit of the doubt and say she told the truth. The person who wants to run the country and control our nuclear arsenal admits she has memory issues and can’t remember what she was told or what she did in regard to such a critical issue as national security. How scary is that?

As far as I’m concerned, whether she lied or told the truth doesn’t really make any difference. Either scenario should disqualify her from consideration to hold the highest office in the land.

 

 

 

 

If I Were Donald Trump

August 19, 2016

You have your Trump and Hillary supporters; and others who would never vote for either. That seems to mean the undecided/independent voters will be instrumental in deciding who wins the election. I’ve talked with some of them over the past weeks and heard comments such as: “I don’t like either one of them, but the devil you know (Hillary) is safer than the one you don’t know.” “How do I know Trump will do what he says?” “I’m so confused that I don’t know what to do.”

I’ve thought about how I’d respond to those concerns if I were Donald Trump. I think I’d make my case this way:

“This election may be the most crucial of our lifetime. Decisions made and actions taken by the next president will affect our future and the direction of our country for generations. It’s the importance of this election that actually makes it somewhat easy to decide which way to vote. I say that because it is a change election and I invite you to ask yourself a few questions that will bring clarity to the contest between Hillary and me.

“If you feel the country is headed in the right direction, think you’re better off financially and safer than you were eight years ago; and if you want to maintain the status quo, Hillary is your candidate. She’s an ultimate insider and has promised to continue Obama’s policies, so you’ll get what you want.

“If you like continuous scandals, investigations and cover-ups, Hillary is definitely for you. Just take a look at what’s swirling around her now. The whole email thing remains unresolved; the Clinton Foundation is under scrutiny for “pay to play” allegations when Hillary was Secretary of State. A referral for a perjury investigation regarding her testimony to Congress is pending with the FBI; and there is likely more to come. So yes, if drama is your thing you should pull the lever for Hillary.

“If you find failure to be an asset, again Hillary is the choice you should make. You can very easily check Hillary’s record as a public servant. What you’ll find is failure after failure. Look at virtually any part of the world in which Hillary had a hand in setting policy or making decisions and you’ll see chaos, violence and terrorism–all failures. When questioned, even Hillary’s supporters have difficulty pointing out any successes.

“Let me close with what may be Hillary’s strongest suit. If you like being lied to she’s your candidate, no ifs ands or buts about it. She’s spent much of her adult life fine-tuning the art of the lie. She does it easily and often. So if lying is a quality you admire, Hillary has earned your vote many times over.

“If I haven’t provided you with a reason to vote for Hillary, I ask you to consider me. But, you might ask yourself, why should you for Trump?

“My history is that of a highly successful business man and I‘ve gotten to where I am because I’m a doer and I’m competent. I’ve actually created jobs–lots of them. I will bring that record of success to the Oval office with me.

“I am committed to securing our borders, restoring law and order, rebuilding our military, destroying ISIS, appointing judges in the mold of the late Anthony Scalia, revamping our failing education system, creating new jobs, bringing lost jobs back to America and lowering taxes on everybody.

“I will surround myself with the best minds in regard to the economy, security, terrorism, law and order, education, foreign policy, immigration and energy. That’s my promise to you and if I don’t deliver, you can send me packing in four years. So if Hillary isn’t for you, give me a chance to prove that I and my team, working with and for you, can indeed make America great again.”

That’s what I’d say if I were Donald Trump.

 

 

Helpless

August 16, 2016

Have you ever been in a situation where the people or systems you rely on for help are nonresponsive? Did you explore every possible option without result, and finally give up in frustration? I have, and being helpless and hopeless is not a pleasant place to be as far as I’m concerned.

However, that is the way I’m starting to feel about the lack of accountability when it comes to our elected officials and public servants. There may be a firing or prosecution on a local level from time to time, but when it comes to the power brokers at the national level, accountability is rare. They get caught lying, cheating or committing possibly illegal acts, and nothing happens to them.

The scandal at the VA is a national embarrassment. Yet, how many of those responsible have paid any real price for their misconduct?  How about the IRS scandal? Has there been any justice in that one? Not that I’m aware of. Lois Lerner snubs her nose at Congress and the American people by refusing to cooperate in the investigation and gets to retire with a nice pension. Real tough punishment, huh?

We also have the whole Hillary Clinton email and Clinton Foundation issues that cry out for a thorough and fair examination. What do we get instead? After an “accidental” meeting on an airport tarmac between Bill Clinton and AG Loretta Lynch, Obama endorses Clinton’s presidential candidacy and the FBI decides not to recommend prosecution in the email matter. Investigation of possible corruption at the Clinton Foundation has supposedly been recommended by three different FBI field offices but has been rejected by Lynch’s Justice Department. There is also a referral from Congress to the FBI regarding Hillary’s possible perjured testimony before that body. Although she seems to have made several false and misleading  statements, I have absolutely no confidence that there will be an honest investigation because Hillary is protected by a Genie.

In her case the Genie isn’t a single entity. It’s comprised of Obama, Lynch, the DNC and its political hacks, and the media. They watch over Hillary and make sure she remains above the law.

Since it is highly unlikely there will be any justice through the system, the only hope for accountability for Hillary is the election. Even that is iffy according to the current polls. It may take the release of some additional incriminating emails to get the attention of the voters. In other words, the best chance we have for justice may reside with the likes of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks rather than our own government.

George, Ben, Thomas and the rest of the Founding Fathers, must be spinning in their graves.

 

The Pivot

August 12, 2016

During the primaries I became disenchanted with Donald Trump when he took the role of bully. However, he said he was waging the campaign as it had to be fought and that he could and would become more presidential at the appropriate time. Trump’s surrogates also regularly assured us that the “pivot” would be forthcoming. There were some flashes of change, only to be followed by a return to the bar room brawler making controversial comments. In spite of that he won the nomination. Surely the promises would come true and we’d see a focused and disciplined general election candidate.

But so far it’s been the same old thing day after day, week after week – a good speech followed within days if not hours, by an unforced gaffe. I’m not a politician or a political consultant, but I am a concerned “never Hillary”  voter and this seemingly never-ending drama is stressing me to the max.

If my memory is correct, Trump has said that both McCain and Romney should have defeated Obama, but their inept campaigns allowed a very beatable Obama to win. I agree with that. Yet Trump seems to be following in the tracks of the two previous Republican losers by running a campaign that is unfocused and unorganized. Hillary has enough baggage to fill a warehouse – she’s an insider with a long history as a liar and scandal after scandal. Her public service record consists of failure after failure. Obama may have been weak, but Hillary is weaker. To lose to her because of making misstep after misstep would be a disgrace, but according to the polls that is what is happening.

What I find extremely frustrating is that if Trump blows it, he will saddle us with four or eight more years of Obama’s policies and Hillary’s lies and corruption. I think there is still time for Trump to turn things around, but he needs to get serious and do it soon.

Will the long-awaited pivot ever come? It’s becoming ever more difficult for me to believe it will. It’s a shame to have to say this, but maybe the best hope for keeping Hillary out of the White House rests with WikiLeaks and the release of more incriminating Hillary emails.

 

 

 

The E Word

August 11, 2016

In addition to the campaign being waged between Hillary and Trump, there is another battle going on within the Republican Party. Currently elected and past Republican officials, along with former candidates and the “never Trump” crowd, are publicly stating that Trump is not fit to be President and they won’t vote for him. This has prompted criticism from Trump supporters that no legitimate Republican or Conservative could possibly abandon their candidate to the benefit of the hated Hillary.

As I’ve stated before, Trump was not my preferred candidate, but I’m going to vote for him because the alternative is scary beyond belief to me. So why don’t these anti-Trump Republicans see things my way?

I’ve come to the conclusion it isn’t just a matter of disgruntled Republicans bucking the clear choice of the primary voters. No, in my opinion it’s not a Republican thing – it’s an Establishment (E) thing.

Probably most of us at one time or another have been associated with a group or organization that had leaders who ran things and called all the shots. They didn’t like someone coming in from the outside questioning their decisions and advocating for change. Even if the leadership disagreed among themselves on certain things, they would unite to defeat the interloper and protect their turf.

I think something similar is going on here. The “inside the beltway” crowd (also referred to as “elites” or the “political class”) have controlled the government for years. They have great influence and connections. They have power.

Trump is promising to be an agent of change, thereby threatening their control, power and very lifestyles. They find the election of Trump as unnerving as I find Hillary’s. Those with an E behind their name will fight with every means at their disposal to defeat Trump and keep the status quo. They don’t want to just beat him – they want to whip him so badly that it will destroy the change movement as well. Whether they are Democrat or Republican is irrelevant. It’s the E that counts.

 

 

How Stupid Are We?

August 10, 2016

I don’t know about you, but I hate to be conned or treated like an idiot. That’s why I find politics to be very frustrating in general, and this year in particular. It makes my blood pressure rise when candidates, political hacks or the media tell me I didn’t see what I saw or hear what I heard. According to them, I misunderstood and people like them who are smarter than me, need to straighten me out. Then the candidates lie and their hacks and the media spin. You’d think that they couldn’t get away with that when directing their distortions at people who possess average common sense, but in many cases they do. As former Senator Bob Dole once asked, “Where is the outrage?”

I think there are a couple of reasons lying to and misleading us works. One is that there are people on the political fringes on both sides who believe the ends justify the means. In other words, if their side uses unethical or possibly illegal behavior to bring down an opponent it’s okay, because that person needed to be destroyed by whatever means necessary. They think that although their methods may have been questionable, their motives were pure and the actions justified.

Then we have the people who have no interest in politics and could care less who says what.

That leaves the rest of us who pay attention, refuse to be played for suckers and take their civic responsibilities seriously. The question is, are there enough of us to offset the other groups? I believe there are. But we’ll find out for sure on November 8 if the majority of the American people are as stupid as the politicians and media think we are or if that missing outrage finally shows up.

 

Lying Politicians

August 4, 2016

Our elected officials work for us, or so we’re told. With each election cycle we the people can “hire” the persons we believe will best serve our interests. We can keep them on for as long as they want the job by reelecting them, or “fire”  them by voting in their opponent. Sounds good, right? Other than not having Congressional term limits, which allows some lawmakers to retire from “public service” without ever having held a real job, I have no major objection.

What I do find troublesome, however, is that we seem to have accepted being lied to by our “employees.” How many times have you been talking with someone when the honesty or credibility of a politician comes up and you get this response (usually accompanied by a giggle or wink)? “That’s no big deal. They all lie.”

That is substantially true, and I believe one of the reasons why is that we seldom hold politicians accountable when they lie to us or mislead us. I’m not talking about simply not fulfilling campaign promises, either. What concerns me is the lying and cover-ups when actions that are sneaky, underhanded and possibly illegal are discovered. The politicians and their hacks go into full spin mode and try to convince us that their problems are the result of a plot by their political opponents. When that story falls apart they fall back to Plan B; and when they can no longer maintain that fabrication Plan C emerges.

The best example I can think of is the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal. The initial response from Clinton was total denial, including his looking into my eyes through the TV camera, pointing his finger and delivering his “I never had sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky” line.

And then the infamous blue dress stained with Clinton’s DNA showed up. But the Clinton Machine wasn’t in as bad shape as one might have thought, they already had a fallback position in place. Whatever Bill had done with Monica was a private matter that he and Hillary would have to deal with. It was none of our business. The Machine launched an attack against prosecutor Ken Starr. They said Starr was a pervert prying into Clinton’s sex life. Poor Bill was being victimized by the “bedroom police.”

Let’s move forward to today and talk about Bill’s devoted wife, Hillary. Her long history of being a liar continues currently with the email scandal, where she tells whopper after whopper on an almost daily basis. Rather than being shunned for her dishonesty, she has an excellent chance to become the next president. Duh?

I think we’ve dropped the ball when it comes to holding politicians like the Clintons accountable.  Fortunately, we have an opportunity to make up for that when we vote in November.

Election 2016

August 3, 2016

The peaks, valleys and controversies of this election cycle have prompted me to write this post. Anyone paying attention has heard about the “never Hillary” and “never Trump” positions, those who will turn to a third party candidate and others who plan to stay home on election day. I’m part of the never Hillary crowd, yet not an ardent Trump fan, so I had to decide what to do with my vote or if I even wanted to vote at all. I’ve finally made up my mind.

Before I tell you my decision, let me provide a little background about my politics that will help to explain how I got there. I’m a registered Republican and consider myself to be a conservative, but am not on the “far right.” I believe I’m realistic and have decent common sense.

My first vote in a national election came in 1976, when I was 31-years-old. My father told me about a guy named Ronald Reagan who was a Republican presidential candidate. I did some research on Reagan, liked what he had to say, registered Republican and became a Reagan supporter. Being naïve when it came to politics, I was in shock over what the Gerald Ford people did to Reagan at that year’s nominating convention. I didn’t realize until then that politics at that level is strictly hardball and being nasty and underhanded is the norm, not the exception. I was so upset I decided to teach the Ford people a lesson and cast my vote in the general election for Jimmy Carter. I thought a lot about that vote over the next four years and came to regret it. I promised myself that my days of casting a “protest vote” were over.

In this year’s Republican primaries I didn’t take Donald Trump very seriously at first. After all, the pundits were nearly unanimous that he wasn’t a legitimate candidate and throwing his hat into the ring was just an ego thing. They predicted he wouldn’t hang around for very long and wouldn’t be a factor. However, I liked some of the things he was saying and relished his lack of political correctness, which I think is in a large part responsible for the decline I believe we’re in as a country. I began to think that maybe I could find myself supporting him if he stuck around-and he did.

As the process went forward Trump didn’t fade and, in fact, gained strength, leaving the pundits scratching their heads in wonder. Trump’s primary opponents even started taking him more seriously and the gloves came off with attacks and counter-attacks. That’s when my opinion of Trump changed for the worse. I began to see him as a name-calling bully who used personal insults as major part of his arsenal. He dropped down several spots on my list of acceptable candidates.

In spite of all of Trump’s apparent missteps and weaknesses, he ended up winning the nomination rather impressively. That placed me in the position of having to make a decision regarding how or if, to vote.

I considered each of my options, starting with sitting the election out. I realized I couldn’t do that in good conscience, though. Unfortunately, not all decisions are easy, but the issues still have to be addressed. I don’t believe taking a pass is the right way to go.

How about going third party? I mentioned my Jimmy Carter protest vote earlier. I am confident that the next president will be either Hillary or Trump. I believe a vote for another candidate would be a total waste.

I concluded that the only remaining option was to vote for Trump, and that’s what I’m going to do. Although I have issues with his personality, I despise Hillary and her long history of misconduct and lies.  If Trump wins and doesn’t perform we can send him packing in four years. Should  Hillary get in we’ll probably have eight more years of Obama’s policies, lies, scandals and cover-ups. What she’d be able to do to the Supreme Court in that amount of time is scary beyond belief to me.

So yes, I’ll vote for Trump to give him a chance to deliver on his promises of bringing jobs back, securing our borders, aggressively going after ISIS and restoring the rule of law.

 

 

Voter ID Laws

August 14, 2013

Voter ID Laws

Each time a state enacts, or tries to enact, a law requiring that a photo ID be shown by potential voters, lawsuits are immediately filed to block the law’s implementation. The primary basis for these lawsuits seems to be “voter suppression.” The entities or individuals filing the actions allege that the poor and disadvantaged—primarily minorities—don’t have photo Id, or do they have the ability or resources to obtain one. Therefore, the law would unfairly infringe on their right to vote. As an observer of these ongoing battles, I have come to some conclusions and an idea that might possibly resolve the ID issue; and it goes beyond voting.

First, as those who support voter ID laws argue, I don’t see how anyone can be fully functional in today’s society without having an appropriate ID. You can’t fly, open a bank account, cash a check, travel out of the country, etc. And in some places you are unable to rent a car, lease an apartment, enroll in medical insurance programs, obtain a physician, or participate in myriad other services or activities. In my opinion, any American who finds him or herself in this position can never truly realize the “American Dream.”

So, voting aside, how can we get the poor and disadvantaged on an equal footing with the vast majority of their countrymen in regard to the issues stated in the previous paragraph?

To me, the obvious solution is to make sure that every American who wants a legitimate government-issued ID gets one. However, finding the affected people would be a huge undertaking that most states don’t have the resources to accomplish. So, the question is how can it be done? My answer is community outreach.

Before I explain my idea, let me say a couple of things quite clearly. I’m not advocating for a mandatory government-issued ID program. My solution applies to people who feel they want or need an accepted form of identification, and participation would be strictly voluntary. As I said, locating the target population will not be easy or quick. It would likely take years and, in fact, be ongoing. And the following paragraphs represent only the skeleton of a possible resolution. The meat would have to be put on the bones.

The first stage of my plan would be to let people know that IDs are available at no cost.  The word could get out using social media such as Facebook and Public Service Announcements on radio, TV, and in newspapers, giving a toll free number for the state agency tasked with issuing the IDs. People interested in getting an ID would register by phone and provide their contact information. They would be offered a choice of coming to the agencies’ office or sub-office, or having someone come to them, depending on their individual situation. But what about those who don’t have computers, telephones, radio or TV? Finding them will be the most difficult and time-consuming task.

This is where the same groups and entities that object to voter ID laws would get involved in a positive manner. In addition to posting information in their facilities and communicating it verbally during meetings or services, volunteers from the NAACP, churches, private social service and community outreach organizations, etc., would actively canvass their neighborhoods—both urban and rural—seeking out those who don’t have proper identification and are therefore being deprived of services, benefits and access to business and travel opportunities. I want to stress that the mission is to identify those who don’t have IDs—not whether they want one, only whether or not they have one. The names, addresses and telephone numbers (if applicable) of those located would be turned over to the appropriate state agency.

Upon receiving the information from the volunteer group(s), a representative of the state agency would personally visit the person identified as not having valid identification. The representative would explain the ID program and ask if the individual would like to participate.

If yes, the necessary information would be compiled—including examination of any relevant documents—and a photo taken. The completed ID would be sent to the applicant by mail.

If no, the individual would be asked to sign a waiver, stating the program has been explained to them and they decline to participate.

As stated earlier, this is merely the framework. But I believe President Obama was a community organizer at one time. As such, he might support my concept. And how could people such as Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton possibly be against something that would benefit the very people whose welfare they are concerned about?