Tag Archives: CIA

‘Political hacks’ strike back at Trump

Donald John Trump showed his stripes yet again over the weekend.

So help me, the president sickens me constantly.

He met with Vladimir Putin in Da Nang, Vietnam. They shook hands. Trump and Putin had a brief meeting. Putin said he didn’t interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Trump said that he accepted Putin’s denial on its face.

Then the idiot in chief called former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper “political hacks” because they have asserted that the Russians did interfere with our electoral process.

Can you imagine how Republicans would react if, say, Barack Obama had called two distinguished American intelligence officers “political hacks”?

Brennan and Clapper, of course, weren’t taking the president’s disparagement lightly. They have scolded him seriously, suggesting that Putin is “playing” Trump like a fiddle.

Trump did attempt to walk back his comments about Putin’s phony denial, but he managed to botch that as well, saying he backs the U.S. intelligence community, while continuing to suggest that Putin is “sincere” in his denial of election interference.

Sigh.

Oh, so very sad.

Are we clear now? POTUS backs intel agencies

That’s as clear as mud, isn’t it?

Donald John Trump says in one breath that Vladimir Putin is sincere when he says Russia didn’t meddle in our nation’s 2016 presidential election.

In virtually the next breath — actually it was the next day — the president says he backs the U.S. intelligence agencies’ assessment that, yep, the Russians meddled, they interfered, they sought to influence the election outcome.

The question now is this: Which is it, Mr. President? Who do you believe?

This kind of stumble-bum rhetoric is driving many of us utterly bananas.

POTUS back tracks

Trump had been “on script” for most of his 12-day trip to Asia. Then he shook hands with the Russian president; the men met privately for a brief period in Da Nang, Vietnam. Putin told Trump he has been “offended” by assertions that Russia meddled in our election. Trump seemed to side with the bad guy while dismissing the assessments of the good guys, the men and women who work for our intelligence agencies.

For the life of me, I don’t understand — let alone accept — Trump’s belief that Putin can be trusted as far as he can throw him. The man is a former KGB hot shot. He is trained to lie.

Forgive me for quoting former Fox TV commentator Bill O’Reilly, but O’Reilly did assert correctly during an interview with Trump that “Putin is a killer”; Trump responded by saying, essentially, “So are we.”

Good … grief. Dude! Get an ever-lovin’ grip!

Oh, but now he backs U.S. intelligence analysts, who’ve been saying all along that Russian hackers meddled in our election — and they did so on orders from Vladimir Putin. One of them who stands by our analysis of Russian meddling happens to be CIA Director Mike Pompeo, whom Trump appointed.

My head is spinning.

Trump demonstrates his ‘gift’ at U.N.

Donald John Trump has an extraordinary “gift,” which is all I can think of to call it at this moment.

The president of the United States’ gift enables him to stand before audiences and say the most inappropriate things at the most inopportune times in the most unlikely venues.

For example:

* The day after his inauguration as president, Trump went to the CIA, stood before a wall honoring the agents who’ve fallen in the line of duty and then proclaimed his joy at winning such a “historic” presidential election.

* Earlier this summer, he went to the annual Boy Scout Jamboree and proceeded to excoriate his predecessor, Barack Obama, for this and that and said — incorrectly, I should add — that the former president had never addressed the Jamboree. Trump’s speech prompted the Boy Scouts of America to issue an official statement of apology.

* Then this week, the president stood in the hall at the United Nations — a place founded on the principle of peaceful resolution to international crises — and threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if the communist nation threatens the United States or our allies. Oh, there’s more: He scolded the U.N. member nations for not paying their fair share and opened his speech by boasting about the state of the U.S. economy — during the eight months of his presidency.

The essence of the president’s gift lies in his ability to get away with this nonsense. His “base” of supporters loves hearing the president “tell it like it is.” They cheer him on. They chide those of us who oppose this kind of behavior as being “losers” who are bitter at having lost an election they should have won.

He, of course, knows how the base is going to act and react. That’s why he continues to demonstrate this strange behavior.

Will it ever catch up with him? I am never, ever going to say out loud that it will. Only that it should. This guy has been defying the laws of political gravity since the day he rode down the escalator at Trump Tower and declared his candidacy for the first political office he’s ever sought.

Go … figure.

Trump trashes yet another tradition

I know quite a few Boy Scouts. Some of them are proud Eagle Scouts. And some of them likely have attended the annual Scout Jamboree, which is a huuuge deal in the world of scouting.

I was a Boy Scout once myself, although I didn’t climb too far up the ladder of achievement.

Have any of my scouting pals ever heard a presidential speech like the one delivered this week by Donald John Trump? Ohhh, I doubt it — bigly!

The president took the occasion to launch into a political riff likes of which have been avoided for the eight decades that presidents have been speaking to the Boy Scouts.

He attacked “fake news,” he attacked his predecessor Barack Obama, he attacked the candidate he defeated in 2016.

How much time did the president spend during his 35-minute speech saluting the values of “reverence” and “obedience” pushed by the Scouts? Damn little! Did he talk about the need to always “be prepared”?

Trump meandered through a litany of tales about his business career and his still-young political career. “Who the hell wants to talk politics” at the Jamboree? Trump asked.

I guess he did.

Trump set the stage for this kind of ridiculousness almost from the beginning of his presidency. Recall the day after his inauguration when he went to the CIA, stood before the wall honoring those who have fallen in service to their country and then extolled the size of his “massive” political victory over Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Tradition, decorum, dignity of the office mean nothing to the clown who now occupies it. He demonstrated it yet again.

I am shaking my head … in disgust.

CIA: former foe of the left becomes its friend

An interesting Internet meme is making the rounds. It says that “real patriots” don’t question when the Central Intelligence Agency says that Russians hacked into our electoral system in 2016.

Now, those of us who are old enough to have lived through a good bit of U.S. history remember something quite different about American attitudes toward the CIA.

The meme to which I referred is intended to take a swipe at conservatives who are siding with Donald J. Trump’s view that the CIA’s intelligence-gathering capability isn’t up to snuff. Think about that for a moment: Liberals are siding with the spooks.

It wasn’t always this way.

Let’s flash back for a moment to the 1970s. The Vietnam War was still raging; a Republican president was about to be re-elected; the CIA was allegedly helping the president develop an “enemies list” that targeted left-wing protesters; then came that burglary at the Watergate office complex; the president then told the CIA to instruct the FBI to back off its probe of the break-in.

The crap hit the fan. The CIA was caught doing something wrong. Liberals cheered; conservatives moaned. The president resigned and it took years for the CIA to wipe its face clean.

More than four decades later, the CIA is still on the job. It is conducting intelligence operations around the world. It is well-run. Indeed, the CIA played a huge role in the mission that killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011, an event that brought liberals and conservatives together to cheer the success of that endeavor.

Politics, though, does have this way of ebbing and flowing. We are the point today where the CIA is seen as a valuable watchdog against those who would do harm to our political system.

The CIA — and a few other agencies — have concluded that Russian meddled in our 2016 presidential election. Whether they actually swung the election in Donald Trump’s favor is one of the questions of the moment; I tend to think Trump would have won regardless. That’s not the point.

The point is that they meddled. The CIA has determined they have meddled. A lot of political hands across the spectrum — and that includes progressives/liberals — believe in the CIA analysis. The most prominent denier of all this happens to the Republican president of the United States, the current darling of the conservative movement, the guy who says he wants to “put America first” and to make this country “great again.”

Oh, the winds of change do have this curious way of blowing away old thoughts and bias.

Brennan drops another bomb

Former CIA Director John Brennan spent some time today testifying before the U.S. House Intelligence Committee.

Then he said something that didn’t get a lot of attention during the 2016 presidential election. It was that the CIA knew this past summer of contacts between the Donald J. Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government, which Brennan said was “brazenly” acting to influence the outcome of the election.

This revelation produces a key question: Why didn’t the public know of these contacts in real time?

Brennan told committee members that he was concerned enough about the news about Trump-Russia contacts that he passed the information on to the FBI.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/contacts-between-moscow-and-trump-campaign-began-last-summer-ex-cia-chief-says/ar-BBBsOF2?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartandhp

Gosh. Do you think there just might have been a different electoral outcome had we known about this as it was occurring?

And the drama continues to expand. To what conclusion remains anyone’s guess.

Spinning losses into moral victories

Politics has this way of producing victories where none is apparent.

Democrats around the country, for instance, are seeking to turn electoral defeats into a form of winning. It’s a fascinating thing to watch — and it has me shaking my head.

A Kansas congressional district special election produced a Republican victory recently. The Fourth Congressional District seat once was held by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, whom Donald Trump appointed to become the nation’s top spook. Trump won that district over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election and it has been in GOP hands seemingly since The Flood.

The Republican who won the seat in the special election did so narrowly. Thus, Democrats are claiming some sort of victory.

Today, voters in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District are going to the polls. They’re going to choose a successor to Tom Price, who represented the GOP-friendly district before becoming secretary of health and human services; the Sixth District once was represented by none other than the inimitable Newt Gingrich.

A large field is running. It includes five Democrats and 11 Republicans. The top vote-getter needs to win with 50 percent plus one vote to win the election outright. The leader is a Democrat, a young man named Jon Ossoff. Polling indicates he is likely to fall short — barely — of the majority he needs to win. If he doesn’t make it, he needs to face the No. 2 finisher, likely one of the Republicans. The GOP hopes the party will rally behind their guy and elect him over Ossoff in the runoff election.

Still, Democrats — even if they lose this election — are likely to crow about how they damn near flipped that district.

Please.

As a progressive-leaning voter myself, I am pulling for an upset in Georgia. I would be glad to see Ossoff score an outright victory by day’s end. A win by the young Democrat clearly would send a message to the president and his Republican friends that they’re likely to have a serious fight on their hands in next year’s mid-term congressional elections.

However, elections determine winners and losers. Candidates need to get more votes than their opponent to actually win. Falling short of the total they need today in Georgia will not stop Democrats from spinning a loss into some sort of moral victory.

As the old saying goes, “Close counts only in horseshoes and hand grenades.”

Just wondering: Can’t POTUS get proof if he demands it?

The thought occurs to me this morning …

If the president of the United States accuses his predecessor of a crime, can’t he gather up the proof of that allegation on demand? Can’t the president call the spooks, the spies, the prosecutors, anyone who can prove something happened and then produce the proof of what he has alleged.

Donald Trump’s tweet over the weekend that Barack Obama ordered a wire tap on Trump Tower offices has ignited the mother of political firestorms. The president hasn’t proved anything. He has offered nothing but a tweet that said “it is a fact” that his predecessor ordered the wire tap because of some belief that there might be collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

A fact? Is that what you say, Mr. President?

Sir, you are in command of the world’s greatest intelligence network — no matter what you have said about it. I believe you are able to obtain proof on demand.

Trump is wearing me out

I’ve long considered myself to be a fairly modern fellow … but I do like tradition.

I dislike the designated hitter rule in baseball, I dislike what I call “gymnasium football” that is played in stadiums with roofs, I prefer to eat my salad before consuming my entrée — and I want presidents of the United States to behave in a manner befitting the office.

Donald J. Trump cannot fix the first three examples, but he damn sure can address the final one, dealing with how he handles himself as president.

We aren’t even one stinking month into Trump’s term in office and I am worn out already. I don’t know if I have the stamina to keep up with this guy’s weird/bizarre/goofy machinations.

The tweeting. The strange utterances. The strange phone calls with world leaders. His feuds with congressional leaders. The strange roles his sons and daughter are playing in his administration. The notion that his wife won’t live in the White House while hubby seeks to “make America great again.”

None of this is what I consider to be “normal.”

What continues to trouble me about this fellow is that I cannot figure out to what ever-lovin’ end is he seeking to accomplish.

Trump had zero public service experience when he announced his candidacy for the presidency in July 2015. His entire adult life has been geared toward personal enrichment. Public service never has been on this man’s radar. He doesn’t know what public service entails.

And not yet one month into his presidency, he isn’t showing any indication that I can discern that he grasps the concept of public service.

He stands before the National Prayer Breakfast audience and asks them to pray for the man who succeeded him as host of “Celebrity Apprentice”; he goes to the CIA and — standing before a wall that honors fallen CIA officers — talks about his electoral vote “landslide”; he berates Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over his country’s immigration policy and then hangs up on the head of government of a nation that arguably is our most loyal ally.

Presidents of the United States don’t normally behave like this.

Holy cow, man! We’ve got 47 more months of this!

Maybe.

Chaos continues as Trump takes charge

My goodness. The chaos, the pandemonium, the confusion.

It’s just what Donald J. Trump has ordered … allegedly.

That was some wild weekend as Trump became president of the United States.

* The president delivered 16-minute inaugural speech that re-stated the winning themes of his presidential campaign and painted a dark picture of gloom and “carnage” in the United States of America.

* The next day, White House press secretary Sean Spicer meets the press corps for the first time and delivers a five-minute scolding of what he said was a deliberate misreporting of the size of the crowd at the inauguration. Amazing!

* Meanwhile, White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said Spicer was delivering a set of “alternative facts,” prompting “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd to remind her that “alternative facts are falsehoods.”

* Then … the president goes to the CIA ostensibly to pay tribute to the agents who’ve fallen in the line of duty then excoriates the media as a “dishonest” group of people.

* As all this was occurring, several million people around the world hit the streets to march in protest of Trump’s inauguration.

* Finally, Trump told congressional leaders he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton because as many as 5 million illegal immigrants cast ballots against him.

Is this what we’re going to get for the next four years? Is this what our allies abroad are going to witness as the 45th president’s administration tries to gain its footing?

He told us he would campaign unconventionally. It now appears that unconventional governance is going to follow.

I’ve got to catch my breath.