Tag Archives: NY Times

SEALs spill beans on one of their own

Special operations forces — be they Navy SEALs, Army Green Berets, Delta Force or Air Force commandos — generally aren’t inclined to blab about their colleagues unless they have valid reasons to do so.

So, when a group of Navy SEALs tell investigators that one of their own was known to be an out-of-control killer of innocent bystanders, then I believe we ought to listen and take heed.

What’s more, they are talking about a SEAL on whose behalf Donald Trump intervened. He is Navy Chief Edward Gallagher, who was convicted of conduct unbecoming a special operations warrior. Trump decided the Navy acted incorrectly and ordered that Gallagher retain his SEAL Trident emblem. Yes, the commander in chief interceded on behalf of a SEAL who had been found guilty of behaving in a manner not in keeping with the elite fighting force.

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer was forced to resign over the matter. The president has come under intense — and justified — criticism for meddling in a military command issue. Yes, he is the commander in chief, but that doesn’t make his meddlesome behavior any more correct.

Now the New York Times has heard from a number of SEALs who served with Gallagher as members of SEAL Team 7. They say that Gallagher shot children. The NY Times acquired some video of the SEALs spilling the beans on Gallagher.

According to the Times: “The guy is freaking evil,” Special Operator (Craig) Miller told investigators. “The guy was toxic, ” Special Operator First Class Joshua Vriens, a sniper, said in a separate interview. “You could tell he was perfectly OK with killing anybody that was moving,” Special Operator First Class Corey Scott, a medic in the platoon, told the investigators.

And yet this is the individual who drew the commander in chief’s attention and for whom the president upset the traditional military chain of command. He interceded where he was empowered to go, but where he should have stayed away.

The SEALs who have outed their colleague have told us plenty about the consequence of a president intervening where he didn’t belong. That they would do so while breaking an unwritten rule that they remain silent about their operations tells me about the enormity of what they witnessed.

Former CIA, FBI director takes aim at Trump

Donald Trump, the “current” president of the United States, is a threat to national security and is undermining the morale of the agencies charged with protecting us.

Who said that? A flaming, squishy liberal activist? Oh, no. That thought comes from a longtime Republican and the only person ever to hold the offices of FBI and CIA director, William Webster.

Webster is concerned that the president took issue with the “current” director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, who stands behind the inspector general’s assessment that he found no political bias in the launching of an FBI investigation into allegations of Russian election interference in our 2016 presidential campaign.

He skewered Trump in an op-ed written for the New York Times. You can read it here.

Webster criticizes Trump for referring to the FBI as a “broken” agency. It isn’t broken. Indeed, the only “broken” federal office is the one operating inside the White House.

My point here is that Webster is a strong, faithful and loyal Republican who is actually standing up to the fraudulent politician who is masquerading as our nation’s president.

If only other reliable Republicans — those in public office at this moment — could summon the courage of William Webster.

Wondering: Why are conservatives turning on Trump?

Donald John Trump talks occasionally about espousing “conservative” ideals while lambasting “liberal politicians” over their own ideals.

The president campaigned as a sort of “conservative populist,” although there seems to be a counter-intuitive tilt to that description.

Millions of Americans swallowed the bait. Millions more of us spit it out.

For me, I am left to wonder: If the president is such a conservative icon and a believer in conservative principles, ideology and principle … why are so many notable conservative thinkers turning on him?

There might be a couple of thoughts at play here. One is that Trump is not the conservative he purports to be. Another is that actual political conservatives — except for evangelical Christians — are appalled, astonished and aggravated at this man’s history of hideous behavior.

I want to reel off just a few notable conservatives who now count themselves as anti-Trumpers: George F. Will, the Pulitzer Prize winning columnist; Jennifer Rubin, a noted conservative columnist for the Washington Post; William Kristol, former VP Dan Quayle’s chief of staff and founder of the now-defunct Weekly Standard; David Brooks, a conservative columnist for the New York Times; Bret Stephens, another right-wing columnist for the NYT; Joe Scarborough, a former Florida Republican congressman who’s become a virulent anti-Trump spokesman; David Frum, a former speechwriter for President Bush 43.

Those are just a few names. They all have significant megaphones from which to comment on the state of political play.

I continue to maintain that Donald Trump is the classic, quintessential Republican In Name Only. He is the RINO’s RINO. I get that he appoints conservative judges and names conservatives to surround him within the White House.

He’s not the real deal. Donald Trump is a panderer who doesn’t understand how government works. He built his business career with one aim, to fatten his wallet and enrich his brand. He is a serial liar who is unwilling to tell the truth at any level.

True conservatives should have nothing to do with this individual. A good many notable conservatives have been willing to speak out and to declare their antipathy to what this man is pitching.

Good for them.

NY Times tells us what we know: Trump is a fraud

Donald Trump campaigned for president on a number of themes.

One of them extolled his business acumen, his genius at making money, the risks he took while building an empire from scratch.

Well, is he the brightest business mind in human history? No. He isn’t. The New York Times report published this week tells us that the future president lost $1 billion in investments for 10 years — from 1985 to 1994. In eight of those years, he lost so much money that he didn’t pay any federal income tax.

Trump calls the story a figment of “fake news.” His lawyers say the Times has committed a form of defamation.

I’m going to believe the New York Times reporting on this matter. The newspaper obtained copies of Internal Revenue Service tax records, not those returns, mind you. But the story appears to be sufficiently sourced to give it credence.

So, is Trump a fraud? Is he a phony manipulator? Is he nearly the brilliant business mogul he portrayed himself to be? Yes, yes and no.

Many of us have suspected as much already. I am one of those who have wondered all along about whether Trump is the “stable genius” he claims to be.

It’s always good to note, though, that politically normal times have given way to something I cannot yet define. Trump is revealed to be full of deceit, double-dealing, duplicity and his political base loves him even more!

As he campaigned for the presidency in 2016, he made outrageous proclamations that would have — should have — doomed his candidacy. They only strengthened him. He told us he “could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any votes.” Good grief, man! He could have been right all along!

Trump’s friends on the Fox News Channel are crowing about the president’s bold business endeavors and are saluting him for the losses he accrued. I won’t join that amen chorus.

I’ll sign on with another chorus, the one that speaks to the countless lies he told in pitching himself as a candidate for the presidency of the United States.

Astonishing!

What? Trump lost a bundle of cash? Wow! Who … knew?

The New York Times released a scoop today, telling the world that Donald Trump, the self-proclaimed “self-made” business genius, lost more than a billion bucks for a decade ending in 1994.

Well, who would’ve thought that?

I’ll admit to being not terribly surprised. The NY Times was able to obtain tax documents — not the actual returns, mind you — that tell of Trump’s business misadventures.

In 1990 and 1991, according to those documents, Trump lost $250 million, which reportedly is the largest amount lost during that time by an American taxpayer. The documents also reveal that Trump lost so much money that he didn’t pay any taxes for eight of those 10 years.

How about that?

The world already knows that his late father, Fred, staked him a huge amount of money to get started when he finished his education at the “best college.” Donald Trump, though, had previously portrayed himself as a self-made tycoon, a mogul who built his huge empire from scratch.

Hmm. Not so.

Now we are able to look just a little more deeply into what kind of fraudulent picture he painted of himself.

Yep, U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney was right in 2016 when he described the future Republican Party presidential nominee as a “phony” and a “fraud.”

It’s so believable that Trump would say such a thing

If only Donald Trump hadn’t built such a huge public record of personal insults.

Peter Baker, chief White House correspondent for The New York Times, says he had heard from sources inside the White House that the president had mocked the appearance of Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles.

What makes it so believable? The things Trump has said out loud. Such as . . .

The time he mocked Sen. Rand Paul’s appearance during a Republican primary presidential debate in 2016; or he hung the nickname of “Little Marco” on Sen. Rubio of Florida, another GOP primary opponent; or when he mocked the appearance of yet another GOP opponent, Carly Fiorina; or the “best” one of all, when he mocked the physical disability of a NY Times reporter, Serge Kovaleski.

Three areas always should be off limits when political foes argue public policy: their respective families, their given names and their appearance.

Trump has violated two of those three axioms. Do you recall how he posted that hideous picture of Heidi Cruz, the wife of Sen. Ted Cruz, still another GOP presidential opponent?

The man lacks class. He lacks dignity. He lacks empathy. He lacks humanity.

I also should add that he lacks self-awareness.

See what I mean?

What? AG Barr hid actual findings from us? Really?

Holy crap!

That’s my initial reaction to  a New York Times report that some members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team are unhappy with the way Attorney General William Barr characterized the team’s findings on The Russia Thing, on “collusion” and on “obstruction of justice.”

Good ever-lovin’ grief, man!

I maintain a flickering semblance of faith in William Barr. It’s in danger of going out.

Mueller and his team concluded 22 months of investigation into whether Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russians. Mueller handed his findings over to Barr, who then issued a four-page summary of what he said was Mueller’s report.

Well, it turns out that the AG might not have given us the straight scoop on what Mueller concluded. The NY Times is reporting that some of Mueller’s investigative team believes the report is more damaging to Trump than Barr has let on.

Oh, my.

Barr is facing deep trouble

We need to see the report. We need to read it for ourselves. William Barr should keep some of it secret, but not much of it. I concede that national security matters are off limits.

But what in the name of juris prudence did Mueller conclude? How did he reach that conclusion? And is the attorney general running interference for the president of the United States? Is he more loyal to Donald Trump than he is to the rule of law?

Is it any wonder that Donald Trump hates the NY Times? Of course not! The Times and other media around the country are doing their job. They are telling us what we need to know.

I’ll add just this caveat: I would feel even better about the veracity of what the investigators have told the NY Times if we would hear from Robert Mueller himself.

However, this bit of information that has smashed through the current news cycle gives me grave concern about the attorney general and his commitment to telling us the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Conspiracy? Who’s got the time?

We’re hearing an increase in chatter out there about media “conspiracies,” about how the media conspire against conservative politicians, how the media undermine their policies.

Wow! How cool is that?

The president of the United States has been trumpeting the media conspiracy mantra of late. That’s his view. He’s entitled to it.

I feel the need to respond to it using my own frame of reference.

I worked in print journalism full time for nearly 37 years. I worked for newspapers that occasionally got tagged by readers who thought the paper was conspiring to shade the news in favor of certain segments of the community while ignoring other segments.

My response then was this: We don’t have time at our newspaper to conspire against anyone; conspiracies require time to think and plan such activities. Getting a newspaper assembled and pushed out the back door is damn near a miracle every single day. Who has time for conspiracies?

I believe that rationale works at some level in response to the president’s assertion that the media are conspiring against him.

I have heard the comments from the likes of former New York Times editor Jill Abramson who says her former paper forms its political coverage with a tilt against Donald Trump, that there is an anti-Trump bias in the NYT newsroom.

I just try to put myself in the shoes of the front-line reporters and editors who are concerned chiefly with just getting the paper published every day. Do they sit around and ask: How are we going to shade our coverage in a way that puts the president in the most negative light imaginable? I have trouble making that leap.

So the conspiracy talks continues. Maybe it’s just that I am inherently anti-conspiracy by nature.

My own experience working in regular communities in Oregon and Texas tells me that conspiracies require too much work among journalists who struggle with all their might simply at being good at their craft.

NATO pullout back on the top shelf

In 2018, when Donald J. Trump decided to scold the leaders of our most trustworthy military alliance, he sounded like someone who wanted to pull the United States out of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Those leaders need to pay more of their share of the defense of Europe, Trump said, or else face the consequences, which might involve a U.S. pullout.

Now, against that backdrop we have The New York Times report about an alleged investigation by the FBI into whether Trump was an “agent” of Russia.

The connection? Well, Russia wants NATO weakened badly. He would prefer that NATO be destroyed. Why is that? Because NATO came into being after World War II as a military alliance to defend Europe against the Soviet Union’s bloc of satellite nations. Russia, you’ll remember, was known as the Soviet Union from 1917 until 1991, when it collapsed under its own weight.

But NATO remains as a bulwark against Russian aggression. Therefore, Russia wants NATO to go away.

So, what connection is there between Donald Trump’s implied threat and Russia’s stated aim of ensuring that NATO withers away and dies? Is there a connection? Trump says “no!” I do not believe Trump’s declaration on its face. I want to know the truth.

If only I could find where the truth is hiding.

Remember the ‘anonymous’ op-ed in the Times?

One of the fairly unusual aspects of following the Trump administration through its daily trials, tribulations and tumult is that we quickly lose track of the previous set of troubles.

Do you remember that op-ed published in The New York Times that talked about the fear, uncertainty and chaos that permeates Donald Trump’s administration? The president was so incensed he sought to find the author of the piece and then fire him/her on the spot.

Media pundits were all over it. They sought to connect the dots and come up with their own conclusion. All anyone seemed to know with any certainty is that it came from someone within the West Wing inner circle. Indeed, the write of the essay revealed he or she was part of “resistance movement” within the administration that took it upon itself to protect the president from his more dangerous impulses.

What in the world happened to that dire concern over the identity of the writer? What happened to Donald Trump’s dedication to finding out who did it? What happened to the story?

It’s just that with this president and this administration, our attention is taxed to the hilt, stretched beyond its limits to stay focused on any single subject for more than a week — tops!

If it is next week, another crisis is sure to overtake us.