The Walls Have Ears

I begin my day at 0100 hours…..I read and post as I finish my research.  Most days I have two posts waiting for the earlier ones I post and then I set about getting my stuff together for the rest of the day.

And this is what happens when I take the weekend off…..

Today is Monday and the big news is this wiretapping accusation by the man in the White House….our fearless leader is a paranoid tool….and what better way to try and change the conversation fro his and his boyz involvement with the Russians and than a new scandal in the making.

Before I start let me say that I do not say this NEVER happened but I am a bit suspicious at the timing of this revelation.

President Trump started his Saturday with a series of extraordinary allegations against his predecessor. In a series of early-morning tweets, Trump accused Barack Obama of having his “wires tapped” in Trump Tower during the election campaign, the Guardian reports. “Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” Trump tweeted. In follow-up tweets, he claimed a court order had rejected the alleged surveillance, wondered if it was “legal for a sitting President to be ‘wire tapping’ a race for president prior to an election” and said: “How low has President Obama gone to tapp (sic) my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”

“I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!” Trump said in yet another tweet. He didn’t provide any evidence or make it clear what report he was basing the accusations on, though the Hill notes that Breitbart reported Friday on radio host Mark Levin’s claim that the Obama administration used “police state” tactics to undermine Trump.

Of course the Obama team has denied all such allegations…….

A spokesperson for Barack Obama says President Trump’s accusations about Obama wiretapping Trump Tower are “simply false,” NBC News reports. “Neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any US citizen,” Kevin Lewis says. The Obama camp wasn’t the only one denying the veracity of Trump’s claim, which came in a flurry of tweets Saturday morning and was presented without evidence. A senior US official says Trump didn’t speak to anyone in the government who would have knowledge of a wiretap. And a former deputy national security adviser says presidents don’t have the power to order wiretaps on citizens.

Nancy Pelosi responded to Trump’s tweets by calling him the “deflector-in-chief” and demanding an independent investigation into his alleged Russia connections, USA Today reports. According to CBS News, Howard Dean pointed out that if Trump Tower was actually wiretapped, it means a judge found probable cause of Trump being involved in something criminal. And Paul Ryan says he doesn’t believe the Obama administration was conducting surveillance on Trump. But Lindsey Graham said he was concerned about the accusations and promised “to get to the bottom of this” during a town hall meeting Saturday. In recent days, right-wing media has started accusing Obama of leading a “silent coup” to take down Trump.

This is starting to smell like a “Fire” moment that I have been waiting for…..the alt-Right has embraced this so-called incident with both hands….I expect to see the blogosphere blow up with these accusations.

But what promoted this outrage and accusations from the Prez?

So where did President Trump’s bombshell accusation that his predecessor tapped his phones come from? The White House tells the Fact Checker blog at the Washington Post that he’s relying on reports “from BBC, Heat Street, New York Times, Fox News, among others.” After an analysis, the Post finds that the two most important ones are from the right-leaning Heat Street and the BBC. (Other reports have cited an article at Breitbart News, but it relies on the Heat Street piece.) The two articles say that US intelligence officials went to the FISA court (which deals with intelligence matters) because they wanted to investigate possible activity between two banks in Russia and a computer server in Trump Tower (which, to make matters more confusing, might actually be located in Philadelphia). Excerpts:

  • Heat Street: “Two separate sources with links to the counter-intelligence community have confirmed to Heat Street that the FBI sought, and was granted, a FISA court warrant in October, giving counter-intelligence permission to examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.”
  • BBC: It says Justice Department lawyers went to the FISA court. “Their first application, in June, was rejected outright by the judge. They returned with a more narrowly drawn order in July and were rejected again. Finally, before a new judge, the order was granted, on 15 October, three weeks before election day.”

Obama’s DNI has called this a falsehood (I would expect him to do so…so this is nothing new)……you would think that the leak atmosphere in DC these days it would a simple thing to find the FISA warrant, right?

The Fact Checker’s assessment? Even if the stories are accurate, and that hasn’t been confirmed, they do not say that President Obama was behind the request. Plus, they involve a computer server, not the tapping of phone lines. And, finally, they “do not back up the administration’s revised claim of politically motivated investigations.” As a result, Trump gets the blog’s worst rating of Four Pinocchios.

The man who was the director of national intelligence until January 20 wasted little time in shooting down President Trump’s claim that former President Obama’s administration wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 election, reports the AP. “There was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president, the president-elect at the time, as a candidate or against his campaign,” James Clapper told Meet the Press on Sunday, shortly after the White House demanded a congressional investigation into the issue. Clapper says he would have been aware of a “FISA court order on something like this. Absolutely, I can deny it.”

Now fearless leader is calling on Congress to get involved…..something they are good at…wasting time and money on investigations…..

The White House demanded on Sunday that Congress investigate whether former President Obama abused his executive powers in connection with the 2016 presidential election, reports the AP. President Trump leveled that claim Saturday when he accused his predecessor of tapping telephones at Trump Tower. But Trump offered no supporting evidence, a spokesman for Obama denied the claim as “simply false,” and lawmakers in both parties asked for proof. White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement Sunday that reports “concerning potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election are very troubling.”

“President Donald J. Trump is requesting that as part of their investigation into Russian activity, the congressional intelligence committees exercise their oversight authority to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016,” Spicer said. It was unclear what reports Spicer was referring to, and what prompted Trump to make the allegation. Spicer ended the statement by saying that neither the White House nor Trump will comment further “until such oversight is conducted.” In a series of morning tweets Saturday, Trump suggested Obama was behind a politically motivated plot to upend his campaign. He compared the alleged events to “Nixon/Watergate” and “McCarthyism!” And he called Obama a “Bad (or sick) guy.”

Is that really a good idea, Mr. President?

This could backfire on him.

Like I have said….stranger things have happened….but this sounds like an attempt to change the tone of the news…a diversion from all the Russian noise these days.

Instead of blaming Obama maybe Trump should look to his VP….whose side is he really on?

See what happens when I step away from the keyboard?  Sorry but Pence has a look about him….I would not trust him one inch…just saying…..

News Update:  FBI Director James Comey has waded into the controversy surrounding President Trump’s claim that he was wiretapped by Barack Obama last fall, the New York Times reports. Officials say Comey has asked the Justice Department to publicly reject Trump’s explosive claim, both because he believes it is false and because he believes it suggests the FBI was engaged in illegal behavior. The Times‘ sources say senior FBI officials are also worried that if the public believes there was a court-approved Trump wiretap, they might expect them to find solid evidence of Russian interference in last year’s election.

You just cannot make this stuff up…..this is looking more and more like reality TV…..what can we expect from a star of that genre?

Closing Thought–16Feb17

Obama Did It!

God knows that I was a staunch critic of Obama while president….but I will have to just laugh at the conspiracists have to say these days…..

One of the biggest jokes in the conspiracy queue is Alex Jones….I have a hard time taking anyone that cites him as a reliable source seriously….he is on the “shadow government” bandwagon…..

Furious about national security adviser Michael Flynn’s resignation, Alex Jones posted a video commentary this morning warning about the threats President Trump is facing from what Jones described as a demonic conspiracy out to destroy him.

While railing against a Foreign Policy article (which he misattributed to Foreign Affairs) about the Russian government’s view of Trump, Jones said that there is a plot to sabotage both Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin over their efforts to stop globalism.

Among the plotters, according to Jones, is Barack Obama, whom he accused of living in a “bunker” in Washington, D.C., where Jones believes he is personally directing and “recruiting with [George] Soros an army for a Bolshevik-style revolution.”

We all have seen the numerous protests that are sweeping the nation….anti-Trump protests that is….if you read any Right leaning websites then you probably already know that these protesters are getting paid or the better oner is Obama is behind them……

Fox News, fringe media outlets, and fake news purveyors echoed New York Post columnist Paul Sperry’s claims that former President Barack Obama is establishing a “shadow government” through his nonprofit organization Organizing for Action (OFA), with an “army of agitators — numbering more than 30,000” — to organize protests against, and to “sabotage,” President Donald Trump. Sperry has a history of pushing falsehoods, misleading claims, and anti-Muslim conspiracy theories. A similar claim about an Obama “shadow government” was also made on Fox by discredited author Ed Klein in December 2016.

Paul Sperry: Obama Creating “Shadow Government” To “Sabotage” Trump, And His Organization “Helped Organize Anti-Trump Marches … Some Of Which Turned Into Riots.” New York Post columnist Paul Sperry wrote that former President Barack Obama is creating “what will effectively be a shadow government” to “sabotage the incoming administration” with “an army of agitators — numbering more than 30,000.” Sperry claimed that “activists” involved with Obama’s nonprofit, Organizing for Action (OFA), had already organized “anti-Trump marches across US cities, some of which turned into riots.” From the February 11 column:

Source: Pro-Trump Propaganda Outlets Are Blaming An Obama Shadow Government For Massive Anti-Trump Protests

And now the Trump incompetency is all Obama’s fault….according to a Trump supporter……

The Trump White House is clearly leaking like a sieve, and right-wing apologists, like ex-Navy S.E.A.L. Carl Higbie continue to carry water for Trump by blaming the Obama White House staff leftovers. He was on with Stephanie Ruhle, who follows Morning Joe weekdays.

RUHLE: You think that maybe there’s people in there who are patriots saying, I have to figure out a way to get the truth out?

You’d think a Navy S.E.A.L. would expect a General to be tough, but not Carl Higbie, He is worried that people are picking on poor Mikey, the same guy from this appalling RNC Reichstag-style speech.

Higbie, by the way, is auditioning as a potential replacement for Sean Spicer, some say.

HIGBIE: Or people with crosshairs on Mike Flynn, you don’t know. we have enormous leaks coming out of the White House. this is indicative of politicos, Obama leftovers, we call them them we bes, we be here when you come and we be here when you go. The loyalists. Donald Trump needs to find out who is loyal, who is a political.

Source: Malcolm Nance Smacks Higbie Down: ‘We Swore An Oath To The U.S. Constitution’ | Crooks and Liars

Sorry I have a problem with all this bullshit.  I expect more from a group that demands accountability from others but not their president…..(there is a name for that)……

Americans cannot come up with an opposition on their own….they need someone to tell them what is wrong…..is that about it?

In 2008 there was the rise of the Tea Party…remember?

Was that a plan by the Bush2 group for a “shadow government”?

But there is a new kid on the streets……

Source: Pro-Trump Propaganda Outlets Are Blaming An Obama Shadow Government For Massive Anti-Trump Protests

This gets more humorous by the day and it has only been about 4 weeks since the new guy raised his hand…..gonna be a long 4 years….how much juvenile crap will the American people stand?

The Foreign Policy Legacy of Barack Obama

Barack Obama has left the building and in slinks the new lord and master…..and now he will set about to secure his place in history…but what will his legacy be?

When his rule began I told my readers not to expect too much change with his presidency…few listened and those then set about whining about the journey he laid forth for the country in foreign policy…..

Below is a wealth of links for those interested in the Obama foreign policy legacy…..read then you decide for yourself……

When Barack Obama became president of the United States, few would have guessed that he would be followed by an administration touting nationalism and protectionism. What happened? World Politics Review has compiled 24 articles that trace Obama’s foreign policy legacy and what it means for the Trump era.

Source: The Foreign Policy Legacy of Barack Obama

I was so critical in the early days that Daily Kos did everything but ban me from the site because I would not tuck my tail and follow them into the abyss….

I cannot wait until the Trump years are behind us and I can write about his legacy….that is if there is a world left to write about…..but that is a post for another day.

But guess what?  So far Trumpie boy is no different than the last 2 presidents…..

“Let me begin by saying that although this has been billed as an anti- war rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances,” Illinois State Senator Barack Obama said in 2002. Later in the same speech: “What I am opposed to is a dumb war.”

Although elected president at least in part on his image as “the peace candidate,” Obama owned eight years of constant war. He waffled on then partially reversed the withdrawal from Iraq negotiated by his predecessor. He stretched the eight-year Afghanistan war to 16 years and counting. He began or expanded operations in Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen, escalating even to extra-judicial assassinations of American citizens.

Source: Trump’s Foreign Policy: Obama’s Third Term, Bush’s Fifth by — Antiwar.com

But the more I think about it….it may not be that difficult after all…..

Was Obama A Transformational President?

Some of the people I talk with think that Obama was a very transformational president….others think that the country went down the toilet under his leadership….me?

I do not think he was all that transformational…..his admin was very similar to that of Bush and that of the Clinton one…..he did give us a health care law….the problem as I see it is that it was too weak and controlled by the industry it was suppose to control…his signature trade deal, the TPP, was horrible in the vane of NAFTA…his financial regulations were weak at best…and thise are just the ones off the top of my head….

This all brought up an interesting thought….so I do what I always do….go looking for answers….and I found an article in the Politico that covers this question….

For weeks now, the impending departure of Barack Obama from the White House has inspired a run of paeans to his greatness, a flood of laments about how much he’ll be missed. Everywhere there are bouquets to his classy family, tributes to his avoidance of scandal, toasts to his decency, appreciations of his dry wit. Even his reading habits are cause for celebration: “Not since Lincoln has there been a president as fundamentally shaped—in his life, convictions and outlook on the world—by reading and writing as Barack Obama,” wrote the book critic Michiko Kakutani in a front-page New York Times story. (Really? More than Theodore Roosevelt, who read a book a day and wrote more than 30 himself? Or Woodrow Wilson, our only Ph.D. president and one of the leading political scientists of his era?)

Source: Was Obama a Transformational President? – POLITICO Magazine

Sorry but I do not see where anything got better for the people of this nation under the leadership of Obama…..well beyond the top 1% that is……

Now we move on and wait to see if Trump will be all that transformational…..so far it appears that it will not be so much….but it is early in his rule….we will just have to wait and see.

Be patient….we are told…..something we Americans are not that good at doing…..the country and the world are watching….

Obama Broadly Expands NSA Power

In the closing days of his presidency our president Obama has expanded the power of the NSA……and the chances of further abuses of our privacy…….a final shot, if you will…..

With just over a week left in office, President Obama has massive expanded NSA authority to share the personal communications swept up in their many warrantless wiretap schemes with America’s other 16 spy agencies.

The move aims to “relax” limits imposed by privacy laws by allowing the NSA to share raw data in a more or less limitless fashion with the other 16 spy agencies before the privacy laws are even applied to them. This is meant to get more eyes on the data collected.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who like Obama is out the door in about a week, defended the move, arguing that all the spy agencies will be bound by existing rules once they get ahold of and process the raw data. Privacy experts, however, note that the existing privacy protections aren’t great to begin with, and the expansion to so many different agencies just increases the risk of abuse.

(antiwar.com)

But there is more on this presidential move……

the Obama administration finalized new rules that allow the National Security Agency to share information it gleans from its vast international surveillance apparatus with the 16 other agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community.

With the new changes, which were long in the works, those agencies can apply for access to various feeds of raw, undoctored NSA intelligence. Analysts will then be able to sift through the contents of those feeds as they see fit, before implementing required privacy protections. Previously, the NSA applied those privacy protections itself, before forwarding select pieces of information to agencies that might need to see them.

Source: Why Is Obama Expanding Surveillance Powers Right Before He Leaves Office? – Defense One

Will any of this be overturned by the incoming president….or will these abuses be further extended?  All indicators point to the later.

The Obama Legacy

I have said all along that foreign policy would be the most important issue in 2016…..the problem is NO one of the candidates wants to talk about the issue seriously….instead we get platitudes, catch phrases and applause lines…..none of which really illustrates their knowledge of international situations.

Back in 2008 Obama was awarded the Nobel peace Prize because of his rhetoric…he had NOTHING as far as deeds but he talked a good game…..I said then that it was nothing but a PR stunt and that the commission would regret the awarding of the prize…..

And then everyone starting noticing that it was ignorant to award it to Obama…..

In his 2008 campaign, Barack Obama was, if not particularly ideologically committed, quickly branded as the comparatively antiwar candidate. It wasn’t a hard case to make, with Sen. John McCain (R – AZ) running an intensely pro-war campaign.

But Obama’s dubious antiwar bonafides were quickly embraced internationally, where he was heralded as a peacemaker of historical proportions and, in 2009, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize just nine months into his first term in office. He hadn’t really done anything yet, and the prize was seen as an advanced award for the things he was expected to do.

Source: Despite Nobel Peace Prize, Obama’s Presidency Defined by Constant War — News from Antiwar.com

Meanwhile back to the election of 2016……

……..presidential debate is unlikely to have much substance. It’s nothing new—throughout the presidential election season, concerns over personality and character have trumped even the pretense of a focus on actual issues. Donald Trump’s tenuous relationship with the truth makes this a particularly acute post-truth election but it isn’t the first one. Neither is it the first post-issues election.

When it comes to foreign policy, it has been decades since there’s been any kind of substantive domestic electoral debate. In the 2008 presidential election cycle, then Senator-Barack Obama got a lot of mileage out of his opposition to the Iraq War, when he was a state senator representing Hyde Park, one of the most liberal constituencies in Chicago. His primary opponent, then-Senator Hillary Clinton had not only voted for the 2002 authorization of the use of military force in Iraq but had also become one of its most vocal proponents, helping to forge a now conveniently forgotten bipartisan consensus.

Source: Trump, Clinton Foreign Policy Nonsense a Reflection of the Obama Legacy – Hit & Run : Reason.com

No matter the winner in November the legacy of Obama will dictate that our foreign policy will change little and that war will be the rule of the day for years to come.

So much for the change we all are looking for…..right?

The ‘Socialist’ Obama

For 8 years there have been some that keep calling Obama a ‘socialist’….first of all these people would not know a socialist from a libertarian….these are the knuckle draggers that hear something they like and will repeat it ad nauseum…..second if one has the mental capability to look at Obama’s economics then they will see that he is more a free trader than Trump will ever be……

How many comments will there be based on the title alone?

Barack Obama’s presidency had an action-packed beginning. Stimulus plans! Bailouts! ObamaCare! Wall Street reform!

All of that — well more than $1 trillion of government spending and a sprawling thicket of new regulations — was enacted within Obama’s first year and a half. Republicans skewered this agenda as “big government.” Plenty of them branded it “socialist.”

But in this, the final year of Obama’s presidency, and a year in which a self-declared “democratic socialist” came surprisingly close to winning the Democratic presidential nomination, the “Obama is a socialist” chatter is a lot quieter. And rightly so. Because a clear-eyed view of Obama shows not some power-mad redistributionist, but a leader pushing the sort of pro-market economic reforms that the GOP’s own presumptive presidential nominee should be suggesting.

Source: Why ‘socialist’ Obama is more of a free marketeer than Trump

Bu6t none of this will stop the mentally challenged from using the term…..by now it is no longer frustrating at the lack of accuracy….now it is just pathetic.