Wednesday, August 5, 2020
BY BILL JUNEAU
There is a clamor in the air about debates between President Trump and Joe Biden. Republicans backing the President welcome them with open arms, and Democrats, along with a media that no longer even pretends to be unbiased, have suddenly decided that maybe debates aren't all that important after all.
The unvarnished truth is that former Vice President Biden appears to have lost it mentally, and everyone knows it. The few times he has been on stage for all to see this year, his memory blanks and faux pas' and bizarre stories about the bristling hair on his legs and the legendary "Corn Pop" are a dead-bang give away that Joe Biden is running on empty. It has become clear that our troubled ship of state cannot right itself with such a shaky hand of leadership at the wheel.
Professor Victor Davis Hanson, a widely admired academic and assessor of the 21st century, has noted that generally, when Biden speaks, he cannot finish a sentence. "Names are vague eddies in his mind’s river of forgetfulness" and he should not be running for any office, much less U.S. President.
So the emerging plan seems to be to keep Old Joe in the basement. In other words, no big speech at the convention in Milwaukee, no debates with the acid-tongued Trump. The Corona virus is a good cover to keep voters from seeing just how close to incoherent their candidate really is. But debates have been a part of American politics since at least 1858, when Abraham Lincoln took on Stephen Douglas.
That doesn't seem to matter any more. Democrats have started pushing hard for no more debates--of course, because it will be too difficult with the pandemic and all.
Both The Washington Post, New York Times, and CNN, all big Biden fans, are getting cooler every day to the idea of debates--no surprise there. Who needs debates, asks the Post. "Lets scrap the debates" ran a headline in the Times' sacred Opinion Page, where jobs are lost if stories are not compatible with Times preferences. Comments from CNN also fall into line with the "no debates" push.
But Democrats must have some kind of plan. How about this? Let's get our fumbling candidate elected by whatever means necessary, and then keep him occupied with busy work and state dinners, while our hand-picked vice president steps in and runs things. Sort of a preview to her candidacy in 2024.
However, no one has apparently told Biden yet of this strategy. Biden himself says he ready and willing to debate.
Biden, 77, was a U.S. Senator from Delaware for nearly 40 years, and Vice President in the Obama administration for eight, and has run for President three times in the past.
"I can hardly wait to compare my cognitive capability to the cognitive capability of the man I am running against," Biden, said recently. An odd phrasing there, perhaps Biden forgot his opponent's name? We can just imagine the shudders going on backstage among his management team.
“I’ve been tested--I’m constantly tested,” the former Vice President said, while hunkered down in the basement of his Delaware home. “Look, all you’ve got to do is watch me, and I can hardly wait."
In a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates, Jen O'Malley Dillon, Biden's campaign manager, committed Biden to face off with Trump in debates planned for Sept. 29, Oct. 15 and Oct. 22, adding that a vice presidential debate is scheduled for October 7.
President Trump and his campaign want more debates than three. That is not surprising since Trump and his team of advisers believe that "Sleepy, Creepy," Joe, as Trump calls him, has suffered a "mental eclipse and is sliding away from reality at a geometric rate." Biden is incompetent and lacks the brains and the stamina to serve as President of the United States, Trump said during his recent interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News.Trump wants the public to see Biden in action.
Not only are debates a part of American history, but televised debates have become the rule in modern presidential elections and often have had a huge impact on the election's outcome.
Remember when President Reagan and Jimmy Carter went at it? Reagan grimaced and said, "there you go again" indicating the Carter was misstating facts. And it was Reagan, four years later, who at age 73, needled his opponent, Sen.Walter Mondale, by noting that he (Reagan) would not disparage his opponent by calling attention to his "youth and inexperience."
There are example after example of the unintended consequences that flow from televised presidential debates--how can we forget how unkind the cameras were to Richard Nixon against the handsome John F. Kennedy?
Americans expect to sit down in front of the television and get this early preview of how the candidates behave under pressure. It is not up to the New York Times and the Washington Post to call these debates off.
The presidential election is scheduled for November 3, and experts insist that date is frozen in the deepest concrete and cannot be pushed back. The President has tweeted that maybe the election could be delayed, but that idea has been rejected by both Democrats and GOPers.
As of today, the debates are still on, and Biden says he wants to showcase his mental acuity, and compare his skills with those of President Trump. If that happens and if Democrat are unsuccessful in interfering in an established tradition for Presidential elections, well, it's "game,set and match" and congratulations to President Trump.
Read Bill Juneau's blogs at www.rightsideonly.blogspot.com. Juneau, a lawyer, is a retired Chicago Tribune reporter
Saturday, August 1, 2020
BY FLORIDA BILL
Attorney General William Barr was the only witness, and 24 Democrats on the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives came to the hearing "ready to rumble."
Each one had a prepared menu of allegations that Barr had used his office to promote the president's re-election bid. Many charged that General Barr had fired up the dissent on the streets caused by the death of George Floyd by directing police and federal officers to take down "peaceful" protesters in the name of law and order.
Seventeen Republican legislators also have seats on the committee and each asked questions of the nation's "top cop,"and he responded with full answers. It was just the Democrats that were pumped up with animosity for the Republican Attorney General. Each committee member was allotted five minutes for questioning the attorney general.
After watching the televised hearing which went on for most of the day, viewers must have been scratching their heads, as they saw Democrats in action. Are they for real? "Did I vote for any of them?"
It was all rather comical as hostile and unprofessional "legislators" yelled and berated the nation's foremost attorney with spurious allegations, and then refused to allow him to respond and explain the actions of the Department of Justice. In many ways, we saw Curlie, Moe and Larry in skirts and pants, resurrected on a Capital Hill stage.
The hearing got underway after Barr delivered an opening statement in which he told of the policies and actions of the Department of Justice and his own personal commitment to be fair and impartial and to call things as he sees them. He noted also that when he accepted the appointment, the President told him to do what you feel is right. He said that since he has been Attorney General, the President has never asked him or suggested any decision or determination which he should make.
Confronted with questions from each of the 24, Barr remained poised. Typically, he would begin his answer, but within seconds, when he did not agree immediately with the allegation contained inside the question, he would be told by the legislator that "I am reclaiming my time." In legislative parlance, "reclaiming time" translates to "shut up and let me talk and expose your transgressions."
Madeline Dean, a freshman congresswoman from Pennsylvania, was one of the nastier detractors of the attorney general. She demanded to know why tear gas and chemical irritants were thrown at "peaceful" protesters in Lafayette Park, near the White House. Tear gas and chemical irritants were not used, said Barr, but when he endeavored to describe the lawlessness of the mob there he was abruptly silenced by the 61-year-old Dean who said she was "reclaiming my time.... and I am surprised at your lack of respect for a member of Congress."
In another exchange with Dean about the attack on "peace-loving men and women," by police, the Congresswoman demanded a "yes or no," as to whether it was proper to use law enforcement against peaceful demonstrators. When Barr hesitated and prepared to explain that tough responses are used only against lawlessness and criminals, Dean interrupted and said a "yes or no" answer was called for. "There are rules here by which we operate and I would ask you to respect them," she snapped.
Some committee members wanted to focus their questions on the pandemic sweeping the nation and let Barr know that he had done wrong-- big time. In fact he was guilty of murder.
Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell who was elected in 2018 in Florida, accused the Attorney General, and the President, of being directly responsible for the deaths of thousands who succumbed to the Covid-19 virus because they caused these persons to be denied medical insurance.
As she was expanding on her nonsense, Congressman Mike Johnson of Louisiana called out to Chairman Nadler to sanction Powell for having called Barr and President Trump murderers.
Committee Chairman Jerrold "Fat Jerry" Nadler ignored Johnson's point of order noting that Powell had the floor.
Rep. Nadler, 73, acquired the monitor of "Fat Jerry" in the 90s when he tipped the scales at about 340 pounds packed onto his 64 inch frame. He had his innards rewired and shed about 150 of those pounds, but has retained the nickname in the halls of Congress. Observers have remarked that "Fat Jerry" must have had the same dieting guru as his friend, the Rev. Al Sharpton.
On the House floor, Nadler has been a fierce critic of General Barr and has called for his "impeachment." It was Nadler, and Rep. Adam Schiff and Speaker Nancy Pelosi that promoted the partisan impeachment articles against President Trump. In a trial in the Senate, President Trump was vindicated of any alleged wrongdoing, and the impeachment was labeled by Washington insiders as a "hoax," pushed by Democrats who wanted revenge for Trump's beating Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Another strident Democrat at the hearing was Pramila Jayapal of Washington and she came gunning to take Barr down and make him cry "uncle."
"Was it appropriate," Jayapal asked Barr, to foster an "unprecedented escalation of violence against concerned and peaceful protesters in LaFayette Park and to use tear gas, chemical bombs, pepper sprays, batons and even horses against nonviolent men and women by law enforcement? And it was all done on your order to clear the deck for a photo op of you with the President. Yes or No question," she said.
Barr said no tear gas was used and he attempted to explain that the demonstration was not peaceful and that he saw projectiles thrown. It was a "yes or no" question the congresswoman repeated, visibly annoyed. She wanted an answer. Barr attempted to explain, and Jayapal snapped, "I am starting to lose my temper."
Congressman Henry "Hank" Johnson of Georgia used his five minutes to excoriate the attorney general in a gentler manner than most of his colleagues, for recommending a lower sentence in the Roger Stone case and for interfering in the Michael Flynn case.
Barr said the judge had agreed with him in the Stone case, and that Gen. Flynn had been set up. Barr sought to explain further, but Johnson "reclaimed his time," and asked another question but then "reclaimed" again before Barr could say more.
After a very long day of unintended comedy provided by Democrats, and near the end of the session, Attorney General Barr asked Chairman Nadler for a "five minute break." Nadler responded in a loud voice, "No." His loud, cold response seemed to startle others in the room, but Barr remained in place and the hearing was adjourned shortly thereafter.
The ranking Republican member on the committee, Jim Jordan of Ohio, said later that the hearing was ridiculous, because none of the Democrats would allow the witness to answer questions put to him. Any one who watched the hearing, said Jordan, got a preview of inept, unprofessional and unrestrained Democrats in action.
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
BY FLORIDA BILL
If there is one story you will seldom hear about, it is one the media doesn't like because it goes against their own supposedly non-existent biases. But then, there are times when these stories sneak out.
In these intense political times, those stories which too often get consigned to media waste baskets often connect to President Trump and portray him in a positive manner-- and the media simply cannot allow that to happen.
The New York Times, CNN, Washington Post and NBC are the captains and the worst offenders when it comes to burying news stories, although the practice is certainly not theirs alone. The lion's share of the media, with very few exceptions, denounce the nation's 45th President in every news cycle, and it makes no difference to them whether the story is true, false or "fair and accurate"
Recently, a news story leaked out that the Washington Post and CNN had settled multi-million dollar defamation suits filed against their companies by a Covington, Ky., high school teenager in a MAGA cap. It was not a report that the Post or other heavy voices in the media wanted to talk about. It was a story about telling lies to a gullible public.
The media giants had depicted the 16-year-old youth, Nicholas Sandmann, as a race-baiting young bigot, wearing the celebrated cap of a Trump supporter. The defamation arose from an incident in January, 2018, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.and it came back to haunt them.
Young Sandmann was with a group from Covington Catholic High school in Kentucky which had journeyed to the nation's capital to join in a Pro-Life and anti-abortion march. Later that afternoon, the group came together at the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Plaza to view the monument to the nation's 16th President who had signed the Emancipation Proclamation and freed the slaves.
In the mix of many tourists and observers, boyish-looking Sandmann was captured with a smile on his face on a video standing head to head with Nathan Phillips, a 64-year-old Native American activist who percussed a small drum in his hands and sang a Native American song. Sandmann stood still with a smile on his face, wearing the red MAGA cap which identified him as a supporter of the President, a few feet in front of Phillips.
The media, with the Post and CNN in the lead, took over from there and repainted the scene and gave it special racial spin after learning that the 64-year-old Phillips was a Viet Nam veteran. Sandmann was described as smiling, and smirking as the video went viral and rocketed about social media and the Internet. CNN and the Post and other media powerhouses, including NBC and the New York Times, ABC, CBS and Rolling Stones got in on the free for all against the teen with the hated red MEGA cap.
Covington school issued an apology for the conduct of its students, but retracted it after investigations showed that the Native American was not telling the full story and had actually waded into Sandmann. Talking heads on TV said that Sandmann was "taunting" the ex-marine and another anchor woman remarked that the young Sandmann had a face that "needed to be punched."
More investigations followed and confirmed that the incident was invented and blown up by the media into a racial confrontation, always highlighting the fact that Sandman and teen friends were wearing MAGA hats. At least seven phony stories ran in the Washington Post, it was alleged.
Attorney Lucian Lincoln "Lin" Wood, Atlanta attorney with credentials as a foremost defamation lawyer in the country, came aboard for the Sandmann family and filed a $250 million dollar suit against the Washington Post and a $275 million dollar suit against CNN. Wood is widely known for his representation of Richard Jewell, the security guard slandered and defamed by the media in the park bombing in Atlanta in 1996.
Last January, CNN settled the law suit with the Sandmann family and issued a statement that it was not admitting that it did anything wrong but that the litigation might go on too long and was too costly and unnecessary. The settlement amount was kept confidential, as was agreed to by the parties.
The Washington Post settled the litigation in recent days and the amount of the settlement was also kept confidential, and like CNN, no wrongdoing was admitted.
Wood said the Post settlement was a "gift of justice" to Nick Sandmann, now celebrating his 18th birthday.
Speculation as to the amount of the settlements is only that. It could be in the thousands, even in the millions. Off handed remarks by CNN that the settlement was insignificant may be a breach of the settlement agreement, said Wood. Such a breach could subject CNN to severe contract damages.
Defamation suits against other media companies are pending,
Congratulations to Nicholas who viciously had been made into a poster boy for racism; and to his parents Ted and Julie who suffered through it all; and to his lawyers, Lin Wood and Todd McMurtry. It was a "gift of justice" for Nick who was graduated in May from high school and just celebrated his 18th birthday, said Wood.
One thing we can take a pretty good guess about is that Nicholas, headed soon for college, will probably not need any student loans.
Friday, July 24, 2020
By Florida Bill
The New York Times has its fans and its critics for sure, but rarely do citizens get an unobstructed view into that famous newsroom.
The glimpse has been provided by opinion writer and progressive warrior Bari Weiss in a scathing letter of resignation from the paper in which she outlined the Times' disdain for all opinions which run counter to positions taken by the paper.
It was not a pretty picture of the old Gray Lady which Bari painted. Forget the heralded adage of "all the news that is fit to print." Nowadays, only approved columns and news stories okayed by the house are being fed to its loyal and sundry readers, and stories espousing culture and policies contrary to the Times menu are generally discarded.
Put another way--Its the "Times way, or the Highway."
The caviar-eating progressive crowd, the Hollywood elites and the rich pipe- smokers whose homes are protected by tall fences, are incredibly loyal to the Times and care only that the paper is miles to the left and despises President Trump. Accuracy and truth are unimportant. Bari Weiss was 36, had a bachelor's degree from Columbia University, and had been a Times culture warrior and opinion writer since 2017. She was hired by the Times following four years with the Wall Street Journal which she ended because of her annoyance that the paper was too easy on President Trump. The Times welcomed her with open arms.
As a working journalist and a woman of opinions, Ms.Weiss has been a guest on two occasions on "Real Time" with Bill Maher, and on "The View" with Joy Behar; and had been profiled in Vanity Fair. Smart, glib and a culture warrior who is a tough critic of President Trump, Bari has spoken out forcefully on the "MeToo" movement, and of her own bisexuality. In her three years at the powerful New York Times, Weiss became well known and highly regarded for her writings about current culture, which included her defense of Israel and her sympathies for the plight of Jews, of which she is one. She is the author of the book, "How to fight Anti-Semitism," which was well received, but subjected her to sniping from colleagues, who felt she had become obsessive with the subject.
Her 1,500 word letter of resignation was given to Publisher A.G. Sulzberger, and she opened her exiting essay with a chummy, "Dear A.G." Sulzberger, 39, took oven as editor and publisher on January 1, 2018, when his father, Arthur O. Sulzberger who had been publisher moved on to the role of Chairman of the New York Times Company.
Because of her Jewish columns and her book, some colleagues called her a "Nazi" and a "racist." Her milieu, she wrote, had become a "hostile work environment" and she asked "A.G.," "how could you allow this kind of behavior to go on inside your company in full view of the paper's entire staff....?" She also castigated the paper for living in a "distant galaxy"and writing that "the worst caste systems in human history include the United States and Nazi Germany."
As to the Times abandonment of journalistic ethics, Weiss wrote that stories are "chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions." Violations of this code can cost jobs, she said.
Ms. Weiss noted that several weeks ago, the opinion pages carried an OpEd from U.S. Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, a Republican, which ran counter to the Times narrative. It endorsed the use of federal troops to bring peace and civility to the streets of cities which had descended into lawlessness. Cotton's comments were worthy of debate, she said.
In the fallout from that miscue, with hundreds of staffers complaining, and in just two days after the Cotton piece ran, Opinion Page editor James Bennet who had approved the piece for his section, was fired, and Bennet's deputy was demoted to a desk in the city room. Cotton's piece did not belong in the Times, asserted Sulzberger who told the staff that Bennet had apologized and resigned.
Surprisingly, Ms. Weiss avoided commenting on the Times receipt of a Pulitzer for its many stories on Donald Trump's "collusion" with Russia, as the subject was typical of the Times' disregard for honesty in its reporting.
The newspaper had accepted the award for some 20 fabricated stories alleging Trump "collusion" and possible sedition with Russia despite the fact that President Trump was cleared of all wrongdoing following a $33 million investigation into the charges by a special prosecutor. The investigation was acknowledged under oath to have been a "hoax" by the acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who had commissioned the investigation.
For someone like Weiss to leave what was once considered a plum job in journalism-- at a time when any such jobs are few and far between and layoffs are commonplace--is proof of her disgust at what the creme de la creme of American newspapers has become.
Monday, July 20, 2020
By Florida Bill
As was hyped and promoted, the Chris Wallace one-on-one interview with President Trump was aired Sunday. Nothing new there, but Wallace endeavored to produce the coveted "gotcha" which would embarrass the President and draw kudos from liberals and his colleagues in the media.
With his prepared questions, the aggressive and mush-mouthed Wallace, a registered Democrat, did his best to show that the President was a racist who had mishandled the pandemic sweeping the nation; had disparaged Covid-19 expert Dr. Tony Fauci unfairly and will never commit to accepting results of the upcoming election.
Trump went ahead with the scheduled interview and it was held in a garden area outside the White House. The weather was hot, they both agreed, but President Trump made the call as to the setting.
Trump had been on record as to his assessment of Wallace, who works for Fox News, and was formerly with ABC and NBC. In a tweet he had said Wallace, 72, was a "wannabe" of his late father, and was, in his interviewing and reporting, "nasty and obnoxious." Chris' father, Mike Wallace, had been a part of the media for about seven decades, mostly on CBS and frequently on "60 Minutes," and had always found a way to curtsy to the Democratic Party which revered him and treated him as one of their own.
In the garden interview, Wallace wanted to know why Trump did not order that citizens wear a mask at all times. Trump said that he believed in wearing a mask and he recommended it, but that the decision is up to the citizens and cannot be ordered by him or by governors. He noted that Dr. Fauci had initially told him that masks were not necessary, but has reversed himself on that. "Dr. Fauci is a "little bit of an 'alarmist' about the pandemic, but we have a very good relationship," Trump explained. The President said that he is sticking with his prediction that the pandemic will disappear, and ---"eventually, I will be right."
With his hands filled with polling results, Wallace noted aggressively that the President is trailing Joe Biden in virtually every category. It was designed to be a telling put down of the President but Trump was not buying it.
"First of all, I am not losing, because these are fake polls, in which Republicans are not included," he fired back. "They were fake in 2016 and they're even more fake now....the polls were much worse in 2016."
We have our own polls, asserted the President to the combative Wallace, and we are ahead and we feel good about everything. We will be re-elected next November.
Wallace charged on, noting that changing the names of army bases is favored by the military---bases like Fort Brag in North Carolina, named after a southern general. Trump said he would veto name changing of bases, adding that he didn't care what the military said.
" Army bases stood tall during two world wars.... so what are you going to name them?" he asked. "Are we going to name one after the Rev. Al Sharpton?"
Then Wallace dug deep, looking to put the President down and score a "gotcha." He repeated a question which he had asked Candidates Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016--that if elected, would the President "accept the results of the election."
The president should have told Wallace that was a dumb question in 2016 and it is just as dumb now.
Trump dismissed it by answering the same as he had four years ago. "I am not going to say yes, and I am not going to say no. I will let you know when the time comes. I'll keep you in suspense."
Does Wallace have some idea that if Trump were defeated in the election t he would remain in the oval office and lock the door? Any candidate can contest results of an election when the numbers are very close.
Does the President consider Biden to be "senile," inquired Wallace.
"I would not say that," said Trump, who added he feels his opponent is incompetent and is clearly being manipulated by radical progressive managers. Left alone, he is incapable of doing the job as President, Trump added. He suggested that Biden should undergo a cognitive test similar to the one which he (Trump) has taken and passed with a perfect score. He said that if Biden were interviewed as he has been, he would probably drop to the ground and scream "mama."
Wallace said that he has requested an interview with Biden, but has not yet received an answer.
If he is allowed into Biden's basement hideaway, it will be interesting to see how Joe handles those Wallace softballs.
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
By Florida Bill
C'mon candidate Biden, let's open up all of your files and see if a complaint concerning your behavior was filed by Ms. Tara Reade back in 1993. The idea that Biden's files stored at the University of Delaware and in the Senate are off limits in the face of such allegations against a former vice president and 37 year senator just doesn't fly.
The disorganized and befuddled Biden needs to get real and deal with the allegation that he assaulted Reade 27 years ago in a darkened corner of the Capitol building.
"It didn't happen, period," says Biden. But that does not close the door, because Ms. Reade, now 56, says that it did and that it was revolting, and that she filed a written complaint and that complaint has to be archived somewhere. She failed to keep a copy, she said.
Biden and other "never Trump" Democrats including Speaker Pelosi and media pundits who have abandoned all journalistic honesty and objectivity, simply take Biden at his word that Miss Reade invented the allegation. She is an exception to the Democrat's principle that all women with accusations that they were assaulted by men of prominence "are to be believed."
Last heard is that requests to the Senate personnel office and to the Delaware university to produce the files of 1992 and 1993 have been refused. As to the files archived in the Senate, the NYT has reported that these files are deemed privileged and are protected from disclosure by a federal law. Nevertheless, it seems difficult to conceive of Biden being restricted from looking at his own files.
As to the Biden files stored in vaults at the University, Biden has a 2011 "donor agreement" with it which provides that the school has agreed to hold on to his papers which are not "public record," and to release the hold on them two years after Biden retires from public office.
Initially, the University planned to release the Biden papers in 2019 after the Vice President's retirement from public office in 2016. But it updated that policy just before Biden announced his presidential bid to say the records would be released “two years after the donor retires from public life.”
Sweeping away all the political hesitation, Biden holds the key and has the authority to direct that the boxes for 1992 and 1993 be made available for perusal by Biden as well as by a third party. In fact, Biden could allow Reade's attorney to join him in looking through the documents.
If the Biden papers stored in the Senate files, which cover 35 years as a member of that body, are protected by a federal law from disclosure, Reade's lawyers or an aggressive media should be able to cut through the red tape and obtain permission to examine the files from the early 1990s. Because of its emergency and for the public good, a judge could authorize perusal, or the court could make an in- camera examination.
In April, Biden guested on the "Morning Joe" show on MSNBC and in his jumbled and confused way said there is no reason to look for a complaint of that nature in the university files "because they don't go there." Mika, Morning Joe's sidekick and wife, asked Biden to have someone make an electronic search for "Reade" in those files. "There's nothing there," replied Biden adding that he did not understand what Mika was asking. He then said that the files of the Senate should be examined indicating that that is where it would be, if in fact it existed.
Describing Biden's attack in detail, Reade told the NYT that the assault happened in the spring of l993 in a dark and deserted part of the Capitol building where she caught up to her boss to give him his gym bag which he had left behind. He pushed her against a wall and started kissing her neck and hair. He slid his hand up her cream-colored blouse, she said, and used his knee to part her bare legs before reaching under her skirt and penetrating her with his fingers.
Sunday, July 12, 2020
By Florida Bill
No surprise to read that Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, 45, is retiring from the army after 21 years on active duty. He said it was because of the "bullying, intimidation and retaliation" against him by forces in the Trump administration.
His name was on a list of lieutenant colonel candidates who were on track for promotion to full Colonel, but final approval never seemed to materialize. Several influential Democrats, including Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth, were calling for his elevation to the coveted rank of "Bird" colonel, but the writing was on the wall, and it wasn't going to happen.
So why was President Trump so annoyed with Vindman? Last February, he had him escorted from his trusted and prestigious chair in the White House by Secret Service Agents and reassigned to a nondescript desk in a corner of the Pentagon. Why so impatient with this "dedicated" career officer?
After all, Vindman had done nothing untoward but send up a balloon accusing his Commander-in Chief and President of of the United States of misconduct. He accused Trump of leaning inappropriately on the president of Ukraine with a "demand" that he investigate his political rival, Joe Biden. The consequences of ignoring Trump's order, according to Vindman, would be that the Ukraine would have to forego $400 million in foreign aid earmarked for the country.
Vindman had conjured up that fake narrative after monitoring a telephone conversation on July 25, 2019, between President Trump and President Zelensky of Ukraine. As a top security aide in the White House, it was part of Vindman's routine duties to monitor the President's talks with the heads of other countries.
Vindman passed his improvised version of the conversation that he had heard to a friend in another intelligence division who was not "in the loop" and had no "need to know" about discussions which the President had with foreign leaders. Vindman's friend relayed the information passed on to him to lying Congressman Adam Schiff, and the ( still unidentified) Vindman pal agreed to be an anonymous "whistle blower," with legal protections promised by Schiff, and Schiff's disingenuous leader, Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
A properly worded complaint was prepared for the "whistle blower," who then signed it and sent it to the Inspector General. The story of the alleged "high crime" misconduct of President Trump was then leaked to the Democrat-controlled media, which commenced a vicious attack on the President.
In December of last year, the House, led by Speaker Pelosi and her California colleague, Schiff, voted articles of Impeachment. Vindman became the star witness and central figure and he pushed hard to assist the Democrats in taking down the nation's 45th President.
Vindman was a career army officer who came to America from the Ukraine with his family and became a naturalized American citizen. Before his intelligence work, he served in combat in Iraq and was the recipient of a Purple Heart and other awards. For Schiff and Pelosi, the uniformed Vindman had the perfect credentials to be their trained attack dog against the despised Trump.
President Trump defended himself and insisted that the Vindman narrative was inaccurate and dishonest, but favor and belief rested with Vindman. However, Trump flipped the table and produced the actual transcript of the relevant conversation. Doing so was not anticipated by Democrats as such conversations of the President with foreign dignitaries and leaders are fiercely guarded as private and retained under lock and key.
But Trump produced it for all to read and the so-called "demand" which Vindman spoke of was not there. It was heavy fabrication. The conversation was friendly, and in no way improper. President Zelensky held a news conference and denounced the accusations against Trump as untrue.
Two articles of impeachment were sent to the Senate in January for trial. House Democrats presented their case based largely upon the sworn testimony of Vindman. President Trump was promptly acquitted of all wrongdoing.
Vindman had done his best to bring down the Commander in Chief, and in February he was relieved of his position in the White house. Asked how he regarded Vindman, Trump responded "Do you think that I am happy with him?" In another interview, Trump said that Vindman was a "disgrace" to the military.
Vindman has said that he will be beginning a new chapter in his life as he turns in his uniform. In a statement prepared for him, Vindman said he was leaving the army after more than 21 years after it had been made clear to him that his future within the institution he has dutifully served will forever be limited.
As sung in the old barracks ballad, old soldiers never die, they "just fade away." Vindman will fade away, but he will be remembered not for his loyalty and devotion to the institution, but for his dishonest narrative designed to boot his President and Commander in Chief from office. .