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Democracy: Participation Required

It has been said, “There cannot be daily democracy without daily citizenship.”

Discussing politics over a glass of wine, sitting at an outside café, is a daily affair in Europe. In the USA we are far too often distracted by BSO’s [bright shiny objects] like football teams, NASCAR, the newest diet, latest phone app, and alternate world games. We have become “PC” about politics forgetting that the term “PC” is of communist origin, straight from Chairman Mao’s ideology that was intended to silence dissenters. Being politically correct has been terribly bad for our country; it is far better to desire to be perfectly candid,  rather than have a paucity of courage/conviction and no discernible opinion.

It is true that when we look to our major news channels for balanced news, we rarely find anything other than skewed and/or missing data. AllSides.com states: “Unbiased news does not exist.” The drive for ratings was the death knell for balanced news; game shows and reality TV took their place sometime after Walter Cronkite died, with movies about the walking dead, witches/warlocks and action heroes taking its place. A Faustian pact was made by the stations to become a source for unhealthy entertainment. The Washington Examiner just stated today that there were four journalistic errors in the span of ten hours. What has happened to fact checking PRIOR to going to print? https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/a-banner-day-for-news-media-four-major-reporting-errors-in-just-10-hours

I, like many, have come to the realization that much of what I hear and read is Wag the Dog babble; to learn the truth, I  have to abate the noise from all  major stations, investigate, then extrapolate on my own.

Bill Moyers warned us this would happen:

“When you mix fiction and news, you diminish the distinction between truth and fiction, and you wear down the audience’s own discriminating power to judge.”

In two earlier articles, I mentioned C-Span.org having a great record library for looking up videos and full transcripts of our House and Senate in action; ProPublica.org is an investigative journalism site that exposes abuses of power. Today, I am going to add USAspending.gov [where government contracts are listed] and RollCall.com [how representatives voted on those contracts],  plus Politifact.com, Politico.com  OpenSecrets.org and ReadSludge.com which exist to uncover corruption. If you simply bookmark those sites and refer to them, you will be able to stay abreast of the actual news from which you can draw a fair and balanced conclusion and form a cogent response.

At this time, members of Congress are allowed to directly oversee industries in which they are personally invested and oversee investigation of officials from companies in which they have a financial stake. The Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act did not pass in August 2018 https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/3357 and has only been referred to the Committee on Finance, where it has been tabled ever since. Certain companies and industries have become allowed to become “sure bets.” Banks, for instance, were “too big to fail” in 2008 and they brought the economy down with risky wagers called mortgage-backed securities; those in charge were given no more than a slap on the hand and they did an abysmal job explaining their behavior, as C-span.org videos show. Consequently, in 2020 the elderly have been asked to do reverse mortgages to cannibalize their home’s assets so they can live comfortably during their golden years and pay for food and their own eventual funeral…and home owners are being offered “quick cash offers” with “no repairs required” so US homes can be sold off to foreigners without any allegiance to the US.

I ask you: Is this what our Patriots fought for?

As the links below show, Chinese investors have been the biggest investors in US real estate for the past SIX YEARS. Young couples looking for a new home are being out bid by foreign investors who are trying to park their money in the USA: It is a shocking fact that we have become an “offshore account” for foreign investors! The ONLY question that yet remains is just how much of the USA was given away to people who have no allegiance to our country and how many other countries are involved?

I would like to encourage you to read this NPR article about American Soil: https://www.npr.org/2019/05/27/723501793/american-soil-is-increasingly-foreign-owned

“There are there are no federal restrictions on the amount of land that can be foreign owned, it’s been left up to individual states to decide on any limitations.”

Redfin states: “Anyone may buy and own property in the United States, regardless of citizenship.https://www.redfin.com/guides/buy-a-house-not-us-citizen and https://myrawealth.com/insights/can-a-foreigner-buy-a-house-in-the-us states the same.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/08/chinese-middle-class-buying-up-american-residential-real-estate.html

As the Washington post states, regarding our US debt:

“By 2029, without legislated changes, the fiscal democracy index will be nearly zero, meaning almost all revenue will be committed to previously mandated programs. Almost every dollar that Congress designates for non-mandated programs such as education, defense and most of the basic functions of government will be financed by borrowing.”

It is clear that we, the American citizens, need to pay far more attention to what is being appropriated, since by law those commitments determine our future: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/congress-is-supposed-to-decide-how-the-us-spends-money-soon-it-wont-be-able-to/2019/09/12/3a7f77f8-d411-11e9-9343-40db57cf6abd_story.html

The straight truth is:  “There cannot be daily democracy without daily citizenship” and being truly interested in the money trail is how we, the people, will keep it.

Biden, Burisma and Bellicose Bolton: “I have a bridge for you to buy and it’s in Brooklyn.”

First of all, I would like to say a hearty thank-you to C-span, created by cable TV in 1979, for compiling videos of our government servants in action and including the full transcript, so American citizens can find data and quote it appropriately. Many of us have ditched cable, due to deregulation and squabbling over which company is going to get which channels, so it is nice to know that there is one place online that compiles this data regardless of your pocketbook.  I would also like to thank ProPublica; you are a breath of fresh air in an era of bitterly partisan politics and the kind of balanced reporting our grandparents used to watch and read about daily. There was far less entertainment back then and more genuine news. My additional recommendation for actual news is https://www.allsides.com/unbiased-balanced-news which shows left, center, and right viewpoints in three columns,  side by side.

In the interests of retaining our democracy, I think it is safe to say the DEM party’s rhetoric that proclaimed the people are not smart enough to vote their choice at the ballot box is a moot one. I think it’s safe to say the GOP party rhetoric  that proclaimed citizens have a right to know about corruption occurring in Washington DC is on target, especially so before an election. I think it’s safe to say DEMS have been working since Trump’s inauguration speech to impeach him; there are videos of politicians saying so and vile tweets, just as there were rabid tea partiers who refused to believe Obama was born in the USA and lampooned him in cartoons, shouting obscene and racist chants while “astroturfing.”

This is yet another one of those moments when we all should shudder at the example we are setting for “undeveloped countries” who may think this behavior comes along with being a democratic republic. Attorney Patrick Philbin was correct: “If there is credible information of wrongdoing by any of government servants, it needs to be brought to light.”  I am going to include members of the House, Senate, past presidents too, political advisors, government contractors, and lobbyists to that list.  I don’t think an “election year” gives our government servants, who are Jewish, Protestant and Catholic, any special dispensations to hide the truth, Rep. Sylvia Garcia. Childish “ABC behavior” must end for our republic to survive: no more Aberrations, no more Bellicose behavior, and no more Cash for gas/oil exchanges.

I was researching online and found a very interesting video in the cspan archive that is of value to this discussion about  Biden, Burisma and Bolton.

You will have to go back in time to get a fuller picture here, so return to the year 2005 when John Bolton was trying to strong arm analyst Christian Westermann  into agreeing that there were “weapons of mass destruction hiding in the sand.” When Westermann refused to comply, Bolton wanted to get him fired and/or transferred.

ProPublica revealed in an article titled John Bolton Skewed Intelligence some revealing character flaws that may well explain this “bombshell” book that is soon to come: “Bolton resists input that doesn’t fit his biases and retaliates against people he disagrees with….Bolton took isolated facts and made much more of them to build a case than I thought the intelligence warranted… It was, sort of, cherry-picking of little factoids, and little isolated bits were drawn out to present the starkest possible case.”  Reference: https://www.propublica.org/article/john-bolton-national-security-adviser-intelligence

Bellicose Bolton is what he was called for his biases and acts of retaliation.

Do you remember the following conversation by the DEMS with Carl Ford about Bolton’s behavior at the Senate on Foreign Relations Committee?  https://www.c-span.org/video/?186254-1/un-ambassador-confirmation-hearing-day-2 It was a long inquiry with DEMS questioning Bolton’s behavior, Biden stating the following, after showing up over an hour late: 2:08:31

 “You have to believe this was only about process, which he swore. You have to believe that he let it go. You have to believe there was no desire to punish at all. And you have to believe this was just an aberration in order to believe what he said yesterday…

 If you believe all that, I have a bridge for you to buy. It’s in Brooklyn.”

One thing is certain, even the “hocus pocus” of Harry Potter did not make the DEM’s app work in Iowa, nor has the ripping up of the President’s speech by Pelosi cast a magical spell causing the people to forget history.

The people will vote to elect the candidate of their choice in November and the ballot box will prevail…as it ought to.

 

“Sound Off” on the Impeachment Trial

A wise man once told me when I was very young, “If you want to know why certain events happen in history, you have to follow the money back to who is most likely to profit. Assume that what you see is just a magician’s wand to distract you from what he’s actually putting up his sleeve.”

According to the Sludge Report, fifty-one members of Congress and their spouses own between $2.3 and $5.8 million worth of stocks in companies that are among the top 30 defense contractors in the world. Let that sink in for a minute. Apparently, our members of the House and the Senate–and let’s be clear it’s not confined to just one party–sit on committees that appropriate defense funds, know in advance which companies may be the recipients of large defense contracts, vote to that effort,  then adjust their holdings to profit from it! Of course, Martha Stewart did the very same thing and it was called “insider trading” and she had to serve time, but when our representatives do it…it’s blessed and called kosherhttps://readsludge.com/2020/01/13/the-members-of-congress-who-profit-from-war/

“Graft” is the unscrupulous use of a politician’s authority for personal gain. It occurs when funds intended for public projects are intentionally misdirected in order to maximize the benefits to private interests.

John Kennedy [R-LA] filed legislation S.2781 in November 2019 to ban immediate family of lawmakers and top administration officials from profiting from Ukraine defense contracts.  The bill was read twice and sent to the Council on Foreign Relations where it yet remains to this day, having died a quiet death: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/2781?s=1&r=14

Going backwards in time to August 2016, weapon makers started positioning Moscow as a resurgent enemy, fomenting a fictitious tension to create “opportunities in Europe.” https://theintercept.com/2016/08/19/nato-weapons-industry/  The Sludge report I have  mentioned above names the beneficiaries: Boeing, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, United Technologies, Leidos, Northrop Grumman, Raython, General Dymanic, Huntington Ingalls, Textron, Airbus, BAE Systems and Leonardo.

Given that Russia has nowhere close to the military might of the USA, and well knows it… https://armedforces.eu/compare/country_USA_vs_Russia  President Trump is right to question the need to send anything to the Ukraine and should be able force them to verify appropriate use, prior to releasing any funds, given their history of corruption.  The fact that our Congress forced these defense contracts through makes absolutely no difference. Trump is our Commander in Chief and has final authority. The fear on the faces of members of Congress during the impeachment hearings is palpable; someone dared to tamper with their money tree, and Trump won’t stop there when reelected. Trump is out to drain the entire swamp and he’s been doing that since he took office. With unparalleled arrogance, Adam Schiff has stated: “The President’s misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box.” Schiff  is asking us to abdicate our right to vote. He must think the American people are too stupid or uninvolved in politics to elect their own President! [Watch time frames 1:55-2:05] https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/adam-schiff-case-against-trump-cannot-be-decided-at-the-ballot-box Why the rush? Because voting at the ballot box reflects the will of the people and that is the very last thing these career politicians want.  It rocks the gravy boat; it jeopardizes their pet projects. It rarely benefits those in the upper 1% who hide behind the curtain like the Wizard of Oz and have lobbyists out doing their dirty work. Apparently it isn’t enough that we yet have an electoral college that can and has overridden the will of the people in the past, we now have to ask Adam Schiff for permission to vote! Oy vey!

Not only are rubber-stamped defense contracts in jeopardy, but control of the oil and natural gas pipelines in the Ukraine, which has also been swept under the rug by all local news stations. Before resigning in Dec. 2019, Former Energy Secretary Rick Perry apparently referred to the pipelines as the “Texas of Europe.” Over two decades ago [ie this has been in the works long before Trump took office] Professor R. Craig Nation, Director of Russian and European studies at the US War College Strategic Studies Institute, stated in a NATO publication the following:

“Ukraine is increasingly perceived to be critically situated in the emerging battle to dominate energy transport corridors linking the oil and natural gas reserves of the Caspian basin to European markets…Considerable competition has already emerged over the construction of pipelines. Whether Ukraine will provide alternative routes helping to diversify access, as the West would prefer, or ‘find itself forced to play the role of a Russian subsidiary’ remains to be seen.” Click for Resource

Clearly, this current attempt to impeach President Trump is a backlash caused by his shining a spotlight on war profiteering and revealing oil and natural gas corruption in the Ukraine; if either are being done by one of our very own on foreign soil, it’s time to end the corruption.  Let’s dredge the swamp and expose all who have been hiding in the mud. This has been called a “cash for gas” scandal, and perhaps it is.

The American people have been watching the impeachment trial and are asking valid questions: Why are we obligated to give even one penny to the Ukraine when we have $22.7 trillion in debt, which translates to approximately $70K in debt per US family? Our own wounded warriors have to beg for services at their local VA, which are clearly overburdened, but Ukraine soldiers are earmarked free money? The elderly have to retire years later than they want to because Social Security is flailing and are doing reverse mortgages to pay for food and medical bills, but Ukraine gets free money? And, there’s a border wall that needs to be completed to halt flagrant illegal immigration. We do not have “free money” or any surplus money to give to Ukraine.  It is a fact that the United States has active duty military troops stationed in nearly 150 countries with only 34% of that debt being covered by our allies. Many of these countries provide a 4-yr college education completely Scot-free because the USA foots their military bill. When are we going to start taking care of our own and put America first?

As for Joe Biden, he should never have used his political influence to get Hunter Biden a job; that’s nepotism; it’s graft, as defined above; it’s corrupt overreach and money laundering for personal, financial gain. Furthermore, how did Hunter Biden get a billion and a half dollars (from China) to invest when he’d only been in business for 60 days?” It’s a curious rabbit hole down which many politicians on BOTH sides of the aisle have gone. Is there a single valid reason why cspanwj [and all new stations for that matter] are not fine honing in on BIDEN’s firing of the top prosecutor investigating his son’s firm? Joe bragged about it at a Council on Foreign Relations meeting!

This attempt to impeach Trump is really and truly about the Democrats sudden realization that they have not one single viable candidate for the 2020 election; they wasted two years amassing a collection of outlandish “runners” who are so off the deep end in ideology they frighten even staunch Progressives. Democrats have to remove Trump on false charges, bury Biden’s actions, and throw amnesia dust on the American people to force a Biden win. They cannot bear a free election by the people.

Real Clear Investigations has evidence that the “whistleblower” CIA analyst Eric C. was speaking with Sean Misko about impeaching Trump as early as two weeks into his presidency. Read the full article: https://www.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2020/01/22/whistleblower_was_overheard_in_17_discussing_with_ally_how_to_remove_trump_121701.html

If this impeachment occurs, I think we will see a backlash from the American people the likes of which has never occurred before, with the goal of cleaning out both houses! There is no doubt this is way overdue, and the man who coined the phrase “You’re fired!”—President Donald Trump—is just the one to do it. Let us not forget that on January 20, 2017, President Donald J. Trump stated without equivocation:

“For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Politicians prospered–but the jobs left, the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.”  

It’s President Trump’s “Drain the Swamp” Mission–part of his campaign promise from day one and stated at his inauguration–that so angers those in the House and Senate, for it cuts into insider trading profits on defense contracts & exposes jobs won abroad via graft.

When I heard White House General Counsel Patrick Philbin state on 1/30/20:

“If there is credible information of wrongdoing by someone who is running for a public office, it’s not campaign interference for credible information about wrongdoing to be brought to light,”

I clapped.

Yes, that is what the American people want. President John F. Kennedy said the same on April 27, 1961 and his disdain for the advice and policies of career diplomats and military advisors was also warranted.  Like many US citizens, I believe our President has not only the RIGHT to investigate any member of the House, Senate, all Defense Contractors, Ambassadors and Lobbyists but the OBLIGATION to fight corruption abroad and in Washington, DC.