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22nd January 2020
By Tony Morrison – Our US Correspondent
Everything is coming up roses in the Land Of The Free in 2020.
The year began great with the elimination of super-terrorist Qasem Soliemani. Trump’s foreign policy is to try and disentangle the US from unnecessary conflicts, but in doing so you cannot have folks taking liberties. Iran has been niggling away at the US after the US placed sanctions against Iran subsequent to withdrawing from the flawed Iran nuke deal. A drone shoot down here, attacks on a US embassy there, and sooner or later in Trumpland if you don’t show respect someone’s going to have to get a slap. Soleimani, the head of the super-nasty Iranian Quds force, and the pioneer of working with all disparate groups in the Middle East to wage war against the US, deservedly drew the short straw. Iran’s “retaliation” of lobbing a few missiles at the desert showed how much Iran took the message to heart.
This last week was even better. Congress has finally overcome massive partisan differences to sign Trump’s new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada. We are looking for an estimated positive impact of $62 Billion to our GDP and 176,000 jobs added. The President also signed a limited Phase One trade agreement with China that will see China buying $200 Billion more of goods and services from the US. The 60% of the working population that take advantage of 401k retirement programs have been gleefully looking at the stratospheric growth numbers on their quarterly statements. Jobs are going a-begging, and wages are going up. We even dodged a bullet when two dis-royalled freeloaders decided they would rather swank around in Canada and not the US.
And yet there is always something.There are always those who can never be happy and wish to spoil it for the rest of us.
The Trumpian policy of seeking to disengage from the Middle East was roundly decried by the punditocracy, much of the media and the entire Democrat Party. One example is the fearsome warrior and Connecticut’s Senator, Democrat Chris Murphy.
After the US Embassy in Iraq was attacked by Soleimani’s minions, he tweeted in a Patton-esque rage at Trump’s spinelessness:
“The attack on our embassy in Baghdad is horrifying but predictable. Trump has rendered America impotent in the Middle East. No one fears us, no one listens to us. America has been reduced to huddling in safe rooms, hoping the bad guys go away. What a disgrace.”
Fair comment you might think. Yet just three days later, after Soleimani’s unfortunate roadside accident, Chris Murphy was at his cell phone again, reverse ferreting with considerable aplomb:
“The question is this – as reports suggest, did America just assassinate, without any congressional authorization, the second most powerful person in Iran knowingly setting off a potential massive regional war?”
Chris was not alone of course as the punditocracy, much of the media, etc. was now totally against the irresponsible President seeking to destroy the entire planet in an unimaginable WWIII. Soleimani became an icon to be honoured, a “revered military leader” in the eyes of the Washington Post. Some rather silly reports even suggested the Democrats were going to run him in the Presidential Primary, but the evidence is suspect. This graphic on Primary poll numbers is obviously fake as it shows Buttigieg leading with 25%.
We have not heard anything further about Iran from the punditocracy, etc., etc. since Iran predictably backed off their oft-stated plan for catastrophic revenge if the US bust a cap in any Iranian’s ass. The Iranian stand-down was an enormous surprise for all these guys who were desperately hoping for WWIII as it would reflect badly on Trump. It was not much of a surprise to anyone else. As the renowned military strategist, Mike Tyson, put it “they all have a plan … until they get hit.”
The Impeachment charade that is so 2019 reared its ugly head again this week. We had all forgotten about it as last year Nancy Pelosi had come up with a cunning plan, a plan so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel. She decided not to send the Impeachment Articles to the Senate for trial as a way of pressuring the Senate into doing something to ensure Trump’s guilt (don’t ask, nobody understood it, not even CNN).
But this last week Nancy popped up on TV introducing her seven Impeachment manager dwarfs. These guys, headed up by Shifty (Schiff) and Grumpy (Nadler), then waddled solemnly on the way to the Senate to deliver the few pages that constitute the Impeachment articles and the evidence for such. Twenty years ago, the delivery of Clinton’s Impeachment stuff needed 81 boxes and a forklift, but of course Clinton did actually commit some crimes.
The Senate is charged with conducting a trial based on the evidence provided by the House. As this is flimsy at best, the trial is believed to only take the two weeks needed for all Republicans to vote against and all Dems to vote for. This will give ample opportunity for the usual cast of loons (punditocracy, etc. etc.) to give it the old “Trump cannot stay in power a moment longer” 24/7. Otherwise, of course, we’ll continue to have full employment and higher wages, and the environment will be under threat from being littered with bits of dead terrorists. Nancy and the Dems, though, have just unveiled another cunning plan; one so cunning it could have been developed by a fox who has just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University.
The plan is a variant of the “Kavanaugh Manoeuver” where obviously dodgy witnesses with an agenda are produced at the last minute to save the day for the Dems. Chief among these is a Russian national, Lev Parnas, who is one of many dubious characters that hang around the various Trump hangouts, such as the Trump Hotel Bar in DC, looking for action and Presidential selfies.
They are grifters, con artists and bad actors out for the main chance, some of which are all three like ex-NY mayor Rudy Giuliani. Rudy has been busy building an international consulting business in countries like Ukraine, in the course of which he has been working with the dubious Parnas and his cohorts. He has stated he has provided information generated in his work to Trump on both corruption and Ukraine interference in 2016 as part of Trump retaining him as a lawyer to help with his defence in the Mueller investigation.
Parnas and three others have been indicted in the Southern District Of New York (SDNY) for money laundering and campaign finance violations that are unrelated to Giuliani or Trump or Ukraine. The SDNY prosecutors have been fixated on prosecuting Trump for anything after Clinton (Hilary model) was not elected in 2016. Facing many years inside, Parnas is now cooperating with prosecutors who wish to see if they can investigate Giuliani and his dealings in Ukraine, and then tie it to Trump. As a further insurance policy Parnas is now trying to reach out to congressional lawmakers and establish himself as a favourable witness in the Trump impeachment, and so curry some more favour with the SDNY prosecutors. He provided his cell phone and documents to the House Intelligence Committee in late December.
Such a self-serving witness is being treated carefully by the media, except for conspiracy nut outliers like Rachel Maddow and MSNBC. He has been on various cable shows and pretty much everything he has said trying to tie Trump in with naughty Ukrainian dealings has been contradicted by direct witnesses. But hope springs eternal and the Dems have fastened on to him as an example of more evidence and witnesses that need to be introduced into the Senate trial. So far they are batting zero with this tactic as previous busted flushes like James Comey, Robert Mueller, Michael Cohen, Stormy Daniels, Michael Avenatti, Andrew McCabe, and He Who Must Not Be Named (the whistleblower, Eric Ciaramella) have shown. Addicts are always searching for the next high.
Which brings us to a potential Connecticut witness, as well as Parnas. Happily, one with which I am familiar as Connecticut is my home state, and so can judge accordingly on how cunning the new Dem plan actually is. On Parnas’ cell phone were texts with Connecticut resident, Robert Hyde.
Hyde is a rather sad case. He has some serious problems which he is addressing by using various substances for self-medication. He seems to have the money (he claims trust funds) to travel in a quest to get banned from every bar and marina on the East Coast, and for the last two years has concentrated on various Trumpian haunts such as Trump National Doral in Miami. His attempt to be a player in Trumpland came to an ignominious end as soon as it began, when last year he was escorted from the Doral by police, involuntarily committed to a mental health facility and his gun collection was confiscated. The indefatigable Hyde, fueled by God knows what, has also been trying to become a player in Connecticut. He has declared himself a Republican, given loads of dosh to the Party, and is planning a run for a Congressional seat in Connecticut.
Hyde shows up in many texts to Parnas where he claims he was surveilling the US Ambassador in the Ukraine on behalf of the supposed Giuliani/Parnas operation (Parnas claims he was checking on the Ambassador as Trump did not like her – again, don’t ask how any of this fits in because only the Dems know). Hyde was interviewed about all of this “smoking gun” material by the Hartford Courant and claims he was in Ecuador, not Ukraine. Did I mention the guy was a sad sack? Now everyone in Connecticut, especially Republicans, understands this, which is why his political contributions have been returned and his campaign has zero support and zero money. But there are two not really surprising exceptions.
The first passenger on the Crazy Train is, you’ve guessed it already, Senator Chris Murphy. Murphy pontificated that Hyde’s messages were “really disturbing” because they “suggest there was a surveillance and harassment operation being run against a US ambassador by people connected to the president.” Who else would be as delusional as Murphy to give an ounce of credence to the nonsense?
Step forward, Connecticut’s other Democrat Senator, Richard Blumenthal. The texts were “absolutely breathtaking, astonishing and appalling … Robert Hyde was part of that scheme, apparently, and what is so staggering about his texts is that essentially he was tracking and surveilling her.”
It is doubtful if the Senate will do the House’s job and continue to explore new “evidence” and new witnesses as the House is constitutionally charged with the investigation. It is a shame as I was looking forward to Blumenthal and Murphy’s cross-examination on what naughtiness Trump was up to in Ecuador.
There is a lesson for the President here. And if he won’t get it from current events, he should probably look back to his favourite President, Andrew Jackson, the first populist President.
In 1829, Jackson decided to have an “Open Inaugural,” where all were invited to the White House. A crowd of the grifters, celebrities, politicians on the make, and con artists of the day turned up and proceeded to trash the White House after downing a few brews. The White House was only rescued from serious damage by servants setting up free barrels of whiskey punch on the White House lawn to tempt out the 19th century Robert Hydes. Just saying, Trump, just saying.
And one more history lesson. Americans will be looking forward to the State Of The Union Address on February 4th. At this point Trump should be free of Impeachment (until the next time) as even the media at this point sees a couple of weeks pro forma trial and then dismissal. Clinton had also given a SOTU Address after his Impeachment was rebuffed by 45 Democrat Senators in 1999. The Supreme Court was so revolted by Clinton’s crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice, as shown in the Senate trial, that all nine of them boycotted it, even the two justices he had himself nominated.
Let’s see if that happens again.