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1 hour ago, FF Ninja said:

But these savings didn't show up until the later years. 

Ok and they did show up. Not exactly an Obama flag waver here but the deficit did go down. And really I also think the comp for all presidents is 1. normal years vs normal years, or 2. recession/depression years vs. recession/depression years.

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Just now, SaintsInDome2006 said:

I think my point is it's not apples-apples, it's more like coconuts-pears. You see fruits while delicious are... [checking notes]... hold on I'm getting distracted.

Yes, if you are claiming different circumstances.  Like I told Sho, have at it, I'm not arguing that.  My original post was to refute a more exorbitant claim.  

I'm against whatever side the coconut is on, hate coconut.  

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Just now, SaintsInDome2006 said:

Ok and they did show up. Not exactly an Obama flag waver here but the deficit did go down. And really I also think the comp for all presidents is 1. normal years vs normal years, or 2. recession/depression years vs. 2. recession/depression years.

Yes, I thought about bolding that part - it was pretty critical IMO that Obama had to spend his way out of a recession but was trying to change gears to reduce the budget then Trump came in and somehow made it even worse during a good economy.

FWIW, also not an Obama flag waver.

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Just kidding. Tony, point is that in 2009 #### was going down. Recession, car industry collapsing, dept and equities went up in flames... I don't agree with everything that was done but let's face it Bush and Obama were both shoveling coal into the national engine to keep it going. The argument to be made IMO is that Obama's recovery arc was way too long... but it did finally happen. That's basically the same environment that Trump has come into. IMO government and presidential direction can always get blame for screwing up an economy but at best governmental discretion and sweet monetary policy (usually a Republican standby) are what make things hum. It's the people that get the credit but if you're going to do a comp do it with years in the same economic environ, 2009 might as well be the Pleistocene Era compared to 2019.

- eta - I'll drop it as you seem to indicate above, anyway best wishes and Happy 4th to all. Looks like we got us a long holiday. :banned:

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1 hour ago, tonydead said:

Neither of those dispute that it's an apples to apples comparison, time wise, which was SID's question.   If you want to argue different circumstances, go ahead.  Nothing I posted refutes any of that.

SiDs post very much laid out the differences...and the other was a reply to him.  

Different circumstances is what makes it not apples to apples.

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58 minutes ago, Misfit said:

This forum would be better if the two of you put each other on ignore

I haven't responded to him in months.  He and another know this...yet continue with trying to bait me.

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https://www.theblaze.com/news/networks-will-snub-trump-salute-to-america


Major U.S. media networks ABC, CBS, and NBC announced Wednesday that they are all snubbing President Donald Trump's "Salute to America" celebration on the Fourth of July and plan to stick with regularly scheduled shows rather than provide live television coverage of the event. 

The Daily Mail reported that the networks will stick with planned nightly newscasts and shows, such as "Jeopardy!" and "Inside Edition," in lieu of airing the Independence Day event featuring a speech from the president. However, the three networks will offer live footage over its respective online and streaming platforms. 

In reporting details of President Trump's planned show honoring America's armed forces, CBS News noted the president was carrying forward with the event "despite widespread criticism over the distracting from the holiday." 

The outlet added, "The president's critics have chastised him for bringing costly military equipment reminiscent of more dictatorial regimes and for placing himself center stage in the typically nonpartisan celebration." 

"Salute to America" will start at 6:30 p.m. ET at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The event will feature a speech by the president, delivered at the Lincoln Memorial as part of the broader Fourth of July celebration in the capital. 

C-SPAN will provide live coverage of the event, and Fox News has blocked off two hours for special coverage of the event. 

The president has been promoting the Independence Day celebration, which will include concerts, flyovers, fireworks, and military demonstrations from each of America's military service branches. 

WRC-TV reported that during a campaign rally in Florida on Tuesday, President Trump told the audience, "We're going to have hundreds of thousands of people, we're going to celebrate America. On July Fourth in Washington, D.C., come on down, we're going to have a big day. Bring your flags, bring those flags. Bring those American flags."

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7 minutes ago, Max Power said:

https://www.theblaze.com/news/networks-will-snub-trump-salute-to-america


Major U.S. media networks ABC, CBS, and NBC announced Wednesday that they are all snubbing President Donald Trump's "Salute to America" celebration on the Fourth of July and plan to stick with regularly scheduled shows rather than provide live television coverage of the event. 

The Daily Mail reported that the networks will stick with planned nightly newscasts and shows, such as "Jeopardy!" and "Inside Edition," in lieu of airing the Independence Day event featuring a speech from the president. However, the three networks will offer live footage over its respective online and streaming platforms. 

In reporting details of President Trump's planned show honoring America's armed forces, CBS News noted the president was carrying forward with the event "despite widespread criticism over the distracting from the holiday." 

The outlet added, "The president's critics have chastised him for bringing costly military equipment reminiscent of more dictatorial regimes and for placing himself center stage in the typically nonpartisan celebration." 

"Salute to America" will start at 6:30 p.m. ET at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The event will feature a speech by the president, delivered at the Lincoln Memorial as part of the broader Fourth of July celebration in the capital. 

C-SPAN will provide live coverage of the event, and Fox News has blocked off two hours for special coverage of the event. 

The president has been promoting the Independence Day celebration, which will include concerts, flyovers, fireworks, and military demonstrations from each of America's military service branches. 

WRC-TV reported that during a campaign rally in Florida on Tuesday, President Trump told the audience, "We're going to have hundreds of thousands of people, we're going to celebrate America. On July Fourth in Washington, D.C., come on down, we're going to have a big day. Bring your flags, bring those flags. Bring those American flags."

I think they are worried donald is going to talk about the Dems being socialists in his speech, start "lock her up chants", or other stuff he does at his pep rallies.

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34 minutes ago, Max Power said:

Major U.S. media networks ABC, CBS, and NBC announced Wednesday that they are all snubbing President Donald Trump's "Salute to America" celebration on the Fourth of July and plan to stick with regularly scheduled shows rather than provide live television coverage of the event. 

Isn’t this the same celebration on the mall event that is generally only carried on PBS?

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2 minutes ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

Isn’t this the same celebration on the mall event that is generally only carried on PBS?

No clue. I was under the impression this wasnt a typical year

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22 minutes ago, timschochet said:

For the sake  of the country I’d love to see it but I expect Trump to put up a close fight. 

Lol. There is no way in hell anyone on the left could carry 40 states.

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4 hours ago, roadkill1292 said:

That's not what I'm talking about. You can still discuss elections with people with whom you agree. Discussions are going on all the time on social media about election forecasting, admittedly most of it from Dem-leaning voters. Polls, historical tendencies, demographic changes -- all of those are tools we use as part of the discussion. But if you don't trust the data, what do you base your discussions on?

I base it on how many high fives and smiles I get when I roll out in my MAGA hat.  

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4 hours ago, timschochet said:

More wisdom from President Trump:

If Illegal Immigrants are unhappy with the conditions in the quickly built or refitted detentions centers, just tell them not to come. All problems solved!

 

All you have to do is tell them! 

President lives in his own fantasy world.

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Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11)

7/2/19, 11:04 PM

President Trump and President Reagan are two peacemakers following the same trajectory:

Both followed weak, and ineffective leaders

Both are creating historic peace with defiant enemies

This President will go down as the greatest since Ronald Reagan newsweek.com/donald-trumps-…

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19 minutes ago, knowledge dropper said:

Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11)

7/2/19, 11:04 PM

President Trump and President Reagan are two peacemakers following the same trajectory:

Both followed weak, and ineffective leaders

Both are creating historic peace with defiant enemies

This President will go down as the greatest since Ronald Reagan newsweek.com/donald-trumps-…

Putin Approves Bill Suspending INF Treaty

>>What Happened: Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill into law that suspends Russia's participation in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with the United States, Tass reported July 3.

Why It Matters: Putin's decision to sign the bill into law is the latest indicator that the INF Treaty will likely lapse in August after the United States suspended the treaty in February, citing Russian non-compliance.

Background: The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 and outlawed ground-based short- and intermediate-range missiles.<<

- This was a signature Reagan achievement.

 

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22 minutes ago, knowledge dropper said:

Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11)

7/2/19, 11:04 PM

President Trump and President Reagan are two peacemakers following the same trajectory:

Both followed weak, and ineffective leaders

Both are creating historic peace with defiant enemies

This President will go down as the greatest since Ronald Reagan newsweek.com/donald-trumps-…

Is Trump going to give amnesty to the undocumented immigrants in this country like Reagan did? 

Because that would be awesome and I would certainly reassess my opinion of him. 

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7 hours ago, timschochet said:

Lol. Who are we kidding here? First two years. Talk about cherry picking. "Let's see- how can I make Obama's spending look as bad as possible and yet excuse Bush and Trump? Wait, I know!" :lmao:

Lol hen it comes to cherry picking the liberals on this thread are experts!

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So, being half drunk on tequila all my 4th posts ended up in the Colon K thread. But/

- American flag tank top - check

- American bikini for the misses - check

- keg of beer carbonating -check 

- $400+ fireworks - check. 

Anything I’m missing?

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1 minute ago, tonydead said:

So, being half drunk on tequila all my 4th posts ended up in the Colon K thread. But/

- American flag tank top - check

- American bikini for the misses - check

- keg of beer carbonating -check 

- $400+ fireworks - check. 

Anything I’m missing?

Guns

Lots of guns.

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Oh, and the party I’m going to tomorrow the other two MILFs just broke up with their boyfriends. Instead of 3 couples it’s me and 3 MiILFs.   I should go to Walmart and see if I can find a pair of jorts!

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17 minutes ago, knowledge dropper said:

No media bias at all. 

:bag:

Seriously, one more example of how unhinged the other side is from not getting their way.  Makes it an easy choice. 

 

Nursing a serious hangover getting ready for a morning celebration drink....happy 4th to all!

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So when Trump starts trashing dems and liberals during his speech, I assume you his supporters will be perfectly ok with him doing that during the "celebration of America"?

Because no matter what he does y'all have to nod your heads in agreement, no matter how outside the norm or dumb. 

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1 hour ago, James Daulton said:

So when Trump starts trashing dems and liberals during his speech, I assume you his supporters will be perfectly ok with him doing that during the "celebration of America"?

Because no matter what he does y'all have to nod your heads in agreement, no matter how outside the norm or dumb. 

I'd hope he doesn't do that, but he probably isnt above it. 

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On 6/18/2019 at 11:01 PM, timschochet said:

Your source was a government official who was shown to be lying. 

And I am worried. Trump will be hard to defeat. 

Yeah, I think Trump gets underestimated pretty hard.  I disagree with you on a lot, but not on how he gets written off so dismissively- he’s brilliant at framing the public debate on his own terms.  He is more popular within his own party, with the exception of George Bush after 9/11, than any other president since World War II.  

Look at them, they love this guy.  Imagine thinking someone could actually primary him.  

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13 hours ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

Putin Approves Bill Suspending INF Treaty

>>What Happened: Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill into law that suspends Russia's participation in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with the United States, Tass reported July 3.

Why It Matters: Putin's decision to sign the bill into law is the latest indicator that the INF Treaty will likely lapse in August after the United States suspended the treaty in February, citing Russian non-compliance.

Background: The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 and outlawed ground-based short- and intermediate-range missiles.<<

- This was a signature Reagan achievement.

To be fair, this almost certainly wouldn’t have been possible without the collusion hoax, and all the antiRussian sentiment that followed.  

Bolton argued that the Mueller investigation offers “Trump a not-to-be-missed opportunity to pivot from worrying about unfair efforts to tar his campaign with the ‘collusion’ allegation, toward the broader growing danger of Russian subversion.” Bolton’s “broader” focus, he explained, is based on the premise that “Putin’s global aspirations are not friendly to America, and the sooner he knows we know it, the better.” It is naive to think that mere “criminal charges against Russians,” or applying “economic sanctions,” are “anywhere near sufficient to prove our displeasure,” as are making “solemn pronouncements,” Bolton argued:

“Let Putin instead hear the rumble of artillery and NATO tank tracks conducting more joint field exercises with Ukraine’s military. That, and much more, will get his attention. An analogous response is warranted in the Middle East, where the White House is already laying a foundation for more robust responses to Russia’s probes. At rare moments in politics, unexpected events produce opportunities which must be seized before they disappear.”

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5 minutes ago, ren hoek said:

To be fair, this almost certainly wouldn’t have been possible without the collusion hoax, and all the antiRussian sentiment that followed.  

Bolton argued that the Mueller investigation offers “Trump a not-to-be-missed opportunity to pivot from worrying about unfair efforts to tar his campaign with the ‘collusion’ allegation, toward the broader growing danger of Russian subversion.” Bolton’s “broader” focus, he explained, is based on the premise that “Putin’s global aspirations are not friendly to America, and the sooner he knows we know it, the better.” It is naive to think that mere “criminal charges against Russians,” or applying “economic sanctions,” are “anywhere near sufficient to prove our displeasure,” as are making “solemn pronouncements,” Bolton argued:

“Let Putin instead hear the rumble of artillery and NATO tank tracks conducting more joint field exercises with Ukraine’s military. That, and much more, will get his attention. An analogous response is warranted in the Middle East, where the White House is already laying a foundation for more robust responses to Russia’s probes. At rare moments in politics, unexpected events produce opportunities which must be seized before they disappear.”

What in Ttump’s rhetoric or policy indicates *any interest or even *understanding of the INF?

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10 hours ago, tonydead said:

Oh, and the party I’m going to tomorrow the other two MILFs just broke up with their boyfriends. Instead of 3 couples it’s me and 3 MiILFs.   I should go to Walmart and see if I can find a pair of jorts!

You know a lot of single moms...

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How awesome are we doing as a country and Trump as a President when the biggest thing Democrats are obsessed with this week was a parade?  And they couldn’t even be objective about it pretending this is some new crazy thing, when similar parades have take place 4 different times in Washington.  OMG TRUMPZ TURNING INTO KIM JUNG!!1!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2019/07/03/tanks-trumps-july-fourth-salute-america-have-rolled-through-washington-before/?utm_term=.30ed36ec6ebf

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4 minutes ago, Widbil83 said:

How awesome are we doing as a country and Trump as a President when the biggest thing Democrats are obsessed with this week was a parade?  And they couldn’t even be objective about it pretending this is some new crazy thing, when similar parades have take place 4 different times in Washington.  OMG TRUMPZ TURNING INTO KIM JUNG!!1!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2019/07/03/tanks-trumps-july-fourth-salute-america-have-rolled-through-washington-before/?utm_term=.30ed36ec6ebf

Good article.

McArthur pulled the same thing in Korea.

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Just now, SaintsInDome2006 said:

Oh and yes you have highlighted a serious problem here - Trump made John :censored: Bolton NSA.

It was Mike Flynn.  Flynn was way less hawkish on Russia/Syria than John Bolton.  Way less hawkish in general.  Bolton is another huge gift from collusion hoax.  

Military vs. military

Before Flynn went down, he stuck a finger in Washington’s eye

General Michael Flynn isn’t easy to sell as a victim. He really did lead chants of “Lock her up!” at the RNC in 2016, really called Milo Yiannopoulis “one of the most brave people I’ve met,” and seems to have believed Trump won the popular vote. 

Flynn is also a puzzle. He’s been outspoken and critical of America’s Middle East adventures in a way that’s almost unheard of in a military man. In a paper about Afghanistan he once wrote, he said, “Merely killing insurgents usually serves to multiply enemies rather than subtract them.” He denounced our intel there as “ignorant,” “incurious,” and “disengaged.”

Flynn was pushed out as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014 after a series of clashes with civilian leadership and figures within the defense and intelligence realms, acquiring a reputation as difficult, mercurial character around whom too many unwelcome news stories occurred. He had been an intelligence advisor to Stanley McChrystal, and also publicly opposed the Obama government’s Syria policy in a way that earned him a lot of disfavor.

Stars and Stripes reported he “came to view Obama as head of a worldwide crime cartel supporting jihadist ideas,” views derived from a belief that plans to topple Bashar al-Assad had aided — whether inadvertently or not — extreme Islamic groups like the Nusra front. 

Way back in 2012, a DIA analyst produced a report warning that a misguided effort at regime change in Syria could lead to:

“a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria… exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime….”

This became the fulcrum of the dispute later described in a pair of sensational and controversial exposes by famed muckraker Sy Hersh, beginning with a 2013 report called, “Whose Sarin?” The piece did not say that Assad hadn’t done the bombing, merely that some American intelligence officers believed there was at least another suspect in the attack near Damascus. Hersh wrote:

The White House’s misrepresentation of what it knew about the attack, and when, was matched by its readiness to ignore intelligence that could undermine the narrative. That information concerned al-Nusra…

The Hersh report in the London Review of Books quoted a military official describing the Sarin attack as a “ruse,” comparable to the Gulf of Tonkin episode, i.e. a provocation designed to draw us into a regime-toppling war. Hersh wasn’t the only one to report something like this. In Britain, award-winning reporter Robert Fisk also reportedin The Independent details about al-Nusra men transporting “chemical precursors” to Sarin, and went on to raise questions more than once about the attack, quoting aid workers and other on-the-ground sources.

No news outlet in the United States would go anywhere near this story. In fact, it quickly became so toxic in the United States, many news organizations to this won’t even link to it or discuss it. 

Flynn would eventually get in trouble not only for suggesting the Sarin attack in Syria might not have been the work of Assad, but for saying the forbidden thing in Russia. He was asked during a 2015 visit to Moscow hosted by RT if perhaps Turkish intelligence had been behind the attack. Flynn answered: 

Who knows? I don't have a good answer for you. I'm not able to answer your specific question.

This would later get a lot of headlines, especially in the context of the Russiagate mess. But the Sarin episode was actually the less controversial assertion Flynn made with regard to Syria. The more explosive story was the second piece by Hersh for the London Review of Books, quoting Flynn in January of 2016. 

Called “Military to Military,” the sprawling expose told what, if true, was an amazing story: the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Obama years were defying civilian leadership and passing intelligence to Russia, Israel and Germany, with the understanding that this intel would be sent on to Assad to combat local Islamic groups. 

The report quoted a “former JCS adviser” who said it was:

A military to military thing, and not some sort of a sinister Joint Chiefs’ plot to go around Obama and support Assad. 

Military figures, Hersh reported, believed Obama’s “insistence on continuing to finance and arm the so-called moderate rebel groups” in Syria would lead to disaster. This group felt Turkey was misleading America and its allies, rerouting “guns and goods” not just to moderates in Syria but to all opposition forces there, including groups like al-Nusra, with the aim of regime change in Damascus.

It was believed Turkey was willing to take that risk to achieve Assad’s fall as a step toward a larger dream of restoring the Ottoman empire. 

Flynn said, on the record: “Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria.” 

Flynn gave another defiant interview to Mehdi Hasan of Al Jazeera in 2015 after he’d been pushed out of office, saying it was a “willful decision” by the Obama administration to “do what they’re doing.” He suggested his superiors had made decisions that empowered insurgent groups dating back years. 

“I will tell you, it goes before 2012,” he said. “When we were in Iraq, and we had decisions to be made before there was a decision to pull out of Iraq.”

All of this was part of a containment-vs.-regime change debate that recalled a more intense, confusing version of the WMD episode. Flynn belonged to a group within the defense community that believed in sharing intelligence with Russia to thwart anti-Assad groups in Syria. These people felt refusing to do so meant being “captive to Cold War thinking.” 

He was vigorously opposed in this by an array of people and institutions who were criticizing Obama from an opposite perspective.

Throughout Obama’s second term especially, a host of figures, from John McCain to Hillary Clinton to Obama Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, seemed infuriated by what they saw as Obama’s refusal to act more decisively in Syria. They wanted to see Obama punish Assad and Russia both, especially when Assad was said to have crossed the “red line” by using those chemical weapons in 2013.

“For Mr. Putin, vacillation invites aggression,” wrote McCain in a 2014 op-ed. He and others challenged Obama to confront Putin more directly, over Russia’s move into Crimea and its ties to Assad. Alexander Motl of the Atlantic Council, which would become a principal purveyor of Russiagate panic, was writing “Russia: It’s Time For Regime Change” as far back as January, 2015 — long before the first glimmers of the current scandal over election interference.  

Another person challenging Flynn was Michael Morell, former acting director of the CIA. Morell in 2016 was set to become Hillary Clinton’s CIA director if she won election, even though he had once been the target of intense criticism of Hill Democrats. Aides to Senator Diane Feinstein composed a Senate Intelligence Committee report released in June of 2015 that claimed Morell made a series of factual misstatements about torture and other topics in his book, “The Great War of Our Time.” 

However, Morell had been a reliable front man for the intelligence community during the Obama years. He took the lead in slapping down another Hersh exposechallenging the official, Hollywood-ready take on the heroic capture of bin Laden. The Obama administration always insisted it daringly flew into Pakistan on its own intel, without the knowledge or assent of Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service. 

Hersh told a different story. Quoting former ISI chief Asad Durrani and identifying the CIA station chief in Islamabad by name, he claimed bin Laden had been captured and killed after a negotiation with Pakistan, calling the idea that the ISI wasn’t involved “Lewis Carroll” and “comical.” 

Once again, this wasn’t the only report suggesting something like this. An old colleague of mine, Carlotta Gall of the New York Times, had also run a piece suggesting Pakistan knew where bin Laden was. Carlotta spent 12 years covering Pakistan and Afghanistan for the Times. She would later report something she learned while researching a book:

I learned from a high-level member of the Pakistani intelligence service that the ISI had been hiding Bin Laden and ran a desk specifically to handle him as an intelligence asset.

When it came time for the U.S. to respond to Hersh’s story, the Obama administration did so in the person of Morell, who denounced the Hersh piece as “all wrong.” Much of the press corps sided with Morell, with Peter Bergen of CNN calling the Hersh story a “farrago of nonsense.” 

Similarly, when it came time to respond to the release of that damaging DIA report suggesting regime change efforts might lead to empowered terrorists in Syria, Morell was a key voice. He jumped in when Trump decided to make Flynn’s assertions on that score into a campaign issue.

During the 2016 race, Trump tweeted – this was the beginning of the moment in history when it started to be true that a Trump tweet was at the root of every major American cultural argument – that Hillary Clinton had been privy to the 2012 DIA warning. He linked to a Breitbart article entitled, “Hillary Clinton Received Secret Memo Stating Obama Admin ‘Support’ for ISIS.” 

This is turn triggered a Politico editorial by Morell calling the assertion “nonsense” and a “conspiracy theory,” in early summer of 2016. The Washington Post agreed, calling Trump’s claim that the United States was “actively supporting” terror groups “bizarre.” 

Which it was, sort of. It would have been more accurate to say elements within the military believed the Obama administration pursued policies that might have overestimated the strength of moderates in Syria, underestimated the possibility weapons would end up in the wrong hands, or perhaps – as analyst Hugh Roberts suggested, also in the London Review of Books– simply viewed groups like al-Nusra as “useful auxiliaries in the anti-Assad drive.” 

In any case, just a few weeks after calling Trump out about ISIS, Morell became one of the first people to accuse Trump of being an “unwitting agent” of Putin. (Oddly, about a half year after, just as the Russiagate frenzy was taking off, Morell tried to pour cold water on the furor. He said of collusion, there was “smoke, but no fire, at all.”)

All of this is perhaps-tiresome but necessary background to the Flynn story. Before Russiagate was a thought in anyone’s mind, he aroused disdain in Washington over the Syria issue from the very corners that would later accuse him of being part of a conspiracy. 

In fact, the Syria-dispute battle lines would go on to track almost exactly with Russiagate throughout, in stories involving Flynn and not. Individuals like McCain and groups like the Atlantic Council were key players in both narratives. It would be improbable if the enmity Flynn generated from his years in the DIA didn’t impact his later Russia-related media scandals, some of which were extremely fishy. 

The most transparent involved an incident in 2014 at Cambridge University, involving a PhD candidate named Svetlana Lokhova.

This story has been in the news a bit since late March, but the import of it seems to have eluded American audiences. There’s no way to juggle the details to make it anything but a bizarre intentional concoction for the benefit of the press.

To begin with, reporters from multiple news organizations, on both sides of the Atlantic, appear to have been told Flynn had an affair he did not have. Lokhova describes being asked by MSNBC reporters about the alleged relationship, saying they had been told by an intelligence source that in the CIA, “everyone knows” Flynn had the affair. Other newspapers contacted her co-workers and superiors, asking about her sex life.

I contacted four news organizations to ask if they’d been told by official sources that Flynn and Lokhova had an affair. None answered on the record, and that includes outlets like the Wall Street Journal that did respond to other queries. 

The affair tale didn’t make the papers, but stories did run about the visit Flynn made as DIA chief to a seminar at Cambridge in February of 2014, in which he allegedly paid “disconcerting” attention to Lokhova at an official dinner.

This came out in the Wall Street Journal in early 2017, under a headline suggesting the newsworthy impropriety was Flynn’s failure to disclose the contact with Lokhova. 

A “former official” told the paper Flynn was expected to “notify officials about any contacts with foreigners he didn’t know,” adding in a quote that people like Flynn are “indoctrinated to report any anomalous behavior that you detect.”

The paper added, however, that rules about such contacts aren’t “ironclad,” and quoted Dan O’Brien, chief of the DIA’s liaison office, pooh-poohing the idea this was “anomalous” contact. “Nothing rose to that level,” said O’Brien, who was there, with, he said, about twenty graduate students.

The Flynn-Lokhova encounter was a five-person conversation lasting about fifteen minutes, taking place literally under the noses of two luminaries of the British intelligence world: former Mi6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove and Mi5 historian Christopher Andrew. Lokhova was an invited, pre-approved guest, sitting next to the former head of British intelligence. 

“Everyone’s names were submitted,” Lokhova says. “The DIA was copied... The idea that this was unreported is absurd.”

The Journal piece went on to say Lokhova sat next to Flynn (she actually seems to have been across from him, next to Dearlove). It quoted an article by Lokhova’s professor and mentor, Andrew, saying she’d shown Flynn an “erotic postcard.” 

The postcard is a joke. It was sent by a fugitive Joseph Stalin to the fiancée of a friend who’d helped him escape exile in 1912. In it, Stalin pretends to be an ardent suitor of his friend’s fiancée, presumably for the benefit of Tsarist Okhrana spies who’d be reading it (Lokhova and Andrew got the postcard precisely because it was in fact intercepted and retained in official archives). 

Stalin ended the postcard writing, “I kiss you h-h-hotly (just kissing isn’t enough).” Thinking about Stalin kissing doesn’t tweak the erotic nerve for me, but it all came off as a honeypot come-on in print.

Asked about the piece, the Journal replied:

Nothing about the Journal's story can fairly be read to suggest that Ms. Lokhova was a spy. Instead, the Journal's article was a straightforward report about investigators’ concern that Mr. Flynn failed to report his interaction with a woman of dual British-Russian citizenship to the Department of Defense, despite established practice.

Nobody in the press was ever called about this at the time it happened in 2014, when, after all, Flynn was still one of America’s top intel chiefs. In fact, it’s not clear when it first came up as an issue. Flynn seems to have passed a security review after that dinner. It would be nearly three years before concerns about the encounter spilled out, in three different narratives.

Reporters were first pitched tales of an affair, then told Flynn failed to report the contact, then finally told the problem was an official warning that was “passed” to American authorities about the incident.

In this last iteration of the story, two people were said to be “alarmed” and “disconcerted” by the “apparent closeness” Flynn showed in that fifteen-minute group conversation: Dearlove, and Stefan Halper, the professor and Cambridge Intelligence Seminar sponsor who was in the process of being publicly outed as an FBI informant when this story broke.

Halper and Dearlove were said to have thought Flynn may have been “compromised by Russian intelligence” because of the attention paid to Lokhova, even though she worked in close quarters with senior British intelligence vets for years, before and after the “disconcerting” incident. 

If any of the DIA, Dearlove, or Cambridge University had concerns about Lokhova, they had a funny way of showing it. For more than a year after, Lokhova kept being invited to high-level functions with visiting intelligence officials, Americans included.

On May 1, 2015, for instance, the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar director sent a group email worrying about the coming visit of Obama’s new DIA chief, General Vincent Stewart.

“Unfortunately, neither myself, Chris Andrew nor Sir Richard Dearlove will be in Cambridge (or in the country) that day, we thus have a problem,” the director wrote. Addressing Lokhova and other grad students, the Seminar head hoped they would all “meet with General Stewart” to “discover what each of you is working on.”

“A bad spy novel,” Lokhova told me. “Nobody would buy this novel.”

Halper is said not to have made the complaint himself. This is the New York Times account, from May, 2018:

The source was alarmed by the general’s apparent closeness with a Russian woman who was also in attendance. The concern was strong enough that it prompted another person to pass on a warning to the American authorities that Mr. Flynn could be compromised…

If Halper was FBI, and he was the one “alarmed,” why did “another person” need to make the warning? 

It might be because he was not even at the dinner in question. At least, I haven’t been able to confirm that he was there. If he was, he doesn’t seem to have been within earshot of the infamous conversation, according to Lokhova and one other source.

Moreover, when did the warning happen? Why didn’t it come up in late 2016 and early 2017, when the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and other news outlets were all getting calls from official sources about this dinner? 

The press naturally responded to all of this in mature fashion. MSNBC in summer 2018 had Malcolm Nance on, saying Flynn “may have had contact with a Russian intelligence officer” at Cambridge. Nance also tweeted that Flynn was “caught in an FSB honeypot.” 

There’s no evidence Lokhova was ever interviewed by any authorities or suspected of any intelligence links. She appears to be just an ethnically Russian person who interacted with Flynn. Why anyone would go through the trouble of trying to make his interactions with her into a headline seems at least as newsworthy as the interaction itself.

Years after this “disconcerting” encounter with Flynn, Lokhova, who had never socialized with Halper and disliked him, was invited to dinner with Halper and his wife. The invite came via an email by Andrew in January of 2016:

Dear Svetlana…

Stef and Lezlee Halper have opted for dinner at [redacted] on Sat 20 Feb, so please keep that date free and join us

best wishes

Chris

Lokhova insisted the invite “does not prove anything other than it was strange at the time.” Still, given Halper’s activities later that year, it’s odd.

The “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation didn’t officially begin until the end of July of that year. But it’s known Halper first communicated with Carter Page at a conference in England over a month before that start date. This is usually either not explained at all in press reports, or explained as possibly pertaining to some other investigation. 

Washington Monthly suggested there was an ongoing probe of Page related to an earlier attempt by three convicted Russian spies to recruit him. As such there was “no reason” the mag could see to “question any of [Halper’s] activities as inappropriate.” Why however would Halper want to talk with Lokhova earlier that year, after being so concerned about her? 

Two other Flynn stories were less obviously ridiculous, but still framed in odd ways. Flynn’s infamous December 2015 visit to Russia, when he sat next to Vladimir Putin, was an oft-circulated sensational item passed to reporters in the summer of 2016. Among other things, it ended up in ex-spy Christopher Steele’s Dossier.

Flynn’s RT visit caused much rending of garments and exploding of media heads. It was one of the data points that led Al Franken to suggest Flynn was a “danger to the Republic,” for instance. The Mueller report’s disclosure that Flynn was already under investigation “based on his relationship with the Russian government,” which has been hinted at a few times previously, is presumed to be connected to this event. 

This story, too, followed a weird arc. Well after it became a public controversy, Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner, made a statement that Flynn “extensively” briefed the DIA “before and after” the Russia trip. This disclaimer soon started appearing in news reports about the trip, which focused more on the failure to report the payment.  

In May 2017, the Defense Intelligence Agency gave the Senate Judiciary Committee a classified briefing about Flynn. In August, then-Senate Judiciary chief Chuck Grassley sent this letter asking for permission to declassify “a key piece of information” presented by the DIA in that May interaction, adding “public release would not pose any ongoing risk to national security” and would “be in the public interest.” 

The declassification never happened, but there’s been at least one report from John Solomon at The Hill seeming to hint at its contents. Solomon said Flynn had extensive meetings with the DIA before and after the trip, briefings that included “between two and nine intelligence officials” and “produced moderately useful” information. 

Was this a story about an embittered, cash-hungry ex-DIA selling out to Vladimir Putin, or was it about an official from a world where nobody ever really retires who went on an approved fact-finding trip? 

Fitting the pattern, the most nefarious version of this tale was leaked first, while complicating details trickled out after headlines had already circled the earth a few thousand times. This meant a story that would have been more of a jump ball had everything been presented at once instead became a damning element of the collusion narrative.

Same goes for the most damaging of the Flynn stories: the January 12, 2017 Washington Post story by David Ignatius, in which news leaked that Flynn had spoken to Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak by phone after Obama expelled Russian diplomats. The key passage:

According to a senior U.S. government official, Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials as well as other measures in retaliation for the hacking. What did Flynn say, and did it undercut the U.S. sanctions? The Logan Act (though never enforced) bars U.S. citizens from correspondence intending to influence a foreign government about “disputes” with the United States. Was its spirit violated?

This was a monster of a story. It was no small thing (legally least of all) for the content of this kind of intercept to be given to a reporter. 

Moreover, it came out more or less simultaneous to the explosive publication of the Steele dossier, along with the accompanying leaked tale of Trump being handed the report by four intel chiefs. In this environment, any story about any contact with a Russian seemed like a world-detonating event.

The Ignatius piece had the country in a panic almost overnight. Acting Attorney General Sally Yates said she believed Flynn was “compromised,” for instance.

What did Flynn actually do in those calls with Kislyak? He eventually pleaded guilty to lying about two things.

The first offense involved not disclosing he’d pushed other countries to oppose a major U.N. Security Council vote condemning Israeli settlements. Apparently, he asked Kislyak and other countries to oppose or delay the vote, which eventually passed (with only the U.S. abstaining).

The other count involved telling investigators “Not really. I don’t remember. It wasn’t, ‘Don’t do anything,’” when asked if he’d told Kislyak not to engage in a “###-for-tat” response to Barack Obama’s parting expulsions of Russian diplomats for election interference. 

The Israeli issue seems more serious, a seeming effort to conduct foreign policy before taking office. According to Mueller, Donald Trump even called Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on December 22, just before al-Sisi postponed the U.N. vote.

If anything is a Logan Act violation, it’s that, but this was never near the public scandal the Kislyak call turned into. Compared to the Israeli vote, convincing Russia not to overreact to expulsions seems like a relatively minor issue, unless it’s part of a larger Russian conspiracy. In isolation, how nefarious would that call have been? Even Ignatius, in his Post piece, wrote:

If the Trump team’s contacts helped discourage the Russians from a counter-retaliation, maybe that’s a good thing. But we ought to know the facts.

Four days after Trump was inaugurated, Flynn was interrogated by the FBI in the White House. Agents described him as “relaxed and jocular” when they came knocking, even offering to give them a “little tour” of the area around his West Wing office. This scene is bizarre from every angle. To be unaware the FBI was coming straight for his cohones in that moment seems unthinkable, especially for a man whose ostensible job was to be paranoid on behalf of the United States. 

Shortly after that, in response to a Judiciary Committee request for a transcript of the Flynn call, then-FBI director James Comey instead briefed the committee in person.

In this briefing he described the circumstances of calls made from the Dominican Republic by the vacationing (too hard?) Flynn to Kislyak in late December 2016, and conveyed the impression of investigating agents that they “saw nothing that led them to believe [he was] lying” in his interview.

Flynn did go on to plead guilty to lying to the FBI about those contacts. But that didn’t end the matter for everyone. The Senate Judiciary Committee kept on asking for the transcripts of the calls, for comparison purposes. The Department of Justice, in the person of Rod Rosenstein, kept refusing. Grassley’s second letter to Rosenstein about this issue is remarkable. It all but spells out the idea that Flynn’s plea deal doesn’t fit the actual facts of the case:

Congress and the American people to be aware of any such inconsistencies that may exist. Congress needs to see the underlying evidence itself, not merely the conclusions about the evidence that prosecutors and a defendant have agreed to describe publicly.

This dispute remains ongoing, one of a number of bitter arguments that have broken out about this case. What is the issue here? We probably won’t know unless and until the documents are made public.

The most genuinely damning story about Flynn that came out during this time was not about Russia, but Turkey. On November 8, 2016, Flynn published an Op-Ed in The Hill called “Our Ally Turkey is in Crisis and Needs Our Support.” 

The piece denounced Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen as a radical Islamist and “Turkey’s bin Laden.” Flynn claimed Gülen was behind a July 2016 coup attempt, and said the United States should deny him entry.

Flynn seems to have gotten his talking points from two men who were subsequently charged with violating FARA, the foreign-influence lobbying law. Flynn has not been charged, and is merely “Person A” in the indictment. Notably, the indictment of Flynn in the other, Russia-related case mentions “materially false statements” he was said to have made about Turkey. Why has he not been charged in the Turkey case? 

The pattern in a lot of the stories like Flynn’s is an accusation of an improper Russian connection, followed by an intense investigation, followed by the investigated figure lying or stumbling under questioning, spurring more headlines and more investigation.

But in the end we often find that the reason for investigating in the first place is dubious or at least flawed, itself wrapped in deceptions or public misrepresentations, making it a giant chicken-egg mess: who lied first, the investigators or the investigated?

The one concrete conclusion of the Mueller report is that whatever was going on in each of these individual cases, in the end they proved not to be related, or at least not related to a conspiracy with Russia to interfere with the election.

But were they related in any way? What evidence ever existed tying all of these disparate episodes and characters together – Page, Manafort, Papadopoulos, Flynn, even Michael Caputo? In some of these cases it’s not clear there was ever an official Russian connection anywhere in the investigative picture, yet they all ended up lumped in the same pile. 

Much like the episode with Lokhova, the notion that all of the dots connected seems to have been as much as anything else a media provocation. Many of these legends began with the rollout of the FBI probe, in a March 20th, 2017 congressional hearing involving James Comey – where members of congress and their witnesses knew both more and less than they were letting on for the cameras.

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2 hours ago, James Daulton said:

So when Trump starts trashing dems and liberals during his speech, I assume you his supporters will be perfectly ok with him doing that during the "celebration of America"?

Because no matter what he does y'all have to nod your heads in agreement, no matter how outside the norm or dumb. 

Of course, because in a lot of Trump supporters minds, Dems and liberals are not real Americans. To be fair, I feel the same about them. IMO Trump and anyone supporting him at this point are the very antithesis of what America is supposed to be. Sad.

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  • knowledge dropper changed the title to TRUMP TO INFINITY AND BEYOND HQ - The Great and Positive Place

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