World Affairs Brief, March 3, 2017 Commentary and Insights on a Troubled World.
Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted. Cite source as Joel Skousen’s World Affairs Brief (http://www.worldaffairsbrief.com).
This Week’s Analysis:
Playing the Russian Card Against Sessions
Trump’s First Speech
Globalists in Trump Administration
Fourth Circuit Rules Against 2nd Amendment
Leak Crackdown in White House Justified
Preparedness Tip: Deluxe Camping Sink
The Trump administration made a major mistake in sacrificing National Security advisor Michael Flynn over the issue of Russian contacts. They should have defended his five telephones calls with the Russian ambassador as a necessary post-election courtesy to the Russians who were concerned about overturning the Obama edict ousting Russian diplomat-spies. The US has them too in Moscow. By not defending the contacts, and firing Flynn, they have unknowingly set the stage for the media to take down anyone else in the Trump administration who had post election contacts with the Russians. This week, they picked on Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Trump ought to realize by now that the NSA is spying on him and everyone else in his administration, leaking rumors of Russian contacts and setting the same traps—unsubstantiated rumors first, in order to elicit a denial, and then producing transcripts to embarrass the target and demand a resignation.
In the Flynn case, David Ignatius of the The Washington Post set the trap by publishing a generalized version of a leak he got from within the deep state about the contacts—without letting on that the leak contained wiretap transcripts. Flynn thought he could get away with denying the rumors, but after he did so the trap was sprung by announcing the media had the transcripts proving Flynn was a liar.
In Attorney General Sessions’ case, which emerged this week, the establishment had set the trap earlier when Democratic Senator Al Franken questioned Sessions during his confirmation hearings about whether or not he had any contacts with the Russians. Sessions responded that he “did not have communications with the Russians” in his capacity as an adviser to then-candidate Trump. (Keep in mind this last phrase, as it is the key to his defense).
Then the Washington Post springs the trap, as they did with Flynn, by revealing that Sessions had private conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the Republican National Convention in July and also at his Senate office in September of 2016. The Post implied that this was part of the same Russian campaign to influence the election, quoting Professor Michael McFaul.
Michael McFaul, a Stanford University professor who until 2014 served as U.S. ambassador to Russia, said he was not surprised that Kislyak would seek a meeting with Sessions. “The weird part is to conceal it,” he said. “That was at the height of all the discussions of what Russia was doing during the election.”
Of course, the reason why Flynn and Sessions would deny the contacts is that the media was making a big deal out of Russian interference, and setting them up to hide any contacts—which would trap them later on, as we are now witnessing. Senator Franken predictably begins a public attack on Sessions for “misleading” the Senate confirmation committee about his Russian contacts.
Fortunately, the White House is defending Sessions rather than capitulating and allowing him to resign. Administration spokespersons rightly point out that Sessions was not representing the Trump campaign, but his position as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“lt’s no surprise Senator Al Franken is pushing this story immediately following President Trump’s successful address to the nation.”
In an interview with NBC News he reiterated that “I have not met with any Russians at any time to discuss any political campaign, and those remarks are unbelievable to me and false, and I don’t have anything else to say about that.” He’d better be right because they may have spy transcripts and will use them to create a further crisis if needed.
They have already succeeded in getting Sessions to agree to recuse himself from any investigation involving Russian hacking of the election. That too is a mistake because the hacking claim of the DNC is a major intelligence and media lie that needs to be debunked officially once and for all. It’s amazing that I heard one commentator yesterday say that “no one is questioning the Russian hack of the DNC.” I have, and many others have. This is turning out to be a “big lie” that is being taken as gospel truth.
Sadly, by recusing himself, Sessions will deny himself any power to make sure the intelligence services produce honest evidence of Russian hacking, which they can’t do—because the FBI and others were using innuendo rather than actual spy transcripts. More data will be falsified for the investigation and the NSA will be trying to trap Sessions to see if he will involve himself against his promise. Mark Levin had these choice words relative to forcing Sessions to recuse himself:
Did Sessions give 20’% of uranium to Russians like Hillary Clinton did? No, he didn’t do anything like that. He met with the ambassador as matter of his duty as a senator not as a surrogate for the Trump 2016 campaign. However, Republicans in the house and Senate insisted that he recuse himself. You can bet Republicans will throw these guys overboard just like they did with Gen Mike Flynn. The left’s desire to destroy this administration is insatiable, and they are not going to stop. Did Eric Holder or Loretta Lynch ever recuse himself on anything? This is so pathetic that Republicans are all over T.V. saying Sessions should recuse himself.
Republicans like Kevin McCarthy are running for the hills whenever liberals attack. The bigger scandal here is that we’ve had Obama administration holdovers within intelligence agencies surveilling the Trump campaign and leaking information to the public, in hopes of getting Hillary Clinton elected. Those are police state tactics! Nothing Gen. Michael Flynn or Sessions have done are even in the same category as that. This is a massive scandal, the likes of which we have never seen. The real question should be, was Barack Obama as President using our intelligence services through the FISA court to gather information on their opponent? In addition, where did the information on Sessions come from? The Obama administration knew exactly what they were doing. They loosened NSA information gathering rules weeks before they left office. The information was then grabbed and spread to plants in the government.
I disagree with Levin that this was done by Obama holdovers or even his administration during the latter part of his tenure. This was the permanent deep state ensconced within government that never gives up control of its surveillance machinery. Chuck Ross of the Daily Caller wrote extensively about this Russian interference theme and how it was created by the deep state:
According to The NY Times, Obama White House officials waged a campaign to procure, save and disperse classified intelligence regarding Trump associates’ contacts with Russians. The campaign also involved curtailing the Trump team’s access to highly classified information and of lowering classification ratings on other information about the ongoing Russia investigation so that it could be more widely shared across the government.
According to The Times’ sources, the Obama officials waged the campaign out of fear that the Trump administration would cover up or destroy some of the information.
That’s a bogus claim because there was no Trump conspiracy to do anything illegal with the Russians. The only reason for embarrassment and the hiding of contacts is that the mainstream media poisoned the waters of improved relations with Russia, and the Trump team fell into the trap of denial rather than defense of working for better relations. Besides, these contacts were all informal and verbal. There was no written information to destroy, as the Times claims, except that recorded by NSA spying, with the Trump team didn’t know about.
The campaign was multifaceted but was not directed by Obama himself, the Times sources claimed.
Correct. Puppet presidents don’t direct these kinds of dark operations.
The wide-ranging report also includes some information that is not positive for Trump, including that federal investigators were given intelligence from foreign services that some Trump associates met with Russians in the Netherlands and Britain.
That’s an admission of dark side intelligence collusion with dark side forces they control in other allied countries. Even so, if they were Russian agents they would work under diplomatic or business cover.
That detail adds new information to a report from The Times last month that U.S. investigators had evidence that some Trump campaign advisers communicated with Russian government officials before the election.
Which is not illegal in and of itself.
That report noted that U.S. officials do not yet have evidence of any coordination between Trump advisers and the Russian government to influence the election. The White House strongly denied the claims made in that report, and asserted the FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe told Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, that the story was “bullshit.”
The Obama administration’s intelligence-sharing effort involved the White House, intelligence agencies and State Department, The Times reports. According to the newspaper, some Obama White House officials asked specific questions in intelligence briefings because they knew the questions and answers would be documented and saved for future review.
Actually, this tactic is to help coverup for intelligence agency spying by making it appear that they did not offer this information, but that it was extracted in response to a question.
Intelligence agencies ramped up efforts to convert raw intelligence gathered on Trump advisers into information that could be used by analysts. The intelligence was also classified at relatively low levels “to ensure as wide a readership as possible across the government,” according to The Times.
The State Department, then led by John Kerry, also took part in the intelligence-sharing campaign. The agency sent a batch of documents classified as “Secret” to Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, just before the election.
The Obama officials also moved to cap the number of incoming Trump officials who could view extremely sensitive information, “including the names of sources and the identities of foreigners who were regularly monitored.” The scheme would seem to lend support to Trump’s claims that the Obama White House sought to undermine his presidency by leaking classified information.
Keep in mind that there is a dual agenda in all of these Russian attacks: 1) to make Russia the boogeyman so that the Trump administration will not be able to join forces with Russia in getting rid of ISIS (a US/British/Israeli intelligence creation), and 2) to use the issue of contacts to get rid of non-insiders who are/were occupying sensitive positions in the administration.
That latter agenda is ongoing. The National Security Advisor post, for example, is normally the globalist point man and “handler” of puppet presidents, to ensure a continuation of globalist foreign policy and neocon-style military intervention. The National Security Council is also where many black operations are initiated and approved. Flynn was an outsider and critic of US intelligence agencies occupying that position and had to go.
In other bad news, the Trump White House has just asked globalist Fiona Hill, a Brookings Institution scholar who has written a skeptical book about Russian President Vladimir Putin, to join the White House national security staff
In like manner as the NSC, the Department of Justice (DOJ) must also be controlled by an insider since that is where illegal acts by globalist insiders in government receive protection and immunity against prosecution. Sessions as an outsider also needs to be removed.
However, the Powers That Be (PTB) might be able to live with Sessions since he is helping with the establishment campaign to protect law enforcement from citizen legal action over surveillance and abuse. Will Grigg comments that,
When he was nominated to serve as Attorney General, Jeff Sessions was hailed by law enforcement unions for bringing a “police-first mentality” to the position. On the basis of his performance thus far it is apparent that Sessions will not make it a priority to investigate claims of systemic corruption and abuse by local police departments.
In a recent press briefing, Sessions said that he had seen summaries of reports compiled by the Civil Rights Division regarding police departments in Chicago and Ferguson, Missouri.
“Some of it was pretty anecdotal and not so scientifically based,” Sessions commented, which isn’t surprising, given that he was reading executive summaries, which do not provide research details. Asked about the depth of the review he had conducted, Sessions admitted: “I have not read those reports, frankly.”
In describing the role of his department, Sessions said that it would serve as “the leading advocate for law enforcement in America, and I hope to be able to fulfill my responsibility in that regard.” Law enforcement is only one element of “justice,” of course. Due process is at least equally important, as is public accountability when abuse of power occurs.
Attorney General Sessions and President Trump are not seeking to minimize the federal role in local law enforcement. Both have pledged to put federal power at the disposal of the police. What they have promised is a less active role in holding law enforcement agencies accountable when officers injure citizens through incompetence or criminal misconduct.
Sessions is also wrongly reasserting federal authority over the legalization of marijuana at the state level. Both Trump and Sessions praise the role of the 10th Amendment in allowing states to set their own standards and not be dictated to by federal policies, relative to health care. However, in the matter of marijuana legalization, even for medical purposes, Sessions is no fan of state’s rights. This continuation of federal prosecution for marijuana sales puts citizens at risk in states where marijuana is legal for medical purposes.
In August of 2016 the liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Justice Department cannot prosecute medical marijuana cases if no state laws were broken, citing the 10th Amendment allowing States to have final cognizance over matters of law not granted to the federal government. As Fox News reported,
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ordered the federal agency to show that 10 pending cases in California and Washington state violated medical marijuana laws in those states before continuing with prosecutions.
Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but Congress has barred the Justice Department from spending money to prevent states from regulating the use or sale of medical pot.
Federal prosecutors argued unsuccessfully that Congress meant only to bar the department from taking legal action against states and that it could still prosecute individuals who violate federal marijuana laws. The court rejected that, saying that medical marijuana-based prosecutions prevent the states from giving full effect to their own measures.
This week the Supreme Court refused to hear a case on appeal challenging Colorado’s medical marijuana law, putting off once again a definitive ruling on whether or not federal law, with no constitutional backing, has precedence over state law. As the Washington Post reported,
The Supreme Court’s decision today to toss out a lawsuit that could have brought Colorado’s legal marijuana boom to a screeching halt.. Oklahoma and Nebraska asked the Supreme Court to hear a challenge to Colorado’s marijuana legalization framework, saying that the state’s legalization regime was causing marijuana to flow across the borders into their own states, creating law enforcement headaches.
But by a 6-2 majority, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, without comment… In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs argued that since marijuana is illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), it can’t be regulated at the state level. But numerous legal experts have pointed out that assumption is incorrect.
“Congress has no power to compel states to prohibit the cultivation, possession and transfer of marijuana,” according to Randy Barnett, an attorney who litigated a Supreme Court case exploring the limits of the CSA. “In the absence of such state prohibition, all such activities are completely legal under state law, notwithstanding that they are illegal under federal law,” he wrote last year.
In short, Congress can say that marijuana is illegal at the federal level. But if a state doesn’t want to enforce that prohibition itself, it doesn’t have to do so. And if it wants to go one step further and set up a market to regulate the trade in the drug, it’s free to do that as well.
Indeed, regardless of what you think of medical marijuana, this is a matter of state’s rights, and it looks increasingly like the courts are going to back that position, even as the DOJ tries to clamp down. I, personally, don’t totally agree with medical marijuana claims, but I strongly believe this is a matter to be left to the individual to decide and not government.
As a matter of principle, once Congress or the courts allow the government to dictate what they think is harmful or beneficial to individuals, when the fundamental rights of others are not affected, there is no limit to the individual choices that government can intrude upon.