The Universal Notebook: Republicans didn’t get the memo

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Who do Republicans in Congress think they’re fooling with their phony memo purporting that the FBI is out to get Donald J. Trump?

Probably not the 65 percent of Americans who disapprove of Trump. Just the hard-core 35 percent who would remain loyal to him even if he had sex with porn stars, took golden showers with Russian hookers, had 22 women accusing him of sexual misconduct and was in bed with Russian oligarchs.

Now that we have had a chance to read the much-ballyhooed House Intelligence Committee memo, it’s clear to the sane majority that there is nothing there. It’s just an opinion piece written by Republican staffers, edited by Trump’s chief House flunky Rep. Devin Nunes, R-California, and approved by GOP members of the committee who have not actually read the intelligence underlying the memo. You may recall it was Nunes who disclosed classified information in a desperate attempt to substantiate Trump’s false claim that Obama had the FBI wiretap Trump Tower. He has no credibility whatsoever.

That, of course, has not kept alt-right Internet trolls from howling that the FBI and the Department of Justice violated Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act rules in getting warrants against Trump apparatchik Carter Page, this despite the fact that the FBI had had its eye on Page as a Russian spy since 2013. No, no, the Nunes memorandum is proof positive to the tin hat wing of the Republican Party, which is about all there is left of it, that a dreaded Deep State of sinister liberals exists within the bureaucracy and is determined to bring down Dear Leader Donald.

The Nunes nothingburger also has Trump braying “No collusion!” and “Total vindication!” apparently unaware that members of his team are being indicted and are pleading guilty to perjury left and right. Of course, a delusional narcissist, who can’t admit that his State of the Union Address drew millions fewer viewers than Clinton, Bush and Obama did, is not going to be capable of comprehending that a note from Devin Nunes does not excuse him from lack of class.

What should be of great concern to all Americans is that Trump may try to use the Republican memo as an excuse to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a Republican who appointed Robert Mueller special counsel after Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who lied to Congress about his own Russian connections, had to recuse himself.

If Rosenstein and Mueller go, all hell could break loose. Trump doesn’t seem to understand that the Mueller investigation is the only way he can get the Russian monkey off his back. If he’s not guilty and he wants vindication, he better let Mueller complete his investigation.

This is all speculation of course. No one really knows what’s going on with the Russia investigation except Mueller and the FBI. I’m willing to believe that Trump is not personally guilty of collusion with the Russians and is unlikely to face impeachment on that charge, but if he can’t keep his big mouth shut he may very well end up being charged with obstruction of justice.

What’s hard to believe in all of this is that the GOP, once a redoubt of law-and-order patriots, has descended so far into lawless conspiracy craziness that Republicans in Congress are now more concerned about protecting Trump than they are about protecting American democracy. To ignore Russian interference with the U.S. election process because it might delegitimize a pseudo-Republican president is much closer to treason than Democrats failing to applaud that president’s State of the Union address.

Ultimately, it’s hard to imagine how all this can lead anywhere other than anarchy and violence. If Trump dismisses Mueller, the streets will fill with millions of Americans demanding justice. If Trump is somehow removed for cause, alt-right white nationalist militias will be up in arms.

The best we can hope for is that the November midterm elections neuter Trump by delivering Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. Of course, Trump may start a war before then in hopes of preventing just such a blue wave.

If we keep going in the direction Trump has charted, we are headed for a police state in which walls are built along borders, government agents check citizen identity papers, people are sent into exile, tanks and troops parade through the capital in a show of military might and everyone is forced to applaud the man in charge.

Sound like anywhere we know? Certainly not the United States of America.

Freelance journalist Edgar Allen Beem lives in Brunswick. The Universal Notebook is his personal, weekly look at the world around him.

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  • Little crow

    The police state you fear was already put in place by Barak Obama and Lady MacBeth. Their record of lawlessness has been well documented. The only collusion with Russians that occurred was when the Clinton campaign hired British ex-spy Christopher Steele to use his contacts in the Kremlin to fake a dossier About Donald Trump, and then use it to get a Foreign Intelligence Survaillance Court search warrant so they could spy on members of the Trump presidential campaign, and later use it to spy on president-elect Trump both before and after his inauguration. NSA director Adm. Rogers, a member of the Obama administration, went to Trump Tower to warn him that he was being spied on, and Trump’s offices were abruptly moved to another location, while President Obama called for Rogers’ removal.

    This is the most outrageous scandal in modern history, and it’s happening because we had people in power for whom the end justifies the means. They are trying to overthrow a duly elected president because they didn’t get their way.

    • EdBeem

      Total bull. This is what I mean by the GOP tin hat wing. Admiral Rogers did not warn Trump that he was being spied on. He testified that there was no wiretapping of Trump Tower.

      “Adm. Mike Rogers directs the National Security Agency, which is responsible for much of America’s surveillance operations. If anyone would be in a position to know the veracity of Donald Trump’s allegation that then-President Barack Obama tapped his communications, it would be Rogers. And on Monday, Rogers flatly said it didn’t happen.

      “I have seen nothing on the NSA side that we have engaged in such activity, nor that anyone ever asked us to engage in such activity,” he said.”

      • Little crow

        All the media went into a frenzy when Trump made the wire tapping accusation because their main job is to cover up for Obama and Lady MacBeth. They were technically correct as actual wire taps aren’t used any more, but we all know what Trump meant: he and his staff were being spied on by numerous agencies in the federal government who were working for the Hillary campaign and to protect Obama.

        There’s a paper trail of court records and e-mails uncovered by the inspector general that implicates FBI director James Comey, his assistant McCabe and his mistress (who exchanged numerous e-mails expressing their hatred for Trump), and other evidence that president Obama was kept informed of all the criminal activity. Comey committed a felony by admitting under oath that he leaked information about an investigation to the New York Times. Why hasn’t he been charged?

        And I’m not a Republican, and I’m not Trump’s biggest fan; But I don’t like to see a bunch of sore losers tearing up the rule of law and using Soviet style tactics to overthrow a duly elected president.

        • Queenie42

          Soviet style tactics?
          1. – Tonight Rachel Maddow noted that 8 times Trump has either contacted or met with Russian officials and that we, Americans, found out about it first through the Russian press.
          2. – Putin is now saying that he speaks for Trump. Putin told Mahmoud Abbas that Trump sends his regards.
          3. – Our U.S. embassy in Moscow is being guarded by Russians that Rex Tillerson hired on Nov. 14th.
          So who is actually running the show here? Trump or Putin? And why hasn’t Trump signed into law the bill passed by the house and senate to tighten the reins in this cyber war we are in with Russia? Just how much does Trump owe Putin for loans and bailouts? Why hasn’t Jared Kushner, his son in law not been able to get a security clearance? Why have Trump’s sons both said, live and on video that they do an inordinate amount of business with Russia?
          In other words, Who’s minding the store? Because if Putin has been granted the right to speak for our president I would say that Trump is a traitor, blowing up the deficit, giving his wealthy buddies tax breaks that will ensure a rise of poverty for the rest of us, our children and grandchildren and on and on. And now he wants a military parade. NOT to honor the troops but for them to honor him. Mr. Bonespurs.
          Get used to Soviet style tactics.
          You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
          Unless, of course, Mueller……….

          • Mainer1

            Quoting Rachel Maddow automatically nullifies any argument you had.

          • Little crow

            There’s nothing unusual or wrong about doing business with Russians if it is within the law. Mr. Mueller has spent a year hoping to find evidence that Trump illegally used Russian help to win the election, but as yet has none.

            But in fact, the Clinton campaign with the help of Russians, President Obama, the FBI and the National Security director have done exactly what they accuse Trump of: breaking the law to spy, meddle and sabotage the Trump campaign and presidency.

            An example of Soviet style tactics would be the way Mr. Mueller treated Paul Mannafort, who was cooperating with a Congressional committee and was not a flight risk: a SWAT team kicked in his door in the middle of the night, pulled him and his wife out of bed at gunpoint, and spent the next 10 hours combing through every personal item they had, including privileged attorney-client documents that they are legally forbidden to see. They ran roughshod over his Constitutional rights and the rights of others.

            The thing to remember is this: you may think it’s OK when this happens to someone you don’t like, but if the government can exercise this kind of power on them, what will you think when someone you don’t like is in power and they use these tactics on you?

          • EdBeem

            You have no idea what Mueller does or does not have. Anyone who does not want him to complete the investigation is a lousy American. If Trump is innocent, Mueller will exonerate him. Mueller is everything Trump is not — an honest man, a veteran and a true patriot. Trump is a self-serving, incompetent jerk who has put the rule of law and the existence of the USA at risk. He has done everything he said he wouldn’t do and hasn’t done a thing he said he would do. He has created a massive budget deficit as he seeks to create a massive police state like his mancrush Putin has.

          • poppypapa

            “a lousy American…”

            Care to be more specific, Beemie boy?

          • Queenie42

            Look in the mirror.

          • poppypapa

            Wow! Q42 joins Eddie’s name-calling team! Now you both are living up to our low expectations. Didn’t you get your DS shot this fall?

            By the way…you would be Beemie girl, right? I was asking Beemie boy to be more specific; you know, like elaborate on the word “lousy.” It’s not particularly precise, especially for a renowned cultural critic.

            Has he ever said “that’s a really lousy painting? I doubt it.

            Maybe I’m wrong to expect better of a Straight White American Male Progressive. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, right Cosmo?

          • Queenie42

            Has your head exploded yet? After the news today of the 13 indictments against the Russian rigging the election?
            And this is just the tip of the iceberg. More to come.

          • poppypapa

            Wow; you are really a brilliant analyst of the details. At least those that you choose to hear rather than ignore. I imagine Rachel Maddow will require frequent changes of her unmentionables during her show.

          • Little crow

            Tell that to Steven Hatfield, an innocent man whose life and reputation were destroyed by Mueller when he was investigating the 2001 anthrax letters case.

            Mueller got a tip from a co-worker that the perp may be Bruce Ivans, who studied anthrax, a bacterium, and had a history of stalking people and sending threatening letters. But Mueller had made up his mind that Hatfield, a virologist, was his man.

            For five years Mueller hounded Hatfield, but had nothing to charge him with. Lacking any evidence, he had a pair of bloodhounds that had a reputation for being unreliable to smell the letters and said the dogs had indicated Hatfield.

            Ivans, the real perp, committed suicide as members of the Justice Dept. were moving in to arrest him; and it was the Justice Dept. that exonerated Hatfield, and he was awarded a $5.2 million settlement, but there was no apology from Mueller.

          • EdBeem

            On June 27, 2008 Hatfill was exonerated by the government and a settlement was announced in which the Justice Department has agreed to pay $4.6 million (consisting of $2.825 million in cash and an annuity paying $150,000 a year for 20 years) to settle the lawsuit in which Hatfill claimed the Justice Department violated his privacy rights by speaking with reporters about the case.

          • Queenie42

            The FBI had a court ordered warrant. They had to show cause to the court. All within the law.

          • Little crow

            I’m referring to the terror tactics. They could have knocked on his door during the day with the same results. So I guess you’re saying you wouldn’t mind this treatment if the police had probable cause?

          • poppypapa

            Unless the “evidence” cited was false and a blatant attempt to deceive the court.

          • Lucy Ball

            Rachell Maddow? That explains it.

        • Mainer1

          Well said, but not sore losers, the DEMS are anti-American and traitors.

          • EdBeem

            I wish I could understand how people who support a man suspected of collusion with the enemy could possibly call anyone traitors. Half the Trump administration are Russian tools, the rest are white nationalists and wife-beaters. The only way to MAGA is to get rid of this clown in the White House.

          • Queenie42

            Here are two articles I found from Forbes and from the New Yorker magazine proving Trump’s corruption:
            “Trump’s Biggest Potential Conflict of Interest is Hiding in Plain Sight”
            http://www.forbes.com/sites/danalexander/2018/02/13/trump-conflicts-of-interest-tenants-Donald-business
            and
            “Trump’s Business of Corruption”
            http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/08/21/trumps-business-of-corruption
            Really, these articles and many more show the vast holdings of Trump that he is still cashing in on despite his promise not to while he is president. Worth a read imho.

          • Lucy Ball

            “Articles” do not “prove” anything.

          • Just Sayin’

            Putting things in quotes does not disprove them.

          • Queenie42

            Yes they do. If they were false they could be sued. No suits have arisen from these articles.

          • Mainer1

            You are watching too much CNN! It’s all fake news!

          • EdBeem

            Fox and MSNBC are fake news. CNN is the God’s honest truth.

          • poppypapa

            What happened to “white trash Americans?” Did you give it up for lent?

            “Suspected of….? Is that the current standard? And suspected of by whom?

          • Just Sayin’

            Suspected of by whom?

            Let’s see. The majority of the American Public for one. The FBI for two. A large number of Congressmen for three.

            Whether or not that’s enough for you, it’s enough that there’s an ongoing investigation into that very matter.

          • Queenie42

            It has been proven today by the announcement of 13 indictments against the Russians by Mueller that the Russians rigged this last election using cyber warfare. And STILL Trump won’t enforce the law. Yes, he is a Russian puppet. He is treasonous if he refuses to enforce the sanctions and allow Russia to rig our next election. IMPEACH!

  • Chew H Bird

    Things not reported by our media are the real issue…

    • EdBeem

      You mean the alt-right fantasies reported only by Faux News and talked up by Hannity and Limbaugh. Bull pucky.

    • Just Sayin’

      Allow me to take a moment here.

      You claim that the media aren’t reporting on vital things. The media, who’s existence depends significantly on reporting the news. You’re claiming, without using the actual words, that a very broad level of conspiracy exists among not only US mainstream news, but most global mainstream news. A conspiracy to block out information on a near global level. (since we have access to international news sources, and they generally factually agree with American media.)

      What’s more likely, that there really is such an unprecedentedly successful and far reaching conspiracy, or that the people pitching that conspiracy (And who are unable to find actual hard evidence of it.) are feeding you largely BS?

      Occam’s Razor makes pretty short work of this. Try to look at it objectively.

      • EdBeem

        Thank you.

      • Chew H Bird

        Much of my work involves interaction with various segments of the government in some manner. I am not a conspiracy theorist nor am I a believer in fake news.

        What I do know from more than 30 years of business experience with many different government agencies and departments is much of what happens never makes it to the point of being reported, and much of what does make make the “reportability standards” of media worthy does not constitute enough readership interest, or clicks, to actually make it to publication.

        Just consider how difficult it is for a smallish company to root out unethical behavior among its employee pool (lets say 100 or so employees) and then consider the size, scope, and various security requirements of the federal government… I stand by my opinion that the real problems simply do not make it to the press.

        • EdBeem

          For instance?

          • Chew H Bird

            Just consider what anyone with a security clearance can, or can not, talk about. Add that to the reality of being human and consider the number of people who cannot speak because of their status…

          • EdBeem

            You said real problems do no make it into the press and I was just wondering what real problems you had in mind.

        • Just Sayin’

          There’s a difference between some information not making it into the news. This definitely happens, however, that’s NOT what you were first talking about.

          What you said was that things unreported by the media were the -real issue-. The odd case of a one or two government employees being corrupt is in no way ‘the real issue’ for anyone. You’re talking about something much larger in scale.

          So either you’re being hyperbolic to further your political ends or to stroke your own ego, or you’re talking about something specific. Time to put your money where your mouth is: Step up and spit it out, or else stop wasting our time until you actually have something to say.

      • Little crow

        Chew H Bird is exactly right. What ends up being published must be selected, and today’s mainstream media selects what ever makes leftists look good and conservatives look bad. They don’t need to conspire with each other. Of course, there are a few exceptions, one being the old Westbrook American Journal where I used to work for Harry Foote.

        Almost all of the scandals involving the Clintons or Obama were first covered by the British press. American media had no curiosity at all about them. Nor do they cover any crimes committed by illegal aliens: the media will describe the perpetrator as a “Falmouth man” instead of informing you that he’s an illegal alien from Yemen who’s been deported three times.

        You may have heard last week that a football player and an Uber driver were killed by a “drunk driver”. True, he was drunk, but what the media didn’t tell you was that he was also an illegal alien who had been deported twice and if the government had been doing its job those two people would be alive today.

        • Just Sayin’

          “…today’s mainstream media selects what ever makes leftists look good and conservatives look bad.”

          “They don’t need to conspire with each other.”

          These unsubstantiated comments actually DO paint a picture of conspiring. If almost ALL news sources have an agenda to promote the ideology of one political view over any other, and automatically show things in that light, that’s a conspiracy.

          Of course, you have no proof that today’s mainstream media actually holds a near universal bias for promoting the left, though the right’s embracing of “Alternative Facts” also provides a much greater disparity between the kinds of truths that reputable reporters will cover and the kinds of stories that get the most clicks on rightwing sites, but the only bias it reflects on the part of the journalists is one for objective and verifiable fact.

          As for Clinton or Obama scandals covered by the European press but not by american media, can you provide some concrete examples? It seems like the news articles should still be accessible enough to make that easy for you to have some evidence of, if true.

          And, finally, in the case of the drunk driver, the media did very clearly report it. The top hit on google as of this moment is a NBC news article that talks quite clearly about how he was deported twice before and snuck back into the country. The media covered the facts quite well. What disturbs me is that you seem to find the fact that he was an illegal alien to be more important than the fact that he was driving drunk. That to me is clearly the most relevant point to be made, as it is both the underlying cause of the accident and the most severe point of criminal behavior. Why wouldn’t they lead with it? Leading with immigration status is largely irrelevant, and only serves to inflame the biases of xenophobic sorts.

      • Ted Markow

        “The media, who’s existence depends significantly on reporting the news.”

        Actually, that’s not true. “The media” is much more than the news bureaus, and serve more to entertain and shock than to inform. And the news portion of “the media” is a loss-leader – it doesn’t make money for the owners. It’s been that way for many years.

        Also, “the media’s” existence depends on advertising, not news…much more today than ever before. And that is what drives the news portion of the media to report on so much murder and mayhem – it’s what attracts eyes to advertisements.

        And then there is online news, where people can cherrypick the “news” that reinforces their own bias (we all have it).

        None of this is healthy.

        • Just Sayin’

          The Media is a much bigger entity than just the news, this is true. The news is not the biggest moneymaker, this is also quite likely true. But I stand by my statement that the Media still depends significantly on the news.

          Why do I say that? Because the media continues to serve up news channels and programming. It may be a loss-leader, but people still demand access to that information. We haven’t seen the kind of abandonment of the news that would follow if it was truly not of value to networks.

          One aside I’d like to make, you’re quite right to state that everyone has a bias. This is as true for those who report the news as those who consume it. The Internet provides access to -many- sources, and while all have their bias, it’s up to the user to avoid falling into a ‘filter bubble’, whether it’s technological or of their own choosing of news sources that support their view.

          I regularly visit many different sites that don’t conform to my personal bias, specifically to get other angles on the news and try to understand other viewpoints. The truly scary thing is how disparate the information being reported is these days. Reading reports from strongly left and strongly right sources paint completely different pictures of what the world is like. There’s no wonder that the country is so very divided, when the reporting that caters to each side can’t even agree on what the truth is.

  • EdBeem

    A White House in chaos. In the first year, four arrested and a slew have had to quit or be fired — Manafort, Flynn, Gorka, Bannon, Priebus, Spicer, Walsh, Price, Fitzgerald, Porter and many more to come.

  • poppypapa

    By the way, Eddie, haven’t you mocked and derided me for “hiding behind” the handle poppypapa?

    I noticed that your Disqus account is locked as private. Which hides the mountainous archive of trash talking and name calling you’ve engaged in over the years, including most recently your “white trash Americans” tirades.

    What a gold mine it would be; think I’ll call CNN and see if they can get the truth on your record of verbal harassment.