Thursday, November 23, 2017

Turkey day.

TWEET MESup field hands?

I know it doesn't seem like there is much to be thankful for with that big turkey in the White House, but try to count your blessings and find some things that make you thankful.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Some of these men are not like the others.

Image result for idris elba clooney images*The White House couldn't cover for him any longer, so Mr. trump finally came clean with his love for the "alleged" pedophile down in Alabama, Roy Moore. (That whole "birds of a feather" thing I guess.)

Anyway, it seems that it's now cool to be an "alleged" sexual predator, as long as you belong to the right tribe. Politics now trump (pun intended) all things, including morality.

Anyway, these are interesting times when it comes to sexual harassment, and one writer has an interesting take on why all these "alleged" sexual predators fit a certain physical profile.

 "You may have noticed that as this extremely depressing and never-ending “celebrity sex abuser” storyline plays out, there are at least a couple of patterns. One of them, which no one has had the courage to fully examine, is that almost all of the most high-profile alleged abusers from the world of media/entertainment/politics are men who would not be generally considered physically attractive. Some might even be called ugly, and not just because of their behavior.

I am always very skeptical of when the media takes a few stray data points and weaves them into a convenient narrative, but there is clearly something to this. Harvey Weinstein, Roger Ailes, Mark Halperin, Louis C.K., Roy Moore, Al Franken, Charlie RoseGlenn Thrush, John Conyers, John Lasseter, and Jeffery Tambor all clearly fit within this description.

So, is this just a coincidence, or is there a connection between a male celebrity lacking good looks and him being more likely to be accused of sexually inappropriate, or even criminal conduct? I have a theory that there is indeed an association here, one which may play a role in multiple directions.

Given the highly sensitive nature of this subject matter and the incredibly toxic current environment surrounding this topic, I want to first make very clear that I am not looking to in any way to excuse the very bad behavior, which, as the father of two young girls, I obviously abhor. Instead, I am only trying only to explain a portion of what is really going on here and make sense of what seems to be an overwhelming level of insane news stories all coming out at the same time.

Charlie Rose, in his ill-fated “defense” against allegations which led to his instant and shocking downfall, said, “I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize that I was mistaken.” While the nature of the allegations, some of which he is denying, makes his perspective difficult to believe, let’s, for a moment, take him at his word. If one understands celebrity and power, this assertion may not be nearly as preposterous as it first appears to be.

Having spent a lot of time around many rather famous and powerful people, I believe that “celebrity” is effectively a disease. It completely screws with a person’s brain and often makes them quite delusional (which is why making someone whose whole life has been about achieving celebrity, the president of the United States, was a REALLY bad idea). In short, a person begins to believe, quite literally, that their crap does not stink.

This creates a situation where they really believe that they can do no wrong and that the people around them, who never tell them “no” and praise nearly everything they do, actually adore them. Much like animals in a first-class zoo, they begin to live in a world with no actual connection to reality and their ability to properly gauge personal interactions becomes greatly diminished.
Inevitably, this impacts their contact within “romantic” relationships, especially if they are heterosexual men. As Harvey Weinstein’s gorgeous and soon to be ex-wife proves, it is well known that some women are extremely attracted to–or at least pretend to be–celebrity, power, and money.
It is hardly a stretch then that these same men, who probably got no female attention in their formative teenage years, in their adulthood as a “celebrity” want to take their new fancy sports car (if you will) out for a ride as often as possible. Inevitably, this means that they will eventually drive this car too fast/recklessly, causing them to crash and burn.

In other words, these men get used to the idea that some women really will, just as Donald Trump infamously told Access Hollywood, “let you do anything” if you are a “star.” They start to think that they are George Clooney because some women actually really do treat them that way (and they are too egotistical to realize that these women are probably mostly faking it). Effectively, they end up WAY “over punting” their “coverage” and bad things, sometimes very bad things, end up happening, especially since these men also tend to have massive entitlement issues.

I know that a lot of people, especially liberal feminists, will be outraged by this analysis because they will wrongly perceive that I am minimizing these widely varied acts of abuse, but I am not. They will also say that I am portraying the motivation of the act incorrectly because sex abuse, to them, is all about power and not about sex.

As an actual heterosexual man, who knows a lot of other real heterosexual men, I believe that this perception is, for the vast majority of cases, way off. The reality is that these men want to have sexual relations with women more beautiful than their own level of attractiveness would normally allow. This is why they pursued the very attributes (fame, power, money) which would make this possible for them to achieve. (Part of why I know this is because, as teenage mega-geek, I started my career as a TV sportscaster for some of the same reasons and, after initially enjoying the “perks,” quickly matured enough to realize they weren’t worth the downside.)

It is instructive here to see how men view sexual abuse when it occurs in reverse. Take, for instance, female teacher sex abuse cases, which are shockingly common and which, not coincidently, get a lot of media coverage, at least when the teacher is considered to be “attractive.” There is zero doubt that the average male, whether they admit it publicly or not, judge the heinousness of these acts based solely on how good-looking the teacher is. For instance, right or not, I have never met a man who thought that the crimes committed on a teenage boy by “hot teacher” Debra Lafave were particularly horrible.

This phenomenon does not generally work the same way with women because biologically they tend to see the role and desirability is irrelevant in judging and interpreting the actions of men in the realm of sexual harassment and abuse. I am convinced, for instance, that if Al Franken looked like Brad Pitt, no one would have ever taken Leeann Tweeden’s charge remotely seriously.

As Tom Brady memorably taught us in a 2012 Saturday Night Live sketch, the rules to follow for not sexually harassing women in the workplace are: “Be handsome, Be Attractive, Don’t Be Unattractive.” [Source]

Now let's be clear, I do not agree with the author's views. I happen to think that if a woman wants to allow *Idris Elba or *George Clooney to flirt with her and not Donald trump or Roy Moore, that is her prerogative. If you happen to be an old unattractive white man who thinks that your money and power allows you to be a pig, then you  might want to do some soul searching and face reality: You are not Idris Elba, George Clooney, or brad Pitt.

It might seem like a double standard, but it's not. That's her choice to make, not yours.   

*Pic from

Monday, November 20, 2017

LaVar vs Donald.

Image result for lavar ball imagesI was thinking the same thing as the author of the following article today.

"Trump’s Twitter War with LaVar Ball Underlines a Bigger Problem.

With all the pressing issues of the day, Donald Trump still finds time to engage in a twitter war with LeVar Ball, father of UCLA basketball player LiAngelo Ball. LiAngelo and some of his teammates had been arrested on suspicion of shoplifting while on tour in China. LeVar Ball expressed skepticism about the level of help Trump gave in assisting the basketball players. One has to ask why the president of the United States has such a thin skin that he must respond to every slight or criticism. Why are most of Trump’s targets people of color?

Trumps seems to find plenty of time to engage in twitter wars with people of color but doesn’t ever find the time to call into question the behavior of people lik Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer. Trump is engaged in twitter wars with ESPN sportswriter Jemele Hill. He was upset when Hill referred to him as a white supremacist. Hill was upset over comments Trump made during the Charlottesville Neo-Nazi riots when Trump claimed there were “good people on both sides.”

Who can forget the time Trump attacked a Gold Star family over remarks made at the 2016 DNC Convention? Trump couldn’t stand having his foreign policy criticized, so he launched a bigoted attack against Mr. Khan’s religion. Trump remains silent on acts of terrorism committed by right-wing white men. He remains silent about how to fix the problem of mass shootings. He takes the time to attack any high profile person of color who dares to criticize him. Maybe Jemele Hill is right." [Source]  

With all the problems in the world and the work that this clown  (Donald trump) should be doing, he is engaged in a twitter war with LaVar Ball of all people/. All because his son didn't kiss his ring like a good Negro should after he gets help from Mr Charlie. 

Give me a break! 

Memo to POTUS: You are a president of all the people, and it is your job to help Americans when you can and if they are in need. Even if they are young Negro basketball players. 

*Pic from

Sunday, November 19, 2017


Image result for trump assault  image     * So we have finally reached a turning point when it comes to calling out sexual harassment in America. It's a welcome thing, but clearly it has come too late. And forgive me if  am not convinced that this is a watershed moment, after all we have been down this road many times before. 

Had the #MeToo movement been in effect about 27 years ago,  maybe there would be no Justice Clarence Thomas sitting in the Supreme Court today. No one believed Anita Hill then, and Thomas used the race card to escape the reality of his transgressions. 

Poor Anita Hill must be wondering to herself: where was the #MeToo movement when I needed it? 

Fast forward to 2017, and we are at a place in time where it seems that every day another woman comes forward to tell her story about being sexually assaulted, harassed, or abused by a male in  a position of power.

There have been so many of late, that it has gotten hard for us to keep up.  They are calling it the Weinstein effect, and powerful men from New York to Hollywood are shaking in their boots.  It might just shake up a senate race in Alabama, because the candidate who was leading in the race is "allegedly" a sexual pedophile who has a predilection for underaged girls.  It might also cause a sitting senator to have to resign his seat depending on where an investigation by his colleagues lead.

One person who has escaped the scrutiny is the man who should be scrutinized the most: the sitting president of the United States. He is a man who was accused by at least 15 women of  sexual assault. He is a man who admitted on tape to assaulting women. He is also a man who has a history of publicly insulting women in the most misogynistic manner, and yet there he sits in the White House with no shame ----or fear of being called out for his reprehensible and possibly criminal behavior. 

The president himself has weighed in on all of this with an unbelievable tweet condemning Al Franken for being a hypocrite  (talk about living in a glass house and throwing stones). He just couldn't help himself, and now folks are reminded what a scumbag some of them held their noses and voted for.

I know of a few women who I am sure didn't vote for him. Ubet Ninni Laaksonen ,Jessica, Drake Karena Virginia, Cathy Heller, Summer Zervos, Kristin Anderson, Jessica Leeds, Rachel Crook, Mindy McGillivray, Natasha Stoynoff, Jennifer Murphy, Cassandra Searles, Temple Taggart McDowell,and Jill Harth.  

I am sure there are others, let's hope that the #MeToo movement gives them the courage to speak out as well. 

*Pic from


Saturday, November 18, 2017


Image result for trump water bottle images

I need a caption for this pic.

*Pic from

Friday, November 17, 2017

The death of democracy.

TWEET MEDid the greatest democracy on earth die with the election of Donald trump?

The following article might help with some answers to that question.

The Field Negro education series continues.

 "It’s been one year since the election of Donald Trump as president and, despite his questionable commitment to the country’s political traditions, American democracy is still standing. Some of Trump’s most dangerous policies have been stopped by the judiciary. Others have not made it through Congress. Special counsel Robert Mueller is closing in on the dangerous liaisons between the Trump campaign and Russia (and perhaps much more). The president’s approval rating has hit a dismal 38 percent, and Democrats scored a landslide in Virginia’s elections last week.

Is it time to rejoice in the strength of American institutions? That would be underestimating the threat on the horizon and overestimating the strength of U.S. institutions. There are two complementary prongs to Trump’s onslaught on American democracy, and both are still clear and present threats.

The first is a systematic attack on democratic political norms.

Democracy is supported by a complex set of political norms that encourage restraint and compromise from the main political actors. These norms are the lifeblood of democratic institutions because no constitution can specify a complete recipe for resolving conflicts in the disparate situations in which politicians, political parties, and other powerful actors will find themselves. Even when certain rules are specified, they need to be interpreted and are often vulnerable to abuse. Democratic political norms fill in this vacuum. They encourage compromise and rule out actions that enable those who currently hold power from impairing rivals. Without these norms, those in office will find ways to abuse their power, undermining the workings of democratic institutions.

The recent history of Argentine democracy illustrates the disastrous consequences of the violation of such norms. Argentina’s famous strongman Juan Perón was elected as president in 1946, after his stint as minister of labor in the former military regime. One of his first acts was to replace three Supreme Court justices with his cronies. Thereafter, Argentina’s Supreme Court ceased to be viewed as a check on presidential power, and it became a new normal for every president, even those who came to power via democratic elections, to oust justices and replace them with loyalists.

Of course, the political norms of democratic compromise in the United States were seriously strained even before Trump’s presidency, as illustrated, for example, by systematic gerrymandering to lock in the domination of the party currently controlling a state’s legislature or by the unwillingness of Senate Republicans to even consider former President Barack Obama’s final nominee for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland. But Trump’s demonization of opposition and media, blurring of lines between personal and presidential, removal of all types of auditing and other control mechanisms on the administration, and legitimization of uncompromising, or even hateful, views via his implicit support for far-right protesters in Charlottesville and his pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio have set new lows not just by U.S. but by any international standards.
Political norms that are the bulwark of our democracy cannot be easily repaired once damaged, even if Trump’s most dangerous policies are stopped. Nor can white supremacist, anti-immigrant, and nativist rhetoric be swiftly sidelined once condoned by the U.S. president.

The second prong of the Trump onslaught is an attempt to weaken institutions so as to elevate the personal power of a would-be autocrat. The recent history of democratic institutions succumbing to such attacks in Russia, Turkey, and Venezuela illustrate that the takeover of democratic institutions is often a slow, gradual process. First comes the silencing of internal opposition within the party or the political movement of the strongmen. Then, there is the slow process of neutralizing the judiciary, followed by a systematic, if uneven, sidelining of independent civil service. All throughout, the media and other civil society organizations are increasingly muzzled and silenced by threats, co-option, and smearing.

Of course, if democratic institutions are truly strong and alert against threats, these attacks can be resisted. But the performance of U.S. checks and balances so far gives no comfort.

The last several months have shown clearly that Congress, so long as it remains under the control of Republicans, will provide none of the checks on the president’s power that are often presumed. On the contrary, the fact that only senators not seeking re-election have been able to speak against Trump underscores the near-complete capitulation of the Republican Party. And it is set to get worse as Republican lawmakers are witnessing how the small but highly motivated and mobilized minority of Americans devoted to Trump will bombard them with tweets, messages, or even threats if they so much as disagree with the president.

Several judges stood firm against Trump’s travel ban for several Muslim-majority countries. But in the next three years, Trump, through appointment, can completely change the balance of the judiciary, especially for cases that make it up to the Supreme Court, where he may have an opportunity to appoint several more justices. Banking on the judiciary to defend democracy would be foolhardy indeed.

The growing chorus of Trump supporters demanding the termination of Mueller’s investigation, fully anticipating that Republicans in Congress would not stand in the way, should dispel any notion that the judiciary can single-handedly defend American institutions.

It is heartening to see how several states and cities have stood for the rights of immigrants and taken actions for protecting the environment, even as the Environmental Protection Agency has turned into an anti-environment agency under Administrator Scott Pruitt. But states can neither stop the buckling of federal institutions under the president’s onslaught nor counter the collapse of political norms undergirding American democracy.

America’s most effective safeguards against Donald J. Trump so far are not to be found in Congress, the judiciary, or the states, but in the media and in civil society.

Many media outlets, led by the Washington Post and the New York Times, have enthusiastically embraced their critical role in these turbulent times and have spearheaded the defense of our democracy, keeping the spotlight on the president’s campaign against U.S. institutions and his and his family’s questionable business deals. But can we be sure that Trump’s unremitting attacks on the New York Times, CNN, and other critical outlets won’t work? It is true that when another would-be autocrat, Argentina’s previous president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, tried to browbeat her country’s opposition media group Clarín, it did not succeed. But that’s small comfort. Independent newspapers did at first stand up to Hugo Chávez, Vladimir Putin, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan too, but they got worn down slowly by threats, financial pressure, and relentless smear campaigns by other media blindly loyal to these strongmen. Even if the tradition of fierce, investigative and sometime rambunctious journalism in the United States gives us some hope, we cannot bank on these media outlets to defend our democracy in this age of weaponized fake news.

The people who get their voice from democratic political institutions are — have to be — their last line of defense. The American people have risen up to this challenge. Their mobilization against the policies and the values of Trump’s administration are the true silver lining of the dark clouds of today. It is this mobilization that has paved the way to the defeat of the president’s ban on citizens of several majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States, that made it impossible for even Republican congressmen to repeal Obamacare, and that has egged on Democrats to stand firm against the president. But history is full of examples where such mobilization peters out, especially when faced with soft (and even worse, hard) repression, or when it runs out of steam or gives way to internal squabbles (witness the emergence of Democratic litmus tests, already starting to divide the opposition).

So the slow battle between America’s democratic institutions and its 45th president is set to continue. But even more worryingly, there are the wild cards.

Putin’s subversion of Russian institutions would have been much harder without the Chechen War and the alleged Chechen attack on four apartment blocks in Russia in 1999. The suspension of the remaining constitutional checks on Turkish President Erdogan would have been all but impossible without the intensification of the war between Turkish security forces and the Kurdish rebels. What would happen if we witnessed a series of foreign terrorist attacks on U.S. soil? Or if war broke out against North Korea?

It’s too soon to rejoice, and too dangerous to be complacent. We are still the last defense." [Source]

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Learning day.

TWEET MEHere are some things I learned today.

Sexual harassment is not a partisan issue.  (Mr. Franken, you should probably resign your senate seat. But then the president has allegedly done worst things and he is still the president.)

Anti Gay republicans are hypocrites.  

Christian republicans can be the most racist. 

Congress spent 15 million dollars to protect some sexual harassers in their midst.

Apparently if you are a celebrity rapper and you commit crimes in your community, you get to have folks come out and protest on your behalf.  (That Free Meek Mill bandwagon is going to have to pass me by.)

It's not cool to put a sign on your car that disparages the president in Texas.(Southern sheriffs really love trump.)

If you are poor in America, you are about to really get screwed.   

trump supporters can be really disruptive in public spaces.   

Charles Manson is knocking on hell's door. .

And, oh yes, there is more drip drip to that Russian scandal. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Open thread Wednesday.

MORE DISCLAIMERS It's open thread Wednesday, field hands, and I need your thoughts on a few things.

 Roy Moore had a press conference today to discredit one of his accusers, but with another accuser coming forward today, do you believe Roy Moore?

Do you think Jeff Sessions knows what day it is?

Does having a dry throat make you a liar? 

If a room full of CEOs say that they will not invest the money they get from tax cuts, should they still get it?

How long will trump's silence last on this Roy Moore scandal? 

Why do some republicans believe the victims in the Roy Moore case but not all of the women who accused trump of sexual harassment?   

Tell me anything else that's on your mind.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Crazy times.

TWEET METhere was a lot going on in America today.

America wouldn't be America if there wasn't a mass shooting somewhere. And, right on cue, there was one out in California.

Some deranged animal decided to head to a elementary school and kill folks at random before being killed by law enforcement authorities. 

There must be something in the air with some people. Maybe it's the holiday seasons causing folks to lose their minds. Or, maybe it's just the trump presidency. Citizens taking after their leader. 

Anyway, these lunatics among us are not just killing random strangers, they are killing their own family members as well.


Meanwhile, down in Washington....well, let me sum it all up with a brilliant tweet that I found on my twitter timeline.

  1. "So in the finale we strip Americans of health care to enrich the yacht rock class and elect a mall pedophile to the Senate while the klansman AG lies to Congress about Russian election tampering." "Wow. That's quite an act. What do you call it?" "The Republicans."'
Shout out to @JuliusGoat for that brilliant piece of analysis. 

Here is one thing we do know: Jeff Sessions is almost as good a liar as his boss. Almost. He says that he doesn't remember, while his boss just says that it never happened. Fake news. Believe what I am saying, not your lying eyes. 

Here is another thing I know: this Russia story is no t going away. Every day there seems to be a  new revelation. 

You did have communications with the Russians last year, isn’t that right? Just yes or no,” Lieu stated.

Sessions responded, “I had a meeting with the Russian ambassador, yes.”

“That’s exactly the opposite answer you gave under oath to the US Senate,” Lieu shot back. “So again either you are lying to the US Senate or you’re lying to the US House of Representatives.”
After being told by the committee chairman that he could respond though time had expired, an incensed Sessions lashed out at Lieu for accusing him of lying:
“I won’t repeat it, Mr. Chairman, but I hope the congressman knows, and I hope all of you know that my answer to that question I did not meet with the Russians was explicitly responding to the shocking suggestion that I as a surrogate was meeting on a continuing basis with Russian officials and the implication was to impact the campaign in some sort of nefarious way. And all I did was meet in my office with the ambassador in which we didn’t discuss anything like that. So I just want to say I appreciate the congressman’s right, I guess he can say free speech, he can’t be sued here. So that’s just my response." 
Mr Mueller, for the sake of our country, please hurry. This craziness is starting to get to all of us.    


Monday, November 13, 2017

Besties with "the same soul."

Tonight I am going to flip the script and post a positive story about where we are as humans for once.

I don't usually fall for feel good stories about random people, but when I saw the story about these two adorable little girls it almost brought tears to my Field Negro eyes....

"Jia Sarnicola and Zuri Copeland are possibly the cutest best friends on the internet right now. The 4-year-old girls from Miami met at school, and when they found out they had similar birthdays, they even had a joint party together.

Jia, born on June 3, and Zuri, born on June 5, decided to wear matching outfits that day – as besties do, of course - and now they've taken their friendship to the next level by telling everyone they're twins.

"[They have] the same vibrant energy, intelligence, heart to take care of others and both [are] extremely vocal about their needs," mom Ashley Sarnicola told BuzzFeed News. "They love to dance and sing."

But when a group of girls allegedly told they them that they were "no way" related, Jia decided to clap back. "You don't know anything," she reportedly said. "We are twins because we have the same birthday!"

The incident made her cry, but Jia is sticking by her twin. The besties later told Zuri's older sister Victoria Williams that "we have the same birthday and we share the same soul." 

They were crying, but they were defending each other," Williams, 23, told BuzzFeed. "It was so sweet." She thought their relationship was so cute that she tweeted about it, and the internet couldn't get enough." [Source] 


Anyway, in 2017, why is this even a story? And doesn't it say how far we have to go as a society if two children of different races are all over the news and social media because they happen to be really close? 



Sunday, November 12, 2017

The "fake news" president.

TWEET METhe biggest news of this past week wasn't that Roy Moore, who might be heading to the United States senate soon, is a pedophile. (It might be the most disgusting, but it's not the most important.) The most important news of the weekend is that Donald trump openly admitted that he believes the words of a tyrant more than he does his own intelligence agencies.

The following article might give us some insight into why Mr. trump refuses to call out the Russians for meddling in America's elections.

The Field Negro education series continues.

"President Donald Trump hasn’t delivered on his campaign promise to create U.S. coal or steel jobs (foreign steel imports are up 27 percent this year), but he is creating a bonanza in the business of “fake news.”

Admittedly a lot of those jobs have been outsourced to Russia, but Trump is also providing plenty of employment at home.

Even before Monday’s bombshells from special counsel Robert Mueller — Trump’s campaign manager and his business partner have been indicted on multiple counts of laundering more than $18 million from pro-Russian clients in Ukraine, while a Trump foreign policy advisor pleaded guilty to lying about his efforts to solicit Clinton “dirt” from Russian contacts — Trump and his associates had launched Operation Obfuscation. Their far-fetched claim is that the real collusion isn’t between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. It’s between Hillary Clinton and the Kremlin.

“It is now commonly agreed, after many months of COSTLY looking, that there was NO collusion between Russia and Trump,” Trump tweeted on Friday. “Was collusion with HC!” Then on Sunday, with the indictments looming, a more desperate version of the same message: “There is so much GUILT by Democrats/Clinton, and now the facts are pouring out. DO SOMETHING!” And on Monday, after the indictments were announced: “[W]hy aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????”

Picking up the theme, Trump’s faithful follower Jeanine Pirro blared on Fox News: “It’s time to shut it down, turn the tables, and lock her up.” Former White House aide Sebastian Gorka did her one better. He implied that Hillary Clinton was guilty of treason, just like the Rosenbergs, and that she too deserves the electric chair!

What, exactly, is the evidence for these hyperbolic claims? White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders asserted: “The evidence Clinton campaign, DNC & Russia colluded to influence the election is indisputable.” True — if “indisputable” has been redefined to mean “nonexistent.” The White House case, based on little more than warmed-over hearsay and discredited conspiracy mongering, relates to two familiar controversies: the Steele dossier alleging Trump-Russia links and the Russian acquisition of a Canadian company that owns uranium mines in America.

The Steele dossier, compiled by the respected former MI6 officer Christopher Steele, landed in the news recently when a law firm representing the Clinton campaign admitted to having paid opposition research firm Fusion GPS to compile it. (Earlier, we now know, Fusion had been hired by conservative news site the Washington Free Beacon to research Trump and other candidates.) The horror! If you listen to Trump’s defenders, it’s perfectly proper for Donald Trump Jr. to seek opposition research from Russian agents but a death-penalty offense for the Clinton campaign to try to uncover the Trump-Russia links. In their telling, the investigation of a potential crime is as bad as the crime itself. Huh?

The argument seems to be that because Steele talked to Russian sources in the course of compiling his dossier, he, and thus the entire Clinton campaign, was “colluding” with the Kremlin. By the same logic, anytime the CIA talks to Russian agents it, too, is “colluding” with Russia. This is to render the word “collusion” meaningless — which is precisely the point.

It’s perfectly possible, even probable, that some misinformation made it into the Steele dossier. That’s often the case with raw intelligence files. But the veteran CIA officer John Sipher has concluded that a “large portion of the dossier is crystal clear, certain, consistent and corroborated.”

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang, Vietnam November 11, 2017. Reuters/Jorge Silva
There is no reason to suppose, as the Trumpkins posit, that the Kremlin fed all this information to Steele in the hopes of discrediting Trump when no one could be certain that the report would ever become public. Why, in any case, would the Kremlin seek to discredit the most pro-Russian candidate ever to pursue the presidency? Why, moreover, would Putin want to help Hillary Clinton, whom he is widely reported to revile for her tough anti-Russia line? And why, if the Kremlin were intent on making Trump out to be a Russian stooge, would its spokesman so vociferously deny that very charge? To believe that the Steele dossier was an elaborate Kremlin ploy requires the same sort of faith-based reasoning necessary to believe that Barack Obama wasn’t born in the U.S. or that Ted Cruz’s father killed JFK.

In the final analysis, the Steele dossier is a sideshow, and the question of who funded it is a sideshow of a sideshow. Yes, the FBI saw it, but it’s not the basis for the unanimous assessment released in early January by the FBI, CIA, NSA, and the director of national intelligence concluding that the Kremlin interfered in the U.S. election to help Trump and hurt Clinton. Nor is the Steele dossier the reason why independent counsel Robert Mueller has been appointed to investigate the president. Mueller was appointed only after (1) Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself after not having been truthful about his own contacts with Russia’s ambassador during the campaign and (2) Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in a self-confessed attempt to stop the probe of the “Russia thing.”
Thus Trump is now being investigated not only for collusion with a hostile foreign power but also for obstruction of justice and probably other offenses as well — and based on the indictments unsealed Monday, special counsel Mueller is making rapid progress. The truth or falsity of the Steele dossier does not affect the outcome of this investigation in the slightest.

What about the uranium deal, which Trump has compared to Watergate and his “minister of information,” Sean Hannity, has called “the biggest scandal — or, at least, one of them — in American history”? If you listen to the hype, you would think that in return for donations to the Clinton Foundation, Hillary Clinton allowed the Russians to loot America’s uranium reserves. As Trump said on Oct. 24, 2016: “Remember that Hillary Clinton gave Russia 20 percent of American uranium and, you know, she was paid a fortune.”

The reality, as numerous media organizations have documented, is rather more prosaic. In 2010, Russia’s nuclear-energy agency, Rosatom, applied to buy a majority stake in Uranium One, a Canadian firm that controls roughly 20 percent of America’s uranium reserves. The deal had to be cleared by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which includes a representative of the State Department along with eight other federal agencies. Ultimate approval authority to stop the deal lay with President Obama. The government duly OK’d the sale, because it wasn’t judged to be a threat to national security. Rosatom was prohibited from exporting any of the uranium, and the mining licenses would remain with U.S. subsidiaries controlled by American citizens.

If you believe the conspiracy-mongers, however, the reason the deal went ahead is that Uranium One’s owner contributed beaucoup bucks to the Clinton Foundation. Fact check: Foundation donor Frank Giustra sold his company to Uranium One in 2007 and says he unloaded his personal stake in the firm at that time — three years before Rosatom tried to buy Uranium One. Bill Clinton did get $500,000 for a speech in Moscow in 2010, but there is no evidence that this was part of any quid pro quo, and there are no records of Rosatom contributing to the Clinton Foundation.
Moreover, Hillary Clinton says she was not personally involved in the review of the sale, and the official who represented the State Department on the review panel backs her up. Even if they are lying, Clinton’s vote still would have been only one of nine, so the approval of the sale was hardly her doing.

The real scandal may turn out to be Trump’s efforts to tar Clinton. CNN has reported that “Trump made it clear he wanted the gag order lifted on an undercover informant who played a critical role in an FBI investigation into Russian efforts to gain influence in the uranium industry in the United States during the Obama administration.” If true, this would suggest that Trump is actively interfering with the course of justice in order to impugn a political opponent.

This episode recalls Trump’s efforts earlier this year to prove that Obama had wiretapped him. In September, Trump’s own Justice Department definitively refuted this reckless allegation, writing in a court filing: “Both FBI and NSD [National Security Division] have no records related to wiretaps as described by the March 4, 2017 tweets.” The only crime that may have been committed was by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who had to step down from overseeing the Kremlingate probe because of accusations that he had leaked classified information to concoct an “Obama surveillance scandal.”

Now Nunes has directed the House Intelligence Committee to investigate the uranium deal in cooperation with the House Oversight Committee, while the House Judiciary Committee is set to launch the umpteenth probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails.

The operating principle was laid out by Trump himself in his final debate with Clinton when he responded to her accusations that he was a pawn of Putin by sputtering with his trademark eloquence: “No puppet, no puppet. You’re the puppet.” This is the reasoning of an elementary school playground: “I know you are, but what am I?”

That Trump’s defenders find this riposte so compelling is an indicator of the extent to which they are willing to suspend their critical faculties in slavish service to their maximum leader. As for the rest of us, we need to ignore the Trumpkins’ attempts to shift the conversation and focus like a laser on the case that Mueller and his Untouchables are building against the president of the United States and his closest associates. " [Source]