The company you keep

Even parents who are not helicopter parents have concerns over the friends their children make. These friends can be positive or negative influences. My wife and I opened our house to our kids’ friends – we loved the chaos, but also got to meet them.

Speaking of the company you keep, on yet another Friday night cleansing, the president announced he would commute the sentence of his confidant Roger Stone. Stone was convicted of lying to Congress and more and is a self-professed dirty trickster, which still puzzles me why anyone would brag about that?

Stone is a contemporary of Paul Manafort, who also went to jail for more than a few malfeasances related to unreported foreign dealings and income. Manafort served as Trump’s campaign manager for over four months.

Michael Flynn pleased guilty to lying to the FBI twice, but that does not seem to matter now to some. What is also not reported enough, is the FBI did not pursue other legitimate charges of not reporting relationships with foreign governments and conducting government business before being sworn in. The FBI wanted his help, so they made a plea deal.

And, it still puzzles me why the president commuted the sentence of disgraced former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. Blagojevich marketed for money the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama when he became president. That is both illegal and highly unethical.

These are the kind of people the president values. Maybe this is part of the reason he fawns over autocratic-type and brutal leaders from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Philippines, North Korea, Brazil, etc.

It also interests me how he demeans, denigrates and eventually forces out people who are more loyal to the Constitution than to him. People who testified under oath at great risk over concerns, Inspector Generals who wrote reports or raised concerns inconsistent to whatever tactic the president was employing and, of course, whistleblowers who raised concerns with the hope of some protection have come under fire. Names like Alex Vindman, Fiona Hill, Michael Atkinson, Mitch Behm, Glenn Fine, Christi Grimm, Steve Linick, et al are American heroes run out of Dodge by the corrupt sheriff. It also is frustrating to watch Senators and Congresspeople throw these folks under the bus.

I have been a broken record with Republican Senators and my two Republican Congressman (the first had to resign over unreported conflicts of interest) sharing my concerns about the most corrupt and deceitful president in my lifetime, including Richard Nixon. I would ask them what will you have to defend next week, the week after, next month…?

I recall Republicans making a big deal out of Obama not wearing s flag pin. How unpatriotic! But, now it is OK that a president prefers the company of criminals, he takes the side of Putin over his own intelligence people, he does not bother to study key briefings endangering Americans, he is far more untruthful than he is not beating up on those who try to tell the truth, so badly botching a COVID-19 response using misinformation and finally promoting racial injustice dividing America.

These are questions that stymie me, and the sycophants who look the other way are abetting this corruption. But, don’t take my word for it, Google all those names above and determine for yourself. Ask why are the various groups treated so differently by this president?

A voice worth listening to – Dr. Fiona Hill

On Sunday night’s edition of “60 Minutes,” Dr. Fiona Hill was interviewed. Hill is one of the foremost experts on Russia and Vladimir Putin and has served in both in Republican and Democrat White Houses. Among many highly credible witnesses at the House impeachment hearings, I found her voice the most credible and her impassioned cautions very legitimate and concerning.

Hill represents the best of public servants and hers is an opinion worth listening to. She also handled with aplomb the grenades thrown at her by the more strident Trump supporters at the House impeachment hearings. In their sophomore efforts to discredit this nonpartisan and honorable public servant, they showed how inferior their arguments were against someone testifying under oath who knew what she was talking about and was there to serve her country.

I have attached a link to the interview below, but here are a few highlights:

– the narrative Ukraine was the source of the 2016 election disruption and not Russia is a “Russian narrative” that has been perpetuated in America by Russian influencers and conservative talk show hosts.
– Putin studies all adversaries, including Trump, to find exploitable weaknesses. That is what he has always done. She used an example with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to illustrate this point.
– Putin wants Bernie Sanders to win and is aiding his campaign because he wants to see the two more extreme candidates with the smallest bases divide America more, with all of us left in the middle.
– Putin did not invent racism in America, but he studies America, as he does other countries, and he promotes disinformation to cause dissension.
– She is frustrated how public servants who are trying to serve America are being portrayed as political. They are not there to be political, it is the ones who are finger pointing at them who are.
– She was painted with an indicting brush when she was asked to join the Trump White House. None other than self-proclaimed “dirty trickster” Roger Stone bad mouthed her on Alex Jones’ “Infowars” show. It should be noted Jones is a big conspiracy nut with a voice.

So, Hill should be listened to. But, let me sum up some of the others. Stone is going to jail for lying to Congress among other things. Jones lost a law suit against the Sandy Hook parents for the anguish he caused when he said the Sandy Hook massacre of 27 people, mostly kids, was a hoax. Congressman Devin Nunes, who was one of the folks that beat up on Hill, should have recused himself from the hearings, as his name appeared in the Lev Parnas’ documents.

Then, there is the president. We have to listen to him as he is the president, but we don’t have to believe what he says. I try to read his comments than watch him say them, as I don’t like be lied to so blatantly. But, when I read what he said, I start out not believing one word as true as the odds are in my favor.

Dr. Hill, thank you for your service over the years and in the future. You deserve better treatment than you have received in the last few months. She noted her daughter kept her in perspective when she was nervous about a test the day of her mother’s testimony. When the mother shared her own nervousness about testifying, her daughter told her they were not the same thing. All you have to do is tell the truth, mommy. And, that she did.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/fiona-hill-the-60-minutes-interview/ar-BB10V29w?ocid=spartandhp