Friday, November 17, 2017

The Dirtiest Trick: The Trump Dossier was commissioned by the Clinton presidential campaign in mid-2016

By Scott Johnson

Now we know that the Trump Dossier was commissioned by the Clinton presidential campaign in mid-2016 through the Perkins Coie law firm.

Perkins Coie’s Marc Elias served as counsel to the Clinton campaign. He called on the GPS Fusion firm to do a number on Donald Trump with the services of former British MI6 man Christopher Steele. If we take his work at face value, Steele consulted with a few friends of Vladimir Putin for some old fashioned Soviet-style disinformation courtesy of Putin himself. Here we had the effectual “collusion” of a presidential campaign with the Russians, though it has somehow escaped the scrutiny of American law enforcement authorities.

In her Wall Street Journal column “Lifting the Steele curtain” this past Friday Kim Strassel called the dossier “one of the dirtiest tricks in U.S. political history.” At the heart of her column she focused on the shrewdly evil introduction of the dossier during the campaign. Analyze this:

“Details from the dossier were not reported before Election Day,” ran a recent CNN story. Hillary Clinton herself stressed the point in a recent “Daily Show” appearance. The dossier, she said, is “part of what happens in a campaign where you get information that may or may not be useful and you try to make sure anything you put out in the public arena is accurate. So this thing didn’t come out until after the election, and it’s still being evaluated.”

This is utterly untrue. In British court documents Mr. Steele has acknowledged he briefed U.S. reporters about the dossier in September 2016. Those briefed included journalists from the New York Times, the Washington Post, Yahoo News and others. Mr. Steele, by his own admission (in an interview with Mother Jones), also gave his dossier in July 2016 to the FBI.
Among the dossier’s contents were allegations that in early July 2016 Carter Page, sometimes described as a foreign-policy adviser to Candidate Trump, held a “secret” meeting with two high-ranking Russians connected to President Vladimir Putin. It even claimed these Russians offered to give Mr. Page a 19% share in Russia’s state oil company in return for a future President Trump lifting U.S. sanctions. This dossier allegation is ludicrous on its face. Mr. Page was at most a minor figure in the campaign and has testified under oath that he never met the two men in question or had such a conversation.

Yet the press ran with it. On Sept. 23, 2016, Yahoo News’s Michael Isikoff published a bombshell story under the headline: “U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin.” Mr. Isikoff said “U.S. officials” had “received intelligence” about Mr. Page and Russians, and then went on to recite verbatim all the unfounded dossier allegations. He attributed all this to a “well-placed Western intelligence source,” making it sound as if this info had come from someone in government rather than from an ex-spy-for-hire.

The Clinton campaign jumped all over it, spinning its own oppo research as a government investigation into Mr. Trump. Jennifer Palmieri, the campaign’s communications director, the next day took to television to tout the Isikoff story and cite “U.S. intelligence officials” in the same breath as Mr. Page. Other Clinton surrogates fanned out on TV and Twitter to spread the allegations.

The Isikoff piece publicly launched the Trump-Russia collusion narrative…
Kim also raised the question whether FISA warrants on figures around the Trump campaign were procured in part on basis of the dossier. She concluded that “it is fair to ask if the entire Trump-Russia narrative—which has played a central role in our political discourse for a year, and is now resulting in a special counsel issuing unrelated indictments—is based on nothing more than a political smear document.” She asked: “Is there any reason to believe the FBI was probing a Trump-Russia angle before the dossier? Is there any collusion allegation that doesn’t come in some form from the dossier?”

A special counsel must investigate the Russia dossier, explain why Obama's FBI was involved

Former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo and Democratic strategist Michael Starr Hopkins weigh in on 'The Story.'
For the past year, as our government has been mired in both an aimless and fruitless investigation into accusations of collusion between the Russian government and the 2016 Trump Presidential campaign, Democrats have insisted that Congress follow where the evidence leads in this investigation.
My Democratic colleagues are absolutely right. Congress should follow where the facts lead. However, they’re leading in a very different direction than the mainstream media narrative might suggest.
With regard to the original purpose of the investigation, Congress has held multiple hearings and interviewed dozens of witnesses looking into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. There is nothing there. It's time to move on.
But in the process of chasing a non-existent scandal, we’ve learned of a concerning fact pattern surrounding the Clinton campaign, and potentially the Obama administration’s, involvement in a 2016 targeted campaign, using salacious information from foreign intelligence officials, against then-GOP nominee Donald Trump. The information we’ve learned warrants the appointment of a special counsel to investigate how the Russian Dossier was created and why President Obama’s FBI was involved.
As we know from a recent New York Times report, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid for research that was included in the now infamous Russian dossier, made public in January of this year by Buzzfeed and reported on by CNN.
We now know the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid ex-British intelligence officer Christopher Steele to compile the dossier with research provided by Russian intelligence officials. Much of the dossier contained claims that have either not been verified or have been directly refuted.
The fact that the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid intelligence officials in Russia for salacious and false information on President Trump is suspicious enough. But we’re also beginning to see evidence that raises questions about whether the Obama Justice Department may have inappropriately involved themselves in this project both before and after the 2016 Presidential campaign.
Consider the following timeline: In April of 2016, the Clinton campaign enlisted the law firm Perkins Coie to retain Fusion GPS, the firm behind the Russian Dossier. That very same month—April of 2016—President Obama’s campaign began paying more than $900,000 to Perkins Coie, the very same firm used by the Clinton campaign to create the Russian dossier.
We also know that in the weeks prior to the 2016 election, President Obama’s FBI tried to reach an agreement with Christopher Steele to pay for the Russian dossier, and the FBI actually ended up reimbursing some of those dossier expenses to Christopher Steele. It’s worth repeating to be clear: the FBI attempted to pay (and then reimbursed) costs for a Russian dossier that was being orchestrated by the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. Strangely, the FBI has refused to answer questions and resisted any transparency on this issue.
Going one step further—we know that on January 6th of this year, President Obama’s intelligence officials, led by then FBI Director James Comey, briefed President-elect Trump on the contents of the Russian dossier. Following that January 6th briefing, there are reports that Obama Administration Intelligence officials almost immediately leaked details of the briefing to CNN. 4 days later, on January 10th, the dossier ended up being published by Buzzfeed.
Keep in mind that several media outlets had the dossier on hand prior to January 10th. None of them had printed it or reported on it since the claims within could not be verified.
This is an alarming timeline that leaves a myriad of disconcerting questions, but the specific points of interest can be boiled down into a few specifics:
Why did President Obama’s campaign begin paying almost a million dollars to the very same firm the Clinton campaign used to fund the dossier? Why did they begin making payments in the very same month the Clinton campaign began paying for the dossier?
Why did President Obama’s FBI attempt to pay Christopher Steele for the Russian Dossier? Why was President Obama’s FBI involved in paying for a political project the Clinton campaign was orchestrating? Again, the FBI has refused to answer these questions and resisted any transparency on this issue.
Why brief the president and president-elect at all on the dossier if much of the dossier could not be verified? Or, if President Obama’s intelligence officials had reason to treat the dossier seriously, why did they wait two months after the election until January 6th to brief the President and President-elect?
And why was the Obama administration’s meeting with President-elect Trump leaked to CNN just four days after the briefing if, again, the dossier could not be verified?
At minimum, we must recognize that there are legitimate, unanswered questions about whether the Obama Justice Department involved themselves in a political project targeting then-candidate Donald Trump—a suggestion that has far more evidence behind it than the directionless investigation into Trump/Russian collusion.
The American people deserve answers to those questions. They demand answers to those questions.
It’s our government’s responsibility to find them by appointing a special counsel to investigate.
Republican Mark Meadows represents North Carolina's 11th Congressional District and is chairman of the House Freedom Caucus and a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

By The New York Post Editorial Board
If crimes were committed to further Russia’s nuclear goals here, Americans need to know. And if Team Obama suspected that but still OK’d the Uranium One sale to a Russian firm, Americans deserve an explanation of that, too.
Yet Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ orders to prosecutors merely to see if a probe — perhaps headed by a special counsel — is warranted has critics in a lather.
No surprise there: The left fears a probe into Team Obama and the Clinton Foundation could taint Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, even if it turned up no damaging evidence. Worse, it could draw attention from the FBI investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion by President Trump’s campaign.
So critics predict doomsday, claiming a special-counsel probe “could spell the end of the DOJ as an independent institution,” as Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) tweeted.
Well, yes, Trump did provide ammo for such a claim when he said prosecutors should be looking at Democrats and that he was “disappointed” in Justice for not doing so. That stirred speculation that Sessions may launch a probe to save his own job.
But if that’s the case, the AG just made it harder for himself. He told lawmakers Tuesday he’d set a high bar before tapping a special counsel: “It would take a factual basis that meets the standards of the appointment of a special counsel,” he said.
Sure, Trump’s comments on what prosecutors should probe were as foolish as, say, Obama’s 2016 claim that Clinton’s e-mail mess didn’t harm national security — even as the FBI was investigating that question.
But Trump’s remarks shouldn’t keep Justice from looking into possible crimes merely because it would appear to be taking orders from the president.
Peter Schweizer’s book “Clinton Cash” raised red flags in 2015 about the Uranium One sale and its owners’ donations to the Clinton Foundation. Last month, The Hill reported that the FBI had evidence — even before Hillary & Co. OK’d that sale — of Russian “bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money-laundering” meant to “grow” Vladimir Putin’s nuclear interests in America.
Congress is right to look into this. Not to damage Clinton or Obama politically (a pointless exercise anyway), but to find out what Russia did and how to respond. Similarly, Justice should feel free to see if it needs to probe possible crimes.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Hispanic Caucus Rejects Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo's Attempt to Join

By Lauretta Brown

The all-Democratic Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) denied Rep. Carlos Curbelo’s (R-FL) bid for membership Thursday, claiming that Curbelo’s record is “not consistent” with their values.

CHC spokesperson Carl Paz Jr. read a statement saying the group "isn’t just an organization for Hispanics; it is a Caucus that represents certain values. This vote reflects the position of many of our members that Rep. Curbelo and his record are not consistent with those values.”
Curbelo reportedly caused dispute among members of the CHC by having yet to sign on to the Dream Act.
According to Politico, CHC members also said their decision was affected by a private argument between Curbelo and CHC Chairwoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.), in which he accused her and the caucus of discriminating against him.
Curbelo issued a statement Thursday both in English and Spanish asking why the CHC wants to "build a wall" regarding his exclusion from the group.
“It is truly shameful the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has decided to build a wall around the organization to exclude Hispanic-Americans who aren’t registered in the Democratic Party,” he said. “This sends a powerful and harmful message of discrimination, bigotry, and division.' Unbelievably, petty partisan interests have led the CHC to formally endorse the segregation of American Hispanics. It is a dark day on Capitol Hill. However, this only strengthens my commitment to working with my colleagues on both sides to urgently seek a solution for young immigrants in the DACA Program.”
In his letter Monday asking to join the group, Curbelo wrote that he respects they “will sometimes have a difference of opinions on legislative strategies and goals – that is inevitable when working in the world’s greatest deliberative institution. But I believe a broader discussion, reasonable debate and diversity of thought will ultimately help the Caucus – and the entire Congress – achieve better, long-lasting legislation that can actually become law in this divisive political climate.”

BREAKING: House passes Republican tax bill, future in Senate unclear

The House on Thursday passed a sweeping tax bill largely along party lines that makes good on a Republican campaign promise to reform the country’s tax code.
The bill passed 227-205. Thirteen Republicans voted against it.
House Speaker Paul Ryan celebrated the passage, calling it “nothing short of extraordinary.”
“This country has not rewritten its tax code since 1986,” Ryan said on Capitol Hill, surrounded by Republican lawmakers. “The powers of status quo in this town are so strong, yet 227 men and women of this Congress broke through that today.”
The White House in a statement called the bill’s passage a “big step toward fulfilling our promise to deliver historic tax cuts for the American people by the end of the year.”
But the future of the Senate version, which includes a repeal of ObamaCare's individual mandate, is still very much up in the air. Several senators have wavered on support for the legislation, which the chamber is still negotiating in committee.
The House “Tax Cut and Jobs Act” was pitched as a plan to help middle-income Americans, by raising the standard deduction and simplifying the code, including collapsing tax brackets to four from seven. Republicans aggressively marketed their plan as something that would benefit everyone but critics said much of the financial gains would go to the wealthiest Americans and big corporations.
The final version scaled back some popular deductions while cutting the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent.
New York Rep. Pete King, one of the most ardent opponents of the proposal, called the House bill “an unforced error,” and suggested it could come back to bite Republicans in next year’s midterm elections.
King was part of a small group of House Republicans from New York and New Jersey who rebelled because the House plan would erase tax deductions for state and local income and sales taxes and limit property tax deductions to $10,000.
Ahead of the vote, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi slammed it as “a tax hike on 36 million middle class familiar that is dead on arrival in the Senate.”
The Senate version, which is working its way through the Finance Committee this week, is facing a lot of obstacles, including pushback from GOP senators.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., announced his opposition Wednesday to the GOP's tax bill. GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee have expressed concerns about the bill but have not signaled which way they would vote.
“Through regular order and an open and transparent amendment process, the members of the Senate’s tax writing committee are also making real progress on a bill that’s been years in the making to fulfil our promise to the American people,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said after the House vote.
Earlier Thursday, President Trump visited Capitol Hill to meet with House Republicans ahead of the vote.
"He told us that we have this once-in-a lifetime opportunity to do something really bold, and he reminded us that is why we seek these offices," Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., said of Trump's closed-door pep rally. "And here we are on the cusp of getting something really important done."
Some House Republicans spoke warily of what might happen to the tax bill in the Senate.
"Political survival depends on us doing this," said Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. "Frankly, one of the things that scares me a little bit is that they're going to screw up the bill to the point we can't pass it."
The House measure would collapse today's seven personal income-tax rates into four: 12, 25, 35 and 39.6 percent. The Senate would have seven rates: 10, 12, 23, 24, 32, 35 and 38.5 percent.
Both bills would nearly double the standard deduction to around $12,000 for individuals and about $24,000 for married couples and dramatically boost the current $1,000 per-child tax credit.
Each plan would erase the current $4,050 personal exemption and annul or reduce other tax breaks. The House would limit interest deductions to $500,000 in the value of future home mortgages, down from today's $1 million, while the Senate would end deductions for moving expenses and tax preparation.
Each measure would repeal the alternative minimum tax paid by higher-earning people. The House measure would reduce and ultimately repeal the tax paid on the largest inheritances, while the Senate would limit that levy to fewer estates.
Fox News’ Barnini Chakraborty and Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Al Franken Accused of Groping, Forcibly Kissing Broadcaster Leeann Tweeden

As seen on FOX News Happening Now

Broadcaster Leeann Tweeden accused Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) of groping her breasts and forcibly kissing her while the two were on a USO Tour in 2006.
Tweeden posted her account of what occurred on the KABC website, where she now works.
Tweeden said she and Franken - a comedian and former "SNL" performer - were performing for U.S. service members in Afghanistan in Dec. 2006 along with country music singers.
She said he performed a comedy routine for the mostly male audience which often included sexually suggestive jokes. 

Senator Al Franken Kissed and Groped Me Without My Consent, And There’s Nothing Funny About It
By Leeann Tweeden

In December of 2006, I embarked on my ninth USO Tour to entertain our troops, my eighth to the Middle East since the 9/11 attacks. My father served in Vietnam and my then-boyfriend (and now husband, Chris) is a pilot in the Air Force, so bringing a ‘little piece of home’ to servicemembers stationed far away from their families was both my passion and my privilege.

Also on the trip were country music artists Darryl Worley, Mark Wills, Keni Thomas, and some cheerleaders from the Dallas Cowboys. The headliner was comedian and now-senator, Al Franken.
Franken had written some skits for the show and brought props and costumes to go along with them. Like many USO shows before and since, the skits were full of sexual innuendo geared toward a young, male audience.
As a TV host and sports broadcaster, as well as a model familiar to the audience from the covers of FHM, Maxim and Playboy, I was only expecting to emcee and introduce the acts, but Franken said he had written a part for me that he thought would be funny, and I agreed to play along.
When I saw the script, Franken had written a moment when his character comes at me for a ‘kiss’. I suspected what he was after, but I figured I could turn my head at the last minute, or put my hand over his mouth, to get more laughs from the crowd.
On the day of the show Franken and I were alone backstage going over our lines one last time. He said to me, “We need to rehearse the kiss.” I laughed and ignored him. Then he said it again. I said something like, ‘Relax Al, this isn’t SNL…we don’t need to rehearse the kiss.’
He continued to insist, and I was beginning to get uncomfortable.
He repeated that actors really need to rehearse everything and that we must practice the kiss. I said ‘OK’ so he would stop badgering me. We did the line leading up to the kiss and then he came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.
I immediately pushed him away with both of my hands against his chest and told him if he ever did that to me again I wouldn’t be so nice about it the next time.
I walked away. All I could think about was getting to a bathroom as fast as possible to rinse the taste of him out of my mouth.
I felt disgusted and violated.
Not long after, I performed the skit as written, carefully turning my head so he couldn’t kiss me on the lips.
No one saw what happened backstage. I didn’t tell the Sergeant Major of the Army, who was the sponsor of the tour. I didn’t tell our USO rep what happened.
At the time I didn’t want to cause trouble. We were in the middle of a war zone, it was the first show of our Holiday tour, I was a professional, and I could take care of myself. I told a few of the others on the tour what Franken had done and they knew how I felt about it.
I tried to let it go, but I was angry.
Other than our dialogue on stage, I never had a voluntary conversation with Al Franken again. I avoided him as much as possible and made sure I was never alone with him again for the rest of the tour.
Franken repaid me with petty insults, including drawing devil horns on at least one of the headshots I was autographing for the troops.
But he didn’t stop there.
The tour wrapped and on Christmas Eve we began the 36-hour trip home to L.A. After 2 weeks of grueling travel and performing I was exhausted. When our C-17 cargo plane took off from Afghanistan I immediately fell asleep, even though I was still wearing my flak vest and Kevlar helmet.
It wasn’t until I was back in the US and looking through the CD of photos we were given by the photographer that I saw this one:
I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep.
I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated.
How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?
I told my husband everything that happened and showed him the picture.
I wanted to shout my story to the world with a megaphone to anyone who would listen, but even as angry as I was, I was worried about the potential backlash and damage going public might have on my career as a broadcaster.
But that was then, this is now. I’m no longer afraid.
Today, I am the news anchor on McIntyre in the Morning on KABC Radio in Los Angeles. My colleagues are some of the most supportive people I’ve ever worked with in my career. Like everyone in the media, we’ve been reporting on the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct allegations since they broke, and the flood of similar stories that have come out about others.
A few weeks ago, we had California Congresswoman Jackie Speier on the show and she told us her story of being sexually assaulted when she was a young Congressional aide. She described how a powerful man in the office where she worked ‘held her face, kissed her and stuck his tongue in her mouth.’
At that moment, I thought to myself, Al Franken did that exact same thing to me.
I had locked up those memories of helplessness and violation for a long time, but they all came rushing back to me and my hands clinched into fists like it was yesterday.
I’m still angry at what Al Franken did to me.
Every time I hear his voice or see his face, I am angry. I am angry that I did his stupid skit for the rest of that tour. I am angry that I didn’t call him out in front of everyone when I had the microphone in my hand every night after that. I wanted to. But I didn’t want to rock the boat. I was there to entertain the troops and make sure they forgot about where they were for a few hours. Someday, I thought to myself, I would tell my story.
That day is now.
Senator Franken, you wrote the script. But there’s nothing funny about sexual assault.
You wrote the scene that would include you kissing me and then relentlessly badgered me into ‘rehearsing’ the kiss with you backstage when we were alone.
You knew exactly what you were doing. You forcibly kissed me without my consent, grabbed my breasts while I was sleeping and had someone take a photo of you doing it, knowing I would see it later, and be ashamed.
While debating whether or not to go public, I even thought to myself, so much worse has happened to so many others, maybe my story isn’t worth telling? But my story is worth telling.
Not just because 2017 is not 2006, or because I am much more secure in my career now than I was then, and not because I’m still angry.
I’m telling my story because there may be others.
I want to have the same effect on them that Congresswoman Jackie Speier had on me. I want them, and all the other victims of sexual assault, to be able to speak out immediately, and not keep their stories –and their anger– locked up inside for years, or decades.
I want the days of silence to be over forever.
Leeann Tweeden is morning news anchor on TalkRadio 790 KABC in Los Angeles

Dan Rather On Clinton Rape Allegations: Even If They Turn Out To Be True, It Was A Long Time Ago

By Matt Vespa

We’re not excusing what Roy Moore is accused of—it’s ghastly. The man is accused of being inappropriate with multiple women; with another, a Trump voter, claiming he sexually assaulted her when she was 16 years old.

The Republican Party had abandoned Moore; the optics of this is just too terrible to maintain support.

It gets worse; Guy wrote today about how this man was banned from a Gadsden mall because he was trolling for high school dates and badgering teenage girls in the process. All of the accusers were teenagers at the time.

Yet, one thing the Media Research Center observed was the coverage.

Societies mature and change, and yes, maybe it’s a good thing that when a woman comes forward with her story about sexual assault, they’re not attacked.

That was not the case when Bill Clinton had sexual assault allegations hurled in his direction. And the media mostly fell silent in reporting the allegations.

Tim Graham of Newsbusters even found an old 1999 clip from Don Imus’ then-radio show, in which Dan Rather, pre-Killian Documents, said that even if the Juanita Broaddrick allegations are true, it was a long time ago, and that we should move on: 

DON IMUS: Even this Juanita Broaddrick thing that, this interview that the people over there at NBC News have been sittin' on for some reason, who knows but --
DAN RATHER: Well, I think the reason is pretty obvious that they're, they don't call me and tell me why they run or don't run these things, but I think it's pretty obvious. They are nervous about, number one, whether this information is accurate, whether it's really true or not. And then number two, even if it does it turns out to be true, it happened a long time ago and number three, they've gotta be figuring maybe, just maybe the American public has heard all they want to hear about this and are saying you know, "Next. Let's move on to the next thing."
IMUS: I was reading in either Time or Newsweek that even the woman herself, Juanita Broaddrick said that she hopes that this thing went away this week and even she was sick about hearing about it and it's her story."
RATHER: Well, let's hope she gets her way with that.
Graham also added that 80 minutes of coverage has been devoted to Roy Moore, whereas the Clinton accusers only got four stories about Bill’s alleged sexual misconduct over a 12-month period.
Newsweek had no story, just a brief mention up front in their "Conventional Wisdom Watch" box. It didn't even mention Broaddrick's name, just "Jane Doe #5," which was how she was referred to documents of House investigators. Newsweek quipped: "Should have leveled (unproven) assault charge in '78 or '92. But sounds like our guy."
In that same week's editions Time and Newsweek both published gushy nine-page cover stories on guess what? Hillary Clinton and her campaign for the Senate. Or as Newsweek put it, Hillary was "the hottest commodity in American public life."
Rich Noyes reported today that the Moore allegations have drawn almost 80 minutes of coverage on the Big Three networks over the last four days. When then-President Bill Clinton was accused of rape, those same newscasts aired just four stories mentioning those charges during a 12-month period from March 1998 through March 1999.
There’s a reason why the notion of a Democrat-media complex, or of feminists being the shock troops for the Left, exist. It’s because these incidents point to that.
Bill Clinton was a presidential candidate at the time, a governor, and someone who was elected twice as president. He only got four stories over a year’s worth of coverage by CBS, ABC, and NBC, when he was accused of rape.
Again, the allegations against Moore are despicable, but the media’s treatment is entirely different based on party affiliation. Yes, par for the course. We all know this, but it never hurts to be reminded constantly of it.  

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A poppy for a world that needed peace

By William Haupt III

Shutterstock photo

“The brown band of battlefields interlocked a confused mass of troubled earth. Yet the poppies ever rendered hope someday nature would mend what mankind had undone.”
– Brian Hardy
A little over a century ago on a street corner in Sarajevo, Gavrilo Princip fired the shot that started World War I when he killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Habsburg Empire. He was a 12th-grade student, born in Bosnia Herzegovina, which had recently been acquired by the Habsburg Empire; aka Austria-Hungary, just a few hundred miles from where Adolf Hitler was born. Princip was sentenced to 20 years in prison. And little did he know he’d be dead before the guns of World War I fell silent. He died in prison in 1918 a year before it ended.
“History's most famous teenager was to become history's most toxic troublemaker for Germans for the next 30 years.”
– Mia Hauptman
Gavrilo Princip’s dream to punish the Habsburgs by shooting the Archduke was a "grand gesture" to inspire others to rise up against this enemy. It worked, but at a bloody cost. His hatred triggered a war nobody ever anticipated. Millions died, empires fell and Europe was to never be the same. Yes, it drove out the Austro-Hungarians and the Slavs united to form Yugoslavia; but it took a world war to do this. And it wasn’t until the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the world would be at peace. The armistice was declared as the bloodiest battle in modern history ended five years after the killing of Ferdinand with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919.
“The inescapable price of liberty is an ability to preserve it from destruction.
– Douglas MacArthur
WWl touched the lives of every person on this earth. By the time the final bomb was dropped and the last patriot killed, the world wondered if we could ever live in “peace.” Soldiers who returned lived the rest of their lives with the physical and mental scars of Princip’s tragic mistake. The war machine consumed those who viewed the war through cameras, newspapers, newsreels, and on radio.  Everyone was aware, "Without freedom there can be no ensuring peace and without peace no enduring freedom.” The world was shocked back into the reality the day this holocaust ended!
“Can we ever recall how we lived in peace? Can we ever Give Peace a Chance?"
– John Lennon
People from sea to shining sea where chaotically joyous yet bewildered. How could they start the healing while 13 million world patriots died to bring world peace?  How can anyone celebrate the end of a pernicious tragedy that killed and maimed so many? As the shock of ending “the shots heard round the world” set in, the tears of joy turned into silence for those who could not be there to cheer with them. A saddened Melbourne journalist, Edward Honey, wrote a comforting proposal for all nations of the world to show appreciation for the end of warring and respect the day peace was restored: “Let us set this day to always remember the armistice with a monument of silence.”
Upon hearing this, British King George V proposed a period of silence for national remembrance on the day the armistice was etched in history. He issued a proclamation on Nov. 7, 1919, for two minutes of silence. He said "all locomotion should cease, so that, in perfect stillness, the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead.”
This tradition was shortly adopted in non-Commonwealth countries, and spread throughout the world. Nations welcomed a compromise to celebrate the armistice by dedicating a day to those who made it possible with a few minutes of impassioned benediction. It was called “Remembrance Day” for a world that needed mending fences and show gratitude for the armistice that bought them peace. Although they knew there's no war that will end all wars, they wanted to celebrate peace on this very day.
"The legacy of heroes is of those who set the greatest example."
– Benjamin Disraeli
As days turned into months, war stories were willingly divulged by those lucky to reveal them. One soldier recalled the front lines were brown belts of murdered nature; a wasteland of churned up soil, smashed woods, fields and streams. Few elements of creation could survive this carnage. Only occasionally faint sights and sounds of nature could be seen and heard through the fog of battle. One of those was the hearty red field poppy. The sight of these vibrant flowers growing on the shattered ground inspired a soldier, John McCrae, to write a poem for a fallen soldier friend.
“In Flanders fields the poppies blow, Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.”
– John McCrae
Moina Michael, working at a New York-based training center for the YMCA in 1918, was browsing through a magazine and was attracted by a vivid picture of poppies, and read the poem McCrae had written for his departed friend. It was at that moment she felt as though she was being called by the voices that had been silenced by death, to bring life to the sacrifices they made for peace. She hurried to a nearby store and returned with 25 silk poppies to adorn the offices. She made a pledge to always wear a red poppy of Flanders Fields every 11th day of the 11th month every year.
“I did what needed to be done for those who brought us peace.”
Moina Michael
She began a tireless campaign starting with her congressman and the War Department. She acted swiftly so this new national emblem would be produced on pins, postcards and even the stationary that was used at the time of signing the treaty at Versailles in June 1919. This one determined lady started a campaign that went ballistic! Once The American Legion adopted the poppy as a symbol, the entire country followed, and then the world. The French and British first welcomed this, then the rest of Europe joined them. Today, it is a badge of honor worn by the Royal British Legion. One lady  with meager resources spread a message of peace and honor to every nation in the world. Michael passed in 1944. But her memory remains within a bust in the lobby of Georgia state capital today.
“Moina Michael brought a special brand of faith to a world when it needed healing.”
– Brian Hardy
As the years passed, and nature resurrected life on the once decimated battlefields, the red poppy blossomed ever more heartily than before. Every nation, including those who had not participated in the war, celebrated “Remembrance Day” in their own special traditions with unique ceremonies for what it meant to them. To some, it is Armistice Day, others Ring of Remembrance, and on June 1, 1954, in the U.S., it became a day to honor all American veterans and renamed Veterans Day.
“I hope our citizenry will never forget all of those who brought them peace."
– President Dwight Eisenhower
In 380 BC, Plato told us, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” Princip had the luck of the devil.
In the eyes of the Slavs, he is a liberator. In the eyes of the world, he was the most hated for starting a war that has never ended. He ushered in an era of the most cruel dictators in world history, who’ve left remnants of their dirty work all over Europe. And ethnic wars in Serb communities continue today. The great Douglas MacArthur got it right: “Men since the beginning of time have sought peace.”
Moina had read "In Flanders Fields" before, but on that day she was transfixed by the last verse as if it was a spirit calling out to her to make the red poppy the symbol for peace:
“Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.”
 – John McCrae
William Haupt III is a retired professional journalist, author, and citizen legislator in California for over 40 years. He got his start working to approve California Proposition 13.


A World War I Memorial That’s Worth A Visit!

Anthem Veterans Memorial

England's Stonehenge, Egypt's Karnak or Abu Simbel has nothing on the United States of America's Anthem Veterans Memorial. 
Our memorial even has a plaque pedestal to explain it all. 
Archeologists of the future won't have to guess what the site is all about.

 The below photographs courtesy the Anthem Community Council
Once a year at 11:11 A..M., the sun shines perfectly on this Memorial. 

At precisely 11:11 A.M., each Veterans Day (Nov. 11), the sun's rays pass through the ellipses of the five Armed Services pillars to form a perfect solar spotlight over a mosaic of The Great Seal of the United States. 

The Anthem Veterans Memorial, located in Anthem, Arizona, is a monument dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of the United States armed forces. 

The pillar provides a place of honor and reflection for veterans, their family and friends, and those who want to show their respects to those service men and women who have and continue to courageously serve the United States. 

The memorial was designed by Anthem resident Renee Palmer-Jones. 

The five marble pillars represent the five branches of the United States military.

They are staggered in size (from 17 feet to 6 feet) and ordered in accordance with the Department of Defense prescribed precedence, ranging from the United States Army, the United States Marine Corps, the United States Navy, the United States Air Force and the United States Coast Guard.


Additionally, the brick pavers within the Circle of Honor are inscribed with the names of over 750 U.S. servicemen and women, symbolizing the 'support' for the Armed Forces. 

The pavers are red, the pillars are white, and the sky is blue to represent America's flag. 

The circle represents an unbreakable border. 

Anthem resident and chief engineer, Jim Martin, was responsible for aligning the memorial accurately with the sun.

Home of the free…because of the brave!