President Trump: Soleimani Should have been Killed Years Ago

by Daveda Gruber:

On Friday President Trump made it clear that Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was hated and feared in his own country and should have been taken out many years ago.

Trump was slinging back at people who have criticized him over the airstrike in Bagdad, Iraq that killed Soleimani, who was the top military general.

Here’s Trump tweet that told us about the death of Soleimani:

The tweets from the president came after the Pentagon confirmed that Soleimani, who was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members was dead.

Also, other military officials at Baghdad International Airport were killed during the airstrike.

The State Department went on to say that Soleimani, who was considered the most powerful men in Iran, was guilty of the wounding of thousands more Americans and coalition members.

A designated terror group since 2007, the elite intelligence wing called Quds Force, was led by Soleimani for many years.

Quds Force is estimated to have 20,000 members and it considered Soleimani was referred to as its shadow commander or spymaster.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has vowed to take revenge for what he called a heinous crime carried out by the U.S. Rouhani said, as well, that Iran would “raise the flag” of Soleimani “in defense of the country’s territorial integrity and the fight against terrorism and extremism in the region.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted this:

Soleimani’s deputy commander since 1997, Brigadier General Esmail Ghaani, will take over for the now deceased Soleimani.

Iranian state media reported that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also warned “harsh retaliation is waiting” for the U.S.

The State Department on Friday issued a security alert that urged all U.S. citizens to “depart Iraq immediately” due to heightened tensions in the region.

The alert said, “Due to Iranian-backed militia attacks at the U.S. Embassy compound, all consular operations are suspended. U.S. citizens should not approach the Embassy.”

In addition, the agency shared phone numbers people concerned about U.S. citizens and other loved ones in Iraq could call toll free for information.

On Friday Trump tweeted this:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday said that the strike was carried out to prevent an “imminent attack” by forces directed by Soleimani.

He added that the strike was carried out to prevent an “imminent attack” by forces directed by Soleimani.

On Friday Pompeo was on “Fox & Friends” and said, “I think the Iranian leadership understands President Trump will take action. . . . We made very clear that these responses would be swift and decisive. We have now demonstrated that. I hope the Iranian leadership will see that and see American resolve and that their decision will be to de-escalate and take actions consistent with what normal nations do.”

Who would want to go to Iran? Not me. Would any of you book a flight to Iran? I didn’t think so!

Iran Blamed for US Embassy Attack in Iraq

by Daveda Gruber:

On Tuesday, Iran has been accused of coordinating the attack at the U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad, Iraq and the accusation came directly from President Trump.

Trump has promised to hold the regime “fully responsible.”

In retaliation to U.S. airstrikes, Iraqi Shiite militia supporters allegedly smashed down a gate and gained entrance to the compound.

Trump made it clear that the strikes were in response to the killing of an American contractor.

On Tuesday morning Trump tweeted this:

Although this break into the compound was allegedly made by dozens of Iraqis, there were hundreds of them who tried to break through in an earlier attempt.

Twenty-five fighters from Iran backed Shiite militia Kataeb Hezbollah were killed in U.S. led airstrikes earlier this week and funerals were being held and this may have led to unrest from other militia.

The airstrikes by U.S. military were prompted by a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base that killed an American contractor and his death had been blamed on the militia.

A chaotic scene with flames coming from the inside of the embassy and at least three U.S. soldiers on the roof of the embassy on Tuesday was reported. Chants were described as a crowd on the ground shouting “Down, down USA!”

Fortunately, there were no reports of casualties but the attack was seen to be one of the worst on the embassy.

With Iran and the U.S. both allies of the Iraqi government, the pressure is on to maintain a balance.

The Iraqi government did not react well to the U.S. airstrikes and didn’t prevent the protesters from reaching the U.S. Baghdad embassy. Iraqi security forces had made an effort to stop the protesters who marched to the heavily fortified Green Zone.

It was reported that a man on a loudspeaker who was with Iraqi security, urged the mob not to enter the compound, saying, “The message was delivered.”

There is now a major deterioration in Iraqi-U.S. relations but Iraqi security forces

Ambassador Matthew H. Tueller was not evacuated from the embassy but reports revealed that he has been out of the country on a previously planned vacation.
Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., joined Trump in blaming Iran for the attack.

Rubio tweeted:

The embassy attack brings to mind the Benghazi embassy attack where four men lost their lives. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith, and two CIA operatives, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, both former Navy SEALs all died on September 11, 2012.

Does the First Amendment Protect Peter Strzok?

by Daveda Gruber:

On Monday, in Washington D.C. federal district court former FBI agent Peter Strzok argued in a court filing that his anti-Trump messages were protected under the First Amendment.

Strzok is suing the U.S. government and wants to be reinstated in his position with the FBI even though his messages were sent on FBI issued phones. Strzok was involved in high ranking positions in both probes into Hillary Clinton and then citizen Donald Trump.

In his response brief, Strzok claimed, “Firing an employee for the content of his or her non-public communications is unconstitutional, irrespective of any balancing of interests.”

Strzok’s brief also referred to President Trump’s “unpresidential tweets.” In addition, Strzok also argued that his texts should be considered private speech. He disputed that he should not be held to the tougher legal standard under the famous 1968 Supreme Court case Pickering v. Board of Education that applies to public statements by government employees.

At one time, Strzok was the FBI’s head of counterintelligence.

The brief went on to say that he was entitled to “develop a full factual record through discovery. It also pointed out that it would be premature to dismiss the case at this early stage.

It was also pointed out that the DOJ’s position would “leave thousands of career federal government employees without protections from discipline over the content of their political speech.”

The filing by Strzok was in response to the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss his complaint for reinstatement in November.

The court had been told that Strzok had admitted to conducting FBI business on his personal iMessage account.

The material was said to be secure even though Strozk’s wife had gained access to his phone. The wife also found evidence on the phone that Strzok was having an extra marital affair with Lisa Page.

Page had been an FBI lawyer and was also involved in the Clinton and Russia probes.

It is alleged that Strzok had engaged in a “dereliction of supervisory responsibility” by failing to investigate the potentially classified Clinton emails which had showed up on an unsecured laptop which belonged to Anthony Weiner at the time that the 2016 elections were approaching.

Page is also suing the FBI and DOJ in claims that there was a breach of the Federal Privacy Act. Page said she suffered numerous damages because of the disclosure, including a “permanent loss of earning capacity due to reputational damage” and “the cost of therapy to cope with unwanted national media exposure and harassment” which happened by way of tweets and statements by Trump.

Besides this, Page’s complaint also sought reimbursement for “the cost of childcare during and transportation to multiple investigative reviews and appearances before Congress,” the “cost of paying a data-privacy service to protect her personal information,” and of course, attorney’s fees that were incurred.

I tend to disagree with some of the accusations made by Strzok and claims for financial reimbursement made by Page.

But, then again, these claims are up to the court to decide. I do not have a say in these matters.

I am, however, sick and tired of government expenditures that I don’t agree with. These people, in my opinion, broke a sacred vow to this country. That promise was to abide by the Constitution of the United States.

The very fact that people in high positions in government affiliated agencies were not held to a higher standard of unbiased procedures is appalling.

Will there be a Brokered Democratic Convention?

by Daveda Gruber:

It appears that there is no clear frontrunner in the Democratic race for the leadership of the party.

The Iowa caucuses are less than six weeks away and there is no outright favorite. In more than a half of a century we have not seen a convention that goes beyond a first ballot but we may see it happen.

If this first ballot does not work out, and it certainly looks like that is a possibility,  we will see a brokered or contested convention.

The last time that either of the major party nominating conventions went past a first ballot was 1952. In that year Adlai Stevenson won the Democratic nomination on the third ballot.

Kathy Sullivan, the Democratic National Committee member from New Hampshire, recently said, “It could happen, it would be exciting to see it go past the first ballot because it would be so unusual.”

Sullivan added, “It’s been a long, long, long time since there’s been a second ballot at a Democratic convention.”

Even if the possibility of a brokered convention is not a strong possibility, conditions in this race could possibly lead to no candidate holding a clear majority of delegates when they head into the July Democratic convention in Milwaukee.

Here’s where the electoral college comes into play. We’ve all heard about superdelegates. These delegates are the party elders and insiders. But the superdelegates were stripped of their power in the 2016 primary battle. After all, Hillary Clinton was destined to win, if only in the minds of the Democrats.

This upcoming election does not have a presumed frontrunner so the superdelegates could become important and their powers would be activated.

They would be free to boost the candidates of their choosing. Their choice is not an easy task. Who could possibly beat the incumbent, President Trump? None, as far as I can see.

The top tier consists of four candidates. They are former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

The donors to the Democrats are a diverse group. Sanders, Warren and even a long shot candidate like tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang could see their campaigns funded by people-powered donations into the primary process.

Online contributions are interfering with the once powerful wealthy donors  who still back more establishment candidates and those candidates would be Biden or possibly Buttigieg.

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and environmental advocate Tom Steyer are pouring hundreds of millions of their own money into their own campaigns. That alone could keep them going if they can manage to hang in the race long enough.

If three or four contenders are still standing when heading into April, they would all fall short of the 1,919 delegates that are needed to clinch the nomination on the first ballot.

Sullivan explained, “You’d have to have a situation where multiple candidates come out of the first four states with wins. You’d go into Super Tuesday and have some candidates concentrating in certain states, others in other states, because it’s very expensive to run in all the states on Super Tuesday. Not all the candidates can afford to do that.”

She went on to say, “So if we come out of Super Tuesday with no clear leader and then it becomes a state-by-state contest and then we end up in New York towards the end of April. If after that point we still don’t have [a clear leader], then yes, it goes to the convention and conceivably a second ballot.”

Democratic governors, senators, representatives, former high-ranking lawmakers and leading party officials, who make up the superdelegates, all backed their favorite candidate, Clinton, in 2016.

But after the 2016 election, the DNC pulled back the influence of superdelegates because of the anger of Sanders and his army of progressive supporters.

Now, the superdelegates are only unbound if the convention reaches a second round.

Then there is another scenario.

If one of the candidate gets strong in the early states, the nomination race could be over pretty fast.

In 2004 when then Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts wrapped his nomination early.

If the battle between the candidates goes to a second ballot in Milwaukee, Sullivan maintains that we shouldn’t expect to see a repeat of the contested conventions from the history books.

Sullivan said, “People refer to brokered conventions, which leads you to think of people in smoke-filled rooms making deals, cutting deals. I don’t think you’re going to see deal-making going on because all these people [delegates] are free agents. It would be a very democratic process.”

A Democratic process? Is she suggesting that the 2016 process wasn’t? No, Clinton was the clear choice for everyone in the party even if they cheated Sanders out of it.

Unfortunately for them, they were all wrong. They backed their candidate without any thought that Trump would or could defeat their choice for president.

Personally, I believe Trump will be the winner no matter who the Democrats put up against him.

If I were a Democrat, which I am not, I’d be panicking about now.

Union Leaders Spending Exposed

by Daveda Gruber:

Federal prosecutors have unearthed a number of pretty lavish lifestyles of some former United Automobile Workers top officials.

It appears some details of high-end cigars, four-figure dining and even California villas are some of the luxuries that appeal to union bosses.

Gary Jones resigned last month as union president amid pressure when a complaint was filed in September in Michigan federal court against union leader Vance Pearson. The name “Vance Pearson” actually refers to several unnamed individuals. Union officials and have alleged UAW “Official A,” is Jones. It was Jones’ home that was raided by federal agents.

One example of expenses that were brought to light, in the documents in question, allegedly included expenditures made by Jones, Pearson and others of $13,000 spent at a cigar store.

“A December 2015 Gary’s Sales invoice issued to ‘UAW c/o [UAW Official A]’ for a $13,046.91 purchase.

The purchase allegedly included an order for  12 boxes of Ashton Double Magnum cigars at $268.00 per box which totaled $3,216.

Also on the list were 12 boxes of Ashton Monarch Tubos cigars at $274.50 a box which totaled $3,294.

A $13,000 purchase invoiced to Pearson from the same store the following year was part of an alleged $60,000 expenditure on cigar and tobacco related purchases between 2014 and 2018.

That’s a lot of money going up in smoke.

Prosecutors have said the spending was made via accounts set up with hotels such as the Royal Palm Springs Hotel (RPSH) and Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

These hotels were where the unions had training conferences. The hotels then paid outside vendors on the UAW officials’ behalf. This was done as a way to conceal the embezzling of union funds for their own personal use, according to the complaint.

Another official who was referenced anonymously in court documents is Jones’ predecessor as president, Dennis Williams.

Neither one of them has been officially charged. An attorney for Jones has made the allegations look less serious as part of filings.

Jones was not charged and Williams allegedly rejected accusations that he urged the misuse of funds.

Prosecutors are claiming that union officials, through the RPSH, during the years from 2015 to 2017, spent more than $400,000 at local businesses on expenses including off-site condominiums and villas for themselves.

In addition, an amount of nearly $400,000 was spent on “training” and “conference” expenditures at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

These alleged expenditures included meals and excursion expenses for senior union officials and their spouses. This allegedly includes the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park and horseback riding on the beach.

Allegedly, a master account was billed for rather expensive dinners that included one at LG’s Prime Steakhouse which was priced at over $6,500.

The steaks must have been good.

The Detroit Free Press reported prosecutors allege top union officials misused more than $1.5 million.

Pearson is facing charges which include embezzlement of union funds, filing false reports and maintaining false union records, money laundering, conspiracy, and mail and wire fraud.

Jones’ decision to resign, allegedly according to his attorney, Bruce Maffeo, was reached before learning of the internal charges that had been filed in court.

Pearson’s case is part of a larger investigation of UAW and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

That case has gone on since 2015 and has already resulted in nine convictions.

UAW officials convicted were related too improperly receiving things of value from Fiat Chrysler. Another involved a UAW official taking kickbacks from vendors in exchange for union contracts.

It appears to me that if you have a high ranking job and you are inclined to use unlawful means to obtain money, the opportunities are all out there for the grabbing.

Personally, I couldn’t  steal from others, but if you are so inclined, don’t get caught because the penalties are harsh!

Almost 100 MS-13 Members and Associates Arrested

by Daveda Gruber:

On Friday prosecutors in New York state announced the arrests of close to one hundred members and associates of the notorious MS-13 gang.

It was, in fact, the largest concentrated effort against the gang in the state’s history.

Investigations that began about two years ago, involved law enforcement from local to federal levels. One of the breeding grounds for the gang is Suffolk County and that is where the investigation was focused.

Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini told reporters Friday, “The goal of this investigation was to deliver a major blow to the gang’s leadership, operations and recruitment in our region . . .  we did exactly that. This operation helped end the New York program.”

According to Sini, ninety-six members and associates of the MS-13 gang were charged with crimes that range from conspiracy to commit murder to drug trafficking and weapons sales.

Those arrested range in age from 16 to 59 years of age and include U.S. citizens and illegal immigrants.

The arrests were allegedly made on Thursday and Friday mornings.

During the investigation authorities had recovered drugs in possession of gang members such as cocaine and fentanyl. Also recovered were handguns and more than $200,000 in cash.

The investigation resulted in the arrests of nine clique leaders in Suffolk County. Seven murder plots were allegedly foiled.

Sini also said, “MS-13 is a ruthless, savage gang that commits acts of violence to recruit, retain and control its members and exact revenge on its rivals as well as to extort innocent members in our community.”

During a press conference Sini held up a machete that he said was recovered during the recent arrests.

Sini stated, “This depicts how brutal and savage this gang is.”

The MS-13 gang is also known as Mara Salvatrucha. They recruit young teenagers from El Salvador and Honduras but there are also many gang members who were born in the U.S.

Dozens of murders have been blamed on the gang since January 2016. The killings occurred in New York’s Long Island, in Suffolk County, and the Los Angeles area and the D.C. suburbs.

President Trump brought the MS-13 brutal killings to the forefront and that fact has led to the crackdowns by law enforcement.

Trump Set to Approve Spending Bill

by Daveda Gruber:

On Tuesday a $1.4 trillion federal spending bill was approved in the House. The deadline to fund the government is December 20.

This bill being approved by a Democratic controlled House means that a government shutdown will be avoided.

The bill, in question, includes funding for the border wall that President Trump is in great support of and strips ObamaCare taxes on high-cost health plans and raises the minimum age for buying tobacco product from 18 to 21 years of age.

A tax on medical devices and health insurance plans would be repealed permanently. Also included was a permanent repeal of a tax on high cost “Cadillac” health insurance benefits.

There is also provision for help for retired coal miners. That would mean finance health care and pension benefits for about 100,000 retired union coal miners threatened by the insolvency of their pension fund.

Democrats succeeded in winning a 3.1 percent raise for federal civilian employees and the first installment of funding on gun violence research. This comes after more than two decades of gun lobby opposition.

The bills would fund the government for the rest of fiscal 2020, through Sept 30. All twelve spending bills brought up were approved. They now all go to the Senate.

The House Appropriations Committee chairwoman Representative Nita Lowey D-NY., said, “I am proud that we were able to come together, negotiate our differences, and reach a bipartisan agreement that makes investments to strengthen our nation and give every American a better chance at a better life.”

On Tuesday the White House said that Trump is set sign the measure.

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said, “The president is poised to sign it and to keep the government open.”


New Poll Shows These Candidates Leading

by Daveda Gruber:

A new national poll shows who is leading the still large group of Democrats in the race to become the presidential nominee for 2020.

In a NPR PBS News Hour Marist poll released on Monday which was conducted by Public Opinion Director Lee Miringoff, former Vice President Joe Biden is at 24 percent and Bernie Sanders D-VT, at 22 percent in the polling of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independent voters. The numbers are within the survey’s sampling error.

The poll was conducted between December 9th and 11th, with 1,508 registered voters nationwide, which included 704 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. They were questioned by live telephone operators. The margin of error for questions on the Democratic presidential primary is plus or minus 5.4 percentage points.

Other candidates are Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth is at 17 percent after slipping slightly in the poll. South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who was a long-shot climbed to 13 percent support.

Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang is at 5 percent and Senator Cory Booker  D-NJ., Senator Amy Klobuchar D-MN., and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg all at 4 percent.

Senator Michael Bennet D-CO, Representative Tulsi Gabbard D-HI, and former Obama housing secretary and former San Antonio, Texas Mayor Julian Castro are all at 1 percent.

All other candidate else registered at less than 1 percent.

The next debate is scheduled for December 19, 2019 at 9:00 PM at Gersten Pavilion at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California.

The field is large and diverse but the question in most American’s minds is can anyone of these candidates beat President Trump.

What say you? Can a Democratic candidate beat Trump?

Trump Supporter Trolls Bernie Sanders

by Daveda Gruber:

On Saturday, 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders I-Vt., was speaking at an Iowa campaign event when a he was confronted with a Trump supporter.

Sanders was speaking when a man stood up and began to deliver a message to President Trump.

Sanders seemed to know that something was up as the young man approached the microphone with his phone.

Before the man uttered a word, Sanders said, “Oh, he’s looking at his phone. I’m in trouble.”

When the man was given the opportunity to speak into the microphone, he delivered a message directly to President Trump.

The unidentified man said, “Mr. Trump, keep going man. You’re doing a good job. You know what, I’m a liberal.”

Well, not everyone was like minded and boos came from the crowd. That silenced the young man briefly but Sanders urged the crowd to let the man speak.

The man explained that he had voted for Sanders during the 2016 Democratic primary but is now fully behind Trump.

The man spoke into the microphone and said, “I don’t agree with anything you say. I used to. I voted for you in 2016. And I’ve been to Vietnam and seen what socialism has done. It’s destroyed the lives [of many].”

People in the crowd laughed but then the man spoke about how Socialism doesn’t work.

Wearing an army green hoodie the man shouted,  “You can laugh all you want. Donald Trump is helping our country. All right? He’s a good man. Socialism does not work.”

Sanders and the man continued to shout at each other but the man was escorted out of the room.

Here is a video that shows what happened:

What Did the FISA Report Show?

by Daveda Gruber:

On Monday the inspector general for the Justice Department finally released the internal review concerning the origins of the Russia investigation.

The report concluded that there was no intentional misconduct or political bias surrounding efforts to seek a highly controversial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant found by investigators. The warrant was, in fact, to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Page was observed during the months at the start of the Russia investigation dealing with election interference.

At least 17 significant errors were found by the IG probe and a new audit into the FISA process and procedures will be launched.

The report, which is nearly 500 pages, said, “We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the FBI’s decision to seek FISA authority on Carter Page.”

The unverified dossier that was compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele was undoubtedly anti-Trump but former FBI bosses James Comey and Andrew McCabe were shown as not acting with political bias.

Even the overall surveillance efforts targeting Page to secure the original FISA warrant for him in October 2016, were shown to have no bias, as reported by IG Michael Horowitz and his investigators.

Representative Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and the Republicans have contested the FISA warrant and the subsequent renewal applications. They claim that the FBI misrepresented key evidence and omitted exculpatory information used to support the warrant application came from the dossier compiled by Steele, who the Horowitz team has questioned why the FBI considered him to be a credible source.

The question of why news reports were used to make Steele look more credible was also brought to the FBI.

The Inspector General claims that his team has reviewed over one million records and has conducted over 100 interviews, including several witnesses who agreed to be interviewed just recently.

Page, who has been investigated as a foreign agent, has been vocal about his belief that he was unjustly targeted and not interviewed for the Horowitz probe and never charged with a crime.

Horowitz is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning to answer questions about his probe.

This investigation is over as far as Horowitz is concerned but Barr has assigned the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, John Durham, to conduct an inquiry into alleged misconduct and alleged improper government surveillance, which are criminal in nature, on the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

At this time, former Deputy Director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, has been criticized by Horowitz in a separate inquiry for statements that were made by McCabe during a Hillary Clinton related investigation of which he has maintained no wrong doing and has not been indicted but he is facing possible federal charges.