Extortion

Whistleblower Left Hanging


cjones09262019

Even before anyone seriously thought Donald Trump would ever be president, we knew it would be a disaster because he’d eventually break the law. We knew he’d break the law intentionally because he’s a conman, and inadvertently because he’s stupid. What we did not count on was the entire system of checks and balances caving in to protect this stupid, racist grifter. We did not foresee the entire Republican Party trading in their loyalty to the American people and their patriotism to join a cult. We didn’t foresee agencies that have historically been institutionally independent becoming protection agencies for this greedy, selfish, lying, corrupt, poodle of Putin’s. We didn’t foresee that laws would no longer apply, even in the most extreme measures of a president placing loyalty of a hostile nation over the nation he swore to protect and serve.

A whistleblower has filed a complaint against Donald Trump and this much is true. That whistleblower is in danger.

The Washington Post broke the news on Wednesday that a “promise” Donald Trump made to a foreign leader was so troubling that it prompted an unidentified U.S. intelligence official to file a whistleblower complaint in mid-August with the Inspector General for the intelligence community. The Inspector General, Michael Atkinson, reviewed the complaint and found it troubling enough to be a matter of “urgent concern,” a legal threshold that REQUIRES notification of congressional oversight committees. Atkinson told the committee it was not a single conversation that prompted the whistleblower complaint. If you’re a Republican, “not a single” conversation means there was more than conversation.

The acting Director of National Intelligence (who’s been acting in that position since Dan Coats was forced out), Joseph Maguire (Trump had him at “hello”), has refused to share the complaint with Congress and it’s believed he’s been directed to sit on it by the Justice Department (who’s director is set to spend $30,000 on a party at Trump’s crappy D.C. hotel) and the White House. By law, whistleblower complaints are to be delivered to Congress and the person filing the complaint is to be protected.

Atkinson, the IG, sought to disclose the complaint to Congress, as the law requires, but he was denied by Maguire, the acting DNI. The argument is that this doesn’t “concern an intelligence activity within the DNI’s authority.” A spokeswoman for the Justice Department pointed at a September 13 letter from Maguire’s General Counsel, Jason Klitenic, that argues “there were serious concerns about whether the complaint met the statutory definition of an ‘urgent concern.’ ” That means, protect Donald Trump at all cost, even if it violates the law. They’re arguing there’s nothing to see here, so we’re not gonna show you.

Here’s a good question: Why was the complaint delivered to the person the complaint was about? That’s like complaining about sexual harassment to the person who sexually harassed you. Good luck with that. Another question is: Does the White House know the identity of the person who filed the complaint?

Donald Trump asked, probably rhetorically, “Is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader?” Let’s see how “dumb” we are.

Donald Trump publicly asked Vladimir Putin to assist his campaign. At campaign rallies, he waved information hacked from the Democrats by Wikileaks like they were a pornstar’s panties at a Jeffrey Epstein party. He disclosed classified information, given to us by an ally, to Russians in the Oval Office. He was standing next to Putin when he said he believed his denial about hacking our election over our nation’s intelligence agencies’ claims that he did. He told translators to destroy their notes after his “private” in-person conversations with Putin. He once made an unscheduled stop at Putin’s table and relied on Putin’s translator, with no other witnesses. He said he wouldn’t allow a half-brother of Kim Jong Un to spy on our behalf “under my auspices” (someone else had probably just used the word “auspices” in a meeting). He tweeted a classified photo just a few days ago. So, are we dumb to believe he wouldn’t say something “inappropriate” with a foreign leader? Not only would he say something “inappropriate,” he’d give away the store. You’d have to be dumb to believe he wouldn’t.

There was speculation over which foreign leader Trump had made this disturbing “promise” to. Was it Benjamin Netanyahu? Vladimir Putin? Kim Jong Un? The Queen of Denmark in his attempts to seize Greenland? Now, all signs are pointing at Ukraine.

According to two people familiar with the matter, the complaint centers on Ukraine and a “promise” Trump made to that nation’s leader, President Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian (we got the clown) who was elected in a landslide last May.

As if this wasn’t failing the smell test already, Rudy Giuliani is a part of this shit show. Giuliani’s fear that “he lied for Trump” will be on his gravestone should be replaced with a fear of going to prison.

House Democrats were already investigating whether Trump and his personal attorney (not a government attorney), Giuliani, sought to manipulate the Ukrainian government into helping Trump’s reelection campaign by threatening to withhold $250 million in aid, already approved by Congress, in its struggle against Russian-backed separatists.

According to reports, Giuliani traveled to Ukraine to pressure that government outside of formal diplomatic channels to help the Trump campaign by investigating Hunter Biden’s time on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. Hunter is the son of former vice-president Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate Trump is most afraid of. If this is true, it is extortion. In case you’re a Republican, extortion is illegal, even if a president does it.

Thursday night while being interviewed by Chris Cuomo on CNN, in what turned into a conspiracy-laden shouting display, Giuliani admitted asking Ukraine to look into Biden 30 seconds after denying it.

Former FBI Director James Comey was fired for not being “loyal” to Trump and for not scaling back the bureau’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s involvement with receiving help from Russia. FBI agent Peter Strzok was fired for his part in the investigation. Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was also fired, hours before he was to qualify for his pension, for his part in the investigation. So, whoever filed the complaint is in danger.

Giuliani has speculated that the whistleblower is an Obama holdover and he used the term “deep state” in his unhinged appearance on CNN. Despite going through all the legal channels, following protocol, and putting his career on the line to protect his nation, you can expect Trump and Republicans to out the person and conduct a smear campaign before he or she is professionally destroyed. Don’t expect Trump to commend the individual for doing what they thought was right, even if he disagrees with his or her assessment. Ha! If the whistleblower is a black female, you can expect all hell to break loose.

Using the government to enrich himself by funneling money into his properties calls for impeachment. Obstructing justice, even attempts should qualify for impeachment. Asking a foreign government to help in the 2016 campaign qualifies for impeachment. Giving aid and comfort to Nazis should get the guy impeached. Abusing the pardon power should is impeachable. Handing classified information to the Russians should get him impeached. Directing the Justice Department to go after his political enemies should get him impeached. Throwing babies in cages should get him impeached. Making illegal contributions to his campaign by silencing his mistresses should get him impeached. Not divesting from his businesses should get him impeached. Directing government agencies to lie to back up his lies, like on weather reports, begs for impeachment. Everything else he’s done qualifies to enact the 25th Amendment.

Extortion is a big deal. If true, Donald Trump used a proxy to go around diplomatic channels to extort a foreign government to aid his campaign. He used taxpayer money, approved by Congress to aid a foreign nation, in the extortion scheme. He’s subverting U.S. foreign policy for his political and electoral ambitions. He’s using the power of the presidency and the U.S. government to acquire the help of a foreign government in his re-election bid.

If this is true, and it probably is because it’s Donald Fucking Trump, he shouldn’t just be impeached. He should go to prison, and toss in Giuliani for good measure.

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Pecker Problem


cjones02122019

Bad people hang out with other bad people. Choir boys don’t run with drug dealers. Dolphins don’t swim with sharks. Donald Trump doesn’t hang out with Barack Obama. Donald Trump hangs out and does business with people who get indicted and go to prison.

Donald Trump hired George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, and Roger Stone. He admires men like Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, Rodrigo Duterte, Recep Erdogan, and Mohammed bin Salman. Another sleazy individual in the Trump orbit is David Pecker, publisher of the National Enquirer, a sleazy publication.

The business of the National Enquirer is to sell as much sleaze as possible. Its agenda is to expose the worst of us. The people behind the publication don’t care who they destroy in the process. It usually publishes false information. You can only find it in checkout lines next to Skittles and Mars Bars. It’s an impulse purchase. Donald Trump believes the paper should have a Pulitzer Prize and its editor, Mr. Pecker, should be hired to run The New York Times, which he considers “fake news.”

The publication uses its platform to engage in other sleazy activities. It would pay women for their exclusive stories about having sex with Donald Trump, a friend to David Pecker, then they’d sit on the story and it would never be published. This is a practice they call “catch and kill.”

In 2003, the Enquirer signed a $20,000 contract with a woman to get exclusive rights about the story of her alleged extramarital affair with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was running for governor of California at the time.

In 2015, Harvey Weinstein asked the Enquirer for help in snuffing an accusation about him groping a model. When they couldn’t reach a financial agreement with the woman, they turned to collect personal and damaging information about her and other Weinstein accusers.

Also in 2015, the Enquirer’s parent company, American Media (AMI) paid $30,000 to a doorman at Trump Tower for exclusive rights to his allegations that he overheard a conversation about a child Donald Trump had with a woman who is not his wife but never published an article on the topic.

In 2016, they apparently paid $150,000 to Karen McDougal, a former Playboy Playmate who claimed to have had an affair with Donald Trump. Of course, they never published a story about it. Instead, they published stories about Hillary Clinton only having six months to live…back in 2016 (if you’re a Republican, that was two years ago).

Karma finally caught up to AMI and David Pecker, and they signed an agreement with federal investigators to provide all information on hush payments to help Trump in exchange for witness immunity. Part of the deal is that they’re to disclose all illegal activity to the federal government and stay out of trouble for three years. In case you’re a Republican, last August was not three years ago.

Late yesterday afternoon, Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon, The Washington Post, and the richest man in the freaking universe, published a blog on Medium, titled “No Thank You, Mr. Pecker,” accusing AMI and Pecker of blackmailing him. He claims that AMI asked him to make specific false public statements suggesting that there is no evidence of AMIs coverage being “politically motivated or influenced by political forces.” They wanted him to lie his ass off.

Pecker and AMI made two mistakes. They put it in writing, and they were messing with the richest man in the freaking universe.

The publication had already exposed Bezos’ extramarital affair, thus ruining his marriage. Bezos hired an investigator to discover how the Enquirer acquired private texts between him and his special lady friend. Now, the publication has possession of dirty selfies Bezos took and were threatening to publish them unless…Bezos and his investigator would publicly lie and say the Enquirer wasn’t politically motivated. You know, working in the interest of the president of the United States.

Donald Trump hates Jeff Bezos. He hates The Washington Post. He hates Amazon. He calls the newspaper the “Amazon Washington Post.” He has asked the Post Office to increase postage to hurt Amazon. Let me remind you, AMI and Pecker, were friends and maybe still are, to Donald Trump.

In his blog, Bezos wrote, “My ownership of the Washington Post is a complexifier for me. It’s unavoidable that certain powerful people who experience Washington Post news coverage will wrongly conclude I am their enemy.” In case you’re anyone who is not Jeff Bezos, “Complexifier” means it’s complicated.

Bezos’ marriage is already ruined. Now, the worst thing the Enquirer can do to him is to publicly embarrass him by showing all of us his sexting. Are people going to stop shopping on Amazon because they saw Bezos junk? I don’t think so. I’m expecting an order of Pop Tarts to arrive today.

Will people stop investing and doing business with the guy because of the shame? Of course not. The worst thing that can happen to Bezos from this is that people will laugh at him until they forget about it.

Bezos called them out, published the letter they sent describing each photo they had, thus exposing himself in the process and taking away all leverage from the goons attempting to extort him. Oh yeah, he also exposed those people to federal investigators because, in case you’re a Republican, blackmail and extortion is not legal. It’s especially dangerous if you signed an agreement with a federal prosecutor.

Again, in case you’re a Republican, let me explain; In their agreement with federal prosecutors, AMI and Pecker disclosed illegal activity they were involved in. If they violate the agreement then the prosecutors can charge them for all the information they gave up. They wanted to expose the junk of Bezos, but instead, they delivered to prosecutors their own balls on a silver platter.

Bezos is not an angel. He was having an affair. Bad, Bezos, bad. But, this is a man who has helped save American journalism. And, did I mention the Pop Tarts? He’s also a guy who didn’t roll over to sleaze merchants attempting to blackmail him. Bezos explained in his blog, “Any personal embarrassment AMI could cause me takes a back seat because there’s a much more important matter involved here. If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?” By standing up to Pecker of pecker pics, Bezos has stood up for everyone.

Bezos also wrote, “These communications cement AMI’s long-earned reputation for weaponizing journalistic privileges, hiding behind important protections, and ignoring the tenets and purpose of true journalism. Of course I don’t want personal photos published, but I also won’t participate in their well-known practice of blackmail, political favors, political attacks, and corruption. I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out.”

Maybe in this situation, you don’t want to use the term, “roll this log over,” but Bezos is doing the commendable thing.

This can be a win-win for all of us. Bezos can help take down the National Enquirer and the sleaze merchants behind it, make it a “complexifier” for Donald Trump and his other assorted minions, and we never EVER have to see the photos of Bezos’ stuff.

Then, we can all roll this log over.

Be Complicit

What kind of person would want to be part of something that disparages, slanders, and disrespects Dear Leader and his sycophantic followers? Hopefully, you. 
Making a contribution supports my work and keeps the cartoons, columns, and videos coming. My income is from newspapers that subscribe to my work and small contributors. George Soros hasn’t sent me a million dollar check in weeks. Making a contribution of any amount, or buying a print for $40.00, makes you part of this specific resistance, and a member of Team Claytoonz (we’re still working on the name). You are complicit, an accomplice, and in cahoots (and whatever gangster terms we can think of) with this political satire pointing out that the stupid emperor has no clothes. Contributions can be made through PayPal, checks, and wads of cash exchanged in back alleys.
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Wing Nuts


cjones03022018

Remember when Republicans used to be pro-national defense and security? Remember when they stood for family values? Remember when they were against huge deficits? Remember when they supported law enforcement? Here’s a new one: Remember when they were pro-business?

What? Republicans are no longer supportive of business? Not in Georgia, if the choice is between business and rabid, hysterical gun nuts.

Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor, Casey Cagle, is threatening to block a break on the sales tax on jet fuel, which would benefit Delta Airlines, a company based in Georgia that employs over 30,000 people in that state.

Republicans blocking a tax break for a huge corporation. Now we are entering the Twilight Zone. What’s next for Republicans? Canoodling with porn stars? Oh yeah.

Why would Republicans oppose a tax break for Delta, other than it being gluttonous corporate welfare? Because Delta has ended its relationship with the National Rifle Association, where they provide travel deals to members of the association of lunatics that value automatic rifles over the lives of children.

After the recent massacre at a high school in Parkland, Florida, several companies have chosen to end their relationships with the NRA. I read one post by an overcompensating gun nut on Facebook stating he would stop using Norton because that company has ended their arrangement with the NRA. I hope he finds a suitable replacement as he’ll need virus protection with all the sketchy websites he visits for his conspiracy theories.

Donald Trump asked the crowd at CPAC what they loved more, tax breaks or the Second Amendment? Down in Georgia, the obvious winner is the Second Amendment, despite it not guaranteeing how many rounds you can fire per second into a school.

Can Republicans legally punish a company for its political views. Yes, if they word it correctly. Punishing companies for their political views were real popular during the Civil Rights Era. While it might be legal, it’s not ethical. But we’re talking about Republicans. Ethics went out the window a long time ago.

NRA spokesgoon Dana Loesch has argued that her organization is not a lobbying organization, but actually a fellowship group. Yeah, a fellowship group that spent over $5 million in 2017 on lobbying. Maybe Ms. Loesch felt they were fellowshipping when they were taking millions from Russians to help elect Donald Trump.

All that non-lobbying has Republicans firmly in the NRA’s pocket. Marco Rubio couldn’t even promise to stop taking their money, or even describe an AR-15 as a weapon of war while speaking to victims of the latest school shooting. Trump can’t say the word “gun” while talking about the shooting. And, Republicans in Georgia are willing to punish one of their largest employers because of travel discounts.

The Lt. Gov is running for governor. He may want to keep in mind those 30,000 voters who work for Delta. He may also want to think about companies considering moving to the state, like Amazon. Why move to a state that will punish you for standing by your principles?

Georgia should look north to see how things can work out for them. While state legislatures can punish businesses, businesses can bite back. North Carolina lost billions over their anti-gay bathroom bill when corporations decided not to move to the state, conventions, rock concerts, and major sporting events went elsewhere, and the state now has a Democrat governor.

Republicans love to bully, whether it’s teenage survivors of mass shootings or corporations standing on principle. Bullies only bully those they deem weaker. This time, they’re misjudging their targets.

When all is said and done after bullying companies like Delta, these Georgia Republicans, and those in Washington, may be left with nothing but peanuts.

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