National Intelligence

Fartsy Foreign Meddling


cjones02282020

I have this belief that if Donald Trump wins reelection, he’ll pull the United States out of NATO, he’ll invite Vladimir Putin to the White House, and he’ll withdraw all American forces off the Korean peninsula.

I don’t have this belief because I’m suffering from imaginary Trump Derangement Syndrome. I believe this because there are reports he’s voiced out loud about doing all three. In regards to Korea, he now has another reason. A film from South Korea won an Oscar for best picture. For some reason, that really pisses Donald Trump off.

At a racist fucknut rally yesterday, Donald Trump stood up to defend the American film industry from foreign attacks. I don’t really get it. He railed against the film “Parasite,” a South Korean production that you would have to watch with subtitles unless you speak Korean. “Parasite” is the first foreign-language film to win Best Picture.

Trump said to the adoring racist masses, “And the winner is a movie from South Korea, what the hell was that all about? We got enough problems with South Korea with trade. On top of it, they give them the best movie of the year? Was it good? I don’t know.” He then asked, “Can we get ‘Gone With the Wind’ back, please?” and also name-checked “Sunset Boulevard.” What’s next? Complain that James Woods has never won an Oscar? I haven’t actually looked that up but I am that confident he hasn’t won one.

Donald Trump doesn’t understand how anything works. “Gone With the Wind” won an Oscar for Best Picture in 1940, thus it’s not eligible to win one in 2020. “Sunset Boulevard” came out in 1950. But if Trump’s going to campaign for any movie, perhaps he should look into “Dumb and Dumber.”

Neon, the U.S. film production and distribution company backing “Parasite,” replied with, “Understandable. He can’t read,” referencing the film’s subtitles. The Democratic National Committee took the same tack with, “‘Parasite’ is a foreign movie about how oblivious the ultrarich are about the struggles of the working class, and it requires two hours of reading subtitles. Of course, Trump hates it.” And he hates it without even having seen it. But then again, he has an opinion about everything he doesn’t know anything about. I bet he has a lot of them on the G spot.

I’m not sure why he’s going after a foreign film winning an Oscar since he’s not a big fan of recent U.S. films either. But at least he’s trying to protect something American. When it comes to Russian meddling in our elections, past and present, he doesn’t care. A foreign power attacking our democratic process, he goes four years without mentioning. South Koreans winning an Oscar, that he mentions.

After acting-Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire briefed Congress on Russia interfering in the 2020 election to help Trump, Donald Trump got upset and viewed Maguire as disloyal. Trump is afraid Democrats will use the information against him in the election. For Trump, using the fact he’s accepting foreign help is worse than him using foreign help, and the Director of National Intelligence is supposed to be more loyal to him than to America.

Donald Trump, who has told his minions that he wants to remove people from government who are not loyal to him, is now removing Maguire and replacing him with a loyal Trump goon. Maguire is a career official who is respected by the intelligence rank and file. Trump is replacing him with Richard Grennell, who is the current ambassador to Germany (was disappointed to find out the Nazis are gone) and has zero experience with intelligence. In fact, he’s more fond of carrying water for Trump’s conspiracy theories. There’s also talk of eventually making Congressman Doug Collins the permanent Director, who is also a bigger proponent of Trump conspiracy theories than facts.

In fact, during the briefing to Congress delivered by Shelby Pierson, the American intelligence community’s top election security official, Republicans accused the briefers of trying to sabotage Trump. Then, Devin Nunes went running to Donald Trump to tell him about it and warn him that Adam Schiff, lead impeachment manager and Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was in the room. Reportedly, Trump went off the rails at Maguire before firing him. Now there are reports that Pierson may be leaving also. Maybe Nunes is also the one to tell Trump about “Parasite.”

Donald Trump is worried this information will be used against him, which would be legal. But we don’t need this briefing to know Russia is helping Donald Trump win reelection. We already knew this. Trump’s supporters may always use the defense of “Russia, Russia, Russia” while rolling their eyes, but the rest of the nation takes our security seriously. The rest of us are more loyal to our country than to an orange cult leader. Also, Vladimir Putin already told us he wanted Trump to win in 2016, so duh.

Donald Trump doesn’t like “Parasite,” because it’s about a family posing as something they’re not to get into a house where they don’t belong. But the most ironic thing is, he is a parasite. Personally, I don’t mind reading for two hours so I’m going to watch “Parasite.”

A family posing as something they’re not to get into a house where they don’t belong? I really need to know how it ends.

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Worst Security Briefing Ever


cjones01142020

We’ve talked about this.

You can’t just lie nilly-willy regarding national security and foreign policy the same way you do about crowd sizes and TV ratings.

Wednesday in a closed-door briefing for Congress, officials in the Trump administration laid out the justifications for the U.S. drone strike that killed Iran’s top military commander. Many representatives left that briefing saying, “What the fuck?”

The briefings were led by Defense Secretary Mark Esper, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, which doesn’t give you a lot of confidence that they were honest and straightforward.

While one Democrat said the briefing hadn’t disclosed anything they didn’t already know from watching cable news, one Republican described it as “insulting and demeaning.”

Utah Senator Mike Lee said it was the “worst briefing I’ve seen” on a military issue in his entire nine years serving in the Senate and that he, along with Rand Paul, is now going to support Senator Tim Kaine’s proposal to limit the president’s military authority.

One representative said, “They gave us no time, place, or method” when describing the Soleimani threat the administration keeps claiming was “imminent.” Instead of an explanation or a timeline of how imminent the threat was, the congressman said, “we got a historical overview of decades-long malign activities from Iran. It begs the question: Was the attack on Soleimani more in retribution for what he’s done, or what he was planning?” And, if you listen to the Trump team, that’s what they do every time. They go into Soleimani and Iran’s past. We know they’re bad. Tell us what bad stuff was about to happen.

For that, Trump went from one embassy was going to be attacked to four. No one who attended those briefings, including those who gave it, has backed up that claim.

It’s been reported that during the briefing, Haspel told one representative to “read the report,” when asked about the “imminent” threat. After being asked a tough question by a Democrat, she ignored the question to take a softball from a Republican. It’s even been reported that she “shushed” a representative.

I won’t be shushed. Not by the likes of these people. You put our nation in more danger and you need to explain why. According to Senator Lee, the briefers told them that they “need to be good little boys and girls and run along and not debate this in public.” Lindsey Graham, who later compared Trump’s slurred address on the attack to Ronald Reagan’s tear-down-this-wall speech, said anyone who doesn’t fall into lockstep behind Trump on this is “empowering the enemy.” This after Republican Doug Collins accused Democrats of being in love with terrorists and former United Nation’s Ambassador Nikki Haley claiming they were mourning Soleimani.

Keep in mind, Trump, his administration, and Republicans are telling us to trust information (they won’t share) from the sources whose credibility they’ve spent the past three years destroying. That’s like making fun of Rand Paul’s hair, which Trump has done, then asking his advice for a stylist.

Since we can give up all hope of Donald Trump and his base ever realizing it, then the adults in his room should: You can’t just spout off a lie to lawmakers regarding national security, terrorism, and foreign policy as if you’re speaking at one of Trump’s hate rallies where you can just make shit up on the spot and not worry about anyone you’re selling it to asking for a follow-up. You can’t tell lawmakers, even some Republicans (shockingly), don’t worry about the details and just trust us.

The security of this nation is a lot more important than Donald Trump’s ego. For that matter, the safety of this country is more important than Donald Trump’s presidency.

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You can help me continue to create cartoons, blogs, and videos by making a contribution. All support, large and small, is greatly appreciated. You can also support me by purchasing a signed print (8 1/2×11) for $40, or a signed poster (18×24) for $100 by clicking the PayPal button (just include a note if you’re purchasing a print). If you want to support but don’t want to use PayPal, you can send a contribution through the mail (address is on the contact page. Again, include a note for a print). I don’t plan on going anywhere and your support will help guarantee that. Whether you support, can’t. or just choose not to, please know that I am truly thankful that you visit my site and read my work.

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Intelligence Free Intelligence


cjones08062019

The United States is facing a new threat that the new Director of National Intelligence needs to identify, and that threat is the new Director of National Intelligence.

Donald Trump likes to use the phrase, “I never was a fan of…” in regards to some person or some thing. Like, “I never was a big fan of John McCain.” You can replace McCain with basically anyone who criticizes Trump, like fellow Republican Mark Sanford or former Republican Justin Amash. But, one thing Donald Trump truly is not a fan of are facts.

Trump will dismiss facts as “fake news” or lies if he doesn’t like them. If they threaten his approval or contradict past statements, facts become “fake news.” Even if a fact that Trump doesn’t approve of reveals a danger to the country, he would rather dismiss it than protect the nation he swore an oath to protect. Dogma has infected this presidential administration to the point that it resembles the Kim regime. Formerly independent positions in vital government agencies are now being staffed by cronies and Kool-Aid drinkers with all the seriousness and credibility of a Kellyanne Conway or a Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Out went Tillerson, McMasters, and Mattis. Now, we can add Dan Coats to the list.

When Donald Trump hired Dan Coats as director of national intelligence, he probably didn’t understand what the job entailed and took someone else’s advice on the hire. After two and a half years of Coats being stubbornly honest about Russian attacks on our nation , stating that inviting Vladimir Putin to the White House was NOT a good idea, and not serving as a lackey yes man, Trump has had enough.

Just like Trump did with the Justice Department by placing a toady, William Barr, at the head of it, Trump has now put a loyalist in charge of national intelligence. Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe is a conspiracy-minded Trump cultist who believes in the “Deep State,” Russian interference is a conspiracy theory, and that Robert Mueller’s investigation was a “witch hunt.” Basically, Donald Trump has removed intelligence from national intelligence.

In appointing Ratcliffe, Trump spelled out what he wants the cultist to do, and that is to clean out the intelligence services of anyone who participated in collecting information about Russia and Trump. Trump said, “We need somebody strong that can really rein it in because as I think you’ve all learned the intelligence agencies have run amok.” Trump has now politicized the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies. About the only way he could have made a worse hire would have been if he hired Ivanka to lead the agencies. At least he doesn’t want to date Ratcliffe. That would be awkward.

In January 2018, Ratcliffe claimed he saw text messages between FBI agents Lisa Page and Peter Strzok that suggested there was a “secret society” working against Trump. That turned out to be bogus when the full-text messages became public. But, Ratcliffe ignored the facts and reported what Trump wanted to hear.

During Mueller’s testimony before Congress, Ratcliffe put on a performance that got Trump’s attention and probably swung the intelligence appointment in his favor. He berated Mueller for not “exonerating” Trump and said the second volume of Mueller’s report, which showed obstruction by Trump, was not authorized to be written.

Ratcliffe has argued that Russian interference may have helped Hillary Clinton and that Mueller didn’t even write his report, but that it was actually written by “Hillary Clinton’s de fact legal team.” At this point, I’m kinda surprised he’s not Trump’s physician.

It has to be his performance during Mueller’s testimony that got him the job because it can’t be his qualifications. It appears he embellished his resume. It’s not clear he has any actual experience prosecuting or investigating terrorism cases, though he’s claimed he’s “put terrorists in prison.” He only held the post of U.S. attorney in Texas on an interim basis for about a year. McGruff the Crime Dog would have been a better hire and he’s entirely fictional. But then again, why would a criminal hire someone who actually wants to take a bite out of crime.

When CIA director Gina Haspel and Dan Coats testified before Congress about Russian interference, that Iran was abiding by the nuclear treaty, and that climate change was a national security threat, Trump said they should “go back to school.” In Ratcliffe, he’s found a lackey who can’t even find the school.

Trump’s toad in the Justice Department is already investigating the intelligence agencies over “partisan motives” in initiating the investigation into Russian interference. How dare they investigate the bad guys. Trump has also given Barr permission to allow Devin Nunes, another favorite Congressional henchman of his, access to declassified information related to the investigation with the idea that all of it was a “coup attempt” (I still don’t understand how replacing Trump with Mike Pence is a coup, unless Pence overthrows Trump).

This is where the danger comes in.

It’s said that the president is the number one customer of intelligence (HA!). But there are other consumers of the briefings, such as secretary of state, defense secretary, national security advisor, Joint Chiefs of Staff, FBI director, etc. So, even if the number one customer isn’t interested in the product, the other customers will at least see it and can act on it. With a director of national intelligence who will also dismiss actual threats because they’ll make the president grumpy, the real dangers and intelligence may not ever make it out of his office to be read by anyone else. This fealty to Donald Trump is an actual danger to the nation.

Anyone with intelligence knows Donald Trump is a national security threat. Now that he’s purging the adults from his administration, all his hires are national security threats too.

Support the cartoonist

As I noted in a previous cartoon, these are perilous times for political cartoonists. But you can help me continue to create cartoons, blogs, and videos by making a contribution. All support, large and small, is greatly appreciated. You can also support me by purchasing a signed print (8 1/2×11) for $40, or a signed poster (18×24) for $100 by clicking the PayPal button (just include a note if you’re purchasing a print). If you want to support but don’t want to use PayPal, you can send a contribution through the mail (address is on the contact page. Again, include a note for a print).I don’t plan on going anywhere and your support will help guarantee that. Whether you support, can’t. or just choose not to, please know that I am truly thankful that you visit my site and read my work.

You can purchase a signed print of this cartoon.

Watch me draw.