Connecting the Past with the Present

Memorial Day: Connecting the Past with the Present

By Scott S. Powell
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The Civil War was America’s most costly war with some 360,222 Union and 258,000 Confederate lives lost. Many historians put the death toll higher, but regardless, the number of Civil War casualties exceeds the nation’s loss in all its other wars combined — the two World Wars, the Korean and Vietnamese Wars and subsequent wars right up through conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Memorial Day had its origin as Decoration Day following that most horrible and costly war, dating back to April 25th, 1866 when a former chaplain in the Confederate Army accompanied a group of women from Columbus, Mississippi to Friendship Cemetery — the burial ground for about 1600 men who died in the Battle of Shiloh — for the purpose of honoring the dead with decorations of flowers.  At that time, Columbus, like the rest of the South, was occupied by Union Army forces, and some townspeople were fearful of creating new animosity, assuming that the decorations would favor Confederate over Union graves.

The women had no such intention, and in decorating the graves of both sides equally their action was the catalyst for a national reconciliation movement. At the time the New York Herald published a tribute, noting: “The women of Columbus, Mississippi, have shown themselves impartial in their offerings to the memory of the dead.  They strewed flowers alike on the graves of the Confederate and of the Union soldiers.”

Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored those lost while fighting in the Civil War. When the United States became embroiled in World War I and World War II, the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in subsequent wars.  With the observance of Memorial Day being inconsistent from state to state, finally in 1968 Congress declared Memorial Day as a federal holiday.

Hardly a year goes by without a commemoration of some war memorial event anniversary. October 4, 2018 commemorated 25 years since U.S. forces suffered the Black Hawk Down defeat in Somalia.  September 1, 2019 commemorated the 80th anniversary of the commencement of World War II, which officially began when Germany invaded Poland.  May 4, 2020 was the 75th anniversary of VE Day, when the guns fell silent at the end of that war in Europe.  August 15, 2020 will mark the 75th anniversary of the end of fighting in the Pacific theater, when Japan surrendered unconditionally to the Allies, effectively ending World War II.  November 11, 2021 will mark the 100th anniversary of the burial of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

A discussion of Memorial Day would just not be complete without appreciating the significance of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, formally established on what was then known as Armistice Day, three years after the end of World War I.   Congress had approved the burial of an unidentified American soldier who had fallen on a battlefield in France at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.  The Tomb of the Unknown Solider would come to be considered the most hallowed grave at Arlington Cemetery — the most sacred military cemetery in the United States.

And so it was on November 11, 1921, that the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was consecrated in the presence of President Warren G. Harding and other government, military, and international dignitaries.  That Unknown Soldier from World War I was buried with highest honors, lowered to his final resting place on top of a two-inch layer of soil brought from France — that he might rest forever atop the earth on which he died.

The selection process for the World War II Unknown proved more difficult than that of World War I, since American soldiers had fought on three continents.  Then the process was interrupted by the Korean War, which resulted in numerous deaths who could not be identified. Finally on May 28, 1958, caskets bearing the Unknowns of World War II and the Korean War arrived in Washington.  The caskets were rotated such that each unknown serviceman rested on the “Lincoln catafalque,” a raised platform in the Capitol Rotunda that held President Lincoln’s casket in April 1865.  Two days later on May 30, then the official date of Memorial Day, those Unknowns were transported to Arlington, where they were interred in the plaza beside their WW I comrade.

Due to the advances in DNA identification technology, most every Vietnam War casualty recovered could be identified.  Yet with so many “missing in action” it was decided that the crypt designated for the Vietnam Unknown could remain empty.  It was rededicated on September 17, 1999 to honor all missing U.S. service members from the Vietnam War, with the inscription on the crypt reading, “Honoring and Keeping the Faith with America’s Missing Servicemen, 1958-1975.”

The inscribed words on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of “Here Rests in Honored Glory an American Soldier Known but to God” are an uplifting reminder that all those who died for the American cause should have a special place in our hearts as they do in God’s.  Anyone who visits the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year regardless of weather by special armed Tomb Guard sentinels cannot but be humbled and reminded of what Lincoln said at Gettysburg, “…that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Some U.S. military engagements were ill-advised and history shows that the instances of injustice were probably greater from actions taken by Washington politicians and bureaucrats than by the military in the field.  For instance, the government’s willingness to authorize and deploy American soldiers in Vietnam without clear objectives and a strategy for victory — which put American lives in harm’s way and cost 58,220 lives — was the great injustice of the Vietnam War.  In Iraq, President Obama’s political decision to withdraw almost all U.S. military forces by the end of 2011 directly led to the injustice of reversal of hard-fought gains made by the military in the prior eight years, and the rise of ISIS and growing Iranian influence in Iraq.

Over a million Americans have given their lives in the Civil War and in defending U.S. interests in conflicts large and small. And while remembering those people is a central purpose of this holiday, Memorial Day takes on its deepest meaning when we connect it with our roots.

Americans were unique in sacrificing their treasure and giving their lives to found the first country in history establishing that all people have natural rights that come from God rather than from rulers or government. The Declaration of Independence affirmed the equality of all people and that they were endowed with unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Thus, when Americans sacrificed their lives in military service, we should remember that it was not just to defend the United States, but it was also to uphold the natural rights and spiritual values associated with the nation’s founding that provide inspiration for others worldwide.

There were times and places in human history when there were nation states of cultural achievement, virtue, and efflorescence, such as in Periclean Athens, in the Florence of the Medicis, and in England of Elizabeth and Shakespeare.  But none were founded the way America was — that is, by a collection of the nation’s most learned statesmen, well-versed in classics of law and political philosophy, who prayerfully approached drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and then the U.S. Constitution in 1787.  The Constitution provided a charter for an unprecedented arrangement of governmental institutions that would provide effective government while mitigating corruption and abuse of power and also protecting the citizens’ unalienable God-given rights.  The Bill of Rights, an integral part of the Constitution, enabled people living in America to rise to levels closer to the divine image in which all were created than they would have under any government previously conceived.

Writing about the benefits of the Constitution, Thomas Jefferson stated, “We feel that we are acting under obligations not confined to the limits of our own society. It is impossible not to be sensible that we are acting for all mankind.”  In only two centuries since that time, almost every nation has come to accept the need and value of having a constitution, regardless of differences of culture, history, and legal heritage.  Most of the world’s constitutions have been written in the last 75 years.  As constitutions get drafted and revised, the Constitution of the United States continues to be the guiding template and a source of inspiration and principles.

Yet another aspect of celebrating Memorial Day is recognizing the example set by Americans in how they treated their vanquished foes.

The respect that General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP), and the occupying American forces displayed after Japan’s surrender astonished and won over many of the Japanese people.  They had assumed the victorious Americans would execute their beloved emperor and plunder and treat them in ways similar to what Japanese soldiers did to those they had conquered in China, Korea and Southeast Asia.

One of the big changes that General MacArthur oversaw required the postwar Japanese government to initiate the drafting of a new constitution.  Wisely and in the interest of cultural respect and continuity, MacArthur suggested that the Japanese exercise the provision in the country’s existing Meiji constitution to amend that document with four requirements revolving around democratic rule, judicial review, and disarmament.  After a number of revisions, the new constitution that was accepted created a government closer the British-style of parliamentary government than the American system.

In addition to overseeing the rewriting of the Japanese constitution,  MacArthur also required that new laws and mandates be enacted to bring about land reform — so as to broaden private property ownership; and to break up and restructure business conglomerates — known as the Zaibatsu — to provide more competition, fairness, and opportunity.

What was remarkable about the U.S. defeat and reorganization of  Japan was that American actions were conducted in such a way that helped the Japanese to become a more formidable economic competitor at America’s own expense, but that also brought about respect and friendship between the two countries that has remained ever since.

In Europe after armistice, the war-indebted United States launched the Marshall Plan that gave some $135 billion of grant aid in current dollar value that helped reconstruct war-devastated regions in Western Europe.  Eighteen countries received aid and initiatives largely targeted the rebuilding of the industrial base. And similar to our help to the Japanese, U.S. generosity gave Europeans a leg up on the U.S. with the building of state-of-the-art factories and facilities that were in many cases more efficient than what then existed in the U.S.

In sum, Memorial Day means more than remembering and honoring those who died in military service to the country. It means connecting with a heritage that began with a courageous and faithful group of founders, who risked their lives for the birth of freedom and the establishment of America as a “city on a hill.” It also means remembering all who subsequently died for their nation and its constitutionally protected freedoms. And finally it commemorates those who paid the most, such as those who died in the Civil War, and “the greatest generation” involved in World War II, who — after experiencing the loss of so many lives to assure victory for the Allied nations — then sacrificed more to rebuild and preserve the independence of its former enemies.  Memorial Day reminds us that in all of human history, America is indeed unique and remarkable.

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Memorial Day 2020

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China Infiltrates U.S. Campuses & Steals Research,

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Corrupt Joe Biden

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#YouAintBlack and #JoeBidenIsARacist

#YouAintBlack and #JoeBidenIsARacist Trending on Twitter

Democratic presidential candidate former vice president Joe Biden speaks at the Clark County Democratic Party 'Kick-Off to Caucus 2020' event on Februay 15, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
AP Photo/John Locher
 

#YouAintBlack and #JoeBidenIsARacist both became national trending hashtags on Twitter in the wake of the presumptive Democrat nominee’s disastrous interview on The Breakfast Club, in which he said blacks who consider supporting Donald Trump “ain’t black.”

“If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or for Donald Trump, then you ain’t black,” said Biden, in response to one of the radio show host’s questions.

The racist remark from the Democrat presidential candidate generated a tidal wave of outrage on social media, which is still ongoing.

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POTUS Participates in a Rolling to Remember Ceremony

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If You Don’t Vote for Me, ‘You Ain’t Black’

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Governor DeSantis

Florida’s Governor DeSantis brings out his inner Trump

By Andrea Widburg
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Florida chose a different lockdown path from the rest of America, protecting old people and letting other Floridians mostly roam free. The media gleefully predicted disaster and have been disappointed that Florida has avoided the disaster and emerged from the pandemic scare with flying colors. On Wednesday, Governor DeSantis let the media know how disgraceful their reporting about Florida has been.

With an approving Vice President Pence standing beside him, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida gave conservatives a thrill when he let the media know how awful their behavior has been regarding Florida’s approach to the coronavirus. It was a performance that would have made President Trump proud, because DeSantis, instead of accepting and defending against the media’s pro-Democrat narrative, attacked the media for having a narrative in the first place:

A National Review interview with DeSantis shows that he wasn’t just lucky when his non-lockdown policy paid off. What happened most states was a mindless panic. Then, as more data emerged, Democrat governors ignored new data and continued the lockdowns. DeSantis, however, carefully and constantly monitored data to craft his strategy for navigating the pandemic:

An irony of the national coverage of the coronavirus crisis is that at the same time DeSantis was being made into a villain, New York governor Andrew Cuomo was being elevated as a hero, even though the DeSantis approach to nursing homes was obviously superior to that of Cuomo. Florida went out of its way to get COVID-19-positive people out of nursing homes, while New York went out of its way to get them in, a policy now widely acknowledged to have been a debacle.

The media didn’t exactly have their eyes on the ball. “The day that the media had their first big freakout about Florida was March 15th,” DeSantis recalls, “which was, there were people on Clearwater Beach, and it was this big deal. That same day is when we signed the executive order to, one, ban visitation in the nursing homes, and two, ban the reintroduction of a COVID-positive patient back into a nursing home.”

The numbers show how smart DeSantis’s choices were:

Of course, at any time, governors in lockdown states could have looked at the data about elderly mortality (as Phil Kerpen did in a Twitter thread) and changed course – but they didn’t. Instead, they stayed the stupid course. Ace reminds us what happened in those places that bowed before the media narrative:

Let me again point out the irony — or perhaps the calculated outcome — that the only places in the US where the infection rates and death rates came close to matching the models’ predictions is in those Democrat states whose Democrat governors engineered a mass slaughter of the elderly by ordering that the infected be mixed in with the uninfected by compromised.

It would not be unreasonable to file manslaughter charges against all the Democrat politicians and bureaucrats who ignored the data and turned nursing homes into death chambers. Governor DeSantis, meanwhile, should get a medal, both for his policy choices and for his beatdown of the media.

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Another flip

Boom. Another special election, another flip: Three Democrats get the boot in Virginia

By Monica Showalter
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Special elections can be tricky to gauge the general election from.

But when all of the results of them go just one way, it’s pretty obvious the other party is in trouble.

Latest news: Three Virginia Democrats in a reliably blue city have just gotten the boot. A local reporter called it ‘stunning beyond belief.’

The Daily Caller reports:

Three Democratic members of the Staunton, Virginia, city council were ousted by Republicans on Tuesday despite receiving more votes than they did four years ago.

Republican candidates Mark Robertson, Amy Darby, and Steve Claffey all joined incumbent Andrea Oakes in a four-seat GOP sweep, WHSV reported. The three incoming council members replaced Democratic incumbents Erik Curren, Ophie Kier, and James Harrington all almost doubled their vote totals from 2016, yet still lost.

And it wasn’t just that city where Democrats lost out, there was also this:

Nearby Wayesboro also put two conservatives, Lana Williams and Bruce Allen, on their city council to “give conservatives a working majority,” Graham reported.

The Caller noted that even the Democrats’ huge turnout machine was no match for the high enthusiasm rate of the Republican voters. Why was that? Well, because Virginia has seen some fearsome abuse from its Democratic rulers — gun control legislation that makes no sense in Virginia’s hinterlands, and then the coronavirus lockdown, which was a death sentence on small business.

Yet it also follows from a string of GOP special election pickups, some with lockdown on the table, some without. In deep blue Connecticut last March, two seats were flipped to Republicans in a state legislature election, one by a candidate with a difficult-to-sell last name (“Bizzarro”)

It was followed by the ‘red shockwave’ special election less than two weeks ago, that saw the election of Republican Mike Garcia to Congress, in a heavily ballot-harvested California congressional district, no less. There also was a comparable win in political battleground Wisconsin.

They’re all going one way — towards red, and no ballot-harvesting nor mail-in ballot schemes has been able to stop them. Again, it’s not a certainty that these special elections, all going the same way. are going to turn the sky red come November. but this is a sign of something big in the works.

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Who Are The REAL Fascists?

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Trump’s Border Wall

 

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Susan Rice Email

Infamous Susan Rice Email to Herself Finally Declassified, Deals Directly With Michael Flynn

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FILE – In this Aug. 30, 2012 file photo, then-U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice speaks at UN headquarters. President-elect Donald Trump choice for UN ambassador, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, has limited foreign policy experience. That’s in contrast to other U.N. ambassadors who had deep roots in international affairs at the time of their nominations. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

If you’ve followed the saga of the Obama administration and how they dealt with the then incoming Trump administration, you are probably aware of an email Susan Rice sent to herself. In it, she seemed to almost be laying cover, repeating phrases like “by the book” and attempting to frame everything as above board. One line about refusing to share classified information with Trump’s team stood out, especially since it was a decision that didn’t seem to be within their purview. If Americans elect a new President, the prior administration doesn’t get to decide not to proceed with the transition properly, no matter what their suspicions are.

The question of why Rice emailed herself has lingered. That’s certainly not a normal thing someone does. But more so, part of the email remained classified, robbing readers of key context within the conversation she was describing.

Well, that’s no longer a problem, as CBS’ Catherine Herridge has obtained the declassified copy of the email.

What this provides is further evidence that the Obama administration was targeting Michael Flynn. It also shows that Obama himself was intimately involved in the campaign to kneecap the incoming NSA. Here we see the suggestion that sensitive information be withheld from Flynn, with Comey saying that should “potentially” be the case. There’s some irony in Comey’s “concerns” given it was his FBI that shared classified intelligence with Christopher Steele against regulations.

What’s most noteworthy though is the lack of any evidence whatsoever to back up their suspicions. Talking to the Russian ambassador is not a crime, nor is discussing future policy goals during a transition. The Obama administration had no right at all to play god here and attempt to sandbag Flynn. They did so anyway, and in a way that would be seen as incredibly scandalous if a GOP administration had pulled this nonsense.

Further, given the content of the now declassified paragraph, one must ask why it was specifically classified that way in the first place. Why hide this paragraph? The answer is likely because Flynn was under surveillance at the time. It should also be noted that Comey did not end up doing everything “by the book,” as he later admitted to breaking protocol to send agents to interrogate Flynn.

What this email reads like is a CYA attempt by Rice. It’s likely that the meeting isn’t even being fully described here, but rather that this is a sanitized version meant to protect her if things ever fell apart. This way she can see “see, I thought at the time everything was by the book.” Even still, there’s enough revealed here to show that the Obama administration was out of line in their pursuit of Flynn, and when you couple this with how they eventually bent the rules to get him fired (and later charged by Mueller), things look even worse.

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Illegalities of the Obama Administration

Unmasking the Illegalities of the Obama Administration

By Janice Shaw Crouse
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Well informed citizens have been rocked by revelations from recently unclassified documents that clearly show that President Obama “was aware of the details of wiretapped conversations of then-incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December 2016.”  Further, there’s a long list of Democrat dignitaries who are also part of the unprecedented spying on an opposition party in an attempt to influence a presidential election and then undermine the duly elected president.  The really pivotal fact, however, is that “Obama’s knowledge of Flynn being wiretapped raises significant questions about what Obama knew and when he knew it with regard to the attempt to railroad Flynn and prevent him from serving as Trump’s national security advisor.”

There is nothing new about Obama seeking private information in order to smear a political opponent.  It was well known that when he ran for the Senate in 2004, a California judge ruled that the divorce papers of his opponent, Republican Jack Ryan, be released.  Both Ryan and his wife argued that the disclosure of the closed records would be harmful to their son, and they both opposed public disclosure of the documents.  With the release of those documents, Ryan withdrew from the U.S. Senate election, and Obama sailed into the Senate without an opponent.  That scheme was not a new tactic for candidate Obama.  His opponent in the primary, Blair Hull, was also a divorced man with sealed records from 1998.  In the infamous Chicago, Illinois politics in 2004, an enterprising reporter “discovered” that Hull’s wife had previously sought a protective order against her husband.  Obama “cruised to victory” in the primary — with the impossible odds of the same circumstances enabling him to win the general election against Ryan.  One analyst described Obama as “lucky with his enemies” — a man with a fortunate history of “hapless opponents.”

According to multiple media reports, including in the Western Journal, those campaign practices continued at the presidential level.  “The Barack Obama presidential campaign hired Fusion GPS in 2012 to dig up dirt on Republican candidate Mitt Romney,” according to a 2018 book by Michael Isikoff and David Corn, Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and Donald Trump’s Election.

Further, we now have documents indicating exactly how various Obama administration leaders who were supposed to be serving the American people were actually weaponizing for political purposes their agencies to spy on the incoming Trump personnel.  Just days ago, Gina Loudon recounted details on RealClear Politics about how acting director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell has been cleaning up the Office of National Intelligence to strengthen and protect its transparency and accountability.  “Thanks to Grenell’s efforts, Americans now know that the Obama administration abused its power during the 2016 campaign in order to illegally spy on Donald Trump’s associates.”  The sheer volume of requests during the Obama administration is indicative of how widespread the spying was.  For instance, United Nations ambassador Samantha Power was the “largest unmasker of US persons in our history.”  She unmasked more than 300 U.S. citizens in less than a year!

Grenell has released the names of sixteen Obama officials who specifically targeted Michael Flynn by requesting that his name be “unmasked” on documents recounting his conversations with Kislyak.  In fact, during a two-month period after the 2016 election, Lee Smith, of the New York Post, reported that there were 49 requests to unmask General Flynn — a clear indication that Flynn was chosen because he was “one of Trump’s ‘most trusted advisers,'” thus his conversations could reveal Trump’s plans.

From the very beginning of the Trump presidency, there were conflicting rumors and leaks about documents purported to show Trump colluding with the Russians.  Others claimed that Trump was under investigation by the FBI.  At the time, Glenn Reynolds, of Instapundit fame, wondered if we would ever know the truth and answered his own question: “Maybe, if there’s a proper investigation into Obama Administration political spying.”  At the time, Reynolds ventured an hypothesis: the “spying on Trump thing is worse than we even imagine.”  Further, he declared that after Hillary lost the 2016 election and those involved realized that proof of the spying would “inevitably” come out, they invented “the Trump/Russia collusion talking point … as a distraction.”  In fact, Reynolds noted that back on March 6, 2017, Democratic senator Chris Coons apologized with a rather contrived story.  He claimed that his earlier comments about there being “transcripts” of President Trump colluding with Russian officials had been “misinterpreted.”  Sadly, he worried, those misinterpretations had produced some Senate “hyperventilating.”  Senator Coons declared that he had “no hard evidence of collusion.”

Let all that sink in: there was enough talk about political spying and “transcripts” that a leading Democrat was compelled to declare that there was nothing there to see!  In fact, the media laughed at President Trump’s assertions that his campaign was being spied upon.

Then-chair of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes, likewise, was subjected to ridicule back in 2017 when he declared that “none of this surveillance was related to Russia, or the investigation of Russian activities.”  Similarly, Attorney General William Barr has been derided for his revelations.  The problem for the Democrats is that both Nunes and Barr have reputations for excellence and for being completely trustworthy.  What Victor Davis Hanson wrote about Barr applies equally to Nunes: they “will follow the law wherever it leads … without worry over the consequences.”  Hanson described that reality as being “quite scary indeed” for some politicos.

Among the scary realities finally coming into the light is evidence that Russia actually preferred Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump to win the election of 2016.  Regardless of that reality, the narrative pushed by the Democrats and the media was that the Russians’ pro-Trump efforts ensured Trump’s victory.  Last month, we learned that the U.S. Intelligence Community knew that the Russians preferred Hillary, but then–CIA director John Brennan suppressed that information “over the objections of CIA analysts.”  So, all this time, according to Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst, the U.S. Intelligence Community was fully aware that the Russians preferred Hillary — explaining that “it was not in Russia’s interests to support Trump[.] … Putin stood to benefit from Hillary Clinton’s election.”

The scary reality is that the U.S. has been deliberately duped into a long national nightmare of division.  The president and his family have been subjected to unprecedented personal attacks.  The president’s supporters have been disparaged and called “hypocrites” and worse.  All the while, high-ranking officials in the Obama administration have been perpetuating false narratives to cover up their illegal spying, inventing talking points about “Russian collusion,” and conducting an impeachment process based on lies in order to overturn the results of a legitimate election of a candidate they hate.

Will Smith summed up what happens when a person hates another: “Hate in your heart will consume you, too.”  The recently revealed unmaskings point to illegal actions that threaten to consume innumerable high-ranking dignitaries in the former Obama administration.

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