Forget about Dreamers who have been in this country for at least 10 years and aren’t going anywhere. Forget about the bogus government shutdown that dominated the news cycle for days. These are both smoke screens.

The real story, the story that has been put on hold for over a week, is the news coming out of the investigation of the FBI.

Now there is evidence of a “secret society” in the FBI and the Justice Department. The purpose of the secret society referred to in an email from former top FBI agent Peter Strzok to his mistress FBI attorney Lisa Page was apparently to force President Donald J. Trump out of office.

This is a far more important story for the future of our country as a free society than any immigration or funding story. The reason these other stories are so prominent in the news is because the Democrats and the leftwing mainstream media are doing everything in their considerable power to cover-up the FBI story.

We know for a fact that people in the FBI were working against Trump. First they were working against the Trump campaign.

The FBI was involved in the creation of the Trump dossier. One problem they had was that the dossier went too far. It was shopped around to the media before the election and no reliable news source would touch it. Both The New York Times and The Washington Post had copies and didn’t write a word about it. Fusion GPS had overplayed its hand. If the dossier had been toned down, it would have been all over the news.

According to text messages and other information, once Trump was elected some people working for the FBI believed they had to do something to get Trump removed from office. This is a huge scandal getting ready to break, but its getting little attention from the mainstream media.

As early as next week, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence may release a memo prepared by the chairman of that Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, and others that points to a conspiracy within the FBI to use classified information to stop the election of Trump.

Some of this information comes from a previously classified Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court opinion and order that has recently been declassified, and it states that the FBI shared data obtained from Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants with private contractors.

Unfortunately the names of the private contractors were redacted. But Nunes has the unredacted version so he knows exactly who the FBI was illegally sharing FISA data with.

From the statements made by congressmen who have seen the report, it appears likely that some of the data received as a result of FISA warrants may have been shared with Fusion GPS, hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign to do opposition research, or Christopher Steele, who was hired by Fusion GPS and wrote the Trump dossier.

It seems almost certain that parts of the Trump dossier were presented to the court to obtain a FISA warrant to wiretap the Trump campaign, and it seems likely that in turn some of the information obtained from that wiretap was then shared with operatives working for the Hillary Clinton campaign.

If some or all of that turns out to be true, what the Republican congressmen have uncovered is an attempt by the FBI to use its power to influence an election. And if that is true, then anyone in the FBI who even knew about it and didn’t come forward should go to jail.

If we have the FBI manipulating elections we are no longer a self-governing people. What none of these people ever thought would happen was that Trump, despite their efforts, would be elected and the whole matter would be investigated.

It’s worth noting that James Comey, who was fired as FBI director by Trump, was ultimately responsible for all of these actions because they took place during his watch.

*****

There is another part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillence Court opinion that is almost as troubling. With the FISA warrants, the FBI is allowed to collect virtually all the electronic data transmitted or received by an individual. If that person has been charged with a crime, this would include his communications with his attorney, which are privileged.

The FBI is supposed to have safeguards in place to make certain that no one involved with the prosecution of the case has access to these confidential communications between an attorney and his client. According to the court, these safeguards were not in place, which means those involved in the prosecution had access to these privileged communications.

If an investigation reveals that not only did unauthorized persons have access to these communications but they used that information, that is a huge violation of the constitutional rights of the American people.

One has to hope that it was simply carelessness by the FBI that these privileged communications were not properly protected and not an effort by some in the FBI to gain an illegal advantage in prosecuting cases.

*****

There is a well recognizable pattern here with the congressional investigation of the FBI.

First the FBI simply refused to release documents to Congress, hoping no doubt that Congress would get distracted by something else or, as in the days of President Barack Obama, they would get protection from the White House.

Unfortunately for the senior folks at the FBI, the Trump is now president and he happens to be in the same party as the congressional investigators. So the FBI was forced to turn over documents to the congressional oversight committees.

But they didn’t turn over everything that they were asked for because the FBI has claimed it lost about 50,000 texts messaged between Strzok and Page during a critical time period the month before Trump was inaugurated until the day that Robert Mueller was appointed special prosecutor. Even if Attorney General Jeff Sessions continues to act like a befuddled old man who can’t find his hat, those emails are going to be found.

It may take a court order – as it did with the Hillary Clinton emails – but being threatened with jail does wonderful things for people’s memories. Some in the FBI are clearly willing to lie to protect their buddies, but it’s unlikely they will decide to go to jail to protect them.

Of course, it shouldn’t come to that. These are Republican congressional committees asking a department run by a Republican for information they have every right to see.

Sessions, who appears to have finally realized that there might be a problem in his department, has said he will get to the bottom of it, which is an improvement. Maybe it will cause Sessions to look around and realize some top-level people in his department are not working for the good of the country, but are working to remove the president of the United States from office.

It may not appear to be a good time for Trump to get rid of Sessions, but considering how Session’s employees have behaved when testifying before congressional committees that had every right to have their questions answered, there may not be a better time.

Sessions could step up to the plate, but if he doesn’t, Trump needs to remove him and put someone over the Justice Department who is willing to fire a host of employees and replace them with equally qualified people who want to work to further the goals of the current president.

*****

I was reading in the mainstream media about how “moderates” had ended the government shutdown. It’s incredible; the next thing you know the mainstream media will be reporting that Hillary Clinton won the 2016 election, because that is what they wanted to happen.

Moderates as usual had nearly nothing to do with the end of the shutdown, unless you consider Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and President Trump moderates.

The shut down ended because Trump wouldn’t budge and Schumer couldn’t take the heat of the “Schumer shutdown.” Schumer had assumed the blame would go to the Republicans, and the mainstream media tried, but somehow the American people got a hold of some real news.

Schumer caved, not to moderates but to Trump, and that is how the shutdown ended. Moderates in Washington have about as much power as a kitten. They flap in the wind without any core beliefs. The far left Democrats and far right Republicans both deserve much more admiration than a group of people who can’t make up their minds about much of anything.

Look at how well moderate Sen. Lindsey Graham did when he ran for president. Graham didn’t even have enough support to make it to the big boy table at the debates. According to polls his support hovered around 1 percent.

*****

It’s become big news that Attorney General Loretta Lynch knew that FBI Director Comey was going to announce no charges would be brought against Hillary Clinton for gross violations of the laws concerning government documents and classified government documents, two months before the investigation was complete.

Here’s breaking news: Lynch knew what Comey was going to announce the day the investigation began because it had already been decided that no charges would be brought against Hillary Clinton. The entire “investigation” was a sham and Lynch was right to order Comey not to call it an investigation because it wasn’t. What it amounted to was the FBI going through the motions, but making certain that they didn’t uncover any dead bodies because then someone would have to be arrested.

Hillary Clinton ordered the destruction of 33,000 emails after they had been subpoenaed. It took the State Department months to sort through the Hillary Clinton emails that were left and release the ones that weren’t classified. It took Hillary Clinton’s staff a couple of days to go through the 33,000, determine that they were about Chelsea’s wedding and other personal matters and could be deleted.

Not only are there laws detailing how classified information must be handled, which Hillary Clinton and her staff routinely ignored, but there are also laws concerning how government documents are to be retained, which were also ignored.

Hillary Clinton had no right to destroy a single email that dealt with State Department matters. Just as she had no right to destroy State Department phones and computers.

The far more serious crime was in the handling of classified information, but there were plenty of other crimes to go around, and yet the FBI managed to find nothing.

*****

Even Trump supporters complain about his tweets. They shouldn’t.

First of all, Trump got to the White House by traveling around the country like a wild man saying whatever popped into his head, calling talk shows and tweeting.

People have constantly complained about government transparency and the fact that everything from the White House in the past was slickly packaged.

Here we have a president who sits down and tweets his raw unfiltered thoughts. Whether you like those thoughts or not, it is simply amazing to have a president communicating directly with the American people several times a day.

Remember when Obama took his teleprompters to give a speech to elementary school kids? Can you imagine not having the confidence to stand in front of a group of school children and say a few words? Can you imagine the lack of confidence Obama’s staff had in his ability to speak for a few minutes off the cuff?

Now we have the opposite. Trump says and tweets what he thinks. He sat down with a reporter from The New York Times and did a long interview without any staff input; the staff reportedly didn’t know he was doing the interview.

Trump has enormous confidence in himself as a communicator. Nobody has to tell him what to say and certainly no one in the White House will or wants to take credit for his tweets.

The news media doesn’t know what to do, because Trump is actually a lot smarter and a much better communicator than most of them.

When he first took office there were a number of stories about how hard Trump worked, emphasizing that the White House staff wasn’t used to his 18-hour days. Now the same news media are reporting that he doesn’t work much because he doesn’t come down to the Oval Office until after 9 a.m.

It’s as if the president of the United States were a factory worker and the only place he could do his job was at his spot in the line on the factory floor. Trump doesn’t do anything but work and, for him, watching the news talk shows to find out what the American people are being told is part of his job.

If he wants to work upstairs in his pajamas, what difference does it make? Winston Churchill used to work from the bathtub.

*****

Think about where the Democrats are right now, and what is happening makes a lot of sense.

The Democrats are looking at an investigation of the FBI, the Justice Department, Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation that is going to be enormously embarrassing. What a good time to distract everyone with a huge fight over a couple hundred thousand young adults who are in this country illegally and forcing a government shutdown. It didn’t work for the Democrats because they got caught shutting the government down for political gain.

And in the end this investigation is going to gain momentum and is going to be like a snowball rolling downhill. It’s just barely moving now, but once it gets rolling it’s going to be hard to stop. It’s the opposite of the investigation of Special Prosecutor Mueller, who hasn’t found anything, despite using Gestapo tactics.

Just imagine the fear that must have overwhelmed Lynch and Comey when they realized that Donald Trump had been elected president. Lynch had already guaranteed her job in the administration of Hillary Clinton and it appeared so had Comey.

The key at that point was for Comey to keep his job in the Trump administration so that he could cover up all that they had done to protect Hillary Clinton and bring down the campaign of Trump.

Then Comey got himself fired, so their best move was to try and divert attention by launching an investigation of Trump. They knew that their buddy Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would do it if he was given the chance. And who did Rosenstein choose for the investigation? One of Comey’s best friends, Mueller.

This was back in the first days of the Trump administration when Trump seemed to think that he would be respected and supported because he was president. After a year in office Trump now knows that in Washington you can’t turn your back, even on your best friend, because given the chance they will shove a knife right into your kidney.

Sessions should have known better than to recuse himself, but he probably had no idea that he was up against extremely powerful enemies who were worried that they could be sent to jail if they didn’t do something.

It all might have worked, if those pesky Republicans in Congress had not acted like they had something to do with running the country. But those pesky congressmen actually do run the country, despite what the lifelong bureaucrats like Comey and Mueller think.

Rep. Nunes is not going to stop until he gets answers, and the answers are not going to please a lot of highly placed folks in the FBI and Justice Department.

*****

It finally happened – the Democrats were blamed for a shutdown. Whoever came up with the “Schumer shutdown” should take credit. Even the mainstream media can’t resist a clever phrase like that one.

The Democrats were negotiating in good faith – not in good faith with the Republicans, but in good faith that the ever reliable mainstream media would protect them and blame the whole deal on Trump and the Republicans.

The mainstream media must have done some polling and realized just how unpopular shutting down the government because of some illegal aliens was. So now the Democrats have had to back down, eat crow, run with their tail between their legs and whatever other sayings you like.

But the big news is that they will be hesitant to try it again. The Democrats figure they can survive this one, but on Feb. 8 the government runs out of money again, and at that point the Democrats know they had better make a deal or they will get blamed again.

*****

It’s too bad. I like the idea of a government shutdown. In fact, I wish it would actually shut down and the employees who are told to stay home also wouldn’t get paid for those days they didn’t work.

What the government shutdown does for a relatively few federal employees is give them a brief taste of what life is like in the private sector.

In the private sector, if you get a job fresh out of college you are not guaranteed a paycheck every two weeks for the next 30 years whether you work hard and are good at your job or not.

In the private sector companies have financial problems, and people get laid off through not fault of their own. Companies go out of business and everyone gets laid off. People also are routinely fired in the private sector for not doing their jobs, being constantly late for work, being disruptive in the office and a host of other good reasons. The federal government employees don’t get fired, they get transferred or promoted. Federal employees have near total job security.

Look at FBI agent Strzok. He was using his FBI phone to carry on a personal text conversation with his girlfriend, and in that made remarks about President Trump, Hillary Clinton and the investigation of Hillary Clinton that are highly embarrassing to the FBI and in particular to his superiors. He wasn’t fired. He was transferred with reportedly no loss in salary or benefits.

In the private sector when embarrassing text messages are released, there is also an announcement that the person who sent those texts has resigned to spend more time with their family.

Federal employees not only have near total job security, when they retire after 30 years they receive benefits that aren’t available in the private sector. Since after 30 years so many of them are still young, they collect retirement and get another job. It’s the best deal around, except for the fact that you have to work for the federal government for 30 years.

Five of the six wealthiest counties based on median family income are suburbs of Washington, DC. These counties are the wealthiest in the nation because most of the people who live there work for the federal government. There is something terribly wrong with that.

*****

It appears the FBI has hired former IRS administrator Lois Lerner as a crisis consultant. The FBI is now saying it lost many of the incriminating emails between its counterintelligence expert Strzok and his girlfriend FBI attorney Page.

It is as ridiculous for the FBI to claim it has no backup system to capture text messages on its communication system as it was for the IRS. It turned out the IRS was being completely dishonest when it said it had no backup system to save data. If Congress presses, no doubt the FBI will discover that, yes indeed, it does have a backup system to save communications between FBI employees on the FBI communication system.

But you’d think that the FBI would be a little more crafty about the missing text messages. It turns out the FBI started collecting the texts again on the same day that Mueller was appointed special prosecutor. Now that is one of those coincidences that is going to be nearly impossible to explain.

Or perhaps the FBI really is as incompetent as it is claiming to be. Maybe some low-level employee accidently deleted the text messages between Strzok and Page while not deleting all the other FBI information on the system. Maybe the FBI will try that excuse next.

The big question is, who is going to investigate the FBI. There is mounting evidence that FBI agents were involved in an effort to thwart the election of Trump by using FBI resources. The public needs to know how many FBI agents were involved and how high the attempted coup went in the agency.

So far the evidence points to Deputy Director Andrew McCabe being involved, or at the very least being aware of what was happening.

But who is going to do the investigation of the FBI and the Justice Department? An outside agency has to be brought in to investigate, but who is going to investigate the investigators?

The FBI might want to consider that more Hillary Clinton emails keep appearing even though she had them wiped clean from her personal server that she illegally used to send and receive classified State Department documents.

*****

Here’s a real problem that no one is talking about. Strzok was a top counter-espionage expert at the FBI, and he was constantly texting his girlfriend at the FBI on their FBI phones – stuff that eventually got both of them removed from their jobs.

He’s supposed to be an expert in all that spy stuff and he used his FBI phone to send incriminating texts to his girlfriend who is also using an FBI phone. It makes you wonder how much he knows about counter-espionage?

*****

Sitting at home on Friday night I couldn’t enjoy the fire in the fireplace or the good book I was reading I was so filled with fear and trepidation about the government shutdown at midnight. And I had to stay up to see how our nation would survive with the federal government shutdown.

At 12:01 I didn’t detect any difference. I had given up reading and was watching Netflix. Both the internet and Netflix carried on as if nothing had happened. I finally went to bed about 2 a.m. not knowing what kind of calamity I would face in the morning.

The morning paper arrived on time. The stores were open. The traffic appeared normal for a Saturday.

The truth is the government shutdown is a myth invented by Congress. Not much happens except some government employees don’t have to go to work and don’t get paid during the shutdown. They, however, do get paid for all the days they didn’t work once the shutdown is over.

*****

Just because someone says that they are an American doesn’t make it so. An American is a citizen of the United States of America according to the standard definition. Someone who entered this country illegally and is a citizen of another country is not an American, no matter how much they want to be one.

There is a process people who are not born in the US have to go through to become American citizens. The first part of that process is arriving in this country legally. Just because someone chose to illegally cross the border does not make them an American.

*****

For those who still are clinging to the belief that the federal courts are nonpartisan, the recent decision by the US Supreme Court to allow North Carolina to elect its congressional representatives from the same districts as in 2016 is simply further proof that the courts are extremely partisan.

Because Obama during his eight years in office made an unprecedented number of appointments to the lower courts and filled them with liberals and radical leftists who believe it is their job, not to interpret the laws of Congress, but to write new laws, the lower courts are constantly overruling Republican legislatures and Republican initiatives.

The Supreme Court has a Republican majority and it takes the opposite view, which is why the Supreme Court overruled the three-judge panel in the North Carolina congressional redistricting case and said North Carolina can continue to use its current districts.

The decision by the three-judge panel breaks new ground in the redistricting issue, ruling the districts illegal, not because of racial gerrymandering as they have done in the past, but because of partisan gerrymandering, which has in the past been ruled constitutional and legal. The three-judge panel created a law that evidently says that Democrats can gerrymander for political advantage but Republicans cannot.

One of the most persuasive arguments of the case was that the districts that were drawn could not be drawn randomly, meaning that the Republicans did exactly what they said they were going to do and drew the districts to favor as many Republicans as possible.

But there is nothing in the law that states the districts have to be drawn randomly. It has never been done that way. The party in power draws districts that benefit that party. If Congress wants to change the law and make partisan redistricting illegal, it could do so. The courts are not supposed to make up new laws, but they have been doing so at an alarming rate.

Furthermore, the idea that every federal District Court judge in the country can overrule the elected president of the United States goes against the very tenants of the nation. We are supposed to be governed by the people we elect, not by people appointed for life. If judges are allowed to run the country we might as well do away with the whole system of government.

*****

As far as redistricting goes, the country is facing a crisis that can only be solved by having the federal government require whites to live in predominately white neighborhoods and blacks to live in predominately black neighborhoods.

Because more blacks are living in predominately white neighborhoods and more whites in predominately black neighborhoods it is becoming more and more difficult to draw the minority-majority districts required by the Justice Department.

It’s one of the issues that is causing the ruling of racial gerrymandering. It is becoming more difficult to draw the districts because neighborhoods are becoming more diverse. It seems like diverse neighborhoods would be a good thing, but it isn’t if you are required to draw districts with a certain percentage of black voters, and the Voting Rights Act requires it.

Parisian Promenade at Bicentennial Garden