I read every article I could find about the phone call that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen taped of Donald Trump. I read them looking mainly for one fact. How in the world did the FBI get it and how did it get released, because even President Trump has attorney client privilege?

I finally Googled attorney-client privilege and found that Trump allowed it to be released. Doesn’t that seem like it should be in every article?

It’s a big deal. Trump didn’t have to do it and Cohen couldn’t. The judge that went over the materials ruled that the recording fell under attorney-client privilege and couldn’t be used or released. It was Trump who gave permission for it to be made public.

So nobody other than Cohen, the judge and the FBI agents who are so pure and holy that they get to review matters protected by attorney-client privilege knew that the tape existed.

The reason that it is now public knowledge and the tape has been played by CNN is that Trump waived his attorney-client privilege and gave his permission to have it released.

So when Trump’s current attorneys say that there is nothing on the tape that implicates Trump in any wrong doing, you have to think they really believe it because otherwise the tape would be sealed in a box and no one would have access to it.

*****

I’ve been watching the White House press briefing lately and I have a theory. It appears that the large news organizations give all their reporters an intelligence test, and whoever scores lowest gets the assignment to the White House.

It’s rare for any news to come out of the daily press briefing and rarer still for a reporter to ask a question that might lead to an actual news article. Day after day the reporters ask questions about situations that involve, not the White House, but Trump’s personal attorneys. And day after day White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says, “I’d have to refer you to the president’s outside attorneys.”

Making that mistake once, twice or 10 times might be understandable, but making it 100 times is a sign of extremely low intelligence or perhaps extremely high drug use.

Last week, when asked about tariffs, Sanders explained that the president knew there would be some short-term sacrifices, but he was looking long term.

A few minutes later a reporter said that he knew Sanders had said that the president was looking long term but that it had been two weeks and people were still suffering. In whose world is two weeks long term? Can you imagine a coworker saying I going on a long-term vacation and you ask how long and they say “two weeks”?

I suppose to a 5-year-old, two weeks to Christmas is long term, but for what adult is two weeks long term?

Imagine a judge sentencing a convicted criminal saying, “That was a serious crime so I’m going to have to sentence you to a long term. I hereby sentence you to two weeks in prison.”

It makes me wonder where the mainstream media find these people.

*****

So Trump misspoke during the press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Democrats are saying he should be impeached for misspeaking. Many in the mainstream media don’t even recognize that he went back and corrected his mistake.

President Barack Obama promised the American people that under Obamacare they could keep their doctor. The Obama worshippers at The New York Times explained that Obama had made an “incorrect promise,” which was compared to misspeaking.

How do you make an incorrect promise? If it is a promise and you don’t keep it then that is called breaking a promise. It’s not like Obama said it one time and then had aides whispering in his ear about what he had said. Obama made that promise multiple times, in many different venues, over a period of months. Either Obama was lying to the American people or Obama’s staff was lying to him.

But all that was acceptable according to The New York Times because being devout worshippers of Obama they knew in their hearts that Obama would not knowingly mislead the American people for political gain.

My personal favorite gaffe by Obama was the one he made about 57 states. Here in the lower 48, we all know that there were two states added that aren’t connected to the rest of us. But Hawaii, where Obama grew up, is way out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and maybe out there the fact that there are 49 other states is not such a big deal.

Tired, hungry, confused, whatever the excuse, it’s a very odd mistake for a president to make.

Now if he had been talking about Canadian provinces he could have said any number he wanted and it wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow. It’s a rare American who knows how many Canadian provinces there are. It’s 10, but I admit I looked it up. Rarer still is the American who can name all 10.

*****

If you are concerned about the so-called “blue wave” in the 2018 elections, consider what the media was saying in July 2016 about the November 2016 election. In the summer of 2016, the media were universally reporting that Hillary Clinton would win the presidency and that it was likely the Democrats would take control of the House and Senate, depending on how long Hillary Clinton’s coattails were.

No one in the mainstream media gave Trump even a chance of winning. Once piece in The New York Times stated that Trump’s chances of winning were “nonexistent.” This statement had no qualifiers. It didn’t state, “I think the chances or Trump winning are nonexistent.” Or, “According to most political pundits Trump’s chances are nonexistent.” Not even, “If Hillary Clinton is alive and out of jail on Election Day, the chances of Trump winning are nonexistent.”   It was stated as an indisputable fact.

But all the pundits turned out to be dead wrong about the election. Not only did Trump win by a considerable margin in the Electoral College, but the Republicans kept majorities in both the House and the Senate.

The election was a disaster for the Democrats, yet the pundits were predicting a sweep.

So why does anyone pay any attention to these pundits and pollsters? It has been proven time and time again that they don’t report what is likely to happen but what they want to see happen.

I think the Republicans will hold on to the House and gain seats in the Senate. We’ll find out in November who is right, but I don’t think most Americans are in favor of socialism, and that is what the Democratic Party is trying to sell.

If the Democrats get Hillary Clinton out campaigning across the country I predict bigger wins for the Republicans. Nobody can turn voters off quite like Hillary Clinton.

*****

The fallacy of experts. When you read a supposedly unbiased newspaper article about virtually anything, some college professor or similar expert is quoted. There are over 1.5 million college professors in the US. Do you ever wonder how a newspaper picks one to quote?

I can assure you it isn’t at random. Often it is because the reporter has quoted that particular professor previously and liked the quote. Sometimes it is because the professor has been quoted in a similar piece written by someone else and the reporter read and approved of the quote.

You rarely read articles where conservative college professors are quoted. When was the last time you read an article in the mainstream media and the quote was from a conservative or a college professor who was not a Trump hater?

What the reporter is usually doing with such a quote is finding someone to say what the reporter would like to say, but reporters are not supposed to put their own opinions in newspaper articles. It’s a ruse, a ploy to get their opinion past their editors. Since the editors at mainstream publications are almost universally liberal, they like the quotes and don’t complain about the reporter using quotes from a professor to promote their own opinion.

Conservatives do it too, but there are virtually no conservatives working as reporters in the mainstream media. To find examples of conservatives doing the same thing you have to read conservative publications, and there you will find conservative college professors quoted.

It’s one of the wonderful aspects of retired Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz these days. He has been quoted and interviewed by the mainstream media for years because he is a bona fide liberal. But Dershowitz is a law professor first, and he thinks Trump is getting a raw deal.

It is extremely admirable that instead of simply keeping his thoughts to himself, he seems to be on some news show every day. He knows that they can’t refuse to put him on just because they disagree with what he’s currently saying because then they’d have to admit that they pick their experts based on their political beliefs, not how expert they are.

*****

Even fired FBI Director James Comey, known to the FBI agents in the ranks as Cardinal Comey because of his holier than thou attitude, admitted that the belief that there was no chance that Trump would be elected president affected his decision making process.

Think about that. Decisions on investigations by the FBI were not being made based on evidence, judicial reasoning, the expert opinions of the investigators themselves, but according to the director of the FBI on political considerations.

Comey and everyone else at the FBI drank the Kool-Aid. You might expect what is purported to be the world’s greatest investigatory agency to have some discernment regarding the mainstream media, but at least at the top it did not.

Comey was convinced that Hillary Clinton would be the next president. Agent Peter Strzok said Hillary Clinton should win 100 million to zero. He also said about Trump’s election: it won’t happen, “we will stop it.” He now says the “we” in that was the American people, but his lover FBI attorney Lisa Page, who received the email, reportedly disagrees and says he meant the FBI.

So the FBI is charged with investigating both of the presidential candidates. The FBI was investigating Hillary Clinton for violating numerous laws regarding classified documents and handling government documents.

You aren’t, by the way, just allowed to throw away a government document because for instance it might be embarrassing to you. You also aren’t allowed to destroy government property like laptops, BlackBerrys and tablets. Clinton ordered all of that done.

And the FBI was investigating Trump for the false allegation he had colluded with the Russians to affect the outcome of the election.

Despite what you have read in the mainstream media, there is no law against campaign officials meeting with and talking to foreign nationals. Nor is there any law prohibiting them from visiting foreign countries.

So on one hand they were investigating the person who they thought was going to be their new boss regardless of the outcome of the investigation, and on the other they were investigating someone who according to Strzok they thought was an idiot who did horrible and disgusting things.

The decisions on how these investigations would proceed according to Comey were at least partially based on who they believed would be elected.

Is it any wonder that Comey’s speech was written months before the investigation was completed and months before the principles were interviewed? Is it not obvious why the investigation was handled with kid gloves and Clinton staffers were given immunity even when they were not cooperating?

Doesn’t it make sense in light of the statements of Comey why the FBI decided to sit on the fact that it had discovered an additional 300,000 Clinton emails? The investigation was about 30,000 emails and Clinton admitted to destroying an additional 33,000. Wouldn’t it be prudent to assume that of the 300,000 emails discovered that some or all of those 33,000 would be among them?

Shouldn’t an investigator who had been thwarted in the investigation because they were only looking at emails that had already been vetted by Clinton’s team of attorneys be excited about getting the unredacted list of emails – a whole bunch of emails that Clinton, the subject of the investigation, didn’t want them to have and never thought they would discover?

No, the FBI wasn’t the least bit interested. It wasn’t until the threat was made that the news of the 300,000 emails would be leaked to the media that the FBI even bothered to look at them.

This is malfeasance and, worse, the FBI using its vast power of investigation and law enforcement to affect the outcome of an election.

This is far worse than Russia spending $100,000 on Facebook ads or hacking into the Democratic National Committee’s computers. The fault for that lies squarely in the lap of the DNC, which didn’t use proper safeguards on its computer system.

The FBI was convinced that Hillary Clinton would be their new boss so they didn’t want to do anything that might upset her. The FBI also hated Trump and was looking for a way to find and release information about Trump that would make him go away after he lost the election. They didn’t need to find anything they could prosecute, but if they could come up with evidence that he cheated during the campaign they could be sure that he would go back to developing real estate and leave politics to his betters.

I don’t know how far down they need to go in the FBI to clear out the rotten element, but it certainly goes down as far as agent Strzok, who is still employed by the FBI.

*****

I don’t get it. Why would it be better for Trump not to meet with Putin? Congressmen and senators spend millions of dollars flying all over the world to meet with people face to face. If that isn’t better, the US could save some money and cancel all travel by Congress that is not to and from Washington.   Or better yet, if it isn’t actually better to meet face to face, does Congress really have to meet in one place? Let them all sit at home in their pajamas and hold meetings by Skype.

President Franklin Roosevelt met with Joseph Stalin, who killed more people than Adolf Hitler. John Kennedy met with Nikita Khrushchev. American presidents have been meeting with the leaders of the Soviet Union and Russia since President Dwight Eisenhower, but suddenly it is wrong for Trump to even meet Putin.

Trump needed to meet with Putin to settle some issues, and it wasn’t about the 2016 election. Of course Russia tried to meddle in the election. We do the same to them and to other countries. It’s the way the game is played.

But Trump and Putin needed to meet over the issues in Syria. Israel is not going to allow Iran to fortify positions in Syria near the border with Israel. It will be a whole lot better for the world if Putin discourages Iran and Syria from such a dangerous move. If Israel believes it is being threatened by Iranian forces in Syria, it will attack.

Trump doesn’t want to have to come to the defense of Israel and Putin doesn’t want to have to support Iran against Israel and the US. It is a lose-lose situation for both the US and Russia.

Although not much is being said about the actual meeting between Putin and Trump, it is being reported that Trump got Putin’s cooperation on that issue.

Of course, the mainstream media have no interest in small things like the beginning of World War III when they can be asking questions about how Russia helped Hillary Clinton win, because in their minds that is the far more important issue.

*****

The accusations against Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan have moved to the inside pages, but if he makes a push to be the next speaker of the House they will come back in force. Of all the allegations of sexual misconduct out there, this appears to be the biggest stretch. Some former Ohio State University wrestlers are saying they were sexually abused by the team doctor, that Jordan knew this was happening and didn’t do anything about it.

So we are supposed to believe that this doctor was fondling the genitals of college wrestlers without their consent. I don’t buy it.

I don’t believe that an old man can fondle the genitals of a young, strong man without his consent unless he ties him up first. I was never a college wrestler but I was a college swimmer. I know what would have happened if the team doctor, instead of examining my knee, started playing with my you know what, and I can assure you that it would have never happened again, and also that it would not have happened to another swimmer.

Size and strength both matter. This isn’t a larger, stronger doctor abusing some young girl. We’re talking about college wrestlers. These are not people who practice nonviolence. One big difference between college wrestlers and college football players is that wrestlers don’t carry an extra ounce of weight. But if this accusation were made against the doctor by football players instead of wrestlers, would anyone believe it?

In my opinion the doctor in question would have suffered repeated, severe facial injuries if he had attempted what these former wrestlers are saying was commonplace. I don’t believe that young strong men not under duress would allow it.

This is not a priest with altar boys, or a man in authority using his physical and emotional strength over a young girl. This is a case of a physically inferior man fondling a stronger man against his will, and I don’t believe it could happen without consent.

*****

Tucker Carlson, in his interview with Trump, raised some good points. One boils down to: What is the current purpose of NATO? When NATO was formed, its purpose was to protect Europe from the USSR. The USSR hasn’t existed for 30 years, which one might think would make NATO unnecessary.

Certainly the European members of NATO like the idea, because what it has evolved into is the US providing the military force to protect Europe from any non-NATO country. Maybe since Ethiopia and Eritrea have finally settled their lengthy war, one of them will decide to send an army to conquer Germany or France.

Where is the threat? Trump made a good point when he was meeting with other NATO leaders: If Germany is really scared of Russia then perhaps Germany should not a sign a deal to buy its natural gas from Russia. During the winter, if Russia is really an enemy, it doesn’t need to use military force – it could simply cut off the gas supply until it gets what it wants. Or if it did plan to use military force, wouldn’t it be smart to cut off the gas supply first and then attack a bunch of people who are freezing?

The implication of the gas deal between Germany and Russia is that Germany is not too scared of Russian aggression. So why is the US spending billions of dollars protecting Germany from Russia? And Trump’s request was that Germany contribute more than 1.2 percent of its budget to protecting itself. Since the US spends 16 percent of its budget on defense, it seems reasonable to request that one of our economic competitors spend a reasonable amount of its own money on its own defense.

*****

I can’t count how many articles I’ve read and how many commentators I’ve heard say that the meeting between Trump and Putin was a disaster and Trump gave in to Putin.

How do they know? From actual reports on the meeting, I know that there were four people in the room. Trump, Putin and two interpreters. So are these news sources quoting one of the interpreters? Did Putin tell them that he really wiped the floor with Trump? You know that Trump didn’t talk to any of the fake news organizations. So where did their information about the private conversation that Trump had with Putin come from?

The answer is that the news organizations have no idea what was said and are making it up. This isn’t reporting; it isn’t even honest editorializing.

The mainstream media are acting like the joint press conference was the meeting. Was there really any advantage for Trump to come out before the cameras and say every mean thing he could think of about Putin? That isn’t the way any of the other joint press conferences with other heads of state have gone. Trump was reportedly extremely tough with British Prime Minister Theresa May in their private meeting, but in the joint press conference he couldn’t say enough complimentary things about her.

Trump is a negotiator. He meets with heads of state in private because he wants to be able to have a frank honest discussion with them and that isn’t going to happen in front of the cameras.

*****

According to the LA Times, European nations are questioning their reliance on protection from the United States against a military attack from Russia. This is truly great news.

Trump talks a lot about the need to level the playing field. The playing field can’t be level as long as the US is spending over 16 percent of its budget on defense while Germany and other NATO countries are spending less than 2 percent. The goal was to get those countries up to 2 percent, but they aren’t spending that yet.

How can the US compete economically when such a large percent of the US budget is spent on the military while those countries we are protecting, because of our expenditures, can feel safe spending their money on infrastructure, economic development programs, incentives for industry and anything else they want?

Germany has defunded its army to the point where there aren’t enough rifles for all the soldiers to have one, so in Germany, recruits train with wooden replicas. In the world of military spending rifles don’t cost very much, so it’s an indication they aren’t even spending enough to maintain what they have. At one point Germany didn’t have a single military transport plane that could fly. Its fighter pilots can’t get certified because there is such a lack of fighter jets they can’t get the air time they need.

It’s great for the US if Europe decides that it needs to start spending its own money to protect itself.

*****

Trump sent a warning to Iran.

It’s hard to believe, but before the disastrous foreign policy of former President Jimmy Carter, Iran provided stability that kept the Middle East from boiling over. That in no way means that there weren’t wars, but since Carter refused to continue to back the shah of Iran and allowed the religious zealots to take over Iran, the Middle East has had one war after another.

Iran – with the help of Obama when he was determined to sign a deal regardless of the cost – has provided the primary funding for terrorist organizations in the Middle East.

The truth is that everyone is a little scared of Trump. He didn’t bring North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to the negotiating table by being nice. He did it by calling him “little rocket man” and threatening to wipe his country off the face of the earth. It worked because Kim wasn’t sure Trump wouldn’t do it. Obama tried the nice guy route and didn’t get anywhere.

The US is the most powerful nation in the world. We spend more than most nations’ gross national product on our military. It is a stupid waste of money if then we just want to be one of the gang. So far Trump has managed to convince everyone that he isn’t scared of using the military and it has already made a huge difference in the world.

*****

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) documents about Carter Page are heavily redacted, but if the information in those documents released Saturday are any indication of how the FBI and the FISA court operate, we should do away with the whole thing.

The FBI, in summary, said, we don’t like this guy because he lived in Russia, is in the oil and gas business, and we heard from someone who heard from someone who heard that he might possible could have met with someone from the Russia oil and gas industry and the Russian government when he was in Moscow. We also believe that he is a high-ranking member of the Trump campaign, even though two different campaign managers said that he was not. Therefore, because he might possibly have met with someone in Russia while he was there to give a speech and because we think he is a big deal in the Trump campaign, even though the campaign says that he is not, we would like to intercept every electronic communication he makes.

And the FISA court said, “Fine, go ahead.”

What the FBI didn’t tell the FISA court was that the document they were relying on to intercept every electronic communication Page made was paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign. That is relevant, and before the judge signed off on this, she should have been told who was paying for the information to be collected.

The FBI also quotes a Yahoo article as independent verification when the FBI should have known that Christopher Steele, who wrote the dossier, was the sole source for that article.

The FBI writes that it doesn’t believe he was the source. What kind of investigators are these? In fact, did the FBI do any investigation on its own?

Comey described the Steele dossier as “salacious and unverified.” Why would the FBI director say that it was unverified if in fact it was verified?

If the FBI had done even five minutes of investigation it would have found that Page was a foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign in name only. Trump was being hounded in the press for not having a foreign policy advisory team, so the campaign put together a list of a bunch of names, held a meeting and that was that. Nobody on Trump campaign was asking Page for foreign policy advice. Campaigns do this kind of thing all the time. They form advisory boards, committees and commissions and figure the folks named to such boards will bring in a few votes.

Page would have been foolish not to agree because it would look good on his resume, but he didn’t do anything and he wasn’t paid. Campaigns spend hundreds of millions of dollars paying staff, so how important could an unpaid volunteer who went to one meeting be?

So someone told Steele, who was working for Hillary Clinton, that Page met with a couple of Russians. Page says that he didn’t. Shouldn’t the FBI have to have at least one other corroborating witness? Is the word of someone working for Hillary Clinton trying to get dirt on Trump really enough for a FISA warrant?

There is no evidence that it’s true other than it was something somebody said to somebody who told Steele that he had heard it. But what if Page had met with Russian officials when he was in Russia? Is that really a crime?

The FISA warrant offers no evidence that he did anything other than meet with them. So according to the FBI, it is a crime for an American citizen in the oil and gas profession to meet with Russian citizens in the oil and gas business. If that is true that is really going to hurt our economic dealings with Russia. What if Page had been in the vodka business and he had met with Russians in the vodka industry? Then could the FBI get a warrant to intercept every electronic communication he made?

If the FBI was going out on this limb and not providing true and accurate information to the FISA court in order to get a FISA warrant to do electronic surveillance, why did they go after Page? They could have asked Page. He says that he has never even met Trump. The people running the campaign didn’t know who he was. So was it unlikely that the FBI was going to dig up any dirt on Trump with the electronic surveillance of Page. They needed someone in the inner circle.

I’m sure Rudy Giuliani has eaten at the Russian Tea Room in New York; that should be enough to get a FISA warrant for him. And Giuliani knows Trump. I bet their conversations would be really fun to listen in, and who cares about that old attorney-client privilege thing? Not the FBI when it comes to Trump.

*****

What possible reason does Trump have for not revoking the security clearances of former CIA Directors John Brennan, James Clapper and others? According to those who inhabit the swamp, the reason that retired bigwigs are allowed to keep their security clearance is so that the swamp creatures who replaced them can wade over and ask a question or two about how things were done in the past.

Any member of the Trump staff that would ask for advice from Clapper, Brennan, Comey or the others should be immediately fired, either for trying to undermine the presidency or for being too dumb to come in out of the rain.

If that is the reason that these folks were allowed to keep their security clearance it should be revoked as a matter of course.