Sorry Trump, You Can’t Fire Your Way Out of an Investigation

In a shocking display of authoritarianism, Donald Trump fired FBI Director, James Comey. Not since Nixon have we seen such an overt attempt to use the executive office to obstruct an investigation. This is not Trump’s first attempt to fire his way out of his Russian problems, having already terminated Sally Yates and Preet Bahrara.

Over the past 48 hours, the White House has changed it’s official story regarding Comey’s termination multiple times.  Unbelievably citing the FBI’s misreporting of forwarded emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop as the reason, Trump claimed this move was at the behest of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein.  As it was Trump, himself, who asked Sessions and Rosenstein to draft the letters regarding Comey, Rosenstein threatened to resign over this misrepresentation. Despite attempts to distract from the obvious, this is clearly about the FBI’s investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election. In his bizarre letter notifying Comey of termination, Trump states:

“While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.”

Rumor is that he told Comey he would be fired if he didn’t stop the grand juries, quite likely given that Trump and Comey shared a private dinner together in which Comey was asked for loyalty to Trump. Comey’s answer that he could only be honest was not exactly the pledge of support Trump is used to. (And yes, if Bill Clinton talking to Loretta Lynch on the tarmac bothered you, this should send you through the roof). If sources are correct that Comey was at the Rocket Docket in Virginia yesterday, submitting intel for expedition, he likely knew this was coming. Immediately following Comey’s firing, subpoenas were issued to Michael Flynn and his associates regarding their connections to Russia. Other sources have said that as many as 25 sealed indictments have already resulted from the grand juries. This looks more and more likely given yesterday’s FBI raid on a GOP campaign firm in Annapolis. Firing Comey will not stop the wheels of justice from turning, but, remember that a sitting President can’t be indicted. He will need to be impeached by Congress.

Speaking of Congress, it doesn’t appear that the WH and FBI were the only ones who knew this was coming. The last question Lindsey Graham posed to Sally Yates in her hearing on Monday was whether or not she trusted Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein. This was no coincidence, and served to pre-validate Rosenstein’s upcoming actions against Comey. This implies foreknowledge about Trump’s plan to have Sessions and Rosenstein write the letters against Comey–this is even worse when you remember that Jeff Sessions is supposed to be recused from anything related to the Russia investigation.

Democratic legislatures are calling for an independent investigation. Even many GOP members of Congress put out statements admonishing Trump’s abuse of power, but it’s worth noting that Graham is continuing to say there is no need for a special prosecutor, as is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Between their focus on leaking over treason during the Yates hearing and yesterday’s events with Comey, it couldn’t be more clear that the GOP is not capable of investigating this in a bipartisan manner. The people must demand an independent investigation. I encourage you to get involved in any way that you can and demand the truth. Remember, in Watergate, everyone went down except for Nixon. Trump is simply not worth it. Our country deserves answers and justice.

Charlatans Among Activists? Maintain a Level of Skepticism

Recently I wrote about the need to watch out for infiltrators in #TheResistance. In this article I will discuss a situation that raises a red flag and the reasons I feel skepticism is necessary. I want to be clear that it is not my intention to malign, accuse or ridicule, but to give guidance to fellow activists and supporters of #TheResistance.

In December, I became aware of a person, @OfficialNMP, who claimed to have ‘inside knowledge’ of the Trump family and the election. The tale she told was a full-throttle conspiracy theory — specifically, that billionaire, Jacob Rothschild, is responsible for Trump’s Presidency…as the leader of the New World Order. Take that, RWNJs, we see your Soros and raise you a Rothschild. Suffice it to say, the tale got stranger from there — ritual sex abuse, occult, Illuminati. It’s worth noting that it is her position that Donald Trump is POTUS against his will, but he must continue to protect Barron from continued ritualistic abuse. Somehow she managed to get brought into DM groups to tell this story, which is how I heard it. I ignored it at the time, figuring that peers would not believe it.

Recently, though, I noticed that there is an individual, @InsideDJTTruth, claiming to be her friend and Jacob Rothschild’s grandson, Robbie (Rothschild has no grandson by this name), who is echoing her tale and adding a personal account of abuse. He’s gaining followers pretty fast. @OfficialNMP has over 30K followers since December. Pretty impressive. She also lists her phone number in her profile, and encourages people to text her — that’s unusual.

My initial concern was that they are distracting and confusing activists and resisters by pulling them into this conspiracy nonsense. Let’s face it, we are all emotionally distraught, which makes us more vulnerable than normal. We desperately want answers. I was also wary about the phone number, as that is a way to get people’s contact information. But, there is one more factor. In her profile, she says to follow @KalenaVX (an account which has disappeared as of this writing), which leads you to a website This website is a joint project between @KalenaVX and @OfficialNMP and is not officially launched yet, but the purpose, ostensibly, is to create a repository of activities related to #TheResistance and promote cooperation across groups. Sounds good, right? It does, but because it is collecting information on the people and activities of #TheResistance, I decided it needed a closer look. This is what I found.

  1. The domain is privately registered. So whoever owns the site has gone out of their way to hide it.
  2. @KalenaVX seems to be the same person as @KalelVX and @UniteResistance. Why so many accounts, I don’t know.
  3. @OfficialNMP has been involved in a lot of things and gone by a lot of names. She is a young revivalist pastor. She has listed herself as an actor/model, author, editor, spiritual advisor (to Obama-she says) among other things. She is a YouTuber. She believes she is battling the occult and in the center of the Trump/Rothschild/New World Order conspiracy. Oh, and, vampires are real and Jacob Rothschild is a shapeshifter. Now, all this said, understand that I know a lot of people who are following her and/or in direct contact with her. I find that unsettling.

So, at the point of this writing, I find myself having to ask the question. Are these people who legitimately mean well and are trying to help #TheResistance, but just happen to be…mentally unhealthy? Or, is this a well-orchestrated effort to befriend activists, gather counter-intelligence and pepper confusion and fear into the movement? Either way, this is precisely the type of situation I mean when I ask members of #TheResistance to remain vigilant.

One final note: We are seeing a lot of “rogue” and “alt” accounts crop up. Some of these are the real deal and some are not. Approach information with logic and skepticism. We are only as good as the quality of our shared information.

Article Update: I was right to have concern about @OfficialNMP. I have conducted a full investigation of this account and found it to be involved in catfishing. @KalenaVX , @KalelVX and @UniteResistance are innocent bystanders and have no culpability. website is no longer associated with @OfficialNMP and is not a cause of concern. You may read the results of the investigation in this article, “Cait-fishing” In The Resistance – An Exposé – Rachel Murphy Azzara.

Infiltration in #TheResistance

#TheResistance must be vigilant. The #GOP conned their base by appealing to their emotions. They can and do use the same methods on us. Be cautious of individuals and organizations that are infiltrating our groups to gain counter-intelligence. If it seems off, it likely is. Generally, an infiltrator has four goals:

  1. Gather contact information of Democrats, #HRC Supporters or members of #TheResistance for marketing purposes or harassment
  2. Perform oppositional research on groups and leaders and keep tabs on our activities and knowledge
  3. Exploit fear and anxiety to discourage action, particularly the fear of retribution or violence
  4. Foster distrust and division within #TheResistance and within the Democratic Party

Take note of who one is following and who is following them. What type of information do they share? Do they refer you to a website that is gathering any kind of data? Are they trying to directly gather information? Asking people to email or text them? This is a low-cost method of gathering contact data. Be wary of anyone who claims to have insider knowledge that they can’t tell you because ‘it’s not safe’ or making vague claims they can’t validate.

Remember, fear, anger and anxiety is normal, but it makes us vulnerable targets for those who wish to bait us into giving up personal information that could potentially be used to undermine our efforts. Stay Strong! Stay Aware!

For a more detailed examination of Infiltration in the Resistance and what you can do about it, please read my article in Dame Magazine:  How Can The Resistance Ward Off Infiltrators?

Was the 2016 Election About ‘Movements’? 

Both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump described their campaigns as ‘movements’ this election cycle, but there is more to a movement than filling venues. They generated excitement with campaigns high on emotional ideology, but low on policy. Hillary Clinton’s base, in turn, was deemed unenthusiastic. No one declared that the Clinton had a ‘movement.’ She had a plan, the most progressive Democratic platform ever and policies mandated by 68M voters. The party-line of the aforementioned ‘movements’ is that Americans want change. “Give up, switch gears, start over-it’s not working.” 

Hillary Clinton supporters want progress. We want to continue working hard to improve our policies, learn from mistakes, revise and build. Bernie’s ideas excite us, too. But, we have enough respect for our European friends to know their socialized systems took decades to perfect. We also respect that our generations who lived through the Cold War have a negative view of socialism in any form. Change takes time. 

Trump did manage to generate enough excitement to mobilize his base to vote, but this is the purpose of a campaign-not exactly a movement. With an Electoral College win of less than 77K votes, it wouldn’t have been enough to win without the other election factors that resulted in low Democratic voting. The #GOP gerrymandered, the FBI electioneered, and the Russians set out to divide the party. They succeeded. They are still succeeding. 

We have seen the worst possible outcome unfold before us. The true ‘movement’ is our response. #TheResistance #WomensMarch #Indivisible exemplify a true movement. This movement is powerful and widespread. It calls people to awareness and action for a common cause. Organized activism is our new normal. Bernie supporters who either did not vote or voted against #HRC are now part of a movement that is bigger than a candidate and campaign. It is my sincere hope that the factions created in this election not only come together to #resist, but to unify the Party for progress. Because a movement of this size and commitment can accomplish anything.

Trump vs. “The Media”

Republican nominee, Donald Trump, is blaming “The Media” for his falling poll numbers, and working his followers up into yet another poorly thought out lather.  Though Trump’s battle cries are about media bias and dishonest reporting, I suspect he is truly upset because he thought he was in control of the press–using them to his own benefit. He thought he had a firm understanding of how to play a game.  When he transitioned from the primaries to the general election, though, the game changed, because the players changed.  Trump’s shenanigans were now being focused on by the rest of America–judged, as they should be, in the harsh light of a serious Presidential election. 

“The Media” is not a thing, at least not in the collusive, conspiracy-cloaked way many Trump supporters are referencing it.  It is a broad collection of persons in a related profession.  Now, within the media, there are news outlets that are characterized as liberal media or conservative media.  It is up to the consumer to make sure they vary their sources.  This is of particular interest because Trump’s ire is directed at the media as a whole.  He claims he is treated unfairly even by notoriously conservative news outlets like Fox News.  What are they doing that is distressing him so?  Well, they’re doing what they’ve done all along.  They are reporting on and discussing the things he says in speeches, interviews and tweets.  But, here’s the rub…when he says something outrageous, sensationalistic or outright false, it dominates the press.  This is not a new phenomenon, and Donald Trump knows that.  Consider the following:

“One thing I’ve learned about the press is that they’re always hungry for a good story, and the more sensational the better…The point is that if you are a little different, or a little outrageous, or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you.” – Donald Trump, The Art of The Deal, 1987

“I use the media they way the media uses me — to attract attention. Once I have that attention, it’s up to me to use it to my advantage…I learned a long time ago that if you’re not afraid to be outspoken, the media will write about you. … So sometimes I make outrageous comments and give them what they want — viewers and readers — in order to make a point. I’m a businessman with a brand to sell.” – Donald Trump, Crippled America, 2015

So, if he’s just doing what he’s always done and they are doing what they’ve always done, then what’s the problem?  The problem for Trump is how the audience is perceiving it.  You see, Trump’s “any press is good press” brand marketing style did work to get him the GOP nomination.  At that point, three things changed:

1). A general election is a lot more serious than a primary.  Trump did not enter into the general election with his game-face on, or implement any changes to his approach.  He continued to deliver the same demagoguery, supporting his claims with hearsay and falsehoods.  He continued with his “tell-it-like-it is” approach, littering his campaign with racism, sexism, and antagonism, behaving in an absolutely un-Presidential manner.

2). His audience changed. He was no longer only targeting a section of the Republican voting base.  The fact that he needed to alter his style to appeal to a much larger voting base seemed to allude him.  This is not just a matter of modifying his approach to connect with moderates and progressives, but to win the respect of educated people. Once he was on stage as a Presidential candidate, the bombastic buffoonery needed to stop.  Yet, his campaign has been fraught with overtly controversial statements and genuinely ignorant pratfalls.  When the press covers these situations, the “any press is good press” theory no longer applies to his new audience of potential voters.

3). Remember that brand he was trying to sell?  The one he estimates at $3.32 billion?  It went downhill fast.  In fact, his fellow Republicans have been so concerned about fallout from association with Trump’s brand that they have been refusing to endorse him and/or vote for him.  This number started small, but has grown with each one of Trump’s sensational outbursts.  In fact, today, a letter requesting that the Republican National Committee cut off funding to Trump has been signed by more than 120 Republican politicians and congressional aides.  The letter states:

“We believe that Donald Trump’s divisiveness, recklessness, incompetence, and record-breaking unpopularity risk turning this election into a Democratic landslide, and only the immediate shift of all available RNC resources to vulnerable Senate and House races will prevent the GOP from drowning with a Trump-emblazoned anchor around its neck,” the letter says.

Donald Trump is not being treated unfairly by “The Media.”  He’s been playing a game for attention, it’s just a game he’s now losing.  And like a petulant child, he wants to accuse the other players of cheating.  I, for one, am waiting to see if he chucks the game board and goes home.