Scandal-Free Presidency? Hardly.

Those who actually pay attention (e.g., PHS readers) already know that the fantasy of Obama’s “scandal-free term in office” is just that–a fantasy. Some might argue that none of that even matters anymore, but I think it does, for reasons that should be apparent.

At any rate, I talked to Matt Margolis, the author of the new book The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama. I’ve read it, and it’s pretty packed full of information. I saw all the usual scandal suspects in there (Solyndra, Fast and Furious, etc.) but also saw plenty that I had long forgotten about and a few that I simply didn’t have time to pay attention to when they were going on.

I’ll put the rest of my thoughts after the conversation with Matt.

KP:  Why another book on Obama? Not only have you already written one [calling Obama literally the Worst President Ever] but lots of folks have written books on Obama. What makes this one special?

MM: Aside from my apparent need to torture myself… it was clear that Obama and his allies were pushing a “scandal-free administration” narrative that was being parroted by the media. There have been books about Obama’s scandals… Katie Pavlich has a book on Fast & Furious, Michelle Malkin has one on corruption in his administration… but this book is designed to cover everything… or as close to everything that I could.

KP:  I’m curious—how long did it take you to research and write this book?

MM: Well, I started the book in early January 2017… wrote a couple chapters, and had planned to self-publish the book when I was approached by Bombardier Books to publish it with them. Then I really picked up the pace and had to complete the book later that, close to a year.

KP: You’ve got a ridiculous amount of information here. Was there a time during the research for this book when you thought just maybe you bit off more than you could chew and maybe had too MUCH material?

MM: Definitely. Many of these chapters could be expanded into their own books; the trick was boiling down the information into comprehensive, yet easy to read chapters. so it was at times a struggle to decide what information to put in, and what not to.

KP: Are there any scandals you think readers may disagree with your including? Well, aside from those who think the entire book is a farce and Obama is the Messiah.

MM: You beat me to the punch there.

KP: So let’s get into some of what’s actually in the book. You have a pretty well researched list of key phrases being repeated ad nauseum. Is this whole “scandal-free” thing just people being that idiotic, or is it a more coordinated effort?

MM: It is absolutely a deliberate effort by Obama and his allies to fabricated a fictional legacy for Obama. The “scandal-free” talking point has been pushed for years, not just by Obama and members of his administration, but by the media. It’s a frightening case study in Orwellian conditioning.

KP: Yes, let’s delve into that whole legacy thing a bit. In the book I see a consistent pattern of Obama claiming credit for something that he actually opposed happening, or taking credit for stopping something he actually supported.

MM: And feigning ignorance when a scandal broke…but rushing to assume credit for anything good that happened.

KP: Even if someone didn’t already know about these scandals–and quite frankly, before I read the book I had actually forgotten about a few of them–even just reading it, the pattern is amazingly clear.

MM: I listened to the audiobook this past week… and even though I wrote everything, having everything presented all at once is still shocking and disturbing.

KP: So one thing I do want to bring up. PHS readers, as a rule, want nothing to do with either party, and find themselves equally disgusted by the GOP and the Dems both, opting for a more liberty-based or even leaning toward anarchist belief system. Why should they care about a book about Obama scandals? What’s in it for those who already left the mainstream?

MM: The same people who cried foul over surveillance issues under George W. Bush were silent during the Obama years… when massive data collection and surveillance became commonplace. What we are seeing is party loyalty causing civil liberties issues to be a matter of selective outrage, and that’s something that has to stop. If Obama isn’t held accountable for what happened on his watch, the next Democrat president will have a similar license to abuse power.

KP: Do you find that to be true of trump supporters as well? The current administration put Sessions and Pompeo in positions of incredible power–and both of them are all about shredding what’s left of the 4th Amendment. Do you find that the same folks who did cry about Obama surveillance are now silent?

MM: There are plenty of people who have a similar attitude towards Trump as many on the left had towards Obama, that he can do no wrong. It sucks. but,
I’ve seen far less automatic support for Trump than there was for Obama.

I’ve seen division on Syria, on the Wall, on a wide variety of issues, but the left was quite unified behind Obama. Still is. Myself, I was a Cruz supporter who hated it when Trump jumped in the race. My support for him was largely an anti-Hillary vote which meant little in New York State, but still.

KP: There is nothing in the book about Kenya, or the birther scandal. Why not?

MM: Because I don’t write about conspiracy theories. I write about the facts.

I wanted to focus on his presidency. Obama is about to spend a billion dollars on his presidential library, and is on a mission to write his legacy for history.
I’m concerned about what my son will be taught about Obama when he’s in school.  Is he going to be taught Obama was a great president who saved this country and was free of scandal? Or will he be taught the truth? If we don’t learn the truth, we’re doomed. We can’t excuse corruption in one party, but not the other.

KP: We’re well over a year into the trump admin. There are plenty of folks who will say we need to focus on what’s going on NOW. Like we just talked about, Sessions and Pompeo are on a rights-taking rampage. Trump himself is using the 2A as a bargaining chip. How would you respond to those who would argue that these things, happening right now, are more important than Obama’s wreck of a presidency?

MM:   I think the answer to that is simple. What happened during Obama is still relevant today.  We can’t give him a free pass just because he’s not in office anymore, especially after he enjoyed 8 years of a lapdog press that are willingly pushing the scandal-free narrative.

KP: What’s his end game? Is it really just a need to be personally viewed as someone amazing? Or is it something more?

MM: I think Obama was motivated by power and narcissism. Remember, soon after he was elected, schools were rushing to change their names to honor him, he was awarded a Nobel Peace prize for no legitimate reason.
he’s used to be praised as a Messiah. and he wants to be treated and remembered as such. It’s only the beginning. the state of Illinois has already made his birthday a state holiday. There will be a massive effort to name buildings and roads after him. I expect one day his minions will want to erect a monument to him on the national mall.

KP: Did you send him a copy of your book? ?

MM: I haven’t. But I fantasize about going to some event he’s at and personally handing him a copy. LOL  I’d probably get killed by Obamabots…

KP: Was your book written to the choir or the sinners? Is it something that can convince an Obama fan? Or is it like a lot of books in the political sphere, written to those who already agree?

MM: My hope is that the choir will use the book to challenge the sinners who claim Obama was scandal-free… there are a lot of scandals Obama’s supporters pretend never happened. If they read my book, their worldview will be shattered because they’ll learn things they never heard before because the left-wing media kept it quiet or made excuses for it.

Should they read it? Absolutely… but i doubt they will. They’re too busy accusing me of being a racist because they’re terrified of the book.

KP: You mention [in the book] that Reagan took responsibility for his scandals. I think all of us who are old enough to remember, DO remember that Reagan said “I don’t recall” well over 100 times during the Iran-Contra hearings, leading to a generalized belief that he was far more involved than he let on–or at least far more knowledgeable. How do you respond to that?

MM: well, I was eight years old when Reagan left office, so I can’t speak directly to that. But it’s clear that, for instance, when Iran-Contra happened, there was an actual effort made by Reagan to have an independent investigation–one that resulted in indictments and such. We didn’t get that with Obama. Pick a scandal, any one of them… no special counsels were appointed… endless obstruction of justice… it was Chicago style politics brought to Washington.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve known Matt as a fellow blogger since about 2004-2005. We have diverged in terms of political belief systems; he still sees the GOP as the ‘team to root for,’ so to speak, and says he considers the Democrat party to be the enemy; I tend to see everyone who looks cross-eyed at my natural liberties to be the enemy, regardless of party affiliation (or especially because of). Right now the GOP is running neck-and-neck with the Dems, IMHO, in terms of enemy material.

I also can’t let a review of his book go without pointing out that while Fast and Furious might have been one of the things that sent Katie Pavlich’s career into overdrive, if it weren’t for a pair of bloggers named Mike Vanderboegh and David Codrea, Katie Pavlich wouldn’t have had anything to write about, because CBS’ Sheryl Attkisson wouldn’t have known about the story.  Mainstream folks don’t tend to know about that part, however, so I don’t necessarily fault Matt for not knowing it, or for the book not even breathing a word of the true origin of the story. It’s just one of those things that needs mentioning at times, to keep things honest.

My personal nitpicks aside, the book is worth reading. It’s well-sourced, lots of additional material in footnotes and whatnot. I like footnotes; I’m one of those people who actually goes off to check a lot of those and see if they’re relevant/factual/etc. Margolis did a good job with this book–and he’s right; what Obama did matters because we are still cleaning up the mess and dealing with the fallout.

I would even agree that we could see another Obama-type president, perhaps even in our lifetime (some would argue Trump is much the same on certain areas), but not because of some Santayana-esque refusal or inability to counter the ‘scandal-free’ narrative. I would argue that the collective mindset of the U.S. at this point makes another Obama–or worse–all but inevitable.

The book is worth buying–if for no other reason than to be well-informed and able to counter pro-Obama talking points in your own interactions. Information is power, and there’s a lot of information in this book. You don’t have to subscribe to the author’s exact politics to know he did his homework and put out some good product. You’ll end up referring to this book long after you’ve read it. Go grab it.

Questions on Syria

I have a few questions.

Should Russia have bombed the United States after Waco? Ruby Ridge? Perhaps China should have gotten involved in surgical strikes on abortion clinics back in the late 1970s and early 80s?

Oh, you say with a superior smirk, China is also engaged in abortion so that would be hypocritical. The US is stopping Assad from doing horrible things to his people, like gassing them.

Thanks for proving my point. I mean, the US government has never gassed its own people, right?

I have way more proof of the US government doing things to the American people than I do on Assad doing things to Syrians–and quite frankly, so do you. And last I checked, Syria wasn’t sending troops over here to stop the US government. Why? Because sending troops/weapons/death/destruction over to another country is an act of war. 

I keep hearing things like the following:

  • We need to just trust the President.

Why? Why do we need to trust anyone? In fact, the Founders specifically told us NOT to trust those who do these things, NOT to trust those who even APPROACH our liberties. So far, Trump has already shown he is quite willing to not only approach them, but bargain with them.  You can claim all day long that it’s just “negotiation tactics,” but let me point something out. Our rights should never be used as a negotiation tactic. Not ever.

  • We’ll never know the whole story because of the corrupt media.

That’s probably true. So why in God’s green earth are you willing to sacrifice your children for a situation that you admit you know jack squat about? Oh, did you just mean to send other people’s children? That’s what I thought.

  • We have to stop Assad.

From what? Why? and why US? If you’re going to go hogwild in Syria, then you better line up for North Korea,  China, and a bunch of other tinpot dictators too. I mean, let’s just free everyone in the whole world!

  • Only traitors don’t support the military.

Don’t even give me that crap. I was in the military.  I don’t have to jump up and down in some kind of patriotic flop dance for every single thing the military does no matter how wrong, and you doing so doesn’t make you SuperPatriot(tm). It makes you a sheep.

  • Big things are coming! Have faith!

Oh, believe me. I absolutely have faith that “big things” are coming.

Folks, you need to constantly evaluate your belief system. Is it factual?  Does the evidence support it? (And I don’t mean your latest Q crap either.) if not, what DOES the evidence support? Set emotions aside. Do the mental work necessary to plot out the potentials and figure out what the logical progression is here.

When an honest but ignorant man is presented with truth, he either ceases to be ignorant, or he ceases to be honest.



How Your Group Loudmouth Can Get You FBI Attention

Note: This is a post from 2016 that was lost in the Great Site Meltdown. I’ve reposting it now.

A reader emailed me regarding the previous post on infiltration. While he wants to remain anonymous, he agreed to allow me to quote his email, and to make my response public. He may regret that momentarily. But first, the email.

I took issue with your mention of people with anger issues or those who talk about violence. We are all angry, and I’m not going to kick a guy to the curb just because he says it’s time to start stringing up elected officials or talks about storming the state Capitol and shooting the traitors. It’s just talk. The guys in my group are as solid as it gets and I trust them completely. The feds can’t investigate just because people talk trash. They have to have probable cause, and that guy wouldn’t actually do what he’s saying.

There is a lot here, and I have to tell you that it’s dangerously incorrect information. If you believe this and act accordingly then you WILL be investigated, in ways you have no idea about. In fact, I would bet people who aren’t even in your group are being investigated right now because of the loudmouth in your numbers. The FBI has DECADES of history of going after people with political opinions they don’t like, and they’re especially excited by folks who make it easy for them. Allow me to explain.

Before I go any further, let me remind you that this is another example of risk assessment. Maybe once I explain this you’ll shrug your shoulders and say “so what?” But it may also make you think, which is the only real goal here. Back to the explanation.

Back in 1976, Attorney General Edward Levi created the “Attorney General’s Guidelines” for the FBI, which were supposed to govern domestic operations, to include investigations against citizens for “terrorism.” The Levi Guidelines made a point of “prohibit[ing] the FBI from engaging in disruption of protected First Amendment activity and from attempting to discredit individuals. The Guidelines specified that investigations should be limited to exposing criminal conduct and should not involve simple monitoring of unpopular political views. Investigations could only be brought where “specific and articulable facts” indicated criminal activity. Levi’s Guidelines also required reporting to the Attorney General on investigations.”

The Smith Guidelines, issued by Attorney General William French Smith a few years later in 1983, relaxed those limits, and allowed the FBI to investigate an entire organization based on the statements of one member who advocated intent of civil disobedience, unless it was apparent that there was no threat of harm. That means anyone claiming to be part of that org is now fair game if one guy decides he needs to run his mouth. It also means, for all you folks screaming for a national organization, that you could be investigated and much worse for a statement made by some idiot you never met and don’t even know exists.

That was back in 1983.

After Oklahoma City, FBI director Louis Freeh “interpreted” the Smith guidelines to allow them to open a domestic terrorism investigation when they have “Reasonable indication” (far lower than the original Smith Guidelines and not even in throwing distance of the 4th Amendment) that an organization “advocates the future, non-imminent use of violence” and that it has the means to carry it out. John Ashcroft expanded and relaxed those guidelines even more. And let’s not even get into the Patriot Act.

Now let’s say that the feds can’t even meet their own paltry reasonable suspicion standard. That’s fine, they’ll just conduct a “preliminary inquiry” to look into “an allegation or information indicating the possibility of criminal activity.” A preliminary inquiry lets them do anything they’d do in a regular investigation except for wiretaps, mail opening, and mail covers (taking pics of your envelopes to find out who you’re sending mail to or receiving it from). In this day and age, they don’t need to see your mailbox contents, and they don’t need to wiretap your phone. They can get pretty much all they need through other ways that are allowed under the Smith Guidelines and all that came after.

Several hundred law professors submitted a petition to Congress complaining about these guidelines, and you should read this carefully.

Once an organization is under investigation based on the speech of one of its members, the guidelines allow the FBI to collect information about all members who participate in its demonstrations, about the structure…as well as the relationship of the members, and even about other organizations that cooperate with it.

What does that mean for you? Let’s say you’re a proud Three Percenter, in a group claiming national legitimacy and state chapters. Some guy on the opposite coast from you posts on Facebook that it’s time to start shooting. That statement is sandwiched between pics of his guns, and pics of him in face paint and camo, out in the woods shooting them. The Smith Guidelines were interpreted to mean that even if an organization or member advocates non-imminent violence, if they have the means to carry it out, guess what? Investigation time. Do you think they can make the case that a gun owner has the means to carry out his “It’s time to start shooting” statement?

And what about motive? If someone is openly talking about the reasons behind their statement, is the motive now on a silver platter too?

Now let’s say the guy is going to a rally at the Capitol. There’s the opportunity. And it won’t just be him they’re looking at. It’s everyone who’s there. Everyone they talk to. Everyone they are friends with. Everyone who loudly claims to be part of the group he’s claiming membership in. He opened the door and let them all in, and you insisting that you’re part of a “national movement” means you’re fair game too—even if you’re across the country. Let’s not even get into those folks who are running around talking about the “evil Joos” and “animal blacks.” Yeah, they’re getting attention too, and passing all of that on to you. Unless they’re feds themselves, of course. Because that’s a thing too.

In order for civil disobedience to be considered domestic terrorism, it has to meet five criteria:

  • Violation of criminal laws
  • Acts dangerous to human life
  • Appear to be intended to influence the policy of a government
  • intimidation or coercion
  • Occur primarily within the US.

Your average civil disobedience rally meets three of those without even trying. I’ve been to (and even helped organize) some gun rallies that met a fourth one. To meet the fifth, you’d just need to block off a street, or have some moron ignore the agreed upon disobedience parameters and storm into the legislative gallery loaded and in low ready, and there’s your “acts dangerous to human life.”

The best part is that to start an investigation, FBI HQ doesn’t even need to okay it. A Special Agent in Charge (SAC) at a field office can authorize it for up to a year and simply notify DC that he’s doing it. Even a preliminary inquiry is good for 180 days.

Once that switch is flipped and you’re under actual investigation, anything is a go. Member finances, past and future goals, informants and undercover ops, the whole shebang. In an inquiry, the only thing they can’t do are open your mail and put you under non-consensual electronic surveillance. But then again, they don’t need to because they can get anything they need from private companies like Facebook, license plate readers, and anything else.  They can also follow you all over the Internet by joining the forums you’re on, the groups you’re in and the sites you visit.

Now, am I advocating that you never do anything for fear you’ll be investigated? Of course not. I promise you that if you’ve been to a gun rally, you’ve got attention. If you’re in Facebook groups talking about certain topics, or if you identify with some national Patriot type thing, you’ve got attention. And again, you may be one of those folks who doesn’t give a rip about the attention you get. I’m definitely not advocating that you all just shut up and comply, and I’m not advocating total paranoia. We all have to decide what we are willing to deal with and what we’re willing to risk.

What I AM advocating is that you think long and hard about what you choose to be associated with. We pride ourselves on free thinking, free living, being able to make your own decisions. Except, what about that guy, running around talking about how he’s mad that we aren’t shooting yet? He just took away YOUR freedom by forcing attention on you that you may not have asked for. He just made that decision for you, your family, your group. He made that decision for people he’s never even met, who now have to deal with being investigated as well. It’s one thing to choose to engage in actions that you know will bring you attention. It’s completely another to be put in that position because of someone else’s actions. And do you really want to put the work into your privacy and anonymity only to have some big mouth in your group (or even a cooperating group) get you targeted anyway?

This should also make you think twice three times over and over about whether you really want to be part of a national organization. Do you want to identify with anyone and everyone who calls themselves the same thing you do? Do you really want to be lumped in with the idiots, the violent, the ones who think that running their mouths on social media makes them sound badass? The ones who find security and OPSEC to be processes that are just too annoying for them to bother with? The ones who still, against all evidence to the contrary, think that they’ll be able to hold off an onslaught from their front porch?

There are literally a thousand reasons why local, small, and decentralized are better. This is just one of them. Keep yourself in a position where YOU control the attention you get (to whatever extent possible), YOU get to decide where your face is or who you’re associated with. If you see that you need to make some changes, make them. And always, always be aware of what you put out there and how you portray yourself. Need to know isn’t just about the extent of your food storage.

Claire Wolfe and I talk about these topics and many others in our book Basics of Resistance. You can get it at Amazon.