A Tale Of Two Presidents

Grind for November 13th, 2018
“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin

Global Politics

The Headline

Trump visits Paris; French President wants to form a “true European army”

The Grind

French President Emmanuel Macron last week called for the creation of a “true European army.”

The comment follows mounting pressure from the Trump Administration for NATO members to spend more on defense.

“When President Trump has to protect or to defend one of the states of the United States, he doesn’t ask France or Germany, or another government of Europe to finance it,” said Macron. “That’s why I do believe that we need more investment.”

Europe is also experiencing increased rates of terrorism and crime (following the influx of Muslim refugees) while coming to grips with the implications for Europe following Trump’s decision to pull out of the JCPOA and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

At the same time, Europe is faced with the knowledge that Washington is more concerned with the South China Sea conflict than defending Europe.

The Background

President Trump was among several world leaders to visit Paris last week to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI.

Trump spoke directly with President Macron inside the Elysee Palace, assuring the French leader that America would continue taking part in global military alliances like NATO as long as all members were able to do their part.

“Right now the burden sharing has been largely on the United States,” said Trump, adding that Macron “understands that the US can only do so much.”

Trump and Macron also discussed the recent murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and agreed to pressure Saudi Arabian authorities for answers.

A Wolf In The Hen House

The Headline

Obama-era CIA spied on the very people it was supposed to protect

The Grind

Recently exposed CIA documents suggest the agency spied on the email accounts of some congressional staffers in an effort to protect the agency from another Edward Snowden incident.

This is an unprecedented abuse by the Obama Administration that borders on treason.

But according to the CIA, the operation was a “lawful and justified” part of “routine counterintelligence monitoring of government computer systems.”

The incestuous spying operation is in line with President Obama’s promise to protect the government from whistleblowers.

During his time as president, Obama used the 1917 Espionage Act to prosecute more people than had been punished by that act under all previous presidents combined.

As critics have pointed out, Obama’s handling of whistleblowers suggests a double standard, in which low-level individuals were prosecuted while high-profile officials escaped unpunished.

The Implication

The whole operation was a shocking abuse of power that merits public discussion, argues Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

“The fact that the CIA under the Obama Administration was reading Congressional staff’s emails about intelligence community whistleblowers raises serious policy concerns as well as potential Constitutional separation-of-powers issues that must be discussed publicly,” said Grassley.

Grassley has been trying for more than two years to bring this story to the public.

“I have been asking the same question for years: What sources or methods would be jeopardized by the declassification of these notifications? After four and a half years of bureaucratic foot-dragging, led by Directors Brennan and Clapper, we finally have the answer: none.”

The memos suggest the CIA was ordered to use whatever means necessary to deter whistleblowers.

“The CIA has a vitally important function, especially when it comes to their critical counterintelligence work, but nothing – nothing – should inhibit or interfere with Congress’ constitutional job and protecting whistleblowers.”

Did you know… When the 2013 government shutdown threatened the closing down of a national program giving medical attention and meals to children, John D. Arnold donated $10 million of his own money to keep it afloat.