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Four Page Letters, Lies, and Red Tape

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Trump may have created a storm for himself

A potentially fabricated memo that Republicans sought to use to exonerate Trump may have only added to the fires that light the way to his indictment.

Bay-beeee, Trump’s impeachment is unavoidable! U.S. Representative Devin Nunes thought a four-page memo was going to shake the table, dismantling the foundations of the FBI and eroding the Russian investigation in the process. In his ignorance, Nunes let on that Carter Page, an investment banker and political analyst who served as a foreign policy advisor during Trump’s 2016 campaign, was under intense scrutiny regarding involvement with the Russian government that predates Trump’s inauguration. If the information and associated data regarding Page are accurate, there’s a lot more tea on the way.

Dirty Deeds

Here’s what we know so far:

  • Page has a history of working with Russian corporations/investment entities, having served as the VP in Merrill Lynch’s Moscow office and Gazprom, an energy company.
  • His ties to Gazprom led him to create his own investment fund with a mid-level exec from the same company that strangely held only one employee — himself.
  • Angry that his dissertation was rejected several times prior to acceptance and flopped as a standalone book, he blamed anti-Russian and Anti-American bias as contributing factors for his failure.
  • He lost a job due to pro-Russian rhetoric that cluttered his Twitter feed with “edgy Putinist resentment” and sympathized with Putin’s criticism of the state of the U.S.

Recent Suspicions

Things begin to get very peculiar when you examine the timeline of several of his trips abroad between 2013 and 2017. Praised as a successful American economist in Russian state television, he was recruited by intelligence operatives in Russia who thought him “enthusiastic, but an idiot.” His contacts and rapport with Russian officials made him a prime candidate for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant. This means that physical surveillance, as well as electronic surveillance measures, were implemented to collect details regarding potential acts of espionage. Lasting only 90 days, this warrant was in effect in 2014 and was renewed several times with requests extending into 2016 as he was serving on 45’s Presidential campaign. In January 2017, a leaked contract intelligence dossier containing communications between the Kremlin and Trump mention Page repeatedly. Later in the year, Page would be called before the Intelligence Committee only to plead the fifth to avoid self-incrimination.

Unfair and Unbalanced News

With the release of the unverified Nunes memo, you would think ties to a potential traitor would discredit the data therein but it seems the memo was not presented without redaction. There is even speculation that the information within has been purposefully doctored to accomplish a singular goal — paint Trump as the victim and halt the collusion investigation. Immediately following the release of the memo, Trump was questioned about the possibility of firing the current FBI Director Christopher Wray, to which he replied “Well, you’ll have to figure that out.” as he sped off to Mar-a-Lago. Should he decide to resign, Trump would be able to install a temporary appointee which would hinder Mueller’s investigation. However, Trump’s meddling with the FBI may work against him. Should he terminate the employment of the FBI director while in the midst of an ongoing investigation where he is the target of interest, it may count as obstruction of justice. Dems are currently waiting in the wings to see how this plays out and Republicans are decrying their leadership in a last-ditch effort to save their seats. Rumor has it articles could be filed as early as march so, *in my Maxine Water’s voice*, “Get ready for impeachment!”

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Beto O’Rourke Admits Ancestors Owned Slaves, Talks Reparations

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Sunday, Beto O’ Rourke shared the discovery of he and his wife’s descendants from slave owners. Acknowledging their benefit from institutionalized chattel slavery, the Presidential hopeful owned his painful legacy while outlining several policies, which include reparations.

“We all need to know our own story as it relates to the national story, much as I am learning mine.”

Beto O’Rourke

In a post written for Medium, O’Rourke stated he was provided with documents showing his paternal and maternal great-great-great grandfather’s owned, slaves. Rose and Eliza, whose names were found listed in a property log, were enslaved by O’Rourke’s paternal ancestor, Andrew Cowan Jasper. But the discovery would uncover that not only did he descend from slave owners, but his wife also had as well. Discussing their personal connection to the legacy of slavery in the US, O’Rourke lamented what Rose, Eliza, and other enslaved Africans endured, were denied, and what repercussions their ancestors suffered.

“I benefit from a system that my ancestors built to favor themselves at the expense of others. That only increases the urgency I feel to help change this country so that it works for those who have been locked-out of or — locked-up in — this system.”

Beto O’Rourke

You cannot navigate life in the America of today without first acknowledging its racist foundations. From the moment the first nineteen enslaved Africans arrived in Jamestown, Virginia in 1619, the institution of slavery threaded them through a needle of cruelty and stitched them into the fabric of American society. Generations of Africans were denied their freedom, civil rights, and ability to amass wealth through a practice that forced them to push their White counterparts ahead. This advantage, hesitantly understood by O’Rourke, benefits him, his spouse, and his children while continuing to suppress the growth of Black families to this day. Still, Beto admits the wrongs of his ancestors while contemplating how he, as President, could enact policies to tip the scales.

“I will do everything I can”

Touching on the wealth disparity, Beto discussed the imbalanced incarceration rate and infant mortality rates between Black and White Americans. Seeing the nation as two Americas to be bridged, O’Rourke wants to rectify the economic, educational, criminal justice, and even technological biases that pervade our nation. Detailing his plan, Beto began with educational changes, providing $23 billion immediately to address underfunding in minority-majority public schools. With attention to economic biases, he plans to ensure equal pay and dispense capital to minority and women-owned businesses. With criminal justice being at the forefront of the conversation for many candidates and prospective voters, O’Rourke moves to end the drug war and expunging arrest records for nonviolent drug crimes. However, his stance on reparations, while he does support it, rests on Americans understanding of the country’s history before pursuing cash payouts.

The overall reception of Beto O’Rourke’s admission has been positive as he is being lauded for confronting his problematic legacy head-on. However, he is still being accused of performative activism. Detractors are labeling his recent discovery as a pandering attempt to garner votes from Black constituents.

Do you think this is a step in the right direction for Beto? Would you like to see this sort of genealogical research become a requirement for Presidential candidates?

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Federal Watchdog Agency Claims Kellyanne Conway Violated Hatch Act

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It has been recommended that Kellyanne Conway be removed from federal office for a violation of the Hatch Act. Defined as engaging in political activity in the course of one’s work, Conway’s continuous tv appearances and social media presence have gotten her called out by a federal watchdog organization.

The Office of Special Counsel made the recommendation that Kellyanne Conway be immediately removed from her position as the senior-most advisor to Donald Trump Thursday. In a lengthy report provided to Trump, the investigation described Conway as a repeat offender, violating the Hatch Act on numerous occasions. Through disparaging remarks to Democratic presidential candidates, to speaking in her official capacity in television appearance and on social media, Conway has crossed several boundaries. The implications that her actions violate the Hatch Act have been deemed “unprecedented.”

Special Counsel Henry Kerner noted that his suggestion to fire Conway was unheard of. However, the basis for his decision rests on the example set by Conway’s behavior. Discussing the recommendation in an interview, Kerner said, “In interview after interview, she uses her official capacity to disparage announced candidates, which is not allowed. What kind of example does that send to the federal workforce? If you’re high enough up in the White House, you break the law, but if you’re a postal carrier or a regular federal worker, you lose your job?” While many have called for Conway’s termination of employment since she assumed the role as his advisor in 2017, the decision rests solely upon Donald Trump.

In predictable fashion, the White House is refusing to accept the Special Counsel’s recommendation. Instead, they have issued a letter calling for the federal watchdog agency to withdraw the suggestion of Conway’s removal. However, the Office of Special Counsel immediately declined. They are choosing not to overlook Conway’s unethical behavior but cannot force the President to take action in their favor.

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Taraji Saving Black Lives

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UPI

Taraji P. Henson has been a leader in our community by shedding light on the reality of mental health for black youth. On June 7th, 2019, Henson testified on Capitol Hill during the Congressional Black Caucus Taskforce forum on suicide among black youth. Specifically, Henson brought the room into deep thought when she reflected on her own experiences.

Henson’s father Boris Lawrence Henson passed away in 2006. Prior to that, Henson’s son’s father was murdered in Washington D.C. Now, these two traumatic events have affected her but it has also fostered a wealth of issues for her son. As a result, things get worse when young people are not able to vocalize their hurt and pain.

In her statement, Henson stated, “We’ve been taught to pray our problems away.” Henson is making it known that in the African-American community we do not discuss mental health. Instead, we let our emotions build up. If the problem is not addressed it will always be there. There will be strings attached if one doesn’t confront what is holding them back from prospering in life.

Lastly, a few years ago, Henson launched the Boris Lawrence Henson foundation with a goal to eliminate any stigmas associated with mental health. Mental health should be normalized and it should be taught in schools just like Henson stated in her statement.

I recommend everyone to watch her statement.

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