Friday, 11 February 2022

Freedom Convoy 2022

All I hear from the elites is, "ew, truckers! They're ignorant GED holders who don't know what's in their best interest! If they refuse to get vaccinated, then fuck them!"

OR, "ew, truckers! They're ignorant GED holders who are probably being organized by a shadowy cabal of Russians! Or Q-anon! Or Trump!"

Imagine if you will. A pandemic hits. You're a blue collar essential worker, which means you can't work from the safety of your home. There are no vaccines, no known treatments, and the virus is actually pretty scary. We don't know much about it, but what we do know is that it's really contagious and it's killing people. The country locks down, but you keep showing up for work. Maybe you don't want to, but you don't have a choice. You can't quit because you'd be quitting without cause, which means you won't get unemployment insurance. The government closes all nonessential businesses, then passes several relief bills in quick succession (let's collectively call them CERB). The total cost of this first round of coronavirus relief exceeds the entirety of the previous year's federal revenue. And 2019 was a GOOD year. An entire year's revenue spent in the space of a month or two, just on coronavirus relief. People around you have been laid off because of closures, and they get paid exactly what they were earning at their jobs. To sit safely at home and play video games. Maybe they'd rather be working. You don't know. What you do know is there are essential job openings at your workplace. More staff are needed to deal with the new sanitization regimen, and there have been people who've quit because they didn't need to work, or who were able to take medical leave because their doctors agreed they're vulnerable.

You aren't in their position, and you're working extra shifts to take up the slack. And you aren't seeing any CERB recipients applying. Just noobs straight out of high school who have no other option.

Still other people around you, most of whom earn 6 figures or close to it, can work remotely from their home offices. To them, the new normal is GREAT, because the commute is less than a minute, and they don't have to pay for dry cleaning or parking. Financial correspondents on CNN will a year later report that it was a record year in terms of median savings.

Sure. For people who earn enough to vacation in Cancun or Paris, but had to stick that money in savings instead. And again, that ain't you.

YOUR commute is still the same hour and 10 minutes each way by bus. Except now the ratio of passengers is more meth-heads and fewer commuters. Which is super awesome. But you deal.
Every day, you strap on your steel toes and take that bus to work. For a few months in the spring of 2020, public transit is free. Not for your benefit, mind you. It's because in order to pay or show your pass, you'd have to enter by the front door of the bus, and that would put the driver at risk. Still, it's better than nothing. Except for all the extra meth-heads. You listen to the radio and turn on the TV, and realize the government has spent millions of those CERB dollars on ads praising and thanking essential workers like you. "We're in this together," is the constant mantra. Well, no. Not really. Unlike those receiving government benefits, you're bearing the burden of essential work, doing what needs to be done, and paying taxes on the modest income you earn through your productivity.

And unlike those who can work from home, most of whom earn 2 to 3 times what you do, you're ALSO bearing the constant risk of infection.

It doesn't exactly feel like everyone's in it together.

You wonder sometimes whether maybe the government could have cobbled together an essential worker coronavirus tax credit. A little bonus for people like you, who have no choice but to make society go, whether you're scared or not. But I guess it was cheaper and easier to pay a marketing company and purchase ad spots to tell you and the millions of others like you just how much you're appreciated.

"We're in this together," after all. And the people making the decisions? The people picking the winners and the losers, choosing who will be put at risk and who will be kept safe and financially supported? Yeah. Their paychecks, and the paychecks of those they chose to protect and provide for, are siphoned off of the incomes of workers just like you, who have to provide for themselves, and who don't enjoy any protection. But you know. At least they're willing to spend some of that money to tell you how important you are. Vital, really. If it weren't for brave people like you, who have been given no option other than to keep working and risking your health, then all these other people who aren't working and all the other ones who aren't bearing the risk, well, they wouldn't be kept safe and fed and sheltered by your labor and your tax dollars.

You keep lacing up your boots and walking to the bus stop. Unloading the trucks and keeping the shelves stocked. This is a crisis, dontcha know, and no one should have to go without. Pallets of gourmet, organic dog treats, $12/pound spelt flour (WTF is spelt anyway?), and other vital "necessities" continue to arrive, and you continue to make sure they get where they need to go. In early December 2021, you catch COVID. By then, your employer has a program for paid COVID leave in place. It wouldn't be fair to make the taxpayer foot the bill for your mandatory 14 day quarantine, after all. They don't even make you use your vacation pay. By this point, there's no more "We thank our essential workers, and let's all remember that we're in this together" messaging on the radio. You're actually kind of glad you don't have to listen to that bullshit anymore.

You continue to put your steel toes on and go to work. There still aren't enough people to fill all the shifts. The public has demanded InstaCart for all, and that means more work for everyone. Have a serf do the shopping, bag it all up, and deliver it right to the trunk of the car. No one got a raise, though. Because the company is struggling.
Days later, the government cancels Christmas. $1500 fines per adult for multi-household indoor gatherings. But you, your parents and brothers have now all had COVID and have immunity, so fuck it. You're having Christmas with your family, and if you get busted, you'll all tell them where they can stick their fines. Over the next 8 months or so, the government vacillates between opening and closing the economy. But none of that really affects you. You're an essential worker. You go to work, you come home, you pay your bills and your taxes. Your favorite local restaurant opens, closes, opens, closes, changes hours, closes, changes hours back to normal, closes, reopens... You can live without calzone night on Saturdays, I guess.

Then the government tells nonessential businesses like restaurants that they have a choice. They can continue to operate at half capacity, or they can operate at full capacity and require customers show proof of vaccination or a $40 negative rapid antigen test less than 72 hours old. By this point, 80% of the population has been vaccinated, so every single business chooses the latter.

Your calzone place, two blocks from your home, won't even let you pick up an order in person without paying a $40 surcharge just to enter the building. It's hard to blame them. They could get fined $10,000 for each violation of the rules.

The government has said that they're considering an "equivalent to vax" passport for the previously infected, but it might take months for them to determine whether natural immunity exists.

Even though vaccination is just artificially induced natural immunity. And even though more than 100 different studies from all across the globe confirm that you're at least as protected as someone who's only been vaccinated. You might be blue collar, but you're not a moron. You know that if natural immunity doesn't exist, a vaccine COULDN'T exist.

But the vaccinated get the keys to the kingdom. Meanwhile, you have to pay a $5 delivery fee to have someone who's officially "safe" drive your calzones one block to your house, because you're not allowed to enter the building. Why? Because if the government admits natural immunity exists, it might slow vaccine uptake.

Christmas comes around again. Your grandfather died about 7 weeks ago. Not from COVID, thank goodness, because that would have been really tragic.

Your grandmother and most of your extended family have gotten on a plane and flown across the country to go celebrate together. Not you, your parents or your bothers, though. You all had it and after looking into all the research and doing a risk/benefit analysis, decided not to get vaccinated. The risks might be rare, but why take that risk when the vaccine will only make you exactly as immune as you already are?

But you know. No vax, no boarding pass. Even for domestic flights.

So. First Christmas without grandpa, and it's just 5 little lepers eating turkey and watching Die Hard movies 3500km away from the rest of the family. If they'd held it here, the entire family could have spent the holidays together. But why would they? You should have just gotten vaccinated like you were told. Why can't you just cooperate?

So here you are. You put yourself at risk. Not by choice, but because you were essential and the essential weren't given a choice. You paid the price for that risk and it knocked you on your ass for 8 days. The moment you were better and cleared to go, you were back at work making sure rich people had an uninterrupted supply of quinoa and free range duck for confit, whatever the fuck confit is.

You keep unloading the trucks. You keep stocking all the shelves. Then you do their shopping for them and put it right in the trunk of their car. You've been doing this for 20 months, except for that couple of weeks you became a filthy leper and weren't safe to be around. Then, under extreme pressure from the government, your employer decides it's either proof of vax or $80/week out of YOUR pocket to get constantly nose-raped and prove you're not infected. Just to earn the privilege of continuing to be an essential worker.

And if you refuse both options? You'll be fired. With cause. So no unemployment insurance for you.

And you refuse. People ask you, "why don't you just comply?!" Your response is, "I've been doing nothing but comply for almost 2 years now. I went to work every day. I bore the risk and paid the price, all so that you could sit safely on your ass collecting a portion of MY paycheck, or work from the safety of your own home with necessities delivered to the trunk of your car or your door. I masked even though I hated it, I socially distanced and learned how not to hug people, I sanitized my hands until they were raw, I rode that nightmare of a bus every damn day while the rest of you commuted across the hall or not at all, and I ended up getting COVID because I didn't have the luxury of hiding under the bed until there was a vaccine. I didn't put myself at risk because I'm some hero who voluntarily sacrificed for the sake of others, but because I wasn't given a choice. And maybe if I had been, I'd have chosen to do that, but I wasn't offered that choice. I was told to work or starve. Because I was essential.

"I've been a disposable human since this pandemic began, but at least I was an essential worker. Now I'm a disposable everything. Because, so they tell me, we're in this together."



"Even babies raised by wolves, they know exactly when they've been used." - Gordon Downie
"Trudeau can lick my sweaty butt crack." - Karen Straughan

Monday, 3 January 2022

How does this make any sense?

 So. Back in early November I had to go to the ER. I was bringing in my green bin from the curb at 7:30 AM (pitch dark), and tripped over a branch that had fallen from my neighbor's tree. 

My right knee hit the concrete. My left hand took the rest of the impact and saved my beautiful face and gorgeous brain. I ended up rolling over onto my ass, and it was about 10 minutes before I could even get up off the ground and get back to the house. Try getting up when opposite limbs are completely fucked. It's like Twister, only with way more pain.

My husband drove me to a full service emergency room at a local acute care clinic. Turned out I had a chip from my patella floating around inside my knee joint, and a radial head fracture of my elbow with significant soft tissue injury.

The next week or so was really fun. But that's not what I'm writing about here.

What I'm writing about is my ER visit. Before you even get to triage, you get COVID screening. Do you have any symptoms? Have you travelled out of the province or country in the last 14 days? Have you been in contact with anyone you know is COVID+? Are you vaccinated?

For me, it was nope, nope, nope and nope. 

For the record, I'm not vaccinated because I caught the OG (original gangster) back in late January of 2020. I had some serious fallout from it. Long lasting cardiovascular and pulmonary injury. Over time, looking at the evidence in its totality, I decided that what little additional benefit vaccination might provide me was not worth the risk of experiencing that again. I'm satisfied with my natural, adaptive immunity.

So, nope, nope, nope and nope. And then my temperature check came out fine.

And they stuck me in the ER's COVID isolation room. By isolation, I don't mean they stuck me in a room all by myself. They stuck me in an enclosed space with COVID+ patients.

They didn't test me to see if I had COVID. All they knew was that I was unvaccinated.

This didn't particularly alarm me. If I was unfamiliar with the data, it might have, and I'd have noticed it right then and there. But I was in excruciating pain and was confident that my natural adaptive immunity would protect me, so it kind of went under my radar.

Four hours later, after all my x-rays were taken, the doctor comes in and asks if I'd be willing to be vaccinated. I said no. She asks, "are you willing to have a conversation about it?" I said no.

And then like an automaton, she starts a conversation about it. I told her I was fine with my natural immunity, since studies had shown it's 6 to 13 times more protective than vaccination alone. She tells me no, that's not true. The delta variant, she says. Also, she says, the CDC published a study proving natural immunity was inferior to vaccination. Which makes no sense at all. There is no universe in which, all other things being equal, vaccination is more protective than previous infection.

I kept refusing. So then she asks my husband (who was sitting there next to my bed, also unvaccinated, 8 feet away from a COVID+ patient) if he'd be willing to get vaccinated. 

We tell her he can't because he has chemical sensitivities that can send him into anaphylaxis. The inactive ingredients could be dangerous to him. Moderna, for instance, has acetic acid, and that's one of his triggers. 

She immediately changes tactics and tries to guilt me into getting vaccinated. "Don't you want to protect your husband? He CAN'T get vaccinated, so it's up to you to not get infected and expose him."

I was like, "bitch, please. We've both had it. Every study suggests that we're very unlikely to get it again, and that if we do, with very few exceptions, our reinfections will be milder than the original. I'm a housewife. He works from home. It's not like we're attending sports events where we tongue kiss strangers."

Eventually, she gave up and I took a tetanus booster because I'd fallen outdoors and it broke the skin.

It wasn't until recently that the natural versus vaccine immunity thing left my head and I really thought about what they'd done.

According to this doctor, I was extremely vulnerable to infection and severe outcomes because I was unvaccinated. Yet without ever testing me to see if I had COVID and with no indication that I did have COVID, they stuck me in an enclosed space with COVID+ patients. 

They intentionally exposed a supposedly vulnerable person to COVID.

Then she tried to pressure me to get vaccinated. Even though it takes two weeks after your first dose before you have any level of protection. What good was getting vaccinated after spending 4 to 5 hours exposed to COVID going to do me at that point?

Then she tried to guilt me into getting vaccinated to protect my husband, even though they allowed his unvaccinated ass to sit with me for hours in an enclosed space with COVID+ patients.

If they cared about me avoiding contracting COVID as an unvaccinated person, why would they have stuck my unvaccinated ass in the COVID room? Why would they have let my husband's unvaccinated ass sit with me in the COVID room?

Why would they have tried to talk me into getting vaccinated WAY too late for it to prevent me from becoming infected? 

For that matter, why would't they have tested me to see if I had COVID before sticking me in with COVID+ patients?

And this is policy. It wasn't a fluke. Because my husband was stuck in the ER COVID isolation room at a different hospital earlier in 2021. He had no COVID symptoms or indicators. He as just unvaccinated. They stuck him 8 feet away from some guy who was coughing up a lung. He'd eaten something that wasn't kosher, and had gone into anaphylaxis. They didn't test him for COVD, either.

Last I checked, it was "first, do no harm."

Why are our policies intentionally exposing allegedly vulnerable unvaccinated people who have no indications of COVID to COVID?

How does this make any sense at all?

You can say, "well, it's your fault because you weren't vaccinated." And again, I wasn't worried about me or my husband getting COVID because we'd already had it. 

But this doctor was literally trying to tell me that natural immunity doesn't exist, only vaccination can protect you. And yet as a matter of policy, they intentionally exposed us both. For hours on end. 

Because we were unvaccinated.

Friday, 27 August 2021

Seven Months In

 So. Let's review.

Day one: Biden cancels the Keystone XL expansion project. This pipeline, when complete, would have carried oil, natural gas and bitumen from the Hardisty tank farm in southern Alberta to as far away as Texas. 11,000 high paying construction jobs were killed in the US alone, along with thousands of jobs in Alberta. Biden's own Energy Secretary would later admit that if you're transporting fossil fuels, pipe is the best way to do it. It has a smaller carbon footprint than truck or rail, it's safer by far, and more cost effective.

Who benefits? Warren Buffet, who owns a shit-ton of rail stocks. The oil will still cross the border. It's just going on Buffet's trains, at the cost of tens of thousands of fatal wildlife collisions per year and more greenhouse gas emissions. 

Meanwhile, the Biden Administration managed to piss off its biggest trading partner on day one. And they're being sued by the company building the pipeline. And hundreds of tons of already fabricated steel pipe is now being melted down for scrap, using (you guessed it) heat from fossil fuels.

Winning!


Biden lifts Trump's sanctions off of the companies building Nord Stream 2 in Europe. This undersea pipeline will connect Russia directly with Germany, cutting Eastern European countries like Ukraine out of royalties. Putin's Russia (a gas station with a flag and a president) stands to make billions servicing Western Europe, while being able to turn off the taps to Eastern Europe without disrupting service to Germany, France, Italy, Greece, etc.

Putin's openly stated goal is to recreate the old Soviet Empire. He took Crimea on Obama's watch, and thanks to Biden, with Nord Stream 2, he'll be able to freeze Ukraine and other Eastern European countries into compliance with his annexation plans. 

When asked why he did it? He said that the pipeline was already 95% complete. Yeah. It was 95% complete when the sanctions were imposed, and it stayed at 95% complete, which means 0% operational. So Trump (allegedly Putin's puppet) blocked the consolidation of Russia's power in Eastern Europe, but Biden (definitely no one's puppet) hands it back to Putin.

Winning!


Biden supports HR-1 (The For the People Act). This bill would federalize election law in the US. It is openly unconstitutional. The US Constitution places the authority to determine how presidential electors are selected firmly in the hands of State Legislatures. The Constitution doesn't even require states to hold general presidential elections. A State Legislature could decide to choose its electors by random draw, a House vote, a UFC-style tournament, or consulting a psychic. I doubt any of them would, but there's nothing in the constitution that says they couldn't.

The only federal interest in election law supported by constitutional amendment, statute and precedent is that if and when states do hold elections, the rules apply equally to everyone, and that no rule is so onerous to one group over another that it has a significant disparate impact. 

But who cares about the Constitution? Biden's butt's been wiped, and I think we all know what brand of TP he's using. It's called the US Constitution.

Winning!


Biden is pushing massive spending bills. True, Trump did too, particularly after COVID. It was his comprehensive economic policy that made things so good for Americans that in September of 2020, 56% of Americans said they were better off than they were 4 years ago. No incumbent president running for reelection has broken the 50% ceiling since the poll was started.

He'd brought good jobs back in sectors Obama had declared dead. America was energy independent. The US didn't need to rely on foreign oil and gas, or on the price fixing of the cartels. And despite that, US carbon emissions were decreasing faster during his administration than they were almost any other country. People were keeping more of their paychecks, and their dollars had more spending power.

Think about that. We were 7 months into COVID, 4 months into nightly race riots, and 95% of the press coverage of Trump's administration was negative, yet he was the first incumbent president in the history of that poll to bust through that 50% ceiling. 

Meanwhile, Biden is continuing to pay people to not work. It doesn't have to be more, it just has to be enough to make not working the better option.  Especially if you don't have to pay your rent. 10 million job openings remain unfilled. He's allowed renters to become long term legally untouchable squatters, and mom & pop landlords are increasingly selling their rental properties off to Wall Street. Black Rock is currently the largest buyer of residential property in the US. 

When the eviction moratorium ends and all that back rent comes due, tenants won't be negotiating with that kindly elderly couple down the block to try to work out a repayment plan they can afford. They'll be negotiating with a faceless company that manages $9.5 trillion in assets. You think they're gonna take your call, average Joe who rents a 1 bed + den in a 3 story walkup? Why would they? They'll just boot you out and strafe your credit rating while they're at it.

Winning!


Afghanistan. Trump negotiated with the Taliban. He hammered out a conditions based deal. Meet and continue to meet our conditions, and we'll leave. In May, during the "quiet contemplation time" of Ramadan which happened to fall at the beginning of fighting season. Break the deal, and we'll bomb the fuck out of you. 

And not a single US soldier was killed under Trump after that deal was signed. 

His plan? Begin getting civilians out. Keep Bagram Air Base, a highly defensible quasi-city with two international flight capable air strips. If necessary, move the US Embassy to Bagram. Get the civilians out, get the equipment out, then bomb everything of value that you had to leave behind.

And if the Taliban took the country? Yeah. The US wasn't going to leave. One of the conditions was that the Taliban form a coalition government with the current US-backed government. I won't say that if Trump were still in office, the US wouldn't be out of Afghanistan. Because Trump was willing to impose costs and consequences on the Taliban. For all we know, the US would be safely out, and there'd be a shaky coalition government in place right now, destined to fall apart at some point.

I do know NONE of what's transpired in Afghanistan over the last several months would have happened.

Biden claims he had to live by Trump's policy of getting out. 

First off, Biden has taken several giant shits on Trump's policies. He stopped construction on the border wall. He reversed the remain in Mexico policy. He ended COVID border restrictions. Now he's going to pull some bullshit and say this deal with the Taliban was the ONE thing he couldn't reverse?

And the insane thing is, he DID reverse it. He took the completely sane May 1, conditions-based deadline and turned it into a 9/11 unconditional deadline.

He went from "we're leaving in early spring, when you all are fasting and praying and are just coming out of your hunkering-down season, as long as you behave, " to "we're leaving no matter how you behave on the 20th anniversary of America's greatest humiliation at the hands of jihadis. On that day, America will be leaving Afghanistan no matter what you savages do."

Who thought the symbolism of this was a good idea? Afghans are 90% sunni. Sunnis believe in qadar (predestination). Inasmuch as free will coexists with qadar, it's the freedom to choose the manner of your end. If you get divorced, it was always going to happen. It was just a matter of whether he cheated or you cheated or you got into a fight over whether Ted Lasso is a good show. If you die, it was always going to happen. It was just a matter of how. The end is already written. The path is already before you. You just have to look for the signposts.

And in choosing that particular date, and in placing no conditions on it whatsoever, Biden gave both the Taliban and the Afghan Defence Force a giant signpost. It told the Taliban they'd already won, and it told the ADF they'd already lost.

Then what does Biden do? He pulls military contractors out of Afghanistan. Please understand, these are the people who service the "very formidable" air force the US taxpayers donated to the ADF. They maintain the equipment and provide all the logistical support for the air strikes the ADF were trained by the US military for the last 6+ years to rely on. HE GROUNDED THEIR AIR FORCE.

Then Biden blames the ADF for rolling over and giving up. If you believed in predestination and these were your circumstances, and your fate was assured, and all you could affect was the manner of your own end? Wouldn't you roll over? Wouldn't you give up? Biden has given you signpost after signpost telling you you're destined to lose.

And THEN what does Biden do? He turns out the lights at Bagram. He doesn't even strafe it on his way out. He just leaves tens of millions of dollars worth of weapons and equipment to be seized by the Taliban. After they'd already seized billions from the demoralized ADF in their relentless sweep across the country.

THEN he goes on FUCKING VACATION.

And then the Taliban take Kabul. Joe "that will never happen" Biden says well, it's no big deal. We'll just sign a deal with the Taliban to get our people out. And all the Afghans the Taliban views as traitors. And with our borders wide open, maybe some terrorists as well.

I mean, Trump was a horrible person for signing his conditional deal with the Taliban that resulted in 18 months of zero US casualties. But hey, I'm gonna sign an unconditional deal that puts the safety of US persons and Afghan allies in the hands of people who think they can fuck with me because I'm WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING AND REFUSE TO PUT MY FOOT DOWN.

And surprise of surprises, several Taliban checkpoints let in two bombs that killed at least 13 American soldiers, and killed and wounded dozens of others. But they're still in charge of who gets into the airport.

Also, this is Donald Trump's fault. Here, let me stand on my dead son's brain tumor and pretend I care.

It hasn't even been a goddamn year. 

1) hyperinflation

2) energy crisis

3) border crisis

4) impending hostage crisis

5) impending terrorism crisis

6) Middle East, destabilized

7) gas prices through the roof

8) OPEC feels like they can tell the US to fuck themselves

9) Russia about to annex Ukraine without a shot fired. Just a tap turned off

10) Mexico's mad at you. El Salvador's mad at you. Canada's mad at you. Britain is mad at you. NATO is mad at you.

11) massive increase in violent crime in cities across the US

12) hey, let's import a million people who may or may not have COVID!

13) we should fire cops, but you know, you shouldn't be allowed to have guns. 

14) have you seen these gas prices? That wasn't me. Because I don't understand the futures market.


It's been 7 months, and there is no one in America whose life has gotten better. Even if you don't have less money in your pocket, you can't buy as much with it as you could last year.

My family is going to eat pork all week. Pork loin center cut roast and chops is going for $8.80/kg on special. Chicken? $15+. Beef? $29+. Ground beef? $16+. GOOD beef? Like rib steak or NY cut? $40+ per 2.2lbs. 

And I'm in Canada. I just feel the ripple effects of all this. You know, except for all those pipeline jobs and the downstream jobs Biden killed. And you pulling out of Afghanistan in the worst possible way and not even letting your NATO partners know what you were doing until you'd already done it?

81 million people allegedly voted for this retard. And at this point, I can't even say he's a retard, because you can't be catastrophically wrong this consistently without it being on purpose.

America, please save yourselves. 

Saturday, 15 August 2020

Explain like I’m 5: Carter Page. Who he is and why he matters.

Preface: this post is about the FBI investigation Crossfire Hurricane, and it may not be of interest to many of my regular readers. 

I have been following the "Trump-Russia collusion" case very closely and in real time since it began, and am not going to include hyperlinks in this post, other than one to a letter sent by Carter Page to then FBI Director James Comey. 

My sources are the Department of Justice (DoJ) Office of the Inspector General's (IG) December 9, 2019 report (the Horowitz Report), the congressional testimony of Michael Horowitz and Carter Page, and other easily searchable resources. Everything I will assert in this post is something you can look up yourself, and I encourage you to do so.

So let's begin.

Who is Carter Page, and why does he matter?

I have seen the claim thrown around that the FBI must have had valid suspicions about Carter Page all along that had nothing to do with his involvement with the Trump campaign. The reason they believe this? 

Because Page left the campaign shortly after Yahoo News, on September 23, 2016, published an article claiming that Page was under FBI investigation for suspicious contact with sanctioned Russian officials. Page left the Trump campaign pretty much immediately after the FBI confirmed in the media that the matter was “on [their] radar,” and that they were “looking into it.”


So Page left the Trump campaign in late September, but the FBI didn’t even obtain its first Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to surveil Page until October 21.


Clearly, these keyboard warriors tell me, the FBI was only interested in Carter Page’s improper contacts with the Russians, and it had nothing to do with the Trump campaign. After all, he wasn’t even involved with the Trump campaign at that point. Check mate!


People who claim this either do not know of, or choose not to mention, a standard the FBI uses called the “two hop” rule.


While the FBI might have had valid suspicions of Page in the very first days he came to their attention (more on this below), the “two hop” rule would enable them to “look into” not just Page, and not just Page’s immediate contacts, but Page’s immediate contacts’ immediate contacts. 


See? Two hops. (Want confirmation? Google "two hop rule".)


So while Page may have left the campaign prior to the first successful FISA warrant application, there were lots of his contacts who were still involved in the campaign, and lots of THEIR contacts, as well. And if the FBI managed to hit pay dirt a second time—that is, establish sufficient probable cause to successfully apply for a FISA warrant on any of those individuals? Then they’d have another group of primary and secondary contacts to surveil.


So. Carter Page gave the FBI an "in" with the Trump campaign, even after he'd quit.


After the story broke at Yahoo, and was picked up by other news agencies, Page spent months desperately trying to tell anyone who would listen that he was working with the CIA as an informant. He claimed, publicly and vehemently, that he had regular communications with sanctioned Russian officials and other big baddies, but after each one he would debrief the CIA on what had been communicated. He had, he claimed, assisted both the CIA and the FBI for years in their pursuit of intelligence on the Russians.


Most of the media either ignored his claims altogether, or expressed the type of deadpan skepticism late night news satire hosts are known for. “Uh huh. You’re a secret agent. I totally believe you.”


Not that this was a particularly surprising response. Page does not evoke fictional characters like Jack Ryan or James Bond. A big-eared egghead with a slight lisp and a nervous demeanor, he is hardly the stuff of Tom Clancy novels.


But the news media were not the only people Carter Page was desperately trying to talk to.


Two days after the Yahoo News story broke, Carter Page sent then FBI Director James Comey a direct letter in which he described the media allegations as spurious and outrageous, and claimed he’d had numerous interactions over the course of decades with US intelligence agencies, including the FBI and the CIA. He invited the FBI to call him so they could put the matter to rest.


Apparently, the FBI chose not to call Page to clear the matter up. Or to even look him up in their own archived files, which, if they had, would have indicated that the FBI and the DoJ had used Page as a source in the past, and that Page had actually assisted the DoJ in... wait for it... prosecuting Russians.


Does anyone think the FBI should not have at least performed a rudimentary search through their own existing files after receiving that letter? And maybe touched base with the DoJ or CIA? You know, perform the most cursory due diligence before doing something as drastic as obtaining a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to spy on a US citizen? 


Yeah, me neither. 


These were not only facts that would have explained as either innocuous, or as an asset to the US government, Page’s interactions with sanctioned Russians—interactions that are not prohibited by law, mind you. They were also exculpatory details that were required by law to be included in any application for a warrant to surveil Page. 


And yet the warrant was applied for, and the application contained none of this exculpatory information—some of which existed in the FBI’s own filing cabinets.


So. Let’s review. On or around September 25 2016, James Comey received notice that the FBI had in its possession information suggesting that Page had a history of working with and for the American government, not against them. This information was within Comey’s power to confirm or disconfirm simply by looking through existing FBI files, requesting confirmation from the CIA, and/or reaching out to the DoJ. 


Comey either did not perform this basic due diligence, or he did, ignored what he found, and went ahead with the first FISA warrant application against Page anyway.


And why would he do that? Oh, I don't know. Because of the “two hop” rule, maybe? 


Carter Page was a bit player in this tragicomedy, a prologue character who’d arguably left the theater long before Act 1, Scene 1, and who remained for the rest of the story merely a subject of the soliloquies, asides and actions of the more stage-worthy characters. 


A dorky egghead with a slight lisp who happened to be a confidential human source for the CIA, a man whose only crime was being perfectly situated to provide the FBI a pretext to apply for surveillance warrants that, because of the “two hop” rule, would give them license to spy on the Trump campaign, and later, the Trump administration.


You know, as long as the FBI was and remained "unaware" of Page's decades of work for, and cooperation with, the US government, and all.


Page had quit the Trump campaign a month before the ink was dry on the first FISA warrant application, but there’s no “best before” date on the “two hop” rule, dontcha know.


It would not be until after the second warrant renewal (essentially, the third warrant application) that someone on the Crossfire Hurricane team would bother to ask the CIA if Page was indeed a CIA asset. The CIA responded by email in the affirmative.


This email is the document FBI lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith (an outspoken "Viva la Resistance!" type), would alter to say the exact opposite, in order to obtain that one last warrant renewal on June 29, 2017, well into the Trump administration. This discrepancy was discovered by IG Michael Horowitz, and is rock solid.


And all Clinesmith did was add one word. He turned the CIA’s “is” into “is not”. Such a little thing! At least, that's what his lawyer is telling everyone right now. 


On August 14, 2020, it was announced that Clinesmith was set to plead guilty to “making false statements” to the FISA court. 


For those of us who’ve been following this debacle, there’s a sense of “about time!” in the air. But let's not be distracted by the fact that some low level, anti-Trump lawyer is getting his comeuppance for committing a felony in the service of trying to take down a duly elected president. 


No one would have even heard of Clinesmith had IG Horowitz not spotted that itty bitty little “typo” during his review of Crossfire Hurricane's alleged abuse of the FISA process. Clinesmith was neither a mover nor a shaker. He's small potatoes. He was another bit player, his role in the play alluded to but never really acted out on the stage


And when push comes to shove, all he really did was break the law in order to aid an abet a crime that was already in progress. 


That is, the very first FISA warrant against Carter Page was, in my opinion, illegally obtained. Clinesmith's falsifying of evidence to obtain the fourth FISA warrant only added insult to injury. 


Again, James Comey was put on notice in late September of 2016, prior to the first warrant application to spy on Carter Page, that Page had files going back decades with the FBI and CIA. The contents of those files would have prohibited any such warrant. 


Certainly, had the FISA court been apprised of Page's record of assisting the FBI and CIA they'd have denied the request for a warrant. But more than this, under any business-as-usual circumstances, his record would have made utterly inappropriate any effort by the FBI to even obtain such a warrant. 


That is, given Page’s readily available history, the FBI would not have been granted a warrant to spy on Page because, if they had acted legally and ethically, they would not have sought one in the first place.


How inconvenient that must have been!


Either Comey did not care to check, or he did check and didn’t care. As IG Horowitz noted during his testimony before the Senate, the only explanations he could think of for the “errors and omissions” made by the FBI throughout Crossfire Hurricane’s interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court were either political bias or gross incompetence, neither of which reflect well on anyone involved.


And to further complicate matters, after being fired as Director of the FBI, James Comey—the man who either did not care to check, or checked but did not care—declined to renew his security clearance. This meant he could not be questioned by IG Horowitz about ANY of these matters, because at that time they were still classified, and Comey was therefore barred from hearing or discussing them.


Slippery little sucker. I bet he just forgot to renew. The guy had a lot on his mind, after all, like collecting royalties for his book, hubristically titled "A Higher Loyalty." 


According to media reports, Clinesmith faces a maximum of 5 years in prison for “making false statements” to the FISA court. 


This, despite the fact that the Department of Justice had him dead to rights on tampering with evidence (18 U.S.C. § 1519), which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years. 


That’s quite the discount, all things considered. From a guaranteed felony conviction carrying a 20 year max, down to pleading to a lesser crime with a maximum of 5? That’s like the feds having you dead to rights on premeditated murder, and they let you plead guilty to negligent homicide. 


Senator Lindsey Graham (bless his heart) could barely suppress his giggles when discussing this plea deal, and what the major players might be worrying about right now, on Fox News yesterday. 


All things considered, I don’t think anyone involved is sleeping well at the moment.


Carter Page has never been charged with any crime regarding his alleged collusion with Russia as a member of the Trump campaign. Indeed, he's never even been charged with a process crime, such as lying to the FBI, or with any of the typical "fishing expedition" crimes that tend to stick to political movers and shakers, like tax evasion or money laundering. 


This man appears to be squeaky clean. Either that, or (and forgive me for introducing a new metaphor) the FBI wasn't interested in removing such a useful piece from the chessboard. 


For nearly a year, the FBI used Carter Page's contacts with certain Russian bad actors, the details of which Page dutifully reported to the CIA, as a false pretext to surveil the Trump campaign. 


The consequences for Page? Senator Lindsey Graham has repeatedly used the phrase "his life was turned upside down." I would go further than that. Carter Page's life as he knew it was effectively cancelled on September 23, 2016, when Yahoo News reported he was a person of interest to the FBI due to his suspicious and possibly nefarious contacts with "muh Russians". 


The FBI could have spared Page everything he's endured for the last four years by reviewing their own fucking files and correcting the media narrative. Instead, they misled the FISA court in order to use him as an instrument to spy on the Trump campaign. And in at least one case, the FBI falsified evidence in order to preserve their phoney pretext to renew the warrant to surveil anyone associated with Trump.


Carter Page the patriotic confidential source for the FBI and CIA, who had aided the Department of Justice in the successful prosecution of dastardly Russians in the past, was not useful to the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane "investigation". 


Carter Page, the suspected Russian collaborator, was. 


So the FBI allowed that narrative to stand in the mainstream media and falsely presented it to the FISA court, and Page was left to twist in the wind.


Here's hoping that Clinesmith is not the only casualty of this comedy of malicious errors.