Knowing

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The song “Knowing” is performed with a female vocal lead backed by a sprightly played acoustic guitar, bass, drums, congas and other percussion instruments.  As far as genre, “Knowing” fits in with “jazzy pop R&B”.  The song begins with a lively acoustic intro leading into the soulful female vocalist caterwauling as the lyrics begin:

“You can’t stop me from knowin’,

Knowing what you did!

And you can’t stop me from finding,

out the truth you hid!

You can’t stop me from crying,

crying it out loud!

And telling the whole world,……mmmm

what you’re all about!”

So what is the song “Knowing” about?

Initially it may be thought that the song is about a female wronged by a philandering male lover.  It projects the emotion of a woman simmering over a guy who has not been straight with her.  He screwed up, he tried to deceive her, and although he’s tried to hide it, she knows it, and she’s calling it like it is.

Emotionally, the singer is a clearly disappointed after being deceived and is rightfully a little “hot under the collar”.  She sounds out with the character of a “broody, simmering Aretha-esque diva” and then after the solo section, she lets out a little more emotion such that the listener can feel the heat the singer is trying to hold back.

However, the lyrics are very generic and therefore could be about whatever the listener is thinking.  It could be about “knowing” what’s in the food we eat.  Does it contain GMO?  The listener can insert their own cast of characters.  Be it their favorite federal, state or local officials, family members or lovers gone wrong.  It’s whatever they feel, based on their life’s experience.  It’s up to the listener.  Unfortunately, many of us have been there, in one way or the other.

All of us have been deceived.  And the deception that has the most powerful impact on our lives is from our own government.  It has the biggest impact because it affects so many of us, and it can have such long term impact on multiple generations.  It costs us financially and ultimately, our personal liberty and freedom.

In the United States, the “Watergate scandal” changed American politics forever, leading more Americans to question their leadership and listen more critically to statements from their presidency.

On June 17, 1972, several burglars were arrested inside the office of the DNC, located in the Watergate building.  They were connected to President Richard Nixon’s re-election campaign, and were attempting to wiretap phones and steal documents.  As is usually the case in these high founded fiascos, it was almost impossible to prove that Nixon knew about the Watergate espionage operation before it happened (except for those pesky tapes).  But we eventually came to know that he did take steps to cover it up, trying to stop the FBI from investigating, destroying evidence and firing uncooperative staff members.   He also raised “hush money for the burglars.  These were more serious crimes than the break-in: It was an abuse of presidential power and a deliberate obstruction of justice.

Over a year later, in November 17, 1973, President Richard Nixon infamously denied any involvement in the Watergate scandal with his now timeless defense.

“I am not a crook.”

Over two years after the incident, in August 1974, the president resigned and his successor, Gerald Ford, pardoned Nixon for all the crimes he “committed or may have committed” while in office.  Since that time, the office of the president has come equipped with an ever growing stack of “Get out of Jail Free” cards.  Each generation of presidents seems to become more skilled at using them.

“Read my lips: no new taxes.”

That pledge was written by a speechwriter for Bush’s nomination at the 1988 Republican National Convention.  It was a bold statement, and ultimately another broken presidential campaign promise.  As presidents sometimes must, Bush raised taxes.  His words were used against him by Bill Clinton in an attack ad during the 1992 presidential campaign.  The centerpiece of Bush’s acceptance address became Clinton’s call to move his own bags into the oval office.  Let’s revisit how that went…

President Clinton lied under oath, and strenuously denied his affair with 22 year old White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

“I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

An independent counsel was investigating Clinton on a number of matters including the Whitewater scandal; the White House FBI files controversy, and the White House travel controversy.  The Paula Jones sexual harassment case brought Monica Lewinsky’s name to light.  Lewinsky initially tried to deny her relationship with Clinton.  And she attempted to persuade Linda Tripp to lie under oath in the Jones case.  Instead, Tripp gave the tapes of Lewinsky to independent counsel Kevin Starr who was investigating Clinton.  (Those pesky tape recordings rise again.)

During the grand jury testimony Clinton’s responses were carefully worded, and he attempted an intellectually dishonest argument, “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is”, in regard to the truthfulness of his statement that “there is not a sexual relationship…”  Clinton along with an entire trainload of politicians has made an art out of playing games with words at our expense.  But let’s face it.  It’s just dishonest.  And it demonstrates the elitist, narcissistic behavior displayed by too many self serving politicians.

Hillary Clinton jumped on board and tried to prop up Bill’s story throughout the proceedings.  Coached by the best spin masters money can buy, she attempted to spin his philandering, perjury and obstruction of justice as though it was someone else’s fault.  On January 27, in an appearance on NBC’s Today she said, “The great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it is this vast right wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president.”

Then on July 28, 1998, after substantial delays, Lewinsky gave in and received transactional immunity in exchange for grand jury testimony concerning Clinton’s escapades with her.  She also turned over her semen stained blue dress to the investigators providing undisputable DNA evidence that could prove the relationship despite Clinton’s official denials.  Apparently the Clintons never believed that Monica would keep the dress, and without cleaning it.  In a taped grand jury testimony on August 17, 1998, Bill Clinton finally admitted that the affair had occurred.  Contrary to Hillary’s attempts to misdirect the public’s knowledge of Bill’s philandering and perjury as a “vast right wing conspiracy”, Bill had finally admitted it.  He admitted to the affair, he had lied to congress and the American people, and tried to cover it up to protect his own selfish interests.  He was literally caught with his pants down and the truth finally came out… and it was obvious on Lewinsky’s semen stained blue dress.

It is unlikely that a president would be convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice charges when his political party controls the senate.  Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives for lying about the matter under oath, but the senate let him off the hook.  Two months after the senate acquitted Clinton, he was held in civil contempt of court, his license to practice law was suspended in Arkansas for five years and later by the Supreme Court and he was fined $90,000 for giving false testimony.

Each administration learns from the mistakes of the previous and they get better at cover-ups, destroying evidence, managing the media and misdirecting the attention of the public, sometimes called “Wag the Dog”, especially when it involves shooting a few cruise missiles at a third world country.

“Wag the Dog” was a movie about a Washington “spin doctor” (Robert De Niro) who in the days before a presidential election distracts the public from a sex scandal by hiring a Hollywood film producer (Dustin Hoffman) to construct a fake war with Albania.  The film was released one month before the outbreak of the Lewinsky scandal and the subsequent bombing of the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Sudan by the Clinton administration.   Do you think Clinton saw the movie?  He may have taken notes.

The reality of what happened was not as light as the movie.  Bill’s missile strike was supposedly all about chemical weapons.  After the strike, the Sudanese government denied the existence of any such weapons and demanded an investigation of the site to determine if it had been used to produce chemical weapons or precursors.  The US opposed the investigation.  In addition, the US never let an independent laboratory analyze their sample allegedly containing the precursor EMPTA.  Many concluded that there was no evidence that the Al-Shifa factory was ever involved in production of chemical weapons, and it is known that many of the initial US allegations were wrong.  The United States had diplomatic relations with Sudan and this pharmaceutical factory was an industrial complex that employed 300 workers and that provided 50 % of Sudan’s medicines.  The pharmaceutical factory was not exactly a mobile one man medicine show that was going to disappear overnight.  So, why was Bill Clinton in a big hurry to shoot missiles at it?  Some said that, because of the Lewinsky affair, he needed to look “presidential for a day”.  Critics of the attack have estimated that tens of thousands of Sudanese civilians unnecessarily died throughout Sudan as the supply of medicines were cut off by Bill’s impulsive “looking presidential for a day” missile attack.  The destruction of their pharmaceutical factory left the country with no supplies of chloroquine, the standard treatment for malaria.  The loss of the factory was a tragedy for the rural communities who needed the medicines.

Similarly, it seems that sometimes politicians distract us from a scandal by creating another scandal.  During the years 2010 thru 2014 we had a constant barrage of government scandals.  Just to name a few that made news headlines:

ATF’s “Fast and Furious” gun walking scandal,

the Solyndra financial scandal,

the Veterans Administration scandal,

the IRS targeting & cover-up scandal,

the NSA’s mass wiretapping of Americans scandal

the Benghazi cover-up,

And then we had the Hillary Clinton email/server scandal.

After seeing what happened to the communication record of Richard Nixon, and her husband Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton learned that she should avoid the predicaments of her mentors, but found herself in a world with a more modern email system.  So she just kept the whole email server to herself.  Didn’t even use the “dot Gov” secured system designed for such sensitive communications.  That way she could control the record.  And then she destroyed thousands of emails.  Its one thing to say those emails are mine and you can’t see them, it’s another thing to go to a lot of effort to eliminate their existence entirely.  (Remember those pesky Lewinsky tape recordings and the Nixon tapes?)  Even her top aides were “off line”, communicating with her in secrecy.  And for all the years of her tenure, nobody ever said anything.  Everyone in the administration cooperated with her obscurantism and evasion.  The end results for that period were that our security in the Middle East deteriorated; and more than 50 million people were forced from their homes worldwide, the highest figure of displaced people since World War II.  Our global stature diminished, and the Clinton financial coffers grew significantly.  Even the media, who is supposed to function as our watchdog, cowardly looked the other way for the most part.  Now that’s power.

Then, in May of 2015, Peter Schweizer released his book “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.”

The book received headlines because it revealed several Clinton Foundation donors who were the beneficiaries of Hillary Clinton’s State Department policies.  It outlines questionable deals involving Haiti, Colombia, Russia and others.

In response to the book’s accusations, the Clinton foundation said it would redo multiple tax returns and at one point, the Clinton foundation’s acting CEO Maura Pally admitted it had “made mistakes”.   Why would the Clinton Foundation have to re-file its tax returns?

In plain English, a whole lot of questionable deals.  Included in the Clinton Foundation donations were $2.35 million in hidden contributions from Canadian executive Ian Telfer that the Clintons never disclosed—a violation of the Clintons’ agreement with the Obama administration that all foreign Clinton donations would be publicly disclosed.

“We will see a pattern of financial transactions involving the Clintons that occurred contemporaneous with favorable U.S. policy decisions benefiting those providing the funds,” Mr. Schweizer writes.

The book contains 57 pages of endnotes totaling over 600 primary sources and is taken seriously enough that members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee stated that they would review its findings.

Obviously, we don’t want foreign leaders buying our politicians and controlling our destiny.  So, it’s a major problem if foreign companies pay cash to the Clinton foundation at the same time they required the State Department (headed by Hillary Clinton) to approve their activities. That offense becomes even bigger when we discover that the Clintons did not publicly identify the donors, in violation of their memorandum of understanding with the Obama administration.  And even though Hillary agreed to reveal its contributors every year, it was reported that there were over a thousand undisclosed donors many of them foreign sources.  It all seems to crush the ethics, honesty and trust scales we should demand a politician be measured by, no matter what “party” they belong to at the moment.

Experts say that bribes have come a long way from the proverbial bag of cash exchanged under the table.  Author Peter Schweizer asks “So why should former president Bill Clinton bestow an air of international respectability on a backwater billionaire dictator with a treacherous human rights record?”  So, why did Hillary violate that memo of understanding with the Obama administration?  Why would the Clinton Foundation have to re-file its tax returns?

Simply put, the book indicates that Hillary Clinton was hiding foreign donations her foundation received from black hat wearing bad guys that occurred at the same time as State Department decisions benefiting them.  As far as re-filing tax returns, many violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) are originally discovered due to accounting violations, and the DOJ policies have identified “timely and voluntary disclosure of wrongdoing” as a key factor to be considered in deciding whether or not to prosecute a company or individual.  But many believe the DOJ is only a tool of the political elite, so our politicians may have their own exemption, let’s call it an unwritten “memorandum of understanding”.

The book describes many deals involving several countries.  They were long planned and well implemented abuses of position and power, especially when considering the fact that Hillary intentionally set up her own email system to avoid using the government email system our public servants should use to document their activities for our historical record.

The United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) are supposed to lead the international fight against corruption for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”).

The FCPA is applicable whenever a foreign company or national causes an act to be done within the territory of the United States by any person acting as the agent of that company or national.  The act became law in December 19, 1977 and was amended by the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988.  It introduced a “knowing standard” in order to find violations of the Act, encompassing “willful blindness” and “conscious disregard.”  (Maybe that’s why we hear politicians say they didn’t do anything “knowingly inappropriate”… And remember,… this discussion is only about a song titled “Knowing”.)

The law contains no monetary threshold; so even the smallest bribes are illegal. Under the terms of the FCPA, a bribe doesn’t actually need to be paid in order to violate the law. Rather, the FCPA prohibits the offer or promise to make a corrupt payment.

Government officials don’t need to demand a bribe directly in order to break the law created by FCPA.  Instead of demanding a bribe outright, a government official who is not a potential customer but exercises authority over a transaction may suggest that a particular third party be hired as a consultant, speaker or in some other capacity. Numerous enforcement actions have arisen from payments to third parties at the request of foreign government officials.

The FCPA imposes recordkeeping and internal control requirements that extend to a SEC reporting company’s foreign and domestic subsidiaries. For example, it is a violation for such a company to book as “consultant fees” money paid to a third party for other reasons, regardless of whether the funds actually can be traced to a foreign official.  Many FCPA enforcement actions brought by the SEC arise from accounting violations, not the bribery itself.

To minimize the risks posed by foreign bribery, people who run multinational organizations must have a clear understanding of the practices prohibited by the FCPA and other applicable laws, such as U.S. regulations against money laundering, racketeering, and conspiracy. Their legal advisors must also remain up to date on trends in enforcement (or they might be in very close communication with the decision makers within those agencies).  The people who run the organization must be able to recognize “red flags”—circumstances under which the risk of corrupt practices is high.  But all this doesn’t matter if those people are the ones who are corrupt and think they are beyond the law or in control of it.

Every crooked politician that gets away with abusing their position for financial gain makes it easier for the next.  They’ve learned how to use phony shell companies, front men, foundations, foreign entities; phony consulting fees, sham service contracts and a myriad of complex structures to enrich their lives at our expense, sometimes even while masquerading as charitable philanthropy.  They reverse their positions on key policies when it becomes financially lucrative to do so.  Politicians have deceived us and abused our trust too often.  How many times do we hear the excuse? “Well, the other guy did it too”.  The elite political class of criminal is really the worst class of criminal because it indiscriminately robs from so many, and for generations.

Our elected officials are learning how to lie and deceive us with new and improved techniques designed to enhance their risk / reward ratio.  Too many of our elected officials are not running for office to serve the public as “leaders”.  They have become expert “Deceivers”.  They count on our disinterest and our political party allegiance to supply cover for their corruption.  We are beginning to see multi term, multi generational dynasties of deceivers.  If we let these people repeatedly lie to us and deceive us, that is what they’ll do.  They will economically enrich themselves and economically deplete us in the process.  This is why corrupt third world banana republics can never improve the living conditions in their country until they eliminate the corruption in their own government.  It’s happening more and more, a little at a time.  Remember it.  Share it.  Help stop it.  Reject political liars and deceivers regardless of their political affiliation.  Reject the sponsors of media that is not diligent in their pursuit.  They are stealing from you and your children.  You know it.

We hope you enjoy the song “Knowing” and share it with a friend,..while you still can.

Click below to buy “Knowing”

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