Trump, Comey, & What America Saw

VDH is one of my favorite writers. He’s not a casual read. Every word matters. He can pack more in a sentence more than most writers can in an entire paragraph. I’d call him a poet but he’s aim isn’t feeling or beauty, it’s water for a thirsty brain.

What follows is what matters since January 20th. Not the garbage the media has been feeding you. This. THIS is what matters. Had he included the unmasking scandal, this would be 100% comprehensive. As it is, it’s still a masterpiece.

Enjoy.


Beware of Narratives and Misinformation by Victor Davis Hanson
September 7, 2017 via National Review Online

Narratives surrounding the DNC hack & Antifa reveal media bias and government bureaucracy at their worst.

U.S. intelligence agencies said Russia was responsible for hacking Democratic National Committee e-mail accounts, leading to the publication of about 20,000 stolen e-mails on WikiLeaks.

But that finding was reportedly based largely on the DNC’s strange outsourcing of the investigation to a private cybersecurity firm. Rarely does the victim of a crime first hire a private investigator whose findings later form the basis of government conclusions.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is many things. But so far he has not been caught lying about the origin of the leaked documents that came into his hands. He has insisted for well over a year that the Russians did not provide him with the DNC e-mails.

When it was discovered that the e-mails had been compromised, then–DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz weirdly refused to allow forensic detectives from the FBI to examine the DNC server to probe the evidence of the theft. Why did the FBI accept that refusal?

That strange behavior was not as bizarre as Wasserman Schultz’s later frenzied efforts to protect her information-technology specialist, Imran Awan, from Capitol Police and FBI investigations. Both agencies were hot on Awan’s trail for unlawfully transferring secure data from government computers, and also for bank and federal-procurement fraud.

So far, the story of the DNC hack is not fully known, but it may eventually be revealed that it involves other actors beyond just the Russians.

There is not much left to the media myth of James Comey as dutiful FBI director, unjustly fired by a partisan and vindictive President Donald Trump. A closer look suggests that Comey may have been the most politicized, duplicitous, and out-of-control FBI director since J. Edgar Hoover.

During the 2016 election, Comey, quite improperly, was put into the role of prosecutor, judge, and jury in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server while she was secretary of state. That proved a disaster. Comey has admitted under oath to deliberately leaking his own notes — which were likely government property — to the media to prompt the appointment of a special counsel. That ploy worked like clockwork, and by a strange coincidence it soon resulted in the selection of his friend, former FBI director Robert Mueller.

Comey earlier had assured the public that his investigation of Clinton had shown no prosecutable wrongdoing (a judgment that in normal times would not be the FBI’s to make). It has since been disclosed that Comey offered that conclusion before he had even interviewed Clinton.

That inversion suggests that Comey had assumed that whatever he found out about Clinton would not change the reality that the Obama administration would probably drop the inquiry anyway — so Comey made the necessary ethical adjustments.

Comey was also less than truthful when he testified that there had been no internal FBI communications concerning the infamous meeting between Clinton’s husband, former president Bill Clinton, and then–attorney general Loretta Lynch on an airport tarmac. In fact, there was a trail of FBI discussion about that supposedly secret rendezvous.

Before he fired Comey, Trump drafted a letter outlining the source of his anger. But it seemed to have little to do with the obstruction of justice.

Instead, Trump’s anguished letter complained about Comey’s private assurances that the president was not under FBI investigation, which were offered at about the same time a winking-and-nodding Comey would not confirm that reality to the press, thus leaving the apparently deliberate impression that a compromised president was in legal jeopardy.

There is also a media fantasy about the Antifa street protesters. Few have criticized their systematic use of violence. But when in history have youths running through the streets decked out in black with masks, clubs, and shields acted nonviolently?

Antifa rioters in Charlottesville were praised by progressives for violently confronting a few dozen creepy white supremacists, Klansmen, and neo-Nazis. The supremacists were pathetic losers without any public or political support for their odious views, and they were condemned by both political parties. Yet Antifa’s use of violence was compared perversely by some progressives to American soldiers storming the beaches on D-Day.

Later, Antifa thuggery in Boston and Berkeley against free speech and against conservative groups without ties to white supremacists confirmed that the movement was fascistic in nature.

It was recently disclosed that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security had warned the Obama administration in 2016 that Antifa was a domestic terrorist organization that aimed to incite violence during street protests. That stark assessment and Antifa’s subsequent violence make the recent nonchalance of local police departments with regard to Antifa thuggery seem like an abject dereliction of duty.

Doubts about official narratives of the DNC leaks and the errant behavior of James Comey, and misinformation about the violent extremists of Antifa, illustrate media bias — not to mention entrenched government bureaucracies that are either incompetent, ethically compromised, or completely politicized.

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Trump Kids One Bomb Away From Being Pauper Millionaires

151208-trump-international-golf-club-dubai-uae-yh-1057a_ec9e63b88fdf23fa2207466ae2fb2340-nbcnews-ux-2880-1000

Trump International Golf Club Dubai

Why am I the only one talking about this? I haven’t seen a single pundit mention this:

Every property with “Trump” on it is now a target. Just one bomb blows up up one Trump property and Trump’s uninsurable. If Trump’s uninsurable, the value of his properties collapses. How? Trump will have to sell. Which makes him prey. What once was a $100M building becomes a $25M building because he has to sell it – fast. In fact, he has to sell all of them fast. And everyone will know it: Trump will know he can’t afford to have a second hotel full of employees/guests blown up, and the buyer will know Trump can’t afford to have another hotel of employees/guest blown up. It becomes an instant fire sale. And a literal one.

Trump’s kids will be mere pauper millionaires.

Think about it: You’re a terrorist. You and your merry band of jihadis know the Leader of the Free World owns the hotel within driving distance of the sh*thole you live in. You surround the place and make a call: “Release the Blind Sheik (or whatever) or we blow up 1,000 people and turn your gold-plated marble tower into rubble.”

Even the threat of it is enough. Even if our guys save the day and the bomb doesn’t go off that would do it. Fire sale ON.

Quite apart from the financial calamity for the Trump children, suddenly pauper millionaires, there’s the human calamity. How many thousands of people are kidnapping targets now? How many front desk clerks, maids, golf pros, hotel managers? Every single one of these people is now a target because their “boss” is the President.

I’m frankly stunned Trump’s insurers haven’t given him a little ring-a-dingy and said “Hey, uh, Mr. President-elect… About your policy… We’re thinking we may have to raise your premiums… A LOT.”

Maybe this phone call did happen and that’s why Trump’s press conference regarding the future of his company which was scheduled today was postponed indefinitely.

There’s every reason in the world for him to 100% divest, not the least of which is the ethical one, but really, the fiscal one is what would – and should – send a thrill up his leg: it’s 100% tax free! That’s right! There’s a law that says if you have to divest because you’re an elected official you don’t have to pay any taxes on the sale. Let’s say he would normally pay 39% on the sale. Does he expect the value of his holdings to increase more than 40% over the next 4-8 years? Hard to see how if he’s not going to make “any new deals” (which is what he tweet-promised yesterday).

SELL Mr. Trump. SELL. NOW. You’ll get a +40% return. And very likely save some lives. Sometimes doing the right thing can be profitable. This one of those times. Don’t throw it away with both hands.

Democrat Spook to Obama: WAKE UP

christian-muslim-symbolsChristians underwent their Reformation. It’s time Muslims do too. It’s time. Way past time. That’s what this Democrat intelligence official is saying here, in essence. It’s so obvious to me I’m sort of stunned more people don’t talk about it in those terms. Perhaps they’re afraid framing it in that way would lend oxygen to the Left’s whole “Crusade” accusation of the “radical Right.” Whatever. I’m tired of worrying about what the Left will say. [Bleep] ’em. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Say it plainly. We’re not a stupid people (mostly;). Our deep sense of fairness will more than make up for whatever stupid bubbles up. We’re good at fair, we Americans. We have a remarkably good sense of it. So let’s trust the people, hm?

You can read my excerpts below or the whole thing here.


I’m a Former CIA Officer and a Democrat. Here’s What Obama Still Doesn’t Get About Terrorism

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…Islam is a faith in crisis.
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President-elect Donald Trump’s chosen national security advisor, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, has tried explaining this — albeit in impolite terms — by saying that “Islam is a political ideology based on a religion.”
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Flynn’s poorly worded warning stems from experience, and he knows what happens when religious leaders take over governments. Women face widespread discrimination. Gay people are imprisoned or killed. Dancing, music and other forms of art are banned. And those who criticize Islam or convert to Christianity face prison or death.
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However, what causes the most alarm to national security experts is the Wahhabi objective of global conquest. Islamic State and Al Qaeda are terrorist groups built on Wahhabi ideology. They want to govern the world under sharia law, and they are more than willing to achieve their goals through force. Islamic State is known for beheading its victims or burning them alive. And as we saw in Columbus, they’re inspiring legions of supporters. …

The United States has also suffered the consequences of Islamist extremism and those inspired by the radical ideology. We remember San BernardinoBostonFt. HoodLittle RockGarlandChattanoogaFt. DixOrlando. Shanksville. New York. Washington.

Muslims have every right to sit at the American table if they support the Constitution. We should all proudly acknowledge brave women and men like my former CIA colleague who led our nation’s war on terrorism for more than 15 years; he’s Shiite Muslim. This officer — whom I can’t name because he’s still officially under cover— was ruthless in his hunt for radical killers, and he deserves a medal for his years of sacrifice.

Are we at war with the whole of Islam, or should we be? Of course not. But Islam is a faith in crisis, and to deny that certain strains of the religion are contributing to global instability is to deny reality.

After eight years as president, Obama still doesn’t understand that.

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Only His Hairdresser Knows For Sure

This is why the internet was invented. Right here. Not information disbursement. Not the betterment of humanity. Not for military purposes, which is why it was actually invented. No. It’s for side-by-side images like this that can unite the peoples of the world. In harmony. And beauty.

Hmm-hmm.😏

trump-bird-and-trump

Knowing as we do how the presidency ages you, we can only guess how he might handle it. To dye or not to dye? I mean… It looks like he already does (these Photoshop highlights notwithstanding). Donny’s vain. The presidency will not be kind to him. He may decline a second term just because it makes him look like sh*t. Then again, he thinks he looks fabulous right now.

Bonus? This Golden Pheasant was photographed at the Hangzhou Zoo in… ChYna.

If nothing else, watching the Trump years will be entertaining. It may be entertaining from the gulag, but it will be entertaining.

h/t Chinlingo

Orange is the New Black

red-eyes

“Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.”

Glenn Greenwald, hard-core progressive gay American ex-pat in Brazil is a relentlessly consistent warrior against the Imperial Executive and the abuse and encroachments on your privacy. We disagree on things, but on these things, he’s 100% right. His article, presented in full below, describes what we are facing.

Obama set a terrible precedent. The Orange King is about to get his hands on the IRS, the NSA, and God knows how many weaponized agencies. And since Trump is neither Republican nor Democrat merely… Trump, no-one is safe.

Good luck, America.


November 11, 2016 The Washington Post
“Trump Will Have Vast Powers. He Can Thank Democrats for Them”
by Glenn Greenwald

Liberals are understandably panicked about what Donald Trump can carry out. “We have a president-elect with authoritarian tendencies assuming a presidency that has never been more powerful ,” Franklin Foer wrote this past week in Slate. Trump will command not only a massive nuclear arsenal and the most robust military in history, but also the ability to wage numerous wars in secret and without congressional authorization; a ubiquitous system of electronic surveillance that can reach most forms of human communication and activity; and countless methods for shielding himself from judicial accountability, congressional oversight and the rule of law — exactly what the Constitution was created to prevent. Trump assumes the presidency “at the peak of its imperial powers,” as Foer put it.

Sen. Barack Obama certainly saw it that way when he first ran for president in 2008. Limiting executive-power abuses and protecting civil liberties were central themes of his campaign. The former law professor repeatedly railed against the Bush-Cheney template of vesting the president with unchecked authorities in the name of fighting terrorism or achieving other policy objectives. “This administration also puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide,” he said in 2007. Listing an array of controversial Bush-Cheney policies, from warrantless domestic surveillance to due-process-free investigations and imprisonment, he vowed: “We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers.”

Yet, beginning in his first month in office and continuing through today, Obama not only continued many of the most extreme executive-power policies he once condemned, but in many cases strengthened and extended them. His administration detained terrorism suspects without due process, proposed new frameworks to keep them locked up without trial, targeted thousands of individuals (including a U.S. citizen) for execution by drone, invoked secrecy doctrines to shield torture and eavesdropping programs from judicial review, and covertly expanded the nation’s mass electronic surveillance.

Blinded by the belief that Obama was too benevolent and benign to abuse his office, and drowning in partisan loyalties at the expense of political principles, Democrats consecrated this framework with their acquiescence and, often, their explicit approval. This is the unrestrained set of powers Trump will inherit. The president-elect frightens them, so they are now alarmed. But if they want to know whom to blame, they should look in the mirror.

Obama’s approach to executive power flipped so quickly and diametrically that’s it is impossible to say if he ever believed his campaign-era professions of restraint. As early as May 2009, Jack Goldsmith, a Justice Department official under George W. Bush, celebrated Obama’s abandonment of his promises to rein in these authorities, writing that “the new administration has copied most of the Bush program, has expanded some of it, and has narrowed only a bit.” He added that the “Obama practices will be much closer to late Bush practices than almost anyone expected in January 2009.”

By putting a prettier liberal face on these policies, and transforming them from a symbol of GOP radicalism into one of bipartisan security consensus, the president entrenched them as permanent fixtures of the American presidency. As Goldsmith put it, Obama’s actions were “designed to fortify the bulk of the Bush program for the long-run.”

Liberals vehemently denounced these abuses during the Bush presidency. From 2001 through 2008, Democrats called them the embodiment of tyranny, an existential threat to democracy, a menacing expression of right-wing radicalism. “America’s Constitution is in grave danger,” Al Gore warned in a widely praised 2006 speech on civil liberties. Bush had become “the central threat that the founders sought to nullify in the Constitution, an all-powerful executive, too reminiscent of the king from whom they had broken free.” In one 2007 poll, 57 percent of Democrats said they wanted the Guantanamo Bay prison camp to be closed.

But after Obama took office, many liberals often tolerated — and even praised — his aggressive assertions of executive authority. It is hard to overstate how complete the Democrats’ about-face on these questions was once their own leader controlled the levers of power. According to a 2012 Washington Post-ABC News poll, 53 percent of self-identified liberal Democrats and 67 percent of moderate or conservative ones now supported keeping Guantanamo Bay open. After just three years of the Obama presidency, liberals sanctioned a system that allowed the president to imprison people without any trial or an ounce of due process.

In fact, a new Democratic Party orthodoxy took hold under Obama: the right of a president to detain people, or even assassinate them, without charges or a whiff of judicial oversight. This included even American citizens. “We do not believe that [Anwar] al-Aulaqi’s U.S. citizenship imposes constitutional limitations that would preclude the contemplated lethal action” by the military or the CIA, a Justice Department memo proclaimed in 2010.

Democrats (who had bitterly complained in 2005 about mere eavesdropping without court approval) not only failed to contest this assassination program but ultimately expressed their support for it. “Fully 77 percent of liberal Democrats endorse the use of drones,” according to the write-up of that 2012 Post-ABC poll. Support drops “only somewhat when respondents are asked specifically about targeting American citizens living overseas, as was the case with Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni American killed in September in a drone strike in northern Yemen.”

This same dynamic — Democrats endorsing vast expansions of executive powers — repeated itself time and again, both within the national security realm and outside it. Obama issued numerous signing statements purporting to nullify legal obligations, invoked radical secrecy privileges to avoid lawsuits, eroded long-standing Miranda rights for terrorism suspects, waged a war in Libya even after Congress voted against its authorization and pioneered novel means of using executive orders to circumvent congressional (i.e. democratic) approval in a wide array of domestic policy arenas.

And of course, Obama aggressively expanded the system of mass surveillance, including on U.S. soil, that had been secretly implemented by the National Security Agency after 9/11. Once Edward Snowden showed the world what had been created, many Democrats became the leaders in protecting this spying system from meaningful limits, reform or oversight. When, in the immediate aftermath of the Snowden revelations, a bipartisan coalition of House members headed by Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Justin Amash (R-Mich.) sought to impose serious limits on the NSA’s domestic spying, the White House turned to then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to lead the successful effort to stop them.

Civil liberties advocates and proponents of limited executive authority tried everything they could think of to persuade and cajole Democrats to rediscover their concerns about these abuses and once again become allies in the battle to constrain government power. But those efforts were largely futile. Partisan loyalties easily subordinated any commitment to the principles that they had purported, in the Bush years, to support.

The problem such advocates encountered was the same one they’d faced during the Bush presidency when trying (and failing) to persuade putatively small-government conservatives to oppose these expansions of presidential power: namely, many people are perfectly content to have such authority vested in leaders they trust, and fear them only when a politician from the opposing party wields them.

As such, the tactic of last resort to induce Democrats and liberals to oppose such policies was to ask them to think about how, one day, these powers could be in the hands of someone other than a benevolent, kind-hearted, trustworthy progressive like Barack Obama. Instead, Democrats were urged, imagine that a right-wing authoritarian, or a lawless demagogue, or a petty, vindictive tyrant won the presidency and inherited the framework of unrestrained, unchecked powers that Republicans implemented and Democrats expanded.

That day has arrived. With Trump looming, there is much talk of uniting across ideological and partisan lines to impose meaningful limits on executive authority, and those efforts are justified. But, as progressives were repeatedly warned, a matrix of power that has been defended and legitimized for 15 years by both parties will be very difficult to uproot.

November 11, 2016 The Washington Post “Trump Will Have Vast Powers. He Can Thank Democrats for Them – Liberals liked executive authority as long as Obama wielded it. Now they’ve set a precedent.” by Glenn Greenwald “co-founder of The Intercept (which) led the NSA reporting that won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for The Guardian (UK).”

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