Manic Monday

Well, Monday was quite the day, wasn’t it?

The Creepy Porn Lawer (CPL AKA Michael Avenatti) got himself indicted by the Southern District of New York for attempting to extort millions from Nike, on video no less. And he was indicted in Los Angeles a few minutes later for essentially stealing a client’s settlement. The IRS would also like to have a word with him. This is serious stuff. The Victory Girls have more.

Also, The Right Scoop adds that Mark Geragos, a long time CNN legal contributor, now fired, has been named a co-conspirator with CPL in the Nike case. Some of his other clients included Jussie Smollett, Colin Kaepernick, Michael Jackson, and Chris Brown. They make a good pair, I think.

CNN had a doubleplusungood day yesterday with this coming on top of being rendered totally not credible, maybe incredible is the word, by the report of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller.

But they are hardly alone in that, as The Federalist tells us.

After spending two years perpetuating allegations that President Trump colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election, news anchors were visibly shaken by the findings of Robert Mueller’s investigation.

From the time news broke on Friday that there would be no more forthcoming indictments from Mueller, to the revealing of Attorney General William Barr’s letter on Sunday exonerating Trump of collusion, cable news outlets were reckoning with their crumbling conspiracy theories in real time.

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Friday morning, host Mika Brzezinski became visibly confused as she read the breaking news off her teleprompter.

Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch of scumbags, in my opinion. Overdue, in fact.

The Federalist, who has done a lot of extremely good work on the whole Russia, Russia, Russia thing, especially Mollie Hemingway, also reminds us that the country itself has been damaged.

If our country is ever to recover from this mess, we can’t forget how we got here. Russians were attempting to hack both the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee in late 2015. Whether the DNC was ultimately hacked or suffered an internal leak, the truth remains that the DNC documents and emails obtained by WikiLeaks showed the entire country that Hillary Clinton, and those around her, were corrupt and would bend the rules (or worse) for power. There was never a real and fair contest between her and Bernie Sanders.

As soon as the Clinton campaign realized its misdeeds toward Bernie had been made public, they blamed Russia. They immediately began putting out a narrative that attempted to say Russia had acted to favor Trump, which included paying Fusion GPS—a notorious propaganda outfit with ties to loads of so-called journalists—to create ties between Trump and Russia.

Fusion GPS then hired a former British spy, Chris Steele, to boost their credibility. He used a different British guy with ties to the Kremlin, Edward Baumgartner, who employed unknown Russians to write a series of Word documents that alleged Trump-Russia collusion.

Meanwhile, Clinton stooge Cody Shearer wrote other documents that alleged Trump-Russia collusion, and Clinton stooge Sidney Blumenthal disseminated those documents into the Obama State Department with the help of would-be Clinton administration secretary of state Victoria Nuland. The State Department people then gave those documents to the FBI.

It turned out to be an excellent way to make people even more distrustful of a government grown over-large, and far too arrogant. It will echo for decades, at least. And it should.

Alan Dershowitz makes the point that Mueller’s report reads like a law school exam, telling us all sides, but never taking one. He’s supposed to be a prosecutor, not a law student. And that leaves it open to partisan wrangling and spinning from now to doomsday. I think he has a point.

Meanwhile, as the clock runs down on Brexit, my read is that the law says they leave at 11 pm this Friday unless a law changes that. But everybody in the UK seems to read it differently, and also differently than they do in Brussels. The more I read, the more confused I get, which of course, is the EU way. Good luck mates.

The Changing World Order

Sumantra Maitra opens his article in The Federalist this way…

Albert Einstein allegedly once said that it is the definition of insanity to do the same thing over and over again, and expect different results. Nothing reflects this more than the foreign policy communities in the two Anglosphere capitals in London and Washington, D.C.

The reactions to the speeches and trip of Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Europe signifies a long overdue change in foreign policy orthodoxy, and the meltdown in commentariat circles has been a sight to behold.

He then discusses a few of those reactions from people like Anne Applebaum, Nicholas Burns, and especially Natalie Nougayrede, all of whose arguments he describes as utter nonsense. He’s correct.

He’s correct because they are positing a situation that hasn’t existed since the early 90s if it ever did. Amongst other things Ms. Nougayrede explicitly tries to equate Europe with the EU, which is not what is to be seen on the ground.

The liberal foreign policy establishment is now so vehemently opposed to Trump that they have forgotten the countries in Europe currently opposed to American isolation were also the very same countries that once opposed American overreaction.

Back in 2003, Germany and France were at the forefront of protests against the United States opposing Iraq, and sided with Russia against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Fast forward a few years, and those same countries are arguing for Russian gas in Europe while moaning about American retrenchment. One might wonder if the only thing that will please Western Europeans is Americans silently continuing to carry the security burden of Europe, while being lectured about morality by their overlords in Brussels. Except that would be unsustainable in the long term, as Bob Gates predicted in 2011.

Many of you know that while I supported the invasion of Iraq, I am troubled. Not that it was not justified, it was, irrespective of WMD. What troubles me more than anything was that once again American (and British) forces were committed to battle with no plans to win the peace that followed their success. Too many instances of this phenomenon is one of the reasons that the American people are less and less willing to commit our troops to these endless wars.

As Professor Michael Desch said, for good or for bad, the United States does not have shared interests with a certain set of countries, or even a set of common values, the way it did 50 years back. Time has changed, geopolitics have changed, and with that, the balance of power is also changing. China is a far bigger threat to the United States than Russia is, and with the terrible cost of nation-building in the Middle East, the relative power of the United States is equilibrated with other powers.

But that’s pure geopolitics. There’s another far more important aspect that is barely mentioned, at least in policy circles. The U.S. grand strategy in Europe has been a continuation of the Anglo-American strategy for the last 500 years: to ensure there’s no unified political union that can be a potential hegemon in Europe, and thus pose any future challenge.

But that was predicated in the idea that nation-states of Europe would be free. The E.U. as an institution was there to help cement peace between Germany and France, but the E.U. as a trade/military hegemon was not part of that American calculation.

Of course, the E.U. military is nowhere comparable to that of the United States, regardless of the Franco-German wish for a European army. But the E.U. is already a trade rival, and E.U. and U.S. interests differ with regard to Russia, Iran, and China. None of those is going to go away anytime soon, and the rift could continue to grow.

I think that rift will continue to grow, and if the UK manages to leave the EU perhaps very quickly. The UK, like the US, and unlike any other European power is primarily a maritime power, known and respected around the world. Part of the reason both of us have always used that Westphalian settlement was to keep from having trouble in the back yard. Philip II of Spain, Napoleon, Hitler, and Stalin were all broken on it.

I think it entirely possible that the Visegrad countries will align with the US/UK, as will Poland, which has deep ties with both of us anyway. I’m no longer sure that defending Poland is any longer a strictly eastward facing matter though.

He ends his article with this paragraph, and I can’t improve on it.

Pence and Pompeo are correct in saying the world has changed and one should look at it as it is instead of how it ought to be. One can only hope the European heads of states, as well as our Anglo-American foreign policy establishment, understand this simple truth––that everything in life consists of a choice which leads to a consequence, and living under an American order or facing China and Russia on one’s own is a perfectly valid scenario.

Selling Out the British

This is quite remarkable, not to mention rather horrifying. What Theresa May’s government is doing in their negotiations is nothing less than selling the UK’s sovereignty to Brussels (and you can easily see Berlin’s hand running the puppet that is the EU.

Britain is, of course, the fourth or fifth largest economy in the world, depending on how you measure, and many believe it is the second most powerful country in the world, second only to the United States, and the only other one able to intervene anywhere around the world.

Amazing, isn’t it? The people voted clearly to leave the EU, and the government has used that as cover to give them a worse deal, a similar influence on how they do things, but without even the (mostly sham) vote. One could call it selling their sovereignty, but one would be wrong – they aren’t getting paid, well probably May and the Civil Service have some golden prospects for their treachery, but we don’t know that yet.

There is, of course, a backstory, of how it got that way. Peter Hitchens lays it out as clearly as I have seen.

Amazing story, isn’t it? I’m pretty much convinced that the overall point is true. I don’t agree with every point, although some of that may be my prejudices speaking, of course. Specifically, I do believe in the special relationship between the US and the UK, although I’m not sure the British really do. Still, overall, he makes an excellent case.

Little Boys Dream of Empire

So, last weekend a severe thunderstorm prevented the President from joining Macron and Merkel to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Great War. OK, if you say so!

Earlier the President of France had said that Europe needs to form a joint army to be able to resist Russia, China or even the US. That’s actually risible, Russia is a declining power, with an economy about the size of Italy, it punches above its weight, mostly because it reminds every one of the Soviet Union. China? Really, China’s halfway around the world, how are you and they gonna get your armies together, M le President? And why? And the US, huh? Ambitious little boy, aren’t you. Does that European Army you’re speaking of include the Luftwaffe’s 4 operational Typhoons? Does it depend on the French infantry that took a month to get to the Baltics?

In other words, it’s basically bullshit. It’s a little boy telling everyone how tough he is, how he can take on the world. France used to be like that, before 1805, since then it has been in decline. Germany too once was like that, When it was Europe had never-ending wars, in 1866, in 1870, in 1914, and in 1940.

Since 1945 there have been no wars in western Europe. Why? Because the United States is in charge. As an outside hegemon the US can keep control without it all flying apart, the day the last US trooper leaves, it’ll all start over again. Nobody at all in Europe wants to follow France, or Germany, perhaps not even Britain.

That of course, was planned, mostly by Britain, who ever since Napoleon had realized that a single European country dominating Europe, couldn’t be controlled from upsetting the world order by the maritime powers (first Britain, then Britain and America, now mostly America). Britain and America are basically free traders, we always have been, what wakes us up is when you start screwing with trade routes.

In fact, Lord Ismay, the first Secretary General of NATO is quoted as saying the purpose of NATO is to keep the Germans down, the Russians out and the Americans in.

The Europeans increasing like to play games, especially in the EU, and are indeed trying to transform that trading block into an Empire, and by no means a democratic one either. Worse really than Kaiser Wilhelm’s Second Reich.

They are trying to do it peacefully for a change, probably because the largest army in Europe (by quite a lot) is the US Army. Not only that but it is a highly experienced combat army that would likely take any European force apart in time for lunch. Exception: the British, who while painfully small these days, are the equal, in every way, of American troops. And a partial exception are the Eastern European forces, especially Poland’s who have been out seeing the elephant as well.

So while Macron, Merkel, and Drunker dream dreams of Empire, in the real world, they can perhaps, make some trouble, and get a bunch of people killed, but their dream of being Napoleon. Well, Sir Walter Raleigh said it as well as anyone,

For whosoever commands the sea commands the trade; whosoever commands the trade of the world commands the riches of the world, and consequently the world itself.

From Drake to Trump, that is the reality that Macron doesn’t want to deal with.

There were a couple of quite good Articles on this yesterday at The Federalist, they are:

Macron’s Call For A European Army Is An Obvious Bluff

and

Macron Is Picking A Fight With Trump Out Of Empty Arrogance

Russia, Russia, Russia, and Will Rogers

Bored yet with “Russia, Russia, Russia, and yes, some more Russia”? Yeah, me too. I’m not convinced it even matters much for Europe, let alone America. And that is pretty much what America thinks, too. From Bre Payton at The Federalist.

An overwhelming majority of Americans don’t think the ongoing probe into whether Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian officials to steal the presidency from Hillary Clinton is that important, according to a new Gallup poll. 

A record-breaking number of Americans (22 percent) think immigration is the most important problem facing the United States, while 19 percent say dissatisfaction with the U.S. government is the biggest problem and 7 percent think racism is the most important issue.

A combined total of 16 percent of Americans list unifying the country, lack of respect for one another, and the economy in general as the most important issues. The other issues that make it to the top of the list are health care (according to 3 percent of Americans), and ethics and morality (according to another 3 percent of those surveyed).

That’s about what I’d expect, sitting out here in flyover country. Nothing we’re hearing on the news (other than immigration, and that is slanted one way or another) really matters a damn to America and Americans. Here are the charts that Bre brought us.

And broken down by party:

 

In other words, not even 1% of us think its important, and yet, that is all the media and politicians (BIRM) have been bleating about for a week.

Well, Will Rogers wrote that

This country has gotten where it is in spite of politics, not by the aid of it. That we have carried as much political bunk as we have and still survived shows we are a super nation.

In any case, a good deal of what we are seeing is that the political, military, industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about, needs an enemy. But it doesn’t want one too big, that it might end up in a real war, you know like China, and Montenegro is obviously too small, but Russia is the Goldilocks of enemies, everybody knows who it is, and it is just the right size, and besides it used to be a fearsome enemy, until we defeated it, and left so many experts without anything to expert about.

Will Rogers was an excellent observer, so why don’t we take a look at a few more of his observations, such as:

[A] comedian can only last till he either takes himself serious or his audience takes him serious

Seems very appropriate these days, doesn’t it?

Or:

No party is as bad as its state and national leaders.

Or even:

Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.

Words to live by, all of those observations.

A Summit, Hysteria, and Bovine Excrement

Well, Putin and Trump had a meeting yesterday in Helsinki. Afterwards, Trump said some things that bothered the left. In other words, it was a day ending in Y. I wasn’t all that fond of them, either, really. But then, I never thought Trump was God and never made mistakes. Hannity is as good as anybody on it.

Frankly, I can’t decide whether the left’s goal is to destroy Trump at any cost whatsoever. Or maybe it is to destroy Russia for throwing the communists out, and the United States for winning the cold war. Or both. Apparently, they think a nuclear war is just the way to do that.

I can’t see any particular reason to trust the US Intelligence Community, all my life they’ve always been wrong, from Vietnam to the cold war (whose end they failed to see coming) to Iraq and Afghanistan. And that doesn’t even mention the crap they got up to in the last few years. Now they seem to be in bed with a faction that is at best committing sedition, coming very close to treason itself. On the other hand, there is absolutely no reason to trust the Russians.

So put your earplugs in, it ain’t gonna get much better. Personally, I think we need more streetlights on Constitution Ave, and a whole lot of ¾ in manila rope, yes, some assembly required. Not that anybody asked me. So take an even strain, the adults are in charge but keep your powder dry in any case.

In the meantime, Scott Adams and Dave Rubin.

And VDH on the FBI, Trump, and Russia.

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