Special Counsel

So, we have a Special Prosecutor Counsel. Isn’t that special, well we have it because there is a lot of smoke, not least to find out if there is a fire, swamp gas is burning off, too much grilling in the fog, or somebody bought some army surplus smoke generators and are manufacturing smoke. I think I may know, and so may you, but that doesn’t seem to matter. The farce must play out.

But I suspect it may not go the way the writer of the script thinks, former FBI Director Robert Mueller is fairly obviously well connected, that does not necessarily mean that he is dishonest. He’s also a former Marine Officer decorated for his service in Vietnam. One thing it will do is reduce the volume a bit, and let the Administration do a bit of administrating rather than running around like fools all day long. Well, one hopes anyway!

Best I’ve seen on it comes from Joshuapundit, here’s some…

Rosenstein may even have been told by Trump to appoint a special counsel. It puts this garbage on the back burner somewhat, and will hopefully shut it down. That’s because there’s nothing for Mueller to find on the president and no crime. But just look at Mueller’s actual brief! To supervise the investigation of:

“(i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and (ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and (iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. §600.4(a).”

Regulation 28 C.F.R. §600.4(a) is part of the federal regulations that authorize appointing a special counsel. It expands a special counsel’s jurisdiction to all crimes, such as perjury or obstruction of justice, that interfere with his original responsibility.To wit, (ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and (iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. §600.4(a).”

Think of the ground that could cover! It could definitely include investigating Seth Rich’s murder* and reopening the investigation of the Clinton Foundation that FBI Director Comey closed on Obama AG Loretta Lynch’s orders after she met will Bill Clinton on that plane. It could include compelling testimony from Loretta Lynch herself. It could expand to exploring President Obama’s surveillance of the Trump campaign by President Obama and the clear violations of FISA laws that took place. Imagine some of these juicy scandals coming to light just in time for the midterms…talk about a total reversal of fortune.

In any event, the supposed ‘Comey memo’ if it even exists amounts to hearsay evidence no judge would take seriously. And even if Trump suggested Comey ‘go easy on Flynn’ after he had been fired, that is not obstruction of justice. That crime involves actual overt actions like destroying evidence, perjury, inducing other people to commit perjury, you know, the sort of felonies the Clintons did routinely.

And recall that both ranking member Senators Feinstein (D-CA) and Richard Burr (R-NC),the chairman both said that Trump was not under investigation based on the classified briefing they were given.

Another thing to consider. Comey is a lawyer. As such, he is an officer of the court who is legally obligated to report a crime like obstruction of justice. Yet he did not…until now. That could be grounds for disbarment.

Do read it all at the link above.

Who knows, Special Counsels are official loose cannon, nobody (usually including them) know where an investigation like this is likely to go, and that’s if the Counsel (and staff) are honest. It may be the worst thing Trump could do, it may also be the best, only time will tell.

Lafayette, nous voilà!

Crowds cheer US general John Pershing in Paris in 1917 as it is announced that America will join the conflict Photo: GETTY

Today is an anniversary, for a hundred years ago today, 6 April 1917, the United States declared war on Imperial Germany. This marked our entrance into what was called until at least 1940, The Great War. But more it marks the beginning of what has come to be called the American century.

The title of the piece is what General Pershing is supposed to have said later that summer when amidst the adoring French crowd, he stood at Marquis de Lafayette’s grave. More likely it was his aide Charles E. Stanton. It marks the point when the Republic for the first time raised its standard for the freedom of other people rather than directly for Americans.

Winston Churchill said that the Great War and World War II constituted another Thirty Years war. He has a point, but others contend that the two wars and the Cold War constitute what they like to call “The Long War”. That too has merit, for all of these conflicts, spanning around 75 years, constitute an almost constant conflict to keep Europe free. One could argue that it still continues.

For those of us that read history, two (or more) wars this close together tend to be interesting. We can trace the junior leaders of one, as the senior commanders of the next. General Marshal was on Pershing’s staff, General Patton led the first armored force in American history, General MacArthur commanded an Infantry Division. One of the pictures I’ve carried in my mind for years is one I cannot find, it showed MacArthur and Patton standing erect in no man’s land conferring with each other. One can almost hear Bill Mauldin yelling back from World War Two, telling then to lie down, they’re likely to draw fire and get somebody hurt! We saw the same thing with Captain Grant and Colonel Lee (and many others) in the Mexican War.

So many things come from the Great War. Phrases such as “Over the Top”, which referred to mounting an attack out of the trenches, and the western revulsion towards chemical weapons. This was when the Marines got their sobriquet of Devil Dogs, bestowed by the Emperor of Germany, Kaiser Bill, himself, which is why we often write it Teufel Hunden. It is also when Belleau Wood lost its name, it is now  “Bois de la Brigade de Marine“, in honor of the 5th and 6th Regiments of Marines. You can read about it here, even if a then obscure Army Artillery captain thought the damned Marines got entirely too much publicity, That captain was Harry Truman.

Here is the first glimmering of American air power, first in the Lafayette Escadrille, and later in the Air Service, which would grow and in 1948 turn into the United States Air Force.

This is when the First Infantry Division became the “Rock of the Marne”. And on and on. And yet we don’t really study this war much. We were heavily involved but not for all that long, and our casualties were pretty low by the standards of the other participants. It also fits between the two biggest wars in American history, our Civil War and World War II, in both of which we had a much more major role, although one tends to think we were decisive in winning the first war as well.

But the results were decisive, indeed. When we entered the war, Britain was nearly starving, and the financial center of the world had moved from London to New York. France was worn out, Russia was making a separate peace. We didn’t win the peace though, the European allies forced through a victor’s peace on Germany, which would nearly guarantee the rematch. The solution of the end of the Ottoman Empire in the middle east has repercussions to this day, China was unhappy that Japan got some territory from it at Versaille.

This war marks the point where America assumed the leadership of what we call the Free World and started Europe on the downward slope we still see today. It may be a causal factor, because of the casualties that the Europeans incurred, especially in the young leaders.

As early as the fall of 1914, Germany simply couldn’t afford to lose, but they couldn’t win either. France and Britain weren’t in much better shape, only America was left to influence the outcome, just as in 1941, although it is close to risible to claim that Britain and France were actually fighting for democracy, although they were probably closer to it than Germany was. But, you know, both did become much more democratic because of the war, even if it was an unintended consequence.

A hundred years ago, today, we can see the first vague outline of the world we live in today, the one that America built on the shoulders of the British Empire.

Today was the day that Congress sent the word, and that word changed the world.

Very good article here in the £ Telegraph

 

The Pony in the Manure

Clarice Feldman at American Thinker has an article up summarizing the mess regarding the intelligence community. It’s a good one. If you care about America and/or the world, I’d advise you to read it, and try to understand it as well. Here’s a bit

There’s so much in print and online about the House and Senate intelligence committees and Russian “collusion” with Trump that I can’t blame people with real lives to lead who just throw their hands up and garden or go hiking. Some will assume there’s got to be a pony in there somewhere, as Ronald Reagan used to joke about the kid digging through manure. I think there is, but it isn’t that Russia corrupted the 2016 election, it’s that Obama and his closest aides, including some at the highest level in the intelligence community, illegally intercepted one or more Republican candidates’ communications before the election, circulated them widely to their cohorts and then tried to use this information to defeat and later to hamstring Trump when Hillary — to their surprise — lost the election.

I also suspect that the attacks on Flynn have nothing to do with his Russian contacts which he disclosed, but, rather, to misdeeds respecting the Middle East, particularly Iran, the country he observed as Obama’s head of the DIA.

The Surveillance and “Unmasking” of Trump and his Associates 

We learned this week that surveillance of Trump began long before he was the Republican nominee, and that the names in the intercepted communications were “unmasked” — that is, identified by name or context — by someone high up in the intelligence community.

In addition, citizens affiliated with Trump’s team who were unmasked were not associated with any intelligence about Russia or other foreign intelligence, sources confirmed. The initial unmasking led to other surveillance, which led to other private citizens being wrongly unmasked, sources said.

“Unmasking is not unprecedented, but unmasking for political purposes… specifically of Trump transition team members… is highly suspect and questionable,” an intelligence source told Fox News. “Opposition by some in the intelligence agencies who were very connected to the Obama and Clinton teams was strong. After Trump was elected, they decided they were going to ruin his presidency by picking them off one by one.”

Nunes and Surveillance Reports

The best summation of this week’s distraction — respecting chairman of the House intelligence committee, Devin Nunes — is Victor Davis Hanson’s which I urge those of you interested to read in its entirety. [I do too, Neo]

First, the central question remains who leaked what classified information for what reasons; second, since when is it improper or even unwise for an apprehensive intelligence official to bring information of some importance to the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee for external review — in a climate of endemic distrust of all intelligence agencies?[snip] Nunes also said that the surveillance shown to him “was essentially a lot of information on the President-elect and his transition team and what they were doing.” Further, he suggested that the surveillance may have involved high-level Obama officials. When a reporter at Nunes’ second March 22 press conference asked, “Can you rule out the possibility that senior Obama-administration officials were involved in this?” Nunes replied, “No, we cannot.” Ipso facto these are startling disclosures of historical proportions — if true, of an anti-constitutional magnitude comparable to Watergate. Given the stakes, we should expect hysteria to follow, and it has followed. [snip]

Some notion of such intrigue, or rather the former nexus between Congress, the Obama administration, the intelligence agencies, and the monitoring of incoming Trump officials, was inadvertently disclosed recently by former Obama-administration Department of Defense deputy assistant secretary and current MSNBC commentator Evelyn Farkas. In an interview that originally aired on March 2 and that was reported on this week by Fox, Farkas seemed to brag on air about her own efforts scrambling to release information on the incoming Trump team’s purported talks with the Russians. Farkas’s revelation might put into context the eleventh-hour Obama effort to more widely disseminate intelligence findings among officials, one that followed even earlier attempts to broaden access to Obama-administration surveillance.

She goes on to specify at least most of the major players and their roles. Do read it, it’s the best rational guidebook to this that I have seen.

Nor do I have much to add except that in my experience, the only reason to overcomplicate and obfuscate almost anything is to avoid responsibility and blame. That what this whole thing reeks of. From the intelligence community, especially CIA, FBI, and NSA, from Clinton, Inc, far beyond the campaign, and from the news media, but then I threepeat myself, for they are all interlocked in so many hidden ways. And as a bit of an aside, this is far more important than any scandal in my lifetime, including Watergate.

Time to muck out the stable, and see if the pony really is there. Nothing really new here, though, Sir Walter Scott observed back around 1808

Oh what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive.

McCarthyism of the Left

It might have been better English if I had said ‘on the Left’, but it wouldn’t be correct. It has become inherent to the Left, an organic part of it, like the riots at the drop of a hat, the general contempt for truth, and an inability to differentiate between good and evil.

In any case, when Ooobie talks, I have learned to listen, one she nearly always right, not least because she knows whereof she speaks. And besides, she’s been there, and knows people who still are.

Joe McCarthy only found 205 spies in the State Department. Imagine that, and all the hysteria surrounding the claim. Quite recently, nine hundred State Department “professionals” signed a dissent channel message that was pretty clearly coordinated with the media for maximum impact. It was an act of political defiance against the president and his supporters among the US public.

But onward to other traitors. There are of late a few serious commentators who are trying to focus public attention on the swelling sociopathic intolerance in the US. This McCarthyism is exercised in its current incarnation by the left, not the right, which only goes to prove the dictum that the extreme left and extreme right are identical in all ugly essentials. Such experts in Russian and US-Russian affairs as Dr. Stephen F. Cohen of NYU are trying to call attention to the dangers of this intolerance, which is expressed in ostracism of and sometimes violence against anybody not on board with the meme that Russia is an enemy of America. They are trying to swamp the airwaves with the idea that Russia in collusion with Trump was responsible for Hillary Clinton’s appalling loss. Cohen disarticulates their allegations brilliantly in his discourses, but the bottom line is: no evidence to prove charges that appear to be politically motivated. He sees the relentless campaign of half-truths and lies as destructive of US-Russian relations and an effort to impede any improvement. He concludes that these goals are part of the Democrat game plan. I myself have never experienced such a wave of hysteria among a public agitated by the propagandists (hence agit-prop). Obama calls these people community organizers and sees himself as the King of All Community Organizers. Their goal: to deliberately undermine the government and remove the sitting president from office. To replace said president with a nominee of the Deep State and its financiers.

In their battle to take the White House, the left long ago sacrificed truth. Truth is whatever serves their crusade for permanent power and global socialism. The Russian card was planted before the Obama Administration left the premises, likely as an ace in the hole, a tasty bit of blackmail against what the planters thought would be be a Republican minority. When the US voters shafted the Democrat party, the Russia ploy took on major importance as a red herring leading the public to focus not on the corrupt Dems and their corrupt candidate as the cause of defeat, but on a treacherous Trump somehow in bed with the Russians. The Dems operate on nearly one hundred percent supposition and assumption. Recall that the first document to kick off the campaign, surfaced by Deep State agent John Brennan, was an “intelligence assessment,” shorthand for this is a result of brain-storming without actual evidence or only bits and bobs of evidence. (See “Intelligence Assessment and Unpredictability” at https://sourcesandmethods.blogspot.com/2014/04/intelligence-assessment-and.html). A few members of the intelligence community came out and gave their blessings to the story, although not all were equally enthusiastic about it. And nobody offered evidence, instead falling back on the old trust us. Long time intel folks were certainly not convinced, no doubt remembering story lines from the past. And our professional diplomats such as Jack Matlock and political ambassadors such as the anti-Putin Michael McFaul are not convinced either. They and the rest of us in this vast field of “Russology” don’t think the Russians are amateurs who leave giant clues around to track their activity. Our own government doesn’t leave tracks, either, and you can ask Angela Merkel about that. So unless we get something substantive as proof, we have to hold onto our doubts.

via McCarthyism Lives | Ooobie on Everything

Keep reading at the link, cause I have little to add except that I think she is correct.

Are We at War with Eastasia Yet?

russian-dressingIn National Review, Victor Davis Hanson writes,

The Western world is having a breakdown. The symptoms are the recent rise of socialist Bernie Sanders, Trump’s election, the Brexit vote, and the spread of anti–European Union parties across Europe.

But these are desperate folk remedies, not the cause of the disease itself.

The malady instead stems from our false notion of elitism. The public no longer believes that privilege and influence should be predicated on titles, brands, and buzz, rather than on demonstrable knowledge and proven character. The idea that brilliance can be manifested in trade skills or retail sales, or courage expressed by dealing with the hardship of factory work, or character found on an Indiana farm, is foreign to the Washington Beltway, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley.

Instead, 21st-century repute is accrued from the false gods of the right zip code, high income, proper social circles, and media exposure, rather than from a demonstrable record of moral or intellectual excellence.

In 1828, the wild and unruly Andrew Jackson was elected president because the rapidly expanding country had tired of the pretenses of an exhausted elite of tidewater and New England mediocrities.

The hollow, tiny coastal establishment of the 1820s perpetuated the ancestry and background of the great but all-but-disappeared Founding Fathers such as George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe. Yet otherwise, the Founders’ lesser successors had not earned the status they had assumed from their betters. The outsider Jackson won by exposing their pretenses.

I think he pretty much nails it here. Do read it all (link above).

Andy Jackson’s election pretty much blew up the comfortable old order based in New England and Virginia in favor of the Old Northwest and the Old Southwest. It set the stage for the huge boom of the United States in the nineteenth century. Could we be seeing the same thing with Donald Trump? Maybe. But this old order that VDH described above is different.

Dymphna over at The Gates of Vienna found a fairly old video from Bill Moyers. Most of you know who he is, he was JFK’s press secretary and went on to a career at PBS (mostly). He’s not one of my favorite people, but while he’s liberal (very, in fact) he’s also an honest man, and I’m pretty sure he loves America. One of the few honest and honorable liberals left. He did an interview with Mike Lofgren, who wrote about the Deep State in 2013, in The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted. Then in 2016, he wrote about it again: The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government. Pay attention to this video.

Pretty amazing isn’t it? And yes, I think this is almost exactly what we’re seeing the president battle. Will he win? Maybe, it’s going to be tough. It’s also critical, I think, that he does.

Bookworm said this the other day

Back in the late 1980s, when I was a young lawyer, a Democrat, and fancied myself as an intellectual sophisticate, I went several times to CFR luncheon talks. Eventually, though, I stopped going because they didn’t make sense.

You see, even though I called myself a Democrat, I was always essentially conservative. I resented the anti-Israel tenor of the talks. Moreover, knowing European history as I did, I found ridiculous the claim that Europe could be smoothed into a vast federal entity akin to the United States of America.

The CFR did have an underlying agenda that sounded like a non-starter to me: It was to have a world governed by people all drawn from the same mindset. CFR speakers weren’t envisioning one world government under the UN, or anything apocalyptic like that (although I already loathed the UN’s antisemitism back then).

No, they just imagined a world in which the German leader and the British leader and the American leader and the Greek leader and all the other leaders would be drawn from the same intellectual pool: All these countries would be sort-of democracies. That is, the people would ostensibly have the vote, but the governing would be done by small cadres of really smart people who weren’t actually responsive to the voters.

She’s right. But remember this, it’s not really a conspiracy so much as it’s a consensus of people who grew up together went to the same schools, worked for the same companies doing the same sorts of jobs, rotated into the same prestigious (in their minds, at least) government jobs, and/or reported on all this. I suspect many of them have never been out of the Acela corridor, except to fly out to Frisco and Silicon Valley. Well, that ain’t my America, and I doubt it’s yours.

As an aside, our British cousins have much the same problem with the Westminster bubble, including the City of London, vis a vis the rest of the kingdom. Maybe Mrs. May is the solution, but only if she can escape much of her adult life.

Book also says this about the following video, and yes, I agree with her about that, but he makes some useful points.

All of which is to say that you need to watch this video, even if some of the conspiracy language that crops up about halfway through makes you feel a little slimed:

Ace said this the other day, and as usual, he is correct.

As Hillary Clinton once said about the staffers of the White House Travel Office: “I want their people out and our people in.

Competent establishments are not deposed — because they’re competent. They are nimble, react well to changing circumstances and growing discontent, and tweak their course to maintain their power and authority.

Only incompetent establishments provoke a rebellion.

And competent establishments are not surprised by rebellions, either. They see them coming, and head them off by co-optation and adaptation.

The very fact that these cretins are still surprised by all this — still surprised! Four months after the fact! — shows them to be incompetent, and not nearly so clever as they flatter themselves.

Competent, smart establishments are not surprised by the long-brewing and obvious, and competent, sane establishments have already begun processing the new information they’ve been presented with just weeks after it’s been presented.

Yup. Elite (in their own minds, if any) and incompetent to boot. Hell of a way to go through life, but that’s what living in a bubble of unreality does to you.

Soopermexican over at The Right Scoop has a bit to add as well.

The Guardian reported on the first wiretap request in January:

The Guardian has learned that the FBI applied for a warrant from the foreign intelligence surveillance (Fisa) court over the summer in order to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials. The Fisa court turned down the application asking FBI counter-intelligence investigators to narrow its focus. According to one report, the FBI was finally granted a warrant in October, but that has not been confirmed, and it is not clear whether any warrant led to a full investigation.

They linked to this report from Heat Street, from November:

screen-shot-2017-03-04-at-7-08-14-am

Mark Levin put all the pieces together in a segment on his radio show we posted yesterday. You can listen to it here. 

Follow those links, especially that one to Mark Levin. That will tell you just how out of control the jackwagons have gotten.

As Dymphna said in her title, it’s time for Finding the Right Bums to Throw Out.

Less than a Fortnight

trump-putin-1024We haven’t said much here about Russia. There’s a reason for that. The Adaptive Curmudgeon (wonderful name, BTW) spells out that reason for us and for you.

Nobody regrets this advice:

“If you’re doing a dumb, dangerous thing for a bad reason, or aren’t really clear on the reason… stop it.”

Reasonable people can (and should) reasonably disagree. The proper foreign policy of America, a nation of 300+ million people, is certain to create an array of options and folks will flock to various points on a spectrum. Fine, I get it. It’s all a complex mosaic, blah blah blah.

That said, whatever interests seem to be converging right now on the “antagonize Russia” gambit… please stop. Whatever game you think you’re playing; it’s not worth it.

It’s unwise. Russia is the big leagues. No matter how much you’re cheesed off that the future president lacks a vagina, has bad hair, or doesn’t like Obamacare… it’s not worth going large.

via Eleven Days | Adaptive Curmudgeon Read the whole thing, comments too. That’s something often overlooked. We who write blog posts don’t cover everything, you can learn a lot from our various commenters.

Yeah, mucking about seriously with Russia is just about the most stupid thing we can do. That’s why for the last 50 or so years, we haven’t made a lot of noise about them interfering in all sorts of things. Anybody really think, for example, that the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) was a British grassroots outfit? Yeah, me neither. Some bears are best to let lie and sleep. This is decidedly one of them.

The saving grace is, of course, that Putin and Trump are sane, and have little desire to take each other on. That’s great, but it makes me question just what this noise is all about. I often wonder if one of AC’s commenters is right here.

I would only note that President Putin believes in Russia as an independent sovereign nation, and thinks that Western culture is worth preserving.

President Trump also believes in the United States as an independent sovereign nation, and also thinks that Western culture is worth preserving.

Those who are poking the Russian bear do NOT believe in either Russia nor the United States as sovereign independent nations, and are doing their best to destroy Western culture.

The first two paragraphs are givens, I think, and I’m not entirely sure that the third isn’t true as well, noting as the commenter did, that neither of us means the Democratic Party exclusively, there are lots of Republicans involved as well.

In any case, pushing (or trying to) Russia around is a fool’s bet, just as it is with the United States. I think we’ll give AC the last word here, cause I can’t do better, and he deserves it.

We’re both nations of genuine bad asses and we shouldn’t be getting in barroom spats. Doubt me? Ask Napoleon about messing with Russia. Ask Japan about messing with America. We’re both big and slow and goofy but we can both land a punch like no other. Nothing that happened in 2016 merits antagonism.

%d bloggers like this: