Swamp Status: Rising, with Alligators

Are you enjoying watching the Democrats run around hysterically demanding investigations and impeachment of Donald Trump? I find it rather funny actually, not least because the sound and fury does signify something. It conceals a scandal. Not that it has anything to do with Trump, except that he might expose it. It belongs exclusively to Barack Obama and our intelligence community. Glenn Reynolds writes in USA Today.

In 1972, some employees of President Nixon’s re-election committee were caught when they broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters to plant a bug. This led to Nixon’s resignation and probably would have led to his felony prosecution had he not been pardoned by his successor, Gerald Ford.

But if a single bugging of the political opposition is enough to bring down a presidency — and maybe lead to an unprecedented criminal prosecution of a former president — then what are we to make of the recently unveiled Obama administration program of massively spying on political opponents in violation of clearly established law?

Because that’s what was unveiled last week.

When the FBI wants to wiretap a domestic suspect, it goes to court for a warrant. But when listening in on foreigners, the National Security Agency hoovers up a vast amount of stuff in bulk: Conversations between foreigners, conversations between Americans and foreigners, conversations between Americans who mention foreigners, and sometimes just plain old conversations between Americans.

There are supposed to be strict safeguards on who can access the information, on how it can be used and on protecting American citizens’ privacy — because the NSA is forbidden by law from engaging in domestic spying. These safeguards were ignored wholesale under the Obama administration, and to many Republicans, it is no coincidence that intelligence leaks damaged Democrats’ political opponents in the 2016 election. […]

A report from journalists John Solomon and Sara Carter last week, based on recently declassified documents, exposed what went on. As Solomon and Carter write:

More than 5%, or one out of every 20, searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards President Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa. …

The normally supportive court censured administration officials, saying that the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor,” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26.

The admitted violations undercut one of the primary defenses that the intelligence community and Obama officials have used in recent weeks to justify their snooping into incidental NSA intercepts about Americans. …  The American Civil Liberties Union said the newly disclosed violations are some of the most serious to ever be documented and strongly call into question the U.S. intelligence community’s ability to police itself and safeguard Americans’ privacy as guaranteed by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure.

As former anti-terrorism prosecutor and national security expert Andrew McCarthy writes in National Review, this is a very serious abuse. And potentially a crime. If such material were leaked to the press for political advantage, that’s another crime.

McCarthy observes: “Enabling of domestic spying, contemptuous disregard of court-ordered minimization procedures (procedures the Obama administration itself proposed, then violated), and unlawful disclosure of classified intelligence to feed a media campaign against political adversaries. Quite the Obama legacy.”

There is considerably more at the link. But the point Glenn makes, and I completely agree with is this: If this is even medium close to true, and everything I’ve read says it’s much closer than that, then we can no longer afford our intelligence agencies as they are presently constructed. They are a more clear and present danger to our freedom than our enemies.

What we are seeing in the press is no more and no less than a chimera, a smokescreen deployed to protect the guilty, and damage or destroy the innocent. There is very likely no misconduct whatsoever in the Trump administration, particularly at the White House level. But there is more than plenty in our intelligence agencies, sadly it is not designed to work to America’s benefit, but is directly opposed to her interests.

The members of the community that participated in this despicable scheme, from Obama on down need to be indicted, prosecuted and incarcerated, if proven guilty. Nothing else will suffice. That is the overriding mission entrusted to President Trump, and it is a huge one, against very vociferous opposition. Can he do it? I don’t know. Nor do I know if he has the guts for this mission, I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t. But maybe that why he is President and I am not. I hope so.

But he must, America itself depends on it.

Hat tip to John at PowerLine

Swamp Status: Undrained

Well, how about some videos on our problems?

or this

This, however, I do like quite a lot

If you’ve never visited our National Battlefield Parks, you really should. These are some of the places where our history was made. Names that ring down history, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Harper’s Ferry, Little Big Horn, and so many others. If your reflective in these places, you can almost still see the shades of the soldiers. And you know, it’s something uniquely American, nobody else has ever done this. It’s very moving and very cool.

Rep Nunes, Trump, and Russia

I think that’s the full version of the press conference, which is what I wanted because I don’t really trust anyone’s editing anymore.

This is my comment yesterday on a Brit blog whose author said they are seeing very little on it. I think it’s fairly close.

My best guess, from my reading (which I’m informed I do too much of, since I managed to cross names on Twitter) is that NSA and/or GCHQ slurp up nearly every electronic communication in the US. That was the point of that hugely expensive new installation in the west. What happened here, I think, is that somebody in the former administration ran one (or more) data searches specifically on Trump and/or his close supporters. The next stage was that Obama quietly authorized wide distribution of that information, and some/most/all of it was leaked, by what we’re currently calling the deep state, and the most supposedly damaging (to Trump) published to damage his administration.

Or something like that. Will we ever know? Maybe, maybe not. The Russians? Why would they favor Trump over a proven non-leader when he was fairly obviously going to revive American business, especially oil exploration and export to their detriment as well as reinvigorating the American military. Putin is simply another fall guy, I think. At least, that’s how I see it, after reading some of Nunes testimony. There are some really wild conjectures floating around, and while I don’t give them a lot of credence, in this “Alice in Wonderland” world, I won’t say they’re impossible either.

I have found Mollie Hemingway to be a pretty reliable source, here’s her take from The Federalist yesterday.

In the last three months of the Obama presidency, significant personal information from and about the Trump transition was collected and widely disseminated at intelligence agencies, according to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes.

Dozens of intelligence reports provided to Nunes by an unnamed whistleblower were floating around during the sensitive transition period following the election, he said. The information collection itself may have technically been legal, but the failure to properly mask the information “alarmed” the California congressman, who notified the White House of the surveillance and dissemination of information on Wednesday afternoon.

Many of the reporters present didn’t seem to grasp the significance of what Nunes revealed. You can — and should — watch that press conference here.

Nunes began his remarks by reiterating his Monday request that anyone with information on surveillance of Trump or his team come forward. “I also said while there was not a physical wiretap of Trump Tower, I was concerned that other surveillance activities were used against President Trump and his associates.” While Nunes’ earlier refutation of Trump’s wiretap claim received outsize attention by the media, his concern about other surveillance did not.

He then dropped the bombshell: “First, I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions, the intelligence community incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition. Second, details about U.S. persons associated with the incoming administration, details with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value, were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting. Third, I have confirmed that additional names of Trump transition team members were unmasked. Fourth and finally, I want to be clear, none of this surveillance was related to Russia or the investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team.” Again:

Ace did the bullet points for us.

1. “I briefed the president on the concerns I had concerning the incidental collection of data.”

2. The reports I was able to see did not have anything to do with the Russian ties investigation.

3. Reporter gets huffy and demands to know why he is briefing the president about this matter, as the reporter thinks Trump is a criminal and should not be told about the Legal Noose tightening around his gangster neck.

4. He answers that the reason is that from what he saw, the surveillance had nothing to do with the Russian investigation.

5. “Brings up a lot of concerns about whether things were properly minimized or not” (minimized = masking/redacting names of US citizens before disseminating)

6. “What I’ve read bothers me, and it should bother the President himself and his team, because some of it seems inappropiate.”

7. “It definitely goes beyond General Flynn.” “We don’t know how [that name] was picked up [collected, intercepted].”…

More at both links. Well, that what I think, and why I think it. I could easily be wrong, of course. We’ll just have to see. But if I am anywhere right, we have a major problem in the government, and we’d best start thinking how to fix it.

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.

Marching for Life, Trump, and May

What’s this, I hear, more videos? Well, yeah, they do something that my words about something can’t. And right now, things are moving so fast, I can’t keep up anyway. And that’s a very good thing! 🙂

We talked a bit about Mrs. May’s speech yesterday, here it is.

 

Here’s President Trump at the same event.

 

Pretty good speech, I think, and considerably more thoughtful than you’d expect.

In something more important than politics, yesterday was the 44th March for Life, and if nobody told you, we are winning. Abortions are now lower than they were in 1973 when Roe v Wade came down. I noticed that Trump was again effective, and the March got more coverage from the media than it usually does (none, even with half a million, or more people in the streets)!

Maybe someday, we will actually win, it begins to seem so. Here’s Kellyanne Conway

 

Catholic, Lutheran, Orthodox, Anglican, Evangelical, and even none, marching together to return to respecting the very first of our liberties: Life, itself.

And here’s VP Mike Pence.

It is time soon to end this desecration, killing the next generation. The Culture of Death must end.

Mrs. May Goes to Washington

3c82a8d800000578-4158088-image-a-4_1485387659636And so, Mrs. May is here. Came over yesterday, and will meet the President today. That’s as it should be, she’s first, the leader of our oldest friends, and strongest ally, and our cousins, so kind of a family reunion.

Last night she spoke at the Republican Congressional winter retreat, the first world leader to do so, for whatever that’s worth. So what did she say? Well, the £ Daily Mail says this is what she planned to say.

On a trip to America, the Prime Minister will say Brexit and the election of Donald Trump have given the two countries a chance to ‘rediscover’ their confidence.

Highlighting the achievements of the US and Britain in the past, Mrs May will say rebuilding the special relationship is of huge importance to the entire world in ‘this new age’, adding: ‘We have the opportunity to lead, together, again.’ […]

She will say that defence and security co-operation between Britain and the US directly, and also through Nato, is vital in countering Islamic State and trying to end the carnage in Syria.

She is also expected to make the case for an ambitious trade deal, which could lead to great ‘prosperity’ for both countries. Mr Trump has said he wants to strike a deal quickly.

The Prime Minister – who has insisted she is prepared to be ‘frank’ with President Trump in areas where they disagree – will make her firmest bid yet to turn him into a close ally. In a speech to the annual congressional Republican Retreat in Philadelphia tonight, she will say: ‘The United Kingdom is by instinct and history a great, global nation that recognises its responsibilities to the world.

‘And as we end our membership of the European Union – as the British people voted with determination and quiet resolve to do last year – we have the opportunity to reassert our belief in a confident, sovereign and global Britain, ready to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike. […]

‘The institutions upon which that world relies were so often conceived or inspired by our two nations working together.

The leadership provided by our two countries through the special relationship has done more than win wars and overcome adversity. It made the modern world.
Prime Minister, Theresa May

‘It is through our actions over many years, working together to defeat evil or to open up the world, that we have been able to fulfil the promise of those who first spoke of the special nature of the relationship between us.

‘The promise of freedom, liberty and the rights of man.’

via May tells Trump let’s lead the world together once again | Daily Mail Online

All very good, true, and even laudable. In fact, I, and many others have said the same things many times over the years. It sounds like it was a good rah-rah speech, as close as Mrs. May can get, and pretty good for a Vicar’s daughter, if not exactly Churchillian. But, dealing with Trump himself is going to be a bit more daunting, perhaps.

Kathy Gyngell writing  in The Conservative Woman this morning says this:

The Brits (or some of them) can be terribly sanctimonious snobs. Disapproval of Donald has reached epidemic proportions and distorted any sense of reality afflicting Right as well as Left. Some have taken heart from Theresa’s daring declaration that she “won’t be afraid” to tell Donald Trump if he says or does anything she feels is “unacceptable”.

Go for it, I hear their cry. No please don’t. Don’t listen to them, Mrs May. I hope you’ve left you shopping list of reprimands and policies to tick him off about behind. Just listen to what Team Trump has to say. Hard.

Good advice, that. So is this.

I can all too easily see Mrs May as a latter day feminist Major Barbara and Donald Trump as Andrew Undershaft, Major Barbara’s wealthy munitions manufacturer father. The parallel is obvious. Undershaft wins. Major Barbara’s moral vanity is exposed.

Remember when Undershaft donates his ‘tainted’ wealth to the Salvation Army, so outraged by it is Major Barbara that indignantly she mounts the moral high ground. At which her father berates her for making for herself, “… something that you call a morality or a religion or what not. It doesn’t fit the facts. Well, scrap it. Scrap it and get one that does fit. That is what is wrong with the world at present. It scraps its obsolete steam engines and dynamos; but it won’t scrap its old prejudices and its old moralities and its old religions and its old political constitutions. What’s the result? In machinery it does very well; but in morals and religion and politics it is working at a loss that brings it nearer bankruptcy every year.”

Read for morality and religion, feminism and contemporary Left liberal orthodoxies and sacred cows – the new religion of the bien pensant. Trump is trampling over the lot. He is primed to shock.

Mrs May has made  a good start with her defence of liberty and freedom speech to the Republicans. But the British media, led by the high and mighty BBC, is not going to like her ‘tacking’ right. Nor will they let up on the ‘values’ she should be projecting. How will the vicar’s daughter deal with torture as well as the reality TV star, the BBC will continue to keep needling her.

Laura Kuenssberg opined last night that she’ll have to tiptoe across a tightrope. No she won’t. Not if she accepts liberal Left ideology does not fit the facts and that this is what Donald Trump has made his quest to address. Understand that and she’ll have no problem speaking her mind or in winning his respect for her honesty, if not for her charisma.

If she tiptoes across that tightrope, she will fail. Donald Trump and most of America is basing the whole thing on reality, not ideology, especially not that of the left. Like most Americans, I care quite a lot for Britain, and want them to succeed, they are one of very few partners fit for purpose, and our shared history indicates that. But if Mrs. May listens to the Beeb, and much of Whitehall, she will fail.

And that would be a shame.

And yet, most Americans still believe what Harry Hopkins told Churchill in 1941:

“Whither thou goest I will go, and whither thou lodgest I will lodge. Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God,” he declared, dramatically adding, “even to the end.”

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