Mind the Gap

Paul Mirengoff over at PowerLine called my attention to something that has rather slipped under the radar for most of us.

 

Rachel Brand, the third highest ranking official in the Justice Department has resigned. She will become Walmart’s “Executive Vice President, Global Governance and Corporate Secretary.”

With Brand’s departure, here is what the top echelon of the Department of Justice looks like:

Attorney General – Jeff Sessions

Deputy Attorney General – Rod Rosenstein

Associate Attorney General – vacant

Solicitor General – Noel Francisco

Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division – vacant, nomination pending

Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division – vacant, nomination pending

Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division – vacant, nomination pending

Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division – vacant, nomination pending

Assistant Attorney General, Environmental Division – vacant, nomination pending

Assistant Attorney General, Tax Division – vacant

As a result of all these vacancies, Obama holdovers still exercise significant control over the Department. Indeed, Christian Adams argues that they “still run the show.” He writes:

Unfortunately, in important components of the Justice Department, the deep-state strategy of seeking to nullify the results of the 2016 election is being employed without garnering. . .much attention.

Consider the Justice Department Civil Rights Division, where a Senate-confirmed nominee for assistant attorney general has yet to be installed, 13 months into the administration. The Civil Rights Division wields enormous power over housing, banking, voting, police, education, immigration, employment, lending, prisons and more. . . .

Yet four Obama holdovers entirely sympathetic to the ideological agenda of the previous administration are still in absolute control of an entire layer of political oversight. There are four deputy assistant attorney general positions at the Civil Rights Division, and all are occupied by committed Obama holdovers.

(Emphasis added)

AG Sessions and President Trump have done their job, all but one of the nominees for the Assistant Attorney General slots, and done so many months ago.

So the problem is clearly in the Senate, Mitch McConnel bears full responsibility for one of the most important departments of government remaining under control of the Obama administration.

Frankly, whether it is true or not, and I think it is, it gives the appearance that the Republican Majority Leader of the United States Senate is colluding (see, I know the word!) with the Democrats against the Republican president elected by the people.

Time to get the people’s business done, Senator. Although the good people of Kentucky probably should have fired him long ago.

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Scandal of Silence

It’s always interesting, at least to me, what others see when they look at us, with all our kerfluffles, contretemps, and even the occasional very real scandal. Makes me grateful that they still have such expectations of us, after seeing how sordid our dirty laundry really is.

In any case, Melanie Phillips wrote Sunday about that House Memo that has so not been making the news, but we all know about anyway, and how horrible it sounds. Here’s Melanie filling in the cousins about it.

If you are in Britain and relying on the BBC and mainstream media for your information, you probably won’t know that a political scandal has been developing in the Washington swamp which has the potential to make Watergate look positively puny by comparison. You probably won’t know that what passes for the accepted wisdom about President Trump may be in the process of being turned on its head.

The reason there’s been no news coverage is that it suggests Trump has been not the instigator but the target of collusion – between the FBI, the Justice Department, the Democratic party and the Russians, first to prevent him from being elected US President and then to lever him out of office.

Last Thursday, some Republicans in Congress who had seen a secret memo, apparently compiled by House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes and fellow Republicans on the panel and which involved the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), were so disturbed by what it contained that they called for it to be made public immediately. They were not at liberty to divulge what it said, merely to express their concerns. But the assumption is that it supposedly contains evidence that the Obama administration made illegal use of FISA warrants to spy on both the Trump campaign and transition teams.

“The allegations contained in this important intelligence document”, Rep. Matt Gaetz told Fox TV, “go to the very foundations of our democracy. I am calling on our leadership to immediately hold a vote on the floor of the house to make public the key contents of this intelligence memo regarding the FBI, the Department of Justice and President Trump.”

According to Fox News contributor Sara Carter, the contents of the memo were so explosive “that it could end special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe once and for all”. Gaetz later told Sean Hannity’s show: “I believe people will go to jail.”

On Friday, Gaetz went further. “Our republic is in jeopardy if we allow this type of a palace coup environment to continue to persist… If we get this memo into the public square heads are going to roll at the FBI and the Department of Justice… What I’m worried about is that the cast of characters in the memo are not a group of people that are gone. Many of these people are still in our government. They still wield influence… It’s easy to see after reading this memo why Senator Grassley and why Senator Graham wanted to refer this matter for criminal prosecution. Laws were broken…”

By the way, if you were to ask me why I rarely listen to the BBC anymore, it is quite simple, it is simply another CNN, spouting the same fake news, designed to undermine the President of the United States as well as western civilization, and I don’t need it in stereo, or at all.

Think about that, denizens of the swamp perp walked in orange jumpsuits, what a wonderful, improbable vision. But it may be so, this is that big.

[…]Democrat Rep Adam Schiff has been pushing the same line. So shouldn’t this material be made public so that people can make up their own minds? Oh no, says Schiff, that would be a really bad idea “because the American people unfortunately don’t have the underlying materials and therefore they can’t see how distorted and misleading this document is”.

Never trust the people to think independently if you’re a Democrat, eh.

Yesterday, the Daily Caller featured this video interview with a former federal prosecutor, Joe diGenova. He brandished a document he said was now in the public domain but which the media had ignored. This was a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court decision on April 7 2017 which, he said, claimed there had been systematic violations of the law by the Obama Administration in a “brazen plot to exonerate Hillary Clinton” and “frame an incoming president with a false Russian conspiracy”.

“DiGenova condemned the FBI for working so closely with the controversial Fusion GPS, a political hit squad paid by the DNC and Clinton campaign to create and spread the discredited Steele dossier about President Donald Trump. Without a justifiable law enforcement or national security reason, he says, the FBI ‘created false facts so that they could get surveillance warrants. Those are all crimes.’ He adds, using official FISA-702 ‘queries’ and surveillance was done ‘to create a false case against a candidate, and then a president.’

“In this highly detailed video interview, he holds up an unreported April 2017 99-page FISA court opinion that ‘describes systematic and on-going violations of the law [by the FBI and their contractors using unauthorized disclosures of raw intelligence on Americans]. This is stunning stuff.’ ”

It’s stunning stuff, for many of us, the stuff of our worst nightmares, and time to take it out and examine it in the cold light of day.

But wait, there’s more!

Holy crap is there more. From Melanie’s post yesterday, which explains the unexplainable as best it may be explained.

Ok, this is all getting completely out of hand. Here are some more amazing developments in the Washington swamp of which you may be unaware if you rely on the mainstream media.

To recap. Last year saw revelations about FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page. The significance was this. Strzok, when deputy chief of counterintelligence, oversaw the Trump investigation when it was opened in July 2016 and had previously been a top investigator on the Clinton email probe.

Both Strzok and Page worked on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation until July 2017. Strzok was removed after the Justice Department’s inspector general discovered text messages he exchanged with Page with whom he was having an affair. In these exchanges, Strzok spoke insultingly about Trump. In another, he referred cryptically to an “insurance policy” that the FBI sought to take out in case Trump defeated Clinton in the election.

Now read on – and hold onto your jaw as it drops to the floor.

The Justice Department has told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in a letter that the FBI has LOST five months of email messages between the pair.

The letter states: “The Department wants to bring to your attention that the FBI’s technical system for retaining text messages sent and received on FBI mobile devices failed to preserve text messages for Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page.” he failure was put down to “misconfiguration issues related to rollouts, provisioning, and software upgrades that conflicted with the FBI’s collection capabilities. The result was that data that should have been automatically collected and retained for long-term storage and retrieval was not collected,

Pretty convenient, ain’t it, especially since the period they couldn’t manage to record the texts for is from December 14, 2016, to May 17, 2017. In other words from the date (approximately) of the Electoral College electing Trump until the very date, Mueller was appointed. Obviously a coincidence. Yeah right, there’s this bridge for sale up in Brooklyn.

We can’t prove it yet, but it is a coup, pure and simple. The evidence is out there, the internet is forever, as we all know, some of us to their sorrow. And as always, it is not so much the crime, as the cover-up.

Rope, Constitution Avenue lamposts, some assembly required.

Week in Pictures: Christmas Leftovers

Well, a lot of stuff has accumulated for week in pictures, that doesn’t really fit a category, so here are some leftovers.

In the X Ring – as always

From all over the place this week and I lost track. Have a good weekend and a Happy New Year.

Vegas

That’s from the White House moment of silence for the victims in Las Vegas. You can find a video of it if you want. It’s moving and appropriate. The video has a close-up near the end where Melania looks like she is about to cry, where the President looks sad and determined. Both are appropriate. Far more so than most of the reactions around the country or the world. As usual, I was watching British news yesterday morning, and the instant, insistent, and arrogant drumbeat for gun control angered me nearly as much as the massacre itself. It will be a long time before (if ever) I tune in again. From what I read the American media, and a good many politicians weren’t any better. It’s a time to mourn the dead, succour the wounded, and attempt to comfort the bereaved, then it will be time to see if we can figure out what happened, and what, if anything, we can do to prevent a  repeat.

I know essentially nothing. To me, it sounded too mechanical to be semi-automatic fire and too slow to be fully automatic fire. (Actually, it sounded like an old BAR). There are reports that he modified an AR 15 and/or an AK version to bump fire, or with a trigger device. Sounds about right to me. But there are reports out there supporting anything you want it to be. Nobody knows, but everybody is riding their hobbyhorses for all they’re worth. In sum, it is simply disgusting on all sides. Funny that of all of us, Donald Trump is nearly the only one to get it right.

I have little to add to that. In time we will know more, and perhaps there is a way we can make a repeat less likely. But it is also possible that, as Bill O’Reilly said yesterday, this is one of the prices we pay for freedom. Today, and as it was almost 250 years ago if so, it is worth it.

Eventually, the police will have more information for us,   as will the Federal agencies. The cause isn’t helped because they squandered their reputations one and all over the last few years, but that is where we are. God help us all.

God bless the victims, their family and friends, Las Vegas, and us all.

45 Finally

And so for the forty-fifth time, we in America will pass the presidency to a new man. That man is Donald Trump, it hasn’t mattered since 8 November whether you (or I) think that is the greatest thing ever or the worst. As I say so often, reality is real. He joins an uninterrupted line that stretches back to George Washington. That is, I believe the longest continuous government in the world, quite a record for a bunch of men who rebelled against the greatest empire in their world, and when they managed to win, designed a government from scratch.

This has been a divisive election, the whole world knows that, and there are a lot of what can only be called sore losers around. This too is nothing new. My friend, juwannadoright, wrote of another one, we both remember.

It was Inauguration Day, January 20, 1961 and I was very sad.  John Fitzgerald Kennedy was going to become President of the United States, succeeding Dwight David Eisenhower in that position.

My parents had both supported Richard M. Nixon in the 1960 election and were disappointed in its outcome.  Nevertheless, like most of those in the country, they accepted its results and hoped that the new president would be good for the country.  Kennedy’s election was not the source of my sadness.  It was that we were losing Eisenhower.

I never knew either of my grandfathers.  But when I watched Ike on our Dumont television, he always impressed me as the kind of person who, if I were able, I would adopt as my foster grandfather.  He impressed me as calm, reasoned and a person who had control of every situation using his extensive life experience as his guide.  I felt safe with him running the country.  That was true despite the fact that many of our public buildings hosted “Air Raid Shelter” signs on their facades and that we conducted regular air raid exercises at school.  The cold war with our recently former ally, the Soviet Union, was in full bloom.

The presidential election of 1960 had not been without controversy.  Nixon carried 26 states to Kennedy’s 22.  But Kennedy won the nationwide popular vote by slightly more than 118,00,  rather remarkable considering that at that time there were 17 million more voters registered as Democrats than there were Republicans.   Kennedy overwhelmingly won the electoral college garnering 303 votes to Nixon’s 219, a margin of victory not very dissimilar from the margin that Trump had over Clinton in the 2016 election.  Ten states were decided by fewer than ten thousand votes each.  It was the closest election since 1916 when incumbent President Woodrow Wilson defeated Supreme Court Justice Charles Evan Hughes.  Despite a number of state recounts affirming the results, there were those who considered Kennedy’s election “illegitimate.”

She’s right, I remember it too. My parents supported Kennedy, but I remember it was a bit reluctant. They were New Dealers, like so many that lived through the Dirty Thirties and the Second World War, but they were also staunch Protestants. They would never have thought of discriminating in their personal lives against Catholics, but the history of our churches would have entered their minds. But it didn’t work out all that badly, although Kennedy’s inexperience did end up costing America both life and treasure. That’s the way of the world.

Unless we’re very lucky, Trump’s experience may be similar. Obama’s certainly has been, compounded by his seeming inability to learn from his, let alone others, mistakes. There are rumors of protests, well, there usually are, although they are spiced this time with threats of violence. Protest, as always in America, is fine, Violence, as always, is beyond the pale, and no doubt will be met accordingly. And no matter what anyone says, this is not the most divisive time in our history, that was 1861-65, and I pray we never again see the like.

Ronald Reagan, in 1977, gave a speech that summarized many of the problems we face. He said.

But how much are we to blame for what has happened? Beginning with the traumatic experience of the Great Depression, we the people have turned more and more to government for answers that government has neither the right nor the capacity to provide. But government, as an institution, always tends to increase in size and power, not just this government—any government. It’s built-in. And so government attempted to provide the answers.

The result is a fourth branch added to the traditional three of executive, legislative, and judicial: a vast federal bureaucracy that’s now being imitated in too many states and too many cities, a bureaucracy of enormous power which determines policy to a greater extent than any of us realize, very possibly to a greater extent than our own elected representatives. And it can’t be removed from office by our votes.

Hat tip to Steven Hayward at Powerline for that.

That is indeed much of our problem, as it is for others as well. The bureaucrats, however necessary they may be, have grown out of control, of the President, of the Congress, and especially of the People. That is a problem we must solve, our very freedom depends on it. Steve in his upcoming book says this:

“That bureaucratic government is the partisan instrument of the Democratic Party is the most obvious, yet least remarked upon, trait of our time.”

He’s correct, and it would be just as pernicious if it were the Republicans. Somehow, a solution must be found. But not today.

Today is a day to reflect on what we have created and sustained in America. A land that started as a subsistence farming strip along the Atlantic ocean has transformed itself into a free land that is by quite a lot the most powerful country the world has ever seen.

Congratulations, Mr. President and may God bless you and the United States.

Whittle on the Election

Yeah, I was out all day yesterday, and so got caught short. So here’s Bill Whittle on the election.

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