The depth of the swamp

A few items for your reading attention today, each of which illustrate how deeply the rot goes in our current system:

1)Just How Corrupt is the FBI?”

At least three members of the Russia probe: Robert Mueller himself, attorney Andrew Weissmann and Agent Peter Strzok all have very clear conflicts of interest in this matter and/or histories of abuse of power.  One of the latest examples:

As reported by Fox News, FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok changed Director Comey’s earlier draft of the announcement that exonerated Ms. Clinton. He switched it from “grossly negligent,” which is the language in the criminal statute pertaining to the mishandling of classified material, to simply “extremely careless,” essentially getting Ms. Clinton out of criminal jeopardy. Agent Strzok also interviewed Ms. Clinton without recording the session after Mr. Comey was apparently planning to exonerate her. He was fired by Mueller presumably when Mr. Strzok’s anti-Trump emails to a fellow FBI colleague, lawyer, and lover, Lisa Page, came to his attention. Are we having fun yet? It only gets better…

2) Obama’s email involvement tanked the Clinton investigation

I noticed it when this first became public more than a year ago, but perhaps unsurprisingly very little attention has been focused on it: President Obama sent and received emails with Hillary Clinton via the insecure private server over which she demonstrably conducted classified business.  Obama did so using a pseudonym, which seems to indicate he knew this system was likely not on the up and up.

Bottom line: no conviction of Clinton and Huma Abedin for willful mishandling national security information could have been obtained without implicating the president himself.  This likely explains why the Clinton “investigation” and subsequent Russia probe were assigned to some of the most partisan members of what should be a politically neutral FBI.

3) Andrew Weissmann, as noted in some of the links above, heaped praise on then-Attorney General Sally Yates, who early in the Trump administration publicly refused to defend the administration’s new travel restrictions intended to enhance border security. (Trump rightfully fired her.)  Weissmann is now one of Robert Mueller’s senior advisors on the “Russia probe.”  (But I’m sure he’s objective…)  Additionally, it’s been learned that while the courts correctly ruled Trump had the authority to appoint the new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a number of employees at said agency consider themselves “resistors,” taking the childish name “Dumbledore’s Army.”  Their intent, it seems, is to thwart the new leadership any way they can.  Were I Mick Mulvaney, I would try to identify every employee who considered themselves part of this group — and fire them immediately.

The entrenched bureaucracy is determined there will be no deep and lasting changes under Trump.  How that struggle goes will define his presidency.  The stakes? Powerline’s John Hinderaker put it best:

The most powerful branch of today’s government is the Fourth: the permanent federal bureaucracy that is nowhere mentioned in the Constitution. The Trump administration can best be viewed, perhaps, as a struggle to the death between American voters and the federal employees who are paid to serve them.

 

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A poor substitute for accountability

Today, 1,632 days after Lois Lerner planted a question with a reporter to head off an Inspector General report by revealing the Infernal Internal Revenue Service had discriminated against Tea Party-related groups seeking non-profit status, the government announced the IRS has issued an apology for improper behavior, and will pay out a settlement to the groups estimated at a total of $3.5 million.

No employees were fined, imprisoned, or otherwise inconvenienced as a result of their rogue agency undermining the electoral process in a blatantly partisan effort to help the re-election of Barack Obama in 2012.  The American taxpayer, however, is now on the hook for $3.5 million due to criminal activity by “public servants.”  (Where did you THINK the settlement money comes from?)

This is justice??

Some may take issue with my statement that nobody was inconvenienced by pointing out Lois Lerner retired as a result of the revelations.  I stand by what I wrote.  In the three years before she retired (when all of this came out), Lerner received total federal employee “bonuses” of $129,000 before settling down to collect an annual pension estimated at around $100,000.  (For comparison, that’s just shy of twice my military pension after 24 years of service and six deployments.)  That she was allowed to retire rather than face disciplinary action for clear violations of the law shows yet again the rule of law is dead in this nation.  So no, she wasn’t inconvenienced in the slightest other than losing the power to inflict misery on people with whom she disagreed politically .

It’s enough to make you wonder what happened to the American spirit, that we just accept such outcomes and assume we can do nothing about it.  The founding generation of Americans were not above using tar and feathers for tax collectors.  While I’m not in favor of resurrecting that practice, I *am* in favor of finding ways to make government agents more fearful of the peoples’ wrath at their abuses.  (Maybe a response like this to their “apology.”)  They clearly have no shame, so fear is the only way to keep them in check.  It’s clear these days that people such as Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch and Lois Lerner have no fear of legal repercussions to their actions.  For all intents and purposes, the legal system does not apply to them.

What they fail to realize is that when enough Americans decide the current system is merely a sham to protect those in power, the danger is the citizens will begin to take the law into their own handsShould that day arrive, the pent-up anger that elected Trump will go on to make tar and feathers look like child’s play.

Unfortunately, the denizens of Mordor D.C. don’t seem to think about such possibilities.  They’ve been overprotected for too long to think it could possibly happen to them.

At the rate things have been going in recent years, they may be in for a rude surprise.

Swamps, RINOs and Trump

Many in the press hope they see a big story developing: a Republican “civil war” between those aligned with the president or Steve Bannon and the “establishment” GOP.  But as one outlet has already realized, the momentum is with the president:

Traditional Republicans fancying the cracks in their party as an opening to primary President Trump in 2020 need to deal with one inconvenient fact: Republican voters aren’t interested.

The brawl for dominance in the Republican Party is certainly remarkable. Former President George W. Bush; Ohio Gov. John Kasich; the chairmen of two top Senate committees; and now Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; all have sharply rebuked Trump, questioning his fitness, integrity, and moral authority.

But their resistance, though hardly isolated, is missing one crucial element: a significant measure of enthusiasm from Republican voters. That’s a weak foundation from which to pursue a challenge to the renomination of a sitting president.

Why is Trump’s base willing to overlook his unorthodox presidential behavior? Here the article nails it:

…where Trump’s Republican opposition sees a dangerous political provocateur, the GOP base sees a fighter who is defending them and their values — against the cultural oppression of the liberal elites in New York and Hollywood and against a political establishment in Washington that bends the rules for everyone but them.

Trump’s coalition includes true conservatives (as opposed to the think-tank faux conservatives in D.C.) and blue-collar Democrats who are tired of seeing everything and everyone put ahead of the needs of honest Americans.  The “have you no decency” outrage from the GOP establishment is easily ignored when one remembers how often they have failed to keep their promises to the voters (Obamacare repeal?  Immigration enforcement?  Tax and regulation relief?).  The problem with most Republican members of Congress is they are “Republican In Name Only (RINO).”  The Tea Party movement was a “civil” attempt to protest this repeated betrayal, and the bi-factional ruling party attacked it — the Republicans by painting it unfairly as racist, and the Democrats by illegally unleashing the IRS and other government agencies on the various groups.  In the latter case, no accountability has been forthcoming against Lois Lerner and her helpers, either.

Is it any wonder a large part of the voting population now wants to burn the establishment to the ground?

Not only has the administration outlasted the Democrats’ frantic efforts to delegitimize it, the shoe is rapidly moving to the other foot as:

These stories are far more important than the manufactured distraction over presidential condolence calls to Gold Star families. Those who care about America should not allow the topic du jour to “move on” from them.

The real fight now is not over the survival of the Trump administration (even the NYT admits “he’s not going anywhere“). It’s over whether he will have a more cooperative Congress to deal with after 2018.  Steve Bannon is rallying insurgent candidates* across the country, and even sitting Senators are reading the tea leaves (finally).  The election of Trump represented a bursting point of extreme voter dissatisfaction with business as usual.  “Civil” didn’t get voters anywhere, so they went with the bull in the china shop. Whether that voter anger and focus can be maintained through the next election cycle is the question of the decade.  If it is, the Trump victory in 2016 will be seen not as a fluke, but as a pivotal moment in American politics when the Swamp was finally confronted head on.

* While Bannon rallies Republican insurgents with name recognition, there are also complete outsiders like Tony Monetti in Missouri, who is challenging established Republican candidates in the primary to run against vulnerable Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill.  Be sure to pay attention to ALL the candidates in the races for which you can vote.

Sir Hollywood the not-so-brave

It’s been decades since Tinseltown was content with just making entertainment.  No, today everybody has to have a message, an agenda and a cause, and these usually overshadow the actual business of TV and movie making (which is probably a large part of why very little worth watching comes out of there anymore).  The big names claim they have an obligation to speak out in support of others, to “speak truth to power.

Unless that power is someone like Harvey Weinstein.

The real story with Weinstein isn’t that an entertainment mogul has been revealed to have used his position to harass and abuse women in the industry.  Frankly, given the stories coming out of Fox News and elsewhere, that much is almost blasé.  No, the real story is why it took so long for this to be publicized.  Now that the dam has broken, it’s like more than half of Hollywood is saying “well, of course there was a problem.  Who didn’t know?”

In other words, when Weinstein was at the height of his power, nobody was speaking truth to him.  On the contrary, if allegations are true, a number of big names in the business were active enablers of his behavior.  Does anyone believe this is the only rock that needed kicking over?  Is it any coincidence that so many child stars (particularly those who work for Disney) seem to grow up and lose their mind?  If Congress can find the time to investigate the use of steroids in baseball, why can’t it find the time to investigate the toxic environment of Hollywood?

Probably because of the money involved.  Weinstein was a generous supporter of the Democratic Party and a very close friend of Bill and Hillary (whose judgement only appears more evil and self-serving by the day).  But money alone doesn’t explain it all.  Does anyone doubt if one or both of the Koch brothers were found in the same circumstances that the media would be demanding every Republican in Washington publicly denounce them?   So why hasn’t anyone brought Weinstein up with Hillary, who is still giving lucrative speeches well after her sell-by date?  Barack Obama, who seemed to be speaking as a shadow president during Trump’s early efforts to reverse his disastrous legacy, also seems strangely silent and out of sight.  He’s far from the only one who’s lost his usually overactive tongue.

It’s called partisan protection.  As Glenn Reynolds frequently says of the corporate media, “just think of them as Democratic operatives with bylines and it all makes sense.” There is so much overlap in the Venn diagram of Democrats, Hollywood and the Media that reporters risk being cast out of the bubble of their incestuous clan if they ask the difficult questions.  So much for “bravery:”

In the absence of personal risk, haranguing the powerful can be soul-satisfying, and sometimes it forges careers, but it isn’t brave by a long shot. Thomas More spoke truth to Henry VIII, and it cost him his head. Dietrich Bonheoffer spoke truth to Adolf Hitler and was hanged in a concentration camp. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn spoke truth to the Soviet Union and suffered grievously for it. Stephen Colbert piddled on the president’s rug, and he’s been cashing big-bucks checks ever since.

See the difference?

The protection afforded Weinstein by his liberal enablers doesn’t stop at silence or the reluctance to make him the subject of standard late-night comedy roasts.  Donna Karan, a well-known fashion designer, was forced to walk back comments that perhaps Weinstein’s victims were ‘asking for it’ by the way they dressed!

Certainly in the country of Haiti where I work, in Africa, in the developing world, it’s been a hard time for women.   To see it here in our own country is very difficult, but I also think how do we display ourselves? How do we present ourselves as women? What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?

If a conservative comments on how lasciviously many women dress today, it’s considered “victim blaming” by alleged Neanderthals.  But if such an examination is a way to help out a Hollywood mogul, it’s OK?  Is your head spinning yet at the audacious double standard?  Sure, Karan was pressured to disavow the statement, but the fact she made it shows it’s part of the toxic self-justifying entertainment industry’s environment. It’s easy for them to hold conservatives’ feet to the fire over standards.  It’s harder to do so for liberals, when it appears they have none other than the will to power.

The public has more reason than just simple decency and morality to be outraged. Hollywood derives tremendous benefit from tax breaks and government incentives to churn out their drivel.  In other words, cord-cutting or not We the People pay for this filth.  Just as the immature posturing of NFL players has caused some to look at the League’s anti-trust exemption and frequent use of municipal bonds to build their palatial stadiums, perhaps Weinstein’s downfall should cause America to truly confront the moral sewer that is Hollywood.  Public funding for both (including PBS) should dry up entirely.  Let them earn their profits by making edifying fare that Middle America actually wants, versus their tax-supported propaganda.

Final thought: what are the odds Weinstein actually goes to jail (versus some sort of high-profile “rehab”)?  Roman Polanski and Woody Allen after all, are still considered persecuted entertainers by many in Hollywood.  And there’s not exactly a tradition of holding Leftists criminally accountable these days (see: Hillary, Bill, Huma, Lois Lerner, Loretta Lynch, etc., ad nauseum).

Remember that, when Social Justice Warriors ask if we ‘normal Americans’ have any decency.  It’s called projection.  And they don’t really have the courage of their convictions when it comes to policing their own.

A world of double standards

I wonder how many calls we’ll hear for Hillary Clinton to distance herself from Harvey Weinstein by returning his many campaign donations over the years, now that his serial harassment of women has finally been made public by the New York Times. Then again, it may be hard for those two to put distance between each other. Weinstein even blames his current troubles on Hillary’s favorite boogeyman: the “vast right-wing conspiracy.”

It’s amusing how the Left likes to talk about a Republican “war on women,” but seems to have as much, if not more, trouble in their own camp.  After all, it wasn’t a GOP president who was impeached for receiving oral sex from an intern and then lying about it under oath.   (Hmmm… that was Her Hillaryness’ husband, too.  Wonder if she has judgment issues?)  The famed Kennedy brothers didn’t exactly create a woman’s paradise, either. Meanwhile, it turns out Senator Fauxcahontas is only concerned about the alleged gender “pay gap” when it’s somebody else’s payroll that seems to show it.

When Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot a few years ago, liberals screamed about the harmful effects of “eliminationist rhetoric,” as though the use of crosshairs in a political pamphlet equated to calling for public executions.  That outrage became rather muted later when Floyd Corkins opened fire at the Family Research Council in part because the Southern Poverty Money Racket Law Center labeled the FRC a “hate group” for their stance against gay ‘marriage.’  Now that there’s been another mass shooting, it’s apparently OK for the Left to call openly for the death of several million Americans who had nothing to do with Las Vegas:

Sinatra tweet

Sinatra’s tweet was merely a small part of the outpouring of murderous invective.  Dana Loesch, a conservative commentator who’s become an NRA spokesperson, received scores of comments on her Twitter account essentially wishing death upon her and any who associated with her.  (I have to admit she handles these with grace, replying “God Bless” more often than any other response.)  As Kurt Schlichter pointed out in response to similar comments on his account and others, “I, for one, am not super inclined to give up my ability to defend myself in response to demands by people who eagerly tell me they want me enslaved or dead. Literally dead.”

So when the puritanical Left screams “have you no decency?” remember that it mostly likely seems to be projection.  That’s the challenge of Alinsky’s rule to “make the enemy live up to his own standards.”  Because if they didn’t have double standards, the institutional Left* would have no standards at all.  

* I use the term “institutional” because there are individuals who identify as left-leaning who do not necessarily agree with the shenanigans listed above.

Dissent versus dissing

NFL fans appear to be ready to mount their own “protest” by ignoring the sport, after a fatal league infestation of knee-taking.  This is giving the Left vapors: “you can’t do that!  It’s our right to dissent.”

Yes, it is.  And it’s the fans’ right not to associate with people who do so in such a childish fashion.  You see, this isn’t about dissent so much as it’s about dissing. (As in “disrespecting.”)

Dissing the symbols of America, just because its past isn’t more perfect than any other nation.  Whether you take a knee during the anthem or simply cut to the chase and burn the flag, you’re expressing hostility to symbols that still mean a great deal to a lot of people.  Many of those people would be only too happy to help fund you a one-way plane ticket to whatever country whose heritage and symbols you find superior.  We’re generous that way.

Dissing present-day citizens who have the audacity to believe government should both protect the border and leave them alone, and they should have the ability to call out and resist idiocy — such as allowing people to choose whatever bathroom they “feel like” that day — as they see it.

Dissing the Christian heritage that forms an essential part of the foundation this country was built upon.  (Why isn’t it “dissent” to refuse to participate in a gay “marriage” ceremony?  Aren’t professional sports also “public accommodations?”  Bake that cake Stand up NFL — you’re offending people!)

The mistake many make is in focusing on the issue du jour in isolation.  This isn’t about just the NFL.  It’s merely a continuation of a tiresome trend that has finally worn out its welcome and the average American’s patience: the cultural appropriation of anything considered “as American as Mom and apple pie” to churn out anti-American agitprop.  The populist/traditionalist backlash that is brewing is due to people realizing the elites aren’t out to reform America so much as they are to replace it with something more to their globalist likings.  They’ve been doing this to our institutions for decades.  Now the fight is more out in the open.  This situation makes many angry.  I’m one of them.  The very anger I feel towards ‘those people’ (a deliberate reference – figure it out if you can) makes me concerned for the future.  For if I imagine it multiplied by millions of fellow citizens, it is a tremendous potential force that can be harnessed for good or evil.  Nor is America alone is seeing this anger rise among those who still value the nation of their birth.

As Christians, we’re not told it’s wrong to be angry — only that in our anger “do not sin.” Easier said than done.  As the famous philosopher Yoda once said, “…anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering…”   And frankly, I wouldn’t mind seeing some of the ringleaders of these constant shenanigans suffer…

…even if it’s only suffering cramped economy-class seating on a long one-way flight to somewhere else, with citizenship and return privileges revoked.

Too harsh, you say?  Subversion–what they’ve been up to for a couple generations–is merely treason spread out over time.  Once it’s recognized for what it is, such a penalty seems light in comparison to the standard.

A two-minute warning

It should be apparent by now that absolutely everything in American society has been subordinated to politics and messaging by the Left.  This is not a good development.  It means there is no room for apolitical interactions, no common ground on which both sides can agree “we may disagree, but don’t have to do it here.”  There are no symbols around which everyone can rally and say “at least we have this much in common.”  Thus the pressure in the cooker continues to grow.

Since the topic of NFL players acting childishly during the National Anthem has become the issue du jour, and has now spread to other sports, I thought I’d put in my two sense cents:

  1. “This is about free speech.”  No, it’s not.  The Constitution guarantees an absence of government coercion against speech it doesn’t like.  The public has always been free to measure the actions and speech of those who put themselves in the public eye.  The Left decided years ago to up the stakes in this area by going after the employment of those who said or supported things they didn’t like (for example, search: Brendon Eich, ex-chairman of Mozilla).  So it should follow Americans are not required to keep funding the salaries–much less subsidizing the stadiums–of well-paid players who don’t appreciate what they have.  The issue is the Left simply doesn’t like it when the same rules are applied to them.  Should have read your Alinsky better…
  2. “Only racists and bigots object to this.”  Garbage.  There are literally millions of veterans (including me) disgusted at watching the NFL borrow the valor of the military with flyovers and huge patriotic displays at their events (something the government even paid them to do), then stand behind players who want to make a particular two-and-a-half-minute tune about them rather than their country.  Unfortunately, football’s core demographic is pretty patriotic.  The NFL knows this.  Let’s see how the bait-and-switch works for them.

A process I’ve seen described as “The Great Tune-Out” appears to be under way.  Civic-minded average Americans seem to have decided not to listen any longer to political rants from pampered entertainers, and this is having an effect in multiple markets.  Good.  It’s about time.  We were told after the election that the majority shouldn’t have to live with a candidate who “only” won the electoral college.  Majority rule, and all that.

Maybe we’re discovering the majority in this country still values it, and is tired of feeding parasitical organizations that keep spitting in their face.  One can hope.  In the mean time, enjoy your now-cleared Sunday afternoon schedules!

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