The clueless would-be rulers

Today’s must-read, by Walter Mead:

This is not what his critics expected. At 49% overall job approval in the latest Gallup poll, and with 60% approval of the way he is handling the coronavirus epidemic, President Trump’s standing with voters has improved even as the country closed down and the stock market underwent a historic meltdown. That may change as this unpredictable crisis develops, but bitter and often justified criticism of Mr. Trump’s decision making in the early months of the pandemic has so far failed to break the bond between the 45th president and his political base.

One reason Mr. Trump’s opponents have had such a hard time damaging his connection with voters is that they still don’t understand why so many Americans want a wrecking-ball presidency. Beyond attributing Mr. Trump’s support to a mix of racism, religious fundamentalism and profound ignorance, the president’s establishment opponents in both parties have yet to grasp the depth and intensity of the populist energy that animates his base and the Bernie Sanders movement. . . .

That a majority of the electorate is this deeply alienated from the establishment can’t be dismissed as bigotry and ignorance. There are solid and serious grounds for doubting the competence and wisdom of America’s self-proclaimed expert class. What is so intelligent and enlightened, populists ask, about a foreign-policy establishment that failed to perceive that U.S. trade policies were promoting the rise of a hostile Communist superpower with the ability to disrupt supplies of essential goods in a national emergency? What competence have the military and political establishments shown in almost two decades of tactical success and strategic impotence in Afghanistan? What came of that intervention in Libya? What was the net result of all the fine talk in the Bush and Obama administrations about building democracy in the Middle East? . . .

On domestic policy, the criticism is equally trenchant and deeply felt. Many voters believe that the U.S. establishment has produced a health-care system that is neither affordable nor universal. Higher education saddles students with increasing debt while leaving many graduates woefully unprepared for good jobs in the real world. The centrist establishment has amassed unprecedented deficits without keeping roads, bridges and pipes in good repair. It has weighed down cities and states with unmanageable levels of pension debt…

Mr. Trump’s supporters are not comparing him with an omniscient leader who always does the right thing, but with the establishment—including the bulk of the mainstream media—that largely backed a policy of engagement with China long after its pitfalls became clear. For Americans who lost their jobs to Chinese competition or who fear the possibility of a new cold war against an economically potent and technologically advanced power, Mr. Trump’s errors pale before those of the bipartisan American foreign-policy consensus…

…the U.S. establishment won’t prosper again until it comes to grip with a central political fact: Populism rises when establishment leadership fails. If conventional U.S. political leaders had been properly doing their jobs, Donald Trump would still be hosting a television show. (emphasis added)

To reinforce the point, Exhibit A, from the just-passed Senate coronavirus relief bill:

Kennedy Center

The legacy media portion of the establishment is no better, in their deranged hatred both for Trump and those in the country who prefer risking him rather than the proven failures of past leadership.  CBS screamed in a headline recently that a man died and his wife was seriously hurt after taking an anti-malarial drug (hydroxycloroquine) Trump and Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have expressed optimism about as a possible treatment for COVID-19.  The problem?  What the Arizona couple actually did was notice their fish tank cleaner contained the chemical, and consumed it as a preventative measure, without consulting any medical expert.  Only two-thirds of the way through the story does it clarify the headline: “The difference between the fish tank cleaning additive that the couple took and the drug used to treat malaria is the way they are formulated.”  In other words, despite the headline, the couple didn’t take the drug.  They drank fish tank cleaner!  A factual headline, though, wouldn’t have been potentially damaging to Trump, which seems to be the primary goal of all mainstream journalism these days, facts and context be damned.

We’re supposed to be practicing social distancing.  But the elites in this country are (and have been for some time) so far out of touch with the common person’s daily experience that it shouldn’t be a surprise the latter has had more than enough of the former.

Slandering America

An estimated 22,000 people, many of them armed, descended on Richmond Monday to demonstrate their support of the Second Amendment in the face of efforts by Virginia Democrats to curtail constitutional rights.  Only one arrest was made (most likely Antifa-related), and the peaceful, if loud, crowds were even seen picking up their trash, reminescent of the Tea Party rallies of a few years ago.

Many on the left and in the media (but I repeat myself) are visibly disappointed that their hype of a violent “white nationalist” threat was dashed against the reality of a gathering of responsible Americans from all walks of life.  They certainly had tried to fan the flames.

Here’s one of those “white nationalists” speaking for himself today (click here for video):

2A

The powers that be will do anything, say anything, to undermine America and all it stands for. Ignore the mainstream media. Dig for the ground truth.

Request: A weekend of prayer

The next couple of days may prove to be “the deep breath before the plunge.”  Not to be melodramatic, but as Gandalf told Pippin, “the board is set, the pieces are moving.”  I believe the weeks ahead, between now and the 2020 election, are some of the most critical our country has faced.  As many of our past leaders have noted, our greatest dangers come not from external enemies, but rather from within.

So how is the board set, and what pieces are in play?  First, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in a public statement today, finally publicly directed her party’s committee chairs to begin drafting formal articles of impeachment against President Trump, despite the fact any fair observer of the “inquiry” thus far would note it has hurt, rather than helped, their case.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler announced the committee will hold hearings toward that end, beginning Monday morningBut that’s not the only piece moving on Monday.  That same day, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz is scheduled to finally release the report on his investigation into possibly serious improprieties by the previous administration to justify spying on the Trump campaign in 2016.  These are suspected to include, according to many sources, FBI personnel tampering with interview documentation and concealing potentially exculpatory evidence from their requests to the FISA Court for warrants on various Trump allies.  The IG’s semiannual report to Congress at the end of September noted it had 48 open cases regarding official misconduct by Department of Justice employees.  It’s not unreasonable to think that might be related.  The new report due Monday is rumored to be around 1,000 pages.  As some commentators have noted, it doesn’t take 1,000 pages to say there was no wrongdoing.  But if one is making a detailed case… or in fact has already referred charges to U.S. Attorney John Durham for prosecution, such a lengthy report would be expected.

The release of the report will be followed by an appearance by IG Horowitz before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, two days after the report’s release.  These two dates — December 9th and 11th — have been public for a while.  So it’s likely not a coincidence Speaker Pelosi told her House to get moving with impeachment today.  The Democrats’ own day of reckoning may be imminent, and it’s been clear this week they’ve been counter-programming the public narrative against any potential negative revelations.

What I can’t understand is why the Democrats would formally impeach the president, forcing a trial before the GOP-controlled Senate.  The Democrats have been patently unethical in their conduct of the “inquiry” to date, refusing to allow the GOP to call their own witnesses (with one exception), limiting GOP members’ access to interviews and documentation, and generally riding roughshod over any notions of fairness to the accused.  This, of course, is now standard procedure for the Left (see: Brett Kavanaugh).  Pelosi’s partisans deliberately have presented a warped, one-sided perspective of the issues at hand (much as they’re alleged to have done with the FISA Court), and their allies in the press have been their megaphone.  Representative Nadler’s opening assertion that “the facts are not in dispute” is about as true as “the science is settled” when it comes to global warming climate change climate crisis.

The Senate, as the Founders intended, tends to be more sober and dignified about such things, so there’s not likely to be a “payback is a b–ch” approach to their own proceedings when the ball lands in their court.  But I strongly suspect there’ll be a concerted effort to make sure America gets, in the words of the late Paul Harvey, “the rest of the story.”  That possibility alone should make the Democrats think twice about handing off the baton to the Senate.  There’s already enough evidence that’s been made public that puts the lie to the narrative they’re selling.  But as Glenn Reynolds has said repeatedly about the odds of a Trump reelection, “all the Democrats have to do is not act crazy… and they can’t even do that.”  So here’s hoping they try to hand the Senate a lit stick of dynamite, only to have it blow up in their own face, like Wile E. Coyote.

While I could be wrong, I only see two possible outcomes at this point.  One is that the president is removed from office.  Such a result will, I believe, only convince many (including me) who love this country that it no longer represents them and will not tolerate them interfering with the agenda of their self-declared betters.  The Democrats underestimated the anger that helped propel Trump into office.  I don’t think they have any notion of the anger that would result from his removal, either.

The second outcome is for the administration to successfully pull the covers off the Deep State shenanigans that began even before Trump took office, and to do so in a way the public and press cannot ignore.  There is every reason to believe that if a full public accounting took place, the outcry for justice would be deafening.

Either way, the result will occur in a nation that is armed to the teeth.  I generally see that as a good thing.  But given the chasm that has opened among us, it’s also a sobering thing to remember.  Sure, the “side” I identify with likes to joke that we have most of the guns since the Left finds them icky.  I enjoy ribbing the other side as much as the next guy.  But as a historian I also know in 1860 both the Union and Confederates held each other in martial as well as social contempt, convinced the war would be quick and easy over their “deranged” opponents.  How’d that work out for them?  Most wars start with such ill-considered bravado.

The day may come when ballots fail and bullets are required, if we are to remain free.  Americans have faced such situations before, and must be prepared to face such again.  But let no one kid themselves about what that may mean for all we hold dear.

So I ask that this weekend be one of prayer — a deep breath before the plunge of next week.  Prayer for the truth to be fully revealed, no matter where it leads.  Prayer that our country will once again value truth over shading information for partisan or personal advantage.  Prayer for our leaders — on both sides of the aisle — that they will be honest with us, sober, and careful with the governance of our nation.  Prayer that our disputes will be resolved peacefully, rather than in the streets (*).  Prayer that for each of us, God may guide our words and our actions, balancing the requirements of justice and mercy, passion and restraint.  And most importantly, prayer that the Spirit may bring revival in this land, restoring the fellowship and discipleship of repentant believers that was so vital to its founding.  For everything, we are told, there is a season.  May God show us what this season is, and what is required of us in response.

God bless you, and God bless America.

(*) I believe many in our nation fail to realize how the peaceful resolution of the disputed election in 2000 was a historical anomaly for the world, and a testament to the strength of our society.  We should never take such for granted.  

Today’s readings

Two related readings I highly recommend today.  The first one is a bit long (including helpful infographics), but is an excellent summary of all we know to date regarding the efforts by bureaucrats to protect Her Hillariness, and later, attempt to overturn a duly elected administration.  The second reading places this knowledge in the light of broader trends that show the rule of law is, at best, on life support in this country.

Spygate: The Inside Story Behind the Alleged Plot to Take Down Trump.”  Excerpts:

This article builds on dozens of congressional testimonies, court documents, and other research to provide an inside look at the actions of Obama administration officials in the scandal that’s become known as Spygate.

To understand this abuse of power, it helps to go back to July 2011, when DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz was appointed.  From the very start, Horowitz found his duties throttled by Attorney General Eric Holder, who placed limitations on the inspector general’s right to have unobstructed access to information…

It is against this backdrop of minimal oversight that Spygate took place.

Starting in October 2015 and continuing into early 2016, FBI Director James Comey made a series of high-profile reassignments that resulted in the complete turnover of the upper-echelon of the FBI team working on the Clinton email investigation… Comey is the only known senior FBI leadership official who remained involved throughout the entire Clinton email investigation. McCabe had the second-longest tenure…

In order for Clinton to be prosecuted, the DOJ required the FBI to establish evidence of intent—even though the gross negligence statute explicitly does not require this…

As the Clinton investigation wound down, interest from the intelligence community in the Trump campaign was ramping up. Sometime in 2015, it appears former CIA Director John Brennan established himself as the point man to push for an investigation into the Trump campaign…

During this time, Brennan appeared to have employed the use of reverse targeting, which refers to the targeting of a foreign individual with the intent of capturing data on a U.S. citizen…

Meanwhile, another less official effort began. Information paid for by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Clinton campaign targeting Trump made its way to the highest levels of the FBI and the State Department, with a sophisticated strategy relying on the personal connections of hired operatives…

Most definitely, read the entire piece.  Next, Kurt Schlichter places this labyrinthine conspiracy in a broader context of a two-tiered system of injustice:

The media hacks failed for two years-plus, nonstop and without equivocation, but are they ever going to be held to account? No, they’re just going to gather in a big circle and Pulitzer each other…

Imagine you committed a racial hate crime where you falsely accused people who didn’t look or think like you of a horrible atrocity… Now, what are the chances the DA is going to transform your 16 felony counts into a $10K fine and a couple days community servicing? Your chances of said outcome are poor. They are poor because your pals are neither Mrs. Obama or Willie Brown’s gal pal.

Now imagine that you studied really hard while the rich kids partied and smoked dope… Now imagine how you feel when Durwood Richguy IV gets admitted to Harvard when he can’t count past 10 with his Gucci loafers on and you get slotted on a waiting list for Gumbo State…

Imagine you handled classified information and you took it home and put it on your iPad. Do you think the FBI would be super-concerned with your feels about it and give you a pass, like Felonia Milhous von Pantsuit got from Jim Comey…?

Our elite is not elite. Instead, it’s a bunch of bums who somehow got a little money and took the reins of power and are now shaking-down our great nation for every penny they can wring out of it. We owe them nothing – not respect, not gratitude and certainly not obedience.

If you still wonder how we got Trump, just look around you. He’s a cry for help, a scream against the injustice we’re surrounded by. This injustice is poison to our country. (emphasis added) This injustice is what makes republics fall apart, when the worthless ruling class pushes its contempt in the people’s collective face so hard and for so long that the population finally screams “The hell with this!”

It can’t continue. It won’t continue.

I hope Schlichter’s correct, and that The Reckoning is about to happen.  A friend of mine used to say “nobody is completely useless; they can always serve as a bad example.”  The underhanded, scheming fifth columnists in government who facilitated the abuses included on the list above, can still serve their country well — if we make a proper example out of them.  Where we find evidence of wrongdoing, we need to be sure to respect judicial process and the presumption of innocence (something that should distinguish us from the modern Left).  But if found guilty, Lock Them Up!

Keep the pressure on

President Trump’s re-election campaign communications director throws the gauntlet down to the misleading mainstream press (click to enlarge):

I find the use of the phrase “reckless statements” to be interesting.  I don’t know that it’s the intent, but the phrase immediately brought libel law to mind.  Generally speaking, public figures have a harder time bringing libel suits than average citizens.  But libel has a very specific definition: “…making of defamatory statements (false and reckless) in a printed or fixed medium, such as a magazine, newspaper or online such as a website or a social media site like Twitter.”

The memorandum cites specific examples of various Deep State critters repeating the “collusion” and “treason” mantra, having claimed before the release of the Mueller Report that there was “clear evidence” of such.  Now that the report is out, the false and reckless nature of these claims would seem apparent.  Could it be Trump’s team is putting the Mainstream Media on notice that continuing to facilitate these fevered conspiracy dreams might result in expensive legal action taken against them?  If that’s the case, I say it’s long overdue.  Having a free press means it’s free to follow the facts wherever they lead, and to express opinions that are presented as such.  It should not mean freedom to build a public echo chamber of propaganda that lacks any semblance of evidence to support it.

The Left has had it rough the past few days: the Mueller Report, the arrest of Michael Avenatti, the Justice Department concurring with a Federal Judge that Obamacare is unconstitutional…  I pray it’s only the smallest beginning of a much needed reckoning.  And if it seems like I’m merciless in my current calls for vengeance, it’s only because the other side has clearly shown they will give no quarter in their pursuit of power.  All well and good, then: let’s hoist the black flag and get to work.  The Left must be destroyed.

Hoaxes and hatred

Too many people who want to portray America as an unrepentant hotbed of hatred and racism are willing to fake evidence to try to prove their point:

There is very little brutally violent racism in the modern USA. There are less than 7,000 real hate crimes reported in a typical year. Inter-racial crime is quite rare; 84% of white murder victims and 93% of Black murder victims are killed by criminals of their own race, and the person most likely to kill you is your ex-wife or husband. When violent inter-racial crimes do occur, whites are at least as likely to be the targets as are minorities. Simply put, Klansmen armed with nooses are not lurking on Chicago street corners.

But ironically, as real incidents of racial hatred have greatly diminished compared to the past, staged crimes have been on the upswing:

When the home of Nikki Joly burned down in 2017, killing five pets, the FBI investigated it as a hate crime.

After all, the transgender man and gay rights activist had received threats after having a banner year in this conservative town.

In the prior six months, he helped open the city’s first gay community center, organized the first gay festival and, after 18 years of failed attempts, helped lead a bruising battle for an ordinance that prohibits discrimination against gays.

For his efforts, a local paper named him the Citizen of the Year.

Authorities later determined the fire was intentionally set, but the person they arrested came as a shock to both supporters and opponents of the gay rights movement. It was the citizen of the year — Nikki Joly.

This trend has really gotten out of hand.  The Daily Caller recently compiled a list of 21 well-publicized but faked incidents just in the two years Trump has been in office.  This is slander on a societal scale.  America 2019 is most definitely NOT America 1865 or 1915.  It’s not a perfect country, but I defy anyone to point to one that is.  That we have an invasion of people on our southern border, trying to get in illegally, should underscore that the U.S. is not some KKK-run dystopia of liberals’ fevered nightmares.

Sadly, though, the actions of these liars are threatening to undo decades of progress in racial reconciliation.  Each faked ‘crime’ convinces somebody America is out to get them.  At the same time, it convinces those accused of such actions — usually the so-called “straight white male Christian” — that the press and leaders of minority groups are all too willing to believe the worst about them on the flimsiest of evidence.  Nothing good comes of either result.

There needs to be serious repercussions for those who do this, just as there needs to be for those who make false accusations of sexual assault (funny how little we hear of Justice Kavanaugh’s accusers these days, isn’t it?).  In both cases, hoax perpetrators literally staging an unprovoked attack on their targets.  The penalty for doing so should be at least as severe as it would be for the target if the charges were true.  One could easily argue they should be more severe, if it’s proven someone tried to frame an innocent individual — or group of people.  Only such a deterrent stands a chance of reducing the appeal of “do it yourself victimhood.”  That would require a renewed emphasis on accountability.  Given our track record in that area for, oh, a couple decades now, I’m not holding my breath.

Make no mistake.  The real danger today comes from those who hate what made America the most materially successful nation in history: Christianity, limited government, free markets, unbiased education with free inquiry, and personal virtues.  All of these are under assault today.

How much “hate” does someone have to harbor to want to destroy a society that has learned from its mistakes and in the process offered so much to so many?

“When you strike at a king…”

“…you better not miss.”

Victor Davis Hanson summarizes what we now know about the failed Deep State efforts since 2016 to delegitimize, undermine and remove the duly elected president of the United States.  As Hanson notes, “there are many elements to what in time likely will become recognized as the greatest scandal in American political history…”

In candidate and President Trump’s case that prepping of the battlefield translated into a coordinated effort among the media, political progressives and celebrities to so demonize Trump that his imminent removal likely would appear a relief to the people. Anything was justified that led to that end.

All through the 2016 campaign and during the first two years of the Trump presidency the media’s treatment, according to liberal adjudicators of press coverage, ran about 90 percent negative toward Trump—a landmark bias that continues today.

It’s worth noting this demonization efforts extends to Trump’s supporters.  In its haste to smear Trump and the MAGA movement, the media recently got both the story of the Covington students and a hoax ‘hate crime’ against a TV star badly wrong.  But they wonder why so many Americans are receptive to the charge the corporate news media is “fake news.”  Hanson continues:

At the same time, liberal attorneys, foundations, Democratic politicians, and progressive activists variously sued to overturn the election on false charges of rigged voting machines. They sought to subvert the Electoral College. They introduced articles of impeachment. They sued to remove Trump under the Emoluments Clause. They attempted to invoke the 25th Amendment. And they even resurrected the ossified Logan Act—before focusing on the appointment of a special counsel to discredit the Trump presidency. Waiting for the 2020 election was seen as too quaint.

During the 2016 election, the Obama Department of Justice warped the Clinton email scandal investigation, from Bill Clinton’s secret meeting on an airport tarmac with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, to unethical immunity given to the unveracious Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, to James Comey’s convoluted predetermined treatment of “likely winner” Clinton, and to DOJ’s Bruce Ohr’s flagrant conflict of interests in relation to Fusion GPS.

About a dozen FBI and DOJ grandees have now resigned, retired, been fired, or reassigned for unethical and likely illegal behavior—and yet have not faced criminal indictments.

Here’s hoping the key word in that last paragraph is “yet.”

The Crown Jewel in the coup was the appointment of special counsel Robert Muller to discover supposed 2016 Trump-Russian election collusion. Never has any special investigation been so ill-starred from its conception.  Mueller… packed his investigative team with lots of Clinton donors and partisans, some of whom had legally represented Clinton subordinates and even the Clinton Foundation or voiced support for anti-Trump movements…

Mueller’s preemptive attacks offered an effective offensive defense for the likely felonious behavior of John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Bruce Ohr, Peter Strzok, and a host of others. While the Mueller lawyers threatened to destroy the lives of bit players like Jerome Corsi, George Papadopoulos, and Roger Stone, they de facto provided exemption to a host of the Washington hierarchy who had lied under oath, obstructed justice, illegally leaked to the press, unmasked and leaked names of surveilled Americans, and misled federal courts under the guise of a “higher loyalty” to the cause of destroying Donald J. Trump.

…sanctimonious arrogant bureaucrats in suits and ties used their government agencies to seek to overturn the 2016 election, abort a presidency, and subvert the U.S. Constitution. And they did all that and more on the premise that they were our moral superiors and had uniquely divine rights to destroy a presidency that they loathed.

And if there’s any justice left in this nation, their overreach will result in the destruction of an unelected Deep State apparatus that patriots have come to loathe.  I’ve sensed in recent days the administration may be preparing to finally counterattack this network and pursue these traitors.  I pray that is in fact the case.  If our Republic is to survive, a very painful and public example must be made.  Make the rubble bounce, Mr. President!