Spooks, Rebukes, And Kooks

There is a fascinating spin war taking place over possible government surveillance of the Trump campaign. According to multiple sources, including the New York Times, there were wiretaps, and there were also at least two applications for surveillance to the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act courts — one in June that was refused, and one in October that was granted. There have been multiple leaks and references to intercepted communications. General Mike Flynn has already been defenestrated as a result, and Jeff Sessions is under pressure. (Needless to say, to leak such material is a felony.)

Last week Mark Levin made all of this the subject of his evening radio show, and the next day Donald Trump complained about it in a tweet. For Mr. Levin’s trouble, he’s been lambasted as a deranged right-wing conspiracy theorist, and former National Security Director James Clapper went so far as to say on Sunday that the FISA-authorized surveillance didn’t even happen.

All that Mr. Levin did, however, was to comment on widespread reporting from the Times and other (ostensibly) reliable sources. It certainly seems as if the surveillance story was a popular one when it looked bad for Mr. Trump and his people, but is being backpedaled hard now that it the opposition is using it to cast an unfavorable light on the Obama administration (that is, for using the power of government to snoop on the opposing party’s candidate during a presidential election. Which would be bad).

(Speaking of the Obama administration, they did two remarkable things in their last days: one, Loretta Lynch signed an order greatly expanding the circle of agencies that can receive this sort of (very secret) intelligence without violating privacy laws, and two, the administration “scrambled” to spread the information as far and wide as they could.)

The story is murky and complex, and still very much in motion. I have no idea what the truth is. I do, however, have an excellent article for you that explains some of the legal arcana. A longish excerpt:

Here are the problematic aspects of the Obama surveillance on Trump’s team, and on Trump himself. First, it is not apparent FISA could ever be invoked. Second, it is possible Obama’s team may have perjured themselves before the FISA court by withholding material information essential to the FISA court’s willingness to permit the government surveillance. Third, it could be that Obama’s team illegally disseminated and disclosed FISA information in direct violation of the statute precisely prohibiting such dissemination and disclosure. FISA prohibits, under criminal penalty, Obama’s team from doing any of the three.

At the outset, the NSA should have never been involved in a domestic US election. Investigating the election, or any hacking of the DNC or the phishing of Podesta’s emails, would not be a FISA matter. It does not fit the definition of war sabotage or a “grave” “hostile” war-like attack on the United States, as constrictively covered by FISA. It is your run-of-the-mill hacking case covered by existing United States laws that require use of the regular departments of the FBI, Department of Justice, and Constitutionally Senate-appointed federal district court judges, and their appointed magistrates, not secretive, deferential FISA courts.

Out of 35,000+ requests for surveillance, the FISA court has only ever rejected a whopping 12. Apparently, according to published reports, you can add one more to that — even the FISA court first rejected Obama’s request to spy on Trump’s team under the guise of an investigation into foreign agents of a pending war attack, intelligence agents apparently returned to the court, where, it is my assumption, that they did not disclose or divulge all material facts to the court when seeking the surveillance the second time around, some of which they would later wrongfully disseminate and distribute to the public. By itself, misuse of FISA procedures to obtain surveillance is itself, a crime.

This raises the second problem: Obama’s team submission of an affidavit to to the FISA court. An application for a warrant of any kind requires an affidavit, and that affidavit may not omit material factors. A fact is “material” if it could have the possible impact of impacting the judicial officer deciding whether to authorize the warrant. Such affidavits are the most carefully drawn up, reviewed, and approved affidavits of law enforcement in our system precisely because they must be fully-disclosing, forthcoming, and include any information a judge must know to decide whether to allow our government to spy on its own. My assumption would be that intelligence officials were trying to investigate hacking of DNC which is not even a FISA covered crime, so therefore serious questions arise about what Obama administration attorneys said to the FISA court to even consider the application. If the claim was “financial ties” to Russia, then Obama knew he had no basis to use FISA at all.

Since Trump was the obvious target, the alleged failure to disclose his name in the second application could be a serious and severe violation of the obligation to disclose all material facts. Lastly, given the later behavior, it is evident any promise in the affidavit to protect the surveilled information from ever being sourced or disseminated was a false promise, intended to induce the illicit surveillance. This is criminalized both by federal perjury statutes, conspiracy statutes, and the FISA criminal laws themselves.

That raises the third problem: it seems the FISA-compelled protocols for precluding the dissemination of the information were violated, and that Obama’s team issued orders to achieve precisely what the law forbids, if published reports are true about the administration sharing the surveilled information far-and-wide to promote unlawful leaks to the press. This, too, would be its own crime, as it brings back the ghost of Hillary’s emails — by definition, FISA information is strictly confidential or it’s information that never should have been gathered. FISA strictly segregates its surveilled information into two categories: highly confidential information of the most serious of crimes involving foreign acts of war; or, if not that, then information that should never have been gathered, should be immediately deleted, and never sourced nor disseminated. It cannot be both.

Recognizing this information did not fit FISA meant having to delete it and destroy it. According to published reports, Obama’s team did the opposite: order it preserved, ordered the NSA to search it, keep it, and share it; and then Obama’s Attorney General issued an order to allow broader sharing of information and, according to the New York Times, Obama aides acted to label the Trump information at a lower level of classification for massive-level sharing of the information. The problem for Obama is simple — if it could fit a lower level of classification, then it had to be deleted and destroyed, not disseminated and distributed, under crystal clear FISA law. Obama’s team’s admission it could be classified lower, yet taking actions to insure its broadest distribution, could even put Obama smack-middle of the biggest unlawful surveillance and political-opponent-smear campaign since Nixon. Except even Nixon didn’t use the FBI and NSA for his dirty tricks.

Watergate would have never happened if Nixon felt like he could just ask the FBI or NSA to tape the calls.

Please go and read the whole thing, here.

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23 Comments

  1. “Please go and read the whole thing, here.”

    There’s more?!

    Posted March 7, 2017 at 7:25 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Well, you could wait for the movie.

    Posted March 7, 2017 at 8:09 pm | Permalink
  3. No one would be willing to produce a movie that moviegoers would dismiss as ludicrous.

    Posted March 7, 2017 at 11:08 pm | Permalink
  4. the one eyed man says

    “All that Mr. Levin did, however, was to comment on widespread reporting from the Times and other (ostensibly) reliable sources.”

    That is false.

    In reality, what the BBC reported is that a FISA order was given on October 15, regarding suspected felonious transfers of money from Russia to the US. “Neither Mr Trump nor his associates are named in the Fisa order, which would only cover foreign citizens or foreign entities – in this case the Russian banks.” It was likely limited to stored financial records to determine if money went from Russia to the Trump campaign. There is nothing amiss about this. If a judge finds probable cause of felony, he will approve surveillance, irrespective of whether or not the path leads to a political campaign.

    Breitbart falsified the story by changing the FBI to Obama, changing electronic surveillance to wiretaps, and changed a legitimate inquiry regarding money laundering to ““monitoring an opposing presidential campaign using the high-tech surveillance powers of the federal intelligence services.” None of that is true.

    What Trump asserted – without the slightest bit of evidence – is that Obama personally ordered his phones to be tapped. Trump lied.

    Nothing unusual about this: he lies about pretty much everything, pretty much every day. The fact that he falsely accused his predecessor of a felony – before switching his attention to the weightier topic of ratings for The Apprentice – didn’t bother his apologists one bit, who rushed to defend his calumny and dishonesty. If Trump told them that Obama poisoned his food, they would surely insist that he did.

    The rest of your post is similarly misguided. Flynn was not defenestrated because of the leaks; he was fired for lying to the FBI, which was revealed in a leak. Sessions is under pressure because he gave evasive and misleading answers under oath, and the deception was only revealed by a leak. Had there not been patriots in the government who took personal risk to inform their fellow citizens what their government is up to, all of this deception would have remained hidden as part of the Trump administration’s cover up.

    (This lying under oath business seems quite popular among Trump’s appointees. Pruitt swore he never used private email for government work. He did. DeVos claimed that she never was involved in her family’s foundation. She sits on the board. Price said that his sweetheart stock deal was available to everyone. It wasn’t. Mnuchin hid $100 million in assets from his disclosure forms).

    Let’s review.

    There is no “widespread reporting” suggesting that Trump’s phones were tapped. In reality, there was no reporting at all which suggested that. This is the willful elision of two very different things by very confused Trump apologists.

    Trump’s phones were not tapped. This is a fabrication of a man who does not live in a fact-based world.

    Obama did nothing.

    Trump accused Obama of grave perfidy, with no evidence whatsoever, and refused to defend his scurrility.

    Let’s not mince words: in addition to being a pathological liar, Donald Trump is off his rocker. Although the American people wanted someone else, we’re stuck with him, at least until good sense can be restored and his bumbling, erratic, and childish grasp of the levers of power can be taken away from him.

    Posted March 7, 2017 at 11:14 pm | Permalink
  5. “What Trump asserted – without the slightest bit of evidence”

    No one in living memory has ever done that before. Certainly not in these pages.

    Outrageous!

    Posted March 8, 2017 at 12:05 am | Permalink
  6. Malcolm says

    Peter,

    “All that Mr. Levin did, however, was to comment on widespread reporting from the Times and other (ostensibly) reliable sources.”

    That is false.

    No, that’s true. Did you actually listen to his commentary? (I rather suspect you didn’t.)

    There are no “widespread reporting” suggesting that Trump’s phones were tapped.   In reality, there was no reporting at all which suggested that.

    Oh? Here, for example, is the front page of the New York Times:

     
    Curiously, the Times has now seen fit to strike that headline. I wonder why…

    Trump’s comment said “Obama had me wiretapped”. Do you think any of this would have happened without Mr. Obama’s approval? (It’s disingenuous, also, to focus on the specific term here; the point is the covert surveillance of a political opponent.)

    Note in the headline above: “Inquiry of Trump Aides”. The suggestion that this investigation was simply a routine matter of looking into Russian money-laundering, and that it only happened to involve electronic surveillance of the Democrats’ political opponents during the last months of a presidential campaign, is what I meant by a “spin war”.

    As for General Flynn: lying to the FBI is a felony. Where’s the indictment?

    Etc.

    Posted March 8, 2017 at 5:01 am | Permalink
  7. Malcolm says

    I will say this: even if the whole story is as bad as some suggest, Mr. Trump’s way of broaching it — a series of half-cocked tweets — was clumsy and impulsive. He is a grotesquely undisciplined communicator.

    Posted March 8, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink
  8. the one eyed man says

    1) Trump’s tweet: “How low has President Obama gone to tapp (sic) my phones during the very sacred election process?” (It seems quaint that only six weeks ago, we had a president who did not fight a daily battle with spelling, grammar, and syntax.)

    Trump said he was tapped. Not “Trump’s aides,” whose conversations with the Russian ambassador were picked up on an existing tap. Not Manafort, whose dealings with Ukraine were also under investigation. His claim was that he, Donald J. Trump, had been tapped. His phones were not tapped. That is a lie.

    The fact that the Times reported that “Trump’s aides” were tapped is immaterial. The report has nothing to do with Trump’s false claims. Had Trump tweeted “the FBI tapped my aides, after a judge found probable cause and approved a wiretap,” the world would have yawned. That was not his claim. He claimed that he was personally tapped, and that Obama ordered it so. That is also a lie.

    What happened was, in fact, a “a routine matter of looking into Russian money-laundering,” which snagged Trump’s associates because they were involved in suspicious banking activity. That’s what happens when you have wire transfers with Alfa Bank or speak to the Russian ambassador on his tapped phone. The actors were “his political opponents,” and the activity took place “during the last months of a presidential campaign.” Spin has nothing to do with it.

    Is it your contention that when credible evidence emerges of illegality, that political campaigns should be immune from legitimate prosecutorial inquiry? If Trump’s aides – or Clinton’s aides – had talked into the wiretapped phone of a Mafia don or a known terrorist, the FBI should have done nothing because it involves people involved in a presidential campaign?

    2) “Do you think any of this would have happened without Mr. Obama’s approval?” Of course. A president neither approves nor rejects FBI wiretaps. There is not a shred of evidence to suggest that he had anything to do with it, and Trump’s reckless and completely unsubstantiated accusation that Obama tapped his phone is … heinous? Repugnant? Disgusting? Damnable? When discussing Donald Trump, the vocabulary of outrage gets exhausted pretty quickly.

    3) “As for General Flynn: lying to the FBI is a felony. Where’s the indictment?” Do you seriously think that Jeff Sessions would indict one of Trump’s cronies? Really?

    If you think that Trump is the least bit interested in equal treatment under the law, ponder this: he has ordered the deportation of anyone who has falsely filled out a federal form. This includes his wife, who lied on her visa application before finding fame and fortune as a stripper, plagiarizer, and gold digger wife of an old fat guy. When does she get deported?

    * * * *

    There is no two ways about this. A sitting president accused his predecessor of a vile and felonious offense, without a shred of evidence, and then tasks Congress to determine the veracity of his own accusation. His administration stonewalls and refuses to discuss the topic. To say that it is unprecedented minimizes how shocking this is. However, with Donald Trump, nothing is really shocking any more.

    Posted March 8, 2017 at 9:53 pm | Permalink
  9. the one eyed man says

    “Even if the whole story is as bad as some suggest, Mr. Trump’s way of broaching it — a series of half-cocked tweets — was clumsy and impulsive” contains a logical fallacy. Trump’s tweets are half-cocked, clumsy, and impulsive, irrespective of whether or not “the whole story is as bad as some suggest.”

    In those moments when it’s possible to ignore the fact that the world laughs at us for putting a buffoonish con man in the White House, there is a certain car-crash-on-the-highway aspect to the Trump train wreck, which is kinda fun. Watching Sean Spicer try valiantly to defend the indefensible is like being in Mrs. Jones’s biology class and watching a bug with a pin through it. While Trump may be sending America down the toilet, he is making SNL great again. If William of Ockham was a future historian, he might describe Trump’s WTF presidency thusly: Trump gets elected. Hilarity ensues.

    Posted March 8, 2017 at 10:13 pm | Permalink
  10. Whitewall says

    For 8 years we had an anti American presidency. Now we have the opposite, an anti traditional American President. The pendulum has reversed direction. The only thing resulting is complete mental and emotional breakdown on the left. Trump punches back. Hard and crudely which befits his targets.

    Posted March 8, 2017 at 10:42 pm | Permalink
  11. “Trump gets elected. Hilarity ensues.”

    At least it’s not Hillary (thank God).

    He who laughs last, …

    Posted March 8, 2017 at 10:51 pm | Permalink
  12. Malcolm says

    First of all, we do not know whether there was or was not actual wiretapping of Donald Trump’s actual phone. You certainly don’t. How would you?

    Second, if any of what is alleged actually happened on Barack Obama’s watch, that’s bad, your protestations to the contrary. (“The bug stops here”, you might say.) It will stick to him. As it should. Electronic surveillance of an opposing candidate’s campaign communications, and leaking them to a sycophantic press, are not, no matter how you spin it, things that most Americans will approve of. I do not, nor will anyone else, for one second believe that such things — very serious things — would have happened without the Presidents knowledge and (at least, tacit) approval. And his last-minute scurrying to loosen access regulations and disseminate what should be very tightly guarded intelligence, increasing to a certainty that it would be leaked, stinks to high heaven also.

    Is it your contention that when credible evidence emerges of illegality, that political campaigns should be immune from legitimate prosecutorial inquiry?

    No, of course not. I called for the same thing with Hillary Clinton. So: where’s your credible evidence? What have you got?

    The accusation, as far as I can tell, is that Russia worked with Trump insiders to meddle with the election. Make your case. I’m listening. I’m especially interested to hear about Jeff Sessions being taken on as a Russian agent. He seems like just the type.

    Do you seriously think that Jeff Sessions would indict one of Trump’s cronies? Really?

    Actually, since you asked: yes I do. Jeff Sessions is an honorable man, and a former prosecutor, who very much respects the rule of law.

    We will see how things go. Your party is back on its heels, by any measure, and there is a powerful backlash in America against its arrogance and excesses. You can laugh all you like — and yes, there is much to laugh at — but every day the rest of us can wake up and smile, because Hillary Clinton isn’t in the White House. I’ll take all the rest of it — the buffoonery, the tweets, the clumsiness with language, the japery of smug coastal lefties — for that satisfaction alone. Meanwhile, the left, in its violent and ongoing tantrum, is pushing more and more moderate Americans away.

    My advice to your side: Just keep doing what you’re doing.

    Posted March 8, 2017 at 10:56 pm | Permalink
  13. “In those moments when it’s possible to ignore the fact that the world laughs at us for putting a buffoonish con man in the White House, there is a certain car-crash-on-the-highway aspect to the Trump train wreck, which is kinda fun. Watching Sean Spicer try valiantly to defend the indefensible is like being in Mrs. Jones’s biology class and watching a bug with a pin through it. While Trump may be sending America down the toilet, he is making SNL great again.”

    File that under “Apoplectic ♀baminoid with spittle on chin and hair on fire.”

    Posted March 8, 2017 at 11:10 pm | Permalink
  14. Malcolm says

    Former Federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy weighs in here.

    McCarthy agrees that the presidential tweets were a blunder:

    There is, to my knowledge, no evidence that Trump personally was wiretapped. So instead of highlighting the alarming things that may be true, President Trump’s tweets obsessed over something that probably is not true.

    That’s @OEM’s point.

    But:

    Nevertheless, even if Trump’s allegation was false, the tweets demanded attention to the real scandal: Was the Obama administration investigating the Trump campaign?

    That was the uh-oh moment for the media-Democrat complex. That was when it dawned on them not only that the election-hacking conspiracy narrative wasn’t working, but that the investigation of the Trump campaign could be a much bigger scandal.

    So, after insisting for four months that the Trump campaign was under investigation for conspiring with Putin to steal the election from Hillary Clinton, the media decided that it better adopt a different strategy: “Investigation? What investigation?”

    Thus the claim, suddenly, is that Obama was never investigating Trump. How could we possibly believe such a thing . . . even if it’s the thing the media have wanted us to believe for four months.

    Which brings us to the NYT story of January 20th, shown above:

    [W]hy would the Times change its headline in this manner, weeks after the fact?

    Because, during the four months when the media-Democrat complex wanted you to believe there was a Trump–Putin conspiracy to hack the election, they needed you to believe that the Justice Department was targeting Trump associates for surveillance because they were Russian agents.

    Now that they don’t want you to believe there was an investigation — because that would be an Obama abuse of power — they want to convince you that Trump associates were never targeted for surveillance. “If the conversations of these Trump guys were intercepted,” they want you to conclude, “it’s not because we were targeting them. No, no, no: It’s because we were monitoring Russian agents whom they just happened to call.”

    Nothing to see here . . . move along.

    We shouldn’t move along. Let’s see the FISA applications and warrants. If there was no targeting of the Trump campaign, as the media and Democrats now say, let’s hear an explanation of why they’ve pretended otherwise for four months. If the Trump campaign was targeted for an investigation, let’s hear why.

    Posted March 9, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink
  15. Nah, let’s just move along. 0bama and his ♀baminoids say it wasn’t so. I have no reason to think such stand-up guys would lie to the American people.

    Posted March 9, 2017 at 1:54 pm | Permalink
  16. JK says

    Just to get this out there …

    In any FISA authorized surveillance order, not only the named individual/corporation will be subject to the authorized wiretap but also, each and every person/corporation’s telephonic/email contacts.

    That ought to be obvious. “In the old days” when an individual was “simply gumshoe surveilled” it took a helluva lot of assets (ie manpower) owing to the necessity of, for instance “the target” engaged in a street-meet, the gumshoes had to drop at least one guy to keep watch ensuring whoever the subject was speaking with on the chance mission critical info might’ve been passed.

    Personal experience advises me a surveillance team regularly had up to 40 individuals assigned to “ostensibly” keep an eye on the one subject.

    Heck, even in the movies you’ll see at least three cars assigned to tail one car. You know, just in case the subject pulls next to another guy at a red light and says, “Hey you got any Grey Poupon?”

    What is known is, Flynn was “lit up” by the NSA. It stands to reason anyone & everyone Flynn was in contact with, was similarly lit up. For however long it took to positively determine whether that/those individuals were also “in on it.”

    Posted March 9, 2017 at 3:30 pm | Permalink
  17. the one eyed man says

    Much to do today. Regrettably, I only have enough time to address the most egregious of your incorrect assertions.

    1) “we do not know whether there was or was not actual wiretapping of Donald Trump’s actual phone.” We also do not know with absolute certainty that aliens didn’t land on Amwell Road yesterday.

    There is not a shred of evidence to suggest that his phone was tapped. We have Trump’s word for it, which is worth precisely nothing. He just makes shit up.

    On the other hand, we have federal law which prohibits it, as well as Obama, Clapper, and Comey all stoutly denying it. They would look awfully foolish if there was a tap. File Trump’s claim along with Obama’s foreign birth, the NJ Muslims celebrating 9/11, the millions of illegals who voted for Clinton, and all of the other fables he created ex nihilo. The last person who deserves the benefit of any doubt is Donald Trump,

    2) “Where’s your credible evidence?” We know that Russia hacked correspondence to benefit Trump, funded fake news sites, etc.; that Roger Stone admitted to being in contact with Guccifer; that Trump’s closest associates had numerous contacts with Russia before and after the election; that they lied about or hid these contacts when asked about them; that Trump has unexplained business relations with the Russians; that there is credible evidence that they can blackmail him; that there were several discussions between Trump’s people and the Russians at the time when Obama stiffened sanctions in December; that Trump has frequently praised the Russian dictator; and that the only party platform issue that Trump changed was to soften the language towards Russia.

    This evidence is compelling, albeit circumstantial. It is not dispositive. However, it is a lot more than the amount of evidence which led Archibald Cox, Lawrence Walsh, and Kenneth Starr to lead special investigations, which is clearly required here. If it turns out that the Trump campaign actively colluded with a foreign adversary to violate US law for its partisan gain, it would not only be the largest scandal in US history. It would also be treasonous.

    (If your question concerned the credible evidence regarding the taps of Trump’s associates: ask the judge who signed the order. He’s the one who found probable cause.)

    3) The charge is not that Sessions is a Russian agent. The charge is that when asked under oath whether he had met with the Russians, he was evasive, if not perjurious, in denying any meetings. When his deception was uncovered, he tried to justify it with lawyerly obfuscation which would make Bill Clinton blush. If he actually was “an honorable man,” he would have given the full and honest answer: “I did meet with the Russians twice, but solely in my capacity as Senator” (assuming that he actually did meet with them in that capacity, and not as a campaign surrogate. We don’t know that, and there is no evident reason why he would have been the only Senator in the Armed Services Committee to meet with them.)

    4) Somehow the party which is “back on its heels” gained seats in the House and Senate, got three million more votes for its presidential candidates, and six million more votes for its Senatorial candidates (albeit with two Democrats running in California). The presidency was lost by the rounding error of 77K votes. If Senate seats were awarded in pro ration to population, the Democrats would control the Senate easily. If House districts were not gerrymandered, the House would be a toss-up. The inherent advantage of small states tilts the playing field strongly to the right, to the extent that there is a severe mismatch between the popular will and who holds the levers of power. The country as a whole is well to the left of its political leadership.

    5) Re Hillary Clinton: are you familiar with the neologism “whataboutism?” My guess is that she would have been a fine president, as her husband was. Eight years of peace and prosperity isn’t so bad. Maybe not! We’ll never know. However, the failure of the Trump administration cannot be excused by reference to the hypothetical horribles which would have been unleashed had someone else been elected president. With Trump, the buck stops everywhere in the world except his desk.

    Posted March 11, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink
  18. JK says

    “[T]here were several discussions between Trump’s people and the Russians.”

    Well One-Eye, I for one (given events) do not find myself overly bothered. Matter of fact I hope very much the current Administration has had, and continues to have, ongoing discussions with the Russians.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-usa-idUSKBN16D29G?il=0

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-turkey-meeting-idUSKBN16E0Q8

    Posted March 11, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink
  19. Malcolm says

    Peter:

    1) There seems to be little doubt that electronic surveillance was conducted both on members of the Trump campaign, and inside Trump Tower. (Again, the NYT itself was confident enough of this to say so on its front page.)

    2) “We know that Russia hacked correspondence to benefit Trump…”

    Rubbish. We know that somebody hacked the DNC and John Podesta (who made it awfully easy, by using “Password” as his password), thereby revealing much unsavoriness. That it was done by the Russians, and furthermore that it was done by the Russians to help Trump, is pure conjecture. And why would they? The Clinton apparatus has been just as cozy with the Russians as anyone on the Trump side, and it is Trump who’s been calling for a massive U.S. military buildup.

    “Credible evidence” that the Russians can blackmail Trump? I call bullshit. Let’s see it. And you’d have us worry about that, after you just got through reminding us that the Russians had free access to hoover up the secrets of the Clintons?

    3) I’ll just ask readers to pause here to consider the phrase “lawyerly obfuscation that would make Bill Clinton blush.” Roll that around in your minds, and your memories, for a minute or so.

    4) You are delusional. The Democratic Party is in historic shambles. Even the Daily Kos (which is only slightly to your right) completely disagrees with you:

    Republicans control both chambers in 32 states, including 17 with veto-proof majorities. Those 32 states cover 61 percent of the U.S. population. Democrats, meanwhile, control the legislature in just 13 states, amounting to 28 percent of the country’s population; only five of those chambers have veto-proof majorities.

    With a firm grip on the presidency, Congress, and soon the Supreme Court, Republicans have won more political power in 2016 than in any election since at least 1928, when Herbert Hoover was elected to the White House.

    Also:

    Republicans now control the governor’s office in 33 states, amounting to 60 percent of the population, while Democrats control just 16 states with 40 percent of the population. (Alaska has an independent governor supported by the Democrats.) Republicans now hold a greater number of governor’s offices than they have in several generations.

    This Republican dominance of governorships and legislatures leaves them firmly in command of state governments across America.

    “Back on its heels” is putting it mildly. Even the popular-vote majority in the presidential election was only due to a lopsided Democrat majority in one big blue state.

    5) ” My guess is that she would have been a fine president…”

    Well, by your criteria, I suppose she might have been. The rest of us can thank a merciful Providence (and the recent excesses of the overweening Left, as well as some vestigial vertebrae on the part of the traditional American nation) that we will never find out.

    Posted March 11, 2017 at 3:38 pm | Permalink
  20. Malcolm,

    I very much admire your ability to manage a polite interaction with someone who strikes me as belonging in a psych ward.

    Posted March 11, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Permalink
  21. JK says

    Too Malcolm, I notice LB’s got a post up and, whatever one might have any opinion regarding “other stuff” … the one thing I can confidently guarantee is, this author does her homework.

    https://libertybellediaries.com/2017/03/11/another-dem-email-scandal-brewing/

    ‘Password’ as one’s password?

    Damn!

    Posted March 11, 2017 at 6:53 pm | Permalink
  22. JK,

    The word “password” is commonly used as a password only when a password is required as a formality of the coding. In password cracking that relies on trial and error, my guess is “password” is on top of the list.

    Posted March 11, 2017 at 8:32 pm | Permalink
  23. “Paradoxically, the more sacrifices we make for an imaginary story, the more tenaciously we hold on to it because we desperately want to give meaning to these sacrifices and to the suffering we have caused.

    In politics this is known as the ‘Our Boys Didn’t Die in Vain’ syndrome.

    […]

    It is much easier to live with the fantasy, because the fantasy gives meaning to the suffering.”

    — “Homo Deus”, by Yuval Noah Harari

    Posted March 11, 2017 at 9:06 pm | Permalink