Archive for the ‘Administrative state’ category

JW Pres. Tom Fitton discussing Clinton/Russia Collusion, 72K New Clinton Docs, & Purple Heart Battle

October 28, 2017

JW Pres. Tom Fitton discussing Clinton/Russia Collusion, 72K New Clinton Docs, & Purple Heart Battle via YouTube, October 27, 2017

 

The blurb beneath the video states,

JW President Tom Fitton was live discussing the latest on Hillary Clinton’s camp colluding with the Russians to obtain the infamous Trump dossier. Also, why hasn’t the State Department finished reviewing all of the 72,000 email records from Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State? Finally, Judicial Watch is in court fighting for a soldier injured in the Fort Hood massacre to be posthumously-awarded the Purple Heart.

The Arc of Regulation, Yesterday and Today

October 27, 2017

The Arc of Regulation, Yesterday and Today, Power Line,  Steven Hayward, October 27, 2017

Big things are afoot in the world of federal regulation. While the media and liberals (but I repeat. . .) obsess over Trump’s tweets and other unconventional speech acts, the Trump Administration is quietly but determinately going about the task of, in Steve Bannon’s words from February, “deconstructing the Administrative State.” Certainly they are rolling back old regulations and stopping new ones at a rate not seen since the best days of the Reagan Administration.

Much remains to be done on a fundamental level, about which much more in future posts. But I came across this very nice short video from the Federalist Society featuring my regulatory rabbi and former boss Chris DeMuth, reviewing the first great wave of deregulation back in the 1970s and 1980s. I have the sense that we’re in the midst of another such moment today:

The New Civil War

August 19, 2017

The New Civil War, American ThinkerTom Trinko, August 19, 2017

(Please see also, Anti-Israel Academics Launch Campus Antifa Group for Faculty. — DM)

The first “shots” in our new civil war were fired after Charlottesville when many Democratic leaders claimed that they had the right to use physical force against anyone they didn’t like.

While cowardly leftist leaders are trying to portray themselves as fighting Hitler they are really fighting anyone they don’t agree with. Remember that some Democrats said that Rep. Steve Scalise had it coming since he opposed gun control and that Democrats have been silent when left-wing violence was used to prevent Republicans marching in a parade in Portland.

Facing a continued loss of power because their radical agenda is toxic to most Americans, the Democrat leadership — which includes the MSM — have decided that they have the right to physically attack anyone who stands in their way.

Like their Nazi and Communist forefathers, today’s Democrat leaders are comfortable sending swarms of Brownshirts out to beat into submission anyone who stands between them and power.

Under Obama, Democrats renounced the rule of law by declaring that they could choose to not enforce laws they didn’t like and make up laws that Congress never passed. Now they’re saying that they have the right to attack anyone who dares speak out in disagreement.  Rep. Scalise wasn’t a Nazi or white nationalist, nor were the Republicans in Portland, or the speakers that Democrats forcibly prevented from speaking in Berkeley. Yet the Democratic leadership’s condemnation of all of those events has been muted at best.

While the first American Civil War was fought to protect that particularly Democrat institution slavery, the new civil war Democrat elites are starting to wage is about transferring power from the people to the rich white oligarchs, judges, and government bureaucrats.

As then, Republicans stand for freedom and Democrats stand for slavery.

The Democratic elite has issued a call to war by supporting and endorsing violence against people who don’t agree with them.

The left has gone from endorsing Nazis marching in a neighborhood full of Holocaust survivors to endorsing attacks on Nazis wherever they might appear. We all hate Nazis, but as Americans, Republicans believe in freedom of even odious speech, which is why we’re not tearing down the statues of that mass murderer Lenin that exist in America or the statues of Democrat Robert Byrd, who was a senior official in the KKK.

Republicans have uniformly, including President Trump, condemned Nazis and white nationalists. Yet Democrats are attacking us for not being sufficiently “woke.”

The time for pretending that Democrat leadership is patriotic is over.  It’s time to shout from the rooftops that the Democratic leadership is a fascist cabal intent on overthrowing democracy.

It’s unclear how many of those who voted for Hillary support the clear fascist policies of the Democratic party.  We know that those people tend to be low-information voters who get their “news” from the MSM. Hence, they live in a bubble of lies which make Democrat policies look semi-reasonable.

Even intelligent people fall victim to the Democrat Big Lies. A liberal physicist, for example, was shocked to learn that Osama greenlighted 9/11 because Clinton’s fleeing from Somalia taught Osama that Americans were cowards. He’d never heard that.

Similarly, today many Americans believe that Trump was defending Nazis because the MSM is lying about what he really said.

That’s why we need to be careful and not condemn all Democrats; many of them are honestly unaware of the facts just as the citizens of Nazi Germany didn’t have a clue about how WWII was actually progressing or how the citizens of North Korea thought for decades that though they were starving, they had it better than those poor capitalist South Koreans.

It’s clear that not all of those who voted for Hillary were actually voting for her agenda of taking power from the people and giving it to the elites.

Unlike the average Hillary voter who never heard most of the negative news about her, the Democratic leadership has sinister motives. For decades, they’ve been waging war against America. It started with FDR, a big fan of fascist dictator Mussolini, who began moving this country down the path to socialism with his failed big government policies. Few people remember that those policies didn’t work; it took WWII for the U.S. to recover economically from the Depression.

The next big step was disempowering Americans by giving near absolute power to the unelected Supreme Court. That court overthrew the laws of all 50 states by legalizing abortion for any reason at any time in pregnancy based on a “right to privacy” which is nowhere in the Constitution.

The Supreme Court also created numerous rights for criminals and redefined marriage over the votes of 55,000,000 Americans.

In parallel, the Democrats increased the power of unelected government bureaucrats to the point that they felt empowered to demand that Catholic nuns pay for abortions. To Democrats the 1st Amendment only applies to causes they, the Democrats, support.

Trump’s election was a visceral scream from America saying that we want our power back. That we don’t want to be ruled by pretentious, stupid, elitist fascists like Pelosi and the Clintons, or by RINOs whose first loyalty is to the state, not the people.

The Democratic leadership is now following Mao, who said that political power grows from the barrel of a gun, while Americans are being forced to defend the core American belief that power flows from the people.

Just as the original Democrats repudiated Lincoln for opposing slavery, modern Democratic leaders are repudiating his belief that the government is of the people, for the people, by the people.

The elite bicoastal ruling class is nearly all white and racist to the core, but they use lies about Republicans, spread by the fawning liberal media, to justify violence.

Today Democrats have crossed the Rubicon.  By saying that it’s okay for Antifa to shut down speakers they don’t like and physically assault anyone they don’t happen to agree with Democrats have renounced the rule of law and summoned the whirlwind of civil war.

Why have Democrats once again started a civil war to achieve their ends?

They thought they had everything sewed up. When Hillary won she’d pack the Supreme Court with fascists who believed that they could make up whatever laws they liked. Hillary would, like Obama, ignore the Constitution and further strengthen the administrative state while waging a war against non-Democratic whites and Asians and ensuring that Blacks stayed uneducated so they couldn’t see how Democrats were exploiting them.

But contrary to their expectations, the American people said no. We don’t want to be ruled, we want to be represented — which is why the Republican failure to get rid of ObamaCare is so offensive.

Even with the lying media spreading Democratic talking points 24/7 the majority of Americans want to be free, not enslaved — not told how much soda they can drink or what type of entertainment they can like — Democrats support violent misogynistic rap music while condemning Americans for liking NASCAR. The Democratic message calling on Americans to accept slavery because, according to Democrats, Americans can’t manage their own lives — the same line Democrats used to justify slavery– can’t win elections because American’s aren’t that stupid. As a result, the Democrat leadership has decided that their only way to power is violence.

If they can’t win in the battlefield of ideas, they’ve decided that they need to silence, by the use of force, any voices they don’t like.

The Democrat leaders have turned to the communists they so admire — remember Obama wishing he could rule like the dictator of China does? — and decided that what they can’t win by the ballot they can win with the baseball bat.

Unless we all take a stand now, this spiral of violence initiated by Democrats will lead to a truly horrible future, just as the Democrat’s violent defense of slavery was the cause of the greatest tragedy in American history. If Democrats had voluntarily abandoned slavery, we could have avoided America’s most costly war. Instead we had to fight to end the scourge of slavery.

Contact the Republican leadership and make it clear that instead of condemning Trump for his stand against all violence, they need to attack the Democrat’s support of violence.

There is still time to avoid a massive escalation of violence but if we fail to take a stand against the Democrat’s use of force we will see our streets running with blood.  We know Democrats don’t care about that, because they don’t care about the thousands of Blacks shot in Chicago each year, but we do because we care about all Americans.

Take action and pray that we are not forced to relive the Civil War in order to prevent Democrats from destroying our democracy.

After Six Months, a Shocking Clarity

August 6, 2017

After Six Months, a Shocking Clarity, American ThinkerJames G. Wiles, August 6, 2017

But for now, the current crisis is not some political sideshow for the annual August “silly season.”  It is a struggle over who controls the government of the United States.

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Perhaps one James Woods said it best on Twitter (@realjameswoods) over the weekend: “I’ve never witnessed such hatred for a man who is willing to work for free to make his beloved country a better place. It is pathological.”

Mr. Woods did not exaggerate.  The last time the United States saw such a wholesale refusal to accept the result of a national election – and to overturn it – the year was 1861.

As the Trump administration moves past its 200th day in office, we have arrived at a moment of extreme clarity.  It is even – even by the standards of Watergate (which did not start, remember, until President Richard Nixon’s second term) – unprecedented in the history of the American Republic.

Just consider what we’ve learned since January 20 – and especially in the last two weeks.

1. Persons holding top positions in our national government (including its national security apparatus) are seeking to force the removal of an American president lawfully elected less than a year ago.  To achieve that goal, they have shown themselves willing to compromise the national security of the United States, including the conduct of its foreign affairs, and to commit serious felonies.

2. The MSM has united with these criminals (that is what the leakers of classified information are) in seeking to achieve this goal.  In particular, they are willing to facilitate achieving their objective by publishing information they know has been leaked to them in violation of federal law.

3. Democratic elected officials, at all levels of federal, state, and local government, oppose all aspects of the president’s agenda, upon which he was elected, and vigorously seek to block its implementation.  They have made no secret (thank you, Maxine Waters) that, if given control of Congress again, they will impeach and remove the president and, possibly, the vice president.

4. In a return to the days of the George W. Bush administration, the left is using “lawfare” (litigation for its own sake) to obstruct or defeat implementation of the president’s agenda, upon which he was elected.  A blog, Lawfareblog.com, offers daily info.  Another blog, The Intercept, promotes leaks of classified and other information.

5. For the first time since the Vietnam War years, there is a national mobilization – calling itself the Resistance – that can put people onto the streets and, occasionally, is willing to use mob violence in furtherance of its goals of ousting this president and stifling free speech.  Democratic elected officials have tolerated that violence.

6. Some Republicans in Congress have joined the Resistance.  Many more, even where they deplore the  Resistance, openly (or privately) oppose this president’s announced agenda, upon which he was elected.

7. Some Republicans in the Senate and the House who, for the last seven years, voted to repeal Obamacare, in fact, have refused to repeal it now that  a Republican president is in the White House who would sign such a repeal.

8. Prominent conservative media outlets and opinion leaders, such as Erick Erickson of theresurgent.com, redstate.com, the National Review and Bill Kristol’s Weekly Standard, oppose this president, hope for his removal or resignation from office and are, moreover, prepared to defend these national security breaches (which are occurring in an attempt to achieve that goal) asregrettable but necessary and to praise those who commit them.

In a signed editorial, Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard wrote on Friday (emphasis added):

Short-lived White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci was an utterly forgettable political hack. But he said one thing before he was dismissed that’s worth reflecting on: “There are people inside the administration that think it is their job to save America from this president. Okay?” Scaramucci was right about that. We know these people, and we admire them. We wish them every success.

9. Former Bush speech writer David Frum, writing in the Atlantic this week, both deplored and rationalized the leak of transcripts of presidential phone calls to foreign leaders.  Yes, he said, it’s illegal and compromises national security.  But it’s really Trump’s fault for making such breaches necessary.

Frum said (emphasis added):

The risk of national-security establishment overreach looms even larger. The temptation is obvious: Senior national-security professionals regard Trump as something between (at best) a reckless incompetent doofus and (at worst) an outright Russian espionage asset. The fear that a Russian mole has burrowed into the Oval Office may justify, to some, the most extreme actions against that suspected mole.

The nature of this particular leak suggests just such a national-security establishment origin.

10. It is quite obvious, in short, that the president of the United States has good reason to believe that he is, literally, being spied on in his own White House, by members of his own staff and by others elsewhere in the Executive Branch – especially including the national security apparatus.  And, furthermore, that his most confidential communications are not secure.

11. This exceeds, by some orders of magnitude, the national security threat faced by President Richard Nixon and national security adviser Henry Kissinger within the Nixon White House in 1970 and 1971.

Those are facts.  What does it all mean?

First, it means that next year’s congressional elections have grown enormously in importance since January 20.  The president will struggle to enact his agenda unless he has more allies on the allies on the Hill.

Second, it will probably take at least two full terms for the president to purge the Executive Branch.

But those are just politics and elections.  Here’s what should be concerning now:

If this pattern of the last six months continues, there will develop a real threat to the Republic and to the survival of democratic government.  While the national security threats the United States is presently facing – North Korean ICBMs, Chinese man-made islands in the South China Sea, and an expansive Russia – are serious and pressing, the most serious threat may be within.

We may be confronting a national security threat comparable to that which the United States (unknowingly) faced in the 1940s when American communists and fellow travelers penetrated the federal government, the Executive Branch, and the White House.  It was pooh-poohed at the time, called a “witch hunt” and a “Red Scare,” but, decades later,  the release of the Venona Intercepts and the opening of Soviet archives after the fall of the Soviet Union confirmed that, in fact, Soviet penetration of the highest levels of the U.S. government had occurred – and resulted in the loss of state secrets.

Here, there can be no dispute. The proof is appearing every day in our American media.

Attorney General Sessions is, therefore, amply justified in pursuing prosecution of the source(s) of these national security leaks – and, if necessary, targeting their media enablers.

The question of whether an American Deep State exists can be deferred until another time.  May cooler heads prevail until then.

But for now, the current crisis is not some political sideshow for the annual August “silly season.”  It is a struggle over who controls the government of the United States.

The Administrative State Declares Independence

August 2, 2017

The Administrative State Declares Independence, Power LineJohn Hinderaker, August 1, 2017

Yates argues for a permanent bureaucracy in Washington that is impervious to the wishes of the voters, who may occasionally be so imprudent as to elect a Republican president. In Yates’s view, that must not be an obstacle to the liberal policies of the Justice Department or, by analogy, any of the dozens of other federal agencies that are manned nearly exclusively by liberal Democrats.

The administrative state is by far the greatest contemporary threat to the liberty of Americans. The appalling Sally Yates urges that the Constitution be left in the dust, and that unelected bureaucrats be elevated above the president whom they ostensibly serve. It is hard to imagine a theory more at odds with our Constitution or our political traditions.

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Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, an Obama holdover, recently authored one of the most pernicious columns within memory in the New York Times. Her column was titled, “Protect the Justice Department From President Trump.” Yates argued, in essence, that there exists an Executive Branch that is independent of, and superior to, the President–at least as long as that Executive Branch is staffed pretty much exclusively by Democrats. This is, of course, a boldly unconstitutional theory.

The invaluable Manhattan Contrarian deconstructed Yates’s novel theory:

As I have pointed out multiple times, there is nothing complicated about the constitutional law on presidential control of the Justice Department. Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution places all of the executive power of the federal government in the President: “The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” The Justice Department is an executive agency, and therefore reports to the President in every respect. That of course does not mean that it is a good idea for the President to get personally involved in day-to-day prosecutorial decisions; but he is perfectly entitled to do so if he wants. And he certainly has final say on all policies of the Department.

Yates has a different view. Here are a few key quotes from her op-ed:

The president is attempting to dismantle the rule of law, destroy the time-honored independence of the Justice Department, and undermine the career men and women who are devoted to seeking justice day in and day out, regardless of which political party is in power. . . . [Ed.: When liberals refer to the “rule of law,” they nearly always mean rule by liberal lawyers, having no reference to any actual laws.]

The Justice Department is not just another federal agency. It is charged with fulfilling our country’s promise of equal and impartial justice for all. As an agency with the authority to deprive citizens of their liberty, its investigations and prosecutions must be conducted free from any political interference or influence, and decisions must be made based solely on the facts and the law. To fulfill this weighty responsibility, past administrations, both Democratic and Republican, have jealously guarded a strict separation between the Justice Department and the White House when it comes to investigations and prosecutions. While there may be interaction on broad policies, any White House involvement in cases or investigations, including whom or what to investigate, has been flatly forbidden.

Yates doesn’t trouble herself to give us a citation of something in the Constitution that supports her position. Nor does Yates inform us of the origin of what she calls the “time honored” “strict separation between the Justice Department and the White House” that has supposedly been followed by “past administrations, both Democratic and Republican.” … If we’re going to talk about “dismantl[ing] the rule of law,” how about the rule that says that every four years the people get to elect a new guy, with policies different from the prior guy, and the new guy gets to implement his policies?

This is the heart of the matter, of course. Yates argues for a permanent bureaucracy in Washington that is impervious to the wishes of the voters, who may occasionally be so imprudent as to elect a Republican president. In Yates’s view, that must not be an obstacle to the liberal policies of the Justice Department or, by analogy, any of the dozens of other federal agencies that are manned nearly exclusively by liberal Democrats.

The permanent staff of the Department of Justice, which Yates wants to be independent of, and superior to, any president who is actually elected by American voters, is relentlessly left-wing. The Contrarian documents this in great detail at the link; this is just a sample:

Just in case you have the exceedingly naive impression that the lawyers at the Department of Justice really are neutral and apolitical, and just “seeking justice,” perhaps it is time for a brief history lesson focusing on the years of the Obama administration. Here goes:

* First, Jonathan Swan at The Hill on October 26, 2016, helpfully did a comprehensive analysis of political contributions made by bureaucrats in the various federal agencies in the 2016 election cycle. Here’s the result for the Justice Department: “Employees of the Department of Justice, which investigated Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of State, gave Clinton 97 percent of their donations. Trump received $8,756 from DOJ employees compared with $286,797 for Clinton.”

The administrative state is by far the greatest contemporary threat to the liberty of Americans. The appalling Sally Yates urges that the Constitution be left in the dust, and that unelected bureaucrats be elevated above the president whom they ostensibly serve. It is hard to imagine a theory more at odds with our Constitution or our political traditions.

Theresa May’s Well-Deserved Defeat, and the UK’s Uncertain Future

June 11, 2017

Theresa May’s Well-Deserved Defeat, and the UK’s Uncertain Future, PJ Media, Michael Walsh, June 10, 2017

(Shutterstock)

No wonder they lost. Spinelessness is not an attractive character trait in anyone, much less a putative leader. What Mrs. May just discovered — and what we all should learn — is that the days of managing cultural decline via the administrative and the police state are over. At this point, it’s either fight back, defend your patrimony, or die.

Americans made that choice in November, and yet the pushback from the Deep State and the Democrats remains ferocious. Absent the return of St. George, it’s hard to see how the UK comes out of this alive.

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For Irish-Americans, this is yet another Death of Little Nell moment. Theresa May’s foolish gambit in calling a snap election in order to facilitate Britain’s withdrawal from the EU has set in motion a chain of events that could well lead to the dissolution of the “United Kingdom” and the devolution of the Celtic countries — Scotland, all of Ireland, and perhaps Wales and Cornwall as well — from the British crown.

The prime minister’s decision to try to form a government with the Democratic Unionist Party of “Northern Ireland” and the Tories’ unexpected boost from the Scottish National Party (which saved them from utter defeat) will ultimately spell doom for the Great Britain the world has known since the Republic of Ireland declared its independence from the Crown in 1916 and won it by force of arms in 1921.

At City Journal, Theodore Dalrymple (Anthony Daniels) has some observations on the disaster:

Theresa May has proved an apt pupil of the David Cameron school of political incompetence. Lacking principle, she is not even good at being unprincipled: a Machiavellian, it turns out, minus the cunning.

It did not help that she had the charisma of a carrot and the sparkle of a spade. As she presented herself to the public, no one would have wanted her as a dinner guest, except under the deepest social obligation. Technically, she won the election, in the sense that she received more votes than anyone else, but few voted for her with enthusiasm rather than from fear of the alternative. Her disastrous campaign included repeated genuflections in the direction of social democracy. Even after her defeat, moral if not quite literal, she burbled about a society in which no one was left behind—never mind that it would entail a society in which no one would be out in front, that is to say, a society resting in the stagnant pool of its own mediocrity.

Unfortunately, egalitarianism is a little like Islam in that, just as a moderate Muslim can always be outflanked by someone more Islamic than he, so an egalitarian can usually be outflanked by someone more egalitarian than he: and in the contest between the Conservatives and the Labour Party, no one will ever believe that the Conservatives are more devoted to equality of outcome than the Labour Party. May therefore chose her battleground with a perfect eye for defeat.

And defeat she got. Yet another childless leader of an increasingly barren European country, May — whose prime ministership was an accident of Cameron’s defeat in the Brexit referendum (she’s the Gerald Ford of England) — is scrambling to save her current mailing address at 10 Downing Street by allying with the Democratic Unionist Party in Belfast.

The Democratic Unionist Party have agreed in principle a “confidence and supply” deal to support a Conservative government, it has been announced. Theresa May was left eight seats short of an overall majority in the general election, while the DUP won 10 seats.

Tory chief whip Gavin Williamson went to Belfast on Saturday for talks with the Northern Irish party. Downing Street said the details of the outline deal would be discussed at a cabinet meeting on Monday. Any agreement would come into force when Parliament returns next week.

A “confidence and supply” deal is not a full coalition, but an agreement which sees the smaller party support the larger one in key votes such as the budget. A No 10 spokesman said: “We welcome this commitment, which can provide the stability and certainty the whole country requires as we embark on Brexit and beyond.”

Remember 1649? The Irish do

May must now turn to a handful of Unionists in England’s last major colony to save her bacon; meanwhile the Scots viewed the election as setting up yet another bite at the independence apple. So “beyond” seems a bit optimistic:

There was no mention of what concessions the DUP may have asked for, amid growing concern about the influence of a party opposed to abortion and gay marriage, and which has proved hugely controversial in the past over the homophobic and sectarian views of some of its representatives.

May earlier on Saturday lost her two closest aides as she struggled to reassert her leadership after a crushing election setback.

The Conservative leader has been warned that her days are numbered after calling Thursday’s vote three years early, only to lose her majority in parliament. Senior party figures have cautioned against any immediate leadership challenge, saying it would cause only further disruption as Britain prepares to start Brexit negotiations as early as June 19.

But media reports suggest they had demanded the departure of May’s joint chiefs of staff, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, as the price for allowing the 60-year-old vicar’s daughter to stay in office.

May put on a brave face after Thursday’s vote, expressing sorrow for the MPs who lost their seats but refusing to acknowledge how her election gamble backfired. “From hubris to humiliation,” said the left-leaning Guardian. “May stares into the abyss,” wrote The Times, while the Conservative-supporting Sun tabloid said succinctly: “She’s had her chips.”

As Great Britain dies, mostly thanks to the deliberate suicide of the Labour Party, it’s the Tories who are going to suffer. What England needed in the weak Cameron’s wake was a decisive leader who would reverse the effects (insofar as possible) of Labour’s gambit to boost its electorate via immigration, and to start a serious crackdown on the hordes of foreign Muslims who are already fundamentally changing the nature of the British state. Unable to stand up to bogus charges of “racism,” the Tories capitulated in principle, and got two attacks in London and the massacre in Manchester in return.

No wonder they lost. Spinelessness is not an attractive character trait in anyone, much less a putative leader. What Mrs. May just discovered — and what we all should learn — is that the days of managing cultural decline via the administrative and the police state are over. At this point, it’s either fight back, defend your patrimony, or die.

Americans made that choice in November, and yet the pushback from the Deep State and the Democrats remains ferocious. Absent the return of St. George, it’s hard to see how the UK comes out of this alive.

Highly Classified National Security Information Must Not be Leaked

February 20, 2017

Highly Classified National Security Information Must Not be Leaked, Dan Miller’s Blog, February 20, 2017

(The views expressed in this article are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of Warsclerotic or its other editors. — DM)

Evidence of political corruption should be.

It has been obvious since the early Republican primaries that most media coverage of a Trump presidency would be adverse and presented out of context. Perhaps a recent editorial at The Week Magazine explains why, albeit inadvertently. Or maybe this cartoon better explains the media view:

Trump and Putin as seen by the lamebrain media

Trump and Putin as seen by the lamebrain media

According to The Week Magazineall leaks are equal. However, we approve of those which fit our politics and disapprove of those which don’t.

Live by the leak, die by the leak. When WikiLeaks was releasing a steady stream of embarrassing emails hacked from Democratic officials during the presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton and her supporters cried foul, and urged the press not to report their contents. Donald Trump applauded every new revelation, saying the leaks provided voters with important information, and gleefully invited the Russians to find and publish emails she had deleted. “Boy, that WikiLeaks has done a job on her, hasn’t it?” Trump exulted. Now that it’s Trump who is being tortured by leaks, he’s complaining they’re illegal and “un-American.” Democrats, meanwhile, are welcoming the torrent like a rainstorm after a long drought. (See Main Stories.) When it comes to leaks, everyone is a hypocrite. “Good” leaks are ones that damage our opponents. “Bad” leaks are those that hurt Our Side. [Emphasis added.]

But let’s set partisanship aside for a moment. Is it always in the public interest for government officials to leak, and for the media to publish leaked material? Crusading journalist Glenn Greenwald—who angered the Obama administration by publishing Edward Snowden’s trove of stolen NSA documents—argues in TheIntercept.com this week that all leaks exposing “wrong-doing” are good ones, regardless of the leaker’s motives. “Leaks are illegal and hated by those in power (and their followers),” Greenwald says, “precisely because political officials want to be able to lie to the public with impunity and without detection.” The implication of this argument, of course, is that governments, politicians, and organizations should not keep any secrets—that when people in power conceal documents, emails, or information that could embarrass them, they are by definition deceiving the public. Radical transparency certainly sounds noble—but I suspect it’s a standard no public official, or indeed most of us, could survive. It’s so much more convenient to have a double standard: Transparency for thee, but not for me.

I disagree. Leaks of unclassified materials demonstrating corruption of the political process by either party are necessary for an effectively functioning democracy. Leaks of highly classified national security information — particularly in the area of foreign policy — endanger our democracy, are crimes and the perpetrators should be dealt with accordingly. When the media sensationalize leaks of the latter type, they are complicit and must be criticized vigorously.

The press has long served as an objective fail-safe to protect the public from the powers-that-be. That objectivity is now absent and the media’s role in our democratic society is in jeopardy. Rather than self-reflect as to how they got off course, the press have opted to label the man who exposed this derailment as un-American.

What’s un-American is the belief that the press should be unaccountable for its actions. What’s un-American is the belief that any attempt to criticize the press should be viewed as heresy. What’s un-American is the belief that the press is akin to a golden calf that compels Americans, presidents included, to worship the press.

Two very different types of leaks

a. DNC and Podesta e-mails:

The DNC and Podesta e-mails were released as written and posted by DNC officials and Podesta for transmission on unsecured servers easily hacked by modestly competent teenage hackers. I have seen no suggestion that the e-mails were classified. The intelligence community opined that Russian agents had done the hacking, but offered no significant proof beyond that the methods used by the hacker(s) were comparable to those used by Russian hackers in the past.

They found no discrepancies between the original e-mails and those posted by WikiLeaks (which denied that Russia had been the source). The e-mail leaks damaged the Clinton campaign because they portrayed, accurately — and in their own words —  dishonest efforts of high-level DNC and Clinton campaign personnel to skew the Democrat primary process in Ms. Clinton’s favor. They did not involve American foreign policy until Obama — who had previously done nothing of significance to halt Russia’s hacking of highly classified information from our intelligence establishment beyond asking, “pretty please, stop” — decided that Russia must be punished for Hillary’s loss of the general election through sanctions and by the expulsion of thirty-five of its diplomats.

Russian president Vladimir Putin had been expected to respond in kind, with the expulsion of US diplomats from its territory.

However, he later said he would not “stoop” to “irresponsible diplomacy”, but rather attempt to repair relations once Donald Trump takes office.

Mr Trump praised the decision as “very smart.”

b. Flynn telephone conversations:

Neither transcripts nor audio recordings of the Flynn telephone conversations were released. Instead, conclusions of the leakers were released. According to House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes,

“I think there is a lot of innuendo out there that the intelligence agencies have a problem with Donald Trump. The rank and file people that are out doing jobs across the world — very difficult places — they don’t pay attention to what is going on in Washington,” the California representative told CBS “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson.

“What we have is we do have people in the last administration, people who are burrowed in, perhaps all throughout the government, who clearly are leaking to the press,” Nunes added. “And it is against the law. Major laws have been broken. If you believe the Washington Post story that said there were nine people who said this, these are nine people who broke the law.” [Emphasis added.]

Nunes said the FBI and other intelligence agencies ought to investigate who has leaked information to the press because so few people in the administration knew these secrets, that it would have had to have been someone at the “highest levels of the Obama administration” who is an acting official until Trump replaces him or her.

Did the leaker(s) try to present the conversations honestly, or to damage President Trump’s efforts to deal with Russia in matters of foreign policy where American and Russian interests coincide? To disrupt America’s badly needed “reset” with Russia which seemed likely to succeed under President Trump after Clinton’s and Obama’s efforts had failed?

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Remember the Obama – Romney debate when Romney characterized Russia as America’s greatest geopolitical threat and Obama responded that the cold war was over and that “the 1980’s are calling and want their foreign policy back”?

The position now asserted by the Democrats and the media seems rather like the position that Obama rejected. If the position(s) of the Democrats and the media are now correct and Russia is again our enemy, might it be due to actions which Obama took or failed to take over the past eight years?

It is unfortunate that there has been a resurgence of Democrat (and some Republican) Russophobia when Russia is reassessing her relationship with Iran and America.

On January 22, 2017, the Russian media outlet Pravda.ru published an analysis on Russia-Iran relations. According to the article’s author, Dmitri Nersesov, Iran is becoming a problem for Russian interests. Nersesov also added that Iran wants Russia to choose between Iran and Washington. “Iran wants Russia to recognize that Teheran holds the key to the regulation of the Syrian crisis. Should Russia decide that the real strategy is built on the cooperation between Moscow and Washington, rather than Moscow and Teheran; the Islamic Republic will be extremely disappointed,” Nersesov wrote. [Emphasis added.]

An American – Russian realignment in areas of mutual concern — which as suggested below had seemed to be progressing well until General Flynn ceased to be involved — would be good, not bad. We have many areas of mutual concern, and Iran is one of them. The war in Syria is another. When were Russians last directed to yell Death to America? Or to refer to America as the “Great Satan?”

c. General Flynn, Russia and Iran

General Flynn had, at President Trump’s request, been dealing with Russia concerning the future roles of Iran, Russia and America in the Syria debacle:

Overlaying US President Donald Trump’s extraordinary, hour-long skirmish with reporters Thursday, Feb. 16, was bitter frustration over the domestic obstacles locking him out from his top security and foreign policy goals. [Emphasis added.]

Even before his inauguration four weeks ago, he had arranged to reach those goals by means of an understanding with President Vladimir Putin for military and intelligence cooperation in Syria, both for the war on the Islamic State and for the removal of Iran and its Lebanese surrogate Hizballah from that country. [Emphasis added.]

But his antagonists, including elements of the US intelligence community, were turning his strategy into a blunderbuss for hitting him on the head, with the help of hostile media.

Thursday, in a highly unconventional meeting with the world media, he tried to hit back, and possibly save his strategy.

That won’t be easy. The exit of National Security Adviser Mike Flynn, the prime mover in the US-Russian détente, sent the Kremlin a negative signal. The Russians began unsheathing their claws when they began to suspect that the US president was being forced back from their understanding. The SSV 175 Viktor Leonov spy ship was ordered to move into position opposite Delaware on the East Coast of America; Su-24 warplanes buzzed the USS Porter destroyer in the Black Sea.

Before these events, Washington and Moscow wre moving briskly towards an understandingdebkafile’s intelligence sources disclose that the Kremlin had sent positive messages to the White House on their joint strategy in Syria, clarifying that Moscow was not locked in on Bashar Assad staying on as president. [Emphasis added.]

They also promised to table at the Geneva conference on Syria taking place later this month a demand for the all “foreign forces” to leave Syria. This would apply first and foremost to the pro-Iranian Iraqi, Pakistani and Afghan militias brought in by Tehran to fight for Assad under the command of Revolutionary Guards officers, as well as Hizballah. [Emphasis added.]

Deeply troubled by this prospect, Tehran sent Iran’s supreme commander in the Middle East, the Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani, to Moscow this week to find out what was going on.

Flynn’s departure put the lid on this progress. Then came the damaging leak to the Wall Street Journal, that quoted an “intelligence official” as saying that his agencies hesitated to reveal to the president the “sources and methods” they use to collect information, due to “possible links between Trump associates and Russia.. Those links, he said “could potentially compromise the security of such classified information.”

A first-year student knows that this claim is nonsense, since no agency ever share its sources and methods with any outsider, however high-placed.

What the leak did reveal was that some Washington insiders were determined at all costs to torpedo the evolving understanding between the American and Russian presidents. The first scapegoat was the strategy the two were developing for working together in Syria. [Emphasis added.]

Defending his policy of warming relations with Moscow, Trump protested that “getting along with Russia is not a bad thing.” He even warned there would be a “nuclear holocaust like no other” if relations between the two superpowers were allowed to deteriorate further.

It is too soon to say whether his Russian policy is finally in shreds or can still be repaired. Trump indicated more than once in his press briefing that he would try and get the relations back on track.

Asked how he would react to Russia’s latest provocative moves, he said: “I’m not going to tell you anything about what responses I do. I don’t talk about military responses. I don’t have to tell you what I’m going to do in North Korea,” he stressed.

At all events, his administration seems to be at a crossroads between whether to try and salvage the partnership with Russia for Syria, or treat it as a write-off. If the latter, then Trump must decide whether to send American troops to the war-torn country to achieve his goals, or revert to Barack Obama’s policy of military non-intervention in the conflict. [Emphasis added.]

Substantially more is generally involved in matters of foreign policy than is facially apparent or than government officials should discuss publicly, particularly while negotiations with foreign powers are underway. Leaks by held-over members of the intelligence community did much to reveal the opinions of the leakers but little to reveal what General Flynn had been doing, while upsetting the chances of better American – Russian relations in areas of mutual concern.

Conclusions — The Administrative State

The Federal Government has grown far too big for its britches, giving the unelected “administrative state” substantially more authority, and hence power, than is consistent with a properly functioning democracy. As they have been demonstrating in recent months, holdovers from one administration can succeed, at least partially, in paralyzing a new and democratically elected president. Holdovers with political appointee status can generally be fired. Few others who should be can be.

Getting rid of the obstructionist “civil servants” who have become our masters should rank very high on President Trump’s “to do” list and should be accomplished before it’s too late. The task may be difficult but is not impossible. Perhaps some particularly obnoxious Federal agencies (or departments within those agencies) can be relocated to places less congenial than Washington. Inner City Chicago comes to mind. So do otherwise pleasant cities in California, where housing prices are much higher than in the Washington, D.C. area. How many Federal employees faced with the choice of relocating or resigning would choose the latter option?

There are likely other and probably better ways to get rid of the fatheads. President Trump’s administration should devise them.