Posted tagged ‘Media and Donald Trump’

European Conservative Parties Are Not ‘Far Right’

February 6, 2017

European Conservative Parties Are Not ‘Far Right’, American ThinkerJames Lewis, February 6, 2017

I keep reading in the European fakestream  media that the new upsurge in conservative democratic parties in Europe all comes down to fascists and paleo-Nazis. They are not – any more than Republicans are fascists and Nazis.

Euro-conservatives sound just like you, me, and Donald Trump.  They talk about freedom and democracy.  They talk about tolerance for democratic parties but not for totalitarian killers.  They talk about taking control of their borders again.  Their college campuses have been subverted and turned upside-down, just as ours have.  Their police forces often turn against normal people on behalf of murderous barbarians, just as ours are being pushed to do.

But normal people in Europe have finally gathered the courage to call the enemy by name.

Europe’s media constantly smear democratic conservatives as “extreme right” or “fascist.”  That is a vicious lie, as you can hear for yourself by listening to video speeches on the web by European conservatives.

If you don’t happen to understand their languages, you can listen to Nigel Farage, who sounds just like Trump.

But notice that the Fakestream in Europe can never allow conservatives to speak, not without smearing them in the same sentence.  Trump is a madman according to the media elites in Europe.  But then their own democratic populists are also ready to go for a new Hitler, if you listen to the establishment media.

I’ve just listened to one of the heroic figures of the resistance, Geert Wilders, who has twice been arrested and convicted of “hate speech” by the neo-fascist establishment in the Netherlands.  Over there, the “mainstream media” have lost all credibility, just like the Washington Post and the New York Times.  Over there, normal people are sick and tired – and scared – of the pile of lies they have to listen to every day.  They no longer believe a word of it.

Before Trump was elected, European conservatives were forbidden to speak out, accused of Nazism or racism.  Today, they are finding their true voices.

Democratic conservatism has gone international – not as a centralized ideology, but as a commonsense revolt by ordinary people for their ordinary freedoms.  Patriotism is coming back over there as well, and no, that doesn’t mean a return to the Kaiser’s militarism in Germany, or Napoleonic grandeur in France.  It means a return to normalcy.

When Euro-conservatives give speeches, Donald Trump gets tremendous applause.  Trump’s victory in the U.S. has given courage to tens of millions of Europeans, who have been afraid to speak out.  Some have been jailed, and all have been smeared in the public media.  But they are not going to take it anymore.

You’ll never, ever read this in the New York Times.  Or in the WaPo.  Or in the highly concentrated “news” cartel that controls what most Americans hear.

Marxo-jihadist globalism is always the same, here and there.  And just like here, ordinary people are outraged and ready to take to the streets.  They are not fascists, and they are certainly not Nazis.  They are not totalitarians of any kind at all.  They are true democrats with a small d.

Ordinary, healthy patriotism is in.  Sensible talk is in.  Crazy fascism can be heard coming only from the totalitarian left, just as in our country.

The treacherous establishments in Europe are closely allied to the corrupting forces of jihad and the Soros left.  Young, empty-headed kids are being indoctrinated there, just as they are here.  Trained ruckus-makers in black masks are taking the side of jihad over there, just as here.

Everyday Europeans are very scared, because their governments no longer protect them from thugs and rapists.  Women are afraid to show their blond hair (or any other color hair, for that matter).

The same fascist smear tactics we see in Berkeley today are being used in Europe.  And no wonder: The sources of political poison are the same left-jihadist Axis of Evil we see in this country.  These are people who have been told by Alinsky types like Obama and Hillary that the American middle class is “the enemy.”  And today, when they run the Organs of Propaganda, they are persuading airheads on colleges around the country that their parents and grandparents, normal Americans, are indeed their enemy.

Obama is an expert Alinsky ruckus-maker.  The term “community organizer” used to be called “Communist agitator,” when Communists were not afraid to be labeled accurately, and agitation-propaganda is exactly what they do.  The anti-Trump riots are organized by neo-Stalinists, who have never given up their quest for total power.  They are not subtle about it.

The U.S. media are now completely corrupt, united in their goal of destroying Donald Trump.  The Euro-media are exactly the same.  But normal people don’t speak in a single voice.  They speak in many voices.  Democracy is unpredictable, and power cults around the world are starting to finally see it.

The Associated Press Goes To War With Trump

January 24, 2017

The Associated Press Goes To War With Trump, Power LineJohn Hinderaker, January 24, 2017

[A]s we saw during the campaign, Trump can be accused of exaggeration. But the liberal press is far more guilty of outright falsity, and its accusations vastly overstate Trump’s purported sins.

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As of January 20, the liberal press has a new mantra: no more mister nice guy! We’re going to call a lie a lie, damn it! That would have been a nice practice during the last eight years, but better late than never, I suppose.

The Associated Press manifests its new attitude–all-out war on the president–with today’s “news” story: “Trump bridge-building overshadowed by false voter fraud line.”

Even as President Donald Trump starts reaching out to lawmakers and business and union leaders to sell his policies, he’s still making false claims about election fraud.

That’s a bold lead sentence. It would be interesting to try to find an instance in the last eight years when the AP attributed “false claims,” without qualification, to Barack Obama.

During a bipartisan reception with lawmakers at the White House Monday evening, Trump claimed the reason he’d lost the popular vote to his Democratic rival was that 3 million to 5 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally had voted. That’s according to a Democratic aide familiar with the exchange who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting.

There is no evidence to support Trump’s claim.

The assertion appeared to be part of a developing pattern for Trump and his new administration in which falsehoods overshadow outreach efforts.

Extraordinarily harsh words. Note, however, that the AP takes at face value the report of a “Democratic aide…who spoke on condition of anonymity.” That is a very thin reed on which to base the assertion that Trump lied.

What about the AP’s flat assurance that “[t]here is no evidence to support Trump’s claim”? If Trump said that three million illegal immigrants voted in the election, the AP is simply wrong. There is evidence to support that claim. This study by professors from Old Dominion and James Mason Universities concluded that as many as 2.8 million illegals voted in the 2008 and 2010 elections, and the illegal immigrant population has continued to grow. The study also found that:

this [illegal] participation has been large enough to change meaningful election outcomes including Electoral College votes, and Congressional elections. Non-citizen votes likely gave Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress.

The Associated Press is free to disagree with the conclusions reached by Professors Richman, Chattha and Earnest, and to offer its own estimates of the extent of illegal voting. But it hasn’t done so, and the AP’s claim that there is “no evidence” to support Trump’s claim is false. The AP also describes Trump’s assertion as “debunked,” with no reference to what evidence supposedly debunked it.

The AP goes on to accuse Trump’s of further lies:

The start of Trump’s first full week in office had begun as a reset after a tumultuous weekend dominated by his and his spokesman’s false statements about inauguration crowds and their vigorous complaints about media coverage of the celebrations.

Again, the Associated Press casually accuses both Trump and Sean Spicer of making “false statements” about the crowd at the inauguration. This flap duplicates a pattern that we saw repeatedly during the campaign. It starts with a lie about Trump by the press. Trump responds with what probably is an exaggeration, which the press hysterically denounces as a lie, without acknowledging its own role in the controversy.

Here, the press started the conflict by putting out a lowball estimate that only 250,000 attended Trump’s inauguration. The New York Times deceptively tried to further that narrative by circulating a photo of the crowd that was taken before the inauguration began, and before the crowd was fully assembled. That deception, which we wrote about here, was repeated by pretty much the entire press corps.

So what was Trump’s alleged falsehood?

“I made a speech. I looked out. The field was — it looked like a million, a million and a half people.”

The president went on to say that one network “said we drew 250,000 people. Now that’s not bad. But it’s a lie.” He then claimed that were 250,000 right by the stage and the “rest of the, you know, 20-block area, all the way back to the Washington Monument was packed.”

Trump didn’t say there were a million people there, he said it looked like a million when he looked out from the podium. And there were people extending back to the Washington Monument, although it probably wasn’t “packed” there. So Trump exaggerated, but there is only one flat-out falsehood in the picture: the original press report that only 250,000 people attended.

What was Sean Spicer’s alleged falsehood?

Spicer has taken heat for his main claim that “this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe,” while offering other inaccurate statements including that Trump’s was the first inauguration in which white floor coverings were used on the mall. White floor coverings were used during Obama’s second inauguration in 2013.

I assume the press isn’t going to try to create a credibility gap out of the white floor coverings. Spicer’s sin is saying that the largest ever international audience witnessed Trump’s inauguration. But whether that statement is true or not is unknown. While television ratings were higher for Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration, online viewership around the world could indeed have been enough to make the Trump inauguration the most-watched.

Here, as we saw during the campaign, Trump can be accused of exaggeration. But the liberal press is far more guilty of outright falsity, and its accusations vastly overstate Trump’s purported sins.

It is hard to say how the all-out war on Trump by the Associated Press and other liberal outlets will end. But so far, Trump has done pretty well by running against the media.

What Happens Next?

January 18, 2017

What Happens Next?, PJ Media, Roger Kimball, January 18, 2017

swearingintrumprehearsalJanuary 15, 2017: a rehearsal of President-elect Donald Trump’s swearing-in ceremony in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

What we may be witnessing is a national reconfiguration — Piereson calls it America’s fourth revolution — in which the elite, pantywaist consensus of the Left is giving way to something more traditional, more manly, more rugged. I don’t expect this transition to be painless or to happen without a measure of hysteria from the skirling feminized cadres of the disintegrating consensus.  But unless they succeed in destroying Donald Trump in the opening months of his administration, they are destined, like the Whigs of yore, to recede into querulous obscurity.

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Those who are ignorant of history, George Santayana remarked, are condemned to repeat it. It’s not quite true, of course.

Santayana’s elder tradesman, Heraclitus, was right when he said that you cannot step into the same river twice. Whether or not you know anything about it, history, that great river, keeps meandering on. It does not double back.

But Santayana’s oft-quoted remark does have a salutary invigorating effect. Much like that “self-evident half-truth” (as the philosopher Harvey Mansfield put it) that “all men are created equal,” Santayana’s admonition might well exert, on susceptible souls, the goad to learn more about mankind’s adventure in time, which is a good thing. There are patterns to be observed, continuities (and discontinuities) noted, metabolisms of power registered and understood. So even if Santayana overstated the case, the failure to study history — for a culture as well as for individuals — is a sort of existential threat.

Or, to put it positively, a study of history is a prophylactic learning experience.

One of the things one learns, I believe, is that Karl Marx was not always wrong. For example, when he amends Hegel’s declaration that history repeats itself, Marx notes “he forgot to add, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”

It tells us something about Marx that the only two choices he he can envision are tragedy and farce. Is there no tertium quid?

Perhaps we are about to find out.

Hysteria tends to feed on itself, so it is no surprise that the #NeverTrump/#AntiTrump brigades have been vying to outdo one another in histrionics. Hundreds of thousands of protestors are about to descend upon Washington, D.C., to dispute the results of an open, democratic election. In many cases, the antics remind one of nothing so much as a distraught toddler who follows his mother around the house and falls down in a tantrum whenever he has her attention. It’s funny when it’s a two-year-old. When the source of the tantrums are in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, it is still funny, but also pathetic.

Still, it is worth noting that the minatory rhetoric seems to increase in volume daily. One example: a group called “DisruptJ20” aims to “shut down the inauguration.” David Thurston, a spokesman for the group, stated: “We want to see a seething rebellion develop in this city and across the country.”

Does he have any idea what he is talking about? What about the long tradition in this country of the peaceful transfer of power? “We are not in favor of a peaceful transition of power,” Legba Carrefour, another “DisruptJ20 representative, said. He added: “[W]e need to stop it.”

What are we to make of such melodrama? Are we living through a reprise of 1968? Or, as some have suggested, of 1860, when the country descended into civil war?

As I write, 47 Democratic congressmen have announced that they plan to “boycott” the inauguration (John Lewis doesn’t count: he boycotted when George W. Bush was elected, too, as no Republican is “legitimate” for that race-baiting charlatan).

Meanwhile, we are told that the legacy media are preparing for “war” with Donald Trump, with reporters “put on a war footing.”

Of course, you see something of this every time a recognizably conservative figure wins the presidency. It happened to Reagan. It happened to W. If it seems more extreme this time around, it is partly because Trump and his coalition are offering much stiffer resistance to the forces that would destroy them.

The Left blamed Hurricane Katrina on George Bush. He ought to have done a King Canute and humiliated them into silence. Instead, he meekly retreated. Trump doesn’t do meek retreat and neither, I suspect, do those who put him in the White House. As Victor Davis Hanson noted in City Journal a few days ago, “one irony of the 2016 election is that identity politics became a lethal boomerang for progressives”:

After years of seeing America reduced to a binary universe, with culpable white Christian males encircled by ascendant noble minorities, gays, feminists, and atheists — usually led by courageous white-male progressive crusaders — red-state America decided that two could play the identity-politics game. In 2016, rural folk did silently in the voting booth what urban America had done to them so publicly in countless sitcoms, movies, and political campaigns.

The establishment GOP still has its knickers in a twist, but Trump and his supporters understand the wisdom of the old French adage:

Cet animal est très méchant,

Quand on l’attaque il se défend.

“This animal is very strange: when one attacks it, it defends itself.”

This is not to deny, as Andy McCarthy pointed out recently, that the Left tends to be better at shaping The Narrative, the public perception of political reality, than the GOP. Part of their success these last eight years has been the collusion of the Obama administration in furthering their chosen Narrative — on Benghazi, on the “bitter clingers,” on the “deplorables,” and more. That critical support — from the DOJ to the IRS to the EPA and the Department of Education — will be withdrawn in two days, two hours, and six five minutes.

The question then will be whether the legacy media, the Code Pink crowd, and the Deep State elite can sustain an effective opposition by themselves. At this stage, I think, it is an open question.

If Trump gets his cabinet picks, if he comes into office and unleashes a blitzkrieg of promised reforms, I suspect the opposition, after a period of fletus et stridor dentium (Matthew 13:50), will subside into pathetic irrelevance.

That’s a big “if,” I understand, but as of Wednesday, January 18, 2017, Trump seems firmly in command and poised to make America great again.

In his book Shattered Consensus, James Piereson points out that America has tended to have not a two-party system but rather a “one and one-half party system consisting of a ‘regime party’ and a competitor forced to adapt to its dominant position.” These competitors, he writes — the Whigs in the 1840s, the Democrats after the Civil War, and the Republicans in the post-war era — occasionally won national elections, but only after accepting the legitimacy of the basic political themes established by the regime party.

What we may be witnessing is a national reconfiguration — Piereson calls it America’s fourth revolution — in which the elite, pantywaist consensus of the Left is giving way to something more traditional, more manly, more rugged. I don’t expect this transition to be painless or to happen without a measure of hysteria from the skirling feminized cadres of the disintegrating consensus.  But unless they succeed in destroying Donald Trump in the opening months of his administration, they are destined, like the Whigs of yore, to recede into querulous obscurity.

It cannot happen soon enough.

Dishonest CIA Director Rips Trump; Trump Should Rip him Back [Updated]

January 16, 2017

Dishonest CIA Director Rips Trump; Trump Should Rip him Back [Updated], Power LineJohn Hinderaker, January 15, 2017

John Brennan’s career in the Obama administration, first as counterterrorism adviser, then as Director of the CIA, has been a disaster. We have written about him many times; just search “John Brennan” on this site. Along with being an inept CIA Director, Brennan is a political hack. Today he went on Fox News Sunday and attacked Donald Trump. But the real news was Brennan’s inability to respond to questions about his agency’s use of the fake “Russian dossier” to smear Trump. That was the topic that Chris Wallace began with:

WALLACE: President-elect Trump has made it clear, as we just discussed, that he believes the intelligence community released, put out information about this unverified dossier in order to undercut him. Here’s what he said at his press conference.

TRUMP VIDEO: I think it was disgraceful, disgraceful, that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out be so false and fake out. I think it’s a disgrace, and I say that and I say that, and that something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do.

WALLACE: Mr. Brennan, your response.

JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: Well, I think as the Director of National Intelligence said in his statement, this information has been out there circulating for many months. So, it’s not a question of the intelligence community leaking or releasing this information, it was already out there.

WALLACE: But it hadn’t been reported, though. And one of the reasons it hadn’t is because it hadn’t been verified. And when you briefed the president on it, you collectively briefed the president on it, the president-elect, that made it news.

That is exactly correct. Not a single news organization had reported on the fake “Russian dossier” because it was obviously bogus. The CIA, or someone in the intelligence community, deliberately turned fake news into a “legitimate” news story by purporting to brief Donald Trump on the smears against him, and then leaking the fact that they had done so. Brennan’s defense is pathetic.

BRENNAN: Well, nothing has been verified. It is unsubstantiated reporting that is out there, that has been circulating in the private sector and with the media as well by a firm that pulled this information together.

But what I do find outrageous is equating the intelligence community with Nazi Germany. I do take great umbrage at that, and there is no basis for Mr. Trump to point fingers at the intelligence community for leaking information that was already available publicly.

WALLACE: But it wasn’t available publicly. Various news organizations, if I may, various news organization had it, but they weren’t reporting it because it hadn’t been verified. And this brings me to the real question, Director Brennan, why on earth [would our] nation’s intelligence spy chiefs brief President-elect Trump, in your first meeting collectively with him, on this unverified information? First of all, it wasn’t intelligence, it was rumors. And secondly, by briefing him on it, you made it a news event and, therefore, gave news organizations an excuse to report it.

That is indeed the question, and Brennan has no answer.

BRENNAN: Well, I think news organizations should not assume what happened during that discussion with Mr. Trump.

WALLACE: Well, it’s been verified by the Director of National Intelligence that he was briefed on this information.

BRENNAN: Chris, bringing to the attention of the president-elect, as well as to the current president that this was circulating out there was a responsibility in the minds of the intelligence directors, of the intelligence community to make sure that there was going to be no evaluation of it, but just making sure that the president-elect was aware that it was circulating.

This is unbelievably disingenuous. “President-Elect Trump, we have vitally important news for you! You will be shocked–shocked!–to learn that your political enemies are trying to smear you with false claims! Which, by the way, we are about to leak.”

How dumb does Brennan think we are?

WALLACE: But shouldn’t you have done it a bunch of better ways, for instance, had a staff level person, give it to a staff level person, rather than the spy chiefs giving it to the president and the president-elect?

BRENNAN: Well, I think anybody who has read the reports that are out there, I think there are some very salacious allegations in there, again, unsubstantiated, that were circulating. And so, making sure that the president-elect himself was aware of it. I think that was the extent of what it was that the intelligence chiefs wanted to do.

WALLACE: One of the questions, though, is whether the intelligence community is going after — or somehow is going to try to undercut by selective leaks the new president-elect.

Let me ask my question, because former top intelligence officials have been bashing Mr. Trump for months, and I want to put a couple of these on the screen. Former acting CIA Director Mike Morell wrote, “In the intelligence business, we would say Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian federation.”

And then, former CIA Director Michael Hayden said he’d prefer a different term, “That’s the useful fool, some naif, manipulated by Moscow, secretly held in contempt, but his blind support is happily accepted and exploited.”

Can you understand given that and given all these leaks that have been coming out for months, why the president-elect would think the intelligence community had it in for him?

BRENNAN: Well, these are private citizens now for speaking about the current political environment about individuals. So, I’m not going to try to defend or explain what they said. But I can tell you that the intelligence community is prepared to support the president-elect and his incoming team, as we have done throughout the course of our history.

Chris Wallace never asked, and John Brennan certainly didn’t answer, the obvious question: who leaked the fact that the intelligence agencies briefed Trump on the fake news dossier, and then leaked the agencies’ own memo summarizing the smears against Trump? Donald Trump didn’t. Who, then?

We know for sure that intelligence officials–I assume either Brennan or his subordinates at the CIA–were feeding reporters classified information about the fake dossier in order to damage Trump. Their conduct was so reprehensible–criminal, actually–that it disgusted even the New York Times. I wrote last Wednesday that it is time for heads to roll at the CIA:

[A] reasonably respectable newspaper like the Washington Post takes this [the CIA’s leaked briefing of the president-elect] as a green light to report the slanders against Trump:

A classified report delivered to President Obama and President-elect Donald Trump last week included a section summarizing allegations that Russian intelligence services have compromising material and information on Trump’s personal life and finances, U.S. officials said.

The officials said that U.S. intelligence agencies have not corroborated those allegations but believed that the sources involved in the reporting were credible enough to warrant inclusion of their claims in the highly classified report on Russian interference in the presidential campaign.

Note that, while the report is “highly classified,” “U.S. officials” didn’t hesitate to tell the Post and other news sources all about it.

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This excerpt from the New York Times’s account tells you all you need to know:

[I]ntelligence agencies considered it so potentially explosive that they decided Obama, Trump and congressional leaders needed to be told about it and informed that the agencies were actively investigating it.

Intelligence officials were concerned that the information would leak before they informed Trump of its existence, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the summary is classified and talking about it would be a felony. [Emphasis added]

Right. So “intelligence officials” think nothing of committing a felony if it will help serve the cause of the Democratic Party. The CIA is a sick agency. Heads need to roll.

The first head that ought to roll is John Brennan’s, but he won’t survive the Obama administration in any event. There are more who should be sacked. Reporters are getting the vapors over the fact that Trump doesn’t trust the CIA. But if “intelligence officials” think it is better to commit a felony than to give Trump a fair shake, why should he?

UPDATE: The Associated Press never mentions Brennan’s humiliation, and instead tries to fool newspaper readers into thinking that the story from today’s Fox News Sunday appearance was Brennan’s chiding Trump with respect to Russia. Unbelievable. Or, it would be unbelievable if it weren’t the Associated Press.

The Trump Dossier Puts the Deep State in Deep Doo-Doo

January 15, 2017

The Trump Dossier Puts the Deep State in Deep Doo-Doo, American ThinkerClarice Feldman, January 15, 2017

Mr. Garfinkle of Garfinkle’s New Method Hebrew School in Milwaukee used to frequently echo King Solomon’s admonition; “There’s nothing new under the sun.” I was reminded of that this week when the rapidly unfolding “scandal” of Trump’s purported dealings with Russia hit the news. It has more than a few similarities with the Dan Rather faked-up story of GW Bush’s National Guard service where an anonymous, never-found source supposedly gave Bill Burkett a demonstrably fake report and Dan Rather ran with it. This time a Bush (Jeb) is involved but as an instigator of the story, not a victim. John McCain acts as the intermediary passing the junk on to the Intelligence Community, which makes sure it is published.

If you’re confused about it, let me put it in the context of the most reliable information I’ve been able to put together, noting that I think the story is likely to become even more clear over the next few days. As you will see, the dossier is so ridiculous, if anyone in the Intelligence Community fell for it, he’s too stupid to allow in place, and if no one did but they still played a role in publicizing it, everyone involved needs to be fired

A. Digging Up Dirt on Opponents

In September of 2015 someone — now revealed as a Jeb Bush Super PAC donor — paid  Fusion GPS, a Washington, D.C. outfit, to compile a dossier of dirt on Donald Trump. Fusion engaged Christopher Steele, a former MI-6 agent in London, to do the job. While early accounts of the story refer to him as a “respected source”, he has a history of dumpster diving for Democrats.

Kimberley Strassel at the Wall Street Journal has been reporting on his work for some time and explains why he keeps getting hired: “to gin up the ugliest, most scurrilous claims, and then trust the click-hungry media to disseminate them. No matter how false the allegations, the subject of the attack is required to respond, wasting precious time and losing credibility.”

Steele hadn’t been in Russia for decades and as a former British spy could not have done the work himself. So, as the account in the New York Times continues, “he hired native Russian speakers to call informants inside Russia and made surreptitious contact with his own connections in the country as well.”

Beginning in June and until December Steele delivered his findings — a series of short memos — to GPS. Although post-election no one was paying, Steele continued on this muckraking operation,

The memos suggested that the Russians were trying to influence Trump and stated that one of Trump’s lawyers, Michael Cohen, had met with a Russian official in Prague. (A claim Cohen has credibly rebutted.)

Word of the dossier made it to the FBI via Senator John McCain, a man with an apparently insatiable desire to betray.  McCain, who heard about the dossier from a former diplomatic colleague of Tony Blair (Sir Andrew Wood), dispatched someone (apparently former State Department official David J. Kramer) to London to pick it up, then handed it off to the FBI.

From sources as yet unknown, news of the Steele report made it to journalists who investigated and finding no verification after investigating refused to print it.

The FBI, tried to get permission to tap into a server in the Trump Tower, which was denied, then in a strangely odd act tried twice to get a warrant from FISA to tap into it. Whether this was in response to the dossier, I do not know.  Andrew McCarthy writes in National Review Online:

To summarize, it appears there were no grounds for a criminal investigation of banking violations against Trump. Presumably based on the fact that the bank or banks at issue were Russian, the Justice Department and the FBI decided to continue investigating on national-security grounds. A FISA application in which Trump was “named” was rejected by the FISA court as overbroad, notwithstanding that the FISA court usually looks kindly on government surveillance requests. A second, more narrow application, apparently not naming Trump, may have been granted five months later; the best the media can say about it, however, is that the server on which the application centers is “possibly” related to the Trump campaign’s “alleged” links to two Russian banks — under circumstances in which the FBI has previously found no “nefarious purpose” in some (undescribed) connection between Trump Tower and at least one Russian bank (whose connection to Putin’s regime is not described). That is tissue-thin indeed. It’s a good example of why investigations properly proceed in secret and are not publicly announced unless and until the government is ready to put its money where its mouth is by charging someone. It’s a good example of why FISA surveillance is done in secret and its results are virtually never publicized — the problem is not just the possibility of tipping off the hostile foreign power; there is also the potential of tainting U.S. persons who may have done nothing wrong. While it’s too early to say for sure, it may also be an example of what I thought would never actually happen: the government pretextually using its national-security authority to continue a criminal investigation after determining it lacked evidence of crimes.

The second thrust of the Steele “investigative” report suggested Trump had engaged in some scatological conduct while in Russia, hiring prostitutes to urinate on the bed the Obamas had used there.

These claims were not only unverifiable, they were ludicrous as well, as was the Intelligence Community’s justification for giving them one second’s worth of credence.

As Iowahawk tweeted: “Unconfirmed Denial of Unsourced Blockbuster Allegations Raises Questions, According To Insiders Who Requested Anonymity.”

At American Digest, Gerard Vanderleun explains precisely why:

1) An international business man who has spent decades in the rough and tumble world of real estate development and skyscraper construction and may be presumed to have some sophistication when it comes to wheeling and dealing with governments of all sorts throughout the world travels to

2) Moscow. Not Moscow, Idaho, but Moscow in Russia. That would be Moscow the capital of one of the most paranoid and intrusive governments in the world (Both now and for the 19th and 20th centuries). It is a society and a government with a long history of…

3) Secret police and the clandestine surveillance of its own citizens and visitors to the extent that the US was digging bugs out of the walls of its own embassy in Moscow for decades. When he gets to Moscow he stays at…

4) The Moscow Ritz-Carlton in the “Presidential Suite.” Since such accommodations are typically only taken by the filthy rich and/or representatives of foreign governments such as, say, presidents. And then this sophisticated and reasonably intelligent billionaire real estate developer…

5) Assumes that such a suite in such a capitol city of such a government has no surveillance equipment at all installed in its rooms, bathrooms, closets, and — most importantly — bedrooms. He then asks the hotel staff to show him…

6) The bed in which Barack Obama and his wife slept in when they were in this same “Presidential Suite.” Upon being shown the bed our businessman then…

7) Contacts two high-dollar Russian hookers (who would never, ever, have anything to do with the KGB or other intelligence organs of Russia) and instructs them to…. Wait for it….

8) Urinate on said bed in order to give said businessman some odd sort of thrill and…

9) Said businessman remains utterly positive no agency of the Russian state is running cameras and microphones from every possible angle in the master bedroom in a “Presidential Suite” in a top hotel in the capital of Russia and…

10) The two damp hookers will never, ever, reveal a word about their golden shower in the Ritz Carleton’s “Presidential Suite.”

While I know that millions of morons are nodding like the drinking bird over the glass in their deep and abiding belief in this overflowing crock, I still find it hard to believe that there are smart people out there that really are this stupid. But of course they are not that stupid, not the smart ones. Instead they know this is a crock and yet they find they must drink from it lest their #NeverTrump fantasy world dissolve.

Sad. Their repetitive manic desperation now has foam flecking their lips and jowls as they dive down deep, and not for the last time, into this fuming septic tank of their own political sewage. Without even a snorkel. If they ever get out of the tank they will need a long, long golden shower

B. The Intelligence Community Peddles the Dirt (then feigns dismay that it makes its way into the press).

Among the morons apparently “drinking this up” besides John McCain were high officials in the Intelligence Community, which passed the rumors on to the president and key congressional staff, although — despite conflicting reports about this — apparently never shared it with president-elect Trump. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper claimed to have been “dismayed” that this leaked out after having passed it on. He claimed as well that the Intelligence Community “hadn’t made any judgment on whether the claims within the document were reliable”

As my online friend Cecil Turner observes:  “Former U.S. intelligence officials described the inclusion of the summary — drawn from ‘opposition research’ done by a political research firm — as highly unusual.

“Assuming, of course, that it is. The problem with this sort of thing is that it’s on the borderline between unknown and unknowable. Every character involved is either anonymous or has a name that sounds pseudonymous, and the sources are professional liars.

“Roll eyes, wait for actual evidence. The fact that it leaked strongly suggests there is none.”

CNN, however, lapped it up, informed its readers of the existence of scandalous reports on Trump, and BuzzFeed, a clickbait site owned in part by NBC, then published the dossier, a portion of which, it seems, was provided by infonerd bulletin board 4 Chan.

Asked why it had published an account of this nonsense which other news agencies had refused to print because it was completely unverifiable, CNN blamed BuzzFeed, noting it had not released the details, presumably on the assumption that readers whose curiosity had been piqued by the news wouldn’t want details.

Steele has gone to ground ostensibly because he fears Russian reprisals, but I think it’s because he wants to avoid answering questions about what are obviously fabrications to satisfy political interests who paid for this shoddy product.

As John Bolton commented:

Kassam asked if Bolton had ever heard of the man revealed as the creator of the dossier, former British MI6 officer Christopher Steele. “Could it be the case that somebody has just paid this guy to write these things, so this leak came out?” Kassam asked.

“Well, actually, that thought occurred to me because it’s so bad. I haven’t found anybody, including friends who are experienced in both diplomacy and military and intelligence affairs, who haven’t just laughed at most of it,” Bolton replied.

“It’s filled with anonymous sources, single-source information and whatnot. If I were a corporate customer, and I wanted, in effect, a private investigator — I think that’s what this firm basically is — and I got something back like this, I would refuse to pay. You or I could sit down at a computer right now and type out these 35 pages, just let our imaginations run wild, and if somebody would pay for it, I suppose it’s nice work if you can get it,” he said.

c. Is it Just IC Incompetence or is the Deep State Deliberately Undermining Faith in Trump and Aiding a Russian Disinformation Campaign?

Glenn Greenwald (hardly a Trump fan) thinks it’s more, and on examination of the Intelligence Community’s handling of this tripe, it’s hard to disagree with him. He points out the unprecedented support for Hillary Clinton in this “deep state,” and takes issue with their advancing the Steele memos

…the Deep State unleashed its tawdriest and most aggressive assault yet on Trump: vesting credibility in and then causing the public disclosure of a completely unvetted and unverified document, compiled by a paid, anonymous operative while he was working for both GOP and Democratic opponents of Trump, accusing Trump of a wide range of crimes, corrupt acts, and salacious private conduct. The reaction to all of this illustrates that while the Trump presidency poses grave dangers, so, too, do those who are increasingly unhinged in their flailing, slapdash, and destructive attempts to undermine it.

[snip]

Once CNN strongly hinted at these allegations, it left it to the public imagination to conjure up the dirt Russia allegedly had to blackmail and control Trump. By publishing these accusations, BuzzFeed ended that speculation. More importantly, it allowed everyone to see how dubious this document is, one the CIA and CNN had elevated into some sort of grave national security threat.

ALMOST IMMEDIATELY AFTER it was published, the farcical nature of the “dossier” manifested. Not only was its author anonymous, but he was paid by Democrats (and, before that, by Trump’s GOP adversaries) to dig up dirt on Trump. Worse, he himself cited no evidence of any kind but instead relied on a string of other anonymous people in Russia he claims told him these things. Worse still, the document was filled with amateur errors.

David Goldman, who did support Trump, was more succinct: “Warning the intelligence communities about salacious and politically motivated leaks: the president-elect threatened to drag their shenanigans into the daylight. No one has ever done that to the spooks before. I’m lovin’ it.”

In any event, McCain’s much-touted hearings on Russian interference with the election should prove to be a million laughs.  He obviously believed this nonsense was credible enough to seek it out and pass it on, so I hardly imagine he’s in a position to make credible calls on what the hearings involving these now discredited documents reveal or on  the wisdom and good faith  of the officials involved in leaking them.

 

 

The AP Spins Lewis vs. Trump

January 15, 2017

The AP Spins Lewis vs. Trump, Power Line, John Hinderaker, January 14, 2017

The biggest news story of the day, apparently, is the dustup between Rep. John Lewis and Donald Trump, about which I wrote this morning. Although the story has little real significance, the Associated Press, the most influential news source in the U.S., spins it furiously to drive its anti-Trump narrative.

Start with the headline: “Trump unleashes Twitter attack against civil rights legend.” Most people only read headlines, and this one gives no clue that it was Lewis, not Trump, who started the fight by saying on Meet the Press that Trump will be an illegitimate president. And Lewis is identified as a “civil rights legend,” not as a hyper-partisan Democratic politician, which is what he is. Now to the article:

Donald Trump tore into civil rights legend John Lewis for questioning the legitimacy of the Republican billionaire’s White House victory, intensifying a feud with the black congressman days before the national holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and as the first African-American president prepares to leave office.

Enough with the “civil rights legend”! That was 50 years ago, and has nothing to do with Lewis’s claim that Trump is an illegitimate president-elect, or Trump’s Twitter riposte to the effect that Lewis is an ineffective Congressman. Nor does the impending Martin Luther King day, or the departure of Barack Obama from office, have any relevance. These references are just thrown in so you know whose side you are supposed to be on.

And oh, by the way, did you know that Donald Trump is a billionaire? Is that going to be injected into the first paragraph of every story about Trump for the next four years?

Lewis, among the most revered leaders of the civil rights movement, suffered a skull fracture during the march in Selma, Alabama, more than a half-century ago and has devoted his life to promoting equal rights for African-Americans.

Oh, please. Lewis has devoted his life to being a hack Democratic Party politician. John McCain was a hero 50 years ago, too, but has that ever stopped the Democrats from criticizing him? No.

It also demonstrated that no one is untouchable for scorn from a president-elect with little tolerance for public criticism. Trump has found political success even while attacking widely lauded figures before and after the campaign — a prisoner of war, parents of a slain U.S. soldier, a beauty queen and now a civil rights icon.

The AP doesn’t mention that all of these people attacked Trump first, like John Lewis. And it doesn’t occur to the AP that Trump’s success might be in part because of, not in spite of, the fact that he defends himself against scurrilous attacks.

By the way, here is a drinking game: take a shot for every article you can find about John Lewis that does not include the phrase “civil rights icon.” You will go to bed sober.

The AP takes the opportunity to rehash its “Russians hacked the election” theme, and adds more irrelevant, anti-Trump spin:

Democrat Clinton received 2.9 million more votes than Trump but lost the Electoral College vote.

Translation: she lost the election.

This is the kind of nonsense we are going to see for the next four years. It is all-out war between Donald Trump and the Democratic Party press, and so far, Trump is winning.

Journalists: How Should We Cover Trump?

January 14, 2017

Journalists: How Should We Cover Trump? Power LineJohn Hinderaker, January 14, 2017

We all know the answer to that question. But The Hill reports that on January 25, representatives of Slate, the Huffington Post, Univision, the New Yorker and CNN will put on a public program on the topic at NYU:

Journalists from The Huffington Post, Slate and Univision will gather days before Donald Trump’s inauguration to publicly discuss “how the news media can and should proceed to cover” the president-elect.

Slate will host the event next Wednesday, called “Not the New Normal.” CNN’s Brian Stelter will moderate the panel at New York University.

Interesting that CNN is willing to associate itself with that group.

The focus of the discussion will include “how journalists and media companies at large can play a bigger role in making sure that fact prevails over fiction in the coming months and years,” according to Slate.

“Fact” means anti-Trump, anti-Republican and anti-conservative narratives. “Fiction” means anything liberals would prefer you didn’t know.

Slate’s editor-in-chief, Julia Turner, and Slate Group Chairman Jacob Weisberg — who hosts “Trumpcast,” a podcast dedicated to covering the president-elect — will participate in the panel.

Joining them will be Borja Echevarría, Univision Digital’s vice president and editor-in-chief; Huffington Post editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen; and New Yorker editor David Remnick.

Most of the panelists were staunchly critical of Trump during the campaign and have remained so since Election Day.

“Most”?

ZeroHedge adds this image of a ticket to the event:

ticket

 

Everyone knows what is in store. It will be open warfare between Trump and the press for the next four years.

The Hill, by the way, makes this contribution to illiteracy, adjacent to the article on the NYU program:

hillwithenglish

That’s our “elite” news media.