Posted tagged ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome’

Left-Wing Magazine The Nation Report Puts ‘Russian Hack’ DNC Narrative in Freefall

August 12, 2017

Left-Wing Magazine The Nation Report Puts ‘Russian Hack’ DNC Narrative in Freefall, BreitbartIan Mason, April 10, 2017

REUTERS/Stevo Vasiljevic

The files apparently were transferred to a data storage device at a speed not possible over the internet. Metadata also indicate that the emails were taken by someone in the Eastern Daylight Timezone and then deliberately copy-and-pasted into a Microsoft Word file that had its language settings changed to Russian in a ruse to throw off investigators.

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A bombshell report published Wednesday by avowedly liberal news magazine The Nation may have put the last nail in the coffin of the “Russian hack” narrative that has dominated the mainstream media’s coverage for the last year.

Author Patrick Lawrence assembles the findings of months of investigation by forensic computer experts and former NSA officials to conclude, quite categorically, what Breitbart News and other independent media outlets have suggested for nearly a year: there was no hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) by the Russian government or anyone else last summer. An internal leaker is a much more likely source of the confidential internal DNC emails that upended the presidential campaign season when they became public last June.

Some supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders saw in the emails a DNC plot to support eventual nominee Hillary Clinton, dealing a blow to Democratic unity in the runup to the party’s convention.

The Nation, a leading publication of the American left for over a century, may seem an unlikely place for such a thorough refutation of one of the Democratic Party’s most salient talking points. Lawrence, however, is strikingly forthright. Calling the supposed hack and the continual allegations of collusion by President Donald Trump and his associates a “great edifice,” Lawrence points to the central role the “DNC Hack” plays in the “Russiagate” narrative. He writes:

All this was set in motion when the DNC’s mail server was first violated in the spring of 2016 and by subsequent assertions that Russians were behind that “hack” and another such operation, also described as a Russian hack, on July 5. These are the foundation stones of the edifice just outlined. The evolution of public discourse in the year since is worthy of scholarly study: Possibilities became allegations, and these became probabilities. Then the probabilities turned into certainties, and these evolved into what are now taken to be established truths.

Now, according to the research by the experts Lawrence cites — the group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) — a Russian government cyberattack on the DNC’s computers is likely not a “possibility.” The group has examined several aspects of the emails’ journey to the public eye and concluded it cannot be made to comport with a hacker in the former Soviet Union. The files apparently were transferred to a data storage device at a speed not possible over the internet. Metadata also indicate that the emails were taken by someone in the Eastern Daylight Timezone and then deliberately copy-and-pasted into a Microsoft Word file that had its language settings changed to Russian in a ruse to throw off investigators.

The conclusions of four of VIPS’s investigators was unanimous. Lawrance writes:

All those interviewed came in between 90 percent and 100 percent certain that the forensics prove out. I have already quoted Skip Folden’s answer: impossible based on the data. “The laws of physics don’t lie,” Ray McGovern volunteered at one point. “It’s QED, theorem demonstrated,” William Binney said in response to my question. “There’s no evidence out there to get me to change my mind.” When I asked Edward Loomis, a 90 percent man, about the 10 percent he held out, he replied, “I’ve looked at the work and it shows there was no Russian hack. But I didn’t do the work. That’s the 10 percent. I’m a scientist.”

Nothing in the report, however, dissuaded the DNC from its conviction the Russians are responsible for the publication of their internal communications. “U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the Russian government hacked the DNC in an attempt to interfere in the election. Any suggestion otherwise is false and is just another conspiracy theory like those pushed by Trump and his administration,” Adrienne Watson, the DNC’s deputy communications director told Breitbart News Thursday.

The Nation’s story is by no means the first indication something might be awry with the “official version” of what happened at the DNC last summer. Shortly after the emails became public, Julian Assange, whose Wikileaks played a major role in the emails’ dissemination, claimed Russia played no role, but this did nothing to stem the flood of assurances about a Russian hack.

The central text of the Russiagate gospel became the “Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA)” issued in January of this year, days before President Barack Obama left office. Presumably this ICA, quoted for months in the mainstream media as being the work of “all 17” American intelligence agencies, is the basis of the DNC’s continued claims of a Russian hack.

The reality, as the New York Times finally admitted in June, was that only three intelligence agencies participated in the creation of the ICA. The “17 intelligence agencies” line, a fixture of pro-Russiagate media since Hillary Clinton used the figure in her second presidential debate performance, was and is fake news.

Lawrence’s piece further takes the ICA to task. “James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, admitted in May that ‘hand-picked’ analysts from three agencies (not the 17 previously reported) drafted the ICA,” he writes, pointing out that not even the whole of the three agencies cited (the FBI, NSA, and CIA) were involved but only a few staffers “hand-picked” by Clapper.

The intelligence agencies, according to Lawrence, did not even examine the DNC’s computers, an omission he calls “beyond preposterous,” and instead relied on a third-party report from Crowdstrike, a non-profit co-founded by Dmitri Alperovitch, described as “vigorously anti-Russian.” The “high confidence” in Russian culpability we heard of again and again in mainstream media reporting is an “evasive term” and “how officials avoid putting their names on the assertions we are so strongly urged to accept.”

Some conservatives are already lauding Lawrance’s report and the work of VIPS as a final vindication of their skepticism. Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning, for example, issued the following statement Thursday:

If the whole premise of the [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller investigation, that Russia hacked the DNC emails interfering with the elections, is in fact false and it was a DNC insider as the Nation reports former NSA officials contending, there is simply no rationale for the special counsel to continue investigating the Russia angle. It is incumbent upon the Justice Department to determine and settle once and for all the true source of the DNC emails. The only prosecutions that can flow from that investigation must be of Obama administration officials who covered up the real facts surrounding the DNC emails, setting the nation off on this new red scare. If Mueller is unwilling to go where the evidence leads, in this case to the DNC itself and the Obama administration cover-up, then he is not fit to serve. In Mueller’s case, this is either obstruction or willful blindness.

As Breitbart News’s Joel Pollak wrote last month, the “DNC Hack,” now better known as the “DNC Leak,” the term originally used in these pages, is not the only pillar of the Russia collusion narrative to face collapse as the media hysteria passes its first anniversary. It became clear through the testimony of Investor William Browder that Fusion GPS, the research firm that assembled for a still unknown client the infamous, perverse 2016 dossier describing now-President Trump asking Russian prostitutes to urinate for his pleasure, had, in fact, worked for the Russian government in the past.

With actual evidence of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign now looking increasingly unlikely to come to light, there are increasing indications  Mueller’s investigation has shifted to looking for financial crimes allegedly committed by President Trump and his family long before and far outside the presidential campaign. The impact of the revelations unearthed by the VIPS team and The Nation on that investigation have yet to be seen.

Trump Derangement Syndrome Has Become the New Plague

June 24, 2017

Trump Derangement Syndrome Has Become the New Plague, PJ MediaRoger L Simon, June 23, 2017

Younger generations, of course, get this. They hear it in the schools and they watch it on television and it’s shoveled at them on BuzzFeed and the like. They are given little chance to think for themselves. And if they do, they know the risks.

Meanwhile, The Plague keeps spreading.  In the 1330s the “Black Death” took about a third of Europe. It’s unlikely things would get that bad in this country on a personal level, but our democracy is already being littered with symbolic corpses, logical thought among the earliest and most consistent of victims.

Does anyone have an antidote to Trump Derangement Syndrome? I think I hear something scampering around my basement. Either it’s one of the plague rats of my generation spreading its… okay… I won’t say it.

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To what can we ascribe the continuing metastasis of Trump Derangement Syndrome, which has come to infect America, and indeed the world, almost to the level of a true plague?

The most recent of the seemingly endless incidents/outbreaks range from the ridiculous (hapless movie star Johnny Depp making a joke about assassinating the president and then recanting it…his agent must have called) to the genuinely creepy (a Democratic Party official declaring he was glad Steve Scalise was shot).

Yes, this last one was about a congressman, not the president. But we know the atmosphere that condoned it — the same atmosphere that enabled thirty GOP congressmen either to have been violently attacked or to have had their lives threatened since the beginning of May. (Such things did not happen BT/Before Trump.)

In the case of Depp, it was not so much his pathetic remarks that horrified — the actor is in the midst of a public nervous breakdown — but the raucous approval of his comments by the Glastonbury Festival audience, as if he had just given a shout-out to the local football team.

This automatic reaction by the rabble is just another example of the reach of Trump Derangement Syndrome, where assassination talk is de rigueur and Trump is regarded as a combination of Daddy Warbucks and Caligula with a little of The Joker thrown in. (Just the other day, author Michael Chabon told an Israel Radio interviewer that he wakes up every morning with the hope that Trump “is going to have a massive stroke, and, you know, be carted out of the White House on a gurney.” The surprised Israeli interviewer told Breitbart he naturally thought Chabon was just joking, but then realized he wasn’t. )

Of course the Congress, with its astoundingly tedious and extraordinarily phony Russia investigations, has congressmen and senators competing on an infinite loop to see who… mirror, mirror, on the wall… can be the most hypocritical of all. (Winner so far: Senator Mark Warner. Runner-up: Rep. Adam Schiff). They help spread the infection, scratching scabs that were, at best, of the most tangential interest months ago, until they gush blood all over again, keeping the Russia controversy alive and kicking, at least until  Jon Ossoff makes his presidential run of 2032. (Not sure I’m joking.)

And speaking of competitions, the New York Times, Washington Post and CNN are no longer actual news organizations but contestants locked in a non-stop gladiatorial to dethrone Donald Trump via ceaseless leaks, most of which are either disinformation or absurdly trivial, and virtually all of which are illegal in the first place. But they don’t care. It doesn’t even seem to bother them that their journalistic reputations may be affected. They are infected. By this New Plague.

So they carry the infection on, spewing the bacterium, spreading the TDS Plague as assiduously as did the rats of the Middle Ages, the hated Yersinia pestis, no antidotes allowed, not on their pages anyway. At Blue State cocktail parties from Manhattan to Brentwood, people dare not open their mouths to say a tiny thing in favor of Trump, even to old friends, for fear of eternal ostracism. In our schools, conservatives are not allowed to speak. Patriotic films are only made if Clint Eastwood agrees, or maybe now Mark Wahlberg, on a nice day.

And then, of course, there are the #NeverTrumpers who still can’t stand Trump because he’s… well, I’m not sure I ever understood them in the first place, but I guess it’s because he’s vulgar. He may have gone to Wharton but talks as if he’s gone to Queens College.

All this is occurring although Trump, since taking office, has been, in his actions, a basically middle-of-the-road president, rather like, of all people, Bill Clinton after he made his accommodation with Gingrich. Of course, unlike Billy boy, he hasn’t misbehaved, to my knowledge, in the Oval Office. More precisely, Trump governs slightly from the right as Clinton governed slightly from the left. The differences are not greater than we have seen many times before.

Yet the Plague grows, edging almost inexorably toward violence. Why?

The “Deep State” bureaucrats feel their jobs are in jeopardy. I get that. But the rest?

May I suggest that what we are witnessing in our culture (and outwardly across the globe, because willy-nilly the U.S. is still the leading factor) is a form of mass hysterical conformism. I emphasize the conformism because by nature most human beings are conformists — we want to get along.

My generation —  I regret to say since I was part of this — was nurtured in a kind of counter-cultural conformity, everyone in tie-dye and smoking joints, thinking the same inchoate ideas. Peace and Love. Hey, hey LBJ… You’re part of the solution or you’re part of the problem…. Power to the People. Right on! Tune in, turn on, drop out!

As we grew up — taking over media, entertainment, and the schools — we formed a new cohort that was as truly conformist (probably more) as the generations before us. That New Conformism (actually pretty old at this point) generated this New Plague — how could it not, even though Donald was (technically) one of them — with everyone against Trump no matter what, pass it on. Otherwise, you will be read out of the new version of the hipster Volvo-becoming-Tesla country club. Trump was too Rat Pack for us (too like our parents or what our parents thought was cool). We wanted a smooth, black dude or, failing that, a righteous Latina, whatever that was. These days not even the Dalai Lama is acceptable.

It was all image. Almost none of it was substance, although we wanted to pretend it was. We were Eliot’s hollow, stuffed men, the ghosts of our parents’ Greatest Generation. But the image prevailed anyway — bland and unexamined as it was. Clichéd. Our image. John Lennon lite. It’s everywhere now. (“Imagine there’s no Donald. It isn’t hard to do.” Right, Michael Chabon?)

Younger generations, of course, get this. They hear it in the schools and they watch it on television and it’s shoveled at them on BuzzFeed and the like. They are given little chance to think for themselves. And if they do, they know the risks.

Meanwhile, The Plague keeps spreading.  In the 1330s the “Black Death” took about a third of Europe. It’s unlikely things would get that bad in this country on a personal level, but our democracy is already being littered with symbolic corpses, logical thought among the earliest and most consistent of victims.

Does anyone have an antidote to Trump Derangement Syndrome? I think I hear something scampering around my basement. Either it’s one of the plague rats of my generation spreading its… okay… I won’t say it.

Putin Wins Big

June 23, 2017

Putin Wins Big, Jewish Media Resources, Jonathan Rosenblum, June 23, 2017

(Putin is winning because the national focus is on non-events. Hence, our faith in the electoral system has been damaged and the ability of the Trump administration to focus on the agenda Trump was elected to pursue has been limited. The Congress, rather than focus on legislating, is preoccupied with investigations of non-events. That’s good for America’s enemies and bad for America. President Trump’s successes in focusing on his agenda despite the many distractions speak well of him. — DM)

Smith makes an insightful distinction between “consolations, vicious self-sung lullabies” and “conspiracy theories.” Examples of the former would be: Hillary lost because the Russians hacked the election; our children died because the Jews poisoned the wells.

But such “consolations,” as vicious as they may be, only become full-blown conspiracy theories when weaponized through the mass media for political use. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion would be the classic example of such a conspiracy theory. And, Smith points out, Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” do not have the platforms “to proliferate weaponized narratives capable of doing real damage to our polity – the elites do.” And those elites — the press, the intelligence community, political parties – have been used to legitimize a conspiracy theory.

James Kirchik, another anti-Trump pundit (as well as a brilliant analyst on many issues) laments the way the “confirmation bias” has resulted in well-meaning, liberal anti-Trump journalists reporting stories that they want to be true and are emotionally true for them – e.g., stories of threatened or actual violence against minorities – but are factually false.

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It is certain that Russia launched a massive hacking campaign to undermine the U.S. electoral process in 2016. That is a major issue that needs to be thoroughly investigated, and steps taken so that it does not recur.

Though the Russian involvement in the 2016 election targeted both presidential candidates at various times, it likely damaged Hillary Clinton’s campaign more. Confirmation in the emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee that the DNC had actively favored Clinton over her chief rival for the Democratic nomination, Senator Bernie Sanders, infuriated Sanders supporters. Conceivably enough of those supporters could have decided not to vote for Clinton based on those emails to have made a difference in the three crucial battleground states – Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Thus far, however, the primary focus on the Russian hacking has been with respect to the far-fetched claim that the Russians colluded with the Trump campaign fashion in some fashion The obsessive focus on that issue has turned the hacking into a major victory for Vladimir Putin by introducing an unparalleled degree of rancor and paralysis into the American political system.

James Kirchik writing in the May 3 American Interest (“Who Killed the Liberal World Order”), describes how at last September’s G-20 summit in Hangzhou, China, then President Obama confronted Russian President Vladimir Putin about the Russian hacking of the DNC, and told him to “cut it out” or “face serious consequences.” In October, according to Bloomberg News, the White House used a cyber version of the “red phone” to convey to the Kremlin detailed evidence of Russian hacking of voter data banks in numerous states. On both occasions, Putin, who had long since taken Obama’s measure, did nothing in response.

WHATEVER THE REASON Putin decided to interfere with the 2016 election, it was not because he feared Obama or Obama’s legacy-bearer, former Secretary of State Clinton. Starting with Clinton’s declared “reset” of relations with Russia, shortly after the Obama administration entered office in 2009, until Obama issued his warning at Hangzhou, the United States had repeatedly stood down in every possible confrontation with Russia.

The 2009 reset itself took place in the wake of the assassinations by Russian intelligence agents of Alexander Livinenko in London, where the former Russian intelligence operative he had been granted political asylum, and of Russia’s leading investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Russia was also busy hardening control of areas of Georgia occupied by Russian troops. As part of the reset, the Obama administration abandoned plans to provide Poland and Czechoslovakia with anti-missile defenses.

During the 2012 presidential debates, Obama mocked his Republican opponent Mitt Romney for listing Russia as the United States’ primary international foe. “The 80s called. They want their foreign policy back,” teased Obama. And even prior to the 2012 campaign, Obama told Putin’s sidekick Dmitry Medvedev that he’d be able to be “more flexible” after the campaign, and asked for a little breathing room from Russia.

All Obama’s shows of good will, however, went unreciprocated by Putin. In 2013, Putin granted asylum to Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee who had exposed the U.S. National Security Agency’s surveillance methods. The same year Putin cracked down on foreign-funded NGO’s, and invaded the Ukraine. Obama refused to supply the Ukrainians with defensive weapons, as the United States had committed to do in the Budapest Memorandum, drafted when the former Soviet republics gave up their nuclear stockpiles.

In 2015, Soviet forces entered Syria in force to shore up the Assad regime, fairly daring the United States to challenge them. Previously, Putin had humiliated Obama by offering him a lifeline, when the latter refused to enforce his own redline against Assad’s deployment of chemical weapons.

PUTIN HAD reasons to prefer Trump to Clinton. He harbors a paranoid belief that Hillary orchestrated protests against him in 2011. And, writes Kirchik in the Los Angeles Times, he appreciated that Trump’s ignorant outbursts made “American politics – and by extension America – look like a foolish country.”

Putin may also have thought that Trump’s neo-Jacksonian, quasi-isolationist campaign talk would serve Russia’s interest in carving out a sphere of interest in its near abroad. But, as Kirchik notes in his American Interest piece, Obama’s “interconnected world,” without American power to back it up, had already resulted in a reduction of American influence and allowed Putin free rein in Russia’s near abroad.

The Russians were as shocked as everyone else, however, by Trump’s victory. Their goal was not so much to defeat Clinton, as to render it difficult for her (or Trump) to govern and to thereby “weaken the world’s last superpower,” writes Professor Mark Galeotti of the Institute of International Relations Prague in Tablet. And their means for doing so was to reduce America’s democratic legitimacy by calling the election results into question and reducing the scope for compromise and consensus in the American political system.

Or as veteran Moscow correspondent David Satter argued in the June 12 Wall Street Journal, Putin did not so much support Donald Trump, as he sought American political paralysis. The differences between Trump and Clinton were simply not that significant in his view.

Putin’s method is to sow chaos, to light a hundred brushfires and see which ones turn into full-fledged forest fires. “Putin is not a chess player,” writes Galeotti. “He and his people are improvisers and opportunists. They try to create multiple potential points of leverage, never knowing which will prove useful or not.”

One of those prongs was the so-called “Trump dossier, compiled by former British intelligence official Christopher Steele based on information “sold” to him by Russian intelligence officials. The document bears all the marks of a classic Russian disinformation campaign. “The kind of gossip that fills the Trump Dossier, writes Galeotti, is common currency in Moscow, “even if very little of it has any authority behind it aside from the speaker’s own imagination.”

One thing is almost certain: The Trump campaign did not collude with the Russians. Both Senator Diane Feinstein and Congressman Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrats on the Senate and House intelligence committees investigating Russia’s electoral involvement, respectively, have confirmed that they have seen nothing to implicate Trump or his aides in collusion with Russia.

The absence of collusion is, moreover, logically demonstrable. If there were collusion, the Russians would undoubtedly possess evidence of it. Since coming to office, the Trump administration has taken a much more aggressive anti-Russian stance than Obama ever did – targeting with cruise missiles an airfield and planes of Russian ally Bashir Assad and just this week shooting down a Syrian plane in a dogfight; allowing Montenegro’s entry into the NATO alliance; denying Exxon-Mobil a waiver for energy exploration in Russia; and sharply criticizing Russian support for the Taliban in Afghanistan. If Putin possessed incriminating evidence on Trump, he would have already revealed it in order to destroy President Trump. Elementary, my dear Watson.

DESPITE THE LACK OF ANY PLAUSIBLE EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION, Russian interference in the 2016 election has set in motion a “self-sustaining process,” in Galeotti’s words, in which “America is tearing itself apart with little need for Russian help.”

It is hard to know for sure whether those most actively promoting the Trump-Russian collusion narrative really believe it themselves or just see it as the best way of bringing down the president. About the latter they might be right. Already the anti-Trump forces have succeeded in gaining the appointment of a special prosecutor, and the scope of the special prosecutor’s investigation has expanded to legally flimsy charges of obstruction of justice against Trump. Once a special prosecutor is in the saddle there is no way of knowing where things will go. The longer the investigation continues the greater the chance of a prosecution for something entirely tangential to the original investigation.

Patrick Fitzgerald, for instance, was appointed special prosecutor to investigate the outing of CIA employee Valerie Flame. From the very outset of the investigation, he knew the source of that information; Undersecretary of State Richard Armitage was the one who told it to columnist Robert Novak. Armitage, however, was never prosecuted. But Fitzgerald carried on for years, until he claimed the scalp of Vice-President Richard Cheney’s top aide, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, on perjury charges, over statements given to investigators about which there were conflicting memories.

Putin has succeeded in driving a wedge between President and the intelligence agencies upon which he must rely for crucial decisions. Every week, a new leak emerges from some anonymous intelligence official – leaks which, if true, would subject the leaker to up to ten years in prison. Yet the source of these leaks has received little attention from the FBI or other investigative bodies.

Lee Smith bemoans in Tablet that the president’s very real flaws, which are “plain to every sentient being on the planet,” have been supplanted as a topic of discussion by a “toxic fabulism typical of Third World and Muslim societies.” “A vulgar conspiratorial mind-set [has become] the norm among the country’s educated elite . . . and is being legitimized daily by a truth-telling bureaucrats who make evidence-free and even deliberately false accusations behind a cloak of anonymity.”

Smith makes an insightful distinction between “consolations, vicious self-sung lullabies” and “conspiracy theories.” Examples of the former would be: Hillary lost because the Russians hacked the election; our children died because the Jews poisoned the wells.

But such “consolations,” as vicious as they may be, only become full-blown conspiracy theories when weaponized through the mass media for political use. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion would be the classic example of such a conspiracy theory. And, Smith points out, Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” do not have the platforms “to proliferate weaponized narratives capable of doing real damage to our polity – the elites do.” And those elites — the press, the intelligence community, political parties – have been used to legitimize a conspiracy theory.

James Kirchik, another anti-Trump pundit (as well as a brilliant analyst on many issues) laments the way the “confirmation bias” has resulted in well-meaning, liberal anti-Trump journalists reporting stories that they want to be true and are emotionally true for them – e.g., stories of threatened or actual violence against minorities – but are factually false.

He points to the non-stop anti-Trump vitriol from the Twitter feed of the New York Times assistant Washington D.C. editor, Jonathan Weissmann – anti-Trump vitriol that matches his own – as an example of the mainstream press having lost any claim to the public’s trust about the news stories it publishes.

In the short-run the beneficiary of the mainstream media’s reporting of baseless stories, such as that the Russians successfully hacked voting machines in key states, is Donald Trump. By refuting the wilder accusations, he can evade the more substantive ones and, at the same time, stoke the anger that brought him to the presidency in the first place.

But in the long-run, the current state of political toxicity, manifested last week in an assassination attempt against GOP congressman, and the loss of credibility of our major media organizations weakens America and its place in the world. And the big winner from that is Vladimir Putin.

Trump was the real target

June 15, 2017

Trump was the real target, Israel National News, Jack Engelhard, June 15, 2017

I say Republican lawmakers owe us an explanation. Explain, please, why you allow yourselves to be led by the nose by the party that lost?

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So it has come to this —

No Republican is safe, whether it’s Jeff Sessions in the Senate on Tuesday, or Congressional Republicans at a baseball practice in Virginia on Wednesday.

Wednesday’s shooting, from a gunman identified as a Bernie Sanders supporter, hit and wounded House (GOP) Majority Whip Steve Scalise and others.

They were sent to the hospital. Scalise’s condition is apparently most serious, but all are hopefully expected to recover. But will the republic, seeing how the Democrats are on a tear; them and all leftists who call themselves the Resistance. That means resistance to President Trump.

The gunman (now dead from the heroic actions of the police) wanted to know whose team were playing ball there in Alexandria.

Told they were Republicans, he opened fire. 

Trump is the real target.

That’s who they’re really trying to bag, if by Red Scare innuendos in Congress or by mockery that plainly hints at the wishful thinking of a Trump assassination.

From Stephen Colbert’s rant, to Kathy Griffin’s head-on-a stick, to Shakespeare in the Park substituting Trump for the bludgeoning of Caesar, we know what they’re thinking…and we can only guess who they may be influencing.

There are any number of nut cases out there who get the general idea.

Those of us who watched Tuesday’s Senate hearing that featured Attorney General Jeff Sessions could only wonder when this will stop – this fixation on Russia.

Apparently it won’t stop any time soon. Sen. Mark Warner (D. Virginia) opened by demanding that Sessions make himself available for many more investigations still to come – as if Sessions has no day job, and as if branding Trump and all of Trump’s people no better than Russian spies will preoccupy Democrats from now until forever.

Have they no other business?

Do they ever listen to themselves talk, these Democrats, their desperation through nitpicking, to find something, anything that will stick?

Are they aware of their hysteria?

Who won this election anyway? Why are the Republicans, who did win, on the hot heat? You’d think it would be the other way round.

As for me, I thought a GOP sweep of the White House and Congress would send Hillary Clinton running for the hills.

She, not Sessions, would be begging for mercy. Or was it Sessions who was guilty of “extreme carelessness with classified material?’

Was it Sessions who destroyed evidence, even using a hammer to beat to death 30,000 e-mails?

No, all that was Hillary Clinton, aided by Huma Abedin and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Why are they sleeping safe and snug while Sessions sweats his way through another day at the Inquisition, pleading for his job and his reputation, already in tatters as Democrats thrill to their success at character assassination en route to Trump.

People say Sessions was “feisty” at Tuesday’s Senate witch-hunt. I say he was lame.

I say he was lame from the moment he recused himself from the Russia probe…and still lame for not bringing charges against Hillary et al.

I say Republican lawmakers owe us an explanation. Explain, please, why you allow yourselves to be led by the nose by the party that lost?

Destroying Donald Trump is all that matters in the newsrooms of the mainstream media

May 19, 2017

Destroying Donald Trump is all that matters in the newsrooms of the mainstream media, Washington Times,

(America can survive, and probably prosper, under President Trump. The “mainstream media?” Maybe not. — DM)

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Now anything goes. All restraints are loosened, all self-discipline trashed. There’s no cure or even treatment for Trump Derangement Syndrome, a disease as wild and as swiftly lethal as anything imported from the Ebola River valley of the dark continent. The rules and taboos that once guided even the sleaziest excuse for a newspaper no longer apply.

Destroying Donald Trump is all that matters in the newsrooms of the mainstream media, so called, and by any means necessary. Rarely have so many hysterics contributed so much of the national conversation.

A columnist in The New York Times, ground zero in the epidemic of Trump Derangement Syndrome, suggests that a mutiny at the White House is the “more appropriate” way to rid the nation of the legitimate 46th duly elected president of the United States. Why waste time on impeachment? Mike Pence, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell could organize the ambush. The columnist likens them to “stewards for a syphilitic emperor.”

Ross Douthat is regarded as a “conservative” at The New York Times, and he thinks impeachment would take too long, be too messy, and recommends invoking the Twenty-fifth Amendment, which permits the president’s Cabinet to remove the president if a majority of the secretaries tells Congress that the president can no longer perform his duties.

Ultimately, he writes in the newspaper once known as “the old gray lady” and which has become “the old crazy lady,” he does not believe “our president sufficiently understands the nature of the office he holds, the nature of the legal constraints that are supposed to bind him, perhaps even the nature of normal human interactions, to be guilty of obstruction of justice in the Nixonian or even Clintonian sense of the phrase.”

A half-century ago a certain magazine thought a long-distance psychiatric examination of a presidential candidate was in order, and asked 12,000 psychiatrists (who knew there were so many headshrinkers on the fruited plain?) whether they thought Barry Goldwater was crazy, and 1,189 responded with a diagnosis: Mr. Goldwater, the Republican nominee for president in 1964, was nothing less than nuts. The American Psychiatric Association, sensitive to the public outrage that followed, told their members never to do it again.

But since the psychiatrists wouldn’t do it, Ross Douthat was fitted out with degrees in medicine and psychiatry (honorary degrees, we must hope), and told to get to work. (He is expected to retire his shingle once President Trump has been dispatched to the nut house, but who knows? On the Upper East Side there’s never enough psychiatrists.) Dr. Douthat writes that the president has no aides, friends and confidantes who have any remaining regard for him. “They have no respect for him, indeed they seem to palpate with contempt for him, and to regard their mission as equivalent to being stewards for a syphilitic emperor.”

Since impeachment would take so long, Dr. Douthat would “respectfully ask Mike Pence and Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to reconsider their support for a man who never should have had his party’s nomination, never should have been elevated to this office, never should have been endorsed and propped up and defended by people who understood his unfitness all along.”

It’s hard to imagine anything more calculated to invoke a Second Amendment answer to such a Twenty-fifth Amendment coup, and it would be nothing less than a coup by the Republican elites and the press that so many Americans believe have “rigged” the elections meant to express the nation’s will. You don’t have to be a Trump friend, supporter or voter to see where this would inevitably lead. The United States has never been a banana republic or a third world dump where elections are ultimately determined in the streets, but this would be the ultimate national indignity, wrought by just those who would go to civil war to depose an indignity.

The two stories that have dominated the news this week were the work of the very two newspapers, The Washington Post and The New York Times, that have become the not-so-loyal opposition, drivers of the coup with tales told in every edition. The Post accuses the president of dispensing national secrets to the Russians, based on the word of an anonymous source who concedes he wasn’t in the meeting, and denied by those who were. The New York Times says it heard a passage read from a memo written by James Comey, telling how the president asked him go easy on Mike Flynn, and denied by the White House.

All this to support tales of Trump campaign collusion with the Russians, which Democrats and Republicans agree that no one has yet found any evidence of. There’s no fire and only a few wisps of something that might be smoke, or more likely, the passing of partisan gas.

Not Satire | Trump’s overseas trip must be canceled. The risks are too great.

May 17, 2017

Trump’s overseas trip must be canceled. The risks are too great, Washington Post

(More wisdom from WaPo. Let’s put Trump in a sound-proof cage so he can’t damage the entire world. Please see also, Is Trump Derangement Syndrome curable? — DM)

President Trump is scheduled to depart Friday on his first international trip as president, with scheduled visits in Saudi Arabia, Israel and the West Bank, and the Vatican, followed by attendance at meetings of NATO in Brussels and the G7 alliance in Sicily. Talking to reporters this morning, national security adviser H.R. McMaster brushed off questions about Trump’s sharing of classified information with Russian officials, focusing instead on the trip’s purpose to “highlight the need for unity among three of the world’s great religions” and further “an agenda of tolerance.”

But less than two hours after McMaster spoke, the New York Times reported this afternoon that Israel is the ally whose intelligence Trump inappropriately shared with Russian officials. Although Israel would not confirm the report, it would, if true, vindicate the fears of Israeli intelligence officials who warned, even before Trump took office, that intelligence shared with the United States could be leaked to Russia, and potentially passed on to Iran.

Here’s the upshot of all this: Trump’s trip must be canceled. Our national security, our relationships with allies, and the security of the world are at risk due to the president’s erratic behavior and inability to adhere to basic norms of both democracy and diplomacy.

Even for a capable president, Trump’s itinerary would represent an ambitious agenda. In Trump’s hands, though, it’s fraught with the perils of tweets, statements, misstatements, boasts or other inappropriate Trump outbursts that could trigger or intensify geopolitical and religious tensions. Beyond politics, the idea that Trump is capable of promoting even an iota of religious tolerance is almost too absurd to even address.

In short, the trip is a catastrophe waiting to happen.

First, and most crucially, revelations about Trump’s conduct over the past 24 hours have rightly spooked our allies. After yesterday’s blockbuster Post article exposing Trump’s cavalier sharing of classified information with Russian officials, the White House has not taken a single step to reassure them, such as publicly acknowledging Trump’s conduct and promising it won’t happen again.

Instead, the White House’s efforts at damage control have only made matters worse. The White House hasn’t meaningfully denied the story; it has only denied that Trump did anything wrong. Today, after Trump tweeted that he had an “absolute right” to share “facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety” with Russian officials, McMaster seemed to acknowledge that the story was indeed true, but that what Trump did was “wholly appropriate.”

But  Trump’s loose lips may have endangered the life of an intelligence source and that person’s family, and it certainly is already damaging our relationships and crucial intelligence-sharing arrangements with allies, according to Stephen Tankel, a defense and national security expert writing at The Post’s Monkey Cage blog.

What’s more, the story is alienating allies. “If it proves to be true that the American president passed on internal intelligence matters, that would be highly worrying,” a senior German lawmaker told the Associated Press. A second European official warned that Trump’s actions may complicate intelligence-sharing with the United States. And by undermining allies’ trust in his ability to keep sensitive information secret, Trump is putting obstacles in the way of the counterterrorism fight. Because Trump is prone to off-the-cuff remarks, even a single misstep during his trip abroad (particularly as he is trying to engage in diplomacy) could further inflame these relationships.

Second, Trump’s justification by tweet this morning — that “I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism” — reveals his utter lack of understanding of who precisely our allies are in the fight against ISIS. (Or, worse, it perhaps reveals a desire to realign those alliances.)

“The idea that Russia is going to be a responsible partner in the future of Syria is belied by years and years of facts on the ground,” Sen. Chris Murphy, the Connecticut Democrat, said at a panel at the Center for American Progress this morning. “We have been trying to get the Russians to be a meaningful partner inside Syria, and they end up doing more damage than good.” On his trip abroad, Trump could further alienate Middle Eastern allies simply by continuing to press his view that Russia could be an ally in the fight against ISIS.

Third, McMaster’s own admission to reporters today that “the president wasn’t even aware of where this information came from,” which was intended as a rationale, only demonstrates further why Trump cannot be trusted with any sensitive information, classified or not. And it further proves he’s winging it in nearly every setting, whether it’s Twitter, television interviews or meetings with foreign leaders.

Trump will be winging it during his trip to Israel, too — and in the polarized Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even seemingly small missteps relating to issues like the status of Jerusalem can set off violence. It’s not an exaggeration to say that lives are at stake. On this front, other warning signs of Trump’s lack of preparedness are in full view: Trump’s team has managed, over the past several days, to alarm Israeli officials with bizarre lapses in basic protocol and erratic statements on Trump’s own policy positions, including on the question of whether the U.S. Embassy should be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  Given Team Trump’s lack of preparedness and expertise in the White House and State Department, it’s not unreasonable to expect that further gaffes of this nature are possible during his trip abroad.

That brings us to the final reason why this trip is quite possibly the most ill-conceived misadventure in the history of American diplomacy. Trump, McMaster told us this morning, will give a speech in Saudi Arabia about Islam and religious tolerance.

It is virtually unfathomable that Trump, whose first months in office have been dominated by his (disguised) effort to keep Muslims out of the United States, could give a speech anywhere in the Muslim world on Islam and have it be well-received. Trump, after all, once told the Christian Broadcasting Network that the Koran teaches “a very negative vibe.”

It’s hard to imagine Trump exercising sufficient self-control to emerge from an eight-day trip overseas without incident. He can barely go 24 hours without incident under normal circumstances. The best way to prevent more Trump damage is to keep him home.

 

Is Trump Derangement Syndrome curable?

May 17, 2017

Is Trump Derangement Syndrome curable? Bill Whittle Channel via YouTube, May 16, 2017