Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Post-Proposition Nation

The big ideological gripe that the hatethinkers in the reactionary right would seem to have with the mainstream would be a rejection of the proposition nation. The left have taken their belief in a proposition nation to the extreme. Even Lindsay Graham - nominally a conservative - has stated that America is an idea and the people are merely interchangeable. It's not difficult to argue against that extreme of a belief in the proposition nation, and most conservatives actually do reject it.

But what about the more moderate proposition nation? America has always claimed that the proposition which defines us is our belief in liberty and mutually respected natural rights. We each get rights and are pretty much free to do as we like so long as we don't disenfranchise someone else of his rights. There is nothing in our body of law that requires the people who compose the citizenry to be of any race or background, unlike countries like Mexico where national demographics are actually enforced by law. The question of whether we ought to live in a proposition nation is one of endless debate, but the question of whether we are a proposition nation is more straightforward. Without doubt America is the quintessential proposition nation. We are the great experiment.

That, however, is becoming increasingly irrelevant. What exactly are the propositions? There is no longer a mutual contract of individual rights. Look at how viciously the left attacks our freedom of speech, or gun ownership. The fourth amendment isn't worth the ink it was written with. Even sitting president's now fall prey to the surveillance state. What rights are left in our civilizational contract? Our immigration policy was once propositional. You come here, you pass certain quality standards, you study and take the citizenship test, and you're in: you get the same rights and privileges as everyone else. Now you don't even do that. Just cross the border and you can get welfare and even vote in many places. The proposition is that if you're on American soil you're an America. That's not a nation, unless we're willing to claim that in 1940 France was visited by some other Frenchmen. 

America's old propositions are dead. The media, academia, even government institutions, all reject classical liberalism. What is left? The last proposition left is economic. Stay in line and you'll be rewarded with comfort and material wealth, plus a fair degree of stability and safety. But we can't assume that's the resting state of a decaying nation. The perks of civilization rest on the backs of nations. When the nations collapse, all the nice propositions disappear with it.

The problem isn't the proposition nation. They can work very nice, even better than traditional nations. For a while. The problem is what follows. What happens when the contract runs out? You're left with an imaginary boundary filled with people of different races, cultures, religions, languages, and politics. Only tyranny can hold such a menagerie together, and even that can't hold forever. Ultimately the system will fall into anarchy and the different interest groups will sort themselves out. We'll likely find ourselves in a much more crude and lamentable place than had our ancestors never adopted the proposition nation to begin with, as noble as the intentions may have been.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Recusals & Refusals

Jeff Sessions is lately becoming the guy that both sides like to hate on. (Much to the relief of Paul Ryan.) Conservatives, especially Trump's staunch supporters, are highly frustrated with "Sleepy Sessions" because we aren't getting the bulldog anti-corruption prosecutions we were promised during the election. I've fallen to the temptation to bash him from time to time, because he seems to have recused himself from all cases that don't involve the devil's lettuce.

But really I think he's getting a bad rap for recusing himself. Trump has now attacked him over it. Jason Chaffetz was on the news the the other days saying we need a new AG. We're all similarly frustrated. We've got a clear case of seditious conspiracy across the upper echelons of the previous government and no one to prosecute it. You can't drain the swamp without someone to pull the plug! Still I think if we take a step back we can make the case that Sessions has behaved optimally so far, but perhaps by accident. The real concern is if he will continue to recuse himself into some obscure corner of history.

Session recused himself from the investigations of the Trump campaign. That is proper. As a member of the Trump campaign team, there is no acceptable way for him to oversee the investigation. The problem, of course, isn't that Session ducked out; it's that the special counsel is a deep state coup looking to destroy the president. "If they don't follow the rules, neither should we." That's true, but still I don't see how we Team Trump can blow this out of the water by openly fighting dirty. They're fighting a seriously uphill battle against the perceptions broadcast by the mainstream propaganda outlets. Sucks, but that's the reality.

Session also recused himself - effectively - of going after Hillary Clinton. Trump supporters are livid about this but, again, I don't see what choice Sessions had. Clinton was Trump's opponent. Going after the President's former opponent - even if that's what Hillary did by buying a FISA warrant - is terrible optics and a bad precedent to set. No one wants to risk falling into the pattern of the newly minted AG hanging the opposition candidate on the public square. As tough a pill as it is, our only chance against Hillary is though an independent counsel or through state courts. There is a lot the AG can do around the edges too.

Sessions isn't the only significant recusal of FISAgate. Judge Rudolph Contreras was recused from hearing Michael Flynn's case. This is interesting because Contreras just so happens to sit on the FISC. Until/if the relevant records are declassified, we won't know what role the judge played but it seems almost certain that Contreras was recused because of his role in the Carter Page Title I FISA warrant. Two possibilities come to mind. One is that Contreras issued the warrant against Page and Flynn's conversations were picked up through the resulting surveillance. The other possibility is that it was Contreras that declined the initial warrant request in June, and was forced to recuse because he had already exercise a negative opinion of the investigation. In either case, this is a big hook for Congressional investigators to grab onto.

Last in the realm of recusals & refusals, we need to look at Mueller. There are three main components to the Russia collusion probe: the investigation team, the prosecution team, and Mueller. The investigation team was largely just the same FBI team that was already engaged in a palace coup, with the same lead agent who ran the Hillary email debacle and was then deliberately working to impeach Trump. There is a very relevant section in the Strzok/Page texts. On June 6, 2017, he shows concern about getting Mueller's approval for team members, and she responds that she doesn't see why Strzok wouldn't be able to pick whomever he wants. Later that night, he informs her that he has teed her up for 702 education for the team.

These two message may be the ones that really go on to haunt the special counsel. Remember the media narrative is that Strzok was just one agent, and the special counsel demonstrated it's dedication to impartiality by removing him. But Strzok likely picked the core contingent of the team. Not only that, but his co-conspirator was in charge of bringing any new member up to speed on 702 issues. It was the 702s that allowed the FBI to spy on the entire Trump campaign based on a single Title I warrant against Carter Page. So the two get to pick the team and then teach them how the spying on the now-Presidential team is done.

The second component of the team are the private-sector prosecuting attorneys. Page is worried about them because they have edged her out; she no longer has a strong role on the team. Strzok expresses his major concern is that they'll work too hard, even though they've taken big paycuts to join the team. The constantly talk about the new "smart lawyers" they're now working with. It's quite clear why these bigshot lawyers would take a government salary to join the team: they're sharks looking to make a name for themselves. And as we already know, they're almost all donors to the Clinton campaign.

Finally we get to the point man, Mueller. He was the previous FBI Director, and is a friend of Comey. So he's investigating against the man who fired his friend and successor. Not only that, but he was director under Obama, who waivered him to stay 2 years past his legal limit. That's right, Mueller ran the show there for 12 years. What's real interesting is the his extension covered 2012 and 2013. That is, he was kept on for a bit following Obama's re-election. Why? A reasonable theory is that the Obama administration did not just start spying on political opponents in 2016, but that they did so in 2012 as well. In fact it would be entirely unreasonable to assume that 2016 was a dirty election but 2012 was run clean. Mueller was kept on to tie up the loose ends, and has been brought back to contain the crimes that occurred under his watch, possibly under his direction. There is not yet a ton of supporting evidence, but the appearance of impropriety is as clear as day.

So his team consists of seditious investigation team, a head-hunting prosecution team, and a leader who falls under suspicion of impropriety. The whole investigation is illegitimate until he recuses himself and the investigation team is completely re-rostered. As it is, there is no way this team bags much in the way of successful prosecution. Look how they've backpedalled on Flynn. All they are doing now is finding any excuse to investigate the team to find something to leak to the press. If Trump's tax returns leak you'll know where they came from. I bet we'll see something like that around October 2020.

So far, so good, really. Sessions has played it right and there's a special counsel that can leak but not prosecute, and the longer they continue the more damage they seem to do to themselves. The big question is whether Sessions will recuse himself from prosecuting the criminals from within his own ranks. This is entirely within his domain. There is no conflict of interest if he recuses himself from going after the corruption in the FBI/DOJ. But so far there is no reason for optimism. He said, "no agency is perfect" is response to evidence of an FBI political witch hunt. That is scary. So far so good, but unless something changes we have every reason to believe he's an ineffectual putz at best. If he recuses himself from prosecuting an easy case of seditious conspiracy, Trump should certainly fire him and replace with someone who has no infinite list of reason to recuse. I hear Trey Gowdy is looking for a job.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Treasonous Times

One of our major criticisms about the left is they can never predict anything. They are constantly caught by surprise. Being constantly caught by surprise is a sure sign from the universe that something is screwy with your worldview, and you'd best rectify it.

With that said, I find myself being regularly surprised by the left. I really do. I'm constantly surprised by how insanely partisan they are. I use phrases like "we've hit peak absurdity" routinely, and them I'm proven wrong.

A post the other day mentioned NBC's flagrant acquisition of a chief deep state operator and serial traitor - former CIA Director John Brennan. The question was posed: could they possibly be any more blatant? The question was almost immediately answered, by coverage of the Olympics!

You have to keep in mind a couple things about the media. First: their primary objective is to serve the deep state. Before ideology, it's to maintain the power structure they benefit from. Second: Donald Trump is the primary threat to the deep state. He is the only threat of significance. Thus, the primary goal of the media is to destroy him at all costs. "Informing the public" is not an objective of the media, but pretending to do so is. It seems evident that the relevant media objective is actually "disinform the public." And in fact, studies support such a claim. Those who watch more corporate news are less informed.

In that context, consider the recent reporting from the Olympics. Mike Pence is there serving as Trump's proxy. Similarly, Kim Yo-jong is there as proxy to her brother Kim Jong-un, dictator of North Korea. I would not have predicted that the New York Times would blatantly side with the Propaganda Minister of a regime so brutal that the New York's Time's own beloved UN Human Rights Council declares their governance as a crime against humanity. I wouldn't have predicted the US press would fawn over a country that routinely threatens to nuke their own country, just to snub their own Vice-President, a perfectly decent man whose had a couple blunders but generally is a class act.


It's not that my internal model of them is wrong. I maintain that the liberals are psychologically programmed r-selected traitors. This reporting absolutely fits. The problem may be that I'm surprised that they'd be so blatant about it. They aren't even pretending to be reasonable any more. The reason they aren't would seem to be that they truly believe what they are saying. But that fits the model of this blog too. We don't call them The Cult for nothing.

The paradox is that I'm surprised by events, I go to update my worldview, and there's nothing to update. Why? I think there is something conflicting in a human-being using rationale to come to the conclusion that other humans are hyper-irrational. It's like the old trick Captain Kirk would play on robots. How can a human assume he is rational enough to prove another human is irrational? It's one of those conclusions that our rational side acknowledges but our deeper self wishes to reject, so we go on knowing it's true but mostly acting like it's not. We do the same with government surveillance. All this FISAgate stuff is serving to remind of what we already learned from Snowden: that the government is collecting much of our communications. We know that, but go about our lives just the same anyway. I'm wondering if there is a Biblical analogy that any readers are aware of. That evil could be so overwhelming that most people just act as if it isn't really there. Maybe that is the role of the prophet, who reminds people that the evil they're ignoring is real and will harm them.

So what about the New York Times? It's an evil force. It engages in insanity that I truly can not fathom. Will it hurt us? It already has. Over the weekend I read through all the Strzok/Page texts. I took some notes which I'll post here soon. Starting out, Page is a hard SJW but Strzok isn't quite that bad. He hates Trump, but he's not an over the top lefty. He rejects Affirmative Action, which is like heresy against The Cult. He almost seems like a decent guy outside his delusion, but for a couple things. First, he's obsessed with his career. Just like the deep-state, it's power first. Second, there's like 50,000 texts; they were texting constantly back and forth, and were supposedly having an affair. (No evidence of that in the texts that were released. Supposedly the OIG withheld the intimate ones but I don't know if that's true.) In none of the texts was anything ever funny. No jokes, no witty banter. They seem like people with no sense of humor. For a couple lovers conspiring against their government, it's a boring fling.

She sends him links to the New York Times constantly. This is her life: she works long hours, comes home, and stays up late stewing in New York Times deep state propaganda. She sends them to him and he becomes increasingly indoctrinated. Eventually he's convinced that what they're doing is to defend the FBI and save America from "that menace." He actually believes the Russian allegations and that Trump must be destroyed. He waffles about whether he should pursue promotion or stay as lead agent on a case that result in "an investigation leading to an impeachment."

He was wildly politicized by the New York Times. The evidence is there. I predict further evidence will only confirm this. He was politicized and led a palace coup against the duly elected president based on accusations from his defeated opponent. This happened because rampant deep state propaganda is not just annoying irrationality; it is lurking evil that will hurt us. If we can't rectify a propaganda outlet that motivates solid FBI agents (and an Army vet at that) to conspire to overthrow the presidency, then we'll just sit here twiddling our thumbs until the next calamity. Something must be done.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

FISA Scandal Timeline

Here's a timeline of the FISA scandal. It runs from Trump's acquisition of Carter Page until the termination of the 4th FISA warrant. Sources have mostly been omitted as this is all public knowledge that can be easily verified with a search engine. This timeline will be updated as news facts emerge or corrections are required.

2016

  • March 26 - Trump personally appoints Carter Page to his foreign policy team. Page was a Russia-connected businessman who had previously been involved in an FBI sting operation against three Russian intelligence agents.
  • April - Donald Trump becomes the presumptive Republican nominee.
  • April - Hillary Clinton (et al) retains Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research against her soon-to-be opponent, led by former British spy Christopher Steele. They are paid over $160,000.
  • June - FISA application for warrant against Carter Page denied.
  • July 5 - Steele travels to Rome and meets there with FBI agents.
  • July 7 - Carter Page gives a presentation in Moscow.
  • July (late) - A counterintelligence investigation of Trump-Russia collusion is opened under FBI Agent Peter Strzok, operating under the supervision of Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Bill Priestrap. Strzok was heavily involved in the Clinton email investigation, having been one of the agents to personally interview Clinton.
  • August 8 - Text from Strzok to FBI lawyer Lisa Page - whom he was having an affair with - states, "F Trump." (There are many similar text going all the way back to 2015.)
  • August 15 -  Another text between the two references an "insurance plan" that was discussed in Deputy Director Andrew McCabe's office in the unlikely event that Donald Trump was elected.
  • August 30 - House Democrats write a letter to FBI Director Comey requesting an investigation into Trump-Russia collusion.
  • September 2 - Strzok informs Page that "potus [Obama] wants to know about everything we're doing."
  • September - Steele briefs the New York Times, the Washington Post, Yahoo News, the New Yorker, and CNN about his research.
  • September (mid to late) - Steele again meets FBI contacts in Rome, where he gives them a "full briefing." The FBI covers his travel expenses for both trips.
  • September 23 - Yahoo News leaks details of the memo.
  • September 26  October 19 - Over four presidential debates, the dominant theme is Russian collusion, by a wide margin. Trump quips that Russia should release Hillary's missing emails if they have them, which his opponents claim is proof of Russian collusion.
  • October (mid) - Steele again meets with the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Yahoo News.
  • October 20 - NSA Director Mike Rogers is briefed of violations of 702 "About Queries." He orders the activity to be stopped and reports it to the DOJ.
  • October 21 - Two days after the final debate, FBI agents acquire a FISA warrant against Carter Page, based on the dossier and the Yahoo News article which leaked it.
  • October 26 - Rogers briefs the FISC full assembly on illegal 702 activities that were occurring.
  • October 30 - Steele reveals his relationship with the FBI in a Mother Jones article by David Corn, for which he is terminated as a source. The FBI continues to use his research to justify FISA renewals.
  • November 8 - Donald Trump elected.
  • November 17 - Rogers visits Trump Tower without giving notice to the Obama White House. Many believe Trump was tipped off about the surveillance. Administration chiefs such as James Clapper and Ashton Carter demand Rogers's resignation.
  • November 18 - Trump moves his transition team headquarters from Trump Tower to the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
  • December 9 - John McCain delivers the dossier to FBI agents.
  • December 19 - McCabe testifies in a 7-hour closed door session before the HPSCI, which left many members frustrated. McCabe's testimony indicates that the FISA warrant would not have been possible without the dossier.
  • December 22 - Michael Flynn calls the Russian ambassador, asking them to vote in favor of Israel at an upcoming UN Security Council Resolution.
  • December 29 - Obama puts sanctions on Russia for tampering in the US election.
  • December 29 - Michael Flynn asks the Russian ambassador to show restraint in their response to Obama's sanctions.

2017

  • January 6 - Comey briefs President-elect Trump of the existence of the dossier, without specifying its background as opposition research. He assures Trump that he is not under investigation by the FBI.
  • January 11 - The dossier is leaked to Buzzfeed, which publishes the entire contents.
  • January 11 - John McCain explains his decision to hand the dossier over to the FBI, without explaining how he came about acquiring it. Later testimony claims he received it indirectly from Steele.
  • January 12 - The Washington Post reports the two conversations Michael Flynn had with the Russian ambassador on December 22nd and 29th.
  • January 12 - Barrack Obama issues EO 12333, making it easier to share raw NSA data across different agencies.
  • January 20 - Donald Trump inaugurated as president.
  • January 21 - Flynn is interviewed by the FBI without a lawyer. Documents show he failed to disclose the contents of his two conversations with the Russian ambassador.
  • February 13 - Trump fires Flynn, citing dishonesty to the FBI and to Mike Pence.
  • March 1 - The Washington Post reveals two meetings Jeff Sessions had with Russian diplomats during the 2016 campaign, with no source mentioned.
  • March 4 - Trump tweets that Trump Tower was "wire tapped" just before the election. The media declare the accusations to be outrageous and fraudulent.
  • April 4 - New York Times publishes scathing indictment of Carter Page based on leaks from the investigation.  The reporting depicts a solid case of collusion with Russia. Democrats become assured the the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory is validated and that his presidency will be ended by the scandal.
  • April 4 - In an interview with MSNBC, Susan Rice admits to unmasking names of US persons from intelligence reports to include in the presidential daily briefing (PDB).
  • April 27 - In an interview with Fox News, Obama states: I do not talk to FBI directors about pending investigations. There is a strict line.
  • May 9 - Trump fires Comey. Publicly discloses recommendation by DAG Rod Rosenstein, who would later stand up and oversee the Mueller special counsel.
  • June 7 - Comey testifies before the HPSCI. Calls the dossier "salacious" and "unverified."
  • August 3 - The Washington Post obtains the transcripts of Trump's private conversations with foreign heads of state.
  • October 13 - Samantha Powers - member of Obama's tightest inner circle - testifies before the HPSCI. Reportedly, she was unmasking multiple American per day, logging as many as 260 in the final months before the transfer of power.
  • Oct 21 (approx) - The 4th FISA warrant against Page expires.

Analysis

It's worth understanding how the FISA warrant works. It's not literally a "wiretap warrant," like you might think of from old cop movies. The warrant didn't permit the FBI to start monitoring communications. They were already monitored. Everyone's electronic communications are collected and stored in massive data centers by the NSA. The warrant permits intelligence agencies to perform queries against the data. Here's the key detail: those queries would not be limited to Carter Page's direct communications. The warrant allows for two, possibly three "hops", or degrees of separation. So effectively, everyone in the Trump campaign would have been caught in this net, and everyone they communicated with. To spy on the organization, a warrant only needs to be obtained for one person. Past records can be retrieved as well; it is not necessarily limited to ongoing communications.

The warrant specifies the communications of the target. All other Americans caught up in the surveillance are masked. This is meant to stop FISA warrants from becoming a massive state domestic spying program. (It's been calculated that a 3-hops network can include up to 20 million people.) However, officials can request to have names unmasked. Obama's closest people made hundreds of unmasking requests at same time that the FBI was running a counterintelligence investigation against Trump's team, and his team's communications leaked to the press on numerous occasions.

Note the steps taken to legitimize the operation. The attempt was made to warm the people up to the fact that opposition research was used to secure a FISA warrant against a US president. First small leaks, then the entire dossier was leaked before the knowledge of the warrants came to light. The reaction was probably not what they were hoping for, as Buzzfeed and CNN were widely lambasted for a pee pee dossier unfit for tabloid publication. We also learned that John McCain delivered the dossier to the FBI, even though they had been involved with it for months and already used it to secure a secret surveillance warrant. Whether McCain was in on the ruse or was just a convenient stooge is unclear (I'd lean to the latter), but what it did was to give the process legitimacy. Americans heard that a high-ranking Senator provided the FBI a research dossier from British intelligence, not that the FBI had used Democratic opposition research and a Yahoo News article to spy on Trump Tower.

The Oligarchy Takes Form

The news is suddenly moving very fast. Faster than anyone can really keep up with. Congress is starting to report their investigation findings and the Justice Department continues to stream highly scandalous texts from the agent who headed the Trump counterintelligence briefing and interviewed Hillary Clinton. During the election, a trove of leaked documents gave us great insight to the collusion between the DNC, Hillary's campaign, and the national media. The new scandal is opening eyes to the collusion between the DNC / Hillary, "deep state" bureaucrats, and the media. The Democrats funded the "research" and planted the conspiracy theory through the media. The government agents used it to spy on political opponents and leak whatever was damaging to the press.

I've noticed that you can always criticize the government just so long as you do it abstractly. For instance, there was a study a while back the concluded that America operates more like an oligarchy than a democracy. It was shared around social media. It's not controversial. In a conversation with anyone- left, right, or whatever - you could slip that into conversation in a way that the other person would agree with it. But if you try specifying what it is, you're liable to be looked at like some kind of lunatic. People agree with the oligarchy so long as it is an ethereal, mystical being.

Staying obscure serves the oligarchy's interests. If it can't be seen, it can't be destroyed. It's not some formal club, although some subnetworks are certainly formalized. The oligarchs are not just trying to trick you into believing they don't exist. They trick themselves as well. They don't believe they are subverting democracy. They honestly believe they are the ones preserving it. The oligarchy perpetuates as long as it is shapeless. I remember playing Zelda on Nintendo. They had these translucent ghosts, who could harm you but you couldn't damage them back. Every so often they would transform to a solid color, and that's when you could attack and kill them. The formless enemy must be forced to reveal itself.

I want to share three headlines I saw all in one day. I was already musing on the notion of the oligarchy emerging from the shadows because of their war with Trump, and these headlines, which normally would seem totally unrelated, all fit into the pattern.

First, on Thursday, liberals professed their love for George W. Bush. For anyone older than about 25 this is the most incredible thing to witness. The left used to loathe Bush. Not to the extent they hate Trump, but pretty close. They called him all the same names: racist, a Nazi, a megalomaniac. They had fake anti-war marches against him just like the women's marches today. Now they love him. Bush wants open borders, says Russia meddled in the election, says all the things they like to hear, and always insinuating Trump is wrong. He didn't do this to Obama. Is he a liberal? We'll come back to that.

Second, we on the dissident right have long pointed out that the media and government are in bed with each other; that the media is a propaganda arm of the deep state. I was saying that back around 2004 when I became a 9/11 "truther." It's also been apparent that whatever the deep state is, at its core is the CIA. How amazing is it to hear that NBC has hired none other than former CIA Director John Brennan, about the most blatantly swampy swamp-rat you could think of, to be their newest contributor? They aren't even trying to hide things anymore. Brennan at NBC. John Podesta hired by the Washington Post. Hillary does Hollywood awards ceremonies. For some reason they just aren't trying to obscure themselves anymore. Part may be they've gotten lazy since not many have even been trying to look. But it also fits the bigger picture of the oligarchy being forced to take shape to counter an existential threat. An army on the march is rarely discreet.

Third, Rob Reiner was in the news stating we're fighting the "last battle of the civil war." That's SJW talk, because they believe everyone to the right of Glenn Beck is a cotton plantation owner just dying to get his negro slaves back. He's wrong in all aspects except the real important one: there is a civil war going on. It's cold, but very real.

Alex Jones - whom I listened to a lot during the Bush years - always talked about the "false left-right paradigm." There was something about it that really hit home, and yet there was something wrong too. All observations indicated a left-right split that is very real and pervasive. It's not a false paradigm so much as it is an exploited or amplified paradigm. The oligarchy uses the natural left-right split as a fault line they can exploit to divide-and-conquer. They run Democrats who pretend to be liberal and Republicans who pretend to be conservative, but they all serve the oligarchic power structure. They may have their own political beliefs, but those are always secondary to power, no matter how much they convince themselves and their stooges otherwise.

Compare President Bush vs Clinton. You have two open-borders globalists who support an imperialist foreign policy and a massive centralized bureaucracy. The only difference is one pretends to be for abortion and the other against. Neither actually gives a shit about it. But that is the difference that is broadcast to the masses, with some other token social issues to energize the electorate against itself. In the most recent election, it was quite clear what the oligarchy wanted: Bush vs Clinton. Again, not even trying to hide it. What would have been the difference between the two? Well Hillary would have been a vindictive petty tyrant set on destroying anyone who had ever slighted her, and Jeb would have been a waffling weakling who did whatever he thought would make people like him. Ultimately though, they'd implement the policies that pleased the oligarchy. What would have been the difference if Deep-State McCain had beat Obama, or if Romney had? Not much. In all cases the oligarchy goes unchallenged. Foreign wars, expanding bureaucracy, and rampant propaganda.

Is the deep state liberal? Trump's "conservative" opponents - Bush, McCain, Romney - sure sound a lot like liberals these days. That leads many to believe it's a left-versus-right battle. But what if Bernie would have won? What if he wasn't spineless and had not backed down in the primary, had won it, and faced Trump in the general? Well, that would be interesting. The oligarchy would already be defeated in the election. Even though the two are about polar opposites politically, the outcomes would be more similar than versus any oligarchic candidate. If Bernie won the Presidency, it would be the photo negative of what is happening now. Deep state "liberals" would come out attacking Bernie and would sound a lot like conservatives. (Again, assuming he didn't just totally cave, which is what would have actually happened.) The swamp creatures sound like lefties today because they are fighting Trump. They'd swing hard to the right if they had to to keep power. Yes, many are ideologically possessed zombies, but it is always power first.

Trump is the existential threat to the oligarchy. All the fear mongering has a source: the oligarchy is genuinely terrified of him. The Strzok texts use that actual word: terrifying. They also talk about the "secret society" within the FBI that was conspiring to exonerate Hillary and crucify Trump. They broke all the rules they were pretending to investigate. They leaked to the media. They contain the essence of the oligarchy. Secretive cliques that collaborate across institutions.

There is a civil war, but it's not between "racists" and progressives, as Rob Reiner would have it. The left-right conflict is real, but it's something more like a proxy war. The primary war is between the democracy and the oligarchy. The peoples' government versus the cabal's government. Look at the election. Total sham. On the Democrat side they engaged in all kinds of impropriety to ensure the oligarch won. On the Republican side...well I think they got lazy. Before, the Republicans could be brow beaten to death with the media. Run national headlines calling a guy a racist bigot enough times and he'll learn to stay in line. Trump was different. He took the bad press and made it the fuel for his popularity. Still, they were sure they could destroy him in the election. They used the normal tactics: he's a racist, a woman abuser, a power-hungry maniac. They continued with the unethical and illegal activities behind the scenes. And they got sloppy. FBI agents left a text trail that's practically a play-by-play of a palace coup...on company phones! It's the craziest thing. And they went and got what was effectively a license for unrestrained spying on the Trump campaign, with a pee pee dossier obtained by paying Russians to tell stories. They were all in to keep out the "populist" candidate.

The intangible deep state took form. The paper trail is revealing the web they have spun. The "secret society" at the J. Edgar Hoover Building is no longer a secret. We know who was in it and what they were up to. And the bulk of the investigative work has not even been released yes. The real question isn't if wide-scale treason was committed, but to what scale will they cover it up. They won't cover it up to save the oligarchy. They'll cover it up to save democracy! They'll be afraid the truth will tear the fabric of the nation apart. And they'll want to keep it from us, for our own good. But they'll only be ensuring that the oligarchy maintains its grasp on power.

There's a lot of malevolence in all this, but much more there is delusion. It is easier to deceive someone than it is to persuade them. Deception is now the norm. That's why rational debate doesn't work any more. You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into. This is the war where everyone wears the wrong uniform. The oligarchy think they are Team Democracy. The conservatives don't realize their war against liberals is just a proxy war with the deep state. The liberals think they and their plucky deep state allies are underdogs in a valiant fight against mythical Nazis, who are the real power holders. The only good news in all this is that the oligarchy is just as delusional as anyone. Where there is delusion, there is weakness that can be leveraged. The bad news is that as long as America remains divided the oligarchy wins. The left and right can continue to hate each other just so long as they agree we're all better off when government power isn't monopolized. That means conservatives don't support oligarchs like Bush and McCain, and liberals don't support the Clintons and Obamas of their side. But as long as the liberals remain mindless slaves of the deep state propaganda outlets, there will be division, and the dissident right will be the only camp wearing the correct uniform. Because our war with the oligarchy and our proxy war with the left will be just one and the same. Hell, it's starting to look like it might actually be a winning fight.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Comey Mystery

In all the drama of the past couple years, there have been, of course, a number of mysteries. None has bugged me more than the question of Comey. Even as far back as his HPSCI testimony last year, when I knew he botched the Clinton investigation for which I lost a six-pack in a bet, I still blogged here that I felt he was being sincere and it wouldn't help for everyone to pile on to the FBI. (An opinion shown to be very wrong.) But the more the investigation proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the FBI was in the bag for Hillary, the question has only grown more pervasive: Why the hell did Comey re-open the investigation against Hillary? It's the one piece - and it's a huge piece - that doesn't fit the puzzle. Why would he appear to be a totally crooked cop in all other aspects, but then he springs an October Surprise on her? For a long time it seemed at least possible that he was trying to be fair but he was just very, very incompetent. Of course the recent reports from Congress destroy that naive hope.

To my great relief, the mystery has been solved, thanks to our favorite lol-texting lovers in the FBI. Here is a text recently released by the IG investigation. The "Inbox" texts were written by Peter Strzok, the high-ranking agent who interviewed Hillary Clinton, ran the Trump counterintelligence investigation, and then was chosen to be part of the "independent" counsel.


George Toscas is the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Counterterrorism. He has some sort of oversight over the FBI. I don't know what the job entails, but other texts show that the two star-crossed lovers were interested in keeping certain information away from him. They seem pretty concerned that he found out that the NYPD had Anthony's Weiner's laptop, which had more of Hillary's classified emails on it. [Can we just take a minute to appreciate that Hillary's rigged election and phony FBI investigation were undone because her girlfriend's husband was Skyping rape fantasies to a 15-year-old girl?] The FBI did not report the new evidence when the acquired it. They sat on them for close to a month. It wasn't until a Deputy AG who wasn't in the "secret society" (as Strzok referred to the cabal within the FBI) caught wind of the Weiner incident that they were forced to go public.

Here's the big thing. (If this wasn't already a scandal of epic proportions.) Look at the date on that message. Oct, 21, 2016. Do you believe in coincidences? The FBI submitted a fraudulent FISA warrant against Trump the same day they realized they were going to have to re-open the Clinton investigation. Maybe it was a coincidence. Here's another theory.

The FBI "secret society" - shown in the texts to have been desperately afraid of a Trump victory - had an "oh shit" moment on Oct 21. They didn't have enough time to drag their feet until the election, over two weeks away. If they couldn't save Hillary from a scandal, they'd try to at least expose Trump to a scandal. But their own counterintelligence investigation had nothing but a pee pee dossier to show for it.

So they got the FISA warrant, and they got it in a hurry. This explains why the application was so extraordinarily shoddy. You think, "Surely they didn't think they could prosecute Trump with evidence obtained with a bogus dossier and a Yahoo News article!" They weren't trying to obtain prosecutable evidence. Clearly. They were trying to uncover a Trump scandal. They misled the FISA court so that they could run through all his communications, sure that there was some scandal to be found. And that's the real kicker: they didn't find anything. Imagine the hell these traitors have been living through. And the worst is yet to come.

Dissecting the Dissecting of the Memos

As mentioned before, I've been taking to social media in response to the recent Congressional memos. This was offered to me as a nice breakdown and counterpoint. The source of the text is here and my remarks are in [this color].

In a recently released letter and accompanying memo, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R- Iowa) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) outline concerns that reinforce the Nunes memo in some respects, but undermine it in others. Like the Nunes memo, the senators’ letter contains allegations about how the FBI and Justice Department sought the FISA application of former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page. While the Nunes memo has sucked up lots of oxygen [what does that even mean?], the Grassley-Graham letter has not received the attention it deserves.[Hmm, why wouldn't the media be covering a memo that largely corroborates the Nunes memo? That's a good question.] It is important to parse the content of the letter, including its specific allegations.
The authors of the letter generally have more credibility than Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). [Opinion. Make the case or leave it out.Still, it is difficult to unpack the valid claims in their letter apart from its appearance as a partisan initiative [It can't be assumed that an oversight committee doing oversight is inherently partisan. Make the case or leave it out.] and a distraction from the key item of business, which is the Russian government’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.[No, the key item of business is oversight over the FBI's handling of the investigation.] Like the Nunes memo, the Grassley-Graham letter also has its own hyper-politicized origins that detract from its credibility.[Anything penned by a Republican is hyper-politicized by default.] Its purported purpose is a referral of Christopher Steele, the former MI6 officer who compiled the controversial Trump dossier, to the FBI for possibly making false statements to the bureau. But the FBI needs no referral from the two Senators, since the information and actions of Steele were already well known to it.[But they haven't acted. Hence the referral to the department with new leadership.] Sending their surprise letter to the Justice Department in early January, the two senators also decided not to consult beforehand with the ranking member of their committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)[They didn't share it with the Senator who leaked the Fusion GPS transcript and blamed it on her cold medicine? Gee, I can't believe they wouldn't run it by her first...], nor any of the other Democratic colleagues on the committee. On the day the Nunes memo was made public, Grassley asked the Justice Department to declassify his letter for public release. Sean Hannity seemed to have wind of this move. The Fox News show host informed his audience on Friday, “I’m told that we might have a Grassley memo as early as next week that takes it yet to another level.” This all seemed well orchestrated.[Does he consider all the media commenting on the soon-to-be-released Schiff memo as "orchestrated" too?
So then what to make of the claims in the Grassley-Graham letter concerning the FISA application? Here’s my best assessment, remembering that without access to the actual FISA application, it is difficult to judge the accuracy of what the senators allege.[But he'll tell us anyway.]
Before getting into specific claims that the letter makes, it is worth examining what the memo omits and to view the forest before closely inspecting some of the trees.[Note this metaphor.] The document raises doubt about whether the FBI properly sought a FISA application against Page, but it conspicuously does not make the claim that the application was unfounded or that an innocent American was wrongfully surveilled.[Correct.] That may be the wisest choice, since there is an avalanche of information, in the public record alone, of Page’s involvement with the Kremlin and Russian spies, plus his highly suspicious denials of meetings with Russians. Several of those denials have since been disproven, even by Page himself. He is not exactly the poster child you want on your side of a political or legal argument.[The question isn't whether or not Page is a dirtbag. This is oversight of an intelligence agency.]
What’s more, like the Nunes memo, the Grassley-Graham letter omits the significance of several judges’ approving subsequent renewals of the Page warrant, each time on a separate finding of probable cause, with the Steele dossier likely assuming less significance each time.[Please tell us more about other facts you think are likely to exist! Also, the Congressmen had access to all four FISA applications. I bet you they didn't skip the last three of them. Not that it matters. Each must stand for itself. It's the old "we must investigate Trump to see if we can find evidence that would justify investigating him" routine.] Plus, each of those judges presumably relied on the FBI showing that the surveillance was yielding productive information as the Bureau had told each judge it would.[Presumably: similar to 'likely', but different. This supposition can be verified if the FISA renewal applications are released.]
One more point about keeping sight of the forest: Graham, as well as Rep. Trey Gowdy (R.-S.C.) and other Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee who voted to release the Nunes memo, have explicitly stated that their concerns about the FISA application for Page should not be used to undermine the Mueller investigation.[In fact that is the official stance of the HPSCI, here. This is also not "the forest." It's the plains over the river past the forest, if we're to stick with this tired metaphor.]  
There are three ways in which the Grassley-Graham letter goes even further than the Nunes memo in its criticisms of the FBI’s handling of the FISA application.
First, the letter states that the FISA application did not include any “meaningful corroboration” of the Steele dossier allegations against Page, and that Comey’s response to the criticism in closed session was not to refer to other forms of corroboration, but instead to depend on Steele’s general reliability. It is hard to know how to evaluate the two senators’ claim of lack of “meaningful” corroboration, since there may have been ample other evidence about Page’s recent relationships with Russian agents.["May have been" evidence. This is starting to read like a fantasy novel.] By late October 2016, when the FISA application was submitted, Page’s unusual trip to Russia while a member of the Trump campaign was well known.[Is it really unusual? Is he saying that no associate of, say, Hillary Clinton's campaign engaged in foreign travel during the election?] The Nunes memo itself seems to suggest that around this time, the Steele dossier was at least “minimally corroborated.”[The memo does not "suggest it was at least" minimally corroborated. It specifically states it was minimally corroborated. Corroborated to the least degree.] And, in response to the release of the Nunes memo, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) stated, “Only very select parts of what Christopher Steele reported related to Carter Page were included within the application, and some of those things were already subject to corroboration.”[Schiff lied and said the memo was inconsequential before it was released. He also lied and said it would damage national security. He is now saying that Republicans are engaging in selective transparency in permitting one memo and not the other, even though every Republican voted for his memo and every Democrat voted against the original. Three bold lies, all easily shown. Now that is a case for "even less credibility".]
What’s more, Page’s own testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, which occurred two months before the senators’ letter, corroborated parts of the Steele dossier.[Is he implying that the FISC judges are time travelers that could jump forward 16 months and fill out the missing pieces of an application?] For more on this, read Natasha Bertrand’s “Carter Page’s testimony is filled with bombshells—and supports key portions of the Steele dossier.” Since Grassley and Graham’s ultimate claim involves concerns about Steele’s credibility, one would have expected them at least to address the subsequent corroboration by Page[Yes, if it was the Senate Oversight Committee of the pee pee dossier, that would make a lot of sense. It doesn't matter even if it was later corroborated.], even if not other aspects of the dossier that may have also been validated (see John Sipher’s twoarticles at Just Security).[More "may have." This is serious analysis, folks!] That said, the FBI may have[lol!] been unaware of some of the corroborating details about Page in late October when DOJ applied to the FISA court.
The Grassley-Graham memo also includes an important line that the FBI itself came to the determination that “[Steele’s] reporting is credible.” We should all remember that is now a part of the public record. Grassley and Graham attempt to tar the entire Steele dossier with the suggestion that James Comey told Congress the dossier is “salacious and unverified.” That is the same foul committed by the Nunes memo, and smacks of bias.[How biased to quote the FBI Director's sworn testimony to his own committee.] Here’s the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFacts[You mean this PolitiFacts? Are they really still standing by the claim that there was no surveillance against Trump?ruling:
“Comey’s careful phrasings in four portions of his testimony indicate that he meant only that portions of it were “salacious and unverified.” The memo twists Comey’s words in an effort to leverage his stature to undercut the dossier.”[Ah, so it's okay to go to the FISC with opposition research that is only partially "salacious and unverified." Well that changes everything!]
Second, the Grassley-Graham letter states that “the bulk of the application consists of allegations against Page that were disclosed to the FBI by Mr. Steele and are also outlined in the Steele dossier. The application appears to contain no additional information corroborating the dossier allegations…” Note that the second sentence does not say the application failed to contain additional information that implicated Page, only that it did not contain additional information corroborating the specific allegations in the Steele dossier.[Hmmm, that's actually a good point...] Nevertheless, it is important that the senators claim that the Steele dossier and other information that Steele provided the FBI constituted “the bulk of information” in the original application (elsewhere they describe the Steele information as “a significant portion” of the FISA application).[Would be a good point, except Andy McCabe testified that the FISA warrant could not have happened without the dossier. So all this conjecture is already disproven.]
But what about that forest? What’s publicly known about Page suggests there may have been ample reason for the Justice Department to seek a surveillance warrant and for federal judges to authorize and reauthorize it. Nothing in the letter changes that fact. Indeed, not even Gowdy is now willing to say that the initial FISA order was unjustified.[Holy hell this is stupid. Of course they may have had good reason. That is the official stance of the HPSCI! But "may have been ample reason" does not grant one a secret and powerful counterintelligence surveillance warrant. That's the whole point of the process. ]










Gowdy—sig. drafter of —now can’t even say surveillance was unjustified.

Q: “Was that justified, that surveillance?

Gowdy: “We’ll never know because the application contained three parts” including “other information they had on Carter Page”
That’s an especially important sign since Gowdy says he was “intricately involved” in drafting the Nunes memo and Nunes gave Gowdy the exclusive responsibility of viewing the underlying classified information on behalf of the Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee. Why could Gowdy not say the surveillance warrant was unjustified? Because of “other information they had on Carter Page,” Gowdy told CBS’s Face the Nation. [No, it's because he doesn't know if the court would have approved the same application without the dossier and newspaper article included. But, he argues that he can't imagine the application was strong if they resorted to that kind of evidence. If you can get the warrant either way, you don't incriminate yourself, and don't situate yourself so that all your evidence is dismissed in court. (I suspect the FBI wasn't actually trying to accumulate evidence for prosecution on Oct 21 when they filed the application.)]  The senators’ letter itself is also inconsistent in this regard. Having said the Steele dossier constituted “the bulk of information” in the original application, the letter refers elsewhere to “a total of four FISA applications relying on the dossier to seek surveillance of Mr. Carter Page, as well as numerous other FBI documents relating to Mr. Steele.”[This can't be considered impartial if it doesn't include the Deputy Director of Counterintelligence telling the committee that the warrant could not have happened without the dossier. The implication that the other documents "may be" important is already disproven. This "dissection" is just hoping you haven't taken the time to read the memos yourself.]
Third, even though the letter frames the criminal referral around the issue whether Steele lied to the FBI, the senators suggest that the Justice Department/FBI may have [drink!] committed an error in not presenting concerns about Steele’s credibility to the court.[While this author may be addicted to words like "may have", the memo authors were not. It was clearly presented as a discrepancy by the FBI.] According to Grassley and Graham, the problem [one of the problems] is that Steele spoke to journalists about his findings after allegedly making some kind of commitment to the FBI that he would do no such thing, and Steele allegedly told the Bureau that he provided the dossier information only to the FBI and Fusion. It is unclear how exactly that undermines Steele’s credibility[Well ask your beloved FBI. They're the ones who fired him over it.], which was derived from his extensive history of providing the United States reliable information about Russia and Ukraine. Steele reportedly also turned to reporters at one point after he was dismayed at the FBI’s inaction on pursuing the Russia investigation (and in sharp contrast to Comey’s public statements about reopening the Hillary Clinton email investigation). In other words, Steele might claim the FBI was not living up to its part of the arrangement.[So if the FBI mistreated Steele then the FISA warrant is valid?] It’s difficult to know who is right here, and it’s possible both Steele and the FBI may be.[It doesn't matter "who was right." According to the HPSCI, none of this context was conveyed to the FISA court. This guy really doesn't get it.] There is also a weakness is the letter’s theory of the case: how could Steele possibly think he could get away with lying to the FBI about giving the dossier information to reporters as recently as late September, when he must have assumed it could lead to reports like Isikoff’s in which it would be fairly obvious that he was a source? The answer may be that Steele didn’t lie to the FBI.["May be.....it may be that the fact that the FBI took a fraudulent dossier to the FISA court is proof that...the author would not have lied about it. Makes sense.]
[
Also, drink!]
In terms of Steele’s credibility and the letter’s lack of credibility, I should add that there other signs of bad faith in the letter. Perhaps most conspicuously, Grassley and Graham refer to “a memorandum by Mr. Steele that was not published by Buzzfeed,” which makes it sound like another part of Steele’s dossier. That representation is untrue, and appears written for public release, and not for the FBI, which would know better. The document in question was a dossier prepared by Cody Shearer, and Steele reportedly handed it over to the FBI as he had promised to give them additional information that came into his possession. The letter also penalizes Steele for including in his hand-written note that he did not produce the document, and that it came from politically affiliated sources. If anything, that speaks to Steele’s honesty and reliability in providing those details to the investigators.[The guy could be Saint Peter. It just doesn't matter. The FBI didn't tell the court that, oh I don't know, Steele received $160,000 from Hillary Clinton to do his research. Note that this memo rebuttal does not even mention the aspect of his funding, which is the most scandalous aspect.]
Finally, just as Steele came forward to share his findings with the very agency that could prove or disprove his reports, his willingness to turn them over to investigative reporters may be said to add to his credibility, not detract from it. As a careful intelligence professional, Steele also appears to have believed very genuinely and strongly in the overall information he found of a Trump-Russia conspiracy.["He really believed he was innocent, so I let him go," said no judge ever. Who cares what he believed? Did the court know he was funded by Trump's opponent and fired for leaking? They surely knew Trump and his team would get caught in the dragnet, based on the dossier.]
One remaining element of the senators’ letter bears emphasis: The letter undercuts a key element in the narrative presented by the Nunes memo. The Nunes memo suggested that the FISA application relied on a news report by Yahoo News’ Michael Isikoff to prove the case against Page.[Corroborate, not prove.] The Grassley-Graham letter, however, suggeststhe Justice Department informed the court that Isikoff was using the Steele information but that the FBI believed Steele had not provided it to Isikoff “directly.”[The author leaves out the part where the memo emphasized that this was the FBI's belief, then noted the emphasis added just in case someone like this author might have missed it.] The Justice Department was likely [that counts as a "may have", take a drink] using the Isikoff report for a different matter than corroboration, which would mean that, once again, Nunes’ memo grossly misled the public.[The memo states that Steele met Isikoff in September before the article was published. But you don't have to offer "may be" theories for facts you ignore entirely!] The Democrats’ response to the Nunes memo already suggested as much in stating that the memo misrepresented the reasons why the Isikoff news story was cited in the FISA application. “This is not at all why the article was referenced,” the Minority Response of the House Intelligence Committee [the serial liar Adam Schiff] responded stated. In terms of undermining the Nunes memo, the senators’ letter also acknowledges that the “FBI noted to a vaguely limited extent the political origins of the dossier.”[Golly, a vaguely limited extent!]

With the release of the Graham-Grassley letter, it is now more important than ever that the Democrats’ “counter-memo,” written by the minority members of the House Intelligence Committee, be viewed by the public with as few redactions as possible. A fuller picture of the facts about whether the FBI had probable cause to spy on Page is needed to finally put these memos to bed.[Oooooh, I like this ending. He believes that "he said / she said" contradictory testimonies will put this to bed. Fantasy! If anything, they'll ensure the underlying evidence gets released to avert political crisis. Thanks Adam Schiff. You may have accidentally served your country with your treachery.]
The author talks about the forest in the trees. The trees are all the improprieties pointed out by the oversight investigations. The author promises not to get lost in trees, but spends most of the article stuck in the weeds, racking up points to show Steele as virtuous and Page as wicked, and using hypothetical facts and circular reasoning to do so. His forest is whether the investigation against Trump's team for Russian collusion is valid. But that's not the right forest! The forest is whether the FBI did their job properly, and if they committed crimes. Perhaps extremely serious crimes. That's not the same as saying anything about Trump. Trump could be innocent or guilty and the HPSCI memo does not change.

The left really can't view this in isolation. Everything is the political outcome. They can't fathom that this is anything but a political witchhunt, because their own investigation is a political witchhunt. They can't imagine that the Congressmen are looking specifically at the FBI investigation for being an egregious breach of its powers, whom they are charged with oversight. They can't imagine that the memo accurately reflects their investigation, and isn't just made up horseshit, like Schiff saying the it would damage national security assets. Because that's all they know.

So far there's nothing to indicate this is anything but a legitimate investigation. There have been no major lies or leaks. With the other side it is all lies and leaks. To suppose the Republicans are blatantly lying and risking being humiliated when the FISA applications are released is just, well it's nonsense. Nearly every one of them has turned on Trump at some point, in response to some media outrage. A solid portion were Never Trumpers at some point. They wouldn't be terribly sad to see him go, if it's legal and proper. They would rather have Pence, you can be sure.

My remarks were mostly in response to the "trees", but the core problem is the forest. Everything is viewed at the highest level of political abstraction. Either it vilifies Trump, or it exonerates him. The memo is inherently partisan, because in their world everything is partisan. Oversight can't just be oversight. It's not enough just to distrust the committee (which is fair), but they are disqualified on principle of being on the wrong side. If this is the best "dissection" they have, then I say great. This thing is moving in to the legal realm where facts matter and they can blow all the "may be" theories into the wind that they want.