Thursday, July 27, 2017

Punish, Reciprocate, or Perish

The big news today (are there any slow news days anymore?) is that House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes has gone public that Obama White House staff made hundreds of unmasking requests against their political opposition during their last year in office. Not only does this seem to confirm our suspicions of the worst-case scenario -- that the Democrats were using the state security apparatus as a political weapon -- but also that they weren't even trying to cover their tracks. All but one request contained the same boilerplate text as justification for the request. They just copy/pasted it! The amount of hubris is astounding. They were so sure they were going to bury Trump that they didn't put forth even token effort to appear legitimate.

These are serious crimes. Are we the world's preeminent democracy or a 3rd world dictatorship? (Let's not answer that for now.) It should be apparent to anyone not brainwashed by propaganda why White House staff would have made hundreds of requests for intelligence against members of the Trump team. They wanted any excuse to spy on them to uncover a scandal. Anything. It doesn't have to be something big. In 2012 the big Mitt Romney scandal was that the family dog had traveled in a kennel on top of the van. They'd be looking for anything like this they could leak to the media. And actually, they did. Where do you think the Donald Trump Jr.'s recently leaked emails came from? Almost certainly from intelligence gathered by the deep state, unmasked at White House request, then saved to be used as a political weapon.

There are only two satisfactory outcomes from this. This first is that the abusers of the state security apparatus are punished. Who knows how many are criminally culpable, but clearly a number of highly placed aides of the Obama White House need 20 year terms behind bars, at the least. Slaps on the wrist or the sacrifice of pawns is not acceptable.

I strongly suspect this won't happen. Between the Democrat ownership of the corporate media and Session's limp-wristed command of the Justice Department, I'm not optimistic for any sort of justice. Assuming there are no prosecutions, Trump's only good option is a 2-part response. First, he must goad the Democrats and the media into defending the intelligence abuse. (And largely they've done that.) Second, his team must reciprocate. They must do exactly what the Obama White House did. Hundreds of unmasking requests against political opponents. Look for anything. Bribes, tax evasion, questionable canine transport, affairs, drug use, liberally anything embarrassing. Then blackmail or leak it to the press.

If abusing state power as a political weapon is not a punishable crime, then refusing to use it is political suicide. It's like taking a knife to a gun fight. The only practical reasons not to bring a gun to a knife fight are social norms, where one loses status if the culture values a fair fight, or for fear of legal repercussions, such as being charged with a felony and sent to the clinker. Barring those two pressures, there's no reason not to. If we don't punish Democrats for these crimes, we give them complete license to repeat them in the future. If they aren't punished, and those same tactics aren't used to prevent them from re-taking power, then in four or eight years Trump just hands them the keys for state tyranny on his way out the door.

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