12 thoughts on “News/Politics 9-20-17

  1. We have been watching Ken Burns’ new series on Vietnam every night on PBS. It is like the books of James McPherson: slightly biased, but very informative and entertaining.

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  2. So Trump was right……

    http://legalinsurrection.com/2017/09/as-the-mueller-leaks-turn-manafort-wiretapped-during-and-after-election/

    “It has been a short while since we checked in on how the Prosecutors In Search of a Crime, aka Mueller Special Prosecutor, was doing.

    A 17th attorney was added, inching Team Mueller closer to the size of the entire U.S. Attorney’s Office for the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

    Tonight CNN dropped a bombshell. Of course, CNN bombshell’s have been duds in the past, so take that into account.

    The bombshell is that Paul Manafort was wiretapped before the election, though it’s not clear if it included while he was Trump’s campaign manager. Manafort also was wiretapped after the election, at a time he was known to communicate with Trump.

    What these two pieces of information mean is that there is a possibility — not definitive — that the U.S. government spied on a presidential campaign and post-campaign transition. That’s what Donald Trump once claimed and he was roundly excoriated for saying it.

    US investigators wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort under secret court orders before and after the election, sources tell CNN, an extraordinary step involving a high-ranking campaign official now at the center of the Russia meddling probe.

    The government snooping continued into early this year, including a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Donald Trump.

    Some of the intelligence collected includes communications that sparked concerns among investigators that Manafort had encouraged the Russians to help with the campaign, according to three sources familiar with the investigation. Two of these sources, however, cautioned that the evidence is not conclusive.”

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  3. Don’t be naive, he knew, because he ordered it.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/did-obama-know-about-comeys-surveillance-1505852932

    “This week CNN is reporting more details on the Obama Administration’s 2016 surveillance of people connected to the presidential campaign of the party out of power. It seems that once President Obama’s appointee to run the FBI, James Comey, had secured authorization for wiretapping, the bureau continued its surveillance into 2017. CNN reports:

    US investigators wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort under secret court orders before and after the election, sources tell CNN, an extraordinary step involving a high-ranking campaign official now at the center of the Russia meddling probe.

    The government snooping continued into early this year, including a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Donald Trump.

    Some of the intelligence collected includes communications that sparked concerns among investigators that Manafort had encouraged the Russians to help with the campaign, according to three sources familiar with the investigation. Two of these sources, however, cautioned that the evidence is not conclusive.

    This means the wiretapping was authorized more than ten months ago and perhaps more than a year ago. It was presumably a tough decision for a judge to issue a secret warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, enabling the administration to spy on someone connected with the presidential campaign of its political adversaries.

    One would presumably only approve such an order if the request presented by the executive branch was highly compelling and likely to produce evidence that the subject of the wiretap was in fact working with Russia to disrupt U.S. elections. Roughly a year later, as the public still waits for such evidence, this column wonders how this judge is feeling now, especially now that CNN has reported that at least two of its three sources believe the resulting evidence is inconclusive.

    One would also presume—or at least hope—that seeking to wiretap associates of the leader of the political opposition is not an everyday occurrence in any administration. At the very least, it seems highly unlikely that such a decision would be made by a mid-level official. CNN notes, “Such warrants require the approval of top Justice Department and FBI officials, and the FBI must provide the court with information showing suspicion that the subject of the warrant may be acting as an agent of a foreign power.”

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  4. America first. What a concept!

    http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-un-analysis-20170919-story.html

    “It contrasted even more directly with the foreign policy approaches of his two most recent predecessors.

    Gone was President Obama’s focus on climate change and human rights, as well as his concern with the limitations of U.S. military force and emphasis on international organizations.

    Instead, the speech featured a denunciation of Obama’s nuclear accord with Iran and a repeated emphasis on the need for the U.S. to consider its own citizens before those of other nations.

    “You really are seeing ‘America first’ campaign rhetoric being turned into a global strategy,” said Frederick Kempe, president and chief executive officer of the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank.

    But the speech also drew a sharp contrast with the foreign policy approach of the last Republican president, George W. Bush, who justified his administration’s invasion of Iraq in part by emphasizing the hope that removing dictatorial regimes in the Middle East would lead to the spread of democracy.

    “The defense of freedom requires the advance of freedom,” Bush declared in one of his main foreign policy speeches.

    Trump, by contrast, downplayed the idea that the U.S. should intervene to spread democratic systems worldwide.

    “We do not expect diverse countries to share the same cultures, traditions or even systems of government,” Trump said. “But we do expect all nations to uphold these two core sovereign duties: to respect the interests of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation.”

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  5. The Obama administration was the most corrupt one in American history. Bra none.
    And Hillary was part of it.
    I see where Obama is making $4ook for making a speech. I wonder what they think they can get for this. There has to be something behind this. Not even Wall Street has that kind of money to blow away.

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  6. Have you noticed that presidents are always more appealing (or at least somewhat less annoying) once they leave office and are out of your face for a while. 🙂

    I want to see the Vietnam series, I forgot to tune in; it sounds good, they claim the aim was to go at it with “no opinion” about the war and sounds like that’s what was attempted (though always hard to pull off completely in something like that).

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  7. That’s a good article by Dreher. He also references the Reno article at First Things we were discussing over the weekend.

    More [quoting the Reno piece]:

    ” We are created in the image of God. Our desire for dynamism and openness reflects the fact that we are made for something more, something greater. As St. Augustine put it, our hearts are restless until they find their rest in God. Our civic life and economic system should give room and scope for that restlessness, as Michael so winsomely argued. But we are not made for endless seeking and striving. Our end is rest in God. In this life, we rightly cherish that which foreshadows this final rest: belonging to a family with its own home and heritage; being from a particular place and participating in a civic culture that has a noble inheritance to be cherished and sustained; being in solidarity as a distinct people that shares a common future, the most important of which is the Church, the people of God who seek to abide in him. What Michael Novak failed to recognize—what we must acknowledge—is that the dynamism of free market capitalism invades, overturns, refashions, and sometimes destroys these places of rest.”

    Read it all.

    The standard Novak-era conservative response, crudely put, is that capitalism rewards virtue. There’s still a lot to that. The Case-Deaton paper shows that what’s happening to the white working class cannot be blamed entirely on economics. But it is also likely the case that economic changes cannot be easily disentangled from the pathologies afflicting the white working class, and taking them to early deaths.

    What can be done? And can it be done in time to avoid a greater catastrophe? The evolutionary biologist Peter Turchin believes that the US is due for major political violence and upheaval in the 2020s. Follow the link to read his theory. If he’s right, my post from this morning, about how our present day troubles are nothing compared to the convulsions wracking the country in the late 60s to early 70s, is going to date badly.

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