16 thoughts on “News/Politics 2-19-18

  1. Well looky here. I actually agree with the unusually foul-mouthed Kevin Williamson today.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/02/florida-shooting-fire-fbi-chief-christoper-wray/

    “The guiding principle of American law enforcement is that it is easiest to enforce the law on law-abiding people, while enforcing the law on outlaws is something that looks terrifyingly close to hard work. That’s why gun control so ensorcels the bureaucratic mind. (Which is to say, the progressive mind: The essence of progressivism is replacing organic institutions with permanent bureaucracies.) If you are a federal law-enforcement agent with a comfy desk chair, you probably cannot imagine a more attractive anticrime program than gun control. Gun dealers have federal licenses, and they have to apply for them: You don’t have to go tracking them down — they come to you. They fill out paperwork. They generally operate from fixed addresses with regular business hours. Convenient! What you have is the power of political interposition, which is a mild form of terrorism. Want to operate a sporting-goods store? “F*** you, pay me.” And — mirabile dictu! — they pay. Sometimes, they even evince gratitude that you’ve done them the great favor of taking their money and allowing them, generous fellow that you are, to dispose of their own property as they see fit.

    Chasing down fleet-footed 18-year-old criminals through the rough parts of Chicago on a cold February evening? That’s work. And that’s why we don’t do squat to prosecute actual gun crimes — the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago won’t even look at a straw-buyer case unless it’s a major organized-crime enterprise — but we twist ourselves into knots to figure out how to create new hoops for federally licensed firearms dealers and their customers to jump through every time some pasty-faced virgin shoots up a school.

    Chasing around pasty-faced virgins is work, too. Sometimes, you have to go so far as to pick up the phone.

    As was reported on Friday, the FBI had been alerted that a particular pasty-faced virgin down in Florida was probably going to shoot up his old school. He had put up social-media posts to that effect, cleverly shielding his identity from the steely-eyed G-men by signing his legal name to those public threats. The epigones of J. Edgar Hoover may not be Sherlock Holmes, but presumably they can read, and some public-minded citizen took some screen shots and sent them to the FBI.

    The FBI of course did what the relevant authorities did in the case of Omar Mateen, the case of Nidal Hasan, the case of Adam Lanza: nothing.

    We could replace these guys with trained monkeys, if we could train monkeys to be self-important.

    The Friday press conference on that little oversight was a masterpiece of modern bureaucracy. The FBI has “protocols” for handling specific credible threats of that sort, “protocol” here being a way of saying, “Pick up the phone and call the local field office or, if we really want to get wild, the local police.” “The protocol was not followed,” the FBI bureaucrats explained. Well, no kidding. Why not? No answer — the question wasn’t even asked aloud. Did law enforcement’s ball-dropping mean that a preventable massacre went unprevented because of bureaucratic failure? “I don’t think anybody could say that,” says Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, who is leading the investigation. His department had over the years received no fewer than 20 calls related to the shooter. What about that? “Make no mistake about it, America, the only one to blame for this incident is the killer himself,” which is exactly the sort of thing a sanctimonious schmuck says when he doesn’t want to consider the institutional failures right in front of his taxpayer-subsidized nose and the culpable negligence — to say nothing of the sand-pounding stupidity — of his own agency.”

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  2. Ricky @6:42 & 6:45 If I can help it, I don’t go to WaPo without hip-waders, a gas mask, and a truckload of disinfectant. I’m fresh out.

    @6:44 Thomas Friedman? Fool me once ( The Earth is Flat ) shame on you, fool me twice…no thanks. The man is a certifiable shill.

    I may check out the Maggie Haberman piece later, but for now can’t we all just bask in our mutual admiration of your boy Kevin Williamson? Such unity happens so infrequently… :–)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If Thomas Friedman said it , it must be soj.
    I haven’t heard from Friedman, that I can remember, since I left Virginia.
    I see he’s still around.
    I don’t know why.

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  4. Falling apart…..

    http://thefederalist.com/2018/02/19/michael-flynns-plea-reversal-uncover-federal-corruption/

    “On Friday, Judge Emmet Sullivan issued an order in United States v. Flynn that, while widely unnoticed, reveals something fascinating: A motion by Michael Flynn to withdraw his guilty plea based on government misconduct is likely in the works.

    Just a week ago, and thus before Sullivan quietly directed Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team to provide Flynn’s attorneys “any exculpatory evidence,” Washington Examiner columnist Byron York detailed the oddities of Flynn’s case. The next day, former assistant U.S. attorney and National Review contributing editor Andrew McCarthy connected more of the questionable dots. York added even more details a couple of days later. Together these articles provide the backdrop necessary to understand the significance of Sullivan’s order on Friday.”
    ————————

    “With a protective order in place, Flynn’s attorneys should start receiving the required disclosures from the special counsel’s office. There is reason to believe these will include some bombshells.

    First, we know from the recently released GOP House Intelligence Committee memo and the Grassley-Graham criminal referral of Christopher Steele, the FBI and DOJ withheld significant (and material, in my view) information in seeking a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to conduct surveillance on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page. There is cause to believe the FISA court was connected to the criminal charge filed against Flynn because Contreras, who recused less than a week after accepting Flynn’s guilty plea, “is one of just three FISA court judges who sits in the District of Columbia, where it is likely the Trump-Russia FISA warrants were sought.”

    Was other evidence withheld, either from the FISA court or from Flynn’s attorneys in negotiating a plea? Again, there is reason to believe so, given the players involved and the facts already uncovered.

    Remember, the special counsel charged Flynn with lying to FBI agents on January 24. While the charge did not identify the FBI agents involved, we know that Peter Strzok conducted the January interview that eventually led to the criminal case against Flynn. Strzok formed a part of Mueller’s team until he was removed following the discovery of hostile text messages concerning Trump, including a planned “insurance policy” should Trump win the White House.

    Obama political holdover Sally Yates’ involvement in the case raises additional concerns. While Strzok and Mueller initially indicated they believed Flynn had been truthful, Yates, while serving as acting attorney general, had directed Strzok to interview Flynn and had pushed for charges against Flynn under the Logan Act. Another member of Mueller’s team, Andrew Weissmann, is likewise suspect given his praise for Yates’ refusal to defend Trump’s travel ban. Weissmann remains a part of the special counsel’s team, notwithstanding calls for his ouster.

    Mueller must now provide Flynn all exculpatory evidence: Significantly, if the information is favorable to Flynn but the special counsel’s office believes it is immaterial, government attorneys must nonetheless provide the evidence to Sullivan to allow him to make the call. In other words, Mueller’s team cannot unilaterally decide what evidence matters, as the Department of Justice did in applying to the FISA court for a surveillance warrant on Page while withholding the key fact that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee paid for information crucial to the application.

    No one knows yet what the evidence will show. However, there are enough shady characters involved to believe there will be something of significance. Then what?

    Sidney Powell, a former federal prosecutor and author of “Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice,” writes that Flynn should withdraw his guilty plea and suggests that Sullivan, as “the country’s premier jurist experienced in the abuses of our Department of Justice, . . . is the best person to confront the egregious government misconduct that has led to and been perpetrated by the Mueller-Weissmann ‘investigation’ and to right the injustices that have arisen from it.””

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  5. This should answer several questions, and probably create several more.

    http://dailycaller.com/2018/02/18/sessions-fbi-dossier-investigated/

    “Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Sunday that the Department of Justice is investigating whether the FBI submitted accurate information about the infamous Steele dossier in order to obtain a surveillance warrant against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

    “Are you, sir, investigating the fact that the FBI used the dossier to get a wiretap against Trump associates and they did not tell the FISA court that the Democrats and Hillary Clinton paid for the dossier?” Maria Bartiromo, the host of Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” asked Sessions.

    “Let me tell you, every FISA warrant based on facts submitted to that court have to be accurate,” he replied.

    “That will be investigated and looked at, and we are not going to participate as a Department of Justice in providing anything less than a proper disclosure to the court before they issue a FISA warrant. Other than that, I’m not going to talk about the details of it, but I tell you, we’re not going to let that happen.””
    ——————————–

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Interested in how the Russians operate these scams?

    This is how. Scary what a few people with a few million can do to disrupt via Twitter. Just ask Mizzou.

    http://www.thecollegefix.com/post/42075/

    “Twelve months before the U.S. presidential election, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jarred Prier got a taste of Russia’s covert efforts in American political affairs without recognizing the flavor.

    It was November 11, 2015. Prier was in Washington browsing Twitter for news about his alma mater, the University of Missouri, where racial protesters had just succeeded in ousting the university system’s president.

    #PrayForMizzou was trending. Backlash against the protesters had escalated fears of violence on campus. Intrigued, Prier began pouring over tweets supportive of Mizzou protesters.

    Activists on the ground were sharing minute-by-minute updates of campus, where encamped protesters had claimed the university’s quad as their headquarters.

    Still other Twitter users, veiled by pseudonyms, claimed Mizzou’s campus was in the midst of a violent street war.

    “The cops are marching with the KKK!” wrote @FanFan1911. “They beat up my little brother! Watch out!” The tweet included a photo of bruised black child, ostensibly the Twitter user’s younger brother.

    Like many other alarmist Mizzou-related tweets that day, it appeared to have been widely shared.

    The only problem, Prier quickly determined: The photo had been lifted from 2013 news reports of alleged police brutality in Ohio.

    He suspected the heightened notice the tweet drew was no accident. In addition to well-meaning users who shared it, the tweet had been boosted by dozens of apparently fake accounts.

    In an act of one-off online vigilantism, Prier fired back at @FanFan1911: “[S]top spreading lies.”

    It didn’t work.

    Mizzou was not embroiled in chaotic street-by-street fighting, but these outwardly authentic social media hoaxes scored an apparent win: goading Mizzou’s student body president into tweeting that the Ku Klux Klan was on campus.

    The alleged Russian and Islamic State-sponsored psychological operations that targeted social media users in the U.S., including those related to Mizzou protests, are detailed by Prier in Strategic Studies Quarterly’s most recent issue, which flew under the radar until this week.”

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  7. On the Florida shooting

    The Parkland Shooting Reveals the Baser Instincts of All Men

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/chorusinthechaos/parkland-shooting/
    _______________________________________

    ….

    We Think Too Highly of Humanity

    One major issue in this discussion is that we fail to consistently paint an accurate picture of humanity. In one breath we tout the virtues and capabilities of humanity, yet lose sight of their propensity to do great evil. This is one of the major flaws to secular-humanism, as well as the resultant postmodernism stemming from it. Society has been consistently spoon-fed the nonsense that human beings are not evil, there are no such things as sins, and mankind is not in alienation from a Creator, who is the fountainhead of goodness.

    We paint monsters to be the work of fiction when the reality is that monsters are perfectly ordinary people who lead perfectly ordinary lives. It makes us uncomfortable to look at pictures of Hitler playing with his daughter on a cool German day. We are mortified to see pictures of the residents of Waco, TX holding children on their shoulders as they watch a black man die in front of them like it is a ticker tape parade. These people did great evil and while most would like to place a barrier between themselves, the only real difference between us and them is the restraining hand of God. …

    These People Have No Fear of Judgment

    Without a fear of judgment, whether civil, ecclesial, or eternal, people take license to enact upon great evil. Think of all the cases where an act of great evil is committed; think of the man who decides to rape, murder, etc. He has no fear of repercussions. He does not concern himself with the shame attached to such actions. The Parkland shooting took place because there was no fear of any repercussions, or at least the “reward” was considered higher than the cost.

    There is a general sense of fear people have (and ought to have) regarding punishment for sin and breaking the law. These two categories do not always overlap. Some sinful things are not criminally offensive just as some criminally offensive behaviors are not necessary sinful in and of themselves. However, the consequence and shame attached to these things are often a deterrent for most people, and this is a good thing.

    Yet much in the vein of the public execution of Eugene Weidmann, society at large doesn’t have much fear for the consequences of a sinful, broken world. As a society continues to push morality aside and determine such morals are vestiges from simpler times, people within that society exercise less and less restraint. When coupled with less severe punishment for more severe crimes, certain individuals rise with greater confidence, believing that the cost is worth the “reward” they will receive for their deeds. It is a twisted way of thinking to consider such a heinous act a reward, no doubt, but it is the reality for these men.

    As was already mentioned though, these men form a convenient type of scapegoat for the society at large. We imagine them to be the monsters, or in the case of political adversaries, we imagine the opposite side to be the monster, rather than simply look in the mirror and assess how we truly are. You see, it is far simpler and easier to form the scapegoat and reduce it down to one of the fruit evidences of sin than embrace the common plight of all mankind being sin. …

    … Another Parkland shooting will happen, and another one after that, all the while we will be left scratching our heads at the persistence of evil. Surely, they might happen less (and believe me, that is a good thing) – but unless we see repentance en masse, they will still happen. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the only means by which the root issue will be fixed and the tree come to produce good fruit. As was already evidenced in the beginning though, people have no desire for this. They just want action, meaning the goal is to rearrange the furniture on the sinking ship.

    Yet even if that simple action could be had, it must be had through compromise and mutual respect. America simply isn’t a country that has that capability any longer, hence why the metaphor is so apropos in this situation. Truly, perhaps it is time we recognize all other ground is sinking sand.
    _____________________________________________

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  8. Exploiting the victims.

    http://thefederalist.com/2018/02/19/stop-putting-traumatized-teenagers-television/

    “There is little new about the horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people dead. We have seen it all before: the cocktail of a disturbed young man, access to guns, and a society that devalues life mixed to create another national tragedy. The round-the-clock news coverage and profound proclamations from politicians are all eerily familiar, a haunting echo that finds us over and over.

    But this time there’s a new wrinkle that many proponents of gun control hope will tip the scales in their favor. This time, the kids who survived are speaking out. On television and at rallies, the children are taking the lead to denounce America’s laws about guns and push for political change. But what if putting traumatized teenagers, mere days removed from a shocking and life-changing event, in front of cameras and crowds is not healthy? Have we thought that through?

    The day after the mass shooting, we first started seeing students appear on the news. Scant hours before, they had been huddled in classrooms, fearing for their lives. On television most were possessed of calmness even when they broke down to tears. A generation brought up to broadcast their lives on social media knew instinctively how to handle being on TV and present themselves to an electronic world.

    At first, interviewers asked what they had seen and gone through, how they were feeling. Then something changed. These kids began to be asked what they thought could be done about it? In some cases it was the students themselves who seemed to want to discuss policy.

    These young people’s bravery and eloquence was impressive and an opportunity. By the weekend after the shooting, news outlets were interviewing sincere teenagers about gun policy and reporting on the Never Again movement they were launching, and the march they planned for next month.”
    —————————–

    “When people die and we gather to mourn them, we praise their good qualities and ignore their shortcomings. Eulogies don’t come with rebuttals. In deference to our sadness, we choose beauty over truth, and praise what was well made in the person. Something along those lines is happening with these young people.

    When a school shooting survivor rails against the National Rifle Association or gun laws, no thinking and feeling person will debate them. As with any victim of trauma, we try to support and affirm them, let them know we are on their team. But, obviously, that is not an approach to addressing school shootings that can possibly work. In fact, hard debates have to be had. Those debates cannot involve children who will hear the screams of murdered classmates in their minds for years to come.

    On Wednesday, CNN will air a town hall with kids who survived the massacre. Have they consulted with mental health experts about whether this is a positive way for young survivors to grapple with their grief? Have they taken into account the possibility that they are setting these kids up for a massive and devastating fall when the change they all know in their hearts they are about to create fails to occur?

    Will they be honest with them? Will they look these young people in the eyes and tell them it is very unlikely they will succeed, that in fact they will almost certainly not succeed? Or will they play upon the naïve and wonderful hope of children that all things are possible? Will they stoke a fire of optimism that a cruel world will quickly extinguish, leaving ashes in its wake?

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  9. Gee, maybe this is why Trump doesn’t seem to worried about the Russians. It doesn’t seem like much at all. Other than the easily duped on Facebook and Twitter, and some Democrat protesters, no one seemed to be buying it anyway.

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