48 thoughts on “News/Politics 5-3-18

  1. Being a criminal leaker has it’s perks.

    “Are NBC and CNN Paying Off Top Spies Who Leaked Info With On-Air Jobs?”

    Yes. Yes they are.

    http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/261158/trump-russia-collusion

    “Lies, innuendo, wild conspiracy theorizing, and the insistent assumption of guilt have replaced old-fashioned rules of sourcing, objectivity, and basic plausibility.”
    ———

    “CNN has never disclosed the close relationship between Evan Perez, one of the reporters on the Jan. 10, 2017 story, and his former Wall Street Journal colleagues who went on to start Fusion GPS, including the company’s founder Glenn Simpson. Nor did the Merriman Smith prize committee acknowledge how the dossier on which the leading lights of the news business have again staked their institutional credibility was disseminated to the public.

    That story is now coming into focus with the recent release of seven government documents that together detail a working partnership between spy agencies and the press that helped a political attack meme go viral, even though the evidence on which it was based was demonstrably false. While this type of relationship—let’s call it collusion—may be routine in Third World countries, it does not bode well for the health of the American press, or our democratic institutions.

    Of the seven memos written by former director of the FBI James Comey to document his meetings with Trump, two tell the first part of the story. Comey was one of the four intelligence chiefs who met with the president-elect at Trump Tower on Jan. 6, 2017. Comey wrote that at the end of the meeting, the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper specifically wanted him to speak to Trump “alone or in a very small group.”

    Then Comey told Trump that “the Russians allegedly had tapes involving him and prostitutes at the Presidential Suite at the Ritz Carlton in Moscow from about 2013. I said I wasn’t saying this was true,” Comey continued, “only that I wanted him to know both that it had been reported and that the reports were in many hands. I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook.”

    In the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s 253-page-long Report on Russian Active Measures that was published last week, James Clapper says he “discuss[ed] the dossier with CNN journalist Jake Tapper.” Clapper claims their discussion “took place in early January 2017, around the time [intelligence community] leaders briefed President Obama and President-elect Trump on ‘the Christopher Steele information.’ ”*

    Since then, thousands of articles on the Trump-Russia collusion story have been spoon-fed to a pliant digital press by cabals of political operatives and ex-spooks. Lies, innuendo, wild conspiracy theorizing, and the insistent assumption of guilt have replaced old-fashioned rules of sourcing, objectivity, and basic plausibility. While the social cost of this radical departure from these century-old norms is likely to be high, it has acquired two main forms of justification, the twin pillars of the new press.

    The first reason, popular on both the left and among the Never Trump coterie on the right, is the assertion that Trump is a dangerous fascist who is on the verge of overthrowing the rule of law in America, an emergency that, if real, might indeed call for extreme measures, like throwing the principles of evidence-based reporting out the window. The problem with this argument being that however obvious and galling the man’s flaws are, no evidence for the thesis that Donald Trump intends to do away with Congress and the courts and rule by his own Trumpian fiat exists, at least not on planet earth. The assertion that such evidence does exist is the province of lunatics, and of people who find it useful to goose them on social media, or take their money.

    The second reason for the departures from legal, institutional, and procedural norms that propagating a conspiracy theory requires is far more troubling. The lies and misinformation spoon-fed to the press by former high intelligence officials, who are now cashing paychecks from the same news outlets that they partnered with, are part of an ongoing campaign which, if successful, will protect those ex-spy chiefs from the legal consequences of their own law-breaking while in office.

    For example, the House Intelligence Committee report found that James Clapper “flatly denied ‘discussing[ing] the dossier [compiled by Steele] or any other intelligence related to Russia hacking of the 2016 election with journalists.’ ” Yet while Clapper may now find himself in trouble for lying to Congress—which he has done before on extremely consequential subjects, like the extent of America’s domestic spying programs, apparently without damaging his credibility as a “news source”—he has carved a new job out of a possible crime. In August 2017, CNN hired him as an analyst, creating the appearance, at least, that the network is now paying him for the information he leaked to them. At the same time, it provides him with a platform to run an offense shielding him from the legal consequences of his actions. Presumably, Clapper will continue to justify his actions as a public official on-air while denying any wrong-doing, and his “analysis” will be presented to viewers as impartial and truthful.

    Nor is Clapper the only source of misinformation to land a paying job with a news outlet he leaked to while ostensibly protecting America’s secrets. Former CIA head John Brennan, another spy chief at the Trump briefing, won a TV deal with NBC in what, if you look at it from the wrong angle—or the right angle—might appear to be a payment in kind for leaking politically charged information and perhaps even classified intelligence. It’s enough to make any real journalist nauseous—or would be, if there were any real journalists left in Washington, as opposed to people who give each other awards for printing stuff that’s spoon-fed to them by oppo shops and spies with clear political agendas. How embarrassing.

    If it’s hard to see how the press is going to find its way out of this hole, that’s because the news industry has collectively decided to keep digging. The 2018 Pulitzer for National Reporting wasn’t awarded to a single story, or an individual reporter, or one newspaper’s investigative team. Uniquely, it went to the staffs of America’s two biggest newspapers, the New York Times and Washington Post. The citation congratulates them “for deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the President-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration.””

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  2. Heh. 🙂

    http://dailycaller.com/2018/05/02/trump-nobel-peace-prize-2/

    “A coalition of 18 House Republicans nominated President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize Wednesday.

    “We, the undersigned members of the United States Congress, respectfully nominate President Donald J. Trump to receive the 2019 Nobel Peace Price in recognition of his work to end the Korean War, denuclearize the Korean peninsula, and bring peace to the region,” the congressmen wrote the Norwegian Nobel Committee.”

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  3. Breaking News: The Gang of 18 Nitwits referenced @ 7:27 suspend their Nobel Campaign to begin new distraction campaign as Giuliani and Trump stun White House aides and Fox News sycophants by contradicting prior White House statements on payment to porn star.

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  4. The absolute bottom line from Mona Charen:

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  5. @8:33 No more uncomfortable than Nebuchadnezzar having a post-rumination meeting with Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. We’ve been here before. There is nothing new under the sun. Many eyes are on Christian leaders and they need our prayers rather than our ridicule.

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  6. Everyone knows he paid her off Ricky. Why would any one be shocked?

    I also noted that 3 of the 18 “nitwits” you mentioned are from the great state of Texas.

    Again. Heh. 🙂

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  7. AJ, It is not a question of shock. It is a question of a felony campaign finance violation. You might ask Trumpkin and felon Denesh D’Souza about that.

    I did look at that list this morning, and one of the nitwits is my own Congressman. However, since his District is about 85% Republican, his nitwitery probably does not place him in any electoral danger.

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  8. SolarP, Give me a serious leader and I will be serious. Give me a dishonest, ignorant, lying buffoon, and I will laugh.

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  9. Give me one good man’s opinion, and I will give you another that differs. I hope and pray that our Daniels are able to withstand the fiery heat of scorn to which they are daily subjected. And I also hope and pray that mercy is found for those of us who occasionally add fire to the furnace, making it hotter than it need be.

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  10. Debra, Daniel and his three friends were assigned to work with Nebuchadnezzar. Those were their jobs. The people meeting with Trump are pastors and heads of Christian organizations. Their jobs are to lead churches and Christian organizations. When they praise Trump and work to help him stay in power, they bring shame on Christianity.

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  11. @12: 18 Also, I would like to congratulate Ricky on unearthing a new word for us: ‘nitwitery’. I like it. Our language has become so politicized and over-corrected that many good old words have been discarded in favor of more homogenized, and less meaningful, choices. I would only point out that nitwittery actually has 2 ‘t’s, not 1. Since Ricky is a stickler for such things, I’m sure he’ll take the correction in the spirit in which it is intended, and we, in turn, can respond by not putting the word in quotes whenever it is used hereafter. If ever. ;–)

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  12. Repeating what I’ve typed here before, there is little difference between the current president and a number of recent presidents or Republican candidates for such. Only a myopic view would lead to the conclusion that a guy who advocates the legality of killing babies, or who believes adherents of a particular belief system will one day rule over planets… only a myopic view would see those guys as above ridicule, but Donald Trump as particularly worthy of it.

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  13. SolarP, That is where we absolutely disagree. Trump is completely unlike any President in my lifetime. He combines the utter amorality of LBJ, the incompetence of Carter, the malice and lawlessness of Nixon with a profound ignorance never seen before in the White House.

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  14. SolarP, It is the consensus view of conservative columnists over the age of 60. Time will tell if future historians will agree.

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  15. I am afraid Tom Nichols is on to something in this Twitter chain:

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  16. Last night Giuliani called FBI agents “storm troopers”. Comey fired back an appropriate response:

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  17. The pastors who met with Trump got their marching orders from the boss and are already at work:

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  18. James Comey is clueless, and a proven liar. But I’d say he’s more of a Keystone cop than storm trooper.

    And remember, he built this, so he deserves the blame more than anyone…….

    And it all started way before Trump.

    http://time.com/5264153/the-fbi-is-in-crisis-and-america-is-paying-the-price/

    “In normal times, the televisions are humming at the FBI’s 56 field offices nationwide, piping in the latest news as agents work their investigations. But these days, some agents say, the TVs are often off to avoid the crush of bad stories about the FBI itself. The bureau, which is used to making headlines for nabbing crooks, has been grabbing the spotlight for unwanted reasons: fired leaders, texts between lovers and, most of all, attacks by President Trump. “I don’t care what channel it’s on,” says Tom O’Connor, a veteran investigator in Washington who leads the FBI Agents Association. “All you hear is negative stuff about the FBI … It gets depressing.”

    Many view Trump’s attacks as self-serving: he has called the renowned agency an “embarrassment to our country” and its investigations of his business and political dealings a “witch hunt.” But as much as the bureau’s roughly 14,000 special agents might like to tune out the news, internal and external reports have found lapses throughout the agency, and longtime observers, looking past the partisan haze, see a troubling picture: something really is wrong at the FBI.”
    ————————

    “The report closely follows an earlier one in April by Horowitz, which showed that the ousted deputy director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, had lied to the bureau’s internal investigations branch to cover up a leak he orchestrated about Clinton’s family foundation less than two weeks before the election. (The case has since been referred to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., for potential prosecution.) Another IG report in March found that FBI retaliation against internal whistle-blowers was continuing despite years of bureau pledges to fix the problem. Last fall, Horowitz found that the FBI wasn’t adequately investigating “high-risk” employees who failed polygraph tests.

    There have been other painful, more public failures as well: missed opportunities to prevent mass shootings that go beyond the much-publicized overlooked warnings in the Parkland, Fla., school killings; an anguishing delay in the sexual-molestation probe into Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar; and evidence of misconduct by agents in the aftermath of standoffs with armed militias in Nevada and Oregon. FBI agents are facing criminal charges ranging from obstruction to leaking classified material. And then there’s potentially the widest-reaching failure of all: the FBI’s miss of the Russian influence operation against the 2016 election, which went largely undetected for more than two years.

    In the course of two dozen interviews for this story, agents and others expressed concern that the tumult is threatening the cooperation of informants, local and state police officials, and allies overseas. Even those who lived through past crises say the current one is more damaging. “We’ve seen ups and downs, but I’ve never seen anything like this,” says Robert Anderson, a senior official at the FBI who retired in 2015.

    The FBI’s crisis of credibility appears to have seeped into the jury room. The number of convictions in FBI-led investigations has declined in each of the last five years, dropping nearly 11% over that period, according to a TIME analysis of data obtained from the Justice Department by researchers at Syracuse University. “We’ve already seen where the bad guys and witnesses look at those FBI credentials, and it might not carry the same weight anymore,” says O’Connor.”
    —————————

    “Some question whether the FBI has gotten too big and has been asked to do too many things. After 9/11, then FBI director Robert Mueller, who is now the special counsel leading the Russia probe, made massive new investments in counterterrorism and intelligence, shifting resources and investigative focus from white collar crime and bank robberies.

    Many of the bureau’s woes developed on Comey’s 3½-year watch. They extend beyond the most visible controversies, like the Clinton email and Russia investigations, to his costly confrontation with Apple over unlocking an iPhone used by one of the terrorists in the San Bernardino, Calif., shooting in 2015, and beyond. Critics say Comey’s penchant for high-profile moral fights has, ironically, undermined the bureau’s reputation. Trump himself has used that line of argument to challenge the FBI.”

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  19. Looks like Rudy has Comey pegged.

    ““He’s a sensitive little baby,” Giuliani said of Comey. “He should be sensitive because he’s been caught lying over and over again.””

    “Giuliani called Comey a “disgraceful liar,” adding that “they should put him in the same jail cell” as Martha Stewart, the business executive and television personality.”

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  20. All the news that’s fit to leave out of the story….

    You know when they don’t tell you the offenders’ party affiliations, it’s ‘cuz they’re all Democrats.

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/associated-press-omits-democratic-party-affiliation-from-report-on-anti-semites-in-dc-government

    “An Associated Press report said that “anti-Semitic conspiracy theories” are rampant in “DC city government” did not state that all of the lawmakers identified for anti-Jewish remarks in the story were members of the Democratic Party.

    The story, published Wednesday and authored by Ashraf Khalil, bore the headline “Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories roil DC city government.”

    It mentioned City Councilman Trayon White, who posted a video on social media claiming that Jews control the weather; Mayor Muriel Bowser, who was present for a meeting with lawmakers including White, wherein he claimed the “Rothschilds” controlled the World Bank; D.C. Public Housing Authority board member Josh Lopez, who organized a rally to support White; and Councilman Jack Evans, who is quoted in the story as also offering words of support for White.

    All four officials are registered Democrats, something the story never pointed out. Josh Lopez, the Housing Authority board member, resigned on Tuesday.”

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  21. Compare this statement from Comey with the attacks on Comey from Trump and The Cult:

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  22. Heh. Yes, Trump’s tweets are worse than Comey’s, but Comey’s still a self-serving poseur. I think the people who take Comey’s tweets at face value also find infomercials to be informative.

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  23. Comey is the sunlight, Evan McMullin is garlic, but Mueller is the stake in the heart.

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  24. Mark Hemingway is The Weekly Standard’s token Trumpkin. I believe he caught the malady from his wife at The Federalist. They are both kids. Conservatives over 60 can remember Reagan well. Those who can remember Reagan are much less likely to become cultists.

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  25. Ah yes. I forgot “Trumpkin” “token” “cult” “brainwashed” “cult” “moron” “cultist” “idiot” is the argument rendering actual content moot.

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  26. Can someone give Kevin and me a really hard grammar question in case we wake up again in the middle of the night?

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  27. Thanks. You guys make my day. You and all of the idiotic moronic buffoonish nitwittery that’s fit to print in the name of news. — Debra

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  28. I agree with the sentiment of David French’s column, (https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/donald-trump-evangelical-supporters-stormy-daniels/) but am totally baffled by it. Are we (Christians) being led around by some Americanized-politic-ian set of moral codes? Is what we accept as good morals in a politician somehow different from what we accept as good morals in others?

    Can anyone explain the difference to me, in God’s eyes, between the sins of paying off a prostitute and rejecting the Messiah of the Bible to believe in terrestrial “gods” (that is, elevated humans) who assume deity once they reach some state of religious enlightenment?

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  29. AJ @ 6:26, And a cultist just like Romney. Nevertheless, I must post his comments regularly just to hear the Trumpers squeal.

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