February 14th, 2017

Conspiracy of the deep state?

I am always wary of conspiracy theories. Left or right, they have proliferated during my lifetime, and I don’t find the vast majority of them convincing.

I’ve written about this before (in particular here), and I haven’t changed my mind. So today, when reading article after article that posit a host of conspiracies about what’s behind the fall of Michael Flynn, I have continued to be wary.

On the other hand, there is something very fishy about the Flynn resignation story as it’s been presented to us minus the conspiracy theories. And that’s the sort of muddy soil in which conspiracy theories grow best. As I wrote at the outset:

You can read about the Flynn brouhaha here—and read about it and read about it and read about it, because it is being covered as though it’s another Watergate or worse. But I doubt you’ll get much clarity on it, although I encourage you to try.

I did. I’ve been reading about this for about two hours, and it still feels unusually murky.

That’s not my usual reaction to what I read. I may not always fully understand something, but from the start, this tale was accompanied by an unusual number of warning bells of all shapes and sizes.

So I present the following articles that set forth various conspiracy theories, and although I’m not exactly endorsing any one of them, I’m giving them somewhat more credence than usual, because I think that something is very very wrong here:

(1) Adam Kredo writes a piece with this theme:

The abrupt resignation Monday evening of White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is the culmination of a secret, months-long campaign by former Obama administration confidantes to handicap President Donald Trump’s national security apparatus and preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, according to multiple sources in and out of the White House who described to the Washington Free Beacon a behind-the-scenes effort by these officials to plant a series of damaging stories about Flynn in the national media.

(2) Eli Lake at Bloomberg writes:

But that’s all these allegations are at this point: unanswered questions. It’s possible that Flynn has more ties to Russia that he had kept from the public and his colleagues. It’s also possible that a group of national security bureaucrats and former Obama officials are selectively leaking highly sensitive law enforcement information to undermine the elected government.

Flynn was a fat target for the national security state. He has cultivated a reputation as a reformer and a fierce critic of the intelligence community leaders he once served with when he was the director the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama. Flynn was working to reform the intelligence-industrial complex, something that threatened the bureaucratic prerogatives of his rivals.

He was also a fat target for Democrats…

(3) Here’s Allahpundit’s take on the article I linked in #1.

(4) Thomas Lifson at American Thinker points out what the CIA did:

Make no mistake: we have just witnessed an operation by members of the CIA to take out a high official of our own government. An agency widely believed to have brought down democratically elected governments overseas is now practicing the same dark arts in domestic American politics. Almost certainly, its new head, Mike Pompeo, was not consulted.

Senator Chuck Schumer, of all people, laid out on January 2 what was going to happen to the Trump administration if it dared take on the deep state – the permanent bureaucracy that has contempt for the will of the voters and feels entitled to run the government for its own benefit…

Note that the law was broken by whoever leaked the transcripts to the media. Not only is the crime underlying the “scandal” being ignored, but the criminals are being hailed.

But that’s been going on for a long, long time, and as recently as Snowden. Going back to Pentagon Papers days, Daniel Ellsberg expected to be charged with a crime for going to the press rather than Congress, and was well on his way towards being prosecuted but allegations of government misconduct in his prosecution put the kibosh on that. Regarding Watergate, newspaper informant “Deep Throat” was ultimately revealed years later as having been FBI associate director Mark Felt, who was hailed as a hero but may have been settling a few petty scores instead [emphasis mine]:

Instead of seeking out prosecutors at the Justice Department, or the House Judiciary Committee charged with investigating presidential wrongdoing, [Felt] methodically leaked information to Woodward and Bernstein to guide their investigation while keeping his own identity and involvement safely concealed.

Some conservatives who worked for Nixon, such as Pat Buchanan and G. Gordon Liddy, castigated Felt and asserted their belief that Nixon was unfairly hounded from office.

…by an FBI operative, working with the WaPo and reporters who were later regarded as heroes.

66 Responses to “Conspiracy of the deep state?”

  1. mezzrow Says:

    All I can say at this point is that there seems more to this than what meets the eye. Beyond that, all is speculation.

    We do live in interesting times, don’t we? Never thought I’d see a slow motion coup right here in the US of A.

    Stick around. More to Come.

  2. Bill Says:

    because I think that something is very very wrong here:

    Yeah it is.

    I’m going with Occam’s razor.

    We have an administration unaccountably friendly with a foreign entity, a President who can’t find a negative thing to say about that country’s dictator, an in-broad-daylight promise that sanctions will be adjusted after the inauguration. Lots of contradictory words coming from the white house.

    Couple that with an unbelievably cavalier approach to national security (Mar a Lago) and a president in-broad-daylight enriching himself from the office.

    I was never Trump. Lifelong conservative heartbroken by what’s become of my party. But it’s been worse than I thought it would be.

    I’m tired of all the “winning”

    The WH needs to get control of this situation soon. It needs to assure the American people that there hasn’t been collusion with a foreign entity that in-broad-daylight was rooting for Trump’s victory and which was receiving in return lots of assurance of a “better relationship” going forward. It needs to fire all the bad actors, get its story straight, quit committing bone headed unforced errors, assure the people that Trump is not enriching himself and his family off of his presidency (seriously!), show that it cares more about national security. There are a lot of dangers ahead for us as a country if he doesn’t. We’re already seeing ominous sabre-rattling.

  3. Esther Says:

    We can only divine the tea leaves with the info we get from the “press.” Something is horribly wrong and we are at a sorry pass. Maybe we need to turn to actual tea leaves?

  4. Cornhead Says:

    Sally Yates at DOJ clearly had the transcripts. Now suppose the FBI questions her. She takes the Fifth. FBI then questions WaPo reporter. Fifth. And WaPo screams.

    As long as no one breaks ranks, the perfect crime. Omertà.

  5. parker Says:

    Nothing is beyond what the left is willing to do to sabotage any gop president. The ‘deep state’ is real and inhabited by leftists. The denizens of the deep state do not have to conspire, they automatically know what to do. Lois Lerner did not have to be told to go after Tea Party organizations, she just had to act in accordance with her beliefs.

  6. Cornhead Says:

    The more I think about my comment above, the more sure I am right. It is a problem of proof and evidence for the FBI that can’t be fixed.

    WaPo would never give up the transcripts. Are the transcripts numbered?

    If no transcripts, the crime is even better.

    FBI needs an informant on the inside or video of the actual conversation in the parking garage.

  7. AesopFan Says:

    I posted a long excerpt of analysis from J. E. Dyer here.
    http://neoneocon.com/2017/02/14/the-michael-flynn-resignation/#comment-2174826

    Damon Linker, not an alt-right icon, doesn’t like what happened either, and he didn’t want Flynn or Trump in office.
    http://theweek.com/articles/680068/americas-spies-anonymously-took-down-michael-flynn-that-deeply-worrying
    The United States is much better off without Michael Flynn serving as national security adviser. But no one should be cheering the way he was brought down.

    The whole episode is evidence of the precipitous and ongoing collapse of America’s democratic institutions — not a sign of their resiliency. Flynn’s ouster was a soft coup (or political assassination) engineered by anonymous intelligence community bureaucrats. [ with the willing – one could say rabid – help of the press, I might add] The results might be salutary, but this isn’t the way a liberal democracy is supposed to function.

    Unelected intelligence analysts work for the president, not the other way around. Far too many Trump critics appear not to care that these intelligence agents leaked highly sensitive information to the press — mostly because Trump critics are pleased with the result. “Finally,” they say, “someone took a stand to expose collusion between the Russians and a senior aide to the president!” It is indeed important that someone took such a stand. But it matters greatly who that someone is and how they take their stand. Members of the unelected, unaccountable intelligence community are not the right someone, especially when they target a senior aide to the president by leaking anonymously to newspapers the content of classified phone intercepts, where the unverified, unsubstantiated information can inflict politically fatal damage almost instantaneously.

    Those cheering the deep state torpedoing of Flynn are saying, in effect, that a police state is perfectly fine so long as it helps to bring down Trump.

    It is the role of Congress to investigate the president and those who work for him. If Congress resists doing its duty, out of a mixture of self-interest and cowardice, the American people have no choice but to try and hold the government’s feet to the fire, demanding action with phone calls, protests, and, ultimately, votes. That is a democratic response to the failure of democracy.

    Sitting back and letting shadowy, unaccountable agents of espionage do the job for us simply isn’t an acceptable alternative.

    Down that path lies the end of democracy in America.
    * * *
    Indeed.

  8. parker Says:

    AesopFan,

    Just a small quibble; our aim should be to preserve a republic where the levers of central authority are determined by democratic elections. That said I would like tests to determine who is allowed access to a ballot.

  9. Esther Says:

    AesopFan, what you said.

    But at the moment, almost all the people I know are frantically calling congress, gasping hysterically and beating their chests for anything to bring down Trump, democracy be damned.

    And no, they aren’t paid by Soros, they really believe it, they’re doing it for free. Same might be for the weird actions of the “deep state,” if my acquaintances who worked there are anything to go by.

    Me, I’m standing there with my hand over my mouth.

  10. parker Says:

    Esther,

    You have enemies, not friends. Its come down to which side are you on. They think they have the numbers (and perhaps they do); but they do not have the firepower.. They miss that simple point. A country boy will survive.

  11. curious02 Says:

    Some folks who are very concerned with voter fraud, immigrant terrorism risks, and ridding Washington of corrupt politicians don’t seem all that interested in getting to the bottom of whether Trump or his closest advisors and cabinet ministers are in fact tangled up with Russian influence (public or private).

    I wonder… Why is that? Surely there’s nothing to fear. Right?

  12. Jakhny Says:

    I am failing to understand why Flynn lying to VP Pence is not the reason he was canned. That’s what Occam’s Razor says.

  13. Yankee Says:

    I mentioned the “Deep State” in an earlier post, but while there may be some truth to that, I dislike conspiracy theories. Simple explanations are best. It could be a combination of Flynn being at fault, acting flaky in ways that we do not know about, and bureaucratic in-fighting, with some agencies trying to protect their turf.

    As for Russia, where to start, except to suggest that we should not get carried away. The idea of Russian meddling comes from people who are butt-hurt about losing the recent election, and who are unable to find their own faults (Clinton & Obama). Russia has been around for centuries longer than the U.S., and it has its own distinct history and issues. Engagement is better than wanting a Cold War 2.0.

  14. Bill Says:

    Esther

    But at the moment, almost all the people I know are frantically calling congress, gasping hysterically and beating their chests for anything to bring down Trump, democracy be damned.

    Remember the tea party? How is this any different? We thought that was awesome, remember? Your friends have every right.

    I think it’s awesome that we can petition our government for a redress of grievances. Regardless of who’s on is getting gored

    On the larger issue: hubris has a lot to play in this. In fact hubris defines Trump to this point. First of all, he didn’t have to spend multiple tweets telling the IC that they were incompetent and that they were turning us into Nazi Germany. But he did. And everyone’s surprised the IC has turned on him?

    Meanwhile he’s at Mar a Lago holding an impromtpu deeply classified meeting in the middle of a ballroom while his (200K a year) guests snap pictures and put them on Facebook and his staff points freaking camera flashlights at sensitive documents. No one in the secret service had a flashlight Not connected to the Internet?

    Flynn resigned (or was he fired?) because it came out that he improperly contacted the Russian embassy and it appears he promised a loosening of sanctions before the inauguration. Trump will be fortunate if it stops there.

  15. Bill Says:

    Yankee

    The idea of Russian meddling comes from people who are butt-hurt about losing the recent election, and who are unable to find their own faults

    There’s been some fairly compelling evidence that Russia did try to influence the election in Trump’s favor. The Flynn episode just helps strengthen that impression.

    Trump has, for his part, heaped fawning praise on Putin, bragged about being friends with him and then denied ever meeting him, etc.

    It’s all so weird.

    The idea that anyone curious about this wants Cold War 2.0 or WW III is silly. We are a soveriegn nation and our elections need to be free from outside meddling.

  16. n.n Says:

    The special and peculiar interests of the Left, Right, and Center are concerned that they will lose their capital and power with the the end of abortion chambers, Planned Parenthood (e.g. clinical cannibalism), progressive wars, elective regime changes, immigration reform (e.g. refugee crises), [class] diversity (i.e. institutional racism, sexism), congruence or selective exclusion (e.g. “=”), female chauvinism, progressive debt, redistributive change, scientific mysticism (e.g. catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, spontaneous human conception), the artificial green blight, environmental and labor arbitrage, demographic redistricting, educational debt slavery, etc. It’s a comprehensive problem and a lot of people stand to lose if there is revitalization, rehabilitation, and reconciliation.

    So, they attack Trump, and now Flynn, with tales of dead Soviets. Their war in Ukraine, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, America, etc. must be going worse than we know. Their effort to replace Jews with dead Soviets is telling. Even the JournoLists, foreign and domestic, failed to influence the American election, and disenfranchise Americans. Well, they tried. They are trying.

    Have they identified Dead Plunger of Clinton Water Closet fame that exposed progressive corruption and rampant [class] diversity (i.e. racism, sexism) at the DNC?

    Have they identified the Nigerian Phishers that a hooked a big one in Clinton’s campaign?

    Well, they are trying. A new world order is at stake, and millions of unworthy lives (e.g. Pro-Choice/abortion, Planned/dysfunction) are at stake.

  17. Yankee Says:

    But when we speak of outside “meddling”, we should strive for clarity. For instance, this is what we do know:

    1. The DNC was hacked by somebody.
    2. WikiLeaks says that they did the hacking.
    3. Russia has denied doing any hacking.
    4. Russia has the capability to hack (but so do many other countries).
    5. The information hacked from the DNC reveals a lot of insider political shenanigans (for instance, favoring Hillary as the nominee instead of Bernie).
    6. No one from the DNC is claiming that what was released was false, because they are the ones who wrote all those e-mails in the first place.
    7. Anything from the DNC hacks just confirms what is already known, that Hillary Clinton has a tendency to be dishonest and corrupt. (That is, how is it a disservice to know more about a candidate?)

    That’s why I was critical of Pres. Obama, when he was bloviating and gassing away in his usual manner about “outsider meddling in the election” and “denigrating the intelligence community.” Because all those statements then ignored the proverbial elephant in the room: the vulnerability of Hillary Clinton’s secret e-mail server, and the possible quid-pro-quo nature of the Clinton Foundation.

    If anything, it’s actually the reverse, that too little damaging information about Hillary Clinton was released during the campaign.

  18. Kyndyll G Says:

    “Flynn resigned (or was he fired?) because it came out that he improperly contacted the Russian embassy and it appears he promised a loosening of sanctions before the inauguration. ”

    Sort of like how Obama literally promised better flexibility after his election? Forgive me for being unimpressed. First, Obama is privately promising “flexibility”, then he’s mocking Romney for treating Russia as the geopolitical foe that it is, then he spends a good chunk of his second term trying to reignite the Cold War, if not a hot shooting war. Obama literally left bombs everywhere for his successor when it didn’t turn out to be Hillary.

    We’ll wait and see, but at this point, most of us here don’t believe the media and most definitely don’t believe the state machinery. Since the incoming president has vowed to tear out a lot of that machinery, even if Obama didn’t literally weaponize it, you can see that they’re fighting for their life.

    Frankly, the entire “Russians under every ballot” idiocy ranks up there with “the dog ate my homework.” It was one of several pathetic excuses, issued by sore losers screaming and flailing for an excuse for losing an election that had nothing to do with them and their bad ideas. To this day, not one lefty I know is willing to acknowledge that the reason Hillary did not win is that Obama f’ed up enough that even the Rust Belt showed up and voted against more of the same. A majority of people outside of NYC and coastal California voted Not-Hillary and Russians had nothing to do with it.

  19. Frog Says:

    If you doubt that Flynn should have been pressured to resign, as I do, read this Washington Free Beacon piece:
    http://freebeacon.com/national-security/former-obama-officials-loyalists-waged-campaign-oust-flynn/?utm_source=Freedom+Mail&utm_campaign=d5949a659c-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_02_14&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b5e6e0e9ea-d5949a659c-46066129

    The Radical Democrats, entrenched and in Federal Civil Service armor, will not go quietly. They will continue to pull America down from inside the government.

    This is the greatest internal threat the USA has faced since the pro-Russian spies of the 1940s-1950s, like the Rosenbergs.

  20. Tuvea Says:

    Jakhny,

    You are precisely correct.

    But what fun is the truth? In this case you can get BOTH the far-left AND the far-right to point their fingers at the Rooskies!

    The only remarkable thing is that they haven’t blamed the usual Bete noire of the extremists – The Joooozzzzs!

    Yet.

  21. Hangtown Bob Says:

    Can we have ANY confidence that the Deep State intelligence community is NOT actively monitoring and recording ALL internal communications of all types between the President and senior members of his administration and between the Executive branch and others??

    I think we can not.

  22. OldTexan Says:

    We are sailing in uncharted waters and the only constant I can see is that everyone, except those of us who voted for Trump, wants to see this administration go belly up and fail as soon as possible without any concern for the outcome should that happen.

    Of course the Democrats who woke up on election day and expected Hillary to sail right in and continue the progressive platform with her own twists. They still cannot understand why enough of us were fed up and loved seeing the change at the top. All I really wanted was a good appointment to the Supreme Court and hopefully undoing Obamas regulations and that will happen.

    Those in the various government departments who have been running on auto pilot for the last eight years hiring are going to pour sugar in the gas tank, sand in the gears and a stick in the spokes every chance they have just to gum up the works. How about that for cliches? The last thing a lot of them want is accountability.

    Then we have the media with young, under thirty staff writing most of the stories reflecting their predetermined outcome of Trump Administration failure every day as front page news and lead in broadcast news. Most of the reporters were in grade school when 9-11 happened and a lot were not even born in 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down. They do know that white people have denied justice to everyone who is not conservative and slavery was invented in the USA when the Indians were killed off or something.

    I am afraid we are coming to a time in the United States kind of like Cromwell’s in England and/or the French Revolution when nothing ever ends as intended. A friend of mine my age who died this last year right before the election reflected that this was the most interesting time in his lifetime and he wished he could be around a bit longer to see the outcome which said we might not like.

    So, hang on because the old unintended consequences are going to kick in within the next few years as these crazy hands we have been dealt play out. I think the most we can hope for is a reset of reality whatever that is. Maybe even with some grownups in charge.

  23. Bill Says:

    I also have concerns with an administration that has set itself against the rest of the government and is actively attempting to pick winners and losers in the press and in industry. (CNN FAKE! FOX AND FRIENDS GREAT! NORDSTROM BAD!!! etc. Etc. Etc.)

    I have concerns that our president impulsively tweets at all hours

    The issue of Russian influence is not new. Russia is currently invading Ukraine. Trump has spent far more time criticizing CNN than he has Russia.

    Grown ups? Where? This is an adolescent’s presidency. They need to buck up, cut the conspiracy theories, quit making rookie mistakes, learn to spell, for the sake of the Republic quit undermining our electoral process (3MM fake votes… Right).

    Trump has an authoritarian mindset and he’s following the authoritarian playbook. He’s just not very good at it.

  24. Mike K Says:

    Trump has spent far more time criticizing CNN than he has Russia.

    It’s interesting to see the confluence of NeverTrumpers and leftists determined to bring him down.

    We are sailing in uncharted waters and the only constant I can see is that everyone, except those of us who voted for Trump, wants to see this administration go belly up and fail as soon as possible without any concern for the outcome should that happen.

    I agree with this. Soros makes a lot of money from chaos. He lost big on the election and needs to get that back. He is not the only one but he seems to be the most visible.

    I just hope that Trump keeps his personal security close.

  25. Bill Says:

    Yankee

    Hillary’s lack of care with state secrets and pay for play shenanigans were bad. Very bad. She deserved to lose and I think she lost fair and square.

    Unfortunately, Trump has shown the same carelessness (witness Mar a Lago) and the man is pay for play on stilts as far as I’m concerned. Actively shilling for his children’s products, doubling the Mar a Lago dues to 200K after he won the presidency, enriching himself off of trips to the “winter white house”

    I’m a conservative. But I have really, really tried to be consistent. Remember all the fun everyone had for 8 years with “Moochelle” and “Obama golf’s too much”? The Trump administration is making the Obamas look like pikers.

    Consistency. For example, imagine Obama saying and doing the things with Russia that Trump has been saying and doing. Then imagine yourself losing your minds over same.

  26. Woolius Bullius Says:

    “…by a CIA operative, working with the WaPo and reporters who were later regarded as heroes.”

    Neo, I don’t understand this. Are you claiming that Felt was a CIA operative? I’ve never heard this before, and I don’t think it’s true. Did you just momentarily confuse the CIA and FBI?

  27. Irv Says:

    I never thought I’d see anyone treated with more pure hatred than Bush, but the treatment of Trump has far eclipsed that level. I fear for the country if it continues. Trump can be destroyed but I hope for the sake of all of us and especially my grandchildren he isn’t. It appears to me that we are closer to civil war than at any time since 1865. I would love to be wrong about that.

  28. Yankee Says:

    Actually, it was a good thing that Mr. Obama golfed too much, as otherwise he could have done a lot more!

    One last note in the interest of clarity, since US-Russia relationships are not directly related to Neo’s original topic. I don’t see the need for unnecessary conflict, and I suppose my views are now more in line with those of Pat Buchanan, or John Derbyshire, or Jerry Pournelle, all of whom have commented recently on the matter.

    I get tired of solemn pronouncements and finger-wagging from people like Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham (and I voted for the former in 2008!).

    NATO expansion can be unwise (as some have even suggested letting in the Ukraine and Georgia).

    I was shocked when Mrs. Clinton advocated putting a no-fly zone in Syria during the debates, as that would mean direct conflict with Russia (yet the media never asked her about that).

    Those on the Left and the media may have cheered Pres. Obama when he warned of “Russian meddling” after the election, but to outsiders in foreign countries, he would have appeared silly, amateurish, and just grand-standing for his partisan base.

    Even though Russia is a nuclear power, its economy is not that big (depending on how you count it), and there are a lot of other European nations between us and them.

    And while Mr. Putin is not a nice guy, he’s not the Devil Incarnate either. Besides that, Russia will be around long after Putin is gone, with its same history and geography and people.

    But this is just the very beginning of the administration, and it will take quite a few more months to get a clearer picture of things. Mr. Trump (despite his faults) is still better than the alternative.

  29. Bill Says:

    Irv,

    Trump isn’t a victim. He has the power of the presidency and can set his own course for success. But he has to get disciplined. If Trump cared about what I thought, here’s what I’d tell him.

    – Perception matters. There was no Russian collusion in the election? Then quit acting the way someone would if there was.

    – Communication matters. QUIT TWEETING. Good grief… this guy loves driving the daily media, but it’s backfiring. Also, get someone who can spell to put out white house press releases. The tapes of unfiltered Nixon helped take his presidency down. It’s pure Hubris for you to think he can say whatever’s on your mind and not have that shake things up in random, undesired directions. You’re the leader of the free world, for crying out loud.

    – Truth matters. Quit lying about . . . everything. The number of different stories floated by your staff around the Flynn case alone is enough to spin heads.

    – Ethics matter. Maybe to your closest supporters the fact that you are enriching yourself and your family (in broad daylight) through your position is OK. But to most people it’s not. You didn’t have to run for president. Divest now, Blind-trust now, Release your tax returns – now.

    – Competence matters. Your EO was a train-wreck because you rushed it through without thinking it through. Get better. Think through things. We’re no longer just talking about casinos and branding.

    – Freedom matters. I know it’s fun to be picking winners and losers in industry, and you’ve always really enjoyed being a bully and having people ask “how high” when you say “jump”. But that’s not your job and a lot of people don’t think it’s your job to punish businesses that don’t do what you want them to do.

    – The election matters. Yes, you won. But you lost the popular vote and had a middling victory in the Electoral. You are not particularly popular right now. The approval of the people of this country matters a great deal for a President. Your enemies are mobilized, energized, and they are going to make your administration a living h-ll if you don’t work harder to gain the support of your constituents.

    Quit complaining and playing the victim. Do your freaking job. You’re the President.

  30. Cap'n Rusty Says:

    Irv:

    There was a preview. Sarah Palin.

  31. The Other Chuck Says:

    Bill, I couldn’t have said it better, especially the “quit lying” part. Unfortunately, this isn’t going to happen. He’s got an adult life pattern that says otherwise.

  32. Yancey Ward Says:

    The bureaucratic state is only interested in protecting itself. In my opinion, the entire bureaucracy should be fired one department at a time until the entire thing has undergone turnover. After that, every single person should have a term limit in working for the US civil service of no more than 10 years.

    At this point, they don’t even have to leak real stuff- they can just make it up out of whole cloth.

  33. Yancey Ward Says:

    Neo,

    Your previous post is a pure example of what Trump is facing from the bureaucracy. The government lawyers who were “defending” the EO surely were aware of the actual facts, but chose to be “unaware” of them when defending the EO. This will continue- just watch what happens when the federal court cases get filed over the just the routine enforcement of immigration law going forward- the lawyers for the government will all of a sudden appear to be completely incompetent.

  34. Kyndyll G Says:

    Bill, the whole last few months of the Trump saga reminds me of how, over the last 10 years or so, I – a pagan – have been forced into the position of defending christians from the far left. For anyone who knows me from the 1990s, that’s crazy. Not detouring into irrelevant details; my positions have not changed on major topics so regulars here probably get where I stand.

    Last year, I was voice against Trump here on this forum and was frankly astonished that he ended up winning. That said, the completely beyond-the-pale response of the far left is not remotely acceptable or defensible. It is clear that from within hours of the election, every attempt was made to delegitimize Trump’s election (which occurred because the majority of voters not in California voted for Trump). That is an insult to every person in this country, including me, who voted for Trump and for the western ideal of (basically) honest elections. We won. They lost. They need to suck it up and deal with it, just like we did in 2012, and come back next time with better ideas.

    Instead, they have unleashed every tool they still have, which includes a weaponized media and government apparatus full of lefty ideologues who don’t want to lose their jobs. What we’re seeing now is almost like a police interrogation undertaken by 50 cops all playing the “bad cop” role, most of whom actually are corrupt bad caps, in a cop killing case. Each and every one of these stories is being planted in the public by people with a hostile agenda, by people who have every right to misrepresent or even lie outright, by people who may at this point be planting or setting up “evidence.” There is no longer any resemblance to “the system” that we knew in the rest of our lives. Normal rules are out the window and have been, thanks to the far left.

    I still don’t like Trump. But I think what we’re seeing is misrepresented if not outrageously invented, by people who actually want a coup. They decided that even though the lost the election, they were going to undermine the process until they get what they want. That consists partially of incessant badgering of Trump and everyone associated with him, looking for anything they can break. (Too bad the media wasn’t interested in this job during eight years of Obama.) Frankly, while Obama was frantically trying to antagonize Russia late last year, I don’t even care anymore if Trump or his people passed on the word, “Hey, wait til His Majesty the Infantile is gone – we, and the US people who elected us, are not warmongering nutjobs.”

  35. DNW Says:

    We have an administration unaccountably friendly with a foreign entity, a President who can’t find a negative thing to say about that country’s dictator, an in-broad-daylight promise that sanctions will be adjusted after the inauguration. Lots of contradictory words coming from the white house. “

    Obama is out and Castro is dead

  36. Bill Says:

    Kyndyll,

    That said, the completely beyond-the-pale response of the far left is not remotely acceptable or defensible. It is clear that from within hours of the election, every attempt was made to delegitimize Trump’s election (which occurred because the majority of voters not in California voted for Trump). That is an insult to every person in this country, including me, who voted for Trump and for the western ideal of (basically) honest elections.

    This idea that the reaction against Trump is uncharted territory or a “coup attempt” doesn’t make sense to me. It happened to W after the Florida recount (remember selected not elected and 8 years of Bush Derangement syndrome? ). It happened to Obama (ironically, Donald J “show me the birth certificate” Trump was one of the biggest perpetrators of that one).

    Trump’s also, ironically, has been one of the loudest voices questioning the legitimacy of the election results regarding the popular vote… Smart…

    Trump has the Presidency and the executive branch. He needs to do his job and learn that, at least thus far, a President isn’t an autocrat who gets everything he wants
    He has to earn it.

    I also think the fact that he’s enriching himself and his family from the office (not even trying to hide it) is problematic. But I guess that’s just me?

  37. Tatterdemalian Says:

    “[Trump] will die in jail.”

    http://www.rawstory.com/2017/02/he-will-die-in-jail-intelligence-community-ready-to-go-nuclear-on-trump-senior-source-says/?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=im&utm_tracker=1737131×84899

    Our rights end where Hillary’s feelings begin. Been nice knowing you all.

  38. neo-neocon Says:

    Yancey Ward:

    Not true. I have written a draft of a post about it, but it’s complex and may take a while to get it up there. The gist of it is that the government’s defense was based on the idea that the court had no business asking the question, and that they didn’t NEED evidence. The president’s decision on national security issues was not subject to judicial review. If they started to give evidence of attacks, they would be undermining the foundation of their argument.

    I think their approach was wrong, but I understand it, and do not think it was evidence of collusion.

  39. neo-neocon Says:

    Woolius Bullius:

    Sorry, typo! Haste makes waste. I did not mean “CIA,” I meant “FBI.” Wrong 3-letter acronym. Will correct.

  40. Cap'n Rusty Says:

    Bill:

    Yeah. It’s just you.

  41. curious02 Says:

    @Bill: No it’s not just you.

    The “end justifies the means” partisan hypocrites here though might try to convince you otherwise, of course.

  42. Kyndyll G Says:

    Bill, remind me of how there was four months of civil unrest (being encouraged, not punished or discouraged) and a four-month-long, 24/7 primal scream from the media and all social channels by partisans after either Bush or Obama.

    You’re starting to remind me of those people who post a picture of a grim-looking 50-something woman standing quietly in a public place in broad daylight with an “Impeach Obama” sign as being “just like” rioting and assaulting people, or menacing random drivers in cars on freeways, or burning down businesses. Futile debate with former friends has taught me the sad truth: We’re dealing with people who literally cannot tell the difference between disapproving of something and wanting to kill or destroy it. Now we can understand why they had such conniption fits because someone, somewhere disapproved of gay people or gay marriage – because when they disapprove of something, they are driven to wipe it off the planet and they project themselves on everyone else.

    It’s different this time around. It was growing through the second Obama term, but when the children didn’t get their way last November, all hell literally broke loose. After 2000 or 2004, I did not see things like the post I saw from a real-life lefty friend who basically said that she could not live a life without politics inundating every topic because of how important the stakes are (now). I was friends with these people during the Bush years and it was nothing like this. None of this parroting and posturing about every possible conversational topic happened then. There are millions of people infected by what is ultimately a hallucinatory mania.

    It was certainly nothing like this during the Obama years. The anti-Obama forces … were us. We notoriously follow laws and have high standards of behavior. We obey laws and worry about what people will think of us. We, as a group, were not even capable of behaving this way. We were able to recognize fishy things – obviously Obama was either lying to the universities about being a foreign student, or lying to everyone else about being a US citizen, but it ultimately didn’t matter – he clearly didn’t represent the US people or our interests. When we tried to communicate these things, instead of being amplified through the media, it was shut down in attempts to shame anyone might consider believing that way. Just the same as what we’re seeing now, right? Yes, exactly the same.

    As for Trump, yes, there are things he should do better. But in terms of reality, no matter what he says or does, no matter how perfectly phrased the EO, no matter how constitutional and legal the action, no matter what, he will be pilloried. What he says or does will be misrepresented or lied about, and will be treated as stupid, or racist, or bigoted, or whatever-ist, by people who believe that every breath he takes is by definition evil. If you were placed in his spot today you could not make a difference, nor I, nor neo, nor the best Machiavellian political mind, nor anyone else, unless, he gives way to leftist ideas. Anything else, and the incessant hectoring will continue. They will continue to do this until they win, or are in a position where they are unable to do this, or burn themselves out, no matter what Trump does.

  43. curious02 Says:

    @Kyndall G: You’re proving Bill’s point, and mine. He’s asking for accountability and good governance practices. These are not unreasonable requests.

    You are equating modest, reasonable, non-partisan expectations of our President with galvanized partisan opposition determined to tear down the President. That’s either fallacious or dishonest.

  44. Irv Says:

    Bill – Thanks for proving my point for me.

  45. Frog Says:

    It is a mistake, a waste of time and energy, to respond to the few Letists in sheep’s clothing we have here, like Bill and “curious02”. The latter hypocritically complains above about “The ‘end justifies the means’ partisan hypocrites HERE” [emphasis added], which I take to be us regulars.

    The hypocrites on the Left are organized as never before in their pursuit of the destruction of our Republic.

    Anyhow, these two’s comments will not be read by me in future.

  46. Frog Says:

    read this from PJM:
    https://pjmedia.com/trending/2017/02/15/surprise-at-the-end-obama-administration-gave-nsa-broad-new-powers/

  47. Big Maq Says:

    @Bill – thanks!
    http://neoneocon.com/2017/02/14/conspiracy-of-the-deep-state/#comment-2174989

    trump represents an escalation. His behavior seems designed to gratuitously taunt and elicit a response.

    All okay if he is an entertainer and wants publicity and ratings.

    BUT, he is running the most powerful office in this country.

    So, in a competition for power, how do people respond to an escalation?

    Unfathomable that anyone expected anything less from the left.

    Not saying it all is justified, but it certainly is not within the realm of surprise.

    Ignoring how trump contributes to this all, folks seem more interested in “getting even” than in getting things right, as I don’t see any lasting changes resulting (even if we assume all the changes expected were good – remains to be seen – another issue altogether), if this continues.

  48. Irv Says:

    Big Maq – Thanks for joining Bill in proving my point.

  49. curious02 Says:

    Frog, is it so inconceivable that anyone who disagree with you is a leftist? No room in the GOP for a libertarian or conservative or moderate Republican, apparently.

    Carry on in your bubble, then.

  50. Bill Says:

    One reason our country is so divided is because it’s hard for many to believe that their ideological opponent has honestly-held beliefs.

    So there’s no way I’m a conservative, disaffected Republican who never wanted Trump to be President because I don’t think he’s very conservative or very qualified, was propelled on a wave of a cult of personality, and that he’s governing in ways that I find dangerous (enriching himself and his family, picking winners and losers, claiming only himself and those who avidly support him are telling the truth, etc).

    No – I have to be lying and secretly a leftist. I’m probably paid by Soros as well, and have been deployed to Neo’s site to undermine it and sway others to the great worker’s revolution.

    Have it your way. I don’t care what you think of me.

    But I’m hanging around (as long as Neo is OK with that) and will call things as I see ’em. I will be wrong sometimes, maybe often. I will praise Trump when he does the right thing (as in his SCOTUS pick). But I’m not blindly getting in line, and I’m not going to place the worst and most disingenuous motives on people who had the audacity to vote D (I voted McMullin at the top and R down the way, btw).

  51. curious02 Says:

    By the way, I’m here because I’m curious about other points of view including many of the perspectives and opinions of neo and many of the contributors here. At times, I will also choose to share my $0.02, and critiques of various comments.

  52. Bill Says:

    Curious02

    You are interested in other points of view?!?!?!

    On the Internet? In 2017?

    You’re doing it wrong. Don’t you remember? You have nothing to learn from anyone who disagreea with you because they aren’t just wrong they’re evil and what they really want to do is destroy the country. Because civil war.

    /Sarc

    I for one welcome you, even if we disagree.

    (oh wait, here I go again, “virtue signalling”)

  53. Bill West Says:

    The Swamp Strikes Back

  54. neo-neocon Says:

    Bill:

    I think that the number of people at this site who think you’re some sort of leftist number is very small.

    This site is loaded with people on the right who were not Trump supporters but who wish to judge him fairly. I am certainly one of them, and I think it may even describe the majority here (or close to it).

  55. Bill Says:

    I know, Neo, and I appreciate your taking the time to address that comment to me.

    I’m just getting a look at the world through a different set of lenses now and it’s kind of a shock. When I was full-bore GOP I always thought we were the side of reason, the fair side, the non-hypocritical side, etc. But I’m seeing now things in the new Trump-flavored GOP that drove people crazy about Obama just a few months ago (example: all the carping about Michelle’s expensive trips) and I see an unfair balance. That and realizing that bringing up what I think are reasonable objections to Trump (or do I only think they are reasonable? Possibly) brings out the same old “you must be a Hillary troll” stuff from before the election.

    I’m thrilled she’s not the president. But I didn’t like any of my choices this time around.

    Anyway, I’ll try to stick to issues. I admit all the “civil war” talk has me a bit jumpy.

  56. neo-neocon Says:

    Bill:

    Well, having looked at politics from both sides now, I’ve never had the pleasure of thinking the right is all that holier-than-thou. In terms of numbers, though, I tend to think there are fewer “ends justify the means” folks on the right. But I wouldn’t bet every penny I have on it. There are way too many on both sides. Maybe it’s just human nature.

    I also think the MSM (liberal and leftist) is in general more dishonest than conservative media. But there’s way too much dishonesty (propaganda) on the right, too.

  57. Frog Says:

    The Deep State at work, deciding to limit the intelligence info to their C-in-C, per this eve’s WSJ:
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/spies-keep-intelligence-from-donald-trump-1487209351?mod=djemalertNEWS

  58. DNW Says:

    “Bill Says:
    February 15th, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    One reason our country is so divided is because it’s hard for many to believe that their ideological opponent has honestly-held beliefs.”

    Funny guy.

    No, it’s because the moral aliens of the left, need, demand and insist on having from conservatives and libertarians through the coercive agency of politics, and to the cost of our heritage of liberties and lives, what libertarians and conservatives neither need nor want from the left. All in the name of the left’s cherished by any means necessary termite state.

    ObamaCare for instance. I’m quite sure that those in favor of making me a state serf in order to force me to pick-up or help underwrite the costs of their>/b> autogenous disorders, are quite sincere in their beliefs.

  59. OM Says:

    Bill:

    You didn’t ask for an example, but someone provided it. Funny how that works.

  60. Topical Poster Art | Wayne Nelson's Earth Images Blog Says:

    […] would like to suggest for some of you, the blog written by The Neo-neocon. It could be well worth your time. She is youngish, lives in the liberal northeast and only […]

  61. Big Maq Says:

    @OM – in other words, “proves my (Bill’s) point”
    .

    ” I tend to think there are fewer “ends justify the means” folks on the right” – Neo

    I have to disagree, in the magnitude and context. Maybe true in the overall populous, but even then maybe not. That the msm is largely leftwardly biased may make it seem so.

    However, there are plenty, such as many commenters here, for whom the “end justifies the means” – heck, some would even let a political opponent drown without so much as calling 911, they are so filled with animus.

    The fact that there is a sudden acceptance of what would have been labelled “RINO!!!” only 1.5 years ago, is an enormous tell.
    .

    There are too many cheerleaders who like to point to how bad the left is, as if trump is an innocent bystander.

    I see a lot of “fight” from trump and co (something many cheered about, and still cheer on), but not a lot of “strategy”, which brings into question his “competence”.

    I see very little admittance that trump is perhaps the instigator, perhaps not all that competent (as compared to what he campaigned on), not all that honest (to the point that one has good reason to suspect everything the man says), and has questionable motives (with plenty of indicators he’s much more interested in self aggrandizement and enrichment).

    Too much seems to go by unnoticed or is “forgiven” because either the left is “worse”, or “he’s fighting for us”, or whatever end one wants and imagines will be what trump will deliver on.
    .

    As I mentioned in an earlier comment elsewhere, there is a HUGE underlying assumption in all this… that all will be forgiven once the results come in.

    Well, it matters how you get there, as that can make the difference between even getting there, let alone how long those changes will last.

    trump really doesn’t have the support like many claim or believe. His election wasn’t a “landslide” that trump’s team and his media supporters continue to spin.

    If the man was honest, was clear in his philosophy and objectives, was relatively transparent in what he intends to do, was ethical vs legal, particularly wrt conflicts of interest, etc., he’d have waaaay more support.
    .

    So, we have what we have, and we hope.

    We hope, because we know by now (as if it wasn’t predictable) that trump is not going to change one iota.

    And that escalation, the lying and misinformation, the bumbling mistakes, and the self-serving attacks on our institutions, etc. will all continue.

    We will now have to endure both sides playing the same terrible game at an intensified level where there are really no winners, least of all the average joes.

    After the 2016 election cycle, and seeing many “conservative” leaders and voices change up what they long preached, either for opportunity, or merely revealing their true colors, it was more than disheartening.

    The game was revealed for what it is, and so long as we all join in on game in those (their) terms, we will lose.

    We will not get to where we need to be long term. Any “win” will prove illusive over time, without broad support. The price in return will be high.

    The ONLY realistic course for us is to hold BOTH sides accountable, and insist that BOTH sides be honest, competent, etc.

    In the meantime, the ONLY glimmer of hope at the WH comes from what looks like competent cabinet members (for the most part), and that they may be able to sway and tame trump.

  62. DNW Says:

    Blockquote>“However, there are plenty, such as many commenters here, for whom the “end justifies the means” – heck, some would even let a political opponent drown without so much as calling 911”

    Well, that’s not really an example of an end justifying the means, is it. There are no means being employed by an agent, in order to effect an end he intends.

    Letting the insistently obnoxious and appropriative run full force into brick walls of their own, or nature’s making, is not an act of agency.

  63. neo-neocon Says:

    Big Maq:

    I wrote fewER, not few.

    There are plenty of ends justify means people on both sides. But my very strong perception (and I’ve been around both sides a long long time) is that that are fewer on the right.

    The ends justify the means is pretty much universal on the left. It is nowhere near universal on the right. That said, ends-justify-means is a human impulse that is hard to resist. It is seen in great abundance on both sides, but the left embraces it and the right does not.

  64. The Other Chuck Says:

    Bill:

    I admit all the “civil war” talk has me a bit jumpy.

    You and me both, brother. It’s been around in certain areas of the right for some time, but events since the election make it seem more likely. The current insanity of the left as seen in the protests won’t be the trigger, IMO. An economic crisis or melt-down combined with the intense polarization is my fear.

  65. Big Maq Says:

    “The current insanity of the left as seen in the protests won’t be the trigger, IMO. An economic crisis or melt-down combined with the intense polarization is my fear.” – TOChuck

    Very much agree.

    Two areas where we may see this come through:

    1) Trade War

    Tax and regulatory reduction / simplification can provide a big economic boost. BUT, ~23% of our economy is directly trade related (unsure how much is indirect).

    If trump fully follows through on his rhetorical “promises” and starts a trade war (ostensibly in the name of “bringing jobs back”, or just plain generalized “unfairness”), then any boost will be quickly killed, along with a new recession.

    “we must trace not merely the immediate results but the results in the long run, not merely the primary consequences but the secondary consequences, and not merely the effects on some special group but the effects on everyone”
    http://walkerd.people.cofc.edu/200/HazlittCh15.pdf
    .

    2) International Uncertainty / Chaos

    Like it or not, the US is a stabilizing force in the world. It’s “unfair” that the US carries more than its share of that burden.

    But, I’d argue that is better than the alternative path we’ve gone down with obama and seem to about to accelerate under trump.

    As the US steps back from its leadership role, or becomes more “transactional” in approach, that leaves our allies in the lurch concretely, if not perceptually.
    .

    So what?

    Many think pulling back will make the allies “step up”.

    Big assumption, and hardly the only way things can go.

    As we start reneging on / “renegotiating” our treaties, including trade, NATO, UN, etc, we leave a hole to be filled by some other country.

    Syria is a good example of that dynamic. Ukraine another.

    And, believe it or not, the TPP (despite its flaws) is yet another (it also represents a renegotiation of NAFTA, btw, as Mexico and Canada were signatories to that deal – Surprisingly, Mexico has more “free trade” deals with more countries than the US! That alone can override wages as an enticement to local plants there for export of product. TPP was to mitigate some of that).
    .

    Soon countries will get the message that they may be better off aligning with our enemies – China in the east, Russia in Europe. Why not? They might get a better “deal”! (transactional view)

    Maybe, it’s only to hedge their bets – perhaps competition is good, and they have to follow through to show they mean business.

    Once the US pulls out or renegs on prior signed agreements, it is not a one way street. What stops other nations who signed agreements from unilaterally doing the same?

    As allied nations realign or become more defensive, that leaves the door open for rogue nations to expand their influence, one way or another.

    If trump decides that is also unacceptable, what’s he going to do about it, having abandoned diplomatic norms?

    Flex our military might?

    Escalation! Nice formula for war.
    .

    There are real consequences from abandoning leadership and focusing on how much we “win” (transactional) on everything (as opposed to “win / win”) in our dealings with other countries’ governments

    Not to say there isn’t room for improvement on a whole host of things nor that changes should never be discussed.

    But, managing international relations is far from doing a real estate deal. There is far more involved and many more consequences.

    trump’s propensity to “hit back twice as hard” at real and perceived slights, and to personalize his attacks, along with the above, creates a volatile mix of uncertainties, and, probably, in crisis, chaos.

    Remains to be seen if his picks for cabinet could mitigate it all and tame trump’s “instincts”.

  66. The Other Chuck Says:

    BigMag, you asked me months ago the name of the blogger that you reminded me of. I didn’t answer lest it offend you. But the Burkean nature of your thinking is in line with his, and you have the same newspaperman’s habit of typing fast and ignoring caps at the beginning of sentences, which was a signature of his in the emails we exchanged. You remind me of the rational Andrew Sullivan, before Palin and Obama.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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