March 4th, 2017

Trump charges that Obama tried to wiretap Trump Tower

Well, if I thought I’d have a quiet Saturday in terms of the blog, I was sadly mistaken.

But it’s not about me. It’s most definitely not about me.

What is it about, then? Today’s news is loaded with stories and counterstories about Trump’s recent tweets. First, the tweets themselves:

“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” Trump said.

“Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!” the president added in another tweet. “I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!”

The Trump we knew during the campaign made a host of wild allegations against his opponents. That was one of the things about him that dismayed me. I like a fighter as much as the next person, and a hard-hitting one at that, but trying to somehow tie Ted Cruz’s father to the Kennedy assassination was so far beyond the pale that it should have worried even Trump’s most fervent supporters.

We often say that the Democrats have cried wolf on Trump so many times that they’ve lost all credibility. But Trump was a champion wolf-crier as well, especially during the campaign.

That does not mean he’s making up a story here. It does not mean he’s gone of the deep end and is swimming in the waters of paranoia. But what it does mean is that his opponents are going to spin it that way, and that the wildness of some of Trump’s prior accusations have made the spin more plausible.

So of course we get articles such as this one in the WaPo by Chris Cillizza, headlined, “Donald Trump was a conspiracy-theory candidate. Now he’s on the edge of being a conspiracy-theory president.” Other articles lean heavily on the idea that Trump offered no proof of these recent allegations.

But this was a tweet by Trump, for goodness sake, not a court pleading. Then again, launching such a serious accusation in a tweet is both pure Trump and feeds into the idea that he is reckless. I think it’s pretty clear that if a president is going to make an accusation of that sort against a former president, he’d better have his ducks in a row before he does, and make it in a forum other than Twitter. But that’s most definitely not Trump’s style.

It didn’t take long for people in the know to figure out what Trump was talking about. My go-to guy for this sort of thing is Andrew C. McCarthy at National Review:

To rehearse briefly, in the weeks prior to June 2016, the FBI did a preliminary investigation, apparently based on concerns about a server at Trump Tower that allegedly had some connection to Russian financial institutions. Even if there were such a connection, it is not a crime to do business with Russian banks — lots of Americans do. It should come as no surprise, then, that the FBI found no impropriety and did not proceed with a criminal investigation.

What is surprising, though, is that the case was not closed down.

Instead, the Obama Justice Department decided to pursue the matter as a national-security investigation under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). In June, it sought the FISA court’s permission to conduct surveillance on a number of Trump associates — and perhaps even Trump himself. It has been reported that Trump was “named” in the application, but it is not publicly known whether he (a) was named as a proposed wiretap target, or (b) was just mentioned in passing in the application.

Understand the significance of this: Only the Justice Department litigates before the FISA court; this was not some rogue investigators; this was a high level of Obama’s Justice Department — the same institution that, at that very moment, was whitewashing the Clinton e-mail scandal. And when Justice seeks FISA surveillance authority, it is essentially telling that court that there is probable cause to believe that the targets have acted as agents of a foreign power — that’s the only basis for getting a FISA warrant.

In this instance, the FISA court apparently found the Obama Justice Department’s presentation to be so weak that it refused to authorize the surveillance. That is telling, because the FISA court is generally very accommodating of government surveillance requests. Unwilling to take no for an answer, the Obama Justice Department came back to the FISA court in October — i.e., in the stretch run of the presidential campaign. According to various reports (and mind you, FISA applications are classified, so the leaks are illegal), the October application was much narrower than the earlier one and did not mention Donald Trump. The FISA Court granted this application, and for all we know the investigation is continuing.

So if you go back and look at those Trump tweets I quoted above, they clearly refer to this exact set of circumstances, although a person has to be aware of the circumstances before that person could make the connection. Getting back to Cillizza’s piece, we see that Cillizza makes a reference to the Breitbart and Mark Levin stories about this, so he’s obviously familiar with that story (and he even quotes them). But his analysis of their charges is limited to the following: “The problem here, of course, is that what Levin — and Breitbart — use as evidence for these claims are a series of seemingly unconnected events — from FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court requests to Trump joking about the Russia email hack…”

Cillizza and his fellow reporters don’t seem to want the public connecting any dots on this, although they certainly want the public to connect other dots in certain other stories they push that imply that Trump is some sort of Russian tool.

The oddest thing of all might be this tweet by Jon Favreau, who was one of Obama’s speechwriters:

I’d be careful about reporting that Obama said there was no wiretapping. [Obama’s] Statement just said that neither he nor the WH ordered it.

Well, of course Obama didn’t do so personally. And it’s certainly possible that the Obama DOJ did this all on its lonesome. It hardly strains credulity, however, to think that Obama was behind the push, although I strongly doubt he left his fingerprints on it.

I would have much preferred that Trump had written “Obama’s DOJ” in those tweets rather than Obama himself. These accusations are very explosive stuff, as Trump no doubt intended. One of the many interesting things about what’s happening today is that it seems to be based on information that was already known, although Trump refers to it as something he “just found out.” I don’t know whether that means there really is some new information, or whether he really didn’t know till now (which I doubt), or whether it’s hyperbole on his part.

One thing that does occur to me is that it’s a way to not only get the heat off Sessions, but to show the opposition that if you want to play the innuendo game, then two can play at this game.

55 Responses to “Trump charges that Obama tried to wiretap Trump Tower”

  1. Bill Says:

    Trump has always done this kind of thing when he’s feeling heat elsewhere, or after his many “Presidential” pivots (because he can’t help himself).

    I don’t know the facts here. He tweeted out some explosive allegations without presenting evidence. Thus far even if Obama’s DOJ requested wiretapping, there’s nothing illegal about that. The only thing illegal would be if they were denied and then proceeded anyway. If that’s the case Trump needs to offer up some evidence. He’s making a “this is Watergate” charges.

    I know it may be an unpopular opinion, but I wish the man would quit tweeting. He is a conspiracy theorist (lots of evidence of that in the past – in particular the birthirism). He seems to get his news from TV and sites like Breitbart and talk radio.

    If this is real, wouldn’t it be awesome if he built a case, and did a big, rock-solid reveal in a press conference? This impulsive tweeting gets tiresome. All these charges and counter-charges…

    He was having a good week too.

  2. T Says:

    As I’ve written in the past, we can not spare this man—he fights!

  3. n.n Says:

    if you want to play the innuendo game, then two can play at this game

    That is the key insight. This has been a running game, and Americans will typically either succumb or defer to the media-driven narratives. Trump was an insider that left the club. Reagan was an insider who left the club.

  4. physicsguy Says:

    non comment so I can see the comments

  5. n.n Says:

    Another insight: The Left and establishment thought they would control the federal government and its resources and access forever. While they still retain a distributed control of the bureaucracy, they are losing control of the top-level executive positions. Trump seems to be keenly aware of the implications and the threat that they perceive, and the risk they pose to America and his administration.

  6. T Says:

    physicsguy,

    You may want to try the search engine “Brave.” The good thing is that it has built in ad blockers (great for sites that take forever to download due to ads), the downside is that this sometimes prohibits participating in interactive posts or prohibits embedded videos.

    I lost my preview button at Neoneocon’s site with Internet Explorer–it just didn’t (and doesn’t) work, but it works fine when I visit through “Brave.” Also it it my understanding that “Brave” was formulated by a Brenden Eich company so it’s a way to support someone who was railroaded by the SJWs. I now use both Explorer and Brave.

  7. neo-neocon Says:

    Bill:

    Well, I think I indicated in my post that I wish he hadn’t tweeted this this way, but had instead presented a case.

    However, that doesn’t mean that a case won’t be presented. Trump likes to get his opponents all riled up and then surprise them by being more sober and grounded than they expected.

    But implying it was okay because it was legal misses the point almost entirely. The point is that it might have represented a case of using the justice system to get a political opponent. That’s a no-no, even if legal. A president is given enormous powers. He or she should not abuse them, even in ways that are legal.

  8. physicsguy Says:

    T: I use firefox. Once I “log in” everything is fine until I do my once a week cleaning of the browser history, cookies, etc.

  9. T Says:

    “That’s a no-no, even if legal.” [Neo @ 4:24]

    During his campaign Romney was quoted as saying “Just because you can afford something doesn’t means you should buy it.” Likewise you note that just because it may be legal doesn’t mean you should do it.

    Both comments evince that we have reached a point in our society where it is more important to game the sytem than to work within it. In other words, the moral basis of our legal system is fracturing and I lay much of the blame at the feet of regulations created by unelected bureaucrats such as Martha Kent:

    I like having a very direct and very powerful impact on worker safety and health.  If you put out a reg, it matters.  I think that’s really where the thrill comes from.  And it is a thrill; it’s a high… I love it; I absolutely love it.  I was born to regulate.  I don’t know why, but that’s very true.  So as long as I’m regulating, I’m happy.

    Martha Kent
    OSHA director of safety standards program.

    Regulation is a thrill? How orgasmic. Obscene isn’t it?

  10. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Not going after Obama, limiting it to the DOJ… would be IMO a grave mistake. As long as Obama, Clinton and Soros et al. fear no personal consequence they will happily use useful idiots as cannon fodder. Draining the swamp is a start. Cutting off the snakes’ head is a necessity.

  11. parker Says:

    Trump in his strange manner is a master of “rope a dope”. However, the “swamp” will not be drained by 5 am tweets alone.

  12. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Words without supportive action are meaningless. Hopefully they are busily getting “their ducks in a row”.

  13. Molly NH Says:

    ConservativeTreeHouse has great comments and suspicious goings on about Obama being told to fire a military man back on Nov 16. I recall a kerfuffle back then….. Over there CTH you ll get some details filled in.

  14. Griffin Says:

    The thing about this whole Russia thing is that every now and then deep in some MSM story they will let slip out that all of this investigation and monitoring has found absolutely zero wrongdoing. So it is almost literally all innuendo.

    I don’t know the most effective way for Trump to counter this but the high road approach doesn’t seem like the correct path unfortunately.

    Saw a headline somewhere saying that Trump advisors are urging him to purge all Obama appointees immediately and that sounds like a very good idea. Deep down everybody knows that the vast majority of these jobs are redundant wastes so I say dump them now and don’t bother refilling most of them.

  15. SR Says:

    Griffin: This would be an opportune time for another “Saturday Night Massacre.”

  16. Bill Says:

    Neo,

    A case may be presented. My only point was that it hasn’t been.

    Trump is not known for being honest and he tends to go for conspiracy theories. So I’m not holding my breath on this one. And he’s set the bar pretty high – claimed this is Watergate and Obama is a sick man.

    I also think he knows keeping his followers Emmanuel Goldsteining is good for him.

    We’ll see where this goes.

  17. Patrick Says:

    As president, I would think he, or people high up in his administration, have access to pretty much everything, so I was wondering if someone dug up some of the paperwork authorizing a wire tap, and that’s where this came from. I suppose eventually we will find out.

  18. huxley Says:

    While checking out at the supermarket, I read the Trump article in the National Enquirer on his “Secret Psych Evaluation.”

    Not to worry. Trump has an IQ of 163 and possesses the ideal profile for a commander.

    Of course the Enquirer and Trump have a cozy relationship.

  19. Bill Says:

    Patrick, could be.

    To me there’s a big difference if the wiretap was granted through legal channels or if it was some covert operation.

    The first case may be unnecessary, punitive, and politically motivated, but it’s not Watergate.

    On that note, fighting hyperbolic twitter wars isn’t going to make all this Russia stuff go away.

  20. huxley Says:

    Who knows? Maybe Trump’s tweeting will work because that’s how bizarre and dysfunctional the country has gotten.

    But it’s hard for me not to see it as overall a bad sign, as another indication we are slip-sliding-away into Idiocracy.

  21. AesopFan Says:

    Not on the wiretapping, but an interesting additional point on the Russians are Coming kerfluffle.
    http://libertyunyielding.com/2017/03/03/now-pelosi-clarify-claim-not-met-russian-ambassador-met-2010/

    * If we were enterprising Democrats, we could point out the coincidence that Pelosi’s meeting with Medvedev was on 25 June 2010. That was the month Russia’s Rosatom was bidding to acquire its majority ownership in the company Uranium One, and the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), over which the houses of Congress have oversight, was considering whether or not to approve that plan, given Uranium One’s significant holdings of American uranium reserves. CFIUS rendered approval in October 2010. By the logic with which Sessions and the Trump administration are being attacked, that circumstance must render all meetings by Democrats with Russians that year suspect.
    * * *
    The Uranium One sale was a significant source of income from the Clintons.

  22. AesopFan Says:

    http://www.redstate.com/streiff/2017/03/04/media-reported-trump-tower-wiretaps-dont-believe-now/
    The interesting thing here is that the media reports of wiretaps have been out there for a while. The were circulated at the same time the BuzzFeed “dossier” on Trump was released as a way of bolstering the credibility of that document. They were intended to demonstrate that Trump had been under surveillance by intelligence agencies and therefore we should believe the dossier. Now that Trump has pointed out the flip side, that is, the administration using the national security apparatus of the United States to monitor a political opponent, a lot of people are having a cow.

    It seems virtually certain that FISA warrants were requested. The only thing we really don’t know is whether the warrants were granted. We do know that the FISA court rejects 0.03% of warrant requests. So it is safe to presume that if the warrant was requested it was granted.

    And, if we are being honest, Trump is now in a position to know the answer to that question because his Attorney General can answer it. Hence, we have to treat Trump’s tweet-storm on this as more than bluster, it is more akin to an on-the-record statement of fact than a mere accusation.

    Why is any of this unbelievable? The answer is that it isn’t. An administration that will kill people in order to create the facts necessary for increasing firearm registration will do just about anything.

  23. AesopFan Says:

    http://hotair.com/archives/2017/03/04/trump-obama-was-tapping-my-phones/

    Noted, but the FBI did try to get a FISA surveillance warrant on Trump and/or his operation at Trump Tower in the summer, according to multiple reports, and succeeded in getting one in October for people around him according to other reports. Investigators at the FBI may have done that on their own, but they did so in Loretta Lynch’s Department of Justice. One would think that a request to get a counter-espionage warrant that includes surveillance on a major-party presidential candidate or campaign would need some approvals from pretty high up the hierarchy. It seems difficult to believe that the FBI’s attorneys would go to the FISA court for that kind of request just on the say-so of field agents. Possible, but rather unlikely.

  24. AesopFan Says:

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/03/the-associated-press-springs-to-obamas-defense.php

    This entire post is interesting and a bit of a tangent to the underlying events, but what caught my eye was this quote from the AP story:
    “Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis said a “cardinal rule” of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered in any Justice Department investigations, which are supposed to be conducted free of political influence.”

    (I checked the AP quote here; it’s accurate – but the Lewis quote may not be)
    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/1b2637860b2042c48b18a26951437d5d/trump-alleges-obama-had-trump-phones-wiretapped-during-race

    I noticed it didn’t quite jibe with a post I read elsewhere today also quoting Lewis, so I tried to find it again and got this (sorry; I hate Twitter):
    https://twitter.com/KLewis44/status/838088430810718208?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet

    Kevin Lewis‏Verified account
    @KLewis44

    Follow
    More
    A cardinal rule of the Obama Administration was that no WH official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the DOJ.
    * *
    See what the AP did there – totally validating neo’s post about media distortion by omission?

    Did Lewis use the word “independently” on purpose – because we all know there is NO partisanly-independent work coming out of Obama’s DOJ (and it is still overwhelmingly Obama’s — see comment coming up later.)
    Why did the AP leave it out? Just because they didn’t think it was important, or because they didn’t get the memo on Lewis’s nuance about the meaning of “independent” —
    /tin foil hat off.

    I guess I was just “primed” to react to the omission. 😉

  25. AesopFan Says:

    As mentioned just above, a wrinkle I hadn’t seen before this post:
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/did-the-obama-administration-try-stacking-the-deck-against-trump-at-the-justice-department/article/2007085

    Amid Thursday’s over-hyped brouhaha about Jeff Sessions meeting with the Russian ambassador, a curious detail emerged. In Sessions’s recusal memo, it was explained who at the Justice Department would be handling any investigations into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia. “Consistent with the succession order for the Department of Justice, Acting Deputy Attorney General and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Dana Boente shall act as and perform the functions of the Attorney General with respect to any matters from which I have recused myself to the extent they exist,” reads Sessions’s official statement on the matter. Except that if the Obama administration had its way, Dana Boente wasn’t supposed be the U.S. attorney to handle these matters in the event that Sessions recused himself. On February 10, USA Today reported the following:
    “Seven days before he left office, President Obama changed the order of succession without explanation to remove Boente from the list. Obama’s order had listed U.S. attorneys in the District of Columbia, the Northern District of Illinois and the Central District of California.”
    That seems like awfully suspicious behavior. In fact the USA Today story noted this is pegged to the news that Trump quietly signed an executive order restoring Boente to the line of succession. The Obama administration chicanery was likely brought to White House’s attention after Obama holdover and acting Attorney General Sally Yates tried to usurp the powers of the president and countermand his immigration executive order, actions for which she was summarily fired.

    Why would the Obama administration make this eleventh-hour change to the line of succession at the Justice Department?
    …The man Obama placed at the head of the line of succession is D.C.’s U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips, who is quite cozy with President Obama and his attorney general, Eric Holder.
    ..
    It looks like the Obama administration was hoping that the reins of power here would unknowingly default to someone unfriendly to Trump in the event Sessions was forced to recuse himself—or even resign, as so many Democrats breathlessly demanded Thursday.
    ..
    It’s not inconceivable that the pandemonium of an incoming Trump administration might have meant they would overlook a little-noticed change. Sessions could have recused himself thinking the old line of succession was intact, only to have Phillips appoint a rabid special prosecutor to go after the Trump administration on Russia the next day before the Trump administration could undo things. As soon as it was evident Boentes was going to be handling any Russian investigations, Schumer called on him to appoint a special prosecutor.
    * * *
    We need a roll-back of everything Obama did starting the day after the election was over.

  26. AesopFan Says:

    https://amgreatness.com/2017/03/04/war-trump-presidency-just-escalated-bigly/

    Democrats want investigations? By God, let them have full investigations. Let’s get to the bottom of what really happened in the months leading up to the election. Let’s find out what the Justice Department and an alphabet-soup of federal agencies were looking for.

    Let’s see the FISA application from last June as well as the court order denying it. Let’s see the application the court approved in October. What was the difference? Let’s learn the names of the judges who reviewed the applications, as well as the names of the Obama Administration lawyers who sought the warrants.

    Who was running the show? Who else was the administration spying on? Never mind what President Obama knew. What did his subordinates know and when did they know it? Just because they’re out of the government now doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be held to account for their abuses while in power.

    It may turn out that the 2016 election was hacked after all—just not by the Russians.

    * * *
    Can anyone imagine what things would have looked like if Nixon’s FIRST term had started off with Watergate??
    And he was actually guilty of skull-duggery — although in retrospect, with all of the disclosures from Kremlin archives and new-media WayBackMachines, he doesn’t look nearly as bad as his successors.

  27. J.J. Says:

    Neo: “One thing that does occur to me is that it’s a way to not only get the heat off Sessions, but to show the opposition that if you want to play the innuendo game, then two can play at this game.”

    Exactly! The progressives have been playing the game for a long time. All the kerfuffle about Sessions is innuendo. But the Dems count on endlessly repeating their talking points bolstered by full coverage from the MSM to turn innuendo into fact.

    Now Trump is firing back with innuendo. In a way it is a satire of the Dems and their politics of personal destruction machine. And the MSM can’t ignore him, much as they would like to.

    If there is more behind it than innuendo, Obama and the Dems have major problems. But if it is innuendo, it blunts the innuendo about Sessions and renders it less effective.

    Most conservatives are too “ethical” to fight the Dems with their own tactics. Case in point: Sessions should never have given in. He should have done the oppo research and found the pictures of Pelosi and McCaskill with Sergei Kislyak (who it turns out is the 21st century version of the famous “Kilroy.”). Then he could show this is all innuendo made up by hypocrites.

    Fight back!

  28. Bill Says:

    Most conservatives are too “ethical” to fight the Dems with their own tactics

    Oh, if only this were true

    Can we just please blast out into space the idea that the Republicans are on the side of the angels?

    Or here’s another good one – that they are “God’s party”

    I quit being a Republican the minute you guys decided Donald Trump was the standard bearer.

    Also – though I agreed with the investigation, Republicans investigated the cr@p out of the Obama admin

    It’s been at least a dozen years since the government actually cared about what’s best for America

    All team blue cares about is what’s best for Democrats. Team red is obsessed with what’s best for (of all things) Donald Trump. And both teams hate each other with the fire of a million suns.

    Recipe for success…

  29. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “I quit being a Republican the minute you guys decided Donald Trump was the standard bearer.

    Also – though I agreed with the investigation, Republicans investigated the cr@p out of the Obama admin” Bill

    Whoa, back the truck up. Your right to an opinion does not equate to a right to your own set of facts.

    The great majority here who accepted Trump as the nominee, did so AFTER he won the nomination. Correctly judging that the only practicable choice was between the Republican and Democrat nominees.

    That’s known as accepting reality, however distasteful. The great majority here who voted for Trump did so to keep Hillary out of the Presidency. Sincerely viewing her as the greater threat.

    The Republicans made a half serious attempt to investigate the cr@p out of the Obama administration. The proof that they were ‘pro forma’ investigations is that they allowed Obama administration officials to escape consequence when they gave the Congressional investigations the finger. Nothing happened to Lerner or Koskinen… or in any other case. Even Holder’s Contempt of Congress citation carried no substantive consequence. Every Congressional ‘investigation’ of the Obama administration’s criminality came to nothing. That held true even after they held the majority in the Senate starting in 2015.

  30. Montage Says:

    It’s a distraction. Trump wants to turn the heat off of him and his administration and turn it onto anything else. So rather than mentioning the FISA probe in context he goes right to the top and claims Obama was tapping his phones. Perhaps there should be an investigation? But it does not mean it is true. And it does not mean investigating the Trump Russian connection shouldn’t be done as well. So many people on both sides jump to immediate conclusions. Crazy. It proves that few people ever really grow up after high school.

  31. Bill Says:

    Your right to an opinion does not equate to a right to your own set of facts.

    Well then it’s good that I have you here as the arbiter of Truth. 🙂

    I could argue with you that plenty of people here, yourself included, were supporting Trump in the comments threads before he got nominated. I’ve been commenting in this space for awhile. Not sure what good that argument will do, though. I’ve never doubted you that you saw him as a lesser of two evils, so I get what you were saying. But it was still support. I’m not making it up or lying about it.

    My point about investigations is that this is an escalating war that is fun from a team sports point of view and is, I suppose, satisfying from a revenge perspective or team power perspective. But it’s massively exhausting and doesn’t do a thing for what everyone (even Trump) claims to want but is doing nothing to accomplish (bringing the country together). There are more than a few people in this space predicting a coming shootint civil war, for crying out loud. I’d like to avoid that, personally.

    Trump needs to enact his agenda for the good of the country (I don’t agree w all of his agenda, btw, but that’s ok) and he will need some bipartisan support for some of it, especially if recent trends hold and he loses some support in Congress in 2018.

    I actually am interested in a bipartisan look at the Russian connection and if that means investigating the role Obama’s white house played with wire taps (if any) so be it, provided we get some truth and can move forward. I’m not sure Trump and Truth are on speaking terms, though, so my hopes are low. I also thought Bengazi needed to be investigated, but do you notice how these congressional investigations never really accomplish anything? I’m more a fan of a special prosecuter but I think there are less opportunities for political grandstanding there, so that’s why they all go nowhere, just like these current investigations will also, I expect, go nowhere. Getting somewhere (especially anywhere near the truth) is not really what they were about.

    If Trump can help unite our country I’ll take back a lot of my criticism of him. The last President who I think was actually interested in that was W (another reason I wish Trump didn’t disparage his good name whenever he gets the chance)

  32. OM Says:

    But Montage never grew beyond Junior High.

  33. J.J. Says:

    Bill, why is it that you keep wanting to debate or contradict everyone here who doesn’t agree with you? You have been around here only since the Trump campaign and seem intent on convincing anyone who will listen that Trump is a bad dude.

    You are entitled to your opinions. Heck you may even be right – occasionally. (Even a blind squirrel finds and acorn once in a while.) 🙂

    The time for campaigning for who will be President is over. Trump won and he seems to have hired some good people for his cabinet. Why do I get the feeling that you don’t agree with that and are still hoping that something will turn up that will overturn the election results?

    You may convince others but you will have to come up with much more substance behind your accusations of Trump before I will give any credence to your opinions.

  34. Bill Says:

    Why do I get the feeling that you don’t agree with that and are still hoping that something will turn up that will overturn the election results?

    Trump won fair and square.

    J. J. – I often wonder why I comment here. Some of it’s just an outlet. None of you know me and I feel safe venting a bit here, as opposed to social media where I have lots of friends who voted for Trump. For the first time in my adult life I voted contra most of the people I know (I voted third party, also for the first time)

    But I dont ever delude myself into thinking my comments here are going to change anyone’s opinion.

    But, yes, I do think Trump is a bad guy. He’s President of my country and I love my country and so that is why I’m probably a little salty about the whole thing.

    Maybe I’m wrong? Could be. To me Trump is just a more extreme version of Obama, from the other end. He’s got the same cult of personality (did we really have “marches for Trump” this weekend? Never thought I’d see the “conservative” movement go there). People have written onto the canvas of Trump what they want to see, which is how they can cheer, for example, non limited-government ideas such as a trillion dollar stimulus that they jeered when Obama delivered same.

    I don’t hate everything he does. I think part of it is also I am not in line with those who think illegal immigration is one of our top three problems. Ironically, I feel more optimistic about certain things than the modern conservative movement which has gotten extremely pessimistic. I also am not as much of a nationalist, so the new GOP doesn’t resonate very well with me.

    But everyone here is free to ignore me (and most do :-))

  35. huxley Says:

    Bill expresses himself with civility and clarity with a dash of self-deprecation.

    Works for me.

    One thing I keep noticing is how Trump supporters insist the default ought to be Trump boosterism and if not, we need to talk.

  36. Bill Says:

    Thank you Huxley

  37. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Bill,

    “Well then it’s good that I have you here as the arbiter of Truth.”

    Lame strawman argument. I never claimed to be an arbiter of truth, just insisted you don’t get to make up your own facts. Sad. 😉

    “I could argue with you that plenty of people here, yourself included, were supporting Trump in the comments threads before he got nominated.”

    Prior to his nomination, I never indicated that I wanted Trump to be President, not even as a fourth choice. If by ‘support’ you mean that I occasionally offered a more positive interpretation of where I thought he might be coming from, then sure but that is NOT what you first inferred.

    “My point about investigations is that this is an escalating war that is fun from a team sports point of view”

    The democrats are guilty of the very behavior they accuse the Trump administration of and its the basest form of hypocrisy, as well as seditious. A failure to respond in a “fight fire with fire” manner will simply repeat the George Bush fiasco, where the dems and MSM spend the next 4-8 yrs demonizing Trump. Hitting them with the very same tactics they are employing is bringing a gun to a gunfight.

    Civility is not just wasted on such as they, it is suicidal.

    “(even Trump) claims to want but is doing nothing to accomplish (bringing the country together).”

    Seriously suggesting that bringing the country together is possible is delusional. Trump states it to establish that to be his desire but I’d bet that he doesn’t think for a second that it’s actually possible.

    “Trump needs to enact his agenda for the good of the country”

    That you fail to appreciate that Trump cannot enact his agenda without violence and riots erupting is an indication of just how willfully blind you remain. And everyone here would love to avoid that almost certain future reality.

    That you imagine that a “bipartisan” look at the imaginary Russian connection could emerge with truth acceptable to the Left is also delusional. The only ‘truth’ that the democrats will accept as ‘truth’ is that which impeaches Trump and drives him from office. Anything less than that will be derided as evidence of a corrupt investigation.

  38. Bill Says:

    Ok, GB. So there’s basically no hope?

    Our political class sucks. We don’t have to.

    Look – the Republicans are running the entire country. Political dominance. If they can’t enact an agenda without starting a civil war or whatever you believe will happen, then we need to elect someone who can.

    The Democrats are outnumbered. The all powerful media you guys have two minute hates over every two minutes are overwhelmed in a sea of alternate media, Internet media, and social media search algorithms that make sure people only read news that confirms their biases, etc. The protests you fear are ineffective and almost always do more harm than good.

    The Republicans have no excuse. They need to be replacing Obamacare, for example, with something that works at least for most Americans. How’s that coming?

    Instead, I imagine the easiest route will be fabricating enemies and the continued poisoning of our already hyperpartisan atmosphere, and, literally, daily governmental reaction to Trump’s 5am tweets rather than actually governing.

  39. Reformed Trombonist Says:

    > “If Trump can help unite our country I’ll take back a lot of my criticism of him. ”

    That’s setting the bar pretty high. Trump isn’t responsible for the riots and the thugs. Does the left seem like it’s in a “uniting” mood to you? Only if their jackboots are on your throat.

  40. Emma Morrow Says:

    This is why I voted for Donald John Trump.

  41. SDN Says:

    Shorter Bill: “MOOOOMMM! HE HIT ME BACK FIRST!!!!”

    Bill the hypocrite had no problem as long as we were willing to say “Thank You Sir May I Have Another!”

  42. Bill Says:

    GB

    I did spend some time refreshing myself on some of neo’s old comments threads.

    I can’t remember when I actually started commenting here but in January and Feb last year it does appear that you were a Cruz fan who was leery of Trump but way more leery of HRC.

    My apologies.

  43. Jane Says:

    We can get to the bottom of this with two questions:
    In 2016 did the US government ask a judge for permission to surveil electronics in Trump Tower/Trumpworld?
    In 2016 did the US government proceed with surveillance of electronics in Trump Tower/Trumpworld?

    Trumpworld = any electronics of a US person that might have communications where one party includes Trump or his campaign.

  44. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Bill,

    No apology needed, my memory certainly is far from perfect, so I don’t expect perfect recall.

    “Look – the Republicans are running the entire country. Political dominance. If they can’t enact an agenda without starting a civil war or whatever you believe will happen, then we need to elect someone who can.”

    The ONLY agenda that can be enacted which will avoid violence from the Left… is one that advances their agenda.

    Your perception that the MSM is “overwhelmed in a sea of alternate media, Internet media, and social media” is contradicted by the fact that Hillary got more votes than Trump…

    51% of 30-39 yr olds voted for Hillary
    53% of 25-29 yr olds voted for Hillary
    56% of 18-24 yr olds voted for Hillary
    The trend is undeniable…

    Alternate media has made inroads against MSM dominance but my perception is that it is stalled from further gains by an indoctrinated public. Far more of the younger generations read sites like the Huffington Post than they do the Drudge Report.

    Throw in birth rate and immigrant demographics, ever deeper and earlier indoctrination in the public schools and the situation is far grimmer than you credit.

  45. TBlakely Says:

    “He seems to get his news from TV and sites like Breitbart and talk radio.”

    You make that sound like a bad thing. Can you with a straight face claim that the news from the MSM is more accurate and less inflammatory these days?

  46. Big Maq Says:

    @Bill – not sure why you apologize. GB was hardly “leary” of trump.

    In fact, he argued on more than a few occasions that it would be just fine if trump were full blown authoritarian, as that could be “recoverable”. Hardly a “leary” position, imho.

    He (and others) cannot / will not see the link between how trump currently operates and how it is “Trump cannot enact his agenda without violence and riots erupting” – it is always on the “other” side.
    .

    This leads to…

    “to show the opposition that if you want to play the innuendo game, then two can play at this game

    People who ignore, support / cheer on, or are entertained by, trump’s “game” seem to be more interested in getting even than in getting “the right things” done.

    Pure blue vs red team attitude.
    .

    So long as this attitude persists then it surely seems there isn’t really a desire to “avoid that most certain future reality”, as it encourages (actively or by default) this drive to a showdown.

    Blaming the “others” and doubling down on hypocritically doing the same as what one excoriates the “others” for, is just a way to avoid making the case in an attempt to force one’s own way on those “others”. IOW, they want a shortcut, inside a democracy that needs BROAD support for long term change.

    Accountability is for the “others” to live to. People who think that, because the “left” does all these things, it is okay to stoop to the same, are making an “ends justifies the means” argument.

    So long as “our” side if fighting the “others”, this dissonance is just fine, thank you very much!
    .

    Because trump’s frequently engages in the petty and personal, he is not only missing a golden opportunity for making lasting change (for which he needs BROAD support – not just his core of, what?, 25-35%), but he is making this country weaker than it needs to be with this incoherence and lack of focus.

    This is not “leadership”, but the abdication of it, at “our” consent (explicit or implicit).

    Expect 2018 to demonstrate just what “the people” really think of all this chaos, if it continues apace. Likely will show that there really are no shortcuts in the republic we have, assuming it remains.

    Expect that lesson learned to be entirely missed by much of that ~25-35%.

  47. Kyndyll G Says:

    The elephant in the room is that had any GOP candidate won the election, the left would be behaving in the same way: they would have identified, or simply invented, points on which to attack constantly. Since they live in a fantasy bubble in which they and their platform represents all that is right and good, anything that is “not-them” (and not one of their protected “noble savage” demographics) is by definition evil, bad, wrong, stupid, etc. They not only perceive blanket justification but an obligation to fight it in any way that seems to do damage, no matter whether that involves lying, cheating, breaking laws, hurting people or damaging property.

    Since, in their world, losing the election was impossible, anyone who beat them would have done so only by cheating. Like with Trump, they would have spent the last five months battering away at whatever means they could think of delegitimize the election, the winner, the winner’s stated ideas and everyone who is associated in any capacity to the winner.

    As noted earlier in this post, the only way of avoiding strife – if not civil war – with them is to give in 100% to every demand. And even then, even after rolling over on one’s belly to be stomped upon as the left gets everything it wants, it still complains about the “obstructionist” opposition. They are outraged that people exist that don’t agree and approve of them; in fact they are permanently outraged that anyone ever existed that had ideas different than theirs.

    That is what we are facing.

    I disliked Trump so much that I (normally an Independent) registered Republican again so I could vote against him in our primary. But Trump is what we got. I wish he’d cut it out with the tweets too. But pretending that everything would be nicey-nice if Cruz or Rubio had won, or Trump would behave perfectly, is unbelievably naïve.

  48. J.J. Says:

    Big Maq: “to show the opposition that if you want to play the innuendo game, then two can play at this game“ ….”People who ignore, support / cheer on, or are entertained by, trump’s “game” seem to be more interested in getting even than in getting “the right things” done.”

    Not at all. The Dems have long used innuendo/rumor/outright lies bolstered by their surrogates continually repeating the focus group tested talking points that are then trumpeted about by the MSM as “news.” (Which is actually fake.) It is a tactic that they have long used to intimidate the Republicans who for the most part are petrified and have no answers because they are not willing to respond in kind.

    Case in point: Jeff Sessions has been tarred with the innuendo that he met with the Soviet ambassador specifically for the purpose of colluding with Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton. There is no proof of anything remotely resembling that. The question put to him by Al Franken in the confirmation hearing was what would he do if it turned out that the Trump campaign had colluded with the Russians. Sessions answer was as garbled as the question but included the statement that he had not met with the Russians to collude to defeat Hillary Clinton. A true statement as far as he was concerned because his two meetings with the Russian ambassador during the campaign were pure routine government business. Just like the meetings between Nancy Pelosi and Clare McKaskill with the ambassador. There is no there, there. The Dems accusations are all innuendo. In spite of that “Honest Abe” Jeff is willing to recuse himself from any issues concerning the campaign and Russia because the Dems demand it and the establishment Republicans are all afraid of the MSM and Dem talking points. Next he and the establishment Repubs may be considering that he stepdown just because they want him to. That is nonsense! They should standup to them and fight fire with fire.

    In fact the mantra that the Russians hacked the election thus far is a slogan with no – NO – conclusive proof. The intel agencies claim the hackers of the DNC and John Podesta seemed to be have Russian fingerprints but would the KGB really leave behind such a messy trail? We hear statements from officials like James Clapper (a man who lied to Congress under oath and kept his job – why?) that he believes it was Russian intelligence. But he offers no conclusive proof. The whole thing is innuendo based on unattributed leaks and is only being taken seriously because the Dems and the MSM keep repeating their mantra.

    I have long said that the Republicans needed to get their own quick media reaction team to counter innuendo/rumor/outright lies by the Dems. Which tactics are straight out of Alinsky. No one has been willing to do it until Trump came along. And he is doing it almost single handedly. It amazes me how many conservatives have not caught onto what’s going on and remain opposed to Trump because they don’t care for his personal traits, or some of his policies, or ?

    It’s trite, but isn’t it time to wake up and smell the coffee?

  49. richard40 Says:

    I am all for a quick media reaction team., on one condition, at least the repubs party must stand for truth, even if the dems dont. Just because the dems repeatedly do something despicable, does not mean we have to.

  50. Bill Says:

    “I am all for a quick media reaction team., on one condition, at least the repubs party must stand for truth, even if the dems dont.”

    Thank you richard40.

    If truth is on our side, we should be able to win with the truth, right?

    Otherwise, whatever we win won’t be worth the winning.

  51. J.J. Says:

    richard40 and Bill:
    “I am all for a quick media reaction team., on one condition, at least the repubs party must stand for truth, even if the dems dont.”

    Have not the Republicans tried to stand for truth from Reagan on? They have not engaged in the politics of personal destruction and you can see where it’s gotten them. So many Republican pols today are petrified of being falsely accused of anything, they will not stick their necks out and buck the MSM. And they won’t back their fellow Republicans like Jeff Sessions when he is falsely accused and demeaned by the Dems and the MSM.

    If you are attacked in a dark alley by a thug do you insist on fighting fair? Even if it means you lose your life? Just askin’. Your answer will tell you a lot.

  52. Big Maq Says:

    @JJ – it’s like when I taught my child the difference between being assertive vs being a domineering hurtful bully / liar / etc.

    If someone is those things to you, it doesn’t mean that it is right to do the same thing back.

    Nor, as importantly, does it mean it is the best way to deal with the situation.
    .

    The attitude that “well the left does it all the time, and would surely do it with the same intensity if it were any other GOP leader”, even if I would agree that is true (I don’t – trump is an escalation), is a rationalization for getting even, rather than a motivation to do the right thing and to get the right thing done.

    There are a whole lot of avenues to pursue before getting into that “dark alley” in the first place.

    Anyway, that “test” question is flawed, as Congress and the WH are very FAAAAAAR from any “dark alley”.

    At least, I think we are talking about how our democratic republic works, right?

  53. Big Maq Says:

    @richard40 – very true.

    If folks can justify behaving like those they criticize for similar behavior, even in the name of pursuing some worthy goal, something has become very lost.

    Sometimes I wonder if they truly understand what a democracy is about.

    @Bill – right.

    If truth doesn’t matter anymore, as everyone seems justified in holding their “own truth”, and we are willing to find acceptable lies (among many other such things) from our own side, then, letting it go on for too long, to its logical extent, what basis is there anymore for a democracy?

    What is the basis for any accountability?

  54. J.J. Says:

    Big Maq, I admire your ideals but wonder what you would do when attacked by the thugs that attacked the pro-Trump demonstrators in Berkeley, CA. All the violence (except one pro-Trump man fighting back) came from the anti-Trump people. As usual, few will pay any penalty for inciting violence and shutting down free speech. Ideals look good on paper. In the streets and in the maelstrom of Alinsky style politics – not so much. Free speech, open debate, and consideration of the rights of others is no longer even given a nod by the left. They are openly and viciously using Alinsky’s tactics everyday in everyway they can. Open your eyes.

  55. Big Maq Says:

    @JJ – first off we are talking about trump here.

    In response, you made the analogy that the left are like “thugs in a dark alley”, implying that somehow trump’s behavior is justified, as if what happens in a “dark alley” is equal to what happens on the national stage.

    No way.
    .

    Now, you want to introduce a Berkley incident. WTHey!

    There are many on the left who specialize in confrontation at the micro scale like this.

    Knowing this, is our best response to show up and physically fight?

    Or, should we work smarter at building our support?

    Not every hill has to be won, and not every territory ceded (e.g. campus) is permanent.
    .

    trump has a HUGE megaphone to use.

    Thus far, IMHO, he is doing a poor job of reaching beyond his core to build support, which, if we hope to maintain a republic, ought to be a key goal.
    .

    Ideals are not for paper only, but are the foundation for what kind of society we want.

    Once we go down the path of the ends justifies the means, we’ve given power to those who would administer it for their own benefit and not ours, no matter what they say and how emphatically they say it.

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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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