Congruent with malice

On Dec 12th, I pointed out that there are only two ways to interpret the FBI’s egregious… Wait, egregious implies a degree of obviousness the FBI never intended – so odious? nefarious? actions documented in Inspector General Horowitz’ report:

[T]he FBI’s persistent prevarication may lead many to recall Ian Fleming: ”Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.

IG Horowitz had to use a different standard: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity or incompetence.

I noted some of the report’s detail which one might use to decide between those alternatives. Here is a simpler version from Attorney General William Barr speaking to NBC News’ Justice(?) Correspondent Pete Williams:

PETE WILLIAMS: I just wonder, though, about the — what the FBI would say, I think here, is, OK, so they opened an investigation. Nobody was ever charged. They were concerned about possible Russian meddling in the — in the election.

Why not open this investigation? What’s the harm? You’ve said intrusive means. So what — what is your concern about the fact that they did this?

ATTORNEY GENERAL BILL BARR: Well, I think the big picture is this, from day one — remember, they say, OK, we’re not going to — go to talk to the campaign. We’re going to put people in there, wire them up and have these conversations with people involved in the campaign, because that way we’ll get the truth.

From the very first day of this investigation, which was July 31, 2016, all the way to its end, September 2017, there was not one incriminatory bit of evidence to come in. It was all exculpatory. The people that they were taping denied any involvement with Russia. Denied the very specific facts that the FBI was — was relying on.

So what happens? The FBI ignores it, presses ahead, withholds that information from the court, withholds critical exculpatory information from the court while it gets an electronic surveillance warrant.

It also withholds from the court clear cut evidence that the dossier that they ultimately relied on to get the FISA warrant was a complete sham. They — they — they hid information about the lack of reliability, even when they went the first time for the warrant. But — but in January, after the election, the entire case collapsed when the principal source says, I never told — I never told Steele this stuff. And — and — and — and this was all speculation. And I have zero information to support this stuff.

At that point, when their entire case collapsed, what do they do? They kept on investigating the president and the — well into his administration, after the case collapsed.

But here, to me, is the damning thing. They not only didn’t tell the court that what they had been relying on was — was completely, you know, rubbish, they actually started putting in things to bolster this Steele report by saying, well, we talked to the sources and they appeared to be truthful. But they don’t inform the court that what they’re truthful about is that the dossier is — is false.

So that’s hard to explain. And I — the core statement, in my opinion, by the IG, is that these irregularities, these misstatements, these omissions were not satisfactorily explained. And I think that leaves open the possibility to infer bad faith. I think it’s premature now to reach a judgment on that, but I think that further work has to be done, and that’s what Durham is doing.

Incompetence and malice are not mutually exclusive. Did malice merely provide the FBI an extended opportunity for incompetence?

Does the distinction even matter when the consequence of incompetence and stupidity is congruent with malice? Is it better that those entrusted to uphold the law are incompetent, and deliberate about it?

Thought crime

Gerald Nadler’s House Judiciary Committee report on the constitutional grounds for impeachment says in part (page 6):

Fourth, we address whether the House must accept at face value President Trump’s claim that his motives were not corrupt. In short, no. When the House probes a President’s state of mind, its mandate is to find the facts. That means evaluating the President’s account of his motives to see if it rings true. The question is not whether the President’s conduct could have resulted from permissible motives. It is whether the President’s real reasons, the ones in his mind at the time, were legitimate. Where the House discovers persuasive evidence of corrupt wrongdoing, it is entitled to rely upon that evidence to impeach.

If there were “persuasive evidence of corrupt wrong-doing,” why is it necessary to claim to read the President’s mind?

“[W]hether the President’s real reasons, the ones in his mind at the time, were legitimate” is the very same thing the report calls persuasive evidence. And it was the Democrat’s forgone conclusion before Donald Trump was even inaugurated. The impeachment articles are tautological.

Here is Nadler’s justification for impeachment translated, ‘The President’s real reasons are those we divine from the speculations of rabidly partisan witnesses, ignorant of any actual evidence by their own admission, in hearings we called based on a hearsay complaint we solicited from an anonymous political operative formerly employed by the Obama administration.’

Let’s pause briefly to recall that the push for impeachment began the day after the 2016 election, and was able to hit the ground running because of the conduct of the Obama administration. The FBI is not alone in the Obama administration’s abuse of power, let’s recall the tea party and Lois Lerner IRS, lies about “Fast & Furious” gun running, the unmasking and leaking to intimidate opponents of Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, the entrapment and persecution of Michael Flynn by hiding exculpatory evidence, and much else.

Apparently reading Barack Obama’s mind was more difficult for Nadler than reading Trump’s. This feat of telepathic legerdemain is in marked contrast to the report on FBI misconduct by DOJ Inspector General Horowitz.

James Comey’s declaration of vindication notwithstanding, Horowitz did not say there was no political bias in the FBI’s inappropriate handling of FISA requests. As he testified, while he couldn’t prove it, he couldn’t rule it out:

QUESTION: “Can you say it wasn’t because of political bias?”

HOROWITZ: “On, on decisions regarding those FISA matters, I do not know their state of mind.”

Minds are not to be read. Thought crime is out of bounds.

Horowitz did savage the FBI for using Christopher Steele’s dossier as the primary tool to obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. He quotes the FBI admitting that ‘the dossier’ was the “single source” (p. 132) justification given to the FISA court. The FBI knew this dossier was nothing but gossip, that its author was virulently biased, and that it had been paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign. Those are all political considerations. Which the IG felt had to be ignored.

Horowitz did, however, conclude that Operation Crossfire Hurricane just barely managed to stay above the abysmally low boundaries required to start an investigation (predication): Which is – “articulable facts.” Here’s an articulation of the fact used to start the investigation: “Christopher Steele wrote a report alleging Donald Trump was a Russian agent.” It is a fact and I just articulated it.

So the lines of predication are as easy to avoid as the lines painted on a tennis court. Horowitz could not identify blatant political bias because it wasn’t written into official FBI memos.

But, whatever judgment one might make about the predication, one has to wonder about the continuing and widespread falsification of evidence in pursuit of a connection between Trump and Russia. One has to give full benefit of the doubt to the FBI’s disgraced lead investigator in both the Hillary Clinton email scandal and the Donald Trump Russian collusion – Peter Strzok – to conclude no political motivation could be found in virulent opposition to the President found in texts with his like minded DOJ lawyer paramour. One would also need to accept his smirking attitude under House questioning as normal human behavior. If that doesn’t say “Nyah, nyah. You can’t prove my bias affected my work,” nothing could.

One then has to wonder, given the venue and seriousness, whether Strzok is familiar with the term “self control.” With his career on the line, his public, self-righteous arrogance is incandescent. What is he capable of in private? So, to consider FBI bias – as an agency – one would have to wonder about how his colleagues handled this if they were unbiased, since he wasn’t shy about his hatred for Trump. Then you’d probably wonder about Comey’s deliberately truncated briefing of the President on the dossier.

All this must have occurred to IG Horowitz. He had to wonder about motivations (“state of mind”) after the FBI started the investigation, and he had a lot more to go on than Chairman Nadler.

After initiation of the investigation, Horowitz also has to accommodate the FBI’s dogged pursuit of a case it knew to be non-existent, using ‘evidence’ it knew to be tainted – not least because the FBI had tainted it. A brief recap:

In the summer of 2016 an application for a FISA warrant on Carter Page is turned down. It is approved in October when the “Steele dossier” is included to justify the wiretap application. The FBI will later lie that the dossier was a tiny part of the renewed FISA application.

That FISA warrant, which was reauthorized three times, contained false and misleading information about Page. It omitted that his Russian contacts had long been known to a government agency who regularly debriefed him; it overstated the government’s confidence in Steele and his dossier; it never mentioned that Page claimed he and Paul Manafort had “literally never met;” and it did not reveal exculpatory information FISA rules required to be submitted. Very similar to what was done to Mike Flynn, by the same pemople.

IG Horowitz, in testimony to Nadler’s committee:

QUESTION: “Christopher Steele, is it fair to say that he had a political bias against Donald Trump?”

HOROWITZ: “He, given who he was paid for, there was a bias that needed to be disclosed to the court.”

If Steele was politically motivated, does hiding him from the court inherit that bias? “Fruit of the poisoned tree?”

And the FBI’s persistent prevarication may lead many to recall Ian Fleming: ”Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.

IG Horowitz had to use a different standard: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity or incompetence.

Horowitz could not justify referral for criminal prosecution those who withheld exculpatory evidence from the FISA court and used unverified information written by a spook they knew was unreliable. Who, moreover, was paid by the Clinton campaign to write it. Horowitz could not absolutely prove partisan bias despite the FBI’s inability to verify the basis of the request to that court for extraordinary surveillance of American citizens in an attempt to remove a sitting President. This is a case where minds didn’t need to meld.

Chairman Nadler, on the other hand, would have no case at all without his telepathic powers.

Maybe it wasn’t malice. Maybe it was incompetence and stupidity. I’ll wait for Durham’s investigation.

They make fun of me, too

Business Insider has a glacial news day. Still needs clicks.

This was published the day after Speaker Pelosi said she had asked the six Democrat committee chairmen investigating Trump to draft articles of impeachment:
Trump’s salt and pepper shakers tower over everyone else’s. Obama, Bush, and Clinton used the same size shakers as their guests.

You’d think they could have saved the salt and pepper jokes for later, in case Biden and Kamala end up as nominees. And they shouldn’t even attempt competition with the Babylon Bee.

In addition to the extended headline – clearly intended to compare Trump unfavorably to Obama, Bush, and Clinton – BI speculates that “it could also be another power move, alongside his fierce handshakes and bulky suits.”

And nothing about eating dogs, mispronouncing nuclear, or creative uses for cigars. Sad.

They can’t even perpetrate a hit job properly. They couldn’t find anybody to interview who’d contend larger salt and pepper shakers are compensation for the size of Trump’s penis? Couldn’t somehow extrapolate to a dinner of fried chicken, collard greens and watermelon for Texas Rep Al Green? And where was Pamela Karlan when she was needed for more hysterical riffing on Baron’s name?

I admit I feel sympathetic to the President. I have, at bare minimum, two similar quirks. These two are not exhaustive, they just come to mind immediately and unbidden.

1- My wife and I own some high quality, yet everyday, stainless-steel-ware she favors. From a purely visual esthetic standpoint, she’s right. Functionally, not so much.

This is the default guest silverware (sorry, everyone), unless we trust them enough to bring out the actual silverware AND we’re having a State dinner. This happens rarely anymore.

I vastly prefer a set of older, cheaper, thinner, more utilitarian eating utensils. These are kept in a separate drawer from the ‘good’ everyday cutlery. To demonstrate, I suppose, that when I reach into ‘that drawer’ my Philistine tastes do not represent the refinement of the rest of the household. That would be my wife.

Oh, there are jokes and chuckles from the rest of the family about it, too. When they gather to eat my turkey, for example, it’s been unaccountably described as ‘baby silverware,’ though most humans under the age of twelve can’t even lift the ‘good’ set, nor fit a supposed teaspoon in their mouth if they did manage it.

This, even though I keep my silence when they reach for the grinder containing pink Himalayan ‘sea salt.’

2- If I get a pepper shaker (usually this is in a restaurant, since I know which domestic pepper dispensers actually dispense) that delivers only a few flakes every minute even with violent shaking, I unscrew the top so I can get a heaping teaspoon or so on my cottage cheese before the Universe succumbs to entropy.

As a guest at someone’s home, I carefully consider my relationship to my hosts, but unscrewing the top in such cases is not unheard of. I have a reputation for it.

IAC. You might, if you were BI, speculate that I prefer thinner eating utensils because I’m trying to demonstrate humility to my guests, or that I use a lot of pepper as a power tripping display of my macho masculine toxicity. Or, that we couldn’t afford a whole set of the ‘good’ kind.

Well, BI would be wrong. I don’t like my wife’s favored silverware because it’s very handle heavy, tending to balance poorly on the edge of a plate. To get it to balance, the handle has to be shoved into the mashed potatoes, and the business end of the tablespoon is just slightly too wide to be effective at the speed with which I wish to engage my piehole.

As to pepper… on some foods I just like what many consider an overdose. Cottage cheese, for example, is pretty bland and, to my lingual papillae it has some mysterious property that neutralizes the taste of pepper. You need a lot.

I can’t speak to Trump’s fierce handshakes or, necessarily, to bulky suits. I find the dominance handshake pathetic, and I wouldn’t notice whether a suit was bulky. The ‘necessarily’ because I have owned suits which fashion neutral, friendly male observers have described as “horse blankets.” I do not dispute this comparison. In fact, I rather liked it.

President Trump may have similar reasons for his salt and pepper shakers, his hair style, and his skin tone. So? Let’s impeach him.

The only surprise? Green and Castro didn’t blame Russia

Barack Obama was elected President despite a significant black racism controversy.

Hillary Clinton came within a hair’s breadth of becoming President, and is still adored by a significant portion of the Democrat electorate. This adoration lingers in the interminable attempt to impeach President Trump.

One might expect Democrats to point to these facts as evidence that, 1) the Democratic party has abandoned its legacy of Klansmen and Jim Crow and, 2) if Hillary’s near miss is not enough to dispel charges of misogyny, there’s the party’s unequivocal devotion to the pieties of Planned Parenthood.

One would be disappointed.

Now come Rep. Al Green (D., Tex.) and Julian Castro, Democratic Presidential candidate, Obama’s former Secretary of HUD, and rumored VP pick for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Green and Castro find racism and misogyny in their fellow congresscritters and in the Democrat base, respectively.

Dem Rep Laments Absence of Black Impeachment Witnesses

Green said that if he was wrong about the racial composition of the witnesses, he would apologize. “But if the committee is wrong, if the Congress is wrong, what will it do?”

Well, given the Dems impeachment theater performance to date you might first ask, “Wrong about what?” But, the seriousness of an impeachment is not Rep. Green’s issue. His question is about witness DNA, of which he can’t quite be sure.

He hedges his bet on “racial composition” because he can’t be certain if the ‘one drop‘ rule includes any of the three Progressive law professors tasked by Jerry Nadler (D., NY), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, to express their naked partisan opinions that Trump should be impeached, because reasons… and that he shouldn’t have named his son Barron, because Barons made King John sign the Magna Carta… or something. Or, who knows, maybe one of these Profs secretly identifies as black and Green doesn’t want to get on the wrong side of that Twitter storm.

Mr. Castro, on the other hand, does not directly accuse his own party, but he does go after the Democrat propaganda machine.

Mr. Castro’s party, you may remember, is that whose DNC suppressed a male socialist anti-semite (how times have changed) in favor of a female habitual liar, who in 1992 mounted a campaign to label women her husband seduced or raped as a ‘Bimbo Eruption.’ That same ‘likeable enough’ cattle futures profiteer the Dems superdelegate conspiracy somehow failed to nominate over a black man in 2008.

No, Mr. Castro blames the press for forcing probable Democrat primary voters to disfavor Kamala Harris. If I were cynical, I’d say he’s just pandering to her meager constituency in a desperate attempt to get on the Dec. 19th debate stage, for which she had qualified and he has not. Julian Castro and MSNBC Agree: Media Held Kamala Harris to a Different Standard

Mr. Castro has not been held to any standard, because he’s irrelevant.

It’s true, though, that there is a different standard. It’s just temporarily out of favor. It’s the the one the press applied to Barack Obama. That same press that depicted Obama as a leg tingling, “lightworker,” “perfectly creased pant,” haloed on the cover of Time, Newsweek and The Rolling Stone. That press did more than treat Barack Obama with kid gloves.

While the press did circle the wagons to defend Obama’s association with the Rev. Wright, they were forced to report it – and some thought it might derail Obama’s candidacy. Of course, their insurance plan then was Hillary – not Comey, McCabe, Clapper, Brennan, Strzok, and Page.

Now they have only Bloomberg as backup to Warren or Biden. I’d be nervous, too.

That Obama’s candidacy wasn’t ended by the Wright racism story is due in part to his facile tongue; in part to an utter lack of MSM curiosity about his sealed academic record and why, during his tenure as Harvard Law Review President, he never published an article; and in part to the noted fawning adulation.

How the press treated Obama was indeed better than they treated Harris, whom they treated nowhere near as badly as any Republican. And, in the beginning, Harris didn’t get off too badly:
Joy Reid, MSNBC host: The name I’m hearing now — there was a sheet of people, sort of survey, of prominent women in politics. Number one name of the person that’s on people’s minds, Kamala Harris.

Lawrence O’Donnell, MSNBC host: The politician she reminded me of most then was Barack Obama. Kamala Harris is now running for president. And she is one of the top tier candidates.

Chris Matthews, MSNBC host: There’s a new challenger to Trump and she is drawing huge crowds, Senator Kamala Harris of California kicked off her campaign this week and surrounded by — look at that crowd. Trump must be envious as hell.

Squandered that. Harris was flawed, unprepared and had a dysfunctional campaign organization. That those facts formed part of the reportage on Harris’ performance is not a different standard unless compared to the tongue bath the press gave Obama. Democrat Primary voters were not polling/donating well enough to keep her in the race, and it’s Democrat Committee members who selected the witnesses of the wrong ‘racial composition.’

If the Dems are sniffing about for diversity, you might think that would include Taiwanese Christians or Samoan-American Hindus who also come equipped with fresh ideas. You’d be wrong. MSNBC Contributor: ‘Yang and Gabbard Don’t Represent the Democratic Party’s Minority Base’ The implication? Only blacks count as diverse. Until the Hispanic Castro drops out of the race, anyway.

Neither Yang nor Gabbard carry the baggage of having slept* their way into elective office, nor Harris’ corrupt prosecutorial history. It’s Gabbard’s Dem debate zinger on that latter, for which Harris was, as usual, unprepared, that marked the beginning of the Harris campaign’s demise.

This article from the San Luis Obispo Tribune, indicates her campaign was in trouble from the beginning, and because of her actions, not her race or sex.
Can Kamala Harris withstand the scrutiny of a presidential campaign?

And, finally, a quote from that last link one might apply to the Democrat’s impeachment show trial. I found it quite amusing. Someone should read it to Schiff and Nadler.

“My entire career has been focused on our system of justice. It is one of the hallmarks of our system of democracy,” said Harris. “And it becomes weak when people interfere with that system for a political purpose. And no one — in particular right now when there are so Americans that are so distrustful of their government and its leaders and institutions — no one should give the American public any reason to question their integrity or the integrity of our system of justice.”

*At the very beginning of her political career, with a very powerful Democrat 30 years her senior, who bore little resemblance to say, Denzel Washington.

And contra Castro, See the Wapo defense of Harris here.

Own goals

Straightforward and clarifying, unlike most of the impeachment crap buzzing about. I learned a few things outside of the Democrat obnubilation.
Impeachment surprise: How Adam Schiff validated my reporting on Ukraine | John Solomon Reports

Why Trump so distrusted Ukraine. Why Yovanovitch was removed as US Ambassador to Ukraine. Why Hunter Biden’s Burisma gig was an issue long before Trump’s election, and that the Obama administration was concerned about it, but not about Ukrainian meddling in our 2016 election.

Confirmed by Schiff’s witnesses.

Also, we now know who leaked to the “whistleblower:”
Alexander Vindman condemned himself in his impeachment testimony

Whose anonymity is not legally protected:
Andrew McCarthy: Trump impeachment inquiry obstructed by Democrats’ ‘whistleblower’ secrecy charade