Guise and Thralls

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.
-James Madison

Andrew McCarthy is, IMO, the best single analyst writing about the Obama administration’s Russia-centered conspiracy to depose Donald Trump. Here, he proposes a novel theory about one part of it.
Unmasking? The Real Story Is When Flynn Was Not Masked in the First Place

This is not just about unmasking. It is about how pervasively the Obama administration was monitoring the Trump campaign.

He does not mention other #Obamagate Hydra heads – hidden Congressional testimony providing zero evidence of “Russian collusion,” secret plea agreements not disclosed to Judge Sullivan’s court, absence of evidence that Russia hacked DNC emails, CIA (Brennan) suppression of evidence indicating Russian support for a Hillary Clinton presidency, nor even the FBI’s use of the DNC funded Steele Dossier to mislead the FISA court.

Michael Flynn was not a FISA surveillance target, but connections may be found:
How The IG FISA Abuse Report Affects Michael Flynn’s Case
Note, in that link, that this is not the first time Judge Sullivan is in the middle of hearing about politically motivated prosecutorial malfeasance in a burgeoning surveillance state.

In her 2014 book Licensed to Lie Sidney Powell, Sullivan’s current nemesis in the Flynn case, praised him:

The judicial hero of my book, Emmet Sullivan held federal prosecutors in contempt for failing to disclose evidence, dismissed the corrupted prosecution of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens and appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the Department of Justice.

This makes Sullivan’s animus toward General Flynn hard to comprehend.

You might think that what Judge Sullivan knows about Flynn (remember Sullivan called Flynn out for treason, and then retracted it), is so serious that Sullivan’s attempt to charge him with perjury for pleading guilty under compulsion is justified. Or, you might conclude that what’s different is that Trump is now President, and Sullivan is running a Soviet style show-trial to damage Trump.

The Flynn/Kislyak phone call was NSA/CIA tapping Kislyak’s phone. This does not require a FISA application, since Kislyak is not an American citizen. That’s where Flynn’s identity was supposed to be protected and required the “unmasking” requests, which took place at the discretion of a surprising number of bureaucrats closely associated with dirty cops, rogue prosecutors, and slimy politicians.

What McCarthy is saying in the National Review article is that the surveillance of Trump (and thus Flynn) strongly appears to have preceded any unmaskings of Flynn. It probably started the day Trump announced his candidacy.

Here’s another article worth reading on this with a broader overview of the whole plot, and why it is “the biggest political scandal in our nation’s history.”
John Brennan and the Plot to Subvert an American Election

This quote from that link summarizes McCarthy’s National Review speculation:

[T]he most significant thing about these unmaskings may be the dog that didn’t bark—there was no unmasking request for December 29, 2016, the date that Flynn, then on holiday in the Dominican Republic, made his famous call to Sergei Kislyak, then the Russian ambassador to the United States. McCarthy speculates that the call was intercepted by “an intelligence program not subject to the masking rules, probably by the CIA or a friendly foreign spy service.”

Seems like there might be more Brady material there. What did the CIA, or MI6, tell the FBI and when did they tell it?

Let’s extend the dot connecting to the more general case for Progressive lawlessness. Here’s Liberal Matt Taibbi:
Democrats Have Abandoned Civil Liberties

If they’ll do all that to a Lt. General to get to Trump, of course they’ll tell you you can’t leave your house, buy seeds, or get a haircut in order to damage the economy. Because Orange man bad:

Democrats clearly believe constituents will forgive them for abandoning constitutional principles, so long as the targets of official inquiry are figures like Flynn or Paul Manafort or Trump himself. In the process, they’ve raised a generation of followers whose contempt for civil liberties is now genuine-to-permanent. Blue-staters have gone from dismissing constitutional concerns as Trumpian ruse to sneering at them, in the manner of French aristocrats, as evidence of proletarian mental defect.

Nowhere has this been more evident than in the response to the Covid-19 crisis, where the almost mandatory take of pundits is that any protest of lockdown measures is troglodyte death wish. The aftereffects of years of Russiagate/Trump coverage are seen everywhere: press outlets reflexively associate complaints of government overreach with Trump, treason, and racism, and conversely radiate a creepily gleeful tone when describing aggressive emergency measures and the problems some “dumb” Americans have had accepting them.

The deplorables in fly-over country need to be taught their place. To paraphrase Commandante Witmer, “Protests must stop, or I’ll extend the house arrest edict.”

Masks are coming off.

Withdrawal pains

There is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free.
-Barack Obama, on the withdrawal of the case against Michael Flynn

So much to unpack in a short sentence.

Of course there are many precedents for getting off (we’ll get to “scot-free” later) from being charged for perjury. Anybody can easily find them. For example, like Bill Clinton, you’re found innocent of the charge. He didn’t get off scot-free, though. He was disbarred and paid a $25K fine over Monica Lewinski, plus a $90K fine for false testimony and $850K in settlement in the Paula Jones case.

As to perjury, that wasn’t the charge laid on General Flynn. He was charged with lying to the FBI. This is simple enough that we can depend on Wikipedia:

“Perjury is the intentional act of swearing a false oath or falsifying an affirmation to tell the truth, whether spoken or in writing, concerning matters material to an official proceeding.”

Flynn was not only not under oath, he was led to believe the meeting engineered by the FBI was happenstance. An oath, in itself, would have provided notification that one was under investigation. Flynn received no such notification and was deliberately led to believe he was just having a chat. Bushwhacked is an appropriate term.

Perjury, if it were at issue, requires materiality. As does the actual charge against Flynn. Emphasis mine:

“Under federal law, a false statement made to investigators is actionable only if it is material to the matter under investigation. If there was no basis to believe Flynn had committed a crime, his counsel could have argued that any false statements allegedly made by Flynn when he was questioned in January 2017 were immaterial. Ergo, Ms. Powell contends that the withholding of this information violated the government’s duty to disclose exculpatory evidence.”

And don’t forget, the answer over which he was charged with lying regarded a telephone conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn knew such conversations are routinely recorded by NSA, and that the FBI had almost certainly listened to the recording. You have to believe Lt. General Flynn to be extraordinarily stupid to believe that he lied about it.

The FBI interviewers didn’t believe it, even though newly released emails show an internal FBI debate about the purpose of the ambush:

“The documents turned over by the Justice Department late Wednesday include handwritten notes in which FBI officials openly indicated that their “goal” was “to get him [Flynn] to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired””

That was the basis of the ‘crime.’

“Getting off scot-free” is another curiosity of Mr. Obama’s thinking. Flynn’s reputation was destroyed, he was psychologically tortured, he’s been financially wrecked, and his family has been threatened. The prosecutors covered that last extortion up in collusion with Flynn’s first set of lawyers. An agreement not to prosecute his son was illegally excluded from the description of the plea deal supplied to the court. “[T]he government [is required] to disclose to the defense any promises made or benefits given in exchange for the testimony of a witness called by the prosecution.

Not satisfied with misstating the crime, insulting due process, excusing prosecutorial misconduct and FBI framing, and minimizing the burden imposed on General Flynn, our former organizer-in-chief went on to lament, “That’s the kind of stuff where you begin to get worried that basic — not just institutional norms — but our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk.

Well, yes, but not in the way he thinks.

More to come, I think, since we also just found out Mr. Obama was aware of this charade at the time.

Hmmm.

Flynn’s current lawyer, Sidney Powell, is another Dagny Taggart Award nominee.

Update, May 11, 1:20PM:


…and, while we’re at it:
Attorney General Barr’s Office Shreds NBC’s Chuck Todd For ‘Deceptive Editing’ Of Barr’s Comments Add a little collusion from the Maim Scream Media™.

Note, too, that the soon-to-be-infamous January 5th Oval Office meeting where Obama surprised Sally Yates with his knowledge of the Kislyak phone call preceded the bushwacking meeting (Jan 24th) with General Flynn by several weeks. Obama had been briefed on the call by James Clapper (according to Comey, during Congressional testimony), but Yates, at the DOJ, had not been briefed.

Also attending that meeting were James Comey, Joe Biden, John Brennan, James Clapper, and Susan Rice. Rice was later to write a CYA email to herself:

“President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia,”

The very next day, Comey briefed incoming President Donald Trump on the Steele dossier, i.e., Russian disinformation paid for by the Clinton campaign, and already used to obtain a FISA warrant against Carter Page. Comey only discussed the salacious parts of the dossier, and neglected to tell Trump about the Kislyak phone call and Flynn. Comey lied by omission.

Comic genius

I have had my difficulties appreciating The Donald’s sense of humor, but during his Presser yesterday, he was cool, calm, measured … Presidential, and delivered one of the most brilliant set up lines in history. He made the press look like a bunch of dyspeptic gibbons. Admittedly, a low bar.

“Why do you keep calling this the ‘Chinese virus’?” the White House correspondent asked. “There are reports of dozens of incidents of bias against Chinese Americans in this country. Your own aide, Secretary Azar, says he does not use this term. He says, ‘Ethnicity does not cause the virus.’ Why do you keep using this?”

The president responded, “Because it comes from China.”

“People say it’s racist,” Vega continued.

Trump answered, “It’s not racist at all. No. Not at all. It comes from China. That’s why.”

That was just battlespace preparation…

“At least one White House official who used the term ‘Kung flu,’ referring to the fact that this virus started in China,” PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor said in reference to CBS News’s Weijia Jiangan, who alleges that a member of the Trump administration used that term in her presence.

“Is that acceptable?” Alcindor continued. “Is it wrong? Are you worried that that having this virus be talked about as a ‘Chinese virus,’ that that might help – ”

The president interjected at that point to ask for more details regarding Jiangan’s “Kung flu” allegation.

“Do you know who said that?” he asked.

“I’m not sure the person’s name,” said Alcindor, “but would you condemn the fact —

“Say the term again,” the president asked.

Alcindor obliged, saying, “Kung flu.”

“‘Kung flu’?” Trump asked.

“Say the term again?”
Brilliant. Hilarious.

Then he gets to repeat the dreaded term. Deadpan!

I don’t think Alcindor yet knows how thoroughly she was pwned.

Serial Dreyfus affairs

Seriously recommended.

Michael Flynn’s defense lawyer, Sidney Powell, discusses how corruption at the Department of Justice over the last twenty years has jeopardized the rule of law, and given us a two tiered, politicized justice system.

Your blood will boil.

Just over an hour. Made possible by Hillsdale College.

Want to see a heroine? Watch Sidney Powell.

It’s amazing that a long-tenured nest of DOJ vipers, characterized by Robert Mueller, James Comey, and Andrew Weissmann (and ably assisted by weasels like James Clapper and John Brennan) failed to railroad Donald Trump. They did it to many, many others. And were rewarded with promotions, book deals, gigs on MSNBC and CNN, and the adulation of the New York Times.

That Trump was exonerated in the Russia Affair despite FBI entrapment, withholding of exculpatory evidence, and plotting “insurance policies;” added to Mueller’s Mongols’ well rehearsed prosecutorial lying, pursuit of minor players they knew to be innocent, practiced abuse of power, and creative crime inventiveness is testament to Trump’s innocence, perseverance, and probably wise advice from counsel. All while being publicly buffeted by illegal leaks to a media predisposed to destroy his Presidency.

Powell should head a special department reporting to Bill Barr at the DOJ to clean out the pestilence. I think she might enjoy it. I know I would.

This is the Michael Flynn defense fund she mentions at 44:13.

Powell’s books are here.

Nancy and the Chamber of Deplorers

This – Gertrude Himmelfarb & the Enlightenment – is a recommended read. I was vaguely aware of Himmelfarb, but have never read her. Based on this article, I will be correcting that.

A slice:

Some historians have been led … to claim that at different stages of his life there were two different Edmund Burkes, one liberal and the other conservative. Himmelfarb disagreed. She argued that his views were always consistent with the ideas about moral virtue that permeated the whole of the British Enlightenment. Indeed, Burke took this philosophy a step further by making the “sentiments, manners, and moral opinion” of the people the basis not only of social relations but also of politics.

I think this relates to the difficulty some people have in admitting that Donald Trump has been, so far, a successful President: He started, or at least accelerated, an erosion of “sentiments, manners, and moral opinion.”

This is a defensible proposition. I’ve written extensively on my discomfort with Trump’s bombast and crudity. I’ve come to see it as essential to his success, especially given the antics of his opposition. I’ve also learned to appreciate that many of the off-key things he says are jokes. Like any joke, they’re funny because they typically afflict the elite, and the punch line is unexpected. Especially from POTUS.

In that regard, he’s done us the favor of reducing reverence for the person of the President. The President should not be regarded with the awe the media was wont to promote for Obama. We hire the President, something Presidents often forget. Trump is narcissistic, but no more so than Obama. And probably less so: Trump can be self-deprecating. Something imaginable from Obama only as a humble brag.

Anyway, two things about “He started it!”

One, don’t be so sure. The post-modernists, neo-Marxists, race-baiters, grievance mongers, climate hysterics, agenda feminists, science denying transgenderists, et. al. – ideologues of a feather – were forthrightly blabbering their disdain for ‘deviates’ from their authoritarian agenda for decades before Trump was born.

Trump, with provocations mild in comparison (Who has he called Hitler?), has done us the favor of causing them to reveal the monumental level of disgust they harbor for Enlightenment values. The mask of compassion has slipped.

Two, “He started it,” isn’t an excuse you accept from your children; and no more extenuates Nancy Pelosi’s stationery abuse last night than it does Hillary’s “deplorables” gaffe, nor Maxine Water’s lifetime-achievement-award-worthy contributions to coarsening our quality of discourse while lowering our collective IQ. We need not belabor Adam Schiff’s perfidy.

Hillary directly helped enable Rashida Tlaib, AOC, and Ilhan Omar; and Pelosi is now taking her cues from that mess of pottage.

This officious disregard is nothing new…

Apart from the different philosophical status they assigned to reason and virtue, the one issue where the contrast between the British and French Enlightenments was sharpest was in their attitudes to the lower orders. This is a distinction that has reverberated through politics ever since. The radical heirs of the Jacobin tradition have always insisted that it is they who speak for the wretched of the earth. In eighteenth-century France, they claimed to speak for the people and the general will. In the nineteenth century, they said they represented the working classes against their capitalist exploiters. In our own time, they have claimed to be on the side of blacks, women, gays, indigenes, refugees, and anyone else they define as the victims of discrimination and oppression. Himmelfarb’s study demonstrates what a façade these claims actually are.

The French philosophes thought the social classes were divided by the chasm not only of poverty but, more crucially, of superstition and ignorance. They despised the lower orders because they were in thrall to Christianity. The editor of the Encyclopédie, Denis Diderot, declared that the common people had no role in the Age of Reason: “The general mass of men are not so made that they can either promote or understand this forward march of the human spirit.” Indeed, “the common people are incredibly stupid,” he said, and were little more than animals: “too idiotic—bestial—too miserable, and too busy” to enlighten themselves. Voltaire agreed. The lower orders lacked the intellect required to reason and so must be left to wallow in superstition. They could be controlled and pacified only by the sanctions and strictures of religion which, Voltaire proclaimed, “must be destroyed among respectable people and left to the canaille large and small, for whom it was made.”

See anything you recognize?