Archive for the ‘Russian Collusion’ Category

What The United States Must and Mustn’t Do

Saturday, March 12th, 2022

The new Red Line we must draw and enforce

I’ve listened with a great deal of patience and forbearance as various people in media and government have made the case for increasing US involvement in Ukraine.  I thoroughly understand the moral impetus that the suffering of the Ukrainian people invokes, and I also understand better than most of these commentators the potential costs of an expansionist Russia.  In 1985, I faced the satellite states of the USSR across the border frontier of walls, fences, minefields, razor wire, machine-guns, sentries, and the ever-present watchful eyes of surveillance from the East.  I was also there in 1989 when the wall came down, and in my estimation, West Germany too quickly embarked on the path to re-unification with their Eastern kin.  I watched in stunned silence as Western politicians ignored the potential dangers of unilateral disarmament in pursuit of phantom “peace dividends” through the 1990s.  I watched as these same leaders launched an assault on Yugoslavia under the banner of “peace-keeping” whilst pretending Slobodan Milosevic was Adolph Hitler, and enforcing a partitioning of that country, creating new states out of the remains of that nation.  I watched as the post-9/11 United States carried on one war, and launched another in pursuit of Weapons of Mass Destruction.  All of this I’ve watched, but never has any member of our government answered any of my questions or listened to my complaints.  Instead, they ruled without reference to the opinions or desires of the American people, but now they’ve placed us to be in position to fight a war potentially worse than any of us have ever known.  They are making their case using our emotions against us, but I’m having none of it.  If there’s something the American government must do, I can tell you what it should do, but also what it mustn’t do.  The answer to their current taste for war must be a resounding “no.”  Instead, if we believe the intentions of Russia to expand Westward are genuine, we must draw a new red line, but this time, we must prepare to enforce it.

Ukraine is not a member of NATO, and it doesn’t have any particular treaty obligations from or to the United States.  Like every other American, I look at the imagery coming out of Ukraine, and I feel badly for the position in which the people of Ukraine now find themselves.  On the other hand, Ukraine is not formally our ally, and despite the fact that our leaders over the last two decades have used our wealth to get them to carry out policies in their country that our corrupt leaders may have liked, they are not entitled to the defense of their country by the people of the United States.  It’s really as simple as that.  Ukraine is not a vital strategic interest for the United States.  For Ukraine, that’s the unfortunate truth.  All the rest is kaffee klatsch nonsense.

For those on the other side of this debate who claim that Russia is intent on expansionist designs, and that they should be stopped in Ukraine, I must dispute their assertion.  The answer for NATO, if we believe that Putin is building a new and improved Soviet State is not to defend Ukraine, which is now effectively lost, but is instead to begin building our defenses in the neighboring NATO states, to an extent and with a fervor that Vladimir Putin would never dream of crossing a new line that we should make unmistakably and indelibly red.  NATO has already shown itself to be unable and unwilling to defend much of anything, and it has fallen into disrepair on a scale that would be embarrassing if their leaders had any sort of conscience at all.  If you want to stand Putin down and limit his expansionism, then the way to do it is to immediately require all members of NATO to contribute four percent of their GDPs to the alliance, which would be a doubling of their current commitment that many are not now meeting.  Other defense spending should not be counted in that number.  When Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Poland, and all the smaller members of NATO along with the United States begin such a campaign to strengthen their defenses, training-up their forces, and conducting large joint-force training missions on a theatre-wide scale, it is very likely that Putin will stay put and go Westward no further.

Missile defense in the West must become a thorough priority.  The securing of shipping lanes and air-transport routes must become the norm instead of the exception.  We ought to be ramping-up a cold-war style notion of isolating the Russians, but also the Chinese Communists in Beijing, in precisely the same way we had done during the Cold War.  Yes, if we believe there is a real threat of expansionism on the part of Russia, then we must take the same sorts of steps that we had done for nearly one-half century.  This is not irrational, because if the threat is real, then this is the way we will ultimately be required to answer it in any case.  We cannot simply insert ourselves into the battle space of Ukraine, at this late date, expecting anything but the worst possible outcomes.  Russia may not be the Soviet Union, but it is still a lethal potential adversary, and its strategic nuclear arms have few parallels.

If the United States or one of its NATO allies, acting as proxies, should instigate a war with Russia through clear involvement in Ukraine, it would be an invitation to a catastrophe far worse than the one now playing-out on the ground in Ukraine.  Volodymyr Zelenskiy complained bitterly that this is all simply rhetoric, and that rhetoric cannot save his country.  It’s a very tardy realization from a man who’s been accepting rhetorical flurries as assurances from Western leaders, particularly from the United States.  He should have realized while conducting offensive operations against ethnic Russians in the Eastern provinces of his country, that at some point, as his government continued to poke the bear, the Russians were going to enter to find out if Washington DC’s substance matched its bellicose assurances to Kiev.  Those assurances were as empty as the treaty he had failed to obtain.  He should have sought admission to NATO after stabilizing the situation in the Eastern provinces.  Instead, at Washington DC’s invitation, he pursued a quick-and-dirty admission into NATO, like the con-artists who tries to purchase an insurance policy to protect his car after he’s wrecked it.  Seeing this coming, thanks to Biden’s administration placing this knowledge into the pipeline of intelligence through Beijing, Putin didn’t wait any longer.  Europe too has told him, via the European Union, that Ukraine won’t be permitted under current circumstances to enter that body.  He’s been cut loose.

Zelenskiy is running out of negotiating time.  Once Kiev falls under sustained attack, I believe Putin will close that window.  Even now, it will be Putin’s intent to encircle that city and cut it off from reinforcements and relief.   Once that’s complete, Zelenskiy’s bargaining chips will be few.  The best he might now obtain is to come to terms with Putin’s basic demands that Ukraine recognize Crimea as part of Russia, recognize Dunetsk and Luhansk, and basically write neutrality into the Ukrainian constitution.  In the longer term, I expect Putin to grab everything East of the Dnieper River.  I now believe Zelenskiy’s best remaining option may look like the orange line in the map below, yielding most of the territory East of the Dnieper, but it doesn’t change the fact that NATO must draw a strong red line if there’s any evidence at all that Putin’s expansionist ambitions are real:

This may be the best Zelenskiy can do

Those who shriek against this notion are relying too heavily on emotion, and too little on logic.  It’s undeniably the case that Ukraine has been sacrificed by the Biden administration.  The sensible thing for Zelenskiy to do now may in fact be to sue for peace and meet Putin’s terms.  It’s a terrible blow, but he must also be circumspect.  If he drags this out, it will be the innocents who suffer.  Putin should suffer for his actions, but in truth, so should the monsters in Beijing and in Washington DC who have enabled him.  Others in the region should think a great deal about this map, and particularly the red line I’ve drawn. If Russia is really bent on expansionism, every state west of that line, from Estonia in the North to Moldova in the South must take it very seriously.  If Russian intent is really to expand once again, then no nation West of that line should take the matter lightly. There were reports on Friday evening that Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had advised Zelenskiy to accept Putin’s terms.  This is not a message from Israel, so much as it’s a message from Washington DC.

As for people to be taken lightly, now comes the DC war-crowd of people who are Republicans and fancy themselves “hawks.” This list includes a number of Washington Republicans who do their best to keep their swampiness on the down-low in campaign seasons.  They’re in favor of providing additional air-power to Ukraine, at least insofar as they want the Polish Mig-29s transferred to Ukraine, along with air-defense missiles and other air combat related resources.  These people are stepping directly up to the line, spitting across it, and daring Putin to spit in return.  Here’s the letter:

2022-03-10-senate-republicans-ukraine-letter-to-biden

This foolishness is the sound of morons stomping their feet in order to satisfy that segment of their respective electorates who think with uninspired and imprudent simplicity that “something must be done.”  Of course, it’s mostly nonsense, but to the degree there is anything serious about it, the Biden administration will likely do nothing to pursue meeting their demands, so that in the end, they’ll be off the hook with a “Well, we tried.”  The rest of the electorate, who opposes the war, either won’t see it or will forgive it when faced with electing a Democrat instead.  It’s that thing which is preferred widely in Washington DC:  A cynical but safe play. It’s another fan-dance.

The real answer to all of this is that there’s no reason of merit to send Americans into war in Ukraine, whether over land, by sea, or in the air, and no reason to militarily poke the bear.  It could be argued at this point that providing additional aid to Ukraine merely forestalls the inevitable, or even worsens what will be the ultimate death toll.  I’m not suggesting that Ukraine surrender, but their options are expiring.  Ukraine must make the best decisions for their own country that they’re able, but with every passing hour, the moment in which their leadership is deposed by warfare accelerates.  Zelenskiy may be a personally brave man, not fearing for his own life, but surely he’s not so motivated by bravado that he doesn’t understand his actual predicament.  The West is not coming.  They’ll be just as happy if the Russians take the place over entirely, disappearing Zelenskiy into a gulag or worse.  They simply have too much dirt to hide, so that placing it out of reach and under Russian control is simply too inviting a prospect to ignore.  Who more than Joe Biden himself hopes that Ukraine will simply go away?  Hillary Clinton?

The other question about the notion of American involvement in any conflict under current leadership comes down to a serious matter that we’re confronting daily, and will continue to confront us until Joe Biden is hauled out of office, whether by election results, impeachment, indictment or by an undertaker.  It’s one thing to have a figurehead reshuffling papers and executive orders, carrying out bureaucratic tragedies, but it’s something else again to have him conducting a war.  Troops in the field need to have confidence that their chain of command is complete, in good order, and of sound mind (politics aside,) but it’s entirely clear that this man is not capable of wartime command.  Frankly, neither is Kamala, nor is Barack Obama who is orchestrating all of this from his various bunkers and basements, whether in the Martha’s Vineyard, in DC, Hawaii or some billionaire’s yacht.  There is no situation under which the United States should seek combat of any kind while this man remains in power.  He’s simply not capable of it, and as a largely illegitimate president(one can claim otherwise, but that makes of them a liar or a dolt,) who has great difficulty conducting a press conference, there’s no situation in which he should be commanding the Armed Forces of the United States in time of war.  To send troops into harm’s way under such a commander-in-chief is an abominable idea, and I thoroughly condemn the advocacy of any notion to the contrary.  Only in such circumstance as the United States comes under direct attack should this man be in command of anything, and should it come to that, may God (or whomever you may worship) have mercy on your soul.

If we believe the threat of Russian expansionism is real, then we must begin immediately to act to stop it.  Our opposition must be relentless: We must arm the West as though we intend to actually fight to stop it, and we must remember that China and Iran must be included in any containment strategy.  These are every bit as dangerous to our nation and our way of life as Russia, and we mustn’t make any pretense to the contrary.  Even now, China is warning that the US shouldn’t seek to create a NATO-like organization in the Western Pacific, but that is precisely what we should be doing.  We should be getting together with South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan for exactly those purposes.  In Europe, our red line must now become bold, but it must be drawn along Ukraine’s Western border.  Moldova, which has applied reportedly for membership in the EU ought to be offered the umbrella of NATO if the other members can now agree, and their Eastern border must be muscled-up as soon as possible.  Their time is already running-out, if expansion of Russia is the goal.  The fact that we’re not now looking ahead as to how we can strengthen NATO makes me question the claims of worry over Russian expansionism.  After all, if we really believe this is the intention of Russia, then we should be acting as though Moldova is the next step.  It should also be the case that if we believe that this is what Russia intends, we must immediately withdraw from negotiations with Iran in which Russia is acting as a deal broker.

Naturally, I don’t think that there’s any way the Biden administration will withdraw from these talks, just as I don’t believe they intend to stop Russia.  The real Russian Collusion is the Iran deal(JCPoA,) and it is the most important thing(to them) in which the Biden administration has been engaged since the beginning of the administration.  As long as they’re on the hook for that deal, they’re not going to make any real demands to or provocations against Putin’s Russia.  We’re being betrayed by the regime in Washington DC, and this fact more than any should turn Americans away from war on behalf of Ukraine.  Instead, if you want to direct your ire and bellicose denunciations at the real tyrants driving-up your oil prices in ways no other enemy could match, I can tell you their famous address: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

It’s even on google maps…

 

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Embarrassing Loss of Credibility in Talk Radio in the Era of FakeNews

Thursday, March 3rd, 2022

The difficult chore of maintaining credibility in the era of FakeNews

It started in a big way last week. Dan Bongino violated his own self-imposed “72 hour rule” with the story of the Snake Island story from Ukraine. Before the weekend was over, he’d discovered that he’d been misled like so many others, promptly informing his listeners of that fact on Monday.  Dan’s “72 hour rule” is that when some new story of bomb-shell proportions comes along, he tends to hold onto them in order to verify the stories multiple ways before repeating them to his audience.  Many others have seemingly been duped, repeatedly, and it’s a real problem, because while they may not be the ones originating the story, they’re the ones repeating it to their audiences.  From the point of view of their audiences then, for all intents and purposes, they are originating the stories.  On Tuesday, as is my habit while driving home, and as soon as I walk in the door, I tuned into Mark Levin’s show.  Levin, long my runaway favorite among talk-show hosts, began in on a story in which he described the workings and effects of thermobaric bombs.  He explained that Russia was using them. He also explained that Russia was using cluster-bombs against civilian areas, despite the bombs having been banned for use against civilians.  Within less than twenty hours, these reports had been smashed when Bongino said on air on Wednesday that these reports hadn’t panned-out.  A little digging revealed that this had been a completely unconfirmed report, and initially, there was a video discounted as fake by the gentleman in charge of the political subdivision in which it had allegedly occurred.  The claims about cluster bombs are likewise unconfirmed, except that in Eastern Ukraine, there’s some evidence the Ukrainian forces have used them.  At this moment, there is still no firm evidence that either side has used them, but even as of this moment, you can surf over to Levin’s site for his Tuesday Recap page and find the unverified claims about their use by Russia, along with the false claim that these weapons are altogether forbidden.  He also claimed during his on-air description that the thermobaric bombs constitute a chemical weapon, which they most certainly are not.  All of this made it plain to me in a very painful way that my favorite among talk-show hosts, Mark Levin, a guy I have enjoyed more even than Rush over the years, had now joined the legion of outlets I generally consider #FakeNews.  It’s both shocking and saddening to me.  We have so few media outlets we can take at face value.  Whether by negligence or intent or because they’ve simply been fooled by others, it’s clear now that just when we need them most, most all media, even supposed “conservative” media, lie to us in varying degrees.  Though I neither feel it should be my place, nor do I feel I have the heart to do the matter full justice, I must now take on “the Great One,” for the sake of my own integrity.

This is and has been the greatest disappointment of the last several years, and it began during the era of Trump, not because of anything Trump did, but because since the rise of Trump, any pretense at objectivity has been ditched in mainstream media, from CNN to MSNBC to Reuters to FoxNews.  Media outlets have become so uniformly unreliable in so many ways for people like talk-show hosts, who must rely upon valid and factual news stories to fuel the discussions they will spawn with their audiences.  The underlying information is so frequently inaccurate that talk-show hosts are finding it difficult to stay ahead of the fake news injected at light-speed into the conversation.  Don’t misunderstand me to have said that I believe Mark Levin or Dan Bongino are liars, but that they now serve as a conduit through which lies are smuggled to their predominantly conservative audiences.  I don’t believe this is their intention, but I suspect that applies to many other talkers.  It’s that they’ve come to rely on sources that are corrupt or corruptible.  It’s happened to me a time or two over the last eleven years here on this blog, usually in very small ways I’ve rushed to correct.  The problem is that at the speed with which information now propagates upon its release in modern media, a lie can do real damage to our world, in ways that could be measured in millions of lives.

When the pandemic coverage had begun in 2020, I’d already suspected Fauci of giving us all a load of internally inconsistent nonsense.  From a logical point of view, many of his pronouncements didn’t make sense.  His answers were either unnecessarily evasive or expressed with unjustifiable certitude.  Some of it was simply nonsensical.  Mark Levin was among the first people in conservative media who featured Fauci as a guest, on his show on Foxnews.  Fauci used Levin’s credibility with his conservative audience to ensnare them with his now largely-debunked and almost completely refuted narratives.  I dare Mark Levin to now go back and re-watch the garbage he permitted Fauci to spew under the banner of “Life, Liberty and Levin,” and tell me that somehow, he feels unashamed for having failed his audience.  He should feel pain if he now re-watches that episode, particularly considering that people made life-and-death-level decisions based on Fauci’s pronouncements early on.  Mark Levin is a trusted source among conservatives like me.  You can do the math.  The fact that Fauci was saying these things on Levin’s show made them seem more reliable.  Silly, gullible me. While I still didn’t trust Fauci, I did trust Mark Levin, and Fauci had now been given Levin’s virtual imprimatur.  Fool me once…

Less than one year later, on January 6th, 2021, I listened as Mark Levin came on the radio and raged against the rioters at the Capitol on that day.  He railed against the people at the Capitol, as if they were the terrorists my gut said they hadn’t really been, at least most of them.  I listened, and I began to get that sickly feeling of disappointment.  Was Levin falling for another false story?  Since then, Levin has clearly realized, due to in-depth reporting by people like Julie Kelly, that he wasn’t getting the full story then, either. This entire episode had been frustrating to me because I actually know a man who observed some of what went on at the Capitol that day, during the event, from outside the Capitol, where he could see much of what was going on.  While he never went into or anywhere near the scrum going on outside, he was in a position to see that there were numerous and obvious provocateurs.  He told me that at one point, it became clear to him that at least some of the Capitol Police appeared to be acting in collusion with some of the provocateurs.  Many innocent dupes followed the provocateurs into the Capitol, and my friend could see this happening. Some of the dupes were even drawn into a melee with police by the provocateurs, which happens quite easily in a crowd this size.  As these events were happening, I was in my office listening to accounts of it, live on the radio, wondering immediately if this was another DC-UniParty setup.  Why wasn’t that Levin’s first instinct?  He has enough experience to have spotted it.  I live half a continent away, but I can smell DC BS from the other side of the planet these days.  This event had that stench from the beginning.  Despite our shared experience of the last several years, for more than a few radio hosts, it wasn’t so obvious for some reason, but should have been.  Instead, we got the usual “we condemn all violence” business, in a fashion no different than Chris Wallace repeatedly demanding that Trump denounce white supremacists on the debate stage, starting from the ridiculous premise that Trump were some sort of racist who now needed to renounce such associations.  Conservatives must lose their fear of these smear-jobs, because it cripples them, not only politically but also intellectually, which is the intent of the smear-artists. For all appearances to the world, Levin and many other hosts were pushing the mainstream media, DC UniParty narrative, again.

Levin is a passionate advocate for positions in the information sphere, as am I, which is undoubtedly a large measure of what draws me to his broadcasts daily.  I don’t make decisions about issues or candidates on the basis of emotion, but instead take a firm and careful accounting of them.  Once I’ve done so, I then apply my passion to the conclusions I’ve drawn in explaining an issue or advocating a particular stance.  The problem that arises for people like Mark Levin, Dan Bongino, or anybody else in the broadcast space is that things move incredibly fast.  Information blasts in and out, and it is updated and superseded by better, more accurate information, but also sometimes more bogus, inflated, and hyped information.  It happens constantly.  In this environment, one is going to make judgments about the newsworthiness of a story in an accelerated frame of reference, and it will necessarily lead to a much higher rate of error than it will, for instance, on a lowly blog published in the backwaters of the Internet. Some of the posts here are composed, fact-checked, and pushed out in thirty minutes or less, but those are rare. In the main, the postings on this site will have taken hours to compose, sometimes days, or longer, and I’ve been known to table a story indefinitely if I think my information isn’t solid enough. If you were to have access to what’s here, you would see that I have almost half as many posts in “draft” status as the almost fourteen-hundred posts that have been published over the span of years. Those drafts are posts you cannot see, and many of them you will likely never see, but this is the process. If a story just doesn’t stand up as I think it should, it’s never published. That’s born of the luxury of knowing I’ll almost never be “first” with a story, and that all I can offer is a unique perspective, or new details you hadn’t been presented before, and because the speed at which I present information is far less important to my audience than the idea that I get it right.

Levin sometimes has excellent instincts.  In March of 2017, based on a smattering of seemingly unrelated stories across several media outlets including McClatchy and the New York Times, Levin’s good instinct for political chicanery by Democrats led him to piece together the story we’ve all come to know is SpyGate, which actually encompasses a whole universe of sub-scandals, from spying on the Trump campaign and presidency, to the use of that information to concoct two fake impeachment narratives.  The chicanery also revealed what should be the biggest scandal of all: The corruption of the FISA system by actors within the Justice Department and the FBI, along with others both directing and participating in these activities in the administration, and on the FISA court.  What Levin’s instinct (and experience within the DOJ)provided him was the starting point for unveiling what should be known as the greatest scandal in American history, but for the fact that the corrupt and corruptible media will never willingly report on it.  Claims that Levin is incapable of stellar research and investigation are to be ignored.  It’s clear he has the experience and clear-eyed thinking to analyze such things.  Why does it seem, of late, that he’s not nearly so clear-eyed in his appraisals?  We can always forgive errors born of honest intent, but the problem is that media will attack even for those sorts of instances.

Levin bitterly complained after a small error in his most recent book, runaway New York Times best-seller American Marxism, was made out to be a mortal sin by a few among the chattering class in the leftist mainstream media.  In general, his books are extremely informative and well-written. They’re amazingly well-researched and thoroughly documented. Few authors go to the lengths to provide the citations that Levin routinely does within the pages of his books.  The problem is that when those critics reviewing your books are doing so with a political bias and intent, what you get instead of honest critiques are partisan hit-jobs.  Levin made the error of writing “Franklin School” instead of “Frankfurt School,” as if that’s not an easy mistake to make and and a more difficult error to spot in editing. From the point of view of the full-tilt leftist media, this was the worst scandal in literary history, and they used it to libel him mercilessly.  There’s a vast difference between an innocent error and the intentional falsehoods leftists publications gin through their presses and websites daily.

One of the problems is that in broadcasting, information moves extremely rapidly, and if you let yourself become emotionally invested in your conclusions about a given story too quickly, you’re going to get burned, quickly losing the trust of your audience, particularly if you don’t forthrightly confront the story’s inaccuracies or plain falsehoods promptly, as Bongino did on Monday and again Wednesday.   In the case of Mark Levin, I’ve come to a crossroad due to this trouble.  As a matter of loyalty for all his years of hard work, honest advocacy, and excellent programming, I am easily persuaded to give him another chance.  And another.  And probably several more.  The crisis I’m beginning to experience is that this has become something of a trend, but more importantly, he surely became aware between his broadcasts of Tuesday and Wednesday that the use of thermobaric or cluster bombs (by either party) in the war in Ukraine are unconfirmed.  I listened intently to the whole of his Wednesday broadcast, as I do most days, waiting for him to step right into the matter and clear it up. He never did.

Another sin of Levin’s is made up of his best intentions to advance conservatism.  On many more than one occasion, due to his desire to defeat the left, he’s let alleged conservatives on the air, generally Republicans seeking election/re-election, who come on to use his platform in a political season, often seeking his endorsement or even just the legitimacy among conservatives lent to them by appearing on his airwaves.  Lindsey Graham?  Kevin McCarthy?  There are more.  Too many, really.  I remember yelling at my radio, riding down the road “Mark, why do you bring these RINOs on your program? They’re going to screw you and betray us as soon as they’re re-elected.”  Well?  Have they?  Yes, sadly they have.  Levin himself was gently commenting on this recently.  He knows.  What he may not realize is how thoroughly it harms his credibility.

Since the beginning of the Russian attack on Ukraine, Levin has begun to bang the pots and pans indicating he’s very much in favor of some kind of intervention, or at least assistance to the beleaguered people of Ukraine.  It’s leading him to accept too quickly the dis/misinformation he’s getting from some source(s), perhaps at Foxnews, or perhaps elsewhere.  This has begun to seriously impact his credibility.  On Wednesday evening, my worst fears in this vein were realized when he began gushing over Never-Trumper FoxNews Pentagon Correspondent, Jennifer Griffin, who’s a known leftist, clearly committed to corrupting news over at FoxNews.  She’s one of the demons involved in the fake, ridiculous story about Trump at Normandy back in 2018, in which he allegedly called service-members who died there “suckers.” At the time of the story, Griffin said she was “unable to confirm the more salacious details,” implying she had confirmed the less salacious details, which naturally, she hadn’t.  The whole story was later debunked, but as usual, the debunking never received coverage to scale of its the story’s original propagation.  If this is one of Levin’s routine sources on national security matters, then nothing he says on the subject is even remotely reliable any longer.  I get it: He’s not a reporter, but he still has some obligation to the facts, and he needs to be more discerning in selecting his sources.  Neither Griffin nor Baier, both to whom Levin seems to have some unusual attachment, are what I would consider reliable or even particularly passable sources.  Before going on an anger-fueled rant about how he’d happily provide his own weapons to the people of Ukraine, perhaps it would be a good idea to verify the reports of cluster-bombs and thermobaric bombs allegedly employed by the Russians.  When it turns out, less than one day later, that the stories were either false or at least unverified, what then can he say to pull back on the bombast?  It’s too late. Elvis has left the building.  The best he can do is to retract the story later, but how does he then retract the bombast?  He almost certainly won’t.  He’s likely to leave that part stand, despite being at least partially motivated by the false stories.  This is the danger of the passion when driven by unchecked or unverified information.  As of now, he’s still letting the thermobaric and cluster bomb stories stand.  I suppose he hopes we won’t notice, or that the unverified stories will become verified, or even mooted by future verified use.

Bongino was more measured Wednesday, having mostly abandoned the narrative that Putin had become unhinged and “irrational,” instead pulling it back to “unpredictable.”  The interesting part about that is that in times past, Bongino had criticized Biden for destroying any “strategic ambiguity,” while praising Trump for having maintained it.  “Strategic ambiguity” consists, in part, of unpredictability. On Monday and Tuesday, he had relentlessly pounded on the idea that Putin was perhaps irrational or even insane.  It doesn’t help that this has been the mainstream media and UniParty narrative. Here is Hillary Clinton from Tuesday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe show:

Notice that Clinton questions Putin’s state of mind too.  It’s foolish to assume your enemy is a crackpot because he’s become less predictable.  In time of War, I would in many respects seek to make myself as unpredictable as possible to adversaries and enemies.  It would be my intention to keep them guessing, and I’d want them to worry mightily about my willingness to ratchet-up the intensity or scope of the war.  Bongino likes to talk about how President Trump had maintained a cloak of “strategic ambiguity” around his foreign policy intentions.  Why would Putin behave differently?  In contrast, Clinton famously had her reset button with the Russians while serving as Secretary of State, a job she was woefully ill-equipped to perform.  Fortunately for her, it did give her access to bilk much of the globe with her Clinton Foundation.  It was strictly a cash-and-carry operation, and there was no “strategic ambiguity” in it.  Her mission was to cart away cash, and Russia fully understood it.

The other thing clear in the video is that the DC UniParty establishment is trying to capture the mantle of Ronald Reagan, as they continue their anti-Trump narrative.  People like Levin and Bongino need to think very carefully about who’s providing the information they now rely upon to make pronouncements about Ukraine.  If I could ask either man a question, I think I might pose it this way:

Consider the following list of names: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, Mitt Romney, Adam Schiff, Susan Rice, Eric Swalwell, Adam Kinzinger, Liz Cheney, Fiona Hill, “Colonel” Vindman, Victoria Nuland, Ron Klain, and Jake Sullivan.

Now consider the events in Ukraine since roughly 2004.  Then consider the activities of that list of people(and other cohorts) over the intervening period. Then, consider the following facts: In 2014, with funding and assistance from the US State Department, US DOD, and various US intelligence agencies, there was a coup d’etat in Ukraine.  Essentially, the US fomented and funded regime-change in Ukraine. Ever since, the narrative in DC by the establishment, particularly the Democrats, has been “Russia, Russia, Russia.” Even Mitt Romney talked about Russia in his debate appearance, but Obama immediately deflected the question by mocking Romney.  Had Romney inadvertently let a cat escape the proverbial bag?

Now ask: How many of the people listed above were involved in the RussiaHoax/SpyGate, the First Impeachment of Trump, the Second Impeachment of Trump, and how many had a hand in the January sixth story, events, and subsequent narrative? How many are now pushing the official DC UniParty’s Ukraine narrative, in concert with corrupt and corruptible media?

The media lies endlessly to us, and those lies don’t stop with events beyond the water’s edge.  Meanwhile, I have to hear Levin questioning the patriotism of Americans who are questioning the official DC narrative, or suggesting they’re Russophiles or similar garbage.  That’s what I expect from Hillary Clinton, so that when I hear it coming from the radio in Mark Levin’s voice, I must ask him: “What in the Hell are you thinking?” Why would Mark Levin now take up the “Russia, Russia, Russia” allegations of Hillary Clinton only to aim them against members of his own audience? On the basis of information from which sources?  Jennifer-freaking-Griffin???

These two men have repeatedly demonstrated their capacity for intense investigations and research, but they’ve been steered in the Ukraine story largely by emotion, driven by many false stories, false narratives, and imagery that’s been created but unsubstantiated in far too many cases. In media generally, we’ve been shown a story about Miss Ukraine, bearing arms and ready to fight, but the rifle she’s pictured with is an airsoft rifle, (airsoft being a sport she enjoys.)  We’ve been told about the “Ghost of Kiev,” by such low-lifes as Adam Kinzinger, that has turned out to be an utter hoax.  The Snake Island story turned out to be propaganda in the larger dimension:  It appears that rather than having been killed after telling their Russian attackers to “Go F’ themselves,” they laid down their arms in surrender, and are now all safe, albeit disarmed and removed from the battlefield.  We’ve had a member of the Ukrainian Parliament tell the world that she’s fighting “not only for Ukraine, but for the New World Order.”  We’ve had every manner of false story propagating, not merely from the combatants, but particularly from the Western media.  The number of fabricated, concocted stories coming out of the war zone are far too numerous to list here. Even the imagery is frequently suspect, as reported elsewhere on this site.

That Levin and Bongino walked into some of these stories is no surprise.  I too was sucked into one of them early on.  The Snake Island story recalled the bravado and courage of the Alamo, until it didn’t.  What’s been surprising and disappointing is how thoroughly Levin has been entirely swamped by some of it.  Bongino corrected the record, in his defense and to his credit.  So far, Levin has not, and he’s not backed-off his bombastic declarations about his willingness to ship arms to a country that has been a playground for the DC UniParty’s money-launderers.  The alleged brave acts(it’s not that I doubt the bravery of Ukrainians, but only the veracity of this narrative) are being pushed in media with a reckless disregard for fact-checking and verification, which is the definition of war-time propaganda.  The “fog of war” only clears if we work to make that hapen.  It’s important for talkers to right their ships when they get a story wrong.  Sometimes, it’s understandable and forgivable if the host makes amends by leading with the truth or a correction at the next available opportunity, as Bongino has done this week.  We need solid information, and while I still want the passion both men bring to their respective endeavors in media, I have to insist that they improve their information-vetting, by reconsidering the sources they now employ.  Clearly, some of those sources are of dubious veracity.  I enjoy the presentations of each man, both interesting and entertaining, as well as bracing and motivating, but I need the foundation to be solid.  Everybody makes mistakes, me included, but there are innocent errors and errors of incomplete information, but there are also errors born of haste, undue passion, lack of due diligence and malice.  I expect the former to happen from time to time, and they are entirely generally to be forgiven upon forthright correction.  The other sort, when they become habitual, threaten to turn an outlet or a show into nothing better than another mainstream media outlet: Corrupt or corruptible.  This also applies to many others in the conservative space.  In a moment of excess passion, it could easily happen to me.  We must fight against this kind pollution of facts driven by our own intemperance, but we must also hold outlets and hosts accountable.  I need Levin to correct the record, telling his audience that reports of thermobaric bombs or cluster bombs intentionally targeting civilians are unconfirmed, unverified reports at this time.  In fact, their use at all remains unverified.  These weapons are indeed nasty, but the US has employed cluster-bombs too.  Ask the Iraqis.  Ask the Afghans.  What makes their use illegal, like so many weapons of war, is their use in the intentional targeting of civilians.  Under various international treaties and conventions, doing so constitutes a war crime.  It’s important for Levin to fix this at the next opportunity, and as ever, at least for the moment, I’ll be listening this evening to see if he will.

 

 

McCain Pimped Hoax Trump Dossier

Sunday, March 17th, 2019

The Ghost of Betrayals Past

It had been suspected for some time, and as long as a year before his illness and death, many people were whispering that Arizona Senator John McCain had been involved in distributing the now entirely discredited Trump Dossier put together by Clinton Campaign operatives and smuggled into the FBI as evidence of alleged “Trump Collusion” with Russia.  It’s now known that the only collusion with Russia was carried out by Hillary Clinton’s various campaign operatives and dirt merchants Fusion GPS. Now it has been revealed in court documents that Senator McCain and at least one associate were busy pimping the so-called “Trump Dossier” all over town.  His irrational hatred of Donald Trump finally drove him to do the unthinkable: He became the tool of Hillary Clinton and the Russians. Like Mitt Romney, he decided that if he couldn’t win the presidency, Donald Trump mustn’t be permitted to win it either. McCain was used as Hillary’s messenger boy to deliver pages of the document to the FBI Director, at the time James Comey, while McCain’s associate, David Kramer, a former State Department flunky, delivered it to CNN, Buzzfeed, and the Washington Post.

Ladies and gentlemen, this merely demonstrates what we already knew: The only good thing about McCain had been his Vice Presidential pick in 2008.  In the end, he was nothing but a fake smut-merchant acting on behalf of Hillary Clinton, her most vicious associates, and the Democrat Party.  People had suspected this right along, but McCain continued to deny it right until he left the public eye.  One would have thought that in his dying days, he’d have sought to make amends for his bad deeds, since by then, it was well known that the so-called “Steele Dossier” was a complete and utter hoax.  Instead, he apparently went to his grave stubbornly refusing to recognize how he had been used due to the hostility he still bore toward President Trump, evinced by the fact that he purposefully excluded the president from his funeral.  It’s a sad way to go, bearing hatred and lies as a burden into the hereafter. After all, tradition holds that Wrath is among the deadliest of sins.

For my part, I never trusted McCain, and the way he permitted his former campaign crew to publicly smear Sarah Palin for a loss they caused with their ridiculous “suspended campaign” strategy to face the financial crisis was just another bit of insight into the man’s character.  Had he been so honorable as he’d been treated for so long, he’d have told those nitwits to shut up.  Instead, some suggest he actually directed the smears. In any event, he is gone but his lie lives on in the mouth of every media outlet, every Democrats and NeverTrumper in Washington DC, and while most will abide the notion to refrain from speaking ill of the dead, in this case, it’s difficult because the actions of the last few years of his life earned him whatever scorn may be heaped upon him, and because the record needs to be set straight.

 

The Scandal the Memo Didn’t Reveal

Monday, February 5th, 2018

memo_p1_ftNow that the country has had seventy-two hours to digest the memo released by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, it’s time to consider what the memo tells us, and to decide what we ought to do with this information.  In this examination, we must first ignore all of the shrill dismissals and whispered urgency that has characterized this release in the media all week.  On the one hand, we have hyperventilating leftists telling us that the Republicans have produced a “nothing-burger” that undermines national security and/or the rule of law.  On the other, we now have a DC establishment that’s interested in protecting Robert Mueller’s investigation, as though they’re under his thumb.  What’s never admitted by the latter, and what is completely obscured through the huffing and puffing of the former is what really happened, and what this memorandum really means, or where it should lead us.  What does the memo really say?  Is it really a “partisan nothing-burger that is intended to undermine national security?” Is it really “unrelated to Mueller and the Russia investigation?”  Let’s find out if there’s something hidden in plain sight.

The first thing to note is the subject of the memo:

Subject: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Abuses at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigations

For those of you who may or may not be aware, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act(FISA) is a law that governs the way surveillance is conducted on US citizens and legal residents in the foreign arena or with foreign actors.  It sets up a secret court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court(FISC,) the purpose of which is to allow warrants to be granted in a secret process not open to the public, and not ordinarily subject to public scrutiny, all on the basis that such surveillance may be necessary from time to time for the purposes of national security, and that the rights of Americans must be protected even in this context.

What happened specifically in this case is muddied, but what we do know from this disclosure is that:

  • FISA Warrants were sought and granted in the matter of US citizen Carter Page
  • Carter Page was a low-level adviser with the Trump Campaign
  • The primary basis for the granting of the warrant was the “Steele Dossier”
  • The “Steele Dossier” was generated by former British agent Christopher Steele working with Fusion GPS
  • Fusion GPS was at the time being paid by the DNC
  • The DNC was under the functional control of the Hillary Rodham Clinton Campaign
  • The information provided to the FISC was known by those seeking the warrants to be of dubious providence
  • After Steele was let go by the FBI as a source, the FBI and DOJ continued to use Fusion GPS as a source because they hired Ohr’s wife

I might add another point, though it’s under dispute at this time:

  • The entire “Russia Collusion” narrative is based on fabricated information largely derived from the Steele Dossier

On its face, this seems pretty damning, but there’s something not made clear by this memo, something to be found between the lines, or to be understood contextually if you prefer, that intimates something deeply disturbing and devious.  To understand this context, we have to view this in the time in which it occurred.  This was done in order to conduct surveillance on the Trump Campaign.  All of the rationalizations being offered now, after the fact, are cover stories being propagated by the actors and their ideological brethren.  The real order of events looks more like this:

  • FISA Warrants are sought in order to permit extensive spying on the Trump campaign for political motives
  • A justification is needed to have cover for doing the surveillance – enter “Russian Collusion”
  • Internal polling showed Clinton was not invincible
  • Trump wins the election, leaving the actors in a potentially ‘outed’ position
  • The “Russian Collusion” narrative is furthered to justify the previous political activities of the Obama administration and executive departments
  • Mueller is appointed as Special Counsel because somebody must be guilty to preserve that narrative
  • The entire narrative becomes the basis for Democrat obstructionism in order to undermine and oppose the new president
  • James Comey apparently perjured himself multiple times in testimony to Congress
  • Barack Obama knew or ought to have known what was being done
  • The entire Democrat-Media complex is now engaging in a coverup to protect the Mueller probe to give him time to find something

Ladies and gentlemen, when you boil it down, this document is damning, but it’s most damning in terms of what it does not explicitly state.  I don’t know if it constitutes “one-hundred times worse than Watergate,” but it is substantially worse than Watergate, and there are some critical reasons why this is true.

Watergate was about actions taken to hide or cover-up embarrassing actions by unofficial political actors. President Nixon covered-up, or attempted to cover-up embarrassing criminal actions of some political henchmen who acted without his foreknowledge, endorsement, authorization, or collusion.  That’s all about the conduct of a President using his office to conceal ugly criminal actions of political allies and underlings acting on his behalf, without his knowledge.

This case, for which there is strangely no agreed-upon catchy name(like “Watergate” for example,) is much worse because it involves the following elements:

  • A President’s administration seems to have been complicit in conspiring to commit criminal actions under color of their official offices
  • Actors within the various departments seem to have colluded with a political candidate in order to attack another political candidate
  • The FISC seems to have gone along with this because it did not seek to validate the providence of the documents
  • Much of the so-called “mainstream media” was complicit and acted as agents for this conspiracy
  • The conspirators remain at large to propagate their defense from the shadows and from official offices
  • Conspirators include a presidential candidate, at least one former President, his “kitchen cabinet,” and appointees, who remain in place in the government

Ladies and gentlemen, this is “the swamp.” This explains a good deal, because while the memo doesn’t go beyond the facts of the FISA abuses, it’s what those facts tell us about the overall corruption in Washington DC, how our government operates, and the extent to which abuses of power are the norm in the daily operation of government.  It also shows why we must from time to time clean out the Federal bureaucracy.  Too much power, too long-enjoyed by a like-minded group of people, perhaps operating from a shared ideological base, or from a common political organization, tends toward grotesque abuses of power.

This is just the first stone being overturned.  There are much worse abuses directly implied by the facts disclosed in this memo. For instance, was Peter Strzok the person who built the FISA application(s)? If so, aren’t the applications’ omissions of facts regarding the providence of the Steele Dossier essentially a defrauding of the FISC?  And if this is so, what happens to every case in which Strzok is or has been involved? Strzok interviewed Michael Flynn, for instance.  Is this the reason that Mueller requested a delay in the sentencing of Flynn last Thursday?

One of the things that we know, historically, is that when testimony from an officer or investigator is shown to be tainted in some way, and particularly when that witness is found to have known his testimony was false, there are generally sanctions from the court, but more, all other cases involving the witness are thrown into question.  When it is shown that a police officer lied in testimony to a court in obtaining a search warrant, not only is that warrant thrown out, but there is a high probability that every instance of testimony in any case in which that officer had been a witness is thrown into question. It essentially ends the officer’s career, as nothing he says from that date forward is given any veracity.  No prosecutor will use his testimony, and no judge will thereafter consider his warrant applications.  In other words, Strzok and every case in which he has been involved will be thrown into question.  Every case.  Strzok helped write the Clinton email exoneration.  Strzok interviewed Flynn.  There’s no end to the possibilities, and Strzok has been moved out of Mueller’s team, and out of field investigations, to the Human Resources department.  That’s because he’s of no use whatever as an investigator of any sort.  His career as a field agent is and should be over.  He may face civil and/or criminal sanctions if he lied to a court, either directly or by omission.

Who signed off on these applications at the DOJ and the FBI?  The memo makes that plain:

  • James Comey
  • Sally Yates
  • Rod Rosenstein
  • Andrew McCabe

Comey and Yates have been fired, Rosenstein is still in place, and McCabe was placed on administrative leave by FBI director Christopher Wray on Monday, after he read the memo on Sunday. These people may all face civil or criminal sanctions on the same basis.  Rosenstein is being left in place to protect Mueller, and on Sunday, we had the spectacle of Trey Gowdy claiming that this memo has nothing to do with “Russia” or Mueller.  This is a preposterous assertion, as Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch made clear in a video briefing, and during an interview on Friday, when he was asked about Speaker Ryan’s claims to the same effect.  Here’s Fitton on Fox:

Now, compare this with what Trey Gowdy, (R-SC) had to say about it, Sunday, on [de]Face the Nation:

These two views are irreconcilable.  Either Fitton is correct, or Gowdy is correct. I don’t see room for any middle ground. Gowdy claims:

  • The Steele Dossier has nothing to do with the meeting at Trump Tower
  • The Steele Dossier has nothing to do with an email sent by Cambridge Analytica
  • The Steele Dossier has nothing to do with the meeting with George Papadopoulos in Great Britain
  • The Steele Dossier has nothing to do with “obstruction of justice”

On their face, all but the fourth of these claims seem true, except for one significant problem: The first three are certainly independent events, unrelated in terms of the specific actors, however, they are related by virtue of a timeline.  These are independent events, each in a vacuum, but they are events that add up to something illegitimate once taken together in a timeline with other things like the Steele Dossier.  To analogize, let us imagine that conspirators had agreed to take their independent parts in a plot to ensure that I would slip on a banana peel in front of cameras on my birthday. (I could see my siblings setting something like this up.) One brother buys a banana, eats the fruit, and carries the peel to the appointed place. Another brother arranges for the cameras to be present at the appointed place and time. My sister finds me, and asks me to accompany her to look at something.  Upon my arrival, my sister on my arm, another sibling distracts me and gets me to look left, as from the right, the brother with the banana peel tosses it into my path and my sister nudges me over it.  I land on my backside, and all have a great laugh at my expense. If I’m gullible, I might believe that the brother with the banana peel innocently discarded it into my path.  I might believe another brother just happened to have arranged for the cameras to be right there at that moment to record it for posterity, and I might believe my sister hadn’t been complicit in walking me into it while another brother took my attention off the path immediately in front of me.  I might be that gullible.  Is Trey Gowdy that gullible?  Is speaker Ryan?

As for the “obstruction” nonsense, just in the last week, we’ve learned how Andrew McCabe tried to set up Reince Priebus, and this is another example of a Republican being walked onto a banana peel by a duplicitous Democrat, the whole point of which was to create the impression that the Trump administration was trying to improperly influence Mueller’s fiasco of an investigation.

On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace asked congressman Chris Stewart(R-UT) if House Republicans are “more concerned with protecting us from the Russians or protecting us from the FBI?” Here’s the video:

That’s disgraceful. You can watch the entire Fox News Sunday show if you like, but any time Chris Wallace is involved, it’s going to have a leftist slant.

This isn’t over, because the DC establishment intends to rid themselves of Trump.  As readers will know, I’m not a Trump fan, but I am a fan of the rule of law and the US Constitution.  The forces arrayed against Trump here are formidable, but the question remains: Will President Trump rise to the challenge?  Will he find a way to empower his Attorney General, who has been neutered almost from the outset?  By the way, I think what should happen at this point is that AG Sessions should fire Rosenstein, then rescind his recusal on the “Russian Collusion” matter, and appoint another Special Counsel to investigate corruption within the executive branch departments, including the FBI and the DOJ, and also the State Department.  Apparently, I’m not alone in believing this, as Rep Paul Gosar, (R-AZ) wants to see some criminal prosecutions. At the same time, Rep. Louis Gohmert(R-TX) is pressing to see the transcripts of the FISC hearings that adjudicated these warrant applications.

 

Note: All of this made me curious to see if I could find out a bit more about Fitton’s view on things, and so I went looking around, finding this, which was interesting: