“Wiretapping”

“The press takes [Trump] literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.
”  — Salena Zito

When Donald Trump claimed “Trump Tower had been wiretapped”, the media – awash in images of sweaty, donut-dust-stained cops hunched over in a 1974 Ford Econoline amid amplifiers and reel to reel tape decks, concentrating on conversations through headphones.  And they laughed – nobody’s done that since the ’80s!  Har di har!

Roger Simon connects some  dots – inconvenient ones, for the agenda-driven media:

What appears at this writing is that Trump transition team members and possibly Trump himself had their identities revealed, were “unmasked” in the parlance, while foreign diplomats were being surveilled. The identities of American citizens were not sufficiently “minimized,” as they are required to be by law. This is a crime one would assume would put the perpetrators in prison. So far it hasn’t. More than that, such behavior is a grave threat to a free society, to all of us.

In effect, Trump was wiretapped — if not in the corny, old sense of the word, something very close. Technologically, he was wiretapped, as were several (actually many) others.

A fair amount of this happened not long before Barack Obama suddenly changed the rules regarding raw intelligence, for the first time ever allowing the NSA to share its data with 16 other intelligence agencies, thus making the dissemination of said data (i. e. leaking) many times more likely. That was done on January 12, 2017, just three scant days before Trump’s inauguration. Why did the then president finally decide to make that particular change at that extremely late date, rather than on one of the previous seven years and three hundred fifty-three days of his presidency? You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes or Watson to smell a rat. Something’s rotten somewhere — and it’s not Denmark.

The whole thing is worth a read.

NPR On Al Capone’s Vault Trump’s Tax Return

On “Morning Edition”.

NPR Reporter:  “…if it weren’t for the “Alternative Minimum Tax”, Trump would have paid a net tax rate of 3%”.

NPR Anchor:  “Right – but there was an alternative minimum tax, and he paid a net rate of about 25% – considerably higher than Barack Obama and double what Bernie Sanders paid.  So why the pointless “what if?”   You’re “reporting” a complete nothingburger, here.”

(UPDATE:  The anchor never said any of that.  It was just a dream.  The “reporter’s” line is pretty accurate, though).

Collateral Moral Damage

In 1933, after a decade and a half of tumultuous politics that frequently turned into street violence, the German “Reichstag” (parliament) empaneled a cabinet led by Adolf Hitler to run things. Hitler’s “Nazi” party was not the biggest party in the Reichstag – they’d actually lost seats in the most recent round of elections – but they were in a strategic political position.

While the Nazis are (mostly mistakenly) called “far right”, the interesting thing is that the “Hitler Cabinet” had about as much support from Communists and Socialists as it did from the populist and “conservative” (which meant monarchists and Catholics, at the time) blocs in the Reichstag. Both sides – Communist and Monarchist – had the same reason to support the Nazis taking control of a coalition government; a bunch of populist extremists with a private army of thugs would drive the German middle to the Left or the Right. That is most extremists’ first goal; make the center untenable.

It backfired on the brilliant minds of the Reichstag, of course; Hitler, promising an end to divisive politics from all sides, forged “Unity” (by co-opting, neutralizing, exiling or killing the geniuses who’d put him in power); his cabinet led the entire world to war seven years later.

The only thing worse than “divisive” politics is no politics at all.

Keep that in mind when you see episodes like those last Saturday at the MN State Capitol, where masked thugs attacked Pro-Trump demonstrators, or two weeks ago at Berkeley, or…well, the list is going on and on and on, even now. I’ve seen more than a few people on social media, no doubt angry and frustrated, exclaim how they’d like to be at the next such rally, to break some heads (and I’ll confess, in my heart of hearts, the thought’s crossed my mind, at least for a moment before I chased it out).

Just like 85 years ago, that plays into the hands of the *real* extremists. Extremists are happiest when they’re creating more extremists – and it doesn’t even matter whose side those extremists are on. And then, when the vast middle gets sick of “politics”, and turn to someone who’ll just bring “order”…

…well, I’d say “we know where this leads”, but all too many Americans really really don’t.

I’ll Have A Merlot With My Derangement This Evening

I caught this on MPR last week; arts reporter Marianne Combs’s piece on the new season at the Guthrie, featuring the new “Trump Derangement” theme:

This fall, the Guthrie will stage Lillian Hellman’s “Watch on the Rhine.” The show deals with the rise of fascism on American soil at the start of World War II, but Haj says it feels startlingly relevant today.

“There’s a line in the play that says something like, ‘We don’t send people back — we’re Americans. That’s not what we do.’ And that line was written in 1941,” Haj said. “The reason we do the classics is not to look at plays or stories under glass; it’s to understand that many of these classic texts have absolute resonances to our current times.”

The Guthrie follows “Watch on the Rhine” with Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit,” which at first might seem like a non sequitur. But Haj explained that Noel Coward, a contemporary of Hellman, wrote the play at the onset of World War II.

The message – “we, the Guthrie’s artistic directors, believe we’re living in times just like 11933 Germany; we believe our audience is like the British of 1940, who need something to take their mind off being firebombed every night”.

But don’t dare accuse anyone of Trump derangement!

It’s Only Satire…

until it’s not.

I say that, because it’s a phenomenon that is verging on being a “Berg’s Law”; today’s jokes about the behavior of liberals are tomorrow’s news stories about the behavior of liberals.  I have no doubt that someone in the comment section will, before long, post an article from Mother Jones or Raw Story that reads like the link above – but non-fiction.

The Better Mousetrap

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Everybody knows the federal budget is out of control.  So how about thinking of creative ways to save money?  Here’s one:

 The Third Amendment says: “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”

 A member of ISIS fleeting war-torn Syria is no longer a soldier, he’s now a refugee, so there’s no constitutional prohibition to Trump issuing an Executive Order requiring homeowners to take in former ISIS soldiers and provide them with food and shelter, at the homeowner’s expense.  The refugees’ extended families can join them, if the house is big enough.

 I recommend we start with people who oppose Trump’s immigration orders.  Why not?  How can they refuse to help?

 Joe Doakes

Reinforcing consequences for actions?

What’ll happen next?

Assyle ‘Em!

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Canada will not crack down on asylum seekers sneaking across from the USA, the borders will remain open.

 This is great news for us.  Trump ought to announce that starting March 1st, the federal government will be renting busses to give free rides to the northern border, for any undocumented immigrant, illegal alien or asylum-seeking refugee who wants to live in Canada.   We’ll drive you to the border and drop you off so you can waltz into paradise, no questions asked.

 Limited time offer: expires at 11:59 p.m. on June 30th.  Starting on July 1st, anybody caught in the USA will be sent to holding facilities in the desert outside Phoenix until their court hearing and, if found to be illegal, will be instantly driven to the border and dumped into Mexico.

 Wonder how many takers he’d get?

 Joe Doakes

I think I’d forgive an element of force for those Hollywood celebs who promised to move.

A Modest Question

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I was promised by every Liberal in the nation that if Betsy DeVos was confirmed as Secretary of Education, she would end public education.

 She got confirmed earlier this week.  So why were there so many school busses on the road this morning, blocking up traffic?  Shouldn’t those kids be sitting at home, stultifying in ignorance?

 Joe Doakes

We were also supposed to be at war with the Soviets…er, Russians.

No, wait, that was Hillary.  Never mind.

If The Media Didn’t Have Double Standards Yadda Yadda Yadda

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Ivanka went on a date while Liberals were busy protesting in airports.  How dare she?  She should be wearing sack cloth and ashes to atone for the sins of the man who was elected to do what he is doing.

Two thoughts: first, what happened to the “Leave the Children Out of It” policy regarding Presidential offspring?  She’s not the President, she’s not out there making stump speeches for him, she’s not responsible for what he says or does.  Leave her out of it.

 Second, the reaction is quite a contrast to the total silence when The Light Bringer was golfing, or beaching, or just lazing about watching the playoffs as soldiers got killed or ambassadors dragged through the streets.  Almost as if there’s some sort of, I dunno, maybe a double standard?

 Joe Doakes

I’m pretty convinced that:

  1. The Democrats’ current messaging strategy is “just say whatever we need to, because gullible peoples’ votes count as much as anyone’s.  Consistency, logic and ethics are for those square-state rubes”.
  2. The big media are just fine with that, and playing along with enthusiasm.

The New Praetorian Guard

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Senior Secret Service agent doesn’t like Trump, says he’s a disaster for the country, wouldn’t take a bullet for him.

 So?  Plenty of other work for Secret Service agents.  Anti-counterfeiting investigations in Alaska.  Running down people in Alabama who make on-line threats against the President.  She’s the special agent in charge of the Denver district so she coordinates advance teams when the President comes to town – that experience would be particularly valuable in case he decides to visit Iceland . . . maybe she spends the next couple of years checking sight lines and roof tops over there?

 This is the Deep State, bureaucrats who are supposed to be neutral and honestly serve the public without regard to who won the election.  But the IRS was happy to go after conservatives, government lawyers readily lie to federal judges, intelligence agencies are leaking obvious propaganda and now this woman decides her oath was personally to The Won, not generally to the job.  

 Drain the swamp. 

 Joe Doakes

It’s time for all those government workers who said they’d quit if Trump won to be held to it.

Am I The Only One…

…who wonders if all of this hysterical angst from the Left about having to share a democracy with people who disagree with them isn’t just an epic practical joke?

Like, the entire American left (or at least those that pull their intellectual strings) playing a huge joke on all of society?   Like, Ashton Kutcher is going to go on all six networks (counting Univision) and say “Dudes and Dudettes, you’ve been punked?”

I mean, reading this little tirade, it seems more and more plausible.   This person just can’t be for real.

Help me out, people.