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  • The Russia Collusion story is becoming more clear.

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on March 8th, 2018 (All posts by )

    I was a little late coming to the Trump supporters, but it was interesting almost back to the beginning.

    Then it began to form a preference cascade.

    Can the GOP really be so out of touch with the legions of out-of-work Americans — many of whom don’t show up in the “official” unemployment rate because they’ve given up looking for work in the Obama economy? With the returning military vets frustrated with lawyer-driven, politically correct rules of engagement that have tied their hands in a fight against a mortal enemy? With those who, in the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino massacres by Muslims, reasonably fear an influx of culturally alien “refugees” and “migrants” from the Middle East?

    April 2016:
    Trump is a coward, four time bankrupt loser, con artist, bully, 12 time business failure, WWE character, hypocrite, liar, dullard, loose cannon and has very poor character. He will lose in November and people need to wake up to that fact. Otherwise, hello President Hillary.

    A year later, that commenter is a supporter.

    Trump was in touch with them.

    The result was “Deep Confusion.”

    I left Queens for Brooklyn to meet Dany L. Esquilin, a Republican I met in the first week of this assignment, aboard a train to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

    Mr. Esquilin was not a stereotypical Trump supporter. His parents were born in Puerto Rico, he is black and he had once been a Democrat. (Then again, so had Mr. Trump.) A retired private investigator, Mr. Esquilin worked to marshal Republican votes from Jews, Russians and Chinese-Americans.

    Oh Oh.

    Shortly after the election, The Hillary team came up with an explanation for her loss.

    It was the Russians.

    The book (Shattered) further highlights how Clinton’s Russia-blame-game was a plan hatched by senior campaign staffers John Podesta and Robby Mook, less than “within twenty-four hours” after she conceded:

    That strategy had been set within twenty-four hours of her concession speech. Mook and Podesta assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up. For a couple of hours, with Shake Shack containers littering the room, they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.

    The Clinton camp settled on a two-pronged plan — pushing the press to cover how “Russian hacking was the major unreported story of the campaign, overshadowed by the contents of stolen e-mails and Hillary’s own private-server imbroglio,” while “hammering the media for focusing so intently on the investigation into her e-mail, which had created a cloud over her candidacy,” the authors wrote.

    The Russia Collusion story is still going although a bit weak these days.

    Andy McCarthy has pretty much demolished these arguments.

    To repeat in closing, I believe it is specious to claim that a president can be found guilty of an obstruction offense, under federal criminal statutes, on the basis of acts that are within his lawful authority, even if the acts spring from malign motivations. Contrary to my friend Gabe Schoenfeld’s claims, this is not because I believe that the president is above the law. It is because our law’s check on presidential maladministration is impeachment, not criminal prosecution. If Congress concluded that a president committed acts that interfered with FBI investigations, and that were corruptly motivated even if technically within the president’s lawful authority, Congress could impeach the president. Were that to happen, it would not matter that the acts were not indictable obstruction crimes under the federal penal code.

    More is now coming out about the real story.

    Following close on the heels of those two pass-through DC-based “scoops,” Entous was lead byline on an April 3, 2017, story reporting a meeting in the Seychelles between Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian banker, reportedly to set up a back channel between Trump and Putin. After publication of the story, Prince said he was shown “specific evidence” by sources from the intelligence community that his name was unmasked and given to the paper. “Unless The Washington Post has somehow miraculously recruited the bartender of a hotel in the Seychelles,” Prince told the House Intelligence Committee in December, “the only way that’s happening is through SIGINT [signals intelligence].” Recent news reports suggest that Prince’s meeting has become a key focus of the Mueller investigation. If those reports are accurate, it seems even more likely that classified intelligence was purposefully being leaked to put pressure on Prince.

    These are felonies. We will see if anyone goes to jail.

    The real story is as follows.

    At the same time, there is a growing consensus among reporters and thinkers on the left and right—especially those who know anything about Russia, the surveillance apparatus, and intelligence bureaucracy—that the Russiagate-collusion theory that was supposed to end Trump’s presidency within six months has sprung more than a few holes. Worse, it has proved to be a cover for U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement bureaucracies to break the law, with what’s left of the press gleefully going along for the ride. Where Watergate was a story about a crime that came to define an entire generation’s oppositional attitude toward politicians and the country’s elite, Russiagate, they argue, has proved itself to be the reverse: It is a device that the American elite is using to define itself against its enemies—the rest of the country.

    We are in a lawless era. I recently read Pat Buchanan’s book, “The Nixon White House Wars.”

    I highly recommend it. The press and the FBI managed to drive Nixon and Agnew from office. I doubt they can do so with Trump.

    I am more worried about assassination.

     

    32 Responses to “The Russia Collusion story is becoming more clear.”

    1. Grurray Says:

      Huge diplomatic victory tonight with North Korea. The opposition narrative is going down in flames. I admit I was initially skeptical of Trump too when he first started campaigning. I’ve long since stopped trying to make sense of his approach and just embrace the results, which have so far been surprisingly effective at every turn.

    2. Bill Brandt Says:

      I was a reluctant Trump supporter but I have really come around. He actually is trying to implement what he promised. And he doesn’t kowtow to the usual suspects who try to define him (racist, etc).

      I think the Russia Collusion story is losing steam.

    3. Brian Says:

      If Trump actually does meet with Kim, even if nothing is accomplished, it puts an absolutely massive hole in the hysterical picture that’s been painted of him as someone who’s likely to blunder into nuclear war.

      A major problem the Dems have is that they want to pretend that everything was going just great and now we have this incompetent somehow in charge. The fact is that the establishment is a complete dumpster fire, from both parties, and the Dems are in for a world of hurt if they can’t figure out a way to acknowledge that.

    4. Jonathan Says:

      embrace the results

      It’s the Chicago way.

    5. tyouth Says:

      “Trump is a coward, four time bankrupt loser, con artist, bully, 12 time business failure, WWE character, hypocrite, liar, dullard, loose cannon and has very poor character. …” Add “racist, sexist, philanderer, homophobic, xenophobic (as if that’s a bad thing)” and probably other personality defects, we wouldn’t care

      because it is still very much better than a (quotes mine) “philistine, dullard, lying propagandist, manipulative, leftist untried in the proving grounds of capitalistic America” personality.

    6. Grurray Says:

      Ha, well it is Chicago School way. For some reasons I can’t recall, earlier in the week I was browsing through Milton Friedman’s work, including his Essays in Positive Economics. He has a classic analogy of an expert billiard player

      It seems not at all unreasonable that excellent predictions would be yielded by the hypothesis that the billiard player made his shots as if he knew the complicated mathematical formulas that would give the optimum directions of travel, could estimate accurately by eye the angles, etc., describing the location of the balls, could make lightning calculations from the formulas, and could then make the balls travel in the direction indicated by the formulas. Our confidence in this hypothesis is not based on the belief that billiard players, even expert ones, can or do go through the process described; it derives rather from the belief that, unless in some way or other they were capable of reaching essentially the same result, they would not in fact be expert billiard players.

      It is only a short step from these examples to the economic hypothesis that under a wide range of circumstances individual firms behave as if they were seeking rationally to maximize their expected returns (generally if misleadingly called “profits”) and had full knowledge of the data needed to succeed in this attempt; as if, that is, they knew the relevant cost and demand functions, calculated marginal cost and marginal revenue from all actions open to them, and pushed each line of action to the point at which the relevant marginal cost and marginal revenue were equal. Now, of course, businessmen do not actually and literally solve the system of simultaneous equations in terms of which the mathematical economist finds it convenient to express this hypothesis, any more than leaves or billiard players explicitly go through complicated mathematical calculations or falling bodies decide to create a vacuum. The billiard player, if asked how he decides where to hit the ball, may say that he “just figures it out” but then also rubs a rabbit’s foot just to make sure; and the businessman may well say that he prices at average cost, with of course some minor deviations when the market makes it necessary. The one statement is about as helpful as the other, and neither is a relevant test of the associated hypothesis.

      In other words, because of incomplete information about the nature of reality, assumptions don’t matter, and the only real proof is in the pudding. A theory works because it works, and when no other value judgments have been able to falsify it or replace it.

      In fact, the more unrealistic the assumptions, the better because you won’t be deluding yourself into thinking your assumption actually is something that is real. The odds are it isn’t. That way you can then formulate analogies, representations, and intuitions, in a way extracting the useful wheat and dispose of the rest of the useless chaff.

      So there are rules to this game that don’t adequately represent anything, but they are the only rules we have. The only thing to do is somehow interpret them in a way that results in winning. Easier said then done, as we’ve seen winning has been rare in our political arena lately. Trump is doing it, though.

    7. Jonathan Says:

      Yes. And nowadays there is a large group of people who appear to believe that theoretical predictions if made by the right people trump empirical reality.

    8. Brian Says:

      “there are rules to this game that don’t adequately represent anything, but they are the only rules we have.”
      This is why the inertia of the establishment was/is so solid, and why the fury against Trump is so great.

      “You just can’t DO that!” they scream.

      “Watch me.” he says…

    9. Mrs. Davis Says:

      Yes. And nowadays there is a large group of people who appear to believe that theoretical predictions if made by the right people trump empirical reality.

      That large group is called Francophiles. They have never understood the Anglophiles. Napolianic Code, Common Law etc. Thus it has ever been. The great tragedy for America is that at the end of the 19th century we went from being Anglophiles to being Germanophiles. Perhaps we’re finding our way out of that wilderness.

    10. PenGun Says:

      The best part for me is watching the MSM slowly come to the realization that they are gonna have to roll this back somehow. They have been howling for Trump’s head and are starting to see they ain’t getting it, and a great deal of what they had been pushing, is lies. I look forward to more chuckles.

      I have maintained my stance that the Russia crap is bull since the beginning.

    11. Grurray Says:

      That’s why it’s so infuriating to see Liberal Leftists bemoaning all the poor simpleton voters voting “against their own interests” by supporting Trump. They’re especially perplexed as to how religious conservatives can defend Trump knowing that he’s a sinned at various times in his life.

      But we all know they don’t even like most Americans, let alone know what their best interests could possibly be. They hypocritically want to hold Christians to a standard they would never hold themselves to. Their standard isn’t even realistic either. Most religions advocate compassion and mercy for sinners. Except for Leftism, I guess.

    12. Jonathan Says:

      Those darned Christians and their false consciousness. Don’t they realize they’re being forced to promote homosexuality and abortion for their own good?

    13. Gringo Says:

      Grurray:
      They’re especially perplexed as to how religious conservatives can defend Trump knowing that he’s a sinned at various times in his life. But we all know they don’t even like most Americans, let alone know what their best interests could possibly be. They hypocritically want to hold Christians to a standard they would never hold themselves to.

      I am reminded of the 2012 electoral campaign when a Yellow Dog Democrat friend brought up some alleged sexual misdeeds of Herman Cain, then a candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination. My reply: you voted for Bill Clinton. That response rather surprised him.

      They are perplexed why many people voted for Trump in full realization that his character would not necessarily would not make him a candidate to lead a Sunday School class. This perplexes them because they refuse to ask themselves what view those same voters have of the Democrat candidate(s).

      They scream contempt for Trump while they are unwilling to face the fact that an awful lot of voters have an awful lot of contempt for Democrat candidates. They voted for Trump in full realization of his flaws. Nor did those voters need Trump to shout “Lying Hillary” to decide that they had a lot of contempt for Democrat candidates. Rather, Trump echoed what they were thinking.

    14. Bill Brandt Says:

      Something I read from a Trump supporter that has stayed with me. As with all people, you gotta take the whole package, good and bad. You can’t pick and choose.

      And most of us think the good he is doing outweighs the bad.

      You think about it it is the identical situation to Bill Clinton’s supporters and all of his sex scandals. It exasperated me – their continued support – but I can better understand it now.

    15. Christopher B Says:

      Bill Clinton’s supporters were far more cynical or opportunist than Trump’s. Clinton started the ‘nudge, nudge, wink, wink’ style of making public pronouncement of one view, then changing your mind once elected. They supported him not just despite certain views but because they expected him to never implement them as policy. His public positions were merely ways to gain power.

      Trump’s troops were told almost from the moment he descended that staircase he was never going to be elected, and supported him anyway.

    16. Mike K Says:

      An interesting article that has some application to the Trump hate on the left.

      In her essay “The Anatomy of an Academic Mobbing,” Joan Friedenberg states that “most mobbers see their actions as perfectly justified by the perceived depravity of their target, at least until they are asked to account for it with some degree of thoughtfulness, such as in a court deposition, by a journalist or in a judicial hearing.”

      The flip side to the depravity of the target is the righteousness of the mob. What makes members of the mob so passionately inhumane is that their position as righteous becomes instantly wrapped up in the successful destruction of the target. As Friedenberg writes “An unsuccessful account leaves the mobber entirely morally culpable.”

      Moral culpability creates fear and stokes irrational behavior, not within the target but within the mob itself. If a mob fails to cast out the target then eventually the mob will have to come to terms with the rights of the person they tried to destroy and the fact that all people, regardless of manufactured depravity, are deserving of humanity and basic fair treatment.

      That is mostly about academic arguments but a lot of it applies to the hatred by the left of Trump, and especially academics.

      As they fail to exclude him from office, their rage only gets intensified.

    17. Jonathan Says:

      The apparent parallel that gets drawn between Trump and Clinton is grossly unfair to Trump. Whatever Trump’s personal failings he doesn’t appear to be corrupt, whereas Clinton systematically abused his power as president. Where are the bribes Trump took? Which political enemies of his have been audited by the IRS? Has Trump lied under oath or threatened govt employees to get them to lie under oath? I don’t think anyone who voted for Trump expected him to be a choir boy. We hoped he would be an effective executive and that his difficult personal qualities might be an asset in dealing with Democrats, bureaucrats and foreign governments. So far he has not disappointed us.

    18. Bill Brandt Says:

      I think there is a lot of truth to what you said, Mike. As an analogy, picture someone trying to anger another person – make them afraid, and the target just ignores them. Just makes them more mad.

      Or an example that is a bit crude but to me a bit funny.

      Someone gives you “the finger” and you simply smile back at them and say “Have a nice day!”

    19. Bill Brandt Says:

      Good points, Jonathan.

    20. Mike K Says:

      “Someone gives you “the finger” and you simply smile back at them and say “Have a nice day!”

      You remind me of the story of the flasher I read somewhere long ago.

      A woman was walking along when a pervert exposed his genitals to her.

      Instead of screaming or getting angry, she just kept walking and commented, “You’re even smaller than my husband.”

      He immediately went limp and slunk away.

    21. Bill Brandt Says:

      I’m listening to Trump speaking live on Fox news in Pennsylvania. He’s talking about tariffs and the disparity between what other countries charge us and we charge them in taxes for various goods. I think he is red-hot. I think he speaks right over the establishment Republicans who don’t understand to this day what’s going on.

      Said Maxine Walters has a “low IQ”. Which you got to believe is true. But have you ever heard another politician republican talk like that?

      I love this guy.

    22. Bill Brandt Says:

      One more thing. I think the Chicago boys are pretty savvy group of writers. Trying to remember this article I read on the Trump phenomenon, and why the polls have proven so inaccurate.

      In the bottom line is, the polls are missing a huge group of people that are never polled.

    23. Kirk Says:

      “In the bottom line is, the polls are missing a huge group of people that are never polled.”

      Mmmm… I don’t know what the actual reason is, but I’m not sure that “never polled” is the totality of the problem.

      The polls are inaccurate as hell, which is something that’s blindingly obvious. But, the cause…? There are at least three things going on, that i can see, which lead into this happening. First, there are a lot of people who basically do as I do, and refuse to participate in polling of any kind. Then, there are the people who flat-out lie to the poll-takers, telling them whatever they want to hear, and then turning around and doing something quite different. This can be because of an active desire to sabotage the polls, or because the person polled is that wishy-washy. Third thing? Nobody trusts the poll-takers enough to tell them the truth. You get a call out of the blue, asking personal questions, and what do you do, in today’s environment…? You lie. Who would trust a stranger enough to tell them their actual opinions on controversial subjects, in today’s atmosphere of “Gotcha!” ambush notoriety? Oh, sure… With all the folks like that pizza parlor getting put up on social media and crucified, you’d have to be nuts to tell anyone your actual opinion, no matter how little it differs from the mainstream.

      Final analysis? You can’t trust the polls. And, I don’t think it’s just because they’re somehow missing a bunch of people. There’s more to it, than that.

    24. Bill Brandt Says:

      Good points, Kirk. There is a good op-ed from Peggy Noonan in the WSJ about the Trump divide, whose gulf is as great as ever.

      https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-screwball-tragedy-of-donald-trump-1520552914

    25. Mr Black Says:

      Don’t forget the last factor Kirk, the polls are gamed by the polling companies to support whatever narrative position the democrats need at the time.

    26. Helian Says:

      “The press and the FBI managed to drive Nixon and Agnew from office.”

      Indeed! Far from being a victory for truth and justice as heroic reporters unmasked a corrupt President, Watergate was a media coup d’état that destabilized our democracy. Now, after each election, the losing side immediately begins casting about for some plausible excuse to impeach the legitimate leader of the country. Buchanan’s book is good, but even it doesn’t come close to giving readers who didn’t live through the affair some feel for the obsessive, bulldog-like persistence with which virtually the entire media ranted on about Watergate for a year and a half. Eventually the President was betrayed by his own party, few of whom had any clue what was really happening, and was forced to resign. In those days there was no talk radio and no influential Internet news sources and bloggers to push back against the media tirades. It was like CNN’s ranting about “Russiagate” on steroids, but involving virtually the entire media. You really need to go back and look at the source material – the front pages of the NYT and Washington Post as the affair was going on, for example – to grasp the magnitude of the assault, and the single-minded obsession of the leftists who controlled the media with toppling Nixon. It’s nice to see that what really went down is finally dawning on increasing numbers of people. Unless we understand what happened, and are determined to resist similar attempts, we can expect to see more Watergates in our future.

    27. Mike K Says:

      “It’s nice to see that what really went down is finally dawning on increasing numbers of people. ”

      I have to admit that I was really fooled at the time. I was interviewed on TV as we wre pulling out of the Rose Bowl parking lot after a Rose Bowl game and I was asked about Haldeman’s conviction. I agreed with it and thought that Nixon had really planned some sort of coup of his own.

      It was years later that I figured out the truth.

      The knowledge that Mark Felt, #2 man in the FBI, was “Deep Throat” was the key fact,

      Felt saw Gray’s selection as an unwelcome politicization of the FBI (by placing it under direct presidential control), an assault on the traditions created by Hoover and an insult to his memory, and a massive personal disappointment. Felt was thus a disgruntled employee at the highest level. He was also a senior official in an organization that traditionally had protected its interests in predictable ways. (By then formally the No. 2 figure in FBI, Felt effectively controlled the agency given Gray’s inexperience and outsider status.) The FBI identified its enemies, then used its vast knowledge of its enemies’ wrongdoings in press leaks designed to be as devastating as possible. While carefully hiding the source of the information, it then watched the victim — who was usually guilty as sin — crumble. Felt, who himself was later convicted and pardoned for illegal wiretaps and break-ins, was not nearly as appalled by Nixon’s crimes as by Nixon’s decision to pass him over as head of the FBI. He merely set Hoover’s playbook in motion.

      That’s from Stratfor.com, not my own opinion.

    28. Bill Brandt Says:

      @Sgt Mom: I don’t know if that line came from a movie but I do know it was part of the late comedians Red Foxx’s routine.

      “what’s that?”, the woman asks.

      “That’s my d#%^ “, he says huskily.

      “Oh,”. she says. “”It’s just like a penis only smaller!”

      Hope That I haven’t violated too much Chicago boys decorum

    29. Bill Brandt Says:

      That is odd Sgt Mom. I replied to you at the end and the software put it before you. Oh well.

    30. Sgt. Mom Says:

      The episode of the perve, flashing his male endowment at a woman: I have read that the most cutting response came from a scene in a movie. (Can’t recall the movie or the actress, though.) Completely bored and affect-less tones: “Yeah, looks like a p***s – only smaller. I have stashed this response away in my memory kit, against the day when I am faced with precisely that situation.

      And, yeah – Maxine “Mad Maxine” Walters may be — against considerable opposition — one of the dumbest members of the CBC. Is there any among them who are not corrupt, viciously racist, and as dumb as a box of rocks? I will give them this – they do seem to be bright enough to get elected, over and over again. Which doesn’t say much for the general IQ in their districts, though.

    31. Sgt. Mom Says:

      Sigh. Comment gremlins. Johnathon is working on it.

    32. PenGun Says:

      And … its done:

      https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-12/house-gop-ending-russia-probe-says-no-collusion-found