This has been such a newsworthy week that I will deal only briefly with a few items which normally would be column-worthy so I can concentrate on the blow to the Democrats and Jihadists by the President this week and the revelations about the Obama administration’s police-state tactics.
1.The Fourth Circuit Applies the Maxine Waters Doctrine on the Law
It was an amusing tell last week when Democrat demagogue Maxine Waters conceded it would have been fine if Hillary had been elected and fired James Comey, because he deserved it, but it was improper for President Trump to have done so. It’s less easy to dismiss the blow to the rule of law and our constitution that the Fourth Circuit dealt this week when in a lengthy opinion they said the same thing about the travel moratorium: Okay if a Democrat did it, not okay if Trump did. This will head to the Supreme Court, which unless it decides we are to become a banana republic where decisions are based on the political appetites of the judiciary instead of the law, it will be overturned. If you like this opinion -- that is, to say if you are a Democrat -- remember the political tilt of the federal judiciary is in the process of being altered and this precedent will work against you.
2. The Democrats’ Quixotic Effort to Create “Referenda on Trump” Fails Again
In the face of declining support in federal and state elections countrywide, the geniuses in the DNC decided on a strategy seeking to pick up seats in special elections. These elections usually involve low voter interest and turnout, and the DNC reasoned if they pumped millions into these elections they could pick up seats. Their media buddies prophesied each time that this election was going to be a “referendum on Trump.” If so, he’s continued to beat them time after time. This week it was Greg Gianforte who crushed their designated banner bearer. And he won despite a last-minute effort by a notorious political hack and provocateur; Ben Jacobs, previously with the Daily Beast, now sporting UK Guardian press credentials.
3. The President’s Splendid Foreign Adventure
Nancy Pelosi was critical of the President’s first foreign trip which began in Saudi Arabia, continued on to Israel, the Vatican City, Belgium, and Italy because it wasn’t done in “alphabetical” order.
I am linking to the transcripts of his Saudi Arabian and Israel speeches. I urge you to read them in their entirety. If you read accounts of them in your paper or viewed them on television you will be in the dark about the earth-shattering shift in U.S. policy and the clarity this president brings to the issue of Moslem extremism and how to crush it, something distorted and concealed for at least the previous eight years of his successor and even longer in the Deep State with its Arabist slant. Compare the text, for example, with these reporters’ tweets:
Jim Acosta [CNN]@AcostaTrump rightly asked this part of world to stiffen spine in battle against terrorism. But where was the appeal to our collective humanity?Julie Pace[AP] Verified account @jpaceDC
Trump lavishes praise on "magnificent" Saudi Arabia, but stays publicly silent on human rights
When Bob Schieffer ventured praise for Trump’s speech in Saudi Arabia, the CNN host accused him of “normalizing” the president. Can’t have that on CNN apparently.
If you hope to have any understanding of what this president has to say you must simply go online and read the transcripts or watch the full video recordings. There are no reliable shortcuts, I’m afraid.
The press, doubtless hoping the President would fail, did cover the Saudi trip. When it was obvious he did not bomb, but rather acquitted himself brilliantly, they cut short coverage of the Israeli portion of the trip . Why did they do this selective coverage? As my online friend Tom Lipscomb sagely observes: “The Dems only believe what is real is restricted to what is covered by their press outlets.” Obviously, they decided he was dashing their predictions and so decided that to cover the trip in depth would only underscore their error.
4. The Massive Illegal surveillance of Americans and the Justifiable dismissal of James Comey
Honest and full coverage of the foreign trip was not the only major event airbrushed by the media this week. Several online publications fill in the blanks about the massive, illegal surveillance conducted by the Obama administration over the eight years he was in office and the deceptive, partisan, and incompetent administration of the FBI under Comey.
If you hope to understand the massive, illegal surveillance and weaponizing of intelligence against citizens by the Obama administration, you need to read three online sources, Circa, Sharyl Attkisson and National Review.
This week Circa revealed that on October 26, just weeks before the election, the Obama administration finally revealed to the FISA Court it had been ordering illegal NSA searches of Americans for years:
The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall, according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community.More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa.The Obama administration self-disclosed the problems at a closed-door hearing Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that set off alarm. Trump was elected less than two weeks later.The normally supportive court censured administration officials, saying the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26, 2017.The admitted violations undercut one of the primary defenses that the intelligence community and Obama officials have used in recent weeks to justify their snooping into incidental NSA intercepts about Americans.
You can check the accuracy of Circa’s summation by reading the FISA court opinion.
Sharyl Attkisson, formerly of CBS, has prepared an extensive timeline of the Obama administration’s surveillance and weaponizing of intercepted intelligence against opponents, reporters, and even Congress. There was a consistent pattern of surveilling and leaking information about anyone who opposed anything the administration did and punishing severely whistleblowers and reporters who tried to report wrongdoing.
It began on April 2009 within three months of Obama’s inauguration with the leaking of a conversation Congresswoman Jane Harmon with pro-Israeli lobbyists. It grew to include FBI contractor Shamai Leibowitz, “Tea Party” and “patriot” applicants for special status with the IRS, Fox news reporter James Rosen, Sharyl Attkisson herself, former Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Fox news reporter Mike Levine, ATF whistleblower John Dodson, CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus, journalists from the AP and New York Times, reporter Audrey Hudson, Senate intelligence Committee computers, Joint Chiefs of Staff James Cartwright, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Carter Page, and lawmakers and Jewish groups opposed to the Iran “deal.”
It was, Attkisson notes, not until this month that we learned from Circa that during the past election year 2016: ”the Obama administration vastly expanded the searches of NSA database for Americans and the content of their emails and phone calls: From 9500 searches involving 198 Americans in 2013 to 30,355 searches of 5,288 Americans in 2016.”
Circa followed up its first account with yet another -- this one about how the FBI illegally shared the raw intelligence about Americans with unauthorized third parties.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, now under new management with President Donald Trump, confirms that the 654 unmaskings reported last year for fiscal 2015 was underreported by a factor of more than three times. The correct number was actually 2,232.So how does an agency entrusted with producing some of the nation’s most sensitive intelligence and secrets get its math so mixed up? Apparently, it was a case of providing statistics from the wrong category. [/snip] “Transparency isn’t any good if the numbers you expose aren’t correct. And there seems to have been a lot of downplaying of unmaskings so I think this a question worth exploring. Who approved the inaccurate number and was it an innocent mistake or part of a larger pattern,” said a congressional aide directly involved in the investigations, speaking only on condition of anonymity because they were not approved to talk to reporters.Republicans want to question former Obama administration National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who originally denied know about any unmasking of identities of Trump campaign associates. But after Circa reported she had in fact requested or read several intelligence reports with the names of Trump associates unmasked, Rice reversed course and acknowledged she had done so but insisted her intentions were national security related and not political.Rice turned down a request to testify before a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing earlier this week. But expect GOP investigators to keep up their pursuit to put her under oath.The NSA is allowed under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to spy on foreign powers without a court warrant but the law prohibits the targeting of Americans for such surveillance. If the NSA accidentally intercepts Americans or information about them overseas, it is supposed to legally put the information in a virtual lock box.Circa also has asked the Trump administration to declassify and make public the total number of times Americans in sensitive jobs like Congress, presidential campaigns, journalism, the medical profession, the legal profession and the federal judiciary either had their names searched in the NSA database or their names unmasked in NSA intelligence reports.
After explaining the legal and technical aspects of NSA data collection and the handling of intercepted communications under the law, Andrew C. McCarthylooks at these disclosures and notes they create a new legacy for Obama:
The rules from 2011 forward were simple: Do not use American identifiers. Yet NSA used them -- not once or twice because some new technician didn’t know better. This violation of law was routine and extensive, known and concealed. Clearly, this new scandal must be considered in context. The NSA says it does not share raw upstream collection data with any other intelligence agency. But that data is refined into reports. To the extent the data collected has increased the number of Americans whose activities make it into reports, it has simultaneously increased the opportunities for unmasking American identities. Other reporting indicates that there was a significant uptick in unmasking incidents in the latter years of the Obama administration. More officials were given unmasking authority. At the same time, President Obama loosened restrictions to allow wider access to raw intelligence collection and wider dissemination of intelligence reports. This geometrically increased the likelihood that classified information would be leaked -- as did the Obama administration’s encouragement to Congress to demand disclosure of intelligence related to the Trump campaign (the purported Trump–Russia connection). And of course, there has been a stunning amount of leaking of classified information to the media. Enabling of domestic spying, contemptuous disregard of court-ordered minimization procedures (procedures the Obama administration itself proposed, then violated), and unlawful disclosure of classified intelligence to feed a media campaign against political adversaries.Quite the Obama legacy.
5. Conrad Black explains why he believes the Comey firing will prove to be a decisive victory for Trump and why the “resistance” is in its death throes
Like me, he thinks Comey’s donning the mantle of an electoral college of one was a huge mistake and predicts the democrats are heading for the last round-up:
While Mueller and McCabe sort out the facts, the Supreme Court will toss out the attention-seeking antics of the West Coast flake-judges who gained their fleeting moment of gimcrack fame by challenging the president’s clear authority over immigration. The Democrats’ policy of obstruction will come crashing to ground, and the commentariat and White House press corps who are the real opposition now, will be afflicted by chronic glottal stops. The president will put through his health care and tax reforms and drive on. And the honeymoon, to which all incoming holders of great office are entitled, will finally begin.While the Clintons and Obamas wait to see if they are in danger of indictment, with no one of either family to lead the Democrats for the first time in 25 years, the once loyal opposition have sown and they shall reap. The president has evident draw-backs, but he is trying to do what he was elected to do. Trump’s enemies right now are an abominable mélange of snobbery, hypocrisy, and psychopathic partisanship. They will be weighed in the balance and they will be found wanting.
Like the Islamists who think they have supremacy over the Abrahamic religions which preceded them, the Democrats who imagined themselves to be the vanguard of an inevitable march of history have reached the edge of the cliff and Trump is there to kick them off it into the abyss.