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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Comey is a Mess

Over the past several months, I have written (here and here, for example) how I thought that the once vaunted FBI had been led to disaster. This is no longer the FBI of men in white shirts, ties, and fedoras doggedly tracking down the Rosenberg spy ring and dismantling the Mafia. This is now the FBI infiltrated at the top by the progressive snowflake products of our decrepit universities and willing to sacrifice the honor of the institution in pursuit of a political agenda.

On Comey, himself, I went from willing to give Comey the benefit of the doubt on his personal qualities to where I now find myself, to wit, Comey is a mess, a huge stinking mess of contradictions and foibles that make him unfit for command of a banana stand much less the FBI, the world's most powerful law enforcement and intel agency.

The man has some very real problems; I am not a psychiatrist, and don't play one on the internet, but I think he needs some serious help in the mental health area. I hope he gets it before he does any more damage to the country or himself. The words "narcissist," "egomaniac," "paranoid delusions of grandeur and persecution," "fabulist" all easily spring to mind when trying to describe Comey. Such strong words, however, require mental health experts--such as they are--to analyze them carefully for their applicability to Comey. I am not an expert, so I will just give my cheap seats' view.

There's so much out there that he has said and done that makes no logical sense that I can't even begin to look at it all. There's some good commentary, as always, at Legal Insurrection, dealing with the complaints from the Hillary camp against Comey--as I had noted before that,
The Dems, once full of praise for Comey, have exploded in anger calling Comey the most foul of names imaginable, including the foulest of all, "Republican." The Dems are desperately trying to put the focus on Comey and take it from the core issue: Hillary Clinton's despicable behavior. 
But do they have a point? Yes, somewhat.
Even the Dems now realize that Comey, initially useful to the libs, was a man who came to see himself as above the system; he could act on his own to usurp the authorities of the Attorney General, he could decide what sort of deceptive and incomplete information to give President Trump and the FISA court (never told him or the court that the Dossier was not only unverified but bought and paid for by the DNC), and that, as he told Congress, he could leak documents he wanted to leak because, apparently, he had a higher moral purpose and end-game. Dem operative Lanny Davis now has some choice words for Comey, not hesitating to calling him a "liar."

His reasoning for holding that famous July press conference in which he slammed but exonerated Hillary Clinton is bizarre. You can the read the excerpts from his book in which he says he assumed Hillary would beat Donald and that he was trying to do her a favor by bringing the email investigation into the the public domain as a way of clearing the air so that President Clinton would not have persistent stories of a cover-up hounding her. What? The bottom line is that he was letting politics determine the path of a criminal investigation--and he admits it was a "criminal investigation"--and he did so in full knowledge that it could have an impact on the election. That's outrageous. He clearly treated both Clinton and Trump unfairly by inserting himself into the electoral process (and later the governing process) and trying to become some sort of king-maker. He was, in my view, a man totally at sea in the world that came in with Trump's victory. The old establishment "truths" were no longer held as sacred; the old regime of "Washington First!" was being replaced by "America First!" Change is not Comey's forte.

I have previously noted that Comey's greatest failing was that he insisted on becoming known. He wanted not just fifteen minutes of fame but constant adulation and praise as the Last Boy Scout. Unlike other FBI Directors--J.Edgar excepted--he wanted to be famous, a celebrity. Are we to see him soon on "Dancing with the Stars"?

His catty descriptions of both Obama and Trump are not worthy of a serious adult; his purple overblown prose is the stuff of a juvenile romance novel. His comparing Trump to a mob boss is disgusting, and shows that Comey does not know decisive leadership when he sees it. His constant claims to having been nauseous, depressed, frightened are, again, not worthy of a leader or--shall I say it?--of a real man. I know it's not politically correct, but watching Comey brought back memories of certain people in my high school. Back then we called them "Big Sissies," and I am hard put to come up with a better non-psychiatric label for six foot eight inch James Comey, the ultimate Beta-male.  


Friday, April 13, 2018

Road to Damascus, Part II

Some years ago I wrote about another voyage down the road to Damascus (here). It seems we are on that road, again, under a new tour guide.

US, UK, and French forces have launched a series of attacks on Syrian facilities.

The initial press reporting is somewhat garbled so it will take time to get the details right, but it seems that we are attacking to degrade Syria's ability to conduct future chemical warfare. That's pretty vague, I know, but as I said we will have to wait for further details. Such "degrading" could involve attacks on chemical weapons' stores, manufacturing centers, military units capable of conducting such warfare, supporting infrastructure of various types, and, of course, on Russian and Iranian support mechanisms. The attacks could also be aimed at degrading Assad's military capabilities, in general, and at embarrassing the Russians and Iranians by demonstrating to Assad that his friends can't spare him the pain we can inflict. In recent weeks, as Secretary-designate Pompeo confirmed, we, in fact, have been in direct combat with Russian "mercenaries," killing hundreds of them, it seems. I trust we will not go for the regime change brass ring, a la Libya, but we will see.

President Trump inherited a mess in Syria. "Mess" is too kind a word. Even the Israelis who have a vested and primordial interest in Syrian developments do not seem to have it figured out except for the part of being very reluctant to knock off Assad--something which the Israelis could have done almost time in the past many years.

Although located in "far away" Syria, that mess posed a threat to America and the West. We could not go on with Obama's lackluster (at best) efforts to contain the growing ISIS caliphate and its rising prestige in the Islamic world. That mess also involves a multi-sided civil and international war with shifting alliances, Kurds, murky rebel groups of undetermined loyalty and reliability, Russian "mercenaries," regular Russian forces, Turkish forces, Iranians and their proxies, and, of course, Assad who when dealing with the West poses as the bulwark against ISIS, but who is perfectly happy to kill Kurds and others who do most of the actual fighting against ISIS.

My default position which comes from 34 years in government service is to shut up and support the troops once they go into action. The time for debate is over. I just hope that we have a plan with a realizable and positive goal, and that we are not just floundering as we did under Obama/Clinton/Kerry.  I certainly trust the instincts and leadership abilities of President Trump, NSC chief Bolton, and SecDef Mattis much more than I did those of the late and unlamented Obama misadministration.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Mueller Must Go

It's time for the Mueller Circus to follow the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus into retirement. The Ringling/B&B died from declining ticket sales and the persistent assault by animal lovers, especially the elephant lobby's charges that the pachyderms were being mistreated. Fine. I never cared for the circus, and found the animals in it to look tired and unhappy; I never liked an institution that depends on clowns for its viability. The same can be said about the Mueller version of the Greatest Show on Earth.

The President should fire Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, and Special Counsel Mueller, and take a deep, deep look into the functioning of the DOJ and the FBI. There will be a political uproar; the Dems and their media acolytes will scream about obstruction and impeachment. Yeah, yeah. They're doing that, anyhow, so let's get this Mueller monstrosity over and done with. Either that or begin naming Special Counsels right and left: one for Hillary Clinton; one for Loretta Lynch; one for Eric Holder; one for James Comey; one for Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and her Pakistani gang; one for Chuck Schumer; one for Nancy Pelosi; one for Governor Brown; and, of course, why not name one to investigate Bob Mueller, himself?

No need to push or cut in the queue, folks! We have a line of Torquemada wannabes stretching to the horizon! The government has lots of money! Everybody gets a Special Counsel!

The FBI raid on President Trump's private attorney should be the final straw that breaks the poor abused camel's back. The raid took place, apparently, as a consequence of something that Mueller found out while investigating something else entirely, or so they say. Who knows? In my view, the raid on a private attorney's office and the taking of client files was simply outrageous and of questionable legality.

I know, I know. We are seeing the prog media and others go on about how such a raid could and would be approved only after multiple levels of safeguards had been gone through, so if all those honorable people cleared off, there must be "something," right? Nonsense. After all the abuses of federal power that we have seen these past few years, who the hell believes that? We can be just about 100% certain that the "process" was a Swamp Freak asking a Swamp Clown, "Hey about this for an insurance policy to prevent Trump from being President?" To name just a few abuses, we have seen the progs use the IRS, the EPA, the ATF,  the BLM, the CIA, the NSA, and, of course, the FBI/DOJ misuse of the FISA process to wage war to keep the Swamp Creature Freak Show in the center ring. The progs also have formed alliances with the high tech gurus of Silicon Valley to spy on and silence critics by "de-platforming" them with charges of "hate speech." I got hit with that myself.

Zero doubt now exists, if ever any did, that Mueller forms part of the prog effort to delegitimize the Trump Presidency, and to destroy it and him, personally, for daring to question the established wisdom of "how things get done." This effort was underway during the election when FISA, relying on a fake DNC-purchased dossier, was used to monitor the Trump campaign. The "unmasking," the salacious leaks, all of that failed to prevent Trump's victory in November 2016. Immediately after that election, the progs launched attacks on the vote totals ("Recount!") and on the electoral college ("Electors defect!"), as well as on Trump's patriotism ("Russia! Russia!") They launched riots in the streets, and even before he had taken office demanded and plotted impeachment.

No human's character and reputation now or in the past could withstand an investigation into every facet of his or her life by a prosecutor armed with a political and personal agenda, an unlimited budget, an open-ended mandate, and all the time in the world. Nobody could make it through that unscathed.

Beria and Himmler, looking up from hell, smile.

This must stop.

Fire Ringmaster Rosenstein and Chief Clown Mueller. Shut down this show.


Monday, April 9, 2018

A Quiet Place

I continue avoiding doing my taxes and writing about politics.

Instead, I, reluctantly, went to the movies with a couple of my sons and one of their significant others. They insisted we go see "A Quiet Place." As noted, I went reluctantly as I generally do not like modern "creature feature" sic-fi such as "Alien" and others of that ilk.

So . . . surprise! This film was actually very, very good--excellent, in fact, and I highly recommend it.

John Krasinski--he of "Office" (US version) and "13 Hours" fame--is the director, co-writer, and one of the stars along with his real-life wife Emily Blunt--she of "I am ashamed of my US citizenship!" fame--and a set of very talented children actors. By now you probably all know the premise: a post-apocalyptic world where the few human survivors struggle against a generally unseen horde of carnivorous creatures that react to sound. Humans survive by being quiet. Was this funded by a librarian lobby?

The film is beautifully shot in rural upstate New York. Krasinski, frankly, does a masterful job as director. It is, in fact, one of the best directing jobs I have seen in a long time. The tension in the movie is intense and unrelenting; the pacing is superb. I also liked that instead of having some introductory text scroll across the screen explaining the disaster and setting the scene, or some off-screen narrator filling us in, Krasinski cleverly, almost casually, provides some of the back story to the apocalypse: passing shots of dirty old newspapers announcing the disaster; a faded bulletin-board in the background with pictures of missing persons; the family looking for medicine in a ransacked and decrepit supermarket (an Aldi?) which still has a full stock of loud crunchy chips--no scavenger, no matter how desperate, wants those, and for good reason--and a wonderfully understated scene in which the family lights a fiery beacon at night, and in the background wilderness we see faint widely-scattered beacons from other families.

The barefoot characters hardly talk with each other, and use American sign language, instead. The acting is superb by all involved as the players must convey a range of emotions and thoughts almost always wordlessly to avoid the sound-seeking creatures--which make rare but heart-pounding appearances in the film.

The film has flaws, of course: e.g., the family farm still has electricity for which no explanation is given; the lack of defensive barriers, including, for example, an electric fence or barbed wire is puzzling; and the presence of a strategically placed nail is not explained. Why, furthermore, doesn't the family join forces with other survivors? But, never mind that stuff. This is a great and thoughtful horror movie with a surprisingly conservative theme.

I don't know if Krasinski and Blunt, two typical Hollywood libs, meant to do it, but their movie provides a strong depiction of the power of a traditional family--it does not take a village to raise, educate and protect these kids. This film pounds home the at-times gut-wrenching responsibility parents have to protect their children from the monsters out there--and that parents despite their best efforts don't always succeed. We see a pro-life stance (in a Hollywood movie!) as the Emily Bunt character becomes pregnant and gives birth despite all the risks. The birth scene is quite harrowing, and Blunt does a tremendous acting job. The family also prays silently before dinner--not a vegan meal, by the way. Both father and mother understand their equal but different roles in protecting the children. There is even a pro-gun element: a mother's love and a Remington 870 prove a useful combination when fighting monsters.

Go see it . . but make sure your phone is off and you don't eat anything crunchy . . . you never know what might be lurking out there in the dark.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Marginalia

No great insights today. Have been a bit unplugged from the news and politics. Instead have been exploring the Raleigh-Durham area in the absence of the Diplowife who's in California. Joined a very nice gun range (Triangle Shooting Academy) and took a couple of my S&W 40s to blast away at some hapless targets. Fun time was had by the Diplomad.

I earlier went "shopping" at an ALDI supermarket--didn't actually buy anything. That chain, of course, is quite popular in Europe and has begun to move into the US market. I don't know. I was not impressed. The irritating and very European habit of having to insert a coin to get a shopping cart, I did not find charming. Who the hell carries coins anymore? I found the store somewhat dim and dreary; it evoked old memories of shopping in socialist third world countries.

The products? Boring, over-priced, and poorly packaged and exhibited. Truth be told, however, I probably won't buy organic tofu burgers no matter how nicely packaged, so, I guess, you should not waste any marketing glitz on me, Herr ALDI. As far as I could tell, ALDI seems to be where angry social justice progressives, clutching recycled shopping bags and driving expensive cars, go to shop. I did not detect a whole lot of Trump supporters there. Am I  being unfair? Probably, but, hey, since I got kicked off of Twitter, I have to vent against somebody . . .

What news I did see is just more of the same. I, however, was impressed with Trump taking some significant steps on the immigration front. If, for example, the press reports are correct and he has suspended "catch and release," and asked the military to help not just in intercepting illegal aliens but holding them as they await their deportation hearings, that's a major development--perhaps. I am sure the policy will face all sorts of legal challenges, lots of virtue-signaling and tear-jerking accounts of this or that wonderful illegal alien imprisoned "unjustly," and, of course, it's only temporary since the next President can reverse it. Congress, however, remains MIA on immigration, so the President does what he can with what he has.

That's all I have got for now. Have to do my taxes. Been putting it off for as long as I can. This will, however, be the last year I pay California taxes, so there is that silver lining.


Monday, April 2, 2018

The Central American Caravan

A couple of days ago I posted a piece on Trump's foreign policy with a reference to the ancient Arabic saying, "The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on."

News reports tell us there is another sort of caravan on the move. Some 1000-1200 Central Americans, aided it seems by progressive groups and the Mexican government, are "marching," driving, hiking, riding a train, whatever, on their way to the USA. It is some self-proclaimed "freedom caravan" that intends to arrive on our border, stream across, and then claim asylum in the USA from the violence in Honduras.

This seems to be a new take on the Moroccan "Green March" of 1975 used against Spain in the Western Sahara. The idea is defy the superior armed Western power to use force against a "popular" march which seeks only some altruistic goal. Very touching. You will notice these sorts of tactics are not used against certain countries known to shoot without compunction.

Anyhow, this little stunt is outrageous as it is being, as noted, aided by a nominally "friendly" country, Mexico (see my take on Mexico's friendliness here and here). Not only that, but legally the marchers have no case. If they are fleeing Honduras, they can seek asylum in Mexico, the first stop in their "escape." Mexico has the responsibility to grant them asylum, turn them over to the UN, or return them to their country of origin.

It is political season in Mexico, and the presidential candidates are trying to outdo each other in "standing up to the gringos." If this stunt succeeds, there will be a flood of similar "marches" very quickly. We either have a border or we don't. We either have a regime of laws or we don't. We either have a country or we don't. This is an existential threat as much if not more so than any actions by Russia, China, or the jihadi crazies.

We cannot just have the dogs bark. They have to bite.

One of the articles I link above noted that Mexico has over fifty diplomatic and consular missions in the United States; Honduras has about dozen missions here. All of these, the Mexican ones especially, are centers of political and immigration activism. The Mexicans, as I have noted before, have been quite open in their meddling in our internal affairs, including in the last elections.

We need to tell these governments in no uncertain terms that we intend to shut down half of their missions immediately, and will shut down others in accordance with their behavior. We, furthermore, need to tell them that we will cease issuing visas, and even shut the border to normal trade and tourism if these sorts of officially tolerated and sponsored events occur.

This is no joke. Serious as a heart attack.

Back from the Republic's Imperial Capital

Yes. I just got back from a few days in The Most Exalted Imperial Capital of Washington DC. Visiting my kids who live there and taking in the sights and the restaurants. The weather cooperated--mostly--and we generally had very nice days and nights, and the people were generally very nice as long as one did not raise politics. As I have said before, DC looks very good--a far cry from how it looked some forty years ago when I first lived there. Government is good business; wish I had bought stock in it.

The dogs stayed with my daughter and had to ride an elevator for the first time in their doggie lives. It was quite funny watching their reactions to the "room that moves." I believe it was the late great Robert Heinlein who said, "One man's magic is another man's engineering." I saw the look of awe in my dogs' eyes as the doors slid close on one scenario and then opened on another. Magic! The science is settled: technology is magic.

There was some weirdness afoot. I was walking down Massachusetts Avenue, and saw people coming out of a Methodist Church after Easter services. It was a racially mixed crowd and the people all seemed friendly with each other. I was somewhat taken aback by a large sign on the church building that read,

REPENT

We Repent for Our Origins in White Supremacy.

OK, I thought this actually is not a fun group of people. I walked more quickly before I could be asked by somebody to repent for something some long distant ancestor might or might not have done. Moses, after all, was kinda rough on the Egyptians . . .

Oh, well. It was all made good by the one thought running through my head, "Hillary Clinton is still not President." Can't be better than that.