Thursday, April 20, 2017

A jackal in the field

Give President Trump credit: He knew how to instantly alter the entire trajectory of American political reporting by knocking the Jeff Sessions kerfuffle right out of the news and drawing blood from both eye sockets of the mainstream media with a single punch.

And as the days go by, it seems more and more likely that the altered trajectory will, in the end, help him and hurt his foes. 

On March 4th the sun had yet to rise over much of the USA when Trump took to Twitter and declared: "Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!"

It is important to note that he put quotation marks around wires and tapped, signaling that either: 1) he was not using the technical definition of wiretapping (which applies to that nineteenth century technology known as phone lines) but was instead applying those words to the present world of twenty-first century electronic surveillance; or 2) he was quoting something he read or heard from another source.

Predictably, the MSM and American Left (but I repeat myself) reacted with howls of outrage and anguish. How dare the despised President 45 accuse their beloved President 44 of such a thing without ironclad proof! How dare he believe that those who hate him would use foul means as well as fair to defeat him!

They were so blinded by emotion that they overestimated their intelligence and completely missed the quotation marks before their eyes. They lampooned Trump for talking specifically of old school wiretapping, and many of them still do, never mind that your average fifth grader could tell he was not narrowing that term to things discussed in 1970's spy novels.

And as they howled, the noise they made caused their most cherished narrative to unravel without them realizing it. Suddenly stuck in flypaper, they reminded me of a fat city rat who wanders into the country for the first time and, not having needed to watch for predators before, walks right into one's mouth because it never occurred to him that such creatures might exist.

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Ever since Trump defeated Hillary, the MSM/Left has been trying to paint his victory as illegitimate at best, fraudulent at worst. To that end it invented a narrative that Trump and his minions colluded with "the Russians" so the latter could "hack the election" and make it appear he won when he really lost. When you think about it, that sounds tinfoil-hat crazy, especially when you consider that it is the MSM/Left that has always sucked up to Russia and mocked anyone who suggests that Russia is up to no good.

Nevertheless, it gave the narrative a veneer of plausibility -- put wind beneath its wings, if you will -- by reporting that the Justice Department and national security agencies (all part of Obama's executive branch) were "investigating" Trump associates. Those reports tantalizingly added that Trump himself had been "named" by the FBI when requesting a warrant from the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. And those reports were published prior to Trump's tweet.

Sure, they did appear in some known-to-be-biased publications, like the left wing Heatstreet and right wing Breitbart, but what made them powerful was the fact that they were trumpeted by major MSM institutions. In fact, the front page of the January 19th print edition of the New York Times carried the following headline: "Wiretapped Data Used in Inquiry of Trump Aides." (emphasis mine)

These MSM claims -- claims that parts of Trump & Co. were being investigated for "ties to Russia" -- served as protective clothing for vague insinuations that Trump and "the Russians" might have engaged in election shenanigans. It's the kind of clothing that leads people to suspect that there is truth to insinuations, and remember, the investigations that were whispered about in this case could only be done by the federal government's executive branch, which Obama headed at the time. And it strains credulity to believe that a sitting president would not be up-to-the-minute informed of an investigation happening on his watch that had major political rivals in its crosshairs.

Superficially, the reporting made it sound like the MSM/Left had a good hand to play. But in reality it was playing with an empty hand, and Trump's animal cunning (a phrase I swiped from Victor Davis Hanson) told him just how to call their bluff, so on March 4th he fired off his "wires tapped" tweet.

Jerking knees caused most members of the MSM/Left to instantly defend Obama by claiming it was outrageous for Trump to suggest that Obama (or Obama & Co.) was eavesdropping on Trump (or on Trump & Co.). They mockingly asked where Trump could have ever gotten an idea that such things occurred, but the problem for them was that their question was answered by pointing to their very own articles, so all of a sudden the canard about Trump & Co. colluding with Russia to fix the election vanished from the headlines. Like Keyser Soze at the end of The Usual Suspects, it was "gone!" -- and the reason it was gone is that they couldn't have it both ways.

To have any conceivable basis for the colluding-with-Russia allegation, the accusers needed to be able to say that Trump & Co. was being monitored ("investigated") by the feds during the period that Obama & Co. was running the feds. However, to say that such monitoring ("investigating") took place would be to admit that Trump's March 4th tweet was materially accurate.

The accusers could either dump one allegation or dump the other, but could not continue to make both. Knowing this, they reflexively did what they thought would protect Obama, because that is what puppies do for their masters.

And making things even worse for them is the intertia-like way the allegations intertwine, for they are woven together in such a way that while maintaining both is impossible, dumping one of them is still likely to weaken the one that remains, perhaps to the point of annihilation.

No matter how the MSM/Left responded following Trump's tweet, it was a loss for them and a win for him. The hare was caught in the jackal's jaws and the jackal relished the taste of its blood.

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Now things continue to worsen for the MSM/Left at a dizzying pace, due to the sheer volume of evidence indicating that Trump & Co. was monitored by Obama & Co. The MSM/Left is simply not capable of keeping it all contained or of keeping its stories straight.

And making matters worse is that the evidence of monitoring does not come with any mitigating evidence that monitoring was justified... so as their ability to credibly defend Obama & Co. withers, so too does their ability to credibly accuse Trump & Co. of being in bed with the Russkies... and thus the hare is not only bleeding, but perhaps bleeding out.

It's intriguing that Obama, who usually can't avoid talking about every topic under the sun, especially when the topic is himself, has kept his lips sealed with Krazy Glue when it comes to this story.

It's even more intriguing that the lone official statement given on Obama's behalf (by his spokesman, Kevin Lewis) did not deny that surveillance took place, nor did it even deny that old school wiretapping took place, nor did it even deny White House involvement in such things. The only thing it denied was that the White House "ordered" surveillance -- as if anyone believes Obama would be so stupid as to sign his name to such a thing on White House stationery!

Two days prior to Trump's tweet, Evelyn Farkas, who worked for Obama's Defense Department and for Hillary's presidential campaign, appeared on MSNBC talking not only about Trump associates being surveilled, but about she herself urging her contacts to "get as much information as you can" about members of Team Trump "before President Obama leaves the administration."

Farkas also admitted that intentional leaking of classified information occurred. Such leaking happens to be a felony under federal law.

Then it was reported by Bloomberg -- not a right wing outlet -- that Susan Rice requested the "unmasking" of Trump associates who were incidentally recorded by our intelligence agencies while those agencies were conducting surveillance of foreign individuals. "Unmasking" means revealing the names of Americans who were recorded while they were not being surveilled but foreigners were.

Rice was Obama's National Security Advisor, and, outside of Valerie Jarrett, his most trusted confidante. For all intents and purposes she was his right hand throughout his second term as president. The significance of her being involved in this affair is best spelled out in Andy McCarthy's recent magnum opus, which you really should read, but in essence it is this:

The White House does not do investigations and therefore should not get involved in them, for that is the job of intelligence agencies, which are collectively known as "the intelligence community"... those agencies relay information to the White House which they deem important, based on their investigations and law enforcement acumen... even within those agencies, and thus within the intelligence community as a whole, access to certain information is extremely limited and the names of "masked" individuals are chief among that limited-access information; actual unmasking of those names is rare and is supposed to happen only in very crucial situations for very necessary reasons.

To wit, if it was important or necessary to unmask members of Team Trump based on what they were surveilled doing, the intelligence agencies would have discerned that and done so -- but they did not... if surveillance revealed anything resembling a crime or breach of national security being done by members of Team Trump, the intelligence agencies would have discerned that and forwarded the cases for action to be taken -- but they did not... so when unmasking was subsequently demanded by Susan Rice, who was not part of the intelligence community but was Obama's right hand, the reason had to be political rather than in the interest of fighting crime or protecting national security.

The ability to accurately say that "investigations" related to "national security" "involved" people who were Trump "associates" or "members of" Team Trump (and to add that those people had "communications" with "the Russians") could be used as a cudgel to raise doubts about whether Team Trump is on the up and up -- especially when the accusers using that cudgel can refuse to answer questions about specifics by demurely saying they can't answer because "investigations" are "ongoing" and further details are "classified" (never mind that what they already said was also classified and that saying those things was a felony).

In other words, there is a ton of smoke suggesting very strongly that Obama & Co. was surveilling Trump & Co. and enabling juicy leaks to the media -- leaks that were grammatically true in what they stated but dramatically dishonest in what they implied.

The smoke is so thick that only the blindly partisan, dangerously naive, outright ignorant, or fully foolish could fail to suspect that it must be coming from a genuine conflagration -- and the reason we know this is that President 45 kicked the hornet's nest that is the MSM/Left, causing the hornets within to come fluttering out concussed and confused.

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Kicked hornets. Fat city rat. Hare in a jackal's jaws. I can't stop making animal analogies when it comes to the MSM/Left's current conundrum concerning President Donald J. Trump.

Regardless of which analogy is in my mind at a given moment, the bottom line is that the MSM/Left keeps getting its tuckus kicked because of the simple fact that Trump is unlike any Republican they have ever seen -- by which I mean that he fights back (and even fights first!) and does not put up with their bullying balderdash and blustery bullshit. Unaccustomed to facing such a foe, they know not what to do and every step they take turns into a stumble.

Historically, the MSM/Left has been able to lash Republicans and play them like yo-yos merely by slandering them and threatening to slander them more. Historically, Republicans have responded to that rhetorical thuggery not by counter punching but by trying to make nice -- to which the MSM/Left has always responded not by meeting them halfway or even one percent of the way, but by lashing them with even greater ferocity and pushing them continuously backwards until they are no longer even on the field.

More often than not, elected Republicans cowered in the face of the thuggery, with the result being that Democrats won almost all of the big battles even when Republicans were in the majority. This GOP tendency to run scared and play the role of surrender whore routinely alienated and enraged its base, yet the GOP kept doing it.

The MSM/Left grew accustomed to being the trafficking pimp for the simple reason that Republicans grew accustomed to being its trafficked bitches... until now, that is, for things changed on November 8, 2016.

Donald Trump may be a New York billionaire and his namesake tower may be on Fifth Avenue, but he does not hail from the prim and proper set normally associated with New York wealth. He hails not from Manhattan but from Queens, a borough known more for working class feistiness than for cocktail parties, and this truth is reflected in the way he fights fire with fire when battle lines are drawn and left wing bellicosity is in the air.

This plays extremely well in flyover country, and the South, and in blue collar regions of states that swing (Florida) and of states that were recently thought to be reliably blue (Pennsylvania). This is why Trump knocked down the Democrats' "blue wall" by winning Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa; and why he came astonishingly close to winning Minnesota, which happens to be the only one of these fifty United States that Reagan never won.

And, mon ami, this is why the MSM/Left finds itself in such a quandary. Seemingly oblivious to the fact that the rules have changed, it keeps trying to run plays from its outdated playbook that was written with the old rules in mind. Therefore it keeps getting burned, and every time it gets burned, Trump's support: 1) strengthens among his base that has supported him from the beginning; 2) strengthens among those who were skeptical from the beginning, but who opted to take a gamble by voting for him when push came to shove; and 3) expands among those who did not vote for him but did opt to keep an open mind after he took office.

With each passing day (as detailed in Andy McCarthy's more recent magnum opus) more information comes out to make it abundantly clear that Obama & Co. was surveilling not only Trump & Co. but also other political opponents... and that it was surveilling them not because it had actual reason to suspect them of committing crimes or compromising national security, but because it wanted to score political points in the way noted above, or because it wanted to know what they were planning to do so it could head them off... and with this information coming to light, the MSM/Left's ability to credibly claim that Obama & Co. did not spy on Trump & Co. continues to evaporate.

With each passing day, actual events make it more and more clear that Trump and Putin are not bosom buddies at all. Our UN Ambassador that Trump appointed, Nikki Haley, has been tough on Russia ever since she took office. Reportedly, the military strikes Trump authorized (ordered?) in Syria and Afghanistan rankled the Kremlin so much that our relationship with Russia is, 90 days into Trump's presidency, more adversarial than it's been in decades.

So, should the MSM/Left revive its recent claim that Trump & Co. is dangerous because it's in cahoots with Russia, or should it suddenly start claiming that Trump & Co. is dangerous because it's antagonistic to Russia? To claim the former is to claim something so hard to believe that the MSM/Left would seem to be populated by fools, but to claim the latter is to admit that the MSM/Left was either breathtakingly wrong or breathtakingly dishonest about things it previously said.

Again, no matter what the MSM/Left chooses to claim, it is a loss for them and a win for Trump. Again the hare is caught in the jackal's jaws, and again, the jackal relishes the taste of its blood.

The hare in Aesop's fable got cocky and thought it could sleep on the job, with the result being that a tortoise passed him while he slept. The hare in America's politics of 2017 should be even more embarrassed than Aesop's, for while it too got cocky and is paying a price as a result, it is paying that price despite not having stopped running.

Initially, today's hare did not know that a jackal might be lurking in the field. Now it does, yet it keeps getting bloodied by the jackal because it turns out that speed alone is not enough to elude such a predator. And it still has not identified, much less cultivated, any other talent that might help it in this contest.

And a jackal is not a tortoise, and this particular jackal never sleeps.

Pity the hare.

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