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While the Left worries a great deal about our physical environment, it is cavalier in its approach to the moral and demographic one, even though the latter seems to constitute a more immediate and important part of human flourishing than the thermometer.  Read more here at the Journal of American Greatness.  For example:

Man is, above all, a creature of habit, culture, and tradition. From the most universal—thou shall not steal—to the most culturally specific—thou shalt not litter, fail to tip (at least) 15 percent, or wear white after Labor Day—the creation and existence of pleasant, functioning, and safe communities depends on various prejudices and habits, many of which are not easily justifiable on the basis of immutable first principles, and many of which are hard to recover if they are overwhelmed by baser instincts and alternatives.

The Revolutionaries of 1789 France, like the climate change vanguard, imagined themselves to be applying scientific rationality to practical politics. It was the age of Diderot, the metric system, and the Encyclopédie. They ran roughshod over ancient boundaries and purported to reorganize society on scientific principles. They disdained tradition as a useless artifact that failed to conform to their a priori theories. And, since this change did so much violence to the preexisting order, they faced massive resistance, engaged in massive blood-letting, and ushered in a century of internal instability.

While “climate change” may be inevitable, a prudent concern for the future is fundamentally conservative. But man’s flourishing varies more by his culture and laws and countrymen, than by his physical environment.

Even now the basic contours of American life remain intact from “sea to shining sea.” But the introduction of a few tens of millions of hostile aliens, or alien customs in our domestic family life, portends far more trouble today and tomorrow than anything going on in the atmosphere.

This article in American Affairs is truly sensible, accounting for the recent history of Russia, ways we can get along, and ways we have created needless friction in our pursuit of a “unipolar world,” viz.:

The answer of how to deal with Russia, to start with, is with a sense of proportion. Washington does not have limitless diplomatic and strategic resources. Its most important bilateral relationship is with Beijing because China, not Russia, is the rising power of our times. A Chinese century, as an ordering principle for the world, is conceivable for the twenty-first century; a Russian century is not. The bilateral relationships with Japan and Germany, the world’s third and fourth largest economies, after the United States and China, are (at least) on a par with the importance of the Russia relationship. Russia does not merit a consuming focus.

And in this respect, Americans should rigorously ask themselves, why is there such an obsession with Russia? It might be that we are looking, at least subconsciously, for a way to avoid addressing our own glaring deficiencies. We have manufactured our own debacles over the last fifteen or so years—and have not really fixed them. Against the advice of most of the world, we invaded a country, Iraq, that had not attacked us on 9/11, and instead of implanting a democracy in the heart of the Middle East, as promised, we sowed chaos and created a new generation of Islamic terrorists. At home, our political and financial elites produced the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, causing housing prices to collapse and crushing the retirement portfolios held by millions of ordinary investors. Russia had nothing to do with either calamity.

 

The last election campaign and events since suggest a country coming apart.  Two nations in one.  One is urban, liberal, globalist, multiracial, corporate, office-bound, anti-gun, irreligious, effete, progressive, and thoroughly angered by Trump’s mysterious election.  And the other is rural, conservative, nationalist, mostly white, works with its hands, pro-gun, Christian, manly, skeptical, and energized by Trump’s rise.

The latter was very angry during the Obama years, but rarely resorted to violence. It’s certainly capable of violence, but it mostly approaches politics defensively. It wants to be left alone and is not animated by a desire to change the coastal enclaves of the hostile left.  And it is too familiar with liberals from family, TV, and pop culture to consider them all evil and deserving of violence.  They’re mostly thought wrong-headed and mistaken.  Many on the right earnestly debate friends and relatives on Facebook.  We don’t have a canard similar to “racist” to do verbal violence to our interlocutors.   This live and let live philosophy incidentally is the historical American Way.  The few violent upstarts among the right–Dylan Roof, Tim McVeigh–are pariah figures, almost universally loathed.

The left by contrast has increasingly normalized violence.  There were hints of this during the election campaign when “punch a Nazi” was thrown around gleefully, or the shut-down of a Trump rally in Chicago was hailed as appropriate direct action.

Rightish speakers at universities are increasingly threatened, shouted down, or beaten up.

And the rhetoric of treason is widespread in mainstream places like the New York Times and CNN, whereas for the right it can only be found in back alleys like Infowars and Free Republic.

So it was not so surprising that someone took it all to heart and undertook a shooting spree aimed at Republican congressmen.  And this folks is how civil wars start.  They don’t engage the majority of the people.  They’re in fact quite controversial.  Many would wish them away.  At first it seems like a fringe element and is treated as a law enforcement problem.  But when a critical mass deems ordinary political avenues too slow, too corrupt, or too inefficient in wielding the right results, then a war may erupt.  The violent fringe metastasizes when it finds support from dissident elements within the government, in a particular region, or from overseas.  Formerly friendly neighbors find themselves distrustful and hostile.  And violence–whether riots, threats, assassinations, or politicized crime–lead to a cycle of crackdown, perceived oppression and the risk of annihilation, and counter-violence.

It’s likely a bit far off, maybe another 10 or 20 years, but the Red-Blue divide is as profound as any other in history.  Perhaps Hodgkinson will be hailed the John Brown of his victorious movement, some day.

Comey’s Last Honest Man in Washington™ schtick is wearing thin, and now seems to have tarred A.G. Lynch as well as Comey himself.

The executive summary of his testimony today is as follows:

1.  He and others in FBI leadership hid information from his superior Jeff Sessions, weeks before Sessions’ recused himself.

2.  He is an admitted leaker of his own memos to a colleague at Columbia University, who in turn leaked it to press by design to get a special counsel appointed, who happened to be an old buddy of Comey’s.  Comey testified on 3 May that he never leaked anything.  one must wonder if he just got into the habit after he was fired on 9 May.

3.  Trump was never under investigation, which Comey refused to divulge earlier, while divulging other things through leaks and insinuation, including the Flynn conversations and Trump’s concern for loyalty.

4.  Russian “hacking” had no impact on votes in election.

5.  He is a self-interested guy with confusion about the chain of command in a unified executive.  It goes like this: President, AG, FBI.  And the latter two exercise delegated power from the elected president at his pleasure.  He’s very “butt hurt” about being fired and called Trump’s characterization of him being bad leader “lies.” He also said he was “not strong enough” in dealing with Trump, which is very much a self-indictment of his leadership abilities.

6.  Trump never ordered him to stop investigation of Flynn (though, as President, he had full authority to do so).

7.  Lynch, by contrast, did give him orders on communications, saying not to call Hillary investigation an investigation, but rather a “matter.”  Federal Bureau of “Matters” doesn’t have quite the same ring!

8.  He didn’t take any notes of Hillary interview, Lynch interference, or anything else until Trump came along.

9.  Lynch-Clinton meeting got him to exonerate her, which somehow shows the high ethics of the FBI.  I find this to be incredibly bold defense.  After all the worst case scenario of any influence peddling by the former President and anyone acting on her behalf is exactly that.  “I had to call off the investigation, or otherwise people would think the Clintons were trying to get me to call off the investigation!”

10.  Times story on Russian Collusion with Trump Campaign was “almost entirely wrong.”

All in all, Trump looks old school, frustrated, honest, and direct, if not a bit naive, in dealing with double-crossing bureaucrats, who have an inflated view of their indispensability.  Comey appeared to be a weasel, but a well rehearsed one, motivated by power and vanity and hatred of Trump, which he could barely conceal.

A few good links here, here, and here.

This is the best and most comprehensive account of the anatomy and origins of the Russian Hacking story, the half-truths on which it is based, and why the allegations ultimately are more political theater than indictment of President Trump.

The twists and turns (and fake news) behind Russia is admittedly hard to follow.  The whole thing appears an alibi and distraction from the fact that Hillary lost fair and square; indeed, she lost when everyone on the inside was pulling for her:  Obama, the DNC, the media, and the FBI, whose job was to investigate her.

The latest turns are as follows.  Some people in the transition team either reached out, or were reached out to, by the Russians and nothing came of it.

Consider why the Russians would need to reach out to Jared Kushner (I’m not his biggest fan) if they had an understanding with Trump and had colluded with him and his team.  It makes no sense.   Why wouldn’t they just use whatever lines of communication were created to pursue the alleged collusion.  Also, I have no particular sense of how customary it is for transition teams to talk to their counterparts in other countries.  Maybe it’s totally normal.  In any case, it’s not illegal.  Even collusion wouldn’t be.  This whole hullabaloo does not involve any defined criminal act.  Nonetheless, no such collusion has been identified, as partisans with no reason to do Trump a solid like Diane Feinstein and Maxine Waters have admitted.

The other twist is that FBI director Comey a got his hands on a memo that supposedly originated in Russia and reported that Loretta Lynch’s DOJ would go easy on Hillary and referenced another unseen email, that may or may not exist, in which Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the disgraced ex-DNC chair, said to a third party that she had received these assurances.  So Comey, in order not to make it look like there was some inside deal for Hillary and the DNC, instead gave her a pass on her criminal handling of classified information, made up a nonexistent “intent” requirement for a statute that is triggered by mere nelgigence, and inappropriately held a press conference, which unlike any alleged collusion, undoubtedly did have some effect on the election (and surely an indictment would also have had an even bigger effect).

Why does giving someone explicitly what they supposedly got implicitly through inside dealing take away the cloud of improper influence?  After all, whether it was Lynch or Comey, they both worked for Obama, neither had true independence, and knew, whether intended or not, that whatever they did may impact the election.  Indeed, influencing elections by turning candidates who commit crimes into pariahs seems an inherent part of the job when public corruption is involved.  Does anyone remember the Abscam Sting?  Similarly, why does hiding the fact of the dubious provenance of this “Russian email” from Congressional oversight and the public somehow advance the cause of the FBI’s reputation for integrity?

Comey strikes me as very political, without being very ideological.  And he strikes me as smart, but not wise, to the point where he thinks he can get away with half-truths that in fact are destined to come to light. During the First Bush Administration he used his temporary role in the DOJ to undo a surveillance program.  He gave briefings on his investigations without first going to his “customer” at the DOJ in the Hillary email investigation.  And he has invented and also hidden the reasons for his actions without explaining them completely and truthfully to the Congress.

The whole Russia story is collapsing because it was always designed to remove the focus from a failed campaign.  Yes Russia–like the U.S.–has probably engaged in cyberspying on American institutions and had certain hopes for election outcomes overseas.  That is troubling and should be dealt with if true, but a sense of proportion is completely lacking because (a) everyone doing the reporting hates Trump and considers his election illegitimate, to the point where impeachment talk began before he was even sworn in, and (b) Russia is a right-leaning Christian nation with a non-globalist identity, with which the far right in America and Europe has a certain affection, and the goal of the E.U., NATO, and a great many parts of the American government is to be left-leaning, globalist, and anti-Christian.  Thus, Russia has become the enemy of the left, who made numerous excuses for “Russia” when it was the leftist, globalist, anti-Christian Soviet Union.

P.S. One of the other strange byways in this whole mess is Comey’s “memos to file” that have been reported in the news without having been seen.  In the age of the smart phone, does anyone reading from an email have any credibility when the reporter hasn’t seen it?  It takes two seconds to take a photo of a document and send it.  Without the ability to do that, should any ethical reporter run a story based on someone reading out loud a memo that sits before them during the reading?

Trump is within his rights to share information on threats to civil aviation with the Russians and anyone else.   He has total power to declassify whatever he wants.  And, in this case, it’s the right thing to do.

Think about this:  the Deep State types, whose penchant for secrecy is their chief method of consolidating power and maintaining their prestige, are willing to risk the deaths of civilians and allow blown up airliners to preserve their pet relationships with third party sources of intelligence.  This is reminiscent of Fast and Furious and the FBI’s bungling of the Whitey Bulger investigation, where maintaining sources and gathering intelligence led to toleration of murders and facilitation of serious crimes.

Why isn’t such a breach of “classified information” an obviously sensible move?  ISIS is bad, and if they threaten civil aviation, that information should be shared.  It’s an area of common ground with Russia who, unlike our CIA, has consistently fought ISIS and does not nonsensically oppose ISIS and also oppose ISIS’s biggest enemy, the Assad regime.

Now it turns out McMaster and essentially everyone in the room has conceded that no one told the Russians how this information was gathered.  That is solely from the leaker himself, who thinks this information is so sacrosanct, that he promptly passed the most sensitive aspect–the type of source–along to the Washington Post.  Is this logical?  Only if the goal is not to preserve some secret squirrel information, but rather to delegitimize Trump above all.  Coupled with this Trump hatred, is the “Swamp” aspect of D.C. that Trump campaigned against, which is obtuse about the relative value of preserving the reputation of some intelligence source versus saving the lives of potentially hundreds of civilian airline passengers.

Trump after all logically did criticize the common move of the Obama administration to abjure secrecy and telegraph our military actions, as in the case of the Mosul attack.  Trump, by contrast, didn’t say a word prior to his Syria missile attack.  he just did it.  And, unlike here, the value of secrecy there was pretty obvious, setting aside my other concerns with that attack.

In addition to hating Trump, the real problem I suspect is that this intelligence source (wherever it may be) is supporting ISIS with the tacit connivance of the CIA and the US intelligence community, with the biggest suspects being one of the Gulf States or possibly Israel.  Thus, this source is so deeply in bed with ISIS it knows this type of information, the leak of this information may be connected to this source, and this source knows a lot of other information about ISIS because the source is almost certainly funding and supporting ISIS all along.  That, just like the failure to protect civilians from terrorism, would a real scandal.  Not this phony made up one.