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The latest on Donald Trump Jr. suggests a set up to me:  the gratuitous inclusion of “Russian government attorney” in numerous emails to trigger a FISA warrant and the presence of a former FBI translator for starters. The whole thing stinks and, at worst, shows a lack of sophistication by the campaign, though I doubt any campaign anywhere would turn down “oppo research” from other governments or anyone else.

Angelo Codevilla asks who runs the government:  the elected president or the bureaucracy, whose gate-keeping function they seem to think allows them to decide with whom the President can confer.

Finally, also in in American Greatness, what happens if the Russia-haters miscalculate?  Nuclear war, potentially.

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Last week I said, “And I think [Trump’s] instincts with the press must be respected, because he keeps landing on his feet and making a fool of them, as in the destruction of the Russia narrative in the last week.  If Trump accomplishes nothing else in office, exposing the press to ridicule for its open corruption and partisan hostility, may well be enough.”

Soon enough, we had the CNN Gif.  And then a whole army of Meme warriors made variations on the theme.  One of my favorites is below.

cnnblackmail

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I’m very much with Ann Coulter on this issue.

I don’t like to see Trump distracted.  I’m concerned about us not yet building the wall or getting involved in Syria.  I generally think he has some good instincts and views, along with some traits, such as an excessive concern for what people think of him, that keep him from his proper focus on the agenda.

That said, I’m not concerned too much about the Dignity of the Office or the pretense required of the other institutions in Washington, most of which are completely unprofessional and hostile. And I think his instincts with the press must be respected, because he keeps landing on his feet and making a fool of them, as in the destruction of the Russia narrative in the last week.  If Trump accomplishes nothing else in office, exposing the press to ridicule for its open corruption and partisan hostility, may well be enough.  They need to be treated like an opposition party, because they are.

Ace had a good little blog post about the latest flare up:

A major schism in the party is over the question of how much pretense we’re fighting to keep lying about. A lot of people seem to think that even though we’re plainly in a Cold Civil War, and even thought Joe and Mika spend three hours a day ripping Trump, Trump’s supposed to pretend we’re all (as John McCain says) Good Friends.

I’m not saying Trump scored some tactical victory here. I’m saying, as I usually do- – who gives a wet shit?

How can the flailing old women of the Nominal Right huff themselves up so much to pretend outrage that a guy being attacked by the media everyday decides to occasionally attack them back?

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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.

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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.

 

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Low Scale Civil War

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.

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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.

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