Spygate Spin: “How Can Honest People Still Deny That The News Media Is Spreading Anti-Trump Propaganda As Fact?” Exhibit A

My New York Times headline this morning: “Trump Embraces Shadowy Plots, Eroding Trust..Theories from Fringes…Agencies Undermined By Claims of ‘Spygate” and ‘Deep State’

This is no better than, and no less than, actively perpetuating a Big Lie.

I won’t get into the murk of the Deep State for now. However, denying “Spygate” and claiming it is a “fringe” conspiracy theory is flagrantly dishonest, and a low even by the Times’ recent standards. The entire “Obama’s administration didn’t spy on the Trump campaign, like so many examples of political spin and denial, rests on Clintonesque rhetorical deceit” “It depends on what the meaning of spy is.” Really, New York Times? Really, CNN? Really, my furious, Trump-hating, echo-chamber bolstered Facebook friends? Really? That’s your argument?

Pathetic.

Two definitely non-fringe, non-conspiracy theorist, non-Trump flacks clarified this issue for anyone who doesn’t want to be brainwashed by the Times and its chums, who are now especially desperate because they are covering for Obama, whose administration—scandal free, you know!—looks sleezier and more incompetent in the rear view mirror by the day.

Here is Michael Barone, a Republican pundit but no Trump fan:

F.B.I. Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims,” read the headline on a lengthy New York Times story May 18. “The Justice Department used a suspected informant to probe whether Trump campaign aides were making improper contacts with Russia in 2016,” read a story in the May 21 edition of the Wall Street Journal.

So much for those who dismissed charges of Obama administration infiltration of Donald Trump’s campaign as paranoid fantasy. Defenders of the Obama intelligence and law enforcement apparat have had to fall back on the argument that this infiltration was for Trump’s — and the nation’s — own good.

It’s an argument that evidently didn’t occur to Richard Nixon’s defenders when it became clear that Nixon operatives had burglarized and wiretapped the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters in June 1972.

Until 2016, just about everyone agreed that it was a bad thing for government intelligence or law enforcement agencies to spy — er, use informants — on a political campaign, especially one of the opposition party. Liberals were especially suspicious of the FBI and the CIA. Nowadays they say that anyone questioning their good faith is unpatriotic.

The crime at the root of Watergate was an attempt at surveillance of the DNC after George McGovern seemed about to win the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, just as the government misconduct in Russiagate was an attempt at surveillance of the Republican Party’s national campaign after Trump clinched its nomination.

…Both the Watergate wiretap and the Obama appointees’ investigator/spy infiltration were initially inspired amid fears that the upstart opposition might win. The Watergate burglary was planned when Nixon’s re-election was far from assured. A May 1972 Harris Poll showed him with only 48 percent against McGovern. It was only after the Haiphong harbor bombing and Moscow summit in early June made clear that US involvement in Vietnam was ending that Nixon’s numbers surged — just before the June 17 burglary.

In March 2016, it was conventional wisdom that Trump couldn’t be elected president. But his surprising and persistent strength in the Republican primaries left some doubtful, including the FBI lovebirds who instant messaged their desire for an “insurance policy” against that dreaded eventuality.

Their unease may have owed something to their knowledge of how the Obama Justice Department and FBI had fixed the Hillary Clinton emails case. Clinton wasn’t indicted but was left with a disastrously low 32 percent of voters confident of her honesty and trustworthiness.

There are two obvious differences between Watergate and the Obama administration’s infiltration. The Watergate burglars were arrested in flagrante delicto, and their wiretaps never functioned. And neither the FBI nor the CIA fully cooperated with the post-election cover-up.

That’s quite a contrast with the Obama law enforcement and intelligence appointees’ promotion of Christopher Steele’s Clinton campaign-financed dodgy dossier and feeding the mainstream media’s insatiable hunger for Russia collusion stories.

Has an outgoing administration ever worked to delegitimize and dislodge its successor like this? We hear many complaints, some justified, about Donald Trump’s departure from standard political norms. But the greater and more dangerous departure from norms may be that of the Obama officials seeking to overturn the results of the 2016 election.

Come on…this is all made up! It didn’t happen! It’s a conspiracy theory from the fringes! The New York Times says so!

Here was prominent White House advisor David Plouffe’s tweet in June of 2016:

Nah, that’s a fake tweet, right? Nothing sinister like this was really being discussed in Obama’s scandal-free White House! It all a paranoid conspiracy theory!

Now here is Andrew McCarthy—a conservative, but apparently there are no liberal journalists with any integrity where Trump is involved–in his article, “The Obama Administration’s Hypocritical Pretext for Spying on the Trump Campaign.” McCarthy is hardly Alex Jones. He is a rigorous analyst who was previously assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. He led the 1995 terrorism prosecution against Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others ultimately convicted of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He knows how to construct a damning case, and wrote in part:

As I argued in my weekend column, it is hard to imagine a more idle question than whether the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign. Of course it did. If you want to argue the point, imagine what the professors, pundits, and pols would have said had the Bush administration run an informant against three Obama 2008 campaign officials, including the campaign co-chairman; any hair-splitting about whether that technically constituted “spying” would be met by ostracism from polite society.

Verdict: true.

Then…

I want to be clear: I am not offended by the word spy. If Halper’s mission was righteous, the Justice Department and FBI should be proud that he was a spy. And if, on behalf of Russia, Page conducted clandestine anti-American activities that constituted felony violations of American law, I would enthusiastically support labeling him a spy and prosecuting him to the full extent of the law. I’d want any official who knew about and supported such traitorous activities to be removed from office and prosecuted.

But there are two things to bear in mind.

The first is that while the law liberally permits criminal investigators and intelligence officers to use informants, there are situations in which spying is resisted. Among the most important are those involving our politics, particularly elections. We have an important norm in this country against political spying — a matter of tradition, of democratic institutions, of constitutional principles, and of modern history’s Watergate chapter. The incumbent administration must not use its awesome counterintelligence, counterespionage, and law-enforcement powers against its political opposition absent compelling evidence of egregious misconduct.

So far, apologists for the Trump-Russia investigation have posited only reasonable suspicions of Russia sympathies, harbored by a handful of Trump campaign figures and implied by some of Trump’s campaign rhetoric. Reasonable suspicions are not trifles, but neither are they in the same ballpark as egregious misconduct.

McCarthy then recounts the three decades long history, ” from perestroika through Putin, from George H. W. Bush’s “Chicken Kiev” speech through Barack Obama’s hot-mic promise of “more flexibility” on the Kremlin’s agenda of hamstringing America” of multiple the U.S. administrations regarding “the regime in Moscow through rose-colored glasses, as a democratically inclined, capitalism-friendly reformer and potential ally.”

He goes on..

In the 2012 campaign, when Mitt Romney portrayed Russia as our principal geopolitical foe, Obama and Democrats mocked him. In the 2016 campaign, Trump’s Russia rhetoric was an echo — in Trumpian bluntness — of the Democrats’ position. Alas, they had nominated the candidate most ill-suited to exploit the Putin appeasement flavor of the Trump bid.

Mrs. Clinton, we’ve observed, was neck-deep in the Obama administration’s Uranium One scandal. Recall the $145 million that poured into the Clinton Foundation; the half-million-dollar pay day a Kremlin-connected bank ponied up for a short Bill Clinton speech (about five times more than Russia paid for those 2016 ads on Facebook, and more than ten times what the Kremlin’s propaganda arm, RT, paid for a 2015 speech by eventual Trump campaign adviser Michael Flynn); the Clintons’ meetings in Russia with Putin and Medvedev while the U.S. government was mulling approval of Russia’s acquisition — through its energy giant, Rosatom — of one-fifth of America’s uranium stock (in addition to more copious uranium reserves in Kazakhstan); the Obama Justice Department’s refusal to bring a prosecutable felony case against Rosatom’s American affiliate (Tenam USA) while the Uranium One deal was under consideration; and the same Department’s quiet resolution of the case on a sweetheart plea years later, after Putin’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in Eastern Ukraine (despite Obama’s plea for flexibility) had left Obama’s “reset” policy in shambles….

We could go on. The point, however, is that after 30 years of embracing and empowering Moscow, it is not credible — particularly for an administration that was among the worst offenders — to say, “We had to use spies and FISA surveillance against the Trump campaign due to suspicion that Trump might embrace and empower Moscow.”

…If its concerns were based in good faith rather than political opportunism, it could have dispatched the FBI to interview Page (whom agents had interviewed several times since 2013, and apparently did interview in March 2016), and Manafort (who, along with his partner, Richard Gates, was speaking with the Justice Department in 2016 about their work for the Kremlin’s favored Ukrainian political party). It could have given responsible Trump campaign officials a defensive briefing to alert them about its concerns.

Instead, the Obama administration decided to use its counterintelligence powers to spy on the Trump campaign, using at least one covert informant, electronic monitoring of communications, and other intelligence-gathering tactics. It ignored the norm against deploying such tactics against political opponents, not based on evidence of a Trump-Russia criminal conspiracy, but on speculation about the Trump campaign’s Russia contacts and Russia sympathies. Speculation by a government, an administration, and a Democratic-party nominee with their own abysmal histories of Russia contacts and Russia sympathies.

Yet the New York Times suggests on its front page today that this is just a fringe conspiracy theory.

I am waiting for principled Trump opponents and Democrats to condemn the conduct McCarthy and Barone accurately describe, and to admit that this was, as Barone wrote, a dangerous breaching of democratic norms, and as McCarthy stated, conduct that would be universally condemned if attempted against a Democratic nominee.

I fear I will wait for a long, long time….

 

 

54 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Around the World, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement

54 responses to “Spygate Spin: “How Can Honest People Still Deny That The News Media Is Spreading Anti-Trump Propaganda As Fact?” Exhibit A

  1. Steve-O-in-NJ

    I’ll say it, and I was opposed to Trump, spoke out against him at length during the primaries, and ultimately didn’t vote for him because I didn’t think he’d win and in any case I didn’t want to take partial ownership of what I thought he would become. I didn’t vote for Hillary either, of course, that was never going to happen (I MIGHT have crossed the aisle for Biden). The more of this I see, combined with all the sleaziness we already knew about, like the rigging of the Democratic primary, the passing of debate questions to Hillary, and the naked partisanship by supposed neutral media outlets, the more I think our democracy dodged a bullet here, and the “crisis” Hillary talked of in her speech at Harvard comes from her side of the aisle.

    If I were Tom Clancy, I’d dub this “Operation Midnight” for corrupt dealings between career bureaucracy and the Democratic Party (Deep State + Democratic Party = deep + blue= Midnight).

    • What’s sad about this is that the “Deep State” is actually a very necessary part of governmental operations. These bureaucrats are supposed to do their jobs effectively regardless of who is in charge, they’re supposed to know what they’re doing, be experienced and do it well…. Juxtapose that with administrations that routinely turn over the entire bureaucracy every time the regime changes and you’ll quickly see the difference between a functioning government and a failed state waiting to happen.

      • These bureaucrats are supposed to do their jobs effectively regardless of who is in charge, they’re supposed to know what they’re doing, be experienced and do it well

        We have not had that since Reagan, where the ‘deep state’ worked for the GOP Presidents like they did for Democrats.

  2. adimagejim

    How many times does it have to be demonstrated the immediate past President, his operatives, and some high government officials are approaching real actionable treason charges?

    • Thought experiment: imagine if the Post covered for Nixon as aggressively as it worked to expose him.

      • adimagejim

        Jack:
        Mindblowing.
        It really erodes confidence in our institutions when they can be perverted at the highest levels so easily and then covered for so viciously. Makes one believe they are not interested in the republic or democratic principles.
        Jim

        • If I post this on my Facebook page, I will be overwhelmed with accusations that I am mouthing Fox News talking points.

          • Jack Marshall wrote, “If I post this on my Facebook page, I will be overwhelmed with accusations that I am mouthing Fox News talking points.”

            Accusing you to be “mouthing Fox News” would be a ridiculous claim and presented as an attack on the messenger and not the message. In my opinion there isn’t a person at Fox News that has an equivalent intellect that’s focused on ethics. Fox News is the political antithesis of the biased CNN et. al., same general purpose of supporting their political side and attacking the opposing side and using most of the same tactics to hype everything with politically biased spin, innuendo, accusations, etc.

          • PennAgain

            Funny, when I say something even remotely critical about the left (ex: “okay, give me an example of ‘microaggression’ and we’ll go on from there”) to one of the best and brightest of my friends, he tells me I’m mouthing “that Marshall guy’s” talking points.

        • I wonder if this network of subterfuge could be described as a Conspiracy.

          It seems to be oriented towards the Left Wing.

          And its scope seems to be Vast.

          • Michael West wrote, “I wonder if this network of subterfuge could be described as a Conspiracy.”

            I think it’s closer to monkey see monkey do hive mindedness; which is doing the same kinds of things others have done because the perceived results are inline with their own views regardless of any direct personal interaction between them and the others doing the same things where a conspiracy would be and active plot by an organized “group”.

    • adimagejim wrote, “How many times does it have to be demonstrated the immediate past President, his operatives, and some high government officials are approaching real actionable treason charges?”

      Not treason but maybe criminal – BIG difference between those two things!!!

      • adimagejim

        If subverting the Constitution doesn’t meet the treason standard, doing as the enemy, instead of offering aid and comfort, what does?

        • adimagejim wrote, “If subverting the Constitution doesn’t meet the treason standard, doing as the enemy, instead of offering aid and comfort, what does?”

          Subverting, sure that’s a reasonable word to describe some things that have and still are happening; however, there is a difference between treason and treachery. I don’t have a problem using the word treachery here but I do have a problem with the word treason. People throw the word treason around like they do hero, it’s bastardizing the definitions trying to morph the meanings into hyped up sensationalized nonsense and if it is allowed to continue it will screw up the English language to a point that no one is going to know what the heck others are trying to say. Walk into the inner city and tell me that trash they are speaking on the streets is “English”; in the immortal words of Professor Henry Higgins “Why can’t the [Americans] teach their children how to speak?”

          This is where Chris and I had many of our contentious “discussions”, Chris tried redefining things to absurdity just to fit his narrative.

          • adimagejim

            Z:
            Here is treason defined – “the crime of betraying one’s country, especially by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government.”

            If we had a treason scorecard, the current situation ticks two of the boxes pretty strongly. 1. Betrayal, yup. 2. Overthrow the government, in a strong sense yes insofar as it was intended to install Hillary to follow Obama into in Alinskyite version (non-republic, faux-democratic) government. 3. Killing a leader, not ticked.

            Pretty sure only one of the boxes need to be ticked to meet the definition.

            By all means, treachery is a certainty.

            • Rusty Rebar

              Now lets be fair… the legal definition of Treason in this country is:

              “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”

              Art. 3 Sec. 1 US Constitution.

              I have the same pet peeve as Zoltar I suspect. Treason is a very specific crime, and unless you are adhering or giving comfort to the enemy (who is that exactly, and when exactly did congress declare them as such?) it does not apply.

  3. Glenn Logan

    At what point does the Obama administration conduct rise to the active subversion of our Republic? I think we are already there.

    How can any American apologize blithely for what looks like a flimsy excuse to try and defeat a legitimately chosen presidential candidate using the power of government? Richard Nixon would’ve been removed from office for a somewhat similar scandal had he not resigned. We can’t remove Obama, of course, but does that mean we have to excuse the behavior that occurred under his leadership without consequence?

    This is was clearly, to me at least, an abuse of power. Obama’s minions are still lying and spinning about it, and some of them have committed what are arguably felonies by leaking secret information while they were part of the administration.

    What’s stopping the Justice Department from impaneling a grand jury and investigating this conduct? What norm is it that says we can’t go back and prosecute lawbreakers from a previous administration? Finally, why does the Justice Department sit on its hands? Maybe Trump should fire Rosenstein and Sessions for cause.

  4. charlesgreen

    Count me out of here. In my humble opinion, this blog and its commentary are over the top.

    This “Spygate” nonsense has crossed over from being idiotic to being positively dangerous.

    I recently had a disquieting conversation with a very close relative of mine, a young man with some history of mental issues and a little prone to conspiracy theories.

    He is now convinced that “There are no Russians running around, it’s all a Democrat conspiracy, you can’t believe anything the mainstream media and the intelligence community says, they’re all a deep state conspiracy.” He gets most of his “news” now from Reddit and YouTube.

    Listen, I’ve had my differences with people on this blog, but I’ve also had some positive interactions with very nearly everyone on it, and I have met and personally like and respect Jack.

    But I can’t allow my own tiny voice to be associated with this nonsense any longer. Being the “left” voice is one thing; being way out on the fringe is quite another, and I don’t think it’s me that has moved. I see far too many shades in our times now of McCarthyism (not Gene), George Wallace-ism, and autocracy.

    I’m deeply concerned about the continued health and well-being of our democratic institutions. I suspect Rod Rosenstein will soon have no recourse but to resign, and I’m doing something similar. I don’t want to be party to this hysterical of a dialogue (in my humble opinion).

    With Jack’s permission, I’ll continue to observe; but I’m not going to comment again until the fever has broken.

    • Other Bill

      There’s the answer to the question posed in the headline to this post, Jack.

    • charlesgreen wrote, “Count me out of here. In my humble opinion, this blog and its commentary are over the top.”

      I respect your choice but I hope you eventually reconsider. We’ve had our differences but you will truly be missed.

      charlesgreen wrote, “This “Spygate” nonsense has crossed over from being idiotic to being positively dangerous.”

      While you wait for the fever to break, consider this; there have been many, many things happening over the last couple of years that, in my opinion, are dangerous to the American way of life and the United States Constitution and this “Spygate” stuff is certainly not the blade of straw that broke the camels back.

      If you oppose what you are reading then continue to make your voice heard.

      If you can’t justify the things that are happening then continue to say so.

      If you can’t defend what your side is doing or saying then let it be known.

      Lastly; this spygate stuff is the blog/discussion that drives you away then I’ve got to ask – seriously? There have been much more contentious blogs and discussions around here than this, as yourself why is this the one that push you out the door?

      I wish you peace and good will.

      • It is my long considered opinion that reasonable liberals cannot get over the fact that their side acted like the Obama Administration did. Liberals grew up and became the Man, and found that they acted just like those they despise. This is intolerable for those dewy eyed true believer hippies from yesteryear: peace! love! fair play! They are human after all!

        One can only lie to oneself so long, ignoring that if the shoe were on the other foot, politically, one would object strongly. I have had to go through such a time (and took a time out) when Bush the younger destroyed our freedoms with the Patriot Act and associated big gov/big brother programs. This was when the GOP leadership dropped conservatives to gain power, and joined the Democrats in becoming the Elite Establishment

        charles is a great guy. I think hearing what HIS side has done necessitates a time out on his part: it hurts, and to unplug is normal is such circumstances. I wish him healing and perspective.

    • Well, that’s tragic

      It’s also too tragic that so many are unable to process and accept that what has been going on, apparently since before the election, has been concerted, dangerous efforts to subvert elections, democratic processes and the Presidency.

      This is confirmation bias run amuck. You will recall that you also initially claimed that the IRS interference with the 2012 campaign was a mirage, and I pointed you to Paul Caron’s blog, where he documented all of it. Nonetheless, no serious investigation was ever held, and there should have been…had this taken place with, say, Bush’s IRS sabotaging Democratic groups, there would have been an independent counsel, and people would have gone to jail.

      Andrew McCarthy is a thorough mind and a fair analyst. Jonathan Turley is a fair (and liberal) analyst, so is Alan Dershowitz. I view the discarding of their frightening but fair assessments of what was done, under Obama, to the Trump campaign and now to his Presidency as almost as frightening as the facts themselves. What is the difference between an “informant” and a “spy”? I heard a former FBI official this morning answer that question: “semantics.” Yet it is unhinged to conclude that Obama’s Justice Department spied on the opposition campaign. An informant within the campaign, however: well, that’s just good for everybody.

      My diagnosis: the Democratic Party since Obama has become as corrupt and arrogant as the Republican Party under Nixon. Just as Republican didn’t want to believe it them, Democrats refuse to believe it now….despite rigged nominations and primaries, secret e-mail servers, influence peddling, surveillance of opposing campaigns, media complicity in party propaganda, double standards on investigations, efforts to overturn a lawful election and more. Good men (and women0 and true simply refuse to believe that they have been party to such activities.

      I sympathize. I do. But until the best of the Left, like you, Charles, stop dreaming of the long-lost party with ideals and integrity that they once believed in and face reality, things will only get worse.

      • Joe Fowler

        “the Democratic Party since Obama has become as corrupt and arrogant as the Republican Party under Nixon.”
        It cost the Republicans dearly and they suffered until they reformed-maybe this is necessary in the life of a political party. I know many serious Republicans who, after Nixon, refused to vote Republican until some house cleaning was done. My father, the definition of conservative, refused to vote for Ford “because he pardoned that son-of-a-bitch Nixon”. Not cheating is still a considered a virtue in America, by most who don’t consider that the end justifies the means; this is a big problem for the Democrats.

    • CG; if you leave, I may have to remove my bracketed caveat: Lefties, (most, not all), with you decidedly within the “not all” category

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      Pity. One of the more sane minds on the left here gone.

      • Other Bill

        I wonder. Are we at some sort of tipping point on this anti-Trump campaign? Is it just running out of steam? In the ditch? Off in the weeds? Exhausted? Fried to a crisp?

        I always thought of Charles as more of an Alan Dershowitz than an Adam Schiff. Surprise, surprise, surprise.

        • Steve-O-in-NJ

          I think it is beginning to run out of damaging truths, if ever it had any to begin with, and indeed HAS shot its bolt. Any minds that this constant drumbeat of negativity was going to change have changed, it isn’t going to change any more, and now it’s just become annoying.

          • Other Bill

            Shouldn’t that be “allegedly damaging untruths?”

            • adimagejim

              Charles’ departure looks more like a surrender to his inability to argue with reality than a retreat. It’s a shame on several counts.

              • adimagejim wrote, “Charles’ departure looks more like a surrender to his inability to argue with reality than a retreat.”

                Maybe, maybe not.

                Like it or not; there’s one thing I’ve learned about Charles over my time on this blog, Charles knows when it’s time to stop commenting and he does it. I’ve seen it many times in conversations he’s been part of. Others should learn from this example.

    • An aside: I’ve been part of or read a lot of online conversations (mostly elsewhere) where lefties directly attack righties for not commenting saying some pretty bad things about those that chose not to comment or reply. I choose not to be like them, you all make your own choices.

      Charles wrote, “Count me out of here. In my humble opinion, this blog and its commentary are over the top.”

      I couldn’t put my finger on it until this morning. Based on my experience reading your comments and/or your intentional lack of replies that this particular soapbox is a out of character for you, you usually just choose not to comment. Rhetorical question: What made this particular blog and thread different?

      Think about it.

      • I’ve thought a lot about it, quite apart from Charles. It’s all about confirmation bias and misplaced trust. Neither is subject to objective examination. There is absolutely no reason to trust the motives of methods of the FBI and the entrenched partisans in the Justice Department, and too many reasons not to trust them to count. Calling the legitimate suspicion of their biases and double standards a “conspiracy theory” is simply a form of denial. Democrats have watched their party disgrace itself, debase itself and expose itself as corrupt and without integrity. That is traumatic. They have no strong arguments; there just aren’t any. The fact that the only “Russian interference” that could have had any significant effect on the election results was the Wikileaks revelation of the rigged nomination process and Donna Brazile’s abuse of her CNN position to allow Hillary to cheat in candidate debates and town meetings has to drive such people bananas. The people had a right to know that the Democrats were cheating, but no right to find out what they had a right to know THIS way. And so on.Similarly, how can a Democrat of good will and genuine intelligence make the argument that placing a mole in the opposition’s campaign—and it doesn’t matter what the reason or rationalization is—doesn’t constitute an interference with a Presidential election, after proclaiming for almost half a century that Watergate brought our democracy to the brink?

        They also allowed the news media to bury the IRS scandal, which remains without appropriate consequences. If a tape existed in which President Obama was informed of the plot, and a plot it was, not a single rogue employee as Obama claimed, he would have been impeachable on it. There was no tape, and there also was no genuine investigation into how the IRS decided to target conservative groups before and during the 2012 campaign, to hamstring their advocacy. There was evidence of a cover-up, stonewalling and perjury by IRS officials. Yet no news media investigation materialized, and Holder refused to appoint a special prosecutor.

        I think it is a lot to process, rationalize, force to comport with long held beliefs, and accept. I think that faced with that painful and daunting task, the response is often to just lie low, and hope for a miracle.

        • Steve-O-in-NJ

          The response is not to lie low. The response is to lie loudly, confidently, and repeatedly, until it becomes accepted as the truth.

          • Other Bill

            This “conspiracy theory” mantra smacks of a well circulated talking point. It’s everywhere. Must be something Paul Begala or someone like him came up with. It’s so far out of left field and it’s everywhere. Can’t be an idea tons of different people all came up with at the same time independent of each other. This kind of thing is really annoying. Sheer Soviet-style propaganda. Ironic since it’s being circulated by people who purport to be battling “Russian interference.”

            • Surely you have noticed that phrases tend to appear across the progressive media simultaneously? Talking points are issued and followed, in the name of partisan propaganda.

        • “Democrats have watched their party disgrace itself, debase itself and expose itself as corrupt and without integrity. That is traumatic. They have no strong arguments; there just aren’t any.”

          “I think it is a lot to process”

          I’ve long felt a huge component of the refusal to come to grips with reality by a section of the Left (the section that could be relied upon to have good faith arguments), is this traumatic shock of watching the party that espoused their world view be shown to be a horrendous mess.

    • jan chapman

      Just a voice of support, Charles. I, too, have chosen to observe but not participate in discussions here because of the blanket labeling of those on the left, the media, and anyone who feels that the Trump administration is doing permanent damage to our democratic (notice small ‘d’) institutions. The people I hang around think Russian interference in the 2016 election is important, but they are also concerned about long term effects on health care, the judiciary, education, income inequality and America’s image as a compassionate country. We are not concerned with “locking him up” or impeachment. We are focused on voting him and those who agree with him out of office.

      My silence does not carry the weight of yours, so I hope that the respect you earned from even the most vitriolic commenters here would bring them up short. Disagreeing with the predominant viewpoint on this blog does not warrant questioning your mental capacity to have a different one.

      • jan,

        Would you be surprised if I agreed with some of your take?

        Trump is a boor, and I wish someone would take his ability to tweet away, most days. (On others, I realize that he has an ability to go around the story sculpting the progressive media applies to anything a GOP POTUS says…)

        We are also interested in voting those that agree with you out of office. We just ask for a level playing field. You are not crazy for supporting your ideals and politics as long as you can rationally support your contention here at EA. This is one of the VERY few places where both sides can agree to objective facts. The Right is accused of much worse on most of the Internet (there are worse things, I know it is a rationalization)

        We can agree to disagree. Most progressives cannot do that. Classical Liberals like charles have been marginalized by their own party, and now days attacked as if they are conservatives at a media roast.

    • I think Charles is likely still getting email notifications from this thread so here is a link for Charles, I hope he reads it.

      I do miss chatting with Charles.

  5. “I am waiting for principled Trump opponents and Democrats to condemn the conduct McCarthy and Barone accurately describe, and to admit that this was, as Barone wrote, a dangerous breaching of democratic norms….”

    I’m hoping that McCain will do something like this while he’s still with us.

    I thought McCarthy’s piece was one of the best I’ve seen on this topic. I would just add that, in her early explanations of why Putin turned on her, she pointed to her rejection as Secretary of State of the legitimacy of legislative elections in Russia. In other words, her story is that she antagonized Putin, then left herself and the country wide open to his response.

  6. For the record: Notwithstanding any comments on this topic, I am still amazed that honest people deny that the news media Is spreading anti-Trump propaganda as fact.

    I am similarly amazed that anyone of good faith and clear perception can honestly shrug off a President subjecting the opposing party’s Presidential campaign to surveillance and infiltration, no matter how the shrug is constructed…denial, presumption of wrongdoing, or whatever other rationalization. Amazed. AMAZED.

    • adimagejim

      Agreed. If anyone can’t see the incredibly unbalanced double standard, they must be willingly blinding themselves.

      As you alluded earlier, what if Nixon had the law enforcement and intelligence bureaucracies as well as the vast majority of the media in his back pocket working for him? He’d never have been forced to resign.

    • Jack wrote, “For the record: Notwithstanding any comments on this topic, I am still amazed that honest people deny that the news media Is spreading anti-Trump propaganda as fact.

      I am similarly amazed that anyone of good faith and clear perception can honestly shrug off a President subjecting the opposing party’s Presidential campaign to surveillance and infiltration, no matter how the shrug is constructed…denial, presumption of wrongdoing, or whatever other rationalization. Amazed. AMAZED.”

      In general I agree.

      I do have question; do we actually know that President Obama had direct knowledge of this happening or are we talking about the Obama “administration”? Based on what I personally know based on news reports as of this moment in time, I think we are talking about the “administration”.

      I’m fully aware of the political plausible deniability that exists in the office of the President of the United States and I’m also fully aware of idea that the buck stops here.

      • We don’t know. And the news media, unlike with Nixon and Trump, have evinced no interest in finding out. Nor have law enforcement agencies. The attitude, which is ridiculous when one considers Obama’s Chicago politics origins and the ruthless, slimy people around him, is “Oh, HE would never do anything like THAT.” Just as Trump labors under the presumption of wrongdoing, Obama was licensed by the unwarranted presumption of virtue.

      • ”political plausible deniability”

        Reminds me of the “Apocalypse Now!” scene where C. D. Spradlin’s General Corman hands off (“looks off” actually) the *order* to terminate Colonel Kurtz’ command to Colonel Lucas (a young Harrison Ford).

        With_Extreme_Prejudice!

    • Jack wrote, “I am still amazed that honest people deny that the news media Is spreading anti-Trump propaganda as fact.”

      And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

      The left wing media presents this kind of accusation in a headline…

      Trump’s sustained attacks on American rights

      …and then try to back up that headline with nothing more than innuendo; while at the same time the anti-gun advocates (primarily left wingers) is DIRECTLY attacking the Constitutional rights of gun owners and the media doesn’t call that attacking Americans rights?

      Plus; the social justice warriors (SJW’s) are directly attacking all manner of people literally bypassing due process of law, using the modern day version of the “Scarlet Letter” (social media and the SJW supporting media) and literally destroying the lives of individuals for anything they consider offensive; is the media saying that these social justice warriors attacks are attacks on American rights – noooooooooooo!

      Plus; the social justice warriors are literally stripping people of their right to free speech with all forms of intimidation and trying to use government entities to prevent speech they don’t like; is the media saying that these social justice warriors attacks are attacks on American rights – noooooooooooo!

      So much blatant hypocrisy from the left, so little time.

  7. charlesgreen

    Hi all. I’m going to violate my pledge of stopping commenting just this one time.

    I was very touched by the nice things many of you had to say about me. Very kind. Thank you.

    Be well,
    Charlie

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