NY POST – Bogus scoops; HALPER – Marathon rant; MENAHAN – BO expanded NSA in final days; HARRIS & LEE – Spies lied.
FLYNN: McCARTHY – Make ‘em public; WONG – Judicial Watch to sue; KREDO – Obama loyalists; THALEN – Destabilization campaign.
PA: KNEPPER – Ponzi Pensions; SNYDER – Ups & Downs 2/17/17.
NOTES: BUCHANAN – ‘Deep State’ targets Trump; Mark Levin 2-16-17
“Hostile, hysterical reporting based on anonymous leaks provide no hard facts — just “narratives” that could come out of a creative-writing class.
Take Wednesday’s breathless New York Times story, “Trump Aides Had Contact With Russian Intelligence” — which was remarkable for containing the same facts the Times reported back in October as “Investigating Donald Trump, FBI Sees No Clear Link to Russia.”
Both reports say various Trumpites talked to figures in Russia’s government — but that US investigators found nothing to show they’d discussed the US election, or that anyone on Team Trump was even aware of any effort by Moscow to influence it.
Oh, and the Times also reported Jan. 19, “Intercepted Russian Communiques Part of Inquiry Into Trump Associates.”
How many times can the Times recycle the same stuff and still call it news?
“The source for all of it, time and again, is ‘current and former’ officials — with no sense of how many are actually current, or how former officials know anything about an ongoing investigation.. .”
Daniel Halper, NY Post: “Trump goes on marathon rant against the media”
““I’m here again to take my message straight to the people,” Trump said. “As you know, our administration inherited many problems across government, and across the economy.
“To be honest, I inherited a mess — at home and abroad — a mess,” said the president, who has served for less than a month, adding that “ISIS has spread like cancer. Another mess I inherited.”
“Trump also used his nearly half-hour introductory statement to take a stinging shot at the press corps.
“‘The press has become so dishonest that if we don’t talk about it, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people,’ said Trump.
“‘The press is out of control. The level of dishonesty is out of control,’ he added.
“The president dismissed reports of chaos within his administration. “It is the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine,” he claimed.
“The president even touted the crowds expected at an upcoming weekend rally in Florida. ‘I just heard that the crowds are massive,’ he said of the event scheduled for Saturday.
“Speaking of his campaign promises, Trump pledged to deal with the drug problem ailing America, claiming that “drugs are becoming cheaper than candy bars.”
“Trump also said he’d issue a new executive order related to a travel ban next week — and knocked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for blocking his last one. “That circuit is in chaos, that circuit is frankly in turmoil,” he said. . .”
Chris Menahan, InfoWars: “OBAMA EXPANDED NSA POWERS DAYS BEFORE LEAVING OFFICE, NOW THEY’RE BEING USED TO SABOTAGE TRUMP”
The story is being looked at in a completely new light
“After President Trump won the election, Obama quietly expanded the NSA’s ability to spy on innocent Americans just days before leaving office.
“Seeing as how the deep state, which includes the NSA and FBI, appear to be leaking all of Trump’s private phone calls with foreign leaders and took down General Michael Flynn by spying on his calls and leaking them to their friends in The Washington Post and The New York Times, the story is being looked at in a completely new light.
“As the The New York Times reported on January 12th. . .
‘In its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.
The new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws. These include collecting satellite transmissions, phone calls and emails that cross network switches abroad, and messages between people abroad that cross domestic network switches.’
“Trump questioned whether the NSA and FBI were behind a multitude of leaks handed to the New York Times and Washington Post. . .
“These are Obama loyalists who reports suggest may have worked to sabotage Trump by ousting Flynn in order to preserve Obama’s Iran deal. . .
“Is this what happened to Flynn?
“Is this why Trump’s calls with foreign leaders are being illegally leaked to the press in order to sabotage his presidency?
“It sure as hell looks like that’s the case.
“Remember, the point at which Donald Trump broke away from the pack and secured his victory during the primaries was when the Colorado GOP decided to deny Americans their right to vote and handed Ted Cruz all the state’s delegates, then tweeted: “We did it. #NeverTrump.”
“A very similar story is now happening with the deep state’s open sabotage. Even though Americans came out in droves to elect a populist leader promising massive change, the deep state is sabotaging his presidency to prevent him from implementing the agenda his supporters voted for. . .
“The Colorado GOP’s act of sabotage backfired spectacularly and was the turning point which secured Trump and his supporters their victory, if this deep state sabotage is exposed just the same, this too could be the turning point which sinks the establishment and secures our populist revolution.”
Shane Harris & Carol Lee, WSJ: “Spies Keep Intelligence From Donald Trump on Leak Concerns”
“Decision to withhold information underscores deep mistrust between intelligence community and president
“U.S. intelligence officials have withheld sensitive intelligence from President Donald Trump because they are concerned it could be leaked or compromised, according to current and former officials familiar with the matter.
The officials’ decision to keep information from Mr. Trump underscores the deep mistrust that has developed between the intelligence community and the president over his team’s contacts with the Russian government, as well as the enmity he has shown toward U.S. spy agencies. On Wednesday, Mr. Trump accused the agencies of leaking information to undermine him.
In some of these cases of withheld information, officials have decided not to show Mr. Trump the sources and methods that the intelligence agencies use to collect information, the current and former officials said. Those sources and methods could include, for instance, the means that an agency uses to spy on a foreign government.
A White House official said: “There is nothing that leads us to believe that this is an accurate account of what is actually happening.”
Andrew McCarthy, NRO: “Make the Flynn Tape Public”
“. . . There is one easy way to get to the bottom of it, though — one way to get a real sense of whether General Michael Flynn, the now-former national-security adviser, is a lying rogue who deceived every Trump administration official in sight, or the victim of an elaborate “deep state” scam whose real objective is to destroy not merely Flynn but the Trump presidency.
“Let’s go to the audio tape: the government’s recording of a December 29, 2016, conversation, intercepted under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), that Flynn had with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States.
For now, the so-called deep state — the intelligence operatives and highly placed officials who run the United States government because they have the power to ruin their opposition — would apparently prefer that we not hear the tape. Many of them are Obama functionaries who are content to shape opinion by leaking their edited version of events to media allies. Some of them are Trump functionaries whose mishandling of what may be a tempest in a teapot has made them vulnerable less than four weeks into the new administration. Perhaps, they calculate, handing up Flynn’s scalp makes their problem go away. In reality, it is just whetting the opposition’s appetite.
“Let’s end the intrigue and go to the tape. . .”
Kristina Wong, Breitbart: Judicial Watch Planning to Sue FBI, NSA, CIA for Flynn Records”
“Judicial Watch filed the requests with the FBI, NSA, CIA, and Treasury Department, according to the group’s Director of Investigations and Research Chris Farrell.
“The group is aiming to find out whether there was ever a warrant allowing the U.S. government to wiretap Flynn’s phone calls, and if so, who requested it and why.
“‘If you have a warrant, attached to the warrant 99 percent of the time, there is an affidavit, a sworn declaration normally by a law enforcement officer or senior official,’ said Farrell.
“Such a warrant could be classified, depending on the case, he said.
“A wiretapped phone call between Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak was leaked to the Washington Post and revealed in a Feb. 9 story.
The leak, which took place in December, contradicted public assertions by Vice President Michael Pence that Flynn had never discussed sanctions with Kislyak, and led to Flynn’s eventual resignation on Monday.
“House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) highlighted this week that such wiretapping would only be legal if intelligence agencies obtained a warrant or happened upon the conversation while investigating a foreign official.
“Nunes speculated that ‘it’s pretty clear’ that there was no warrant. . .”
Adam Kredo, FreeBeacon: “Former Obama Officials, Loyalists Waged Secret Campaign to Oust Flynn”
“Sources: Former Obama officials, loyalists planted series of stories to discredit Flynn, bolster Iran deal
“The abrupt resignation Monday evening of White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is the culmination of a secret, months-long campaign by former Obama administration confidantes to handicap President Donald Trump’s national security apparatus and preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, according to multiple sources in and out of the White House who described to the Washington Free Beacon a behind-the-scenes effort by these officials to plant a series of damaging stories about Flynn in the national media.
“The effort, said to include former Obama administration adviser Ben Rhodes—the architect of a separate White House effort to create what he described as a pro-Iran echo chamber—included a small task force of Obama loyalists who deluged media outlets with stories aimed at eroding Flynn’s credibility, multiple sources revealed. . .”
Mike Thalen, InfoWars: “WIKILEAKS: ‘DESTABILIZATION CAMPAIGN’ RESPONSIBLE FOR FLYNN RESIGNATION”
“Online publishing organization points finger at intelligence community, Democrats and media
“A “destabilization campaign” by opponents of President Donald Trump is responsible for National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn’s resignation, WikiLeaks alleged Tuesday.
“The online publishing organization specifically blamed the intelligence community, the Democratic Party and the media in a tweet surrounding the incident.
“‘Trump’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigns after destabilization campaign by US spies, Democrats, press,’ WikiLeaks stated”
Leo Knepper, CAP: “That Sounds a Lot like a Ponzi Scheme”
“Most people have heard the term Ponzi scheme and have a vague sense that the victim of the scheme is getting ripped off. In an actual Ponzi scheme, early investors see a substantial return on their investment. What they don’t realize is that the money they are getting is money being put into the investment by new investors. The system continues working as long as enough new investors come in to pay the people who were there before them. The architect of the scheme, never admits that this is what is happening and eventually the system collapses.
“As noted by Chris Comisac at Capitol Wire (paywall), the description of a Ponzi scheme and a description of the state pension system by House Minority Leader, Rep. Joe Markosek are remarkably similar. In a recent email Rep. Markosek said:
‘If Pennsylvania decided that 18 blue moons from now it would no longer offer retirement benefits for teachers and state employees … And the commonwealth’s debt was still $65 billion … Taxpayers would still be ‘on the hook’ to pay that $65 billion. BUT … Teachers and state employees would no longer be contributing their share (something they’ve always done while policy officials haven’t, until this fiscal year) and it would take taxpayers even longer to pay down that bad pension puppy.’
“In other words, money coming in now is paying the unfunded liability; without that new money, we wouldn’t be able to pay people who are about to retire. When Comisac followed up with Rep. Markosek’s staff, they were quick clarify the statement and make sure that everyone knew that the Representative didn’t mean it was a legalized Ponzi scheme.
It is worth looking at a longer excerpt from Comisac’s analysis to drive home exactly what is going on . . .”
Sy Snyder, PoliticsPA: Ups & Downs, 2/17/17
Petition Circulators. You are the people who make democracy work. May God speed you on your journey. Here’s our list of petition tips and anecdotes to keep you warm on those cold door-knocking days. And if you have tips to stories, please share.
Seth Williams. The Philadelphia District Attorney had to end his re-election bid this week amid ethics complaints and questions about him accepting gifts while in office. Media gaggled outside his home this week expecting an FBI indictment
Todd Eagen. In the hotly contested race for the Democratic endorsement for Commonwealth Court, Eagen won his endorsement on the first ballot. He was the only CC primary hopeful to emerge from the room with the party’s backing.
Chris Christie. The New Jersey Governor continues to add to the list of reasons why Philadelphians do not like him. The latest strike is a hit against the Phillies, their fans and Citizens Bank Park.
Pipelines. The Mariner East 2 pipeline was approved this week by DEP, following months of hearings that featured hundreds of people – opponents and supporters. The approval came from the state, not the feds, but it matches a favorable national climate for these types of projects.
PA Congressional delegation. In 2009, Sen. Arlen Specter kept his cool in the first angry town hall meeting of the Tea Party wave. He earned the respect of critics and supporters for facing the fire. Democratic incumbents who dismissed constituents as being paid, astro-turf, out-of-towners paid for their mistake the next year. Now the shoe is on the other foot, and members of the PA delegation are dismissing critics, pretending digital or telephone town halls are the real thing, or dodging town halls altogether.
Patrick Buchanan, “The Deep State Targets Trump”
“When Gen. Michael Flynn was forced to resign as national security adviser, Bill Kristol purred his satisfaction, “If it comes to it, prefer the deep state to the Trump state.”
“To Kristol, the permanent regime, not the elected president and his government, is the real defender and rightful repository of our liberties.
“Yet it was this regime, the deep state, that carried out what Eli Lake of Bloomberg calls “The Political Assassination of Michael Flynn.”
“And what were Flynn’s offenses?
“In December, when Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats, Flynn spoke to the Russian ambassador. He apparently counseled the envoy not to overreact, saying a new team would be in place in a few weeks and would review U.S.-Russian relations.
“‘That’s neither illegal nor improper,’ writes Lake.
“Vladimir Putin swiftly declared that there would be no reciprocal expulsions and U.S. diplomats and their families would be welcome at the Kremlin’s Christmas and New Year’s parties.
Diplomatic crisis averted. “Great move … (by V. Putin),” tweeted Trump, “I always knew he was very smart.”
“But apparently, this did not sit well with the deep state.
“For when Vice President Pence told a TV show that Flynn told him that sanctions did not come up in conversation with the Russian ambassador, a transcript of Flynn’s call was produced from recordings by intelligence agencies, and its contents leaked to The Washington Post.
“After seeing the transcript, the White House concluded that Flynn had misled Pence, mutual trust was gone, and Flynn must go.
“Like a good soldier, Flynn took the bullet.
“The real crime here, however, is not that the incoming national security adviser spoke with a Russian diplomat seeking guidance on the future president’s thinking. The real crime is the criminal conspiracy inside the deep state to transcribe the private conversation of a U.S. citizen and leak it to press collaborators to destroy a political career.. .”
Mark Levin, 02/16/17
Our brains don’t mature until age 26. We spend our last decade as adolescents who form mobs, whether for military, entertainment, or political causes. Robert Heinlein had a good idea: in one of his SciFi novels, being allowed to vote depended on completion of military service . . .
“On Thursday’s Mark Levin show, One of the biggest problems we face in this country is in our colleges and universities. We have parents who go into debt sending their kids to college and they come out as radical Marxists, or democratic socialists — completely different from when they went in! It’s not their fault, but because of the propaganda they learn there. Too often universities turn out people who hate their own country and despise their own faith. Many times universities promote a statist orthodoxy and ideology that is hostile to America’s origins. We are witnessing a death march in education today and we are going bankrupt for it.
“In addition, Caleb O’Neill was suspended from Orange Coast College for posting a video of his professor’s anti-Trump tirade. Why shouldn’t students be able to video tape their classrooms? This has nothing to do with intimidating and silencing professors but exposing those trashing President Trump. After that, media in this country doesn’t understand that they are hated by everybody. The radical leftists know the media is liberal and don’t think they are aggressive enough and the rest of America knows the media is liberal and we can’t stand them.
“Later, if intelligence agencies just happened upon Michael Flynn speaking to the Russian ambassador they would have needed a warrant for that. We are supposed to have some protection as private citizens. You don’t hear an outcry from the ACLU or any of the other civil liberties folks who are just as fake as the media. This is not a scandal because of Flynn but because of Barack Obama and Loretta Lynch.”