He said it better than I could: Guest Writer Henry Racette on the open U.S. Supreme Court seat

He said it better than I could: Guest Writer Henry Racette on the open U.S. Supreme Court seat

Today, we feature another of our Ricochet writers, Henry Racette. Please enjoy and respond to his post on filling the new Supreme Court vacancy brought about by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Saturday.

About That Vacancy

Now that the coronavirus crisis is essentially over but for the continuing economic disaster being wrought by various governors and power-drunk state officials, we could do with yet another catastrophe to keep the press enthused through the end of this election year.

The passing this week of Justice Ginsburg will do just fine.

Let me explain why it is right, proper, and essential that the Court be restored to a full complement of nine members prior to the election.

GARLAND v (UNKNOWN)

You’ll hear endless babble about the way Senator McConnell handled the Garland nomination, President Obama’s lame duck nomination that McConnell refused to allow to be voted on by the Senate. People will say it’s hypocritical of the Senate to vote now, when it failed to vote on Obama’s nomination. They’ll argue that it’s a breach of trust with the American people, etc., etc.

That’s all wrong, and here’s why.

It isn’t hypocrisy to treat the two situations differently because the two situations are in fact different. Obama was a lame duck in his last year in office, filling a vacancy (Justice Scalia’s) created in that last year in office, and opposed by a Senate the electorate had handed to the Republicans. Never in U.S. history has the Senate confirmed a Supreme Court nomination in such circumstances; Senator McConnell wisely chose not to preside over the first Senate to do so.

In contrast, the President and the Senate are of the same party. If the Democrats had taken the Senate in 2018, it would be perfectly reasonable for them to block the President’s next nomination; I would expect nothing less (though I’d hope they didn’t stoop to the character assassination they displayed during the Kavanaugh confirmation). But the American people left the Senate in Republican hands, and I hope that Senate will support the President as he makes yet another excellent appointment.

BUT THE CONSTITUTION!

So ignore the hypocrisy claim. And absolutely scoff at anyone who pretends that there are actually constitutional barriers to a speedy appointment: that’s simply wrong. As an iconic Supreme Court Justice once observed, “there’s nothing in the Constitution that says the President stops being President in his last year.” (In fact, that was Justice Ginsburg herself.) Similarly, there is nothing in the Constitution that says the Senate stops being the Senate in an election year. There are no legal nor Constitutional barriers to a speedy nomination and confirmation.

LAST WISHES

There’s a particularly troubling claim you’ll hear, which is that Justice Ginsburg, in her final days, said the following:
“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

Let me be very clear. I will say nothing ill of the late Justice, and I applaud her tenacity and strength during what must have been extraordinarily difficult times. It is my hope that she didn’t in fact say what has been attributed to her, because the idea that she would have is repugnant to me and would diminish her in my eyes.

Filling a seat on the Supreme Court is a high honor, a position of service to the American people granted with great ceremony and enormous trust. But the seat is not the property of its occupant to be assigned by him or her to the next candidate, and the late Justice has no more right to determine who occupies it next than I have. I would like to believe that Justice Ginsburg appreciated the dignity of the court and its unique role to uphold the Constitution, and wouldn’t try to subvert the Constitutional provisions for peopling the Court by attempting to impose her own political vision upon her successor. That would be a kind of betrayal — though, in fairness, perhaps one forgivable in an old and critically ill woman.

WHY IT’S NECESSARY

There is no legal, Constitutional, procedural, or moral reason not to quickly confirm a new Supreme Court Justice. There are two practical reasons why it is extraordinarily important that we do appoint a new Supreme Court Justice as quickly as possible.

First, and most importantly, there is already ample reason to expect the 2020 election to be legally challenged regardless of outcome. The Democratic candidate himself has spoken openly, and strangely, of having the support of the military in the event that the election doesn’t appear to go in his favor. Secretary Clinton is on record as advising Vice President Biden that he should not concede, regardless of the electoral outcome. Given this, it is hard to see how a Trump victory will not be challenged in court.

Left-leaning and Democratic think tanks have been “war-gaming” (simulating) various scenarios for challenging the 2020 election results. The most widely published account finds only one electoral outcome that does *not* lead to widespread violence and/or a Constitutional crisis, and that is a landslide Democratic victory. Every other outcome leads to chaos.
Add to this the left’s enthusiasm for mail-in voting, which is inherently less secure than in-person voting and so more susceptible to challenge, and we have been put on notice: if the Democratic candidate doesn’t win, we should expect a Constitutional crisis.

We will need a Supreme Court with an odd number of Justices present. A hung Court unable to resolve a contested outcome of the 2020 election will leave the country in a precarious and dangerous condition: for the first time in history, the transition of power will be uncertain.

That possibility alone demands that we restore the Court to nine members before the election. A failure to do so will be inexcusably reckless, endangering the world’s greatest democracy and its uninterrupted tradition of peaceful transition of power.

The second reason that it is essential that we fill the court is that there are those who fear widespread civil unrest and violence if the Senate does act quickly.

There’s a word for that, for the threat of violence if a particular political demand is not delivered. It’s called terrorism. The United States should not submit to the demands of terrorists, whether they’re foreign or domestic. Anyone who argues that the Senate must not act for fear of triggering a violent backlash is calling for the appeasement and rewarding of domestic terrorists.

To hell with that. We don’t surrender our Constitution because one side isn’t willing to lose with grace. Congressmen are about as spineless a species as one will find, but when given the choice of answering to the mob or answering to the Constitution they’d best not find it a hard decision to make.

ONE LAST THING

Those reasons are more than enough, but there’s one more practical consideration. President Trump has made hundreds of very good judicial appointments. There’s every reason to believe that his next Supreme Court nomination will also be very good. There’s every reason to believe that a Democratic nomination will not be good at all.

People are confused about what “conservative” means when we’re speaking of the Supreme Court. “Conservative” and “liberal” when it comes to the Supreme Court is a bit like “firefighter” and “arsonist” when it comes to house fires. The purpose of the Supreme Court is to interpret and uphold the Constitution. Its purpose isn’t to rewrite the Constitution, to reinvent the Constitution, or to “fix” the Constitution. It isn’t to burn the Constitution down.

“Conservative,” in the context of the Supreme Court, means pro-Constitution. Everyone who values Constitutional governance should support conservative Justices.

Lens-Artists Challenge #115 Inspiration

I am always inspired by the monumental, and not-so-monumental, works of human ingenuity.  Whenever I see a bridge, or a mountain road, or a tall building, it reminds me of how people, down through the ages, have altered their environment by building things to make their lives easier, or to commemorate occasions or people.  Structures built by people have survived over thousands of years, like the Pyramids of Egypt, or the Western Wall of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Wailing WallWhen I was in Jerusalem and visited the Wall, I was able to take a picture of my own hand on the Wall, connecting myself for a short time to the history of my people, the Jews.  Just think, that cut stone has remained in its place for over 2,000 years.

My hand on Wailing Wall

The pipe organ below is another sublime work of human ingenuity.  The instrument took over two years to build, in my state of Washington, before being installed in the new Christ Chapel at Hillsdale College.  The workings of a pipe organ have not materially changed in hundreds of years; this one also has some new electronic capabilities that Johann Sebastian Bach would marvel at.  But the principles remain the same, and the sound cannot be surpassed.

FrittsOrgan

Switches-organ

The organist can play the three keyboards with both hands and both feet, all at once-see the pedals have both black and white “keys”! A true inspiration, for a string-player who is lucky to be able to play with just the two hands.

WindTurbines

I will swallow a bit of pride here, and admire the designers and builders of these huge wind-turbines, on rolling hills of Eastern Washington.  They look pretty simple, but the mechanism is incredible complex, and they are just huge.  On our trip to South Dakota, we saw at least ten flatbed trucks carrying turbine blades, and they are longer than the longest-available trailer-at least fifty feet long.  The majority of these turbines were working, turning slowly in the near-constant wind, supplying power to the homes, farms, and towns nearby.

GoldenGate

I expect everyone knows what this is. The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, standing for about 100 years now.  A true inspiration, and indication of the vast powers of the Human Mind and Body.  And then, actually not far away…

SF-OaklandBayBridge

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.  This bridge has a curve to it that must have been an engineering feat to design and build.  And beautiful, too.

Speaking of beautiful, here’s something a little closer to home, and to my heart.  Hubby is an aeronautical engineer, and he worked on this aircraft from the very beginning.  And as part of my job, I purchased circuit-card assemblies for the flight-deck of this plane.  So a little of both of us is in each one built.  This picture was taken on the “rollout” day in July of 2007, when it was formally presented to the world.  Personally, I think this is one of the most awe-inspiring airplanes ever designed and built by any maker.

Dreamliner

One more thing.  The building you see is another marvel, the largest single building in the world, manufacturing airplanes since the 1960s.

Truly, the capabilities of humanity are always expanding, and always inspiring.

 

 

Link to original article.

Scenes from South Dakota

On September 1, my Hubby and I got into our car, and drove to South Dakota, for a Ricochet meetup with members from all over the US.  Our drive took us through Eastern Washington, Northern Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota finally.  It was an uneventful drive, and the scenery we saw was spectacular.  We had been that way before, and we didn’t stop much on the way.  We did stop at the first rest area in SD.

SD Rest area

And we saw some beautiful land.

SDBluffsSDVista

Thursday night, when we hit Rapid City, we had very little time to sightsee, just met the gang for a great dinner.

On Friday, we did a lot of driving new roads, and picture-taking.  We met some members at the Powder House restaurant just after breakfast, and got a chance to check out the cars our friends would drive in to the Sturgis Mustang Rally the next day.  There were two Mustangs and a Toyota MR2.

 

Next, we drove the roads to Custer State Park, along what is known as the “Needles Highway”. Needles, indeed!

There was a tunnel along the highway.

What a beautiful view through the end of that tunnel! Recognize it?

I remember being fascinated by the trees I saw, growing rough up out of the rocks. Those trees are helping to break down the granite of the Black Hills, eventually reducing the mountains to broken stone (in a few million years!).

Along the road, I held up my phone, and took some video of the turns we went through. You need a strong stomach to drive the Needles Highway.


Between the Needles was a very beautiful vista of the Black Hills.

On Saturday, we visited the Mammoth Site. It was spectacular, and deserves a post of its own, which I will publish later.

On Sunday, we drove the Spearfish Highway, which was supposed to be spectacular. It was nice, but we were basically not too impressed. We have scenery just as good on our North Cascades Highway in Washington. However, in the town of Lead, we visited Roughlock Falls, which turned out to be very beautiful. Most of the falls are at just below ground level, and the water is very clear. I found it relaxing.

And if you walk further down the path, you find the Lower Falls, different from the Upper Falls.

And, on the way back to Rapid City, we discovered something we were not expecting to find. We discovered a lake that we didn’t know was even there. It is a reservoir on Rapid Creek, known as the Pactola Reservoir. Rapid City gets its water from that reservoir. And if you follow the link, you can learn its secret.

We also did the obligatory tour of Mount Rushmore, with some other Rico friends. My readers will know that we went there before, and I posted many pictures then, so I didn’t take very many this year.

On Monday, we headed toward home, via North Dakota. But we saw some nice country on our way out of South Dakota. Now, the rest of the weekend had been sunny and warm, but Monday was rainy, and the forecast for the more mountainous areas was…wait for it…Snow! We didn’t see any.

In the 1930s, they built a wall.

In the 1930s, in the depths of the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration sent crews to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the Little Missouri National Grasslands portion, and set them to work building infrastructure.  By the side of the North Dakota highway, there is a turnout with a viewpoint, and a low wall demarcating the limits of the turnout area.   The wall is roughly built, with a poor grade of cement containing many pieces of obvious local stone.

Turnout wall, ND

You can see that the cement holding the stones together has not weathered the years well.

Now, while looking at this wall, I noticed some components that might be very valuable, just incorporated into this wall in a random manner. I focused on one particular piece of material in the wall.

Valuable?

Upon closer inspection, this looked to me like a large piece of petrified wood. In the Eastern part of Washington State, we have a Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park, where many old trees have been preserved, their woody portions replaced by stone. In my experience, petrified wood is very rare, and valuable. I looked closer at another of the stones in the wall.

Petrified Wood

Isn’t it remarkable, that you can see the wood-grain, and in the top photo you can tell where the branches of the tree grew out of the trunk? It seems to me that those wall-builders didn’t know what they had, and simply built big chunks of petrified wood into their quite ordinary stone wall on a highway turnout. I wonder if other tourists who stop at this highway turnout bother to look closely at the simple wall built from local stone? I wonder if the National Park Service, who is now responsible for the maintenance of the park, even knows today what they have?

Lens-Artists Challenge #114-Negative Space

As I understand it, Negative Space in a photograph is the space around the subject, not the subject.  The Wide Open Spaces of Montana and North Dakota supplied some excellent subjects on our recent trip across country.

They don’t call Montana Big Sky Country for nothing.

Montana Big Sky

The white barn almost disappears in the Big Sky, under the Big Cloud.  This picture was taken from a moving car, from the passenger-side window.

Then, on our way home, we stopped at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.  The park is little-known, but definitely worth a visit if you are in the Northwest part of the state.  In encompasses multiple terrains, from tall bluffs to the winding Little Missouri River Valley.  Many of the structures in the Park date from the 1930s Works Progress Administration.  On a plateau above the meandering river, there is an observation platform/shelter, that forms a perfect frame for a view of the opposite bluffs.

The Little Missouri River wore away the sedimentary rock, leaving the bluffs with their many-colored layers for geologists and photographers to appreciate.  The Negative Space sets off the terrain beautifully.

In another part of the park, the worn-away bluffs have exposed some very intriguing features.  They are aptly-named “Cannonballs”, though not all are spherical like their namesake.  In the photo below, multiple cannonballs emerge from their substrate, and the surface looks like someone poured concrete down the face of the bluff.  What is the subject, and what is the negative space?

What do you think?  Mother Nature is the artist here.  The so-called Cannonballs are accretions of chemicals, assembled by Nature from dripping liquid that is different from the surrounding material.  They are harder than the bluff itself, and appear gradually as the bluff erodes around them.  Below this face, many cannonballs litter the ground, and some are quite large.

Sometimes, negative space can actually be positive, setting off the subjects.

Link to original post.

 

 

This will be the Most Important Story of 2020. More important than the Wuhan Coronavirus.

On July 23, over at The Federalist, Mollie Hemingway published a story entitled:

FBI Notes Refute NY Times Story, Highlight Media Collusion in Russia Hoax

I am copying that post in its entirety here, so readers who can’t or won’t visit the original story can get the Real Facts.  What used to pass for the Press in the United States has turned into a corrupt band of Leftist Activists. Anyone who actually reads their drivel should stop immediately, cancel any subscriptions, and make this story go viral.  Unless you prefer being lied to.  Here is the story.  Please read every word.  Pass it on.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The FBI official who ran the investigation into whether the Donald Trump campaign colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election privately admitted in newly released notes that a major New York Times article was riddled with lies, falsehoods, and “misleading and inaccurate” information. The February 2017 story was penned by three reporters who would win Pulitzers for their reporting on Trump’s supposed collusion with Russia.

The FBI’s public posture and leaks at the time supported the now-discredited conspiracy theory that led to the formation of a special counsel probe to investigate the Trump campaign and undermine his administration.

“We have not seen evidence of any individuals affiliated with the Trump team in contact with [Russian Intelligence Officials]. . . . We are unaware of ANY Trump advisors engaging in conversations with Russian intelligence officials,” former FBI counterespionage official Peter Strzok wrote of the Feb. 14, 2017 New York Times story “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence.” That story, which was based on the unsubstantiated claims of four anonymous intelligence officials, was echoed by a similarly sourced CNN story published a day later and headlined “Trump aides were in constant touch with senior Russian officials during campaign.”

Strzok’s notes are the latest factual debunking of these stories, which were previously shown to be false with the release of Robert Mueller’s special counsel report finding no evidence whatsoever in support of the Hillary Clinton campaign assertion that Trump affiliates colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election. A report from the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General on just one aspect of the investigation into Russia collusion — FBI spying on Trump campaign affiliates — also debunked these news reports.

Former FBI Director James Comey admitted under oath in June 2017 that the reporting was “false,” something his deputy director Andrew McCabe privately acknowledged to the White House earlier that year but refused to admit publicly. Efforts by the White House to get the FBI to say publicly what they were admitting privately were leaked to the media in order to suggest the White House was obstructing their investigation. “Obstruction” of the Russia investigation would form a major part of the special counsel probe, and media and Democrat efforts to oust the president.

As for the merits of the explosive New York Times story alleging repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials before the election, Strzok said it was “misleading and inaccurate… no evidence.” Of the unsubstantiated claim that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was on the phone calls with Russian intelligence officials, Strzok said, “We are unaware of any calls with any Russian govt official in which Manafort was a party.” And of the New York Times claim that Roger Stone was part of the FBI’s inquiry into Russian ties, Strzok said, “We have not investigated Roger Stone.”

The Times report, which came hours after National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was ousted due to criminal leaks against him, was one of the most important articles published by major media as part of their campaign to paint Trump as a Russian operative. Widely accepted by the media and political establishment, it did as much to cement the false and damaging Russia conspiracy theory as CNN’s story legitimizing the now-discredited Christopher Steele dossier or the Washington Post’s now-discredited suggestion that Flynn was a secret Russian operative who was guilty of violating an obscure 1799 law called the Logan Act.

The New York Times declined to retract or correct the article three years ago, even after Comey testified it was false, on the grounds that the anonymous sources who fed the false information remained pleased with the initial story.

The damage this false story caused the Trump administration can not be overstated. It’s a story worth recounting here.

Leaks Real, News Fake

The leaks are real, the news is fake,” President Donald Trump said on February 16, 2017, when ABC News’ Jonathan Karl asked him at a press conference to respond to The New York Times’ explosive report. As other reporters asked more questions related to the New York Times story, he went on to deride the media for writing negative and false stories based on anonymous sources.

The response was roundly mocked by a media class that asserted it was unimaginable that intelligence officials might be leaking anything but the most accurate information. CNN’s Jake Tapper, echoing other Democrat activists, called the press conference “unhinged.”

“I guess I don’t understand,” said CNN’s Jim Acosta, asking, “How can the stories be fake?” Numerous other reporters, presumably all college-educated, publicly claimed to wonder the same thing. The few reporters who were skeptical of the anonymously sourced reports on Russia were also mocked.

If someone associated with an intelligence agency had been granted anonymity to claim without evidence that Donald Trump — Donald Trump — had been a secret Russian agent for decades, or had for some reason paid prostitutes to urinate on a Moscow hotel bed President Obama once slept in, or had arranged clandestine meetings in Prague with top-level Kremlin operatives in a grand dirt-and-dollars-and-election-support scheme, it simply had to be true! Who was to say otherwise? Who was to demand evidence for the absurd conspiracy theory that had, it turned out, been manufactured as part of a Clinton campaign operation?

The response to Trump’s claim that the leaks from anonymous intelligence officials were producing fake news was one of many indicators that U.S. political media would be in no position to think critically or skeptically about whether they were being used by a politically motivated cabal of intelligence officials. The smarter ones might have known they were being used but simply determined they would be more than happy to play an important role in the operation.

Trump was right that the leaks were real but the news was false. Trump campaign aides did not have repeated contacts with Russian intelligence, contrary to what Michael S. Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti, and Matt Apuzzo breathlessly reported. Flynn was not a secret Russian agent. Neither was former Sen. Jeff Sessions.

Published At The Right Moment

The New York Times story was completely false, but the damage it caused the Trump administration was very real.

The false story was published mere hours after intelligence officials had successfully ousted Trump’s National Security Advisor Flynn following weeks of criminal and selectively edited leaks about his benign communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States. CNN “confirmed” the New York Times’ false reporting hours later.

The Wall Street Journal’s Shane Harris and Carol E. Lee reported based on anonymous sources two days later that the CIA was withholding important national information from Trump because of supposedly legitimate concerns over his ties to Russia. Then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo debunked that reporting immediately. The Washington Post openly talked about the “cloud of Russia” hanging over the Trump administration.

Still, the combination of stories and resulting hysteria was enough to lead Trump to hold a press conference in the East Room to address the growing Russia collusion narrative. It was there he described the “real” leak, “fake” news phenomenon he was dealing with.

As a reminder, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee had secretly bought and paid for the conspiracy theory to be manufactured, disseminated in the press, and seeded to the U.S. government. It failed to take off as much as they hoped before the election — and yes, contrary to popular reporting, Clinton’s Russia operation was absolutely deployed before the election, and resurrected by the Clinton campaign in the hours after her stunning defeat.

Then corporate media, humiliated by their failure to accurately report on the 2016 campaign, latched onto the conspiracy theory as a way to explain away their failure. Obama intelligence officials worked to give credence to the theory by leaking about Russia’s long-standing efforts to meddle in U.S. elections and attempting to insinuate Trump’s collusion with same.

At the time the New York Times story ran, it was received credulously by nearly the entire political and media class and received no meaningful pushback from them. “BREAKING: Minutes ago, NY Times bombshell– Trump campaign officials in contact w/Russian intelligence for full year,” tweeted Michael Moore. “Flynn was the appetizer. This is the meal,” tweeted Washington Post columnist Brian Klaas.

“Yes, this is as bad as it looks,” the Democratic National Committee stated. “If not a smoking gun, this is a very hot pistol,” opined Paul Begala. “The trail linking Trump to Russian interference in the election is getting closer and closer,” wrote Robert Reich. “Way beyond Flynn!” wrote an excited Sen. Amy Klobuchar, asking for support for a bill investigating Trump.

“Big NYT scoop,” bragged New York Times editor Cliff Levy. Slate’s Ashley Feinbergsaid, “it is [expletive deleted] insane that trump is not being impeached.” Rolling Stone senior writer Jamil Smith said, “This story is a mother[expletive deleted]. We have crossed the Rubicon, folks.” “Whoa,” said Twitter enthusiast Bill Kristol.

“It’s all starting to unravel. This won’t be over soon and we must be relentlessly disciplined in how we discuss it,” said Russia hoaxer Susan Hennessey. “There are some important caveats in NYT story on Russia and Trump. But harder to see how Republicans resist probe,” lobbied Los Angeles Times White House reporter Chris Megerian.

“Holy moly,” said the Los Angeles Times’ Matt Pearce. “Oh wow,” wrote the Washington Post’s Abigail Hauslohner. “Boom,” wrote Der Spiegel’s Matthieu von Rohr. “Words just fail me,” said NPR’s Neela Banerjee. “Blockbuster story has been out 24 hrs & Trump has provided no explanation or refutation. Instead attacks leakers,” said Washington Post-enabled Max Boot. “Siren,” wrote Politico’s Blake Hounshell. “Can’t overstate the importance of a diligent, independent press that protects sources,” wrote Mallory Busch about the anonymously — and erroneously — sourced account.

“This is one of the biggest scandals in American history. Where will it end?” asked American Federation of Teachers union president Randi Weingarten. “Are there any constitutional redresses if the President of the US proves to be the Muscovian Candidate?” asked Foreign Policy senior correspondent Michael Hirsh.

The story was tweeted by Rachel Maddow, lead reporter Michael Schmidt, the New York Times’ Nate Cohn, Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, CNN’s Jake Tapper, Times reporter Jeremy Peters, AP bureau chief Michael Tackett, and rabid Democratic activist and CNN White House correspondent John Harwood,

Democrats pounced. “The need for an independent commission to investigate grows more urgent by the hour. Where is the GOP?,” lobbied Sen. Dick Durbin. “When is enough going to be enough for my GOP colleagues to allow a vote on independent investigation of White House?” asked Rep. Susan Davis. “It’s time for a full, in-depth, bipartisan investigation into the Trump administrations ties to #Russia,” wrote Colorado Democrats. “We need full investigation into connection between
@realDonaldTrump campaign & Russia. Too many unanswered questions,” was a popular refrain from House Democrats such as Ann McLane Kuster.

The comments went on and on and on. Each time the story has been debunked, this received little to no coverage from the same corporate media that trumpeted it.

Fighting the False Story Was Treated As Obstruction

Television news the week The New York Times published its false report was non-stop Russia hysteria. It dominated the Sunday shows. When White House chief of staff Reince Priebus told CBS’ John Dickerson “I think that the media should stop with this unnamed source stuff,” The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman — who would also win a Pulitzer for her perpetuation of the false and dangerous Russia collusion hoax — claimed he was demanding that the media stop using anonymous sources.

When the New York Times story came out, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe asked to speak privately with Priebus, according to reporting in Howard Kurtz’s book “Media Madness.” McCabe told Priebus that “everything” in the story was “bulls–t.” Priebus motioned to the bank of televisions showing that the media was taking it seriously and talking about it non-stop. He asked McCabe if he could say something publicly to push back. McCabe said he’d check with his colleagues and get back to him.

McCabe called back to say he couldn’t do anything. Comey also called Priebus to claim there was nothing they could say publicly. (McCabe admitted in his book “The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump,” that he declined to say publicly that the report was false.)

What the FBI was willing to do, however, was leak to CNN that the “FBI refused White House request to knock down recent Trump-Russia stories.” That report made it seem like the reporting from The New York Times was legitimate and that the White House was obstructing a legitimate investigation, which, again, became a major theme of the Mueller investigation and attempts to impeach the president.

Comey did offer to brief congressmen and senators that the New York Times report was completely false. When those members said publicly that the New York Times report was false, that too was characterized as something nefarious.

“Trump administration sought to enlist intelligence officials, key lawmakers to counter Russia stories,” was how the Washington Post’s Greg Miller spun that effort. Miller noted that the FBI declined to comment on whether they had told the White House that the New York Times story was completely false. Miller would also win a Pulitzer for his role in perpetuating the Russia collusion hoax.

In his book, McCabe said there was a disinformation campaign in the conservative blogosphere to suggest he had animus toward the president and had gleefully pursued Flynn, both of which he claimed were false. Of the reports, he said, “The stories may be fictional and the information false, but the consequences of this strategy are real.”

Whether or not McCabe’s denials are plausible, how much more powerful is the strategy when it’s not unread blogs but the most powerful media outlets in the world that are willing to spread fictional and false information.

 

A bittersweet Independence Day

A bittersweet Independence Day

This year of 2020, when we Americans should be celebrating American Exceptionalism-the big difference in America’s founding and history from every other nation on Earth; our great country is riven by rioting, looting, Marxism, ugliness, vandalism—oh, and also a worldwide pandemic of a virus that originated in Communist China.

Instead of the sound of parades, brass bands playing Stars and Stripes Forever, and laughing children; we hear screams, bullhorns, and the rending sounds of toppling monuments.  Instead of praise for the Founding Fathers George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and all the others, we hear praise for career criminals and Marxist fugitives.

The government school systems all across our country have produced a generation of youth who are taught that their country was illegitimately founded by a bunch of nasty bigoted, misogynistic, racist conquerors whose only interest was killing the natives they found here and taking over their land.  They were taught that the founders of America, because most were White and Male, were, by their very nature unfit to govern the population.  They are now being taught that the prime important date in America’s history was 1619, the year that the first “slave ship” docked.  And it is those youth who are now engaging in orgies of destruction, motivated by a so-called “Black Lives Matter” movement whose founders are avowed Marxists who despise America and wish to take it down.

We should be looking to all the manifestly great things that America, as founded, has done for those of us fortunate enough to have been born here, as well as the millions of legal (and too many illegal) immigrants who voluntarily left their own countries to seek a more-productive life here in America.  Those youth who constantly denigrate America should try spending a year or so in Cuba or Venezuela, and then see how they like it, compared to their pretty cushy life here.

This year in America, Summer has been Cancelled, due to the effects of the Wuhan Coronavirus, and the destructive Lockdowns perpetrated by the state and local Governments.  Everyday American citizens have been isolated from their friends and neighbors, schools closed (keeping children from their friends), offices and factories closed (resulting in massive unemployment and business failures), and city streets emptied.  The Virus did not cause this, the Governments did; making Policy at the behest of so-called Experts whose advice changes seemingly daily.  State governors and city mayors have become drunk with power, and they continually increase their decreed control over their citizens.  Most of the people of this great nation have become compliant sheep, going around in masks, and obeying every proclamation from their Masters. Never before in the history of this country has the economy been nearly totally brought to a screeching halt by any disease.  Even smallpox epidemics, and the Spanish Flu of 1918 did not see the total shutdown of the economy, with all its destruction.

The people of America are tired, and angry, and sick of being quarantined.  They see massive “demonstrations” against “police brutality”; thousands of people in the streets, with NO “social-distancing” or mask-wearing.  And when the “new cases” of viral disease spike, they hear NO mention of those mass demonstrations as the cause.

HKCrowd

And this year, perhaps we fortunate Americans should be thinking of those Citizens of Hong Kong, whose previous liberty and prosperity is being taken away by Communist China.  Just this week, the Communist Chinese passed a new national security law, given them increased control of Hong Kong, in violation of the Basic Agreement signed in 1989 when Britain ceded control of the island (perhaps now looking like a bad idea).  Going forward now, the Communists will be in tighter control, and can arrest and detain Hong Kongers at will and take them back to the mainland for “trial”.

The immediate impact is likely to be suppression of an antigovernment protest movement, whose demonstrations, within a comfort zone that protected rights to publicly question authority, were fueled by widespread public misgivings over Beijing’s growing influence.

The increase in the Communists’ power threatens all that has been beneficial about Hong Kong, including its economic freedom and rule of law.  In Communist countries, there is no such thing as rule of law, and citizens can be detained for any reason, for any length of time, with no recourse.  Already, bookstore owners and newspaper editors in Hong Kong have been “disappeared” by the Communists, simply vanishing.  For about 100 years, Hong Kong has been a haven of economic liberty in Asia, and those days are coming to a close.  The US has already declared that Hong Kong is no longer “semiautonomous”, and this declaration means that Hong Kong will no longer be treated as a free trading partner.  The Communists of mainland China are killing the Golden Goose of their own prosperity.

So, on this Independence Day, all Proud American Citizens should stand up and cheer.  Praise this Great Country, sing God Bless America or the Star-Spangled Banner, and be happy that you were born in the United States of America, the

GREATEST COUNTRY ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH

Living Proof that America is NOT a Systemically Racist Country

screen_shot_2016-03-22_at_4.36.11_pm.jpg

Barack Hussein Obama was elected President of the United States. Twice.  By both black and white voters.

As for the so-called Black Lives Matter movement, may I recommend that you drop by Ricochet and read the excellent essay by member Derryck Green.  He nails it.

Unknown

Please tell me how looting and burning advances the cause of black people.

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #99-Old and New

As places go, the United States isn’t very old, only about 250 years old.  You have to travel to Europe or Asia to find really old artifacts.  One of the best places to find old construction is the State of Israel.  Itself, it is pretty new, having been founded in 1948. But the Covenant from God, giving the land to the Jews, is pretty old, dating from around 2000 BC.  In 2007, we visited Israel with Michael Medved, and I had a chance to explore the land of my ancestors  All over Israel, you find ancient things.  One place we visited was the Fortress of Masada, where, in the year 73AD, a band of Jews fought to the death, and committed suicide rather than be captured by the Romans.

Tram-Masada

This is how you get from the ground to the top of the massive fortress built right into the mountainside.  A very new mode of transport up the walls of an ancient structure. Here’s a sample of what you see when you get there.

Walls, Masada
Walls and room, Masada, Israel

Fast-forward to 1991.  In the summer, I spent a magical three weeks in Cambridge, England, on a UCLA program, studying Medieval English Society.  We went a numerous field trips around the area, visiting towns and castles dating from the period.  One of my favorite places was the monastery of Bury St. Edmunds.  We read the memoirs of a monk, Jocelyn de Brakelond, who lived at the monastery about 1080-1100 AD.

Bury St. Edmunds
House, built into the ruins of the abbey at Bury St. Edmunds, Ely

See how the relatively new house is built right into the medieval ruins!

Cambridge-Lavenham
High Street, Lavenham. A wool town.

The houses on the High Street in Lavenham date from the medieval period.  I think the vehicles are newer than that!

Cambridge view
Myself, in 14th Century doorway, Trinity Hall, Cambridge-I’m 5’6″ tall

This was me in 1991.  The doorway in the College where we stayed, dates from the 14th Century.

Orford Castle
Fireplace, Orford Castle, Suffolk

Orford Castle was built in the late 1170s.  I don’t think the builders of the castle had access to the device next to the hearth.

I think we should appreciate old things, especially ancient things that have survived to today.  Much of what we build nowadays is not built to last centuries, so maybe people hundreds of years from now won’t remember us as easily as we remember the ancient Israelites, or the early English.

As Ralph Stanley, the well-known Bluegrass artist used to say “Watch where you’re goin’, and never forget where you came from”.

Link to Original Article