pod wrote:People think it was "deregulation" but it was "re-regulation"...
It ALWAYS is.
on 20 Feb 2017 10:33
on 21 Feb 2017 10:35
When institutions with vast power to eavesdrop, fine, harass and detain see themselves as locked in a zero-sum struggle for survival, it is often basic civil liberties and democratic rights that end up in the crossfire.
The New York Times wrote:The White House remained firm on Sunday even after Mr. Obama’s office denied ordering a wiretap and James R. Clapper Jr., the former director of national intelligence, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that there had been no wiretapping of Mr. Trump or his campaign. James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, privately asked the Justice Department to issue a statement that Mr. Trump’s claim was false, senior officials said, but the department had not done so as of Sunday evening.
“Everybody acts like President Trump is the one that came up with this idea and just threw it out there,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a White House spokeswoman, said on “This Week” on ABC News. “There are multiple news outlets that have reported this. And all we’re asking is that we get the same level of look into the Obama administration and the potential that they had for a complete abuse of power that they’ve been claiming that we have done over the last six months.”
Ms. Sanders pointed to reports in “multiple outlets,” including The New York Times, as the foundation for the allegation. Mr. Levin, the radio host, likewise read from a series of mainstream news reports during an appearance on “Fox & Friends” on Sunday.
“The evidence is overwhelming,” he said. “This is not about President Trump’s tweeting. This is about the Obama administration’s spying, and the question isn’t whether it spied.” He added, “The question is who they did spy on, the extent of the spying — that is, the Trump campaign, the Trump transition, Trump surrogates.”
But the news organizations he and Ms. Sanders cited have not reported that Mr. Obama tapped Mr. Trump’s phones, as the president claimed on Twitter. The Times has reported that several of Mr. Trump’s associates are being investigated for their connections with Russians and that law enforcement agencies have examined intercepted communications. It has not reported that those associates themselves have necessarily been wiretapped, but it has reported surveillance of Russians, which is commonplace.
News outlets have noted that a phone call between Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser, and Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Sergey I. Kislyak, was monitored, leading to Mr. Flynn’s resignation because his account of the conversation did not match the intercept. It is common for the United States to monitor the communications of Russia’s ambassador.
The Times also reported that before leaving office, Obama officials tried to spread information about Russian meddling in the election and possible links between Russia and Trump associates, in order to leave a trail for government investigators.
Some Republicans suggested that Mr. Trump might have extrapolated that into an unfounded assertion. “I think the president was not correct, certainly, in saying that President Obama ordered a tap on a server in Trump Tower,” former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said on “This Week.” “However, I think he’s right in that there was surveillance and that it was conducted at the behest of the attorney — of the Justice Department,” through the special court that authorizes eavesdropping on suspected foreign agents inside the United States.
Trump has a problem either way. If he was not wiretapped, he invented a spectacularly false charge. And if a court ordered some sort of surveillance of him, on what grounds did it do so?
on 06 Mar 2017 14:35
When asked on “Fox and Friends” about how Trump knows his phones were actually tapped, Conway responded, “He’s the President of the United States. He has information and intelligence that the rest of us do not, and that’s the way it should be for presidents.”
on 06 Mar 2017 14:39
on 06 Mar 2017 15:25
on 06 Mar 2017 15:27
on 06 Mar 2017 15:30
coach wrote:Let me make sure I have this nonsense straight. We tap Russian lines (duh). If you call a Russian line, you are therefore speaking on a tapped line. Ergo, if you are speaking on a tapped Russian line, technically your line is tapped, too. Do I have that right?
on 06 Mar 2017 19:31
The basic formula for every breaking Trump/Russia story is essentially as follows:
1. The New York Times or Washington Post releases an article that at first blush appears extremely damning.
2. Anti-Trump pundits and Democrats react reflexively to the news, express shrieking outrage, and proclaim that this finally proves untoward collusion between Trump and Russia — a smoking gun, at last.
3. Aggrieved former Clinton apparatchiks *connect the dots* in a manner eerily reminiscent of right-wing Glenn Beck-esque prognostication circa 2009.
4. Self-proclaimed legal experts rashly opine as to whether the new revelation entails some kind of criminally actionable offense. (Recall the now-laughable certitude that felled National Security Advisor Mike Flynn violated the 200+ year old Logan Act.) This latest version is the certitude that Jeff Sessions committed perjury, when that at the very least is highly questionable.
5. The notion of Russian “collusion” being key to toppling Trump becomes further implanted in the minds of the most energized Democratic activists, as evidenced this time around by a troupe of protesters who showed up to the Department of Justice headquarters brandishing trademarked “Resist” placards, chanting “Lock Him Up,” and (as usual) hyperventilating about Putin. As I’ve written before, Trump/Putin theories are increasingly the top concern that plugged-in “Resistance” types bring up at the highly-charged town hall meetings that have received so much attention of late.
6. Pointing out these glaring flaws in the latest anti-Russia frenzy is immediately construed by cynics as “defending Trump” or “defending Sessions” when it most assuredly is not. At least in my own case, it’s a defense of not getting enraptured by irrational hysterics to further short-term political aims.
7. People who’d spent the past 12 hours frothing at the mouth gradually come to realize that their initial furor was probably overblown, and that a more sober look at the actual facts at hand reveal that the anti-Trump chorus probably got ahead of itself…again.
8. Democrats who sought to capitalize on the uproar end up looking extremely foolish.
9. It becomes “normalized” (that new favorite buzzword!) to cast any meetings or contacts with Russian officials as inherently sinister. Rather than just a basic function of a Senator’s ordinary duties, meeting with “The Russians” is increasingly viewed as evidence of nefarious intent, and perhaps participation in a grand global conspiracy.
10. Political ineptitude and clumsiness (as was very probably the case with Flynn) gets interpreted as something more calculated than it really is. Sessions could’ve avoided this ridiculous controversy by saying something to the effect of: “I did not meet with any Russian officials in my informal capacity as Trump campaign surrogate, but I did speak with Russian officials over the course of my ordinary Senatorial duties.” The problem is, such an admission would’ve probably blown up into a big political snafu; Democrats would’ve seized on it as evidence of Russian collusion. So Sessions tried to lawyer himself out of trouble with an ambiguous comment during sworn testimony. This allowed him to sneak through the confirmation process, but created an even bigger political storm later.
11. A Trump official’s least egregious quality ends up being portrayed as his most egregious quality. There were any number of reasons to be highly worried about the presence of Mike Flynn in the Trump administration, from his bellicose posture toward Iran, to his outlandish views on the alleged threat posed by Islam. Conversing with the Russian ambassador about reducing tensions would very clearly not have been on the “reasons to be worried about Flynn” list. Likewise, Jeff Sessions is a troubling figure for a whole host of reasons, ranging from his hawkishly retrograde attitude about Drug Prohibition to his dicey history on racial matters. That he spoke to the Russian Ambassador in September 2016 would not be on the “reasons to be worried about Sessions” list.
12. The overall political climate gets further degraded and warped without any commensurate upside.
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