There is near-total exhultation among mainstream media that President Trump’s plans to overhaul Obamacare have temporarily stalled as the Republican party could not achieve consensus within its own ranks. Of course, David Stockman praises the ‘Freedom Caucus’ for holding out because he calls the plan that Paul Ryan came up with, ‘Obamacare lite’.
Quite apart from that, it is more than sixty days since President Trump came to office. He has attempted a travel ban from select countries. Knowledgeable people have critcised the attitude taken by the judge in Hawaii who blocked the move. Indians must be familiar with this. Judicial overreach has reached American shores.
In the meantime, the head of FBI has decided to categorically rule out that there was no substance in President Trump’s accusations that he was wiretapped and added for good measure that he was investigating the contacts between Trump’s campaign team and Russia.
Dribs and drabs of evidence are coming out that there was indeed surveillance on President Trump’s team, if not President Trump himself:
there’s evidence to show that communications involving people connected with the Trump transition were collected by America’s intelligence apparatus….Things begin to get a little frightening when we learn that this inadvertent collection of Trump staff conversations was followed up with transcriptions of those conversations and the disclosure (or unmasking) of the persons involved in the conversation…. The raw transcripts of masked persons—or unmasked persons, or U.S. persons who can be easily identified—making their way to the White House is very likely unprecedented. [Link]
Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. wants American media to get a grip. Well, they won’t. They are going crazy over a report a Trump campaign manager (who was fired) had offered to help President Putin with PR efforts in the West in 2005. Yes, in 2005!
Holman reminds us that it was the period when the United States needed Russia’s support for its operations in Afghanistan:
Not without irony, most of the U.S. freight for the war ended up flowing over Soviet rail lines built to support its own Afghanistan war in the 1980s. Hundreds of U.S. troops a week passed through Russian airspace on their way to the battle….The Russians even then were prepping for America’s use a former Soviet air hub in Ulyanovsk, birthplace of Lenin. ….
As for Trump “collusion,” where there’s smoke, there’s fire, goes a typical bit of journalistic deep thinking. But sometimes there’s just a smoke machine furiously being cranked by Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat of the House Intelligence Committee.
In the end, Mr. Schiff will likely prove right about one thing only: his oft-stated complaint that the Obama administration did little to deter Mr. Putin’s adventurism. [Link]
Here, Daniel Henninger in WSJ channels a NYT story on what the Obama administration did in its closing days. He echoes what Peter Hoekstra wrote (see first link above).
“In the Obama administration’s last days, some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election—and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russians—across the government.”
This is what they did: “At intelligence agencies, there was a push to process as much raw intelligence as possible into analyses, and to keep the reports at a relatively low classification level to ensure as wide a readership as possible across the government—and, in some cases, among European allies.”….
That is, the Obama administration put in motion the tsunami of anonymously attributed stories that is engulfing and disabling America’s government today. [Link]
The information within quotes are from the NYT story. The outgoing administration had let loose the intelligence agencies to look for any dirt on the rival campaign team, had gained access to raw intelligence reports and was distributing them to foreign countries too!
In most countries around the world, this would be deemed a criminal act. It is, indeed, Obama’s Watergate. Trump was right that he was ‘tapped’.
There is almost a paranoia-dripped obsession to gut the new President. It is not just a loser’s gripe anymore. It smells like some great plan has gone awry and they are very angry about it. What is it?
The world needs to know because if America is gutted, the world will be gutted for there will be a power vacuum in the world filled by very dangerous elements.
The Professor (Allison Stanger) who invited Charles Murray, scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, to speak at Middlebury college and endured physical injury wrote this:
Americans today are deeply susceptible to a renunciation of reason and celebration of ignorance. They know what they know without reading, discussing or engaging those who might disagree with them. People from both sides of the aisle reject calm logic, eager to embrace the alternative news that supports their prejudices. [Link]
She added and concluded:
More broadly, our constitutional democracy will depend on whether Americans can relearn how to engage civilly with one another, something that is admittedly hard to do with a bullying president as a role model.
I would have been educated had she provided evidence of his bullying and whether he had cowed down or intimidated anyone or that anyone had engaged in self-censorship because of his ‘bullying’. If anything, his critics are too voluble so much so that they are drowning out alternate voices.
Despite his blundering ways, let us not forget that he was right on Sweden and he has been right that he was ‘spied upon’ by his country’s intelligence agencies because he happened to be a rival candidate. Shame on his critics and opponents.
America survived the decade of the Sixties and the economic stagnation of the Seventies. Fifty years later, America faces another existential crisis. Whether it has the inner resilience to emerge stronger out of this – and the crisis is not just about politics – is a qustion mark. The answer is not necessarily easy and affirmative.