Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
Death of a High Trust Society: Rampant Lawlessness in our Executive
Major General W. T. Sherman, commanding United States forces, Memphis, Tennessee.
August 8th 1862.
General:–Herewith I send you an article credited to the Memphis correspondent of the Chicago Times, which is both false in fact and mischievous in character. Your will have the author arrested and sent to the Alton Penitentiary, under proper escort, for confinement until the close of the war, unless sooner discharged by competent authority.
I am very respectfully
Your Obedient Servant.
Major General, &C.
Sometimes, under extraordinary circumstances, powerful Americans really are, or seem to be, above the law. It seems the corrupt and powerful that is our modern political left presumes their occupation of the Executive Offices in our ruling beltway as sufficiently extraordinary for the times. A few days ago, on this very bandwidth, our friend Rodin wrote “America runs on trust. Ours is a ‘high trust’ society.” With that little bit of optimism fresh in mind, I wanted to drop a few stories (and thoughts) in your lap for casual consumption on this holiday weekend.
Report: Obama’s Spying On The Press Was Far More Extensive Than Previously Thought (H/T Instapundit)
President Trump might be openly hostile to the mainstream media, but it was the Obama administration that was engaged in a widespread effort to thwart the media. …
The spying came in the wake of the AP’s reporting on a thwarted Yemen-based bomb plot, which contained classified information about the CIA operation. Months later, the AP learned that the DOJ had vacuumed up two-months of phone records on 21 different lines trying to find the leaker. …
“Disturbingly, the report does not come close to explaining why the subpoenas targeted the trunk lines of major AP offices — lines which could potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the AP’s newsgathering activities.” …
Read the whole thing.
A quick footnote to this story: What if they did more than just spying? One of the great stories of the last decade left largely untouched by our reliably incurious press is the “tampering” done to Sharyl Attkissons computers:
When Attkisson had her computer examined by an independent computer forensics expert, evidence was found showing that it had been “accessed by an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions” and that “this party performed all access remotely using Attkisson’s accounts,” according to a report from CBS in 2013. Furthermore, “forensic analysis revealed an intruder had executed commands that appeared to involve search and exfiltration of data.” The traces of software left behind after the attack were shown by the expert who examined the computer to be “proprietary to a federal intel agency,” according to Attkisson.
Not only that, but buried in the system files of her operating system (where she would be almost certain never to look) were three classified government documents. Attkisson could have been charged under the Espionage Act for possessing those documents. …
Speaking of reliably incurious, it has been obvious to me for many years that a FOIA request using a variety of misspellings of her name would reveal quite a lot about this type of corruption of our “high trust” system. (By the way, how strong is that “trust” now?)
Samantha Powers Unmasked Over 260 Americans During 2016; Soon We’ll Learn Why
Now, remember the facts reported above about “vacuuming up” information:
In the year leading up to the 2016 presidential election, then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Powers unmasked over 260 Americans. …
She was ‘unmasking’ at such a rapid pace in the final months of the Obama administration that she averaged more than one request for every working day in 2016, even seeking information in the days leading up to President Trump’s inauguration.” …
But wait a minute:
Her testimony is they [the unmasking requests] may be under my name, but I did not make those requests.
Well, isn’t that interesting? One would think Ms. Powers (or somebody) would be interested in getting to the bottom of that. Read the whole thing.
By the way, the opposite of a high trust society is a fear based society. Are you scared yet?
(The order from General Grant at the top of this piece comes from page 3 of Three Years with Grant by Sylvanus Cadwallader. I will have more than a few words to say on this book when I finish it.)Published in General
All of these stories are outrageous and I can’t wait until they get to the bottom of those that can still be researched. People have to pay. I remember Attkisson and Powers and how those stories just [poof] disappeared. We deserve to know, and I pray that AG Barr will get to the bottom of these heinous acts.
It’s rare to find a conservative who isn’t scared these days. Do you (plural) give your opinions at work? In social settings where you know lefties are present?
Austin Ruse writes about Coming Out of the Closet — as pro-life.
Americans are afraid of the Left. And if they’re not, they should be.
“Yet, despite the occasional grumbling by an editor or a reporter here or there, most of these attacks went unnoticed. Whenever Obama spoke to the press, he pretended to be their champions. And the press, in turn, acted like teenagers in love rather than professionals threatened by a paranoid control freak.”
I only dissent with the characterization of Obama as a “paranoid control freak,” unless you consider all totalitarians paranoid control freaks.
And the press is loathsome and cowardly. Enemies of the people, with few exceptions.
No, the opposite of trust-based is authoritarian-based. If we cannot govern ourselves, a strongman will do it for us. Anarchy is not sustainable and order will emerge. Almost always it is the biggest thug. One time it was a group of people willing to die for the idea of self-governance. America is an exception. It is exceptional.
Trust is the critical glue. The Scandinavian welfare states thrived when they had it but they’ve corrupted their monoculture. I learned to distrust my government and most social institutions at an early age, but I was an extreme outlier. Today, most people to the right of the mean have caught up; no perspicacious citizen of the West today has the trust in society, let alone government, that we deserve to feel.
Obama is an interesting case that illustrates the first thing one needs to know about men – keep your eyes on the weak ones, because they will betray you. What if his strong appeal to the electorate at the time was precisely because of his personal weakness?
With respect to my reference to the misspelling of Sharyl Attkisson’s name, I went digging a little bit for you:
The “Mr. Hinderaker” reference is, of course, Powerline:
I am the radical where I work. Funny thing is. The true radicals haven’t got much to crow about these days. They be in a funk.
I suspect Roger Kimball (H/T Instapundit) is not all that far from understanding that this perceived “stain” on the Obama presidency was really kind of the point of undefined Hope and Change (“We” never really did ask for a definition) back in those heady, misty-eyed days of late 2008:
Trump keeps saying “this should never happen to another president.” He’s referring to the coup attempt Kimball writes about.
Unfortunately, some “change” is irreversible. The game has been changed forever. (Actually, the game is the same but the long standing tradition of hiding it behind a bi-partisan charade of civil, lawful, constitutional processes and discourse has been tossed aside. Their endgame was so close and inevitable – still is…just delayed a little – that the embarrassingly thin veneer no longer provided any added value for their cause.)
The curious may start to suspect that there was a lot going on that needs to be looking into:
I sure hope no one here is under the illusion that the corrupt ways and means of the Obama administration were not fully mature and very active long before late 2016. (HINT: Start searching around January 2009.)
I think the disclosures were not unnoticed: the press hoped that they would be the ones that were the beneficiaries of any leaks or inside information. They never ever thought it would happen to them.
People still consider Lincoln some sort of sainted, brilliant man.
Brilliant but not sainted.
So, government at high levels is corrupt. It is hard to be surprised by that.
The people who voted for Donald Trump for president hope against hope that his personal wealth will insulate him from much of the corruption of previous presidents. That is probably true to the extent that money is the temptation resulting in corruption. It probably is not so true when it comes to power as the temptation to corruption.
As to America having a trust-based government system, we should harken back to Ronald Reagan’s theme when dealing with the Russians: “trust but verify.”
I don’t see it.
Aside from agreeing with most of what you are driving at in the current situation, I am curious. Did Tecumseh have the SOB arrested as so kindly suggested by U.S. Grant?
With our present and ongoing predicament. Distrust first, verify if trust is appropriate. Then proceed with caution.
When my cultural anthropology professor told us that there is no framework for societal evolution I took exception and explained that only a society with trust can grow stronger. She agreed with me in private, worried that the Marxist agents in her department might hear her deviating from the official talking points.
A quick quote from Cadwallader:
More when I get back to a real keyboard.