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.

U.S. Grant

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.

First:

Report: Obama’s Spying On The Press Was Far More Extensive Than Previously Thought (H/T Instapundit)

A teaser:

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?)

Next:

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.)

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There are 21 comments.

  1. Susan Quinn Contributor

    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.

    • #1
    • May 26, 2019, at 8:13 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  2. Western Chauvinist Member

    philo: By the way, the opposite of a high trust society is a fear based society. Are you scared yet?

    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.

    • #2
    • May 26, 2019, at 8:25 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  3. Western Chauvinist Member

    “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.

    • #3
    • May 26, 2019, at 8:37 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  4. DonG Coolidge

    philo:

    By the way, the opposite of a high trust society is a fear based society. Are you scared yet?

     

    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

    • #4
    • May 26, 2019, at 9:25 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. Barfly Member

    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. 

    • #5
    • May 26, 2019, at 10:33 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  6. Barfly Member

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    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.

    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? 

    • #6
    • May 26, 2019, at 10:37 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. philo Member
    philo Post author

    With respect to my reference to the misspelling of Sharyl Attkisson’s name, I went digging a little bit for you:

    One [email] appears to make it clear that the DOJ targeted Sharyl Attkisson, one of the very few investigative reporters who took her job seriously enough to investigate and report on Fast & Furious (which probably contributed heavily to her being forced out of CBS News after 20 years there).

    …if you wonder why, if this is what the DOJ was doing, only one such email has been uncovered, …Mr. Hinderaker offers the (completely logical) speculation that DOJ attempted to scrub all email references to Attkisson, and this one survived because her name was misspelled, so the scrubbing didn’t take.

    The “Mr. Hinderaker” reference is, of course, Powerline:

     there were no Fast and Furious stories from the NY Times, the Associated Press, Reuters, the Washington Post, NBC or Bloomberg. But there is one person out of step: Sharyl Attkisson. Schmaler writes:

    I’m also calling Sharryl’s editor and reaching out to Schieffer. She’s out of control.

    Which is highly revealing: the Obama administration expects reporters to be under control.

    It is obvious that the Department of Justice has withheld other emails that are relevant to the above exchange. Schmaler’s reference to “Sharryl” is out of the blue. There must have been prior references to her, but they do not show up in a search of the documents that have been produced. That means that they have been either redacted or withheld. Still, what we have is bad enough: the Obama administration targeted the only reporter who was following up on Fast and Furious, and went to her editor and to elder statesman Bob Schieffer to pull her off the case–to get her, as they said, under “control.”

    The Obama administration is rotten to the core, and Eric Holder is among the rottenest of its rotten apples.

    • #7
    • May 26, 2019, at 11:10 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  8. Kevin Schulte Member

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    philo: By the way, the opposite of a high trust society is a fear based society. Are you scared yet?

    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.

    Yes.

    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. 

    • #8
    • May 26, 2019, at 11:24 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  9. philo Member
    philo Post author

    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:

    … Shellshocked by Hillary Clinton’s loss, Obama, Brennan, Clapper, Comey, and Clinton set in motion a series of events that will forever tar his presidency, and decimate the concept of a peaceful transition of power.

    [Emphasis added]

    • #9
    • May 27, 2019, at 6:31 AM PDT
    • Like
  10. Western Chauvinist Member

    philo (View Comment):

    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:

    … Shellshocked by Hillary Clinton’s loss, Obama, Brennan, Clapper, Comey, and Clinton set in motion a series of events that will forever tar his presidency, and decimate the concept of a peaceful transition of power.

    [Emphasis added]

    Trump keeps saying “this should never happen to another president.” He’s referring to the coup attempt Kimball writes about.

    • #10
    • May 27, 2019, at 6:39 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. philo Member
    philo Post author

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    philo (View Comment):

    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:

    … Shellshocked by Hillary Clinton’s loss, Obama, Brennan, Clapper, Comey, and Clinton set in motion a series of events that will forever tar his presidency, and decimate the concept of a peaceful transition of power.

    [Emphasis added]

    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.)

    • #11
    • May 27, 2019, at 7:02 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. philo Member
    philo Post author

    More:

    This is really extraordinary. Power was not an intelligence official, she was the U.N. Ambassador. Why was she unmasking anyone, let alone making hundreds of such requests? And why would she keep up this feverish pace right up to the moment she departed the White House?

    The curious may start to suspect that there was a lot going on that needs to be looking into:

    …why were Obama administration officials so concerned with the U.N. vote as to unmask communications of U.S. citizens on 300 occasions? The Obama administration didn’t come out in favor of the resolution, and it abstained when the resolution came up for a vote. So why would it be so concerned about the possibility that incoming Trump officials might convince allies to defer the vote, or block it altogether? …

    …the PJ Media report suggests that Power’s unmasking of U.S. citizens involved in conversations about Israel continued until “right up to President Trump’s inauguration.” The inauguration was almost a month after the vote on U.N. Resolution 2334. So if Power’s unmasking continued, did it still relate to conversations about Israel and the U.N. resolution, or was something else going on at that point? …

    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.)

    • #12
    • May 27, 2019, at 9:19 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. EODmom Coolidge

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    “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.

    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. 

    • #13
    • May 28, 2019, at 5:36 AM PDT
    • Like
  14. Skyler Coolidge

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    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.

    People still consider Lincoln some sort of sainted, brilliant man.

    • #14
    • May 28, 2019, at 6:23 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    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.

    People still consider Lincoln some sort of sainted, brilliant man.

    Brilliant but not sainted. 

    • #15
    • May 28, 2019, at 6:26 AM PDT
    • Like
  16. David Carroll Thatcher

    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.”

    • #16
    • May 28, 2019, at 7:19 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. Skyler Coolidge

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    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.

    People still consider Lincoln some sort of sainted, brilliant man.

    Brilliant but not sainted.

    I don’t see it. 

    • #17
    • May 28, 2019, at 7:27 AM PDT
    • Like
  18. James Gawron Thatcher

    philo,

     

    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?

    Regards,

    Jim 

    • #18
    • May 28, 2019, at 9:15 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. Kevin Schulte Member

    David Carroll (View Comment):

    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.”

    With our present and ongoing predicament. Distrust first, verify if trust is appropriate. Then proceed with caution. 

    • #19
    • May 28, 2019, at 10:19 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  20. Keith Rice Member

    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.

    • #20
    • May 28, 2019, at 11:42 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  21. philo Member
    philo Post author

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    philo,

     

    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?

    Regards,

    Jim

    A quick quote from Cadwallader:

    The order could not have been placed in the hands of a more willing officer in the department. … The arrest and punishment of Isham was a labor of love… – Page 4

    More when I get back to a real keyboard.

    • #21
    • May 28, 2019, at 7:12 PM PDT
    • Like