Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club Political podcast number 161 it’s the Devin Nunes, Man of Steele edition of the show with your humble hosts, radio guy Todd Feinburg and nanophysicist Mike Stopa. In this week’s edition we dissect, trisect, septasect the Nunes memo, the Steele dossier (yichh!) and the FBI cabal that is working night and day to take Trump down.

This is a serious discussion. Of course the legacy media on the left (did I repeat myself?) are doing nothin but “debunking.” They call it fact checking but they set out with the clear and unvarnished objective to cut the Nunes memo down to size. Newsweek’s treatment is particularly egregious in its one-sidedness. But is the right a bit unhinged as well? Stopa thinks so, Todd is unconvinced. Is there really a conspiracy in the FBI? or is it simply partisanship that has gotten excessive? We will discuss.

Next, we discuss an LA Times report on some “research” out of the University of Leeds. Leeds is like one of those third rate institutions that are just trying to grab themselves some sunshine. Published in Nature Sustainability the Leeds paper compares the quality of living in lots of countries with the sustainability. It is an embarrassing socialist diatribe with a little climate hysteria sprinkled on top. It’s always fun when the second rate academics dance their naked leftist dance for all to see.

We will have our shower thoughts (P.G. Wodehous! What ho!) and our hidden gem, first ever for Simon and Garfunkel, is from Bridge Over Trouble Water: The Only Living Boy in New York.

Half of the time we’re gone but we don’t know where and we don’t know where…”

Enjoy!

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There are 37 comments.

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  1. Thatcher

    Harvard Lunch Guys,

    So you’re telling me that Nunes’ father looks a lot like Marlon Brando.

    Luckily Nunes has superpowers because his nemesis is the evil Schifftless Man.

    Whoa! Guess who got the last laugh on Schifftless.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #1
    • February 6, 2018 at 6:47 pm
    • 2 likes
  2. Podcaster

    That’s a riot, Jim. Thanks!

    • #2
    • February 6, 2018 at 9:11 pm
    • Like
  3. Member

    Great podcast.

    But–not knowing Wodehouse? He is a great cure for those who suffer from irony deficiency.

    • #3
    • February 7, 2018 at 6:20 am
    • 3 likes
  4. Thatcher

    Hope Mike gets over his sudden case of Goldbergitis. It was entertaining to listen to Mike trying to play the last reasonable balls-and-strikes umpire in conservative America caught between leftwing hysteria and the cult of Trump.

    Jonah does it well. It’s his niche, his schtick and his soon to be published and peddled book. Hope Obama doesn’t claim patent violation.

    But Mike struggled to channel AEI prudence and presumed wisdom. Todd’s argument had Andy McCarthy-like detail and gave a very convincing and entertaining big picture view of this dangerous farce of an investigation. Sometimes I forget that under the very smart smart aleck persona Todd has a lot of Lexington and Concord in him.

    Not much of a fight. A rhetorical Foreman-Frazier.

    • #4
    • February 7, 2018 at 7:27 am
    • 2 likes
  5. Lincoln

    When reality bites, P.G. Wodehouse is the answer. Pure escapist nonsense. Haven’t read any lately, because life is pretty good right now. Saving PGW for the next nasty thing life will throw at me.

    • #5
    • February 7, 2018 at 8:59 am
    • 2 likes
  6. Thatcher

    P.G. Wodehouse! The best

    If you really want to escape? Watch the P.B.S. series “Jeeves and Wooster” . There were around 23 episodes which covered the stories written by P.G.. They ran from 1990 to 1993. I pop in the DVD to watch but these days probably can stream any episode you want. Hugh Laurie (yes the one of House fame) played Bertie Wooster while Stephan Fry played Jeeves. Since it was PBS each episode is close to an hour.

    • #6
    • February 7, 2018 at 10:18 am
    • 3 likes
  7. Member

    I love PG Wodehouse! I discovered him in high school, and he is indeed always delightful, absurd, anxiety-soothing escapism. I think the Marx Brothers would be the American counterpart, especially “A Night at the Opera.”

    • #7
    • February 7, 2018 at 10:41 am
    • 1 like
  8. Member

    Mike- I shouted out “guillotine” as soon as you asked if they had a logo. What other choice could there be for a rag called “Jacobin?”

    And I 100% agree with you on PG Wodehouse. Very funny.

    • #8
    • February 7, 2018 at 10:58 am
    • 2 likes
  9. Admin

    Mike, your photoshop gave EJ Hill an mild heart attack so he re-did it.

    • #9
    • February 7, 2018 at 1:01 pm
    • 1 like
  10. Admin

    Also, one time I was reading Wodehouse and my wife made me go in a different room because I was laughing so hard that I was shaking the couch we were both sitting on.

    • #10
    • February 7, 2018 at 1:02 pm
    • 2 likes
  11. Member

    Left unsaid is the fact that even IF the [absurd] allegations of a “pee tape” are accurate…how does that make Trump blackmailable? Would it ruin his good name? Would it change the battle lines re his presidency? This is a man who was credibly accused of an affair with a porn actress and nobody seemed to much care and his approval ratings went……up!!

    Someone’s going to have to explain what Russia is getting if Trump IS the FSB’s man in Washington; aside from a bombed Syrian airfield and an arms deal with Ukraine. Are we going to wake up tomorrow and find that he sold Alaska back to Russia? Will Russian Orthodox be the new, official state religion? Will govt documents now be in Cyrillic?

    The threat of communist Soviet internationalism armed to the teeth with thousands of ICBMs and fomenting revolutions abroad was obvious. Can anyone explain how Russian nationalism grafted on to state-run Christianity is a threat to the US [and any ally not in the Baltics]?

    • #11
    • February 7, 2018 at 2:36 pm
    • 1 like
  12. Thatcher

    soccerlad14 (View Comment):
    Left unsaid is the fact that even IF the [absurd] allegations of a “pee tape” are accurate…how does that make Trump blackmailable? Would it ruin his good name? Would it change the battle lines re his presidency? This is a man who was credibly accused of an affair with a porn actress and nobody seemed to much care and his approval ratings went……up!!

    Not a supporter of the slow coup, but Trump’s affair with Ms. Daniels certainly puts a hole (or two or three) in the germophobe defense!

    • #12
    • February 7, 2018 at 2:50 pm
    • Like
  13. Member

    Mike Stopa is absolutely correct that “geek” is in these days. If orange is the new black, then geek is the new plaid.

    Or the new paisely.

    Or the new plaid with paisley – yeah, that’s it. Geek is way in.

    • #13
    • February 7, 2018 at 7:16 pm
    • 2 likes
  14. Member

    soccerlad14 (View Comment):
    Can anyone explain how Russian nationalism grafted on to state-run Christianity is a threat to the US [and any ally not in the Baltics]?

    This isn’t necessarily a direct effect of Russian nationalism grafte on to state-run Christianity, but given that Iran

    • is something of a Russian protectorate, and
    • is run by sharia- supremacist mullahs, and
    • has nuclear weapons, and
    • is negotiating with North Korea for ICBMs,

    I think that the US is safer when Putin’s Russia is confronted and opposed, rather than passively accommodated as during the Obama administration and to a slightly lesser extent the GWBush administration. @soccer

    That said, your question still stands, as does its corollary: what actions of Trump (distinct from his words, which are too often blurted without thinking) might even remotely be interpreted as evidence of collusion with Putin’s Russia?

    (Good post, SoccerVlad14 – they are certain thrown off the scent track now, comrade.)

    • #14
    • February 7, 2018 at 7:31 pm
    • 1 like
  15. Podcaster

    Max Ledoux (View Comment):
    Mike, your photoshop gave EJ Hill an mild heart attack so he re-did it.

    I hadn’t noticed, but it’s much better than mine! Thanks EJ!

    • #15
    • February 7, 2018 at 7:35 pm
    • Like
  16. Member

    Quake Voter (View Comment):
    Mike struggled to channel AEI prudence and presumed wisdom. Todd’s argument had Andy McCarthy-like detail and gave a very convincing and entertaining big picture view of this dangerous farce of an investigation. Sometimes I forget that under the very smart smart aleck persona Todd has a lot of Lexington and Concord in him.

    This might be somewhat geeky analysis, but (geek is in!) I think the most glaring, most unforgivable and irreparable failure of the DoJ and FBI is their failure to corroborate anything in the Steele dossier, other than the fact that Carter Page traveled to Moscow and did nothing to justify a FISA warrant. Corroboration was entirely up to the FBI – they can’t pass that responsibility off on any other party, not even an historically reliable Matt Helm-wannabe like Christopher Steele. Andrew McCabe testified that without the Steele dossier the FBI and DoJ wouldn’t have even sought a FISA warrant. Since the only corroborated fact in the Steele dossier doesn’t justify a FISA warrant, the FBI had to know when they applied that there was no justification for a FISA warrant anywhere in their application.*

    James Comey on July 5th, 2016 explained that Hillary Clinton knew or should have known that she was handling classified material on her illegal e-mail server. Similarly, the FBI knew or should have known on October 16, 2016 that it had zero justification to violate Carter Page’s 4th Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

    I think that the above analysis is completely separate from the issue of political bias both in the author of the Steele dossier and in the FBI and DoJ officials who applied for the FISA warrant to spy on Carter Page, an American citizen.

    * Trey Gowdy claims that the Steele dossier wasn’t the sole justification for the FISA warrant, but given McCabe’s testimony, I can’t imagine what else could have been used to justify a FISA warrant on Carter Page.

    • #16
    • February 7, 2018 at 8:22 pm
    • Like
  17. Podcaster

    LibertyDefender (View Comment):

    Quake Voter (View Comment):
    Mike struggled to channel AEI prudence and presumed wisdom. Todd’s argument had Andy McCarthy-like detail and gave a very convincing and entertaining big picture view of this dangerous farce of an investigation. Sometimes I forget that under the very smart smart aleck persona Todd has a lot of Lexington and Concord in him.

    This might be somewhat geeky analysis, but (geek is in!) I think the most glaring, most unforgivable and irreparable failure of the DoJ and FBI is their failure to corroborate anything in the Steele dossier, other than the fact that Carter Page traveled to Moscow and did nothing to justify a FISA warrant. Corroboration was entirely up to the FBI – they can’t pass that responsibility off on any other party, not even an historically reliable Matt Helm-wannabe like Christopher Steele. Andrew McCabe testified that without the Steele dossier the FBI and DoJ wouldn’t have even sought a FISA warrant. Since the only corroborated fact in the Steele dossier doesn’t justify a FISA warrant, the FBI had to know when they applied that there was no justification for a FISA warrant anywhere in their application.*

    James Comey on July 5th, 2016 explained that Hillary Clinton knew or should have known that she was handling classified material on her illegal e-mail server. Similarly, the FBI knew or should have known on October 16, 2016 that it had zero justification to violate Carter Page’s 4th Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

    I think that the above analysis is completely separate from the issue of political bias both in the author of the Steele dossier and in the FBI and DoJ officials who applied for the FISA warrant to spy on Carter Page, an American citizen.

    * Trey Gowdy claims that the Steele dossier wasn’t the sole justification for the FISA warrant, but given McCabe’s testimony, I can’t imagine what else could have been used to justify a FISA warrant on Carter Page.

    I suspect that the claim in the Steele dossier that Carter Page met with Igor Sechin of Rosneft and Igor Diveyin, the intelligence officer was critical to a FISA application. Somewhere if you are looking for collusion someone here has to meet someone there of importance. This is the only such meeting I have heard of. And, as we mentioned in the podcast, Page denied it under oath and there is no other evidence that I am familiar with. Did Steele just *make it up*? Did he have some reason to think those guys had a relationship with the university where Page spoke??? Only Steele knows.

    • #17
    • February 7, 2018 at 9:16 pm
    • 1 like
  18. Thatcher

    The entire set-up and avid willingness of the MSM to peddle it should be humiliating.

    How did the meme about Page receiving 19% of Rosneft become a thing amongst the sophisticates?

    Rosneft has a market cap of 3.5 Trillion rubles!

    So Page was offered 14 BILLION dollars?

    With a hat tip to GB Shaw, who in DC wouldn’t work for the removal of sanctions for 14 Billion?

    Reynolds is right: We have the worst media elite in history.

    • #18
    • February 8, 2018 at 6:59 am
    • 1 like
  19. Member

    LibertyDefender (View Comment):

    soccerlad14 (View Comment):
    Can anyone explain how Russian nationalism grafted on to state-run Christianity is a threat to the US [and any ally not in the Baltics]?

    This isn’t necessarily a direct effect of Russian nationalism grafte on to state-run Christianity, but given that Iran

    • is something of a Russian protectorate, and
    • is run by sharia- supremacist mullahs, and
    • has nuclear weapons, and
    • is negotiating with North Korea for ICBMs,

    I think that the US is safer when Putin’s Russia is confronted and opposed, rather than passively accommodated as during the Obama administration and to a slightly lesser extent the GWBush administration.

    That said, your question still stands, as does its corollary: what actions of Trump (distinct from his words, which are too often blurted without thinking) might even remotely be interpreted as evidence of collusion with Putin’s Russia?

    (Good post, SoccerVlad14 – they are certain thrown off the scent track now, comrade.)

    You’ve described a problem with Iran, which we have. Not Russia, which we don’t, at least not directly. Much in the same way that China is a pain in the ass re dealing with the Norks; but that, on its own, doesn’t necessitate a hostile posture with China.

    I’m all for arming Ukraine and the Baltics as well as sanctioning Moscow.

    I’m glad that you think my question is valid and still stands, but then I’m puzzled with the weak “you must be a Russian bot” joke.

    • #19
    • February 8, 2018 at 7:12 am
    • Like
  20. Member

    I have an issue which occurred during this Trump/Russia collusion affair which everyone discusses then proceeds to drive by without noticing?

    The issue is the hacking of the DNC emails.(discussed @ around the 11:00 minute mark)

    I do not question that the DNC e-mails were hacked, nor do I question that the hacking was in all likelihood done in some way shape or form by the Russians.

    But what I find odd is that if during this period of the election campaign the Obama DOJ/FBI were getting all interested in Carter Page/George Papadopoulos as Russian agents and Russian election interference in general, wouldn’t zeroing in with a full blown FBI cyber investigation of the DNC server have been just standard procedure.

    It is my understanding that the DNC would not allow the FBI to do an investigation, and the DNC hired their own IT consultant firm(Crowdstrike) to do an investigation, which is strange enough.

    But my WTF is not as much about the DNC refusing to let the FBI do an investigation, what blows my mind is that the FBI said OK we’ll stand down and not investigate what appears to be an obvious case of Russian interference(hacking the DNC e-mails) in the 2016 election.

    Am I missing something or do I have the facts wrong?

    • Oops the guys do discuss the issue around @ 23:00 … although, to my point … it’s brought up, pondered briefly, and driven by …
    • Oops again …(if you don’t comment in real time you forget where and what caught your attention) … One of the guys does do the “get off my lawn” fist shake (similar to mine in this comment) questioning the FBI not examining the DNC server.
    • #20
    • February 8, 2018 at 7:14 am
    • 1 like
  21. Member

    soccerlad14 (View Comment):
    I’m puzzled with the weak “you must be a Russian bot” joke.

    I didn’t tell it right. Is funnier in native Russian.

    • #21
    • February 8, 2018 at 8:19 am
    • Like
  22. Member

    EDISONPARKS (View Comment):
    But what I find odd is that if during this period of the election campaign the Obama DOJ/FBI were getting all interested in Carter Page/George Papadopoulos as Russian agents and Russian election interference in general, wouldn’t zeroing in with a full blown FBI cyber investigation of the DNC server have been just standard procedure.

    It is my understanding that the DNC would not allow the FBI to do an investigation, and the DNC hired their own IT consultant firm(Crowdstrike) to do an investigation, which is strange enough.

    But my WTF is not as much about the DNC refusing to let the FBI do an investigation, what blows my mind is that the FBI said OK we’ll stand down and not investigate what appears to be an obvious case of Russian interference(hacking the DNC e-mails) in the 2016 election.

    My eternal optimist tells me that the Federal Bureau of Investigations Inspector General will identify and report on this WTF, this monstrous failure by the FBI that isn’t just a failure to – what’s that word? Oh yeah – INVESTIGATE, but also pretty naked political partisanship.

    At the same time, my inner cynic is telling me to wait for the FBI Inspector General’s report on the FBI’s failure to investigate, and naked politically partisan whitewashing of Hillary Clinton’s illegal unsecured private email server on which she handled classified information, when it is illegal to conduct any government business – let alone business involving classified information – on any private email account, let alone a private email account hosted on an unsecured private email server.

    • #22
    • February 8, 2018 at 8:27 am
    • Like
  23. Thatcher

    LibertyDefender (View Comment):
    let alone a private email account hosted on an unsecured private email server.

    Did I mention that it had no anti-hacker protection at all? Did I mention that a standard gmail account was better protected?

    If you remember, Comey mentioned this about the gmail account being more secure in his first press conference about HRC’s emails. Just amazing.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #23
    • February 8, 2018 at 9:40 am
    • 1 like
  24. Member

    LibertyDefender (View Comment):

    EDISONPARKS (View Comment):
    But what I find odd is that if during this period of the election campaign the Obama DOJ/FBI were getting all interested in Carter Page/George Papadopoulos as Russian agents and Russian election interference in general, wouldn’t zeroing in with a full blown FBI cyber investigation of the DNC server have been just standard procedure.

    It is my understanding that the DNC would not allow the FBI to do an investigation, and the DNC hired their own IT consultant firm(Crowdstrike) to do an investigation, which is strange enough.

    But my WTF is not as much about the DNC refusing to let the FBI do an investigation, what blows my mind is that the FBI said OK we’ll stand down and not investigate what appears to be an obvious case of Russian interference(hacking the DNC e-mails) in the 2016 election.

    My eternal optimist tells me that the Federal Bureau of Investigations Inspector General will identify and report on this WTF, this monstrous failure by the FBI that isn’t just a failure to – what’s that word? Oh yeah – INVESTIGATE, but also pretty naked political partisanship.

    At the same time, my inner cynic is telling me to wait for the FBI Inspector General’s report on the FBI’s failure to investigate, and naked politically partisan whitewashing of Hillary Clinton’s illegal unsecured private email server on which she handled classified information, when it is illegal to conduct any government business – let alone business involving classified information – on any private email account, let alone a private email account hosted on an unsecured private email server.

    My deeper most conspiracy theorist explanation is that the DNC was well aware the Russian hack was actually an internal Bernie Bro leak(ie: inside political vandalism) and therefore did not want the FBI to know.

    Likewise, if the higher ups in the Obama DOJ/FBI were trying to create a Trump/Russia collusion narrative, it would probably be worse for creating the narrative to actually investigate the DNC server and have unbiased FBI field agents determine it was not Russian hackers.

    If the FBI investigation disproved Russian hacking of the DNC then what else was there to explain the necessity to spy on the Trump campaign? …. Facebook pro Trumpy propaganda I suppose … and Carter Page on an FBI radar …. and an inebriated Greek talking smack in a bar ….

    But I’m just a hard Right Trumpy conspiracy wing nut talkin smack on my computer keyboard ….

    • #24
    • February 8, 2018 at 9:52 am
    • 1 like
  25. Member

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    LibertyDefender (View Comment):
    let alone a private email account hosted on an unsecured private email server.

    Did I mention that it had no anti-hacker protection at all? Did I mention that a standard gmail account was better protected?

    If you remember, Comey mentioned this about the gmail account being more secure in his first press conference about HRC’s emails. Just amazing.

    There you go again Jim, threatening national security! Revealing sources and methods! Moving classified high technology from one open forum to another! It is the end of the world! This is Armageddon!

    Have a nice day.

    • #25
    • February 8, 2018 at 4:20 pm
    • 1 like
  26. Member

    Michael Stopa (View Comment):

    LibertyDefender (View Comment): * Trey Gowdy claims that the Steele dossier wasn’t the sole justification for the FISA warrant, but given McCabe’s testimony, I can’t imagine what else could have been used to justify a FISA warrant on Carter Page.

    I suspect that the claim in the Steele dossier that Carter Page met with Igor Sechin of Rosneft and Igor Diveyin, the intelligence officer was critical to a FISA application. Somewhere if you are looking for collusion someone here has to meet someone there of importance. This is the only such meeting I have heard of. And, as we mentioned in the podcast, Page denied it under oath and there is no other evidence that I am familiar with. Did Steele just *make it up*? Did he have some reason to think those guys had a relationship with the university where Page spoke??? Only Steele knows.

    Right, but we know now – and the FBI knew then – that the FBI hadn’t corroborated the alleged meeting(s) between Page and the two Russkies. There’s yet another Russian who is named in the dossier, who is suing Christopher Steele in England for libel because of false claims in the same dossier, all of which is consistent with Carter Page’s denial under oath. Did Steele just *make it up*? Thus far, there appears to be more evidence that he did just make it up, than there is evidence that he was reporting facts.

    Furthermore, since the FBI knew or should have known that Steele had been leaking to the press since September, they either should have canned him before they applied for the FISA warrant in October – in which case they pretty much couldn’t have used anything in the dossier; or they should have informed the FISCourt judge that Steele is a leaky source, and is therefore unreliable. That returns us to square one: entirely due to the FBI’s monstrous failures, there was literally no basis for a FISA warrant to conduct surveillance on American citizen Carter Page.

    • #26
    • February 8, 2018 at 4:39 pm
    • 1 like
  27. Contributor

    LibertyDefender (View Comment):
    Mike Stopa is absolutely correct that “geek” is in these days. If orange is the new black, then geek is the new plaid.

    Or the new paisely.

    Or the new plaid with paisley – yeah, that’s it. Geek is way in.

    If Geek is in, and Mike is a Geek, must it follow that Mike is in? Is Geekness commutative?

    • #27
    • February 8, 2018 at 6:16 pm
    • Like
  28. Contributor

    Quake Voter (View Comment):
    P.G. Wodehous

    KarenZiminski (View Comment):
    P.G. Wodehous

    People like to talk about how much change we live through today, but consider what Mr. Wodehous had the privilege of adjusting to.

    October 15, 1881, Guildford, United Kingdom
    Died: February 14, 1975, Southampton, NY
    • #28
    • February 8, 2018 at 6:27 pm
    • Like
  29. Thatcher

    Todd Feinburg (View Comment):
    Is Geekness commutative?

    Harvard Lunch Guys,

    A question only a Geek could ask. The Stopa syllogism (or sillygism).

    All Stopa’s are Geeks

    Michael is a Stopa.

    Therefore Michael is a Geek.

    There, I’ve proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt with geometric logic. It was the strawberries!

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #29
    • February 8, 2018 at 6:34 pm
    • 1 like
  30. Member

    Todd Feinburg (View Comment):
    People like to talk about how much change we live through today, but consider what Mr. Wodehous had the privilege of adjusting to.

    Born: October 15, 1881, Guildford, United Kingdom

    Died: February 14, 1975, Southampton, NY

    Mark Steyn – who would be a GREAT guest for the Harvard Lunch Club podcast – has written about this. The 60 years prior to 1950 saw the introduction of cars, planes – jet planes, harnessing of the atom, rockets, telephones, television. In the 60 years since 1950, telephones became wireless and merged with televisions. Cars, jet planes, nuclear power, nuclear weapons, rockets remained pretty much the same.

    • #30
    • February 9, 2018 at 8:18 am
    • Like
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