3/15/2017: Conspiracy theories

Remember stories about artillery guns that could fire several rounds at different trajectories so they’d all land on the same target at the same time? The news today seems like that.

Tammy Bruce: Send in the bullies – “Now out of power, Democrats deploy aggression toward high-profile targets.”

Watching White House press secretary Sean Spicer get verbally attacked at an Apple store by an unhinged activist was bizarre, but not entirely surprising as the left continues its meltdown over being rejected by the American people. It also may not have been a coincidence, but another organized effort to intimidate not just their target, but anyone else who does not pay allegiance to the leftist agenda.
Even stalwart liberals understand the problem with this bizarre nonsense of physically impeding and attacking people with whom you disagree politically.
Despite liberal leadership efforts to keep the real nature of their activist base underground, their creation of ignorant bullies highlights why they still have no clue why voters have stripped them of power not just in Washington, but also in statehouses across the country.
In the same week that Mr. Spicer was attacked, a man vandalized Trump Tower by throwing eggs at the facade. … In another incident in Los Angeles, vandals destroyed a portion of the grass at a Trump golf course.
Even a casual observer would find surprising the aggressive and sometimes criminal behavior of liberals and leftists since Mr. Trump was elected. Consider these bullies hail from the same crowd that for years has been baying for “safe spaces,” puppies and kittens during midterms, and an end to “triggers” that disturb their personal sense of well-being.

Meanwhile, Sanctuary Cities, a bullies safe haven concept, have increased to a count of 500 according to The Ohio Jobs and Justice Political Action Committee. Why? Due to bullying, of course. In further disregard for law and order …

Cheryl K. Chumley tells the tale of theft of Trump tax returns: Rachel Maddow, done in by her own ‘fake news’ mouth – it appears the administration was anticipating this which is not odd considering that there have been rewards posted seeking felonious release of privileged personal data. It’s almost as if it were a setup and MSNBC took the bait (see Ed Morrissey for more on this idea in Backup theory: Trump leaked his own tax returns?).

By the time Maddow got to that information, she had moved from the arena of “scoop” into one of “confirmation.” Her highly promoted exclusive turned into little more than a “yes, that’s right” to a formal White House release of data.
“You know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago,” a Trump spokesperson said in a statement.
That’s the big story, though, isn’t it? Maddow tried to paint Trump as a tax-dodger, as a thief and robber baron who refused to release his tax records to the public because he had something to hide. But paying that many millions of dollars in taxes?

The Daily Caller points out that the new information disproves the premise of a major NYT story on Oct 1 and says “NYT Eats Crow After Trump Tax Return Proves Major Story Wrong.” But no crow eating is likely as reveals of the Fake News Pattern like this just tend to stimulate digging deeper holes. There have also been several references to the opening of Al Capone’s vault in the punditry to place the story in perspective …

William Layer: The Second Amendment as an individual right – “For the grammarian and the historian, the meaning is crystal-clear.”

Since San Bernardino, Sandy Hook, Columbine et al., the “progressives,” the media and their acolytes have beaten their chests calling for even stricter gun restrictions, although the most restrictive states and cities that have the highest crime. They insist that the Second Amendment does not apply to individuals, but only to the National Guard, even though the modern Guard did not come into existence until the Dick Act of 1903. To them, the Supreme Court decisions in Heller v. District of Columbia and McDonald v. Chicago affirming an individual right are mistaken, a conclusion reachable only by abjuring grammar and history.
The Founders’ classical education made them realistically fearful of government power. They knew well what had befallen the Roman Republic and that tyrannies were only possible when the people lacked the means to resist. The chaos and oppression of the English Civil War and the Glorious Revolution’s short-circuiting of the Stuart’s divine right ambitions were fixed in their minds as was the English Bill of Rights (1689) which, although limited to Protestants, secured an Englishman’s right to arms. However, the roots go even further back, to the “Trained Bandes,” locals called up to defend the realm as Elizabeth I did when the Armada threatened England. Englishmen provided their own accouterments according to their station. Likewise, the chronic war with France in which for over a century frontier settlements were attacked, settlers massacred or carried off into Indian slavery meant colonists had to protect themselves.
The left’s assertion that America’s creators couldn’t foresee a firearm beyond a flintlock is the logical fallacy of presentism — we know better today.
What of the Second Amendment, then? It is most certainly individual, but more importantly, it does not grant a right; it affirms an existing one as surely as natural law recognizes every man’s right to self-defense.

On the Fallen Stars front, consider Douglas Ernst: Petraeus, retired generals fight NRA-backed gun bill for vets deemed ‘mentally defective’ – regarding opposition to “H.R. 629, which would prohibit the Department of Veterans Affairs from labeling veterans “mentally defective” if they use a fiduciary to navigate the system.” Hire someone to help with your taxes and be deemed mentally ill and therefore denied basic rights?

Jazz Shaw: The Dakota Access protest camps end as they thrived… a giant, expensive mess – this is about the “sacred land at the heart of the Dakota Access pipeline protest” and the $1.1 million needed to clean up the mess not to mention the animal rescue efforts for abandoned pets and the tribe’s lost revenue as access to its Casino was blocked.

If more reasonable people wish to hope for a truly positive outcome it should be to ensure that the developers live up to their word, employ best practices to prevent any spills or natural disruption and allow the surrounding land to return to its natural state. One pipeline running through the area after the vegetation is regrown in the animals return is going to be far less disruptive than thousands of coastal intruders dumping their trash everywhere and setting fires.

For a comparison and contrast, consider Burning Man. Not only are they charged an arm and a leg for 60k+ people dry camping on the desert, the organization polices its area after the activity on a strict no trace remaining basis and contributes to the local community to compensate for the disruption of the local lifestyle.

On the Russian collusion front, several stories are implicating the British. Allahpundit: Judge Napolitano: Three sources tell Fox News that Obama used the British NSA to secretly surveil Trump – “The president of the United States using a foreign intelligence agency to spy on the other party’s presidential candidate, for the obviously illicit purpose of erasing any domestic paper trail of his actions?” The conspiracy oriented folks have got something to chew on a bit more important than a birth certificate.

Sean Davis thinks this is a game of telephone gone bad inspired by the “Trump dossier,” which was compiled by a British ex-spy. … It wouldn’t be surprising if the Brits had offered some information related to the probe into Trump staffers’ relationships with Russia. It would be surprising, and big, big, biggggg news, if it turned out Obama had secretly sought access to Trump communications intercepted by the NSA by asking the Brits to access the system and then hand them over to the White House.

Ed Morrissey: Former Dem rep: I got wiretapped during Obama admininstration – “While Congress gears up for an investigation into Donald Trump’s allegations that the Obama administration had tapped lines at Trump Tower before the election, one former member of the House warns not to be too skeptical of the claim.”

Retired Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) told Bill O’Reilly last night that he discovered that a phone call with one of Moammar Qaddafi’s sons and himself got tapped and recorded, even though that violated the separation-of-powers doctrine. Kucinich even holds up redacted transcripts of the call as evidence that the intelligence community had gone beyond its boundaries on at least this occasion — which Kucinich only discovered after a recording of the call leaked to a media outlet
Kucinich is correct that any conversation with a member of Congress that doesn’t involve a criminal investigation should have been off limits to intelligence operatives. They should have disconnected at that point and referred the matter to the DoJ, which could have discussed the contact directly with Kucinich if they felt it was important enough to investigate. Instead, not only did they stay on the line, they retained the recording, transcribed it, and archived it — and eventually leaked it to the media while identifying Kucinich. That is a swipe at the separation of powers and the concept of co-equal branches, treads dangerously close to political interference, and it closely resembles what happened to Flynn.

The lesson here is that broad powers of surveillance will get used broadly, and the risk of abuse for political purposes is high. Congress should investigate Kucinich’s allegations along with Trump’s to see whether those abuses have happened, who knew about them, and whether agents had permission or orders to conduct it from political appointees in their organizations.

Another conspiracy idiom is described by John Sexton: Martha MacCallum vs. Ferguson documentary filmmaker – “I keep coming back to this story because we’re seeing the creation of a new progressive conspiracy theory before our eyes, one that could result in some very bad real world consequences.”

Jason Pollock, the director of the “documentary” Stranger Fruit has been all over television, literally screaming that the authorities failed or lied about Michael Brown’s murder. As you’ll see in this clip from Fox News, Pollock is now including the FBI and the Obama Department of Justice in his claims. None of them, apparently, ever wanted to get to the truth.
Pollock is doing a pretty good impression of Alex Jones here in more ways than one. The shouting, the body language, the paranoia and the suggestion that the real facts are being hidden by authorities with an agenda. All that’s left is for him to strip off his shirt.
This case has been looked at carefully and the the FBI, DOJ and prosecutors did not fail. We have the truth but some people, including Pollock, seem more interested in stirring up conspiracy theories.

Jazz Shaw says It’s come to this: High school basketball team apologizes for USA themed shirts – “it was the interviews with the students that really had my jaw dropping.”

If we’re to have a chat with anybody over this it probably shouldn’t be the players. Somebody needs to talk to the teachers. Obviously something has gone very wrong at that high school if this is the response that the site of an American flag elicits.

John Hinderaker : A Pro-Environment Judge Is a Bad Judge – “The role of a judge is not to be a “friend” or “foe” of the environment. It is to apply the facts of the case before him to the laws that Congress (or a state legislature) has enacted. Does the Associated Press really not understand this?”

There is no “but” about it. A competent judge will rule for or against a party based on the law and the facts, not the identity of the parties. Only a corrupt judge–we have several such liberals on the current Supreme Court–will ascertain a political narrative and vote to advance it.
The AP inadvertently confers high praise on Gorsuch: “He follows the law,” said Merrill Davidoff, the landowners’ attorney. “And in this case the law favored the plaintiffs — the landowners — not the government or the government contractors.”

There is one major contemporary issue on which judicial philosophy bears strongly. That is the legitimacy of the administrative state.
Our Constitution does not establish rule by “experts,” it establishes rule by the people. I hope that soon-to-be-justice Gorsuch understands that.

The Coyote wonders about the Media, too. The Continuing Climate Disconnect and the Climate Bait and Switch – “This is just tremendously frustrating, in part because climate alarmists (at least in the media) don’t seem to understand their own theory.”

I am at an impasse. Here is my dilemma: I don’t know if the media is purposely obfuscating the climate debate or whether they are just ignorant and scientifically illiterate. For now, because I am a happy soul that does not like making dark assumptions about other people’s motivations, so I am going to give the media the benefit of the doubt and just assume they are ignorant. But it is getting harder to reach this conclusion, because for it to be ignorance, it has to be serial ignorance lasting many years and crossing thousands of people.

There is a third alternative. It is one many miss but shows up in stories such as cited today. It is the psychological hypothesis that considers denial, dissonance, cognitive bias and related behavior. I takes effort to lift perceptions and judgment out of the emotional swamp and to be aware of the influence of desires and fantasies lead. To not consider this realm is to avoid an hypothesis that can aid understanding of what might otherwise be puzzling behavior.

On the Trump front, IBT notes the Biggest Untold Story Under Trump: The Surge In Optimism After 8 Years Of ‘Hope-n-Change’ – “We’ve been cataloging the sharp upturn in optimism since Donald Trump won the November election, and the Business Roundtable has just added a new one to the pile. Not that you’d know about from the endless media dirge.”

The recent surge in optimism among job creators should be a clear enough rebuke to Obamanomics. And it should serve as a loud warning to those Democrats who are determined to stop Trump’s pro-growth agenda.

It should also be front page news.

You might think, from all the noise, that you are the target of an artillery barrage. More likely it is like close fire support hitting the ‘enemy’ on the front lines. The rounds are armed with transparency and information exploding the bulwarks of Fake News, conspiracy theories, and delusion. They do appear to be hitting vulnerable targets.

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