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Comey and Trump: Pining for J. Edgar Hoover

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Fired FBI Director James Comey confirmed what many of us know about President Trump. He expects total loyalty by everyone in his “org chart.” He says whatever he feels will get him his way. He rewards personal loyalty. He brooks no independence.

This whole fiasco makes me pine for J. Edgar Hoover, who would have told President Trump to go to hell.

Trump is oil and good governance is water. Decorum and indirect messages don’t reach him or move him.

But Donald Trump is not the first, or the only, person to test and break the limits of executive power in a checks and balances government. But he’s the most obvious about it. The Clintons did everything behind veils and doors and buddy systems that existed for decades. The Bushes relied on family connections and long relationships. Barack Obama used public pressure, organizing activists, and his extensive knowledge of the Constitution and government nooks and crannies to get his way.

Where Obama used his knowledge of the Constitution and our government checks and balances to work within the loom against those very limits, Trump tears at them with garden shears.

Comey said Trump (and by extension, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein) lied about the reasons he was fired. (That may have been a bit of self-serving face-saving, as Comey did plenty of things to place himself in jeopardy.)

The reason Comey gave why he didn’t confront Trump during their multiple personal meetings on the impropriety of his requests is he isn’t “Captain Courageous” (his words). Trump is completely unqualified to navigate the legal and ethical waters surrounding an investigation. Any meeting after the first one between the two (when Trump was president-elect) should have brought a strong “no, sir, do not ask me this because I can’t” from Comey.

Maybe a stronger FBI chief (like Hoover) could have dealt more squarely with Trump, who hates pulled punches. But this just shows how bad governing has become.

Bill Clinton met with Loretta Lynch on a private jet before Comey detailed Hillary’s crimes and announced he would not recommend prosecution. This was after Lynch said she would abide by whatever the FBI recommended. It was all improper, but Comey didn’t have to deal with the awkwardness of meeting with Obama. We don’t know what went on between Comey and Lynch, but apparently he didn’t stand up to her either.

The FBI must remain independent, and not under patronage to the president. But for a long time, the Justice Department was suborned to the president’s wishes. Jack Kennedy appointed his own brother Attorney General. They both would have loved to get rid of Hoover.

Trump has appointed another lifetime lawyer in Christopher Wray to lead the FBI. But I’m beginning to think that position should go to someone with the biggest cajones, not the best lawyer. Hoover may have had his faults, but failing to stand up to presidents wasn’t one of them.

We don’t need an FBI director who owes anything to anyone. Just like Trump ran as the main plank of his campaign–he should require this complete independence from Wray.

It’s not enough to give Trump “loyal honesty,” give him what he needs–someone who won’t pull punches.

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Economy

Trump blaming Federal Reserve for recession created by his trade war

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Trump blaming Federal Reserve for recession created by his trade war

Wall Street had another very bad day yesterday. How bad? Well, the S&P 500 fell to its lowest level of the year, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost over 500 points, bringing its two-day losses to more than 1,000 points after a bad day last Friday.

Actually, yesterday’s very bad day is only a snapshot of what is officially a very bad month for Wall Street and a very bad year for the S&P 500. The Dow and S&P 500 are on track for their worst December since the Great Depression in 1931, down approximately 7% so far for the month. And the S&P 500 is down over 4% for the year.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is holding its last policy meeting of the year and will likely be announcing an increase in interest rates tomorrow due to economic uncertainty surrounding Trump’s trade war and a shaky global financial market.

So, it should come as no surprise that Trump spent time on Twitter yesterday spreading fake news about the imaginary success of his economic policies while simultaneously criticizing the Feds for tomorrow’s likely interest rate increase.

Trump’s attack on the Feds is not new. When the stock market’s 2018 gains were wiped out in October, Trump blamed Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, calling the man he appointed to the job “the biggest threat” to his success. He also issued a warning at that time that he might fire Powell.

I should note here that shortly after the 2016 election and before Powell was appointed, Federal Reserve officials were very concerned about Trump’s economic policies and how they would likely lead to inflation and higher interest rates. Maybe, instead of blaming the Feds for being right, Trump could admit he was wrong and end the trade war.

Yeah, like that’ll ever happen.

Trump’s “no inflation” claim is a complete fabrication; inflation has been steadily rising since Trump’s inauguration when it was around 1%.

The reality is that his trade war has been a primary driver of inflation and has grown to become the true “biggest threat” to the US economy. This threat so real that a majority of 134 business leaders recently surveyed — including executives from companies like Ford, Verizon, and Morgan Stanley — expect a recession to hit by the end of 2018. That’s two weeks, folks.

Meanwhile, Trump can’t really be bothered with the economy right now. He’s too busy tweeting threats against Saturday Night Live because they tell mean jokes about him.

Originally posted on StridentConservative.com.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and Facebook.

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Offbeat

PragerU drops a turd with Yoram Hazony video

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PragerU drops a turd with Yoram Hazony video

I am a subscriber and an avid fan of PragerU. With that being said, I was deeply disappointed in the poor presentation presented by Yoram Hazony. But before I dive into that, I want to make it clear, on a spectrum between nationalism and globalism, a spectrum with which Hazony deviates, I am in full opposition to the latter. America is one nation under God, not any international body. And since, on this spectrum, I would be a nationalist, it became readily apparent, early on in the video, that he was making a fallacious case to advance nationalism.

Bad Appeal to Credibility

But it wasn’t long ago that great political figures such as Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt, David Ben-Gurion and Mahatma Gandhi, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher recognized what I call the virtue of nationalism

Yoram Hazony begins the ascension of his argument by appealing to the credibility of figures who captured his ideal sense of nationalism. Woodrow Wilson was a Klansman who is not ideal when further arguing that nationalism is separate from racism. Teddy Roosevelt was a staunch anti-capitalist, contrary to the”virtue model” later explained by Hazony, and gave us the 16th and 17th Amendments. Mahatma Ghandi was a pedophile and his form of nationalism wasn’t for all peoples in India. Three out of his six role models are misfires.

Denial of History – Literally Hitler

It is agreeable that one can be a nationalist and support trade. But when Yoram Harony plainly states that Hitler was not a nationalist, but an imperialist, Hazony transplants the premises of his argument into a fantasy-land where his fallacious word tangles can thrive. Yes, Hitler was absolutely a nationalist. He was also a socialist. He was also part of a worker’s party (pro-unionized labor). Nazi was an acronym compiling three ideas. One of them was nationalism. However, Hitler being a revanchist was the least of his crimes and the most justified of his actions. Nationalism and racism are not mutually exclusive, as Hazony’s idols demonstrate. He could have delved into Nazism, building a case that the internal us vs them, class warfare, mentality fostered by Adolf Hitler, gave rise to the Holocaust to a far greater extent than nationalism ever did. To the Nazis standing up for the German worker meant that the non-ethnic Germans had to eventually be eradicated. He could have explained the the Holocaust greatly strained Hitler’s nationalist effort. But instead, Hazony made the fantasy argument that Hitler was an imperialist, not a nationalist.

Denial of History – “Nationalism stops at a nation’s borders”

Yoram Hazony asserts that imperialism and nationalism are opposite. This argument is perhaps as bad or worse than the former. It is essentially: a=/=b and a=/=c, therefore b=c. Except history shows that nationalism and imperialism are not mutually exclusive, no more than socialism and nationalism (fascism). Did the Germans practice imperialism? Sure, though the British, French, and Soviets (who would have eventually invaded Europe) were all threats to a rising Germany and other axis powers. One cannot be a German-nationalist and insist that Germany abide by the Treaty of Versailles. The Japanese are a much clearer example of imperialism, though they were a poor imitation of the British Empire.

The once mighty British people are a shadow of their former selves. But it was not the rejection of nationalism that caused the sun to set on the British Empire, rather the rejection of imperialism. British imperialism made the isles a formidable force in Europe winning campaigns in World War One while simultaneously fighting a stalemate in Europe. In World War 2, Britain, because of its global expansion was able to combat the axis powers in Europe, Africa and Asia. These policies kept the British well supplied in World War 2, along with American friendship. After the Second World War, Britain relinquished its global grip creating international trade out of what was once domestic. It is much more clear that this policy shift contributed to the British eventually joining the EU.

America too practiced imperialism. We didn’t reach from sea to shining sea by our national interest staying within our nation’s borders. In, fact during our nation’s founding, our diplomats wanted Britain to cede Quebec to the United States during the negotiations that ended the American Revolution. The Treaty of Paris did not appease these ambitions, and America later invaded Canada during the War of 1812, rekindling this idea. But through the Mexican-American War, Spanish-American War, various Indian wars, it would be difficult to argue that America did not advance its national interest through the practice of imperialism.

Every Nation is Equal Mentality

Yoram Hazony argues that nationalists prefer a world of many nations, each one believing that its government should seek the interest of its own nation. I wholeheartedly would discount myself from nationalism if this were the case. I believe in nationalism, opposed to globalism, because the United State of America is the greatest civilization in history, without equal. America is a nation built on values: God, liberty, and union. These values make America great. The nationalism that Hazony supports is an ethnic group fighting for independence with the hopes of becoming freer. Only this doesn’t happen all that often in history. In fact most rebellions under the guise of freedom are really just “we want different rulers, ones that look like us.” They don’t advance liberty and don’t always end well. The Dutch independence praised in the video was scathed by the Founding Fathers in the Federalist Papers. One would be hard-pressed to argue that Iraq is better off independent than a British or French colony, same with Libya, Syria, Haiti, Cuba. We could also examine the Liberia experiment. History demonstrates that nationalism does not inherently lead to freedom. In fact, his own examples of Wilson and Roosevelt were terrible for individual liberties. This is why nationalism is not mutually exclusive with so many ideologies, both evil and benign.

A nation is only as good as its values, and without these values, Americans would be celebrating mediocrity. No nation is entitled to an individual’s unwaivering support, just because their rulers look like you. However, in America, nationalism is an ideology that celebrates and seeks to protect the values that America is founded on. Yoram Hazony failed to build up a substantive case for nationalism, instead devoting his life’s work to raising a false idol, rooted in fantasy, to a pervasive though incomplete ideology. PragerU chose a poor spokesperson for this message, giving ammo to critics with claims that “Hitler wasn’t a nationalist.” That is the first PragerU video I’ve hit the dislike on, not simply because of disagreement, and hopefully the last.

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Conspiracy Theory

“Hillary Clinton Email” and big-tech’s misguided desire to protect us from ourselves

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Hillary Clinton Email and big-techs misguided desire to protect us from ourselves

Below is the transcript of the video.

Today, we will not be discussing the conspiracy theory that big tech is attempting to protect us from “fake news” by censoring stories, channels, topics, and individuals. We’re not discussing this conspiracy theory because it’s no longer a theory. It’s demonstrable through testing and most big tech firms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google readily admit they are removing anything they deem to be inappropriate.

This has all been brewing for years but spit hit the pan when the unthinkable happened. Donald Trump won the 2016 election, causing most of these big tech companies to privately vow, never again. They blame themselves for allowing the people to be misled and vowed to themselves that they will do what they can going forward to make sure the unacceptable elements of society will no longer use their platforms to spread disinformation and lies.

The latest identified iteration of this blatant form of intellectual censorship was discovered on Reddit when a user tried to get Google to recommend the phrase “Hillary Clinton Email” without success. So, let’s try it for ourselves.

[Test confirmed]

For those who don’t know, the recommendation engine used by Google and pretty much every search engine and social media site is designed to offer recommendations to your queries based on what you start typing. We all use it and take it for granted. The algorithm that delivers the recommended results is based on the combined data from search attempts combined with your own search history. We did it in incognito mode so my own search history wouldn’t come into play.

It’s ignorant to believe that so few people are searching for the phrase “Hillary Clinton Email” that it didn’t trigger the algorithm to recommend it when we first started typing her name, let alone when we types E-m-a-i and l. So yes, this is indisputable proof that a topic Google doesn’t want anyone to investigate, namely Hillary’s email scandal, has been wiped from their recommendation engine.

This isn’t news to most of you. We’ve been aware of such activities for a long time. What I’d like to discuss is why this happens in the first place. Is it a form of intellectual censorship? Absolutely. What are they censoring? They’re trying to purge anything within the collective conscience that goes against the various narratives they want the people to believe in. One of those narratives is that Hillary Clinton and the American people were robbed, which is the only acceptable explanation for why Donald Trump is President in their eyes.

Frankly, this is minor. I’m less concerned about this one than some of the other narratives they’re pushing, such as globalism, open borders, anti-Judeo-Christian beliefs, and the various “settled sciences” that they feel no longer warrant debate such as climate change or evolution. This systematic censorship subverts much needed discourse and relegates many of the lucid voices in our society to the same categories where they place the despicable.

There are certain things that must be censored for the sake of the harm they do. I am not one who believes in absolute freedom of speech to include child pornography or how to turn household items into mustard gas, but that’s a far cry from the other things they’ve chosen to censor, such as Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.

They are trying to protect us from ourselves because in their own minds, they know better. They’ve seen what can happen when people start pushing Pizzagate or Fizzledrip. They’re worried that flatearthers are going to corrupt our nation’s children with fears they’ll run into the Antarctic ice wall no matter which direction they travel. They think if we’re looking into Hillary Clinton, they shouldn’t recommend her email as a topic of research because, in their minds, there’s nothing to see here.

We don’t need to be protected. The internet is loaded with false notions and it’s up to the people to decide what they want to believe and what they want to dismiss. Big tech shouldn’t impose their own superior sensibilities on us just because they think most people are sheep. That may be true, but so what? Let us be sheep. We’re okay with it.

But here’s the thing, and it’s what I fear even more than big tech’s censorship. As private companies, Washington DC should NOT be attempting to tell them how to operate their businesses. The people can choose to use whatever platform we want to use to communicate, search, and socialize. I’d rather work as a people to expose the blatant intellectual censorship these companies are perpetrating rather than calling on government to make them stop. It may be the easy way out and I can imagine many on both the right and the left cheering if DC started regulating these companies as publishers rather than platforms. But that would be a very short-term fix. If you think censorship is bad now, just wait until DC gets their hands on the mute button. Things will become exponentially worse.

Google might be easy. Facebook might be fun. Twitter might be loud. But the power they all share is theirs because we choose to give it to them. We don’t need DC regulating the censors. We simply need to exercise our individual right of choice.

I’m JD Rucker. Thank you for listening.

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