Friday, May 31, 2019

No Rain In The Forecast

     The above title both expresses my fondest wish for the coming week, and is coupled to a prediction that, sadly, strikes me as a sure bet.

     The New York Metropolitan Area, which includes (unfortunately) Long Island where the Fortress is situated, has been getting soaked this spring. It’s caused the usual train of inconveniences and irritations: dampness in the basement, grass that grows faster than I can cut it, and worst of all, the postponement of Yankee games. Fortunately, we’ve just had a spot of waterproofing done where the worst of the moisture used to seep into our abode, plus new and better gutters for the whole house. However, that does nothing for the lawn, and the Yankees haven’t suffered this many postponements in thirty years. So I and my neighbors are all praying (it’s a Catholic neighborhood) – for a nice long stretch of dry, sunny weather so we can scrape the moss off our north sides and keep it off.

     But there’s one area of current interest where a good “hard rain” would be my fondest wish:

     The skies are growing dark and increasingly ominous for dirty officials at the top of Obama-era law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Leading the “I’m really worried” list are James Comey, John Brennan, James Clapper, Loretta Lynch, and their senior aides, all political appointees. They expected Hillary Clinton to win in 2016 and bury any traces of malfeasance, just as they had buried hers. It didn’t work out that way.

     Now they need protection themselves. House Democrats and anonymous leakers are busy providing it. Many are delicately called “current and former senior officials” by the New York Times, Washington Post, and other legacy media. Gee, I wonder who they are?

     These defenders of the old guard are sliming Attorney General Bill Barr, who heads the investigation into their actions. They have good reasons, if not clean hands, for their attack. First, they want to keep as much secret as they can. Exposure can only harm them. Their main argument is that any disclosures will damage U.S. national security. Second, they want to paint the disclosures and forthcoming indictments as President Trump’s revenge, the illegitimate use of powerful agencies that should be nonpartisan. That, of course, is precisely what they are accused of doing.

     Barr won’t be deterred. He did not return for a second stint as AG to pad his résumé or protect Donald Trump. He returned to clean out the Augean Stables. He needs to muck out the mess left by his predecessors and find the horses that left it.

     If only. There are at least two reasons why the malefactors that ignited the “Russian collusion” hoax against newly elected President Trump will face no penalties. First comes the “collegiality” armor worn by every member of the Washington Establishment. (Britons would call this the “a member of my club” defense.) Damned few Republicans and no Democrats will agree to the prosecution of these people. Virtually everyone in Federal office is guilty of some abuse of power and position. Thus, to see their former colleagues and cocktail party guests in orange jumpsuits would strike too close to home. The pressure they’ll put on Attorney-General Barr to refrain from pursuing criminal indictments would turn coal into diamonds.

     Second, and even more potent a deterrent, is the array of mechanisms these formerly prominent Federal officials could use to take revenge. They range from revealing secrets their tormentors cannot afford to have revealed to the incitement of FBI, CIA, and NSA campaigns of harassment against them, their loved ones, and their professional associates. Those three agencies have been shown to be above the law de facto. Their middle managers and low-level workers can get away with virtually anything. If Ruby Ridge and Waco may be admitted as data points, the mass murder of innocents is entirely within the spectrum of possibilities. And while Comey, Brennan, Clapper and the rest are no longer in high office, they continue to command the loyalty of many within their former demesnes…in some cases for the same reasons their nominal enemies fear them.

     An organization that stands “above the law” is an unstoppable weapon in the hands of whoever controls it. The best known such agencies are state and county-level “child protective services” and “family courts.” These answer to no one, can treat their targets as guilty until proven innocent – yes, really – and are unbound by any of the strictures the Constitution and Anglo-American legal tradition place upon normal jurisprudence. The IRS looks upon the power they wield with envious eyes – again: yes, really.

     During the “Red Scare” years, the FBI often harassed persons who declined to testify to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, as was their right, out of jobs, homes, and marriages. Employers feared what the Feebs could do to them far too much not to bow to the threat implied by an FBI visit to their places of business. It was a grotesque abuse of power – and the FBI got cleanly away with it in every case. Today, with the legal cover of the PATRIOT Act and the information-gathering power of the CIA and NSA at its disposal, there is no doubt in my mind that the FBI could arrange for the incarceration without trial of any American it might choose to target.

     Therefore, my money is on there being no penalties for any degree of involvement in the “Russian collusion” hoax, the pervasive and totally unwarranted spying on the Trump campaign, or the various acts of fraud and deceit under oath the involved persons have committed in the defense of their positions and reputations. I could be wrong. Indeed, I hope I am. But if so, I also hope that Bill Barr and everyone else in the Trump Administration are braced for impact. Any “hard rain” they drop on the anti-Trump conspirators could fall just as hard, though undeservedly, on them as well.


Linda Fox said...

I'd have no problem with eliminating the FBI entirely. Those agents who are not part of the abuses can be farmed out to other agencies - but, expect at least 1/2 to 2/3 to be gone.

Put a few of those that remain, in charge of investigating the IRS abuses and information leaks. Firings to follow, for cause. Let them go to court INDIVIDUALLY to argue for their jobs.

Same with other agencies, including the CIA - they've done a piss-poor job of actually identifying the enemies of the country, so why keep them on?

Stick the ones caught with their hands in the till in preventive detention, until their court dates.

But, I'm not expecting anyone in Washington to have the gonads. They can be directly responsible for the bloodbath that will follow their refusal to clear out the swamp.


@Linda: Add in the "Burn All Toddlers First" bunch to that sweeping.

It would not surprise me at all, should we be fortunate enough to actually see "hard rain" on the coup members, that... EVENTS happen to distract the public. Just as, for example, we always seem to get a convenient mass shooting from time to time, just as gun control is fading from the public view.

If you'll forgive me, I did just post on this. (I'd like to think I have, if you'll notice, not been abusing the privilege.)

Michael Stone said...

Unfortunately, I agree with you.
There'll be a bit of noise and then nothing.

Col. B. Bunny said...

There is indeed a kind of Klingon tractor beam that is working here. I believe Trump's initial instincts about withdrawing from our foreign wars was sincere but that beam appears to have drawn him inexorably, and tragically, in the direction of the status quo. Status quo plus when you consider the ominous developments regarding Iran and Venezuela. The neocons and MIC demons want war with the former so bad they can taste it.

And, continuing with the Star Wars imagery, Hitlery has an unbreachable shield that prevents her OBVIOUS illegal acts from being mentioned, let alone punished.

Such is human life on this planet, however. What's missing is ANY hint that the perfumed ones give a fig about the citizens. Citizens are conned every second of every day by the media monopolies but that pales beside the phenomenon of a hostile elite. We have finally reached that point in our history where our contemptible elites are not pissing out of the tent but in, as, I think, Johnson's witticism had it.