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I’ve said for a long time that even though the “7th Floor” at the FBI was thoroughly partisan and out to get Trump, the rank-and-file agents and administrators were generally good people just trying to follow the rules and do their jobs. As it turns out, this observation was right. FBI text messages and internal notes finally obtained by Michael Flynn lawyer Sidney Powell and included in her latest federal court filing show agents’ enormous concern with what was going on.

Sure, we’ve read plenty of anti-Trump messages from those involved in “Crossfire Hurricane,” but these newly declassified communications are arguably worse, in that they show a (to use a word currently in vogue) SYSTEMIC problem at the FBI that was so serious and so obvious, other agents –- their names still redacted –- were worried about the potential fallout.

Sean Davis and Mollie Hemingway reported this on Thursday in THE FEDERALIST, under the headline “’Trump was right’: Explosive new FBI texts detail internal furor over handling of ‘Crossfire Hurricane” Investigation.”

Here’s something new: The same day that CNN leaked that President-elect Trump had been briefed by then-FBI Director James Comey about a (bogus) story in the Steele “dossier,” one agent texted another, “We all went out and purchased professional liability insurance.”

“Holy crap,” another agent texted back. “All the analysts, too?”

"Yep,” the first one texted. “All the folks at the Agency as well.” He went on to say, “...I think the concern...was that there was a big leak at DOJ and the NYT among others was going to do a piece.”

Earlier, in August of 2016, one FBI analyst remarked, “doing all this election research – I think some of these guys want a Clinton presidency.”

No kidding.

Another text from October of 2016 said, “[REDACTED] is one of the worst offenders of the rabbit holes and conspiracy theories.”

And here’s a particularly prescient text: “I’m [telling you], man, if this thing ever gets FOIA’d, there are going to be some tough questions asked.”

Indeed.

We'd thought that the order to close down the Flynn investigation came on January 4, 2017, the day before the infamous Oval Office meeting with Comey, Brennan, Biden, Yates, Rice and, of course, President Obama. It turns out that the original order to close the case may have come as early as November 6, 2016, Election Day. (NOTE: I’m curious to know if this came very late in the day, after they realized to their horror that Trump had won.) One agent texted, “We have some loose ends to tie up, and we all need to meet to discuss what to do with each case - he said shut down Razor.” (“Razor” is code for the Flynn case, which was part of "Crossfire Hurricane.")

"So glad they’re closing Razor,” another agent responded.

Another shocking revelation in these texts: To spy on Flynn’s finances, the FBI used not regular subpoenas, but what they call national security letters (NSL), which receive NO JUDICIAL REVIEW. They were doing this weeks after the initial order to shut the case down. Agents who knew better were talking amongst themselves about this…

"The decision to NSL finances bought him time,” one agent says. (We don’t know who “him” is.)

"What do we expect to get from an NSL [?],” was the reply. “We put out traces, tripwire to the community and nothing.”

"Bingo, another agent replied. “”So what’s an NSL going to do[?] No content.”

"Haha this is a nightmare,” another agent said. The conversation goes on similarly.

In one series of texts sent the same day as the big Oval Office meeting, one agent says that “Trump was right” when he tweeted that the FBI was delaying his transition briefings on so-called “Russian hacking” so they could cook up evidence against him. (Was he ever.)

Here are more of the agents’ texts from the red-letter day of January 5 (some punctuation fixed):

"So razor is going to stay open?”

"Yep. Crimes report being drafted.”

"F.”

"What’s the word on how Obama’s briefing went?”

"Don’t know but people here are scrambling for info to support certain things and it’s a madhouse.”

"Jesus. Trump was right. Still not put together...why do we do this to ourselves? What is wrong with these people??”

The texts even reveal that agents suspected the leaks about Flynn’s calls with Russian Ambassador Kislyak were leaked by the White House…

"FYI – someone leaked the Flynn calls with Kislyak to the WSJ [Wall Street Journal].”

"I’m sorry to hear that.” (Sarcasm alert.) I’ll resume my duties as Chief Morale Officer and rectify that.”

"Published this morning by Ignatius.” (That’s a reference to WASHINGTON POST writer David Ignatius.)

"It’s got to be someone on the staff. PDB [Presidential Daily Briefing] staff. Or WH seniors.”

If you’re not up to date on the Flynn case, Hemingway and Davis review that as well, including the bizarre efforts of Judge Sullivan to keep it going despite Barr’s decision not to prosecute. But the real news here is the texting FBI agents were doing that shows they knew exactly what this was –- a political hit job --- and they were concerned enough to take out liability policies! We don’t get to see those names, but John Durham does, and let’s hope he’s talked with every one of them --- especially the one who wrote about "scrambling for info to support certain things."

......

As if this weren’t enough, we’ve also learned that Steele's sub-source for the Steele “dossier” had been the subject of an FBI counterintelligence investigation from 2009 to 2011 for suspected contact with Russian intel officers. In other words, they thought he might be a RUSSIAN SPY. This is something else they should’ve disclosed to the FISA court but didn’t.

We know this now because the Senate Judiciary Committee is looking into it, and Sen. Lindsay Graham, who chairs the committee, wrote to AG Barr to request expedited information about the reliability of Christopher Steele as a source. Barr responded by directing the FBI to (at last) declassify this material.

Barr said he’d consulted with Durham and determined that revealing this information would not compromise the ongoing investigation. So it's logical to assume that Durham has already looked into it.

Again, the bitter irony: Democrats have accused Trump for years of “colluding” with Russians, when it’s the Hillary campaign that did that very thing.

Sen. Graham appeared Thursday night on HANNITY to summarize the findings. He said he hopes this is a “game-changer,” but given the slant of the media, I doubt it will change much of anything until we see some indictments, whenever that might be.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order that sales of gas-powered cars will be banned in the state by 2035. Why didn’t he cut out the middleman and just order the climate to stop changing?

Put aside the fact that by 2035, Newsom will have been out of office for at least eight and hopefully 12 years. For those of us who are so old we remember when Jimmy Kimmel was funny, this grandiose order elicits an amusing sense of déjà vu.

For decades now, California’s liberal politicians have been belching out laws and policies, orders and incentives, all to try to force all the state’s residents into electric cars. Their utter cluelessness about how markets work have doomed all these efforts to humiliating failure. They’ve mandated that a certain percentage of cars sold had to be electric by a certain time, and forgot that first, consumers had to want to buy them. They’ve mandated that a certain number of EVs had to be on every car lot, which forced makers and dealers to waste space with cars that gathered dust as consumers purchased SUVs. They’ve offered rebates, carpool lanes and other incentives to try to bribe people to buy them.

They previously used their imagined godlike powers to declare that there would be 5 million EVs on the road in California by the end of the last decade. They reached 11% of that goal.

The fact is, Californians didn’t want electric cars. They do a LOT of driving, and they get stuck in loooooong traffic jams on overcrowded freeways (another reason to thank their liberal politicians), and they don’t want to be in a car that might die if they turn on the A/C and then have to find an outlet to charge it for hours just to get home.

As technology improved, electric cars became a bit more popular among a certain small subset of the market (in some circles, “EV” stands for “Electric Virtue-Signaler”), but they’re still impractical for the majority of drivers.

Newsom claims that by 2035, EVs will be superior to gas-powered cars. Maybe, maybe not. But will California’s politicians be superior to today’s, who can’t even provide enough juice to keep people from having to swelter in their homes with no lights or air conditioning? If not, what are they going to plug all those electric cars into?

James Taylor, president of the Heartland Foundation, called Newsom’s order a “classic example of politicians seeking short-term political gain by imposing impossible requirements on future residents and politicians.” He said they’d actually create an ecological catastrophe: to generate enough “green power” (which the state’s leftist leaders also are mandating), thousands of square miles of land would have to be clear-cut to install windmills and solar panels. Taylor added, “On the other hand, it will leave fewer forests for Newsom to mismanage and turn into overgrown fire hazards.”

Personally, my theory is that this is a plot by California liberals to stick every resident with an electric car and no electricity to charge it with, making it impossible for them to flee to Texas.

Good Economic News

September 24, 2020

How about a little good news that you probably won’t hear in the media? After the big economic downturn due to the coronavirus shutdowns, the economy has already rebounded enough that Americans’ household wealth recently hit its highest level ever.

The shutdown and stock market plunge in April dropped Americans’ total household wealth to $111.3 trillion, but the Federal Reserve reported Monday that in the April-June quarter, it rose nearly 7% to a record $119 trillion. For the quarter ending in June, the value of homes grew $500 billion while stock portfolios leaped by $5.7 trillion. The amount of money in checking accounts rose 33% to $1.8 trillion, while savings accounts rose 6.1% to $11.2 trillion.

It was partly due, of course, to the relief checks and expanded unemployment payments, but it also shows that the economy wasn’t destroyed, it just had the wind knocked out of it by China, and it's already getting back on its feet. I look forward to hearing the numbers for July-September, which I assume will be even better. I hope they arrive before the election so that voters aren’t misled into taking a U-turn back to the economic tar pit of the Obama-Biden years.

Low Energy Joe

September 24, 2020

There’s an inside term in political journalism that everyone needs to learn: “Put a lid on the day.”

No, that doesn’t refer to thinking “Oh, put a lid on it” every time Nancy Pelosi opens her mouth. It’s what a campaign team tells the media to let them know that there will be no more comments, appearances or events involving the candidate for the rest of the day. And the media are hearing it a lot these days from the Biden campaign, and very early in the day, which worries them since they are the unofficial PR arm of the campaign.

For instance, Tuesday morning before 9 a.m., Biden’s aides told the media they were “putting a lid on the day.” So 42 days away from the election, while President Trump is jetting around the country, giving 90-minute campaign speeches and addressing the UN in between dealing with major policy issues, Biden is declaring the day over before most people even get to work.

In the linked article from David Marcus of the Federalist, he goes to some lengths to say he has tried hard not to accept rumors or assumptions about Biden’s mental or physical health. I’ve also tried not to get into that kind of personal speculation. Maybe it is some brilliant "lay-low strategy" they're following. But when the candidate not only seems incapable of remaining coherent even with a Teleprompter in front of him, and his campaign day ends at 9 a.m., you have to start wondering if Biden is capable of handling the most demanding job in the world.

It’s obvious that his supporters in the media are starting to panic. I hate giving the leftist magazine the Nation any clicks, but just to prove I’m not making this up, one of their writers just published a screed insisting that there’s nothing to be learned from presidential debates so we should cancel them all, “permanently.”

Translation: I’m saying “permanently” because I don’t want to admit that I’m scared out of my wits about this particular candidate in these particular debates, but I’ll write another screed arguing the opposite in four years.

If Biden is capable of being President, then he should at least be capable of working past the end of the “Today” show. If he’s not, and the Democrats know it, then they are attempting to pull a shameful scam on the American people, and one that’s cruelly unfair to Biden as well. As for all the claims that there should be no debates because Joe Biden is just too honest and pure to lower himself to debate Trump, my response to that is “Put a lid on it.”

Proving once again that you can’t cure “stupid,” the Seattle City Council voted 7-2 to override Mayor Jenny Durkan’s veto of their plan to defund the local police department by about $3 million (they claim this is a “down payment” on their plan to cut police funding by 50% by next year.) Think about it: they're actually worse at their jobs than the Mayor of Seattle!

In a city torn by radical rioting and lawlessness, Council President Lorena Gonzalez declared that it’s vital to cut the police budget and spend the money on social programs instead because “Everyone deserves to feel safe…” Safe from the police, she means. Because that's the big worry in Seattle: being assaulted, robbed and set on fire by the police.

I’m sure that just like the poor people suffering under the brain dead city council of Minneapolis, they’ll end up feeling very safe from having the police intrude on the criminals who are going to be targeting them daily. Seattle voters who start asking, as people in Minneapolis now are, “Where are the police?!” should mark it down now so they can remember it: the police are gone because you voted leftist morons into power. And believe me, I don’t use that term as a pejorative but because it’s the most accurate term I can think of, based on the evidence.

Breaking News on the SCOTUS Nomination: Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, one of the Republicans who was originally said to be opposed to confirming a Trump nominee before the election, now says she won’t rule that out if the Judiciary Committee passes one. Also, it depends on who it is.

Considering those two conditions would apply to any SCOTUS nominee, this shouldn’t even be news (“Bulletin: Senator Does Constitutional Duty!!!”) But the big news here is that with Murkowski and Mitt Romney both rejecting the Democrats’ threats and demands to refuse to do their jobs, at least one side of the Senate is still functioning according to the Constitution, not politics. The equally good news is that threats, ultimatums, name-calling and temper tantrums may have finally ceased to be effective tools of political persuasion.

It might have helped if everything the Democrats are threatening to do (harass and assault Republicans at their homes and in public, riot, burn things down, pack the Court, etc.) they hadn’t already been doing for months/years or already threatened to do anyway if they got into power.

I don’t want to be accused of being a “climate denier” (I do believe there is a climate) or of being so anti-science that I disagree with Nancy Pelosi when she warns us, “Mother Earth is angry.” But if we’re ever going to get the terrible wildfires in California under control, it’s necessary to look at real facts and not simply accept overheated claims that “manmade climate change” is entirely to blame for the fires – something that even Gov. Gavin Newsom recently admitted wasn’t true.

Toward that end, I thought I’d point you to a couple of recent reports that look at real statistics and history of both wildfires and weather trends to see if the environmental left’s claims about droughts, temperature and forest fires (pardon the expression) hold water.

First, check out this report from the Foundation for Economic Education.

It asks the provocative question, if global climate changes are to blame for California’s fires, why aren’t other places with forests on fire? Texas, for instance, has more forest acreage than California and a hotter climate, but it’s not burning down. California's winds get blamed, but those have been blowing for millennia. Maybe, as the article points out, it’s because 95% of Texas’ land is privately owned by people who practice wise management policies like controlled burns to remove dead vegetation that turns into kindling, something that California’s environmentalists won’t allow.

"Well, then, how do you explain why the number of wildfires and the acreage on fire are both at record levels?"

Answer: they aren’t. 2020 is on track to be a very bad year, but not as bad as 2017.

“Still, that was the all-time record year for forest fires!” Only because the records being cited start in 1960. In 1930, about five times more acreage burned as in 2017, and the annual average from 1926-‘52 was several times higher. Forest fires have been with us since before there even were humans in North America, but in recent decades, we learned how to control them. Only California has made those methods illegal.

Ironically, one thing that’s also illegal in California is arson, but that hasn’t seemed to stop anyone from doing it.

Of course, pointing all this out doesn’t mean that there is no climate change going on. But the climate is always changing. The big questions are, is it due to humans and is it catastrophic? It’s now conventional wisdom that the answer to both is a big “YES!” and if you disagree, you’re a science-denying lunkhead.

So to check that out, a researcher for the Global Warming Policy Foundation examined data mostly from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) “to analyse trends in temperature, precipitation, droughts, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, sea-level rise and wildfires. In particular, it takes account of the widely varying regional climates.” The goal was to determine the state of the climate in 2019.

Here’s what the data shows, quoted directly from the report’s summary:

• “Average temperatures have risen by 0.15°F/decade since 1895, with the increase most marked in winter.

• There has been little or no rise in temperatures since the mid 1990s.

• Summers were hotter in the 1930s than in any recent years.

• Heatwaves were considerably more intense in decades up to 1960 than anything seen since.

• Cold spells are much less severe than they used to be.

• Central and Eastern regions have become wetter, with a consequent drastic reduction in drought. In the west, there has been little long-term change.

• While the climate has become wetter in much of the country, evidence shows that floods are not getting worse.

• Hurricanes are not becoming either more frequent or powerful.

• Tornadoes are now less common than they used to be, particularly the stronger ones.

• Sea-level rise is currently no higher than around the mid-20th century.

• Wildfires now burn only a fraction of the acreage they did prior to the Second World War.

In short, the US climate is in most ways less extreme than it used to be. Temperatures are less extreme at both ends of the scale, storms less severe and droughts far less damaging. While it is now slightly warmer, this appears to have been largely beneficial.”

I’m sure many people will attack the report, the writer and the foundation that funded it. But I’ll be waiting to see if they produce any evidence that he or NOAA got their weather data wrong.