Now you know. You can stop doubting. You have more than hope.
The Obama administration spied on Donald Trump and his campaign and transition teams. There is no longer any doubt.
The questions that remain are:
- Who ordered and authorized the illegal wiretaps?
- Who illegally received and disseminated the intelligence?
- What did Obama know?
It’s easy to declare the Obama Admin guilty after Evelyn Farkas’s admissions on MSNBC. Her admissions indicate:
- Obama admin illegally spied on Trump team
- She urges Obama intelligence officials to disseminate raw intelligence to Congress and the press
- Her motivation was purely political
Adding to Farkas’s admission, we know now that Rep. Devin Nunes knew about the wiretaps as far back as January. His attempts to see the documents were stonewalled by Obama holdovers in the intelligence community.
Now, even Democrats have access to those damning documents that could send Farkas and many other Obama officials to prison. They can’t hide the truth much longer.
Meanwhile, the CIA’s case against Trump just turned into the people’s case against the CIA. Wikileaks published the source code the CIA uses to hack into private servers (like the DNC’s) and leave “fingerprints” of Russian hackers. It now looks to everyone like the whole “Russia did it” narrative was contrived and executed by criminals in the CIA. Criminals in the CIA. Just like the Watergate days.
Turns out, again, that the more outlandish Trump’s proclamations, the more right they are. As I told you. Trust Trump. He’s more accurate than CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today combined. Trump only sounds crazy because he’s the only one telling you the truth. In a sea of lies, the truth sounds crazy.
Everyone who mocked or doubted Trump’s “wiretap” tweets owes President Trump an apology. That includes Obama sympathizers in the GOP, like Senator John “Songbird” McCain.
UPDATE Fox News has learned that the official who illegally “unmasked” Trump associates was “very well known, very high up, very senior in the intelligence world.” More from Fox:
Intelligence and House sources with direct knowledge of the disclosure of classified names told Fox News that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., now knows who is responsible — and that person is not in the FBI.
For a private citizen to be “unmasked,” or named, in an intelligence report is extremely rare. Typically, the American is a suspect in a crime, is in danger or has to be named to explain the context of the report.
Democrats might do a Friday document dump this afternoon. They’re realizing the game is over. People will go to prison for this.
Update 2: via The Gateway Pundit:
Senior Fox News Correspondent, Adam Housley revealed today that Intel Chair Devin Nunes knows who unmasked Trump and his associates. Sources also told him that the unmasking was purely for political purposes to embarrass Trump and had NOTHING to do with national security.
Think about the sun, PippinThink about her golden glanceHow she lights the world upWell, now it’s your chanceWith the guardian of splendorInviting you to dancePippinThink about the sun—Finale, Pippin by Stephen Schwarz
We were standing near the glass doors at the back of the theatre waiting for the bell.
Bishop DuBourg High School’s theatre doubled as its theatre classroom. The last class of the day was almost over. We were waiting for the bell to ring. The last bell of the day.
At the other end of the room, the stage held the set for Pippin which opened two weeks later. I would play Pippin’s half-brother Lewis in that production. My first musical.
The bell didn’t ring on time. We could see through the glass doors that some teachers had released students early. But not Mr. Leibrecht. Jim Leibrecht, the best high school theatre teacher and director you could ask for, stood and chatted with us.
Leibrecht and I didn’t agree on politics. He was not a Reaganite. Nor a Republican. I was. I appreciated and respected Jim Leibrecht too much to talk politics with him. Not worth it. Why risk a friendship or mentorship. I don’t remember what we talked about, me and the class’s dozen students and Leibrecht, but it wasn’t politics. It was probably Pippin.
Five minutes after the bell should have rung, our principal Floyd Hacker come on the PA. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but I’ll pretend I do:
“The news is reporting that President Reagan was shot in an assassination attempt in Washington DC this afternoon. This is a sad moment in our lives and in the life of the United States. We’ve been through this too many times in my life. I do not know the President’s condition, but he alive and has been taken to a hospital. The shooter is in custody. Now, let’s offer a prayer for the President’s recovery and for our country before dismissal.”
Then, nearly 2,000 Catholic teenagers and the faculty prayed a Hail Mary and an Our Father in unison. We were not alone. From Time magazine’s issue immediately after Reagan was shot:
When the President was shot, Americans prayed very hard, not for the life of an abstraction, but for a man, one who as leader of the democracy carries some thing of everyone in that mortal chest.
The bell rang. No one moved.
Girls were crying. Maybe I was, too. The halls were silent except for muffled yelps and sniffles. Teachers and students who had never been shy about voicing their dislike of Ronald Reagan looked shocked and sad. An attack on one was an attack on all. At 3:05 p.m. CST on March 30, 1981, we were all Reagan’s children (or grandchildren).
I don’t remember if we had Pippin rehearsal after school. I watched Nightline that night, as I did most nights. Stories were already emerging about Reagan’s remarkable humor and humility. “Does anybody know what that’ guy’s beef was?” “I hope you’re all Republicans,” the Gipper told the doctors. “I forgot to duck.”
There were stories of people cheering the news. I didn’t see anyone celebrate firsthand. I did hear people joke about it. I probably did, too. Generation X never held back except around elders we wanted to impress. Among that generation at that time, pulling punches on irreverent jokes was a crime. And, besides, Reagan sort of gave us permission to crack wise about it. He went first.
How does this memory of the day Reagan got shot make you feel now? Deep inside where the dark and light fight for attention and dominance, how does the idea of a President’s mortality fall out?
And what if Trump got shot? How would you handle the reaction from the left? From the NeverTrump establishment types?
What would happen to society if some selfish leftists or some rogue Secret Service agent attacked President Trump? Would Time magazine write about a nation praying together for his recovery?
I usually discount the notion that people have fundamentally changed. But culture does change. In the culture of 1981, we all still followed the lead of our WWII-era guides. That generation still dominated boardrooms, school administrations, and politics at every level. In 1981, Baby Boomers like the Clintons were busy climbing the culture’s social ladders. The Silent Generation had arrived and relaxed in its middle management haven. And Gen X was busy sarcastically critiquing the phoniness and pointlessness of everything like real-life Holden Caulfields.
Whatever the generational undercurrents each cohort stirred beneath, in 1981 the surface of American cultures remained firmly in the hands of the Greatest Generation
But times have changed now. The World War II generation, typified by George H. W. Bush don’t get around much anymore. The Silents are in the back half of their retirement years. Baby Boomers, desperate to hang on to the youth they misspent, cling to the last vestiges of power in politics and business and entertainment. Sober and skeptical, Generation X wields its growing power quietly as our Millennial siblings and children climb out from their parents’ basements. And the decorum imposed on our culture by the Greatest Generation has been replaced by angry hatred fomented by the clinging Boomers who encourage the worst behavior on the part of their Millennial grandchildren. David Horowitz, Boomer radical turned conservative Trump supporter, warned us in 1989 that his generation was the most destructive in US history. And they weren’t done.
David Horowitz, Boomer radical turned conservative Trump supporter, warned us in 1989 that his generation was the most destructive in US history. And they weren’t done.
Pippin, in the play by that name, wants to do something great with his life. He tries academia, sex, war, religion, and politics. All leave him empty.
In the end, Pippin is torn between two extremes of greatness: the greatness of self-immolation and the greatness of being a good husband and stepfather to a young boy.
I wanted magic shows and miraclesMirages to touchI wanted such a little thing from lifeI wanted so muchI never came close, my loveWe never came nearIt never was thereI think it was here—Finale, Pippin by Stephen Schwarz
When I reflect on that day in March 1981, before my generation even had a name, I feel like America has walked millions of miles in Pippin’s shoes. The Boomers beckon us to go out in one perfect flame that will absolve humanity, at least American humanity, of its many sins. Behind those Boomers stand these Gen Xers. We’re too chastened by life to tell the Boomers their wrong. They wouldn’t listen, anyway. But we’re also too wise to think that they’re right.
The Boomers wanted something perfect. Something shiny and pure. But, as Pippin tells us, there’s no color you can have on earth that won’t finally fade.
Maybe America isn’t perfect. But anyone who takes a look around the world will see that no one’s ever done better. No one’s even come close. But we nearly came near during that magic moment called the Eighties. Thank God that bullet missed its mark.
Maybe we can come a little closer this time. If Donald Trump, like Reagan, can survive the hatred and selfishness of that most destructive generation.
I’ve changed my mind on priority.
Instead of going to tax reform next, President Trump should work on that big-league infrastructure bill. Now. Fast.
President Trump needs a big win because power is in perception. He also needs to put Democrats in a bind. Plus, he needs to prove he can pass big legislation without all GOP factions on board.
The solution is infrastructure.
During the campaign, Trump spoke of a massive building project to rejuvenate our roads, modernize our airports, and more. Trump’s dream sounds more like a traditional Democrat plan than a Republican idea. (Unless you count Eisenhower and Reagan as Republicans.) Shifting to infrastructure now could more than overcome Trump’s defeat on health care.
Infrastructure Can Pass
Trump’s best known for building his way to billionaire status. That makes Trump seem like an expert on the subject. No one considered Trump an expert on government health care. And no one can deny that he’s an expert on building big, huge, beautiful things and running them great.
Byron York, one of my favorite columnists, makes a great point today in a column called “14 Lessons from the GOP Obamacare Debacle“:
Had Trump and the House GOP tackled, say, an infrastructure bill first, the story from Capitol Hill would have been a president and Congress giving things to the American people — surely a more popular legislative start to an already controversial presidency.
Even though infrastructure will have enemies in the GOP, Congressmen and Senators from Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania know that jobs matter. Democrat governors are openly salivating for the projects. So are a lot of Republican state legislatures, though less publicly.
Infrastructure projects promise both immediate, short-term jobs and longer term boosts to productivity and growth. Even some Freedom Caucus members from the rust belt will feel obliged to get on board this train.
But that’s not the best part.
Democrats Will Cross Over for Infrastructure
Trump’s relationships with labor unions are already high for a Republican president. Now, he needs to deliver something to that small but well-funded and activist constituency. He needs to deliver jobs.
Democrats know they can’t fight Trump on a bill that puts a lot of union members to work. Infrastructure will attract enough Democrat votes to neutralize the Freedom Caucus, which will probably oppose the legislation.
And that last point is perhaps the most important.
Courting Democrats Builds Leverage With Republicans
President Trump and Reince Priebus both said they are more willing to work with Democrats now than before the health care debacle. That’s smart negotiating. It’s leverage.
If you remember back to 2015, a lot of Republicans were complaining that many of Trump’s ideas sounded more like a Democrat. That means Trump would be completely consistent with himself if he sought more support from the other party.
Plus, in 2020, Trump won’t be judged by how happy he made 40 members of the Freedom Caucus. He’ll be judged by whether or not he made America great again in the eyes of voters. That’s just the way it is.
And the GOP’s majorities in Congress are so slim that Trump really needs some Democrats down the road. He could have used a dozen in the House on Friday. He will definitely some in the Senate for just about everything.
Again, hat tip to Byron York for reminding us:
Find more votes. Unless there is exceptional unity on an issue, the GOP doesn’t have enough votes to ignore Democrats and pass big legislation entirely on its own. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid (barely) passed Obamacare with 253 Democrats in the House and 60 in the Senate. Paul Ryan has 237 Republicans and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has 52. The GOP has virtually no room for error.
If every major bill relies on every Republican faction, Trump will accomplish nothing and Democrats will take the House in 2018. Believe me, Democrats will take the House in 2018 if Trump and the Republicans don’t get big things done. (I’m not alone on this. Ted Cruz agrees with me.)
As we saw last week, even after Mark Meadows and David Brat reach an agreement with House leadership and the White House, Meadows and Brat might not deliver the Freedom Caucus. There’s a chance that group will oppose all major legislation, including tax reform if it’s not to their liking. So Trump needs to attract some Democrats now, and infrastructure is the low-hanging fruit.
And timing is important on getting those Democrat cross-overs.
Commitment and Consistency
The sooner some Democrats hold their noses and vote for a Trump initiative, the more Trump can rely on those Democrats in the future. You know this because of the persuasion principle called “commitment and consistency.” The longer Democrats vote “no” on everything the president proposes, the harder it will be for them to get behind the president later.
Researchers find in numerous studies that getting people to take an easy, painless step now makes it more likely that they’ll take a harder, more painful step in the future. That’s because the brain is wired to display consistency with past commitments.
With the right messaging, those Democrats who support the bill will make a statement of commitment to jobs, growth, and making America great again. When it comes time to vote on tax reform, Trump just needs to wrap that legislation in the same commitment language.
A strong move on infrastructure would make a lot of people happy. Happy people see more positives than unhappy people. That makes it easier for people find positives in future, tougher legislation like tax reform.
If Trump makes a strong move on infrastructure in the next two weeks, his larger vision will pick up steam after the summer recess. And the warring factions in the GOP will have to consider this: are their interests better off if they negotiate with Trump or if the Democrats negotiate with Trimp?
Voters will judge Republicans on what they get done between now and the 2018 elections. So far, they’re putting up goose eggs. A big win on infrastructure will make a lot of people happy and forge new alliances that can make America great again.
This is for my conservative friends who are celebrating the healthcare bill’s demise. You’ll want to read it all.
Let’s begin with a little story about a crossing guard.
Imagine you are standing at a dangerous intersection now. Cars whizzing by nonstop in all 4 directions. You feel powerless and frustrated. There are no structural safeguards, no physical barriers, to keep us from getting hit. There is a crossing guard, though.
This crossing guard can get us safely through the intersection if the drivers respect his authority and power. Only if they stop when he raises his hand. That’s all he’s got.
Those drivers take cues from each other. When they see other drivers stop, they stop, too. But when they see one driver run through the crossing guard’s stop sign, they all feel more emboldened to do the same.
Pretty soon, the crossing guard is just another poor slob standing on the side of the road with the rest of us. And none of us can get where we want to go.
In a moment, I’ll talk about the healthcare bill. But, first, I want to talk about breathing.
You Think Like You Breathe
Notice your breath for a moment. Are you breathing fast and shallow or slow and deep? Breathing is so important. Breathing affects our hormones and hormones affect our thinking. We can change our thinking by changing our breathing, and we can change breathing by changing our thinking.
Slow deep breaths cause the body to produce less cortisol. Fast, shallow breathing produces more cortisol. Cortisol causes weight gain, hardening of the arteries, and defensive thinking. The part of the brain where memories and strategy rest, the hippocampus, shuts down when cortisol levels rise. We react to the immediate stimuli without using our most valuable and effective knowledge. We become like animals snared in a trap.
That cortisol hormone does a good job of keeping us alive when we’re in extreme danger. But it does a huge disservice when we’re not under physical attack. In real danger, we don’t want to think deep thoughts. We want to hide, overpower our attacker, or run away.
Now that you’re aware of your breathing, you realize you’re not in physical danger. A tweet can’t really endanger you personally, can it?
The big enemy we all oppose here is big government. And we all know the bill Ryan crafted in the dark did little in that regard. So there was good reason to oppose that bill.
But there is also something larger at play here, and if you breathe slow and deep, you might feel better about a lot of things today.
Actions Have Consequences We Sometimes Don’t Consider
Remember how you felt on November 9? And remember how you felt on January 20. Remember seeing all those violent protesters in Washington and other places? Which team were you on then? Maybe you didn’t say anything, but you were probably on Trump’s team. You were probably a little proud and amazed that he did it. Despite all the doubts and all the MSM 98% certainty that Hillary Clinton would choose Antonin Scalia’s replacement, you were happy to be on the winning team.
You might find yourself breathing even deeper now just thinking about that winning day. We tend to take a deep breath when we win.
That inauguration day was less than 70 days ago, so the memory is still fresh in your mind. Then, you probably expected all kinds of great things. With a Republican House, a Republican Senate, and a Republican President, we could do a lot to realize our dreams of smaller government and a growing economy. Who doesn’t want to make America great again?
And then some Congress people reverted to their old ways. Bills written by lobbyists. But that’s not the worst thing that could happen.
Now imagine this: imagine if Neil Gorsuch gets rejected by the Senate. Imagine one or two squishy Republican Senators like Susan Collins deciding Trump doesn’t have the political power anymore to hold her vote. Imagine if Mitch McConnell decides, after that healthcare vote, that it’s too risky to use the nuclear option on Gorsuch. There’s no going back from that option, really. The next Democrat president will have it, too, just as Trump’s cabinet benefits from the Democrats’ nuclear option.
Many people are saying the health care bill’s failure has greatly reduced Trump’s power. He might already be a lame duck, along with this Congress.
If you’re breathing faster and shallower now, just pay attention to your breathing. You will start to breathe slower and deeper in a moment. And that’s important because you don’t want a lot of cortisol clogging your arteries and shutting down your hippocampus.
Consequences We Might Own
Blocking the healthcare bill was a high stakes gamble. It took a lot of courage to fight against a president in his first 100 days. I can’t remember a newly inaugurated president getting hit so hard so early in his administration. Reagan suffered a few setbacks, but nothing like this.
It’s very likely now that Obamacare will live forever. At least as long as you and I are alive. It’s also possible that there will be no tax reform. Do you think 8 Democrats are so afraid of the White House that they’ll break with their party to vote for cloture on a tax reform package now? How do you see that happening?
It’s also possible that Gorsuch will be rejected, either because some squishy Republicans bail or because McConnell loses the nerve to change the filibuster rule. That means those Obama and Clinton judges in the appellate courts will decide the law until Trump finds a Supreme Court candidate so “moderate” that 8 Democrats will support them. How do you think such a justice would rule on abortion, on gun control, and on immigration?
And if this Congress and this Republican president do nothing major between now and 2018, how do you expect voters to keep this Congress in power? Trump won because he recognized that many people think America is in bad shape and going in the wrong direction. They expected Trump and Congress to change the direction of the country. If nothing gets done, won’t they try something new? Remember, most voters are not like you and me. Most voters don’t care about our principles. And in-fighting among Republicans only makes them care less about those principles. To the average American voter, we all sound strange and abstract. To the average voter, we care more about academic theories than we do about their lives. You can probably remember hearing this from people yourself if you think about it.
How’s your breath going? Just take a deep breath and feel your stomach swell out. You’ll want access to your memories soon.
Our Crossing Guard and Our Accountability
Now, remember that crossing guard? The Freedom Caucus and some conservative think tanks drove the first car through the stop sign. If the other drivers—McConnell, Collins, Schumer—see there’s no consequence to ignoring the crossing guard, we’ll all fail to get where we’re going.
Maybe we don’t like the way the crossing guard distributes the stopping and going. Maybe we don’t like the hand signals he uses. But, until Friday, he was at least trying to get a few of us to the other side. He was trying to get some of us a little closer to our destinations safely.
Maybe that crossing guard will get some of his power back. Because principles without power are just platitudes. I hope so. I know of all the great things the Heritage Foundation and the Freedom Caucus have done. But neither Heritage nor the Freedom Caucus can stop that traffic without a strong, respected crossing guard.
You, like me, believe in accountability. And you, like me, recognize that accountability begins with ourselves. When we choose a direction, we must accept the consequences of our choice. Conservatives may have laid the foundation for Democrats retaking Congress in 2018. If that happens, the Freedom Caucus, Heritage, and Club for Growth own at least 40 percent of the blame.
I now return you to your natural breathing.
Without power, principles are platitudes.
Consider this a favor to the Freedom Caucusers. Those folks can’t see past the end of their own principles.
Knowing the Freedom Caucus people pretty well, I know they’re very happy with Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court. I know they’d be very miserable if Gorsuch were rejected and Trump had to nominate someone who could win a few Democrat votes.
It’s all about power.
Why Gorsuch’s Chances Just Dropped
And, thanks to Speaker Ryan and the Freedom Caucus, Neil Gorsuch’s chances of confirmation just dropped below 50-50. That’s because the Senate’s two squishiest Republicans just saw there’s no consequence to bucking the President. And those Republicans who considered the nuclear option just learned there’s no benefit in sticking your neck out for the President.
Add it all up, and Paul Ryan and the Freedom Caucus have, for the time being, made Trump a one-term President and made this Congress a lame duck. All in less than 80 days. Good work, boys.
Expect to hear Mitch McConnell tamp down talk of the nuclear option. And don’t be surprised if you hear Susan Collins (and one or two others) equivocate on their support for Gorsuch. It’ll probably happen during the Sunday talk shows. Meanwhile, Chuck Schumer has a new, heavy bludgeon to keep Democrat Senators from voting “aye” on Gorsuch. Expect 48 Democrats to vote “no.”
Power shifted on Friday. Big league.
The GOP Is Dangerously Weak
Right now, Donald Trump is very weak. Paul Ryan is even weaker. But the Freedom Caucus is also weak. The Freedom Caucus remains an obstructive faction composed of people who show little or no understanding of power. (If you want to learn about power, read Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power. It’s a masterpiece.)
To get his power back, Trump needs to isolate, personalize, and destroy a member of the Freedom Caucus. This takedown needs to be obvious, transparent, and ruthless. Trump needs to show Republican Senators that bucking the White House on major issues is a career ender. And he needs to act with blinding speed.
Trump can borrow a tactic from the Tea Party. It was a tactic we borrowed from Saul Alinsky:
Rule 13: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.
Once Trump’s team has destroyed a Freedom Caucuser, a House faction needs to do the same to Paul Ryan. Trump should not attack Ryan directly, though. The chances of taking down a Speaker are slim. If the President tries and fails to take down Ryan, his presidency is over. Besides, in retrospect, people will credit Trump with the takedown if it’s successful. People are conditioned to think it’s the kind of thing Trump would do.
Within the House of Representatives, it doesn’t matter who goes after Ryan. Just about any faction of the House Republican caucus has good cause to take down Ryan. Once they see the Alinsky method used successfully against one of their own, they’ll know what to do.
And once those Republican Senators see Trump carve up both a Freedom Caucus member and the establishment Speaker, they will fall in line.
People follow power.
America’s Survival Hangs in the Balance
Look, if you read my blog, you know I helped, in tiny ways, the Freedom Caucus to come about. Almost every member of the Freedom Caucus got to Congress thanks to the Tea Party.
My complicity in creating the Freedom Caucus doesn’t mean I support their actions blindly. It means I accept accountability for the Freedom Caucus’s actions. The way some Freedom Caucus members handled the healthcare bill was embarrassingly childish. As J. Marsolo writes on American Thinker:
But it came down to about fifteen Republicans, mostly from the conservative Freedom Caucus, who refused to vote for the Ryan plan, as modified by Trump. It is difficult to understand why the Republicans could not compromise with the fifteen Freedom Caucus members to pass the bill. It is also difficult to understand why these fifteen did not compromise and refused to vote.
The key is to repeal Obamacare. Now they have their principles, and we have Obamacare.
Right now, I firmly believe the Freedom Caucus and Paul Ryan have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Their stupidity and childishness have damaged their President, possibly beyond repair. They have made a Republican Congress useless. Absent a dramatic move, Democrats will take control of the House of Representives and possibly the Senate on January 3, 2019. And Corey Booker will become the 46th President on January 20, 2021.
If that’s what the Freedom Caucus wants, I’m out.
Only Trump can save Republicans from themselves. Saving the Republican Party requires culling the herd. It’s time to put the fear of Trump back into Republican hearts.
Without power, principles are platitudes.
And there’s hope. This morning, President Trump tweeted this:
Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 26, 2017
Great minds think alike.