From my friends at Power Line Blog:
Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article about the feasibility of achieving 100 percent green energy.
The article notes:
High on the Left’s agenda is mandating 100% “green” generation of electricity–if not 100% of energy, period. I believe Joe Biden, among others, has now come out for 100% “green” energy, meaning wind and solar. But for now, let’s stick with energy generation. Would it be feasible to get 100% of our electricity from wind and solar?
Basic problems with these energy sources include inefficiency and intermittency. Wind turbines produce energy around 40% of the time, and solar panels do much worse than that in many parts of the country. So how does a utility ensure that the lights will go on, even at night when the wind isn’t blowing?
The liberals’ favorite answer is “batteries.” Produce electricity when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining, and store the energy in batteries for use when electricity is not being generated. Batteries exist, of course; we use them all the time. But where is the battery that can store the entire output of a power plant or a wind farm? That battery does not exist. Further, battery storage is ruinously expensive. The cost of storing the entire electricity needs of the U.S. for even a day would be prohibitive.
But there are also other problems in terms of the materials required.
The article notes:
But that isn’t the worst of it. Wind and solar are low-intensity energy sources. It takes many acres of wind turbines to produce, on a best-case scenario, what a single power plant can produce. And solar panels are even worse. A single 3 mw wind turbine uses 335 tons of steel, 4.7 tons of copper, 3 tons of aluminum, 2 tons of rare earth elements, and 1,200 tons (2.4 million pounds!) of concrete. If we take seriously the idea of getting all of our electricity from wind and solar, where will all of those materials come from?
The article links to another article at Center of the American Experiment that explains how much metal would required in just Minnesota to implement the Green New Deal. Please follow the links above to read both articles. They are enlightening.
The article at Power Line Blog concludes:
The Democrats’ “green” agenda does not represent a set of meaningful policy proposals. Taken seriously, and objectively evaluated, they immediately crumble. It is literally true that the Democrats could propose to harness the energy of unicorns running on treadmills, and it would make as much sense as reliance on wind, solar and batteries. “Green” energy is driven by two closely related things: 1) politics, and 2) enormous quantities of money being made by politically-connected wind and solar entrepreneurs.
We need to use energy wisely and we need to do what we can to prevent pollution. But we also need to remember that as cultures become more advanced, those advancements tend to result in cleaner air and cleaner water. Many of the rivers and lakes in America are cleaner than they were 100 years ago because of scientific advancements in sewage treatment and manufacturing. We are capable of protecting the environment and also enjoying the fruits of civilization.
Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog posted an article today about a recent directive from the City of Minneapolis that has since been modified. When I first saw the directive posted on Facebook, I wasn’t sure if it was real. Evidently it was.
Here is the original directive:
Yesterday the message was updated (per alphanewsmn)
Wow. Just wow.
Yesterday Just the News posted an article about the people who attended the funeral of Representative John Lewis.
The article reports:
Washington, D.C. attendees to the Atlanta funeral of the late Rep. John Lewis are exempt from following the District of Columbia’s strict quarantine rules after returning home from Georgia, the D.C. mayor’s office says.
Lewis, a longtime member of Congress and one of the major figures of the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, died on July 17 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. After lying in state at the United States Capitol, his body was returned to Atlanta for a funeral at that city’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church.
…The extraordinary exemption from Bowser’s quarantine orders is just one example of congressional members being released from strict coronavirus mitigation rules in the District of Columbia.
Earlier in July, Bowser declared that D.C. residents must wear masks while in public indoor spaces, as well as outdoors when likely to be around other people for “more than a fleeting time.”
Yet exempt from that order were “persons in the judicial or legislative branches of the District government while those persons are on duty,” as well as “any employees of the federal government while they are on duty.”
Though the mayor’s office is not requiring members of Congress to wear face coverings, this week Pelosi instituted a mask mandate for the House of Representatives, shortly after Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) tested positive for COVID-19.
Pelosi threatened to have congressional members and staff removed from the House if they don’t comply with the mandate, calling the failure to wear a mask “a serious breach of decorum.”
Who says there is not a ‘ruling class’ in America?
It gets worse. Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog posted the following today:
The double standards in public health guidelines, left-wing protest, and all the rest might be enough to make a reasonable observer wonder if the plague is all it’s cracked up to be. Has anyone other than Amber Athey gone in for a close-up and asked the obvious questions in connection with the funeral of civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis? Athey asks the pointed question: “Who deserves a funeral?” Answer: Not you or me or our loved ones, that much I can tell you. (Thanks to Spectator USA for making Athey’s column freely accessible at our request.)
Maybe we need to take a closer look at some of the decisions being made ‘to protect our health.’
John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line Blog yesterday about one aspect of the latest draft of the Democrat Party platform. The article notes that the platform is largely an attack on white people. The platform mentions whites or whiteness 15 times, never in a positive light.
The article includes a quote from the platform:
Median incomes are lower and poverty rates are higher for Black Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and some Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, compared to median white households.
Well, the article includes a chart from the 2018 Census:
As you can see, the charge included in the draft of the Democrat Party platform is not true.
The article concludes:
The Democrats are right to focus on median income as a basic indicator of well-being, but they have to lie about the statistics. They can’t face the reality that America is a land of opportunity, and there is nothing standing in the way of people of any ethnicity succeeding in the most fundamental way: making money.
If the United States were really a white supremacist society, as the Democrats claim, the facts would be very different. Whites incomes would dwarf non-white incomes. That obviously is not the case, which demonstrates that America is not a racist or white supremacist society. The Democrats are wrong. It is hard to see why voters would entrust with power a party that falsely slanders its own country.
The platform is being put together with a purpose. After seeing the racism and the lies in the platform, I wonder what that purpose is.
Destruction of other people’s property is not constructive, whatever the cause. In recent weeks we have seen total insanity in terms of the destruction of our history. It really doesn’t accomplish much–it simply gives vandals a chance to vent their general anger. We all agree that the killing of George Floyd was awful. Most of us don’t agree with much of what happened next. Protest is legal. When the first brick is thrown or the first person attacked, it is no longer a protest.
John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line Blog today about some recent actions by the rioters that simply betray what they claim is their cause.
The article reports:
So much for the idea that “Confederate monuments” are under attack. Last night in San Francisco, left-wingers pulled down a statue of Ulysses Grant, the man who did more than anyone except Lincoln to preserve the Union and abolish slavery. Grant also, as President, did all he could to enforce Reconstruction and protect blacks in the South. He sent the military after the Ku Klux Klan in South Carolina, worked to ensure passage of the 15th Amendment, and signed the Civil Rights Act of 1875.
Of course, the Left knows little and cares less about any of this. Leftists hate the Union and hate men like Lincoln, Grant, Sherman and Sheridan for preserving it. Slavery is only a pretext. The United States and our constitutional democracy are the targets.
The article notes that Grant at one point was given a slave and was so against the idea of slavery that he freed the slave within a year. It seems as if Grant would be someone they would approve of. The fact that they tore his statue down gives weight to the fact that the riots have a deeper purpose than protesting racism.
The article concludes:
Every four years it is said that the current election is the most important one in our lifetimes. This time, it is actually true. Not a single Democratic Party official, to my knowledge, has condemned the anti-American madness that is sweeping across the nation. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are fully on board with the extremist elements in their party–I am starting to wonder whether there is any Democratic Party apart from the extremist elements–and the Democrats’ presidential nominee is a senile nonentity who, in office, would be controlled by the radicals. It is absolutely essential to our country’s future that Donald Trump be re-elected.
Jews have been called the ‘canary in the coal mine.’ For whatever reason, when governments allow or sponsor mistreatment of Jews, even worse things follow. John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line Blog yesterday that should give all of us pause. We are all aware of the rather unique actions of some governors and mayors who have decided that the coronavirus spreads very easily in rallies to protest business closures but does not spread at all in rallies to protest police. It’s a somewhat amazing double standard. Well, Mayor de Blasio in New York City has taken it one step further–hundreds protesting in the streets of the city without masks or social distancing is fine–little Jewish children playing in their neighborhood playground are a public health risk.
The article reports:
It has appeared throughout the Wuhan epidemic that
Warren Wilhelm Jr. Bill de Blasio is eager to crack down on Jewish funerals and other gatherings while turning a blind eye to much larger gatherings not involving Jews. He has now gone over the top, ordering the gate to a park frequented mostly by Jews welded shut, while encouraging massive Black Lives Matter demonstrations. Paul Watson reports:
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered gates at a park in a Jewish area welded shut to keep people out despite simultaneously approving numerous mass gatherings of BLM protesters.
“Bill de Blasio is Welding the gates at the biggest park in the Jewish community, (Borough Park, Brooklyn) So your child shouldn’t try to break in,” tweeted Joel Fischer. “While Hundreds of thousands of people gathered yesterday at Brooklyn Museum.”
...UPDATE: This tweet says that local Jews have cut the lock and opened the gates. Not sure how the lock relates to the welding that apparently was going on earlier. I report, you decide.
This mayor, who is so concerned about little children playing in the park, is the same mayor who demanded that nursing homes admit people who had tested positive for the coronavirus. Hopefully this is his last term as mayor.
Yesterday Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line Blog about the recent virtual graduation at WSU Tech, an affiliate of Wichita State University. Ivanka Trump was scheduled to speak at the school’s virtual commencement.
The article reports:
Some students, faculty members, and alums objected.
WSU’s president responded as college presidents do. She decided that Ivanka would not speak at the virtual ceremony. Instead, her address would be available online.
Ivanka posted it on Twitter. She included a reference to the “cancel culture,” of which WSU’s actions are an example.
The article details the rest of the story:
The Kansas Board of Regents called an emergency meeting and went into “executive session.” After the meeting, the board issued a statement expressing support for free speech, diversity, and inclusion.
It decided not to fire WSU’s president, notwithstanding her obvious lack of commitment to these values. In turn, she issued a statement giving lip service to them.
I suspect that this “resolution” will satisfy Wichita State’s donors. Whether it should is another question.
At this point in the descent of nearly all American colleges and universities, I wonder why any conservative would donate a penny to almost any of these institutions. Such donations subsidize the indoctrination of students by those who dislike conservatives and despise our values. The effects of this leftist indoctrination are there for all to see. In my view, they are undermining America.
We conservatives should do our best to “defund” the nation’s colleges and universities until such time as they demonstrate a true commitment to free speech and viewpoint diversity, and cease the systematic leftist indoctrination of students.
Not only should conservatives ‘defund’ the colleges that are limiting free speech–we should refuse to send our children there.
Posted by my friends at Power Line Blog:
Yesterday Townhall posted an article about the continuing saga of Michael Flynn. This story should have been over years ago, but there are enough deep state operatives running around Washington to keep it alive. The real root of the case is that Michael Flynn is a very smart man who would have figured out the corruption in the Department of Justice in his first week on the job.
Townhall focused on the missing 302, the form that the agents interviewing General Flynn would have filled out at the time. The original 302 has somehow gone missing. The article includes a timeline of the case.
The article cites the latest developments in the case:
Sidney Powell is part of Flynn’s new and aggressive legal team, who said in October that new documents would show an FBI entrapment plot. Well, that day arrived for sure. Flynn has fought to withdraw his guilty plea since the beginning of this year. Right now, his legal team has filed a new writ of mandamus to get this case tossed, the judge removed, and the amicus brief motion dismissed as well. Yeah, I forgot to mention that Sullivan decided he was going to allow every anti-Trump legal team in the world to file amicus briefs. The good news is that the DC Court of Appeals had every right to dismiss the writ outright, no questions asked. Instead, they’ve ordered Sullivan to respond to Powell’s writ personally and defend his actions regarding this case. Legal observers noted this is a huge development and a sign that Flynn’s legal team already passed a huge hurdle. Not only that, but the DC Court gave this judge the most serious method regarding a response. It’s quite clear that the DC Court of Appeals is disturbed by Sullivan’s actions. We’ll circle back to that in a few days. It seems that at least part of the writ might be granted and bring Flynn closer to putting this nightmare behind him.
Yesterday Paul Mirengoff at Power Line Blog reported the following:
Judge Emmet Sullivan has hired Beth Wilkinson to represent him as he defends his unusual actions in the Michael Flynn case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Sullivan already asked for assistance from outside counsel when he appointed John Gleeson to argue against the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss the Flynn prosecution. That extraordinary move helped land Sullivan in the dock, so to speak, thus causing him to enlist Wilkinson as his lawyer.
A highly regarded litigator, Wilkinson represented top aides to Hillary Clinton in her email controversy. She also assisted Brett Kavanaugh when Christine Blasey Ford made her unsubstantiated allegations against him.
Sullivan’s retention of a hired gun litigator is the latest in a long line of bizarre developments in the Flynn case. The likelihood that, in the face of the D.C. Circuit’s order that he file a brief explaining himself, Sullivan would finally bring an end to the farce by granting the DOJ’s motion was never great. With Sullivan now lawyering up, it seems clear that the farce will drag on, with yet another bizarre twist, for a while longer.
It would be really interesting to know who is paying Judge Sullivan’s legal fees.
John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article yesterday about some of the things we have learned as information about spying on the Trump campaign and transition team is declassified. One thing that I don’t think has been widely reported is that Obama Treasury Department officials were on the list of those making unmasking requests relating to General Michael Flynn.
The article reports:
When Acting DNI Richard Grenell released the list of individuals who made unmasking requests relating to General Michael Flynn, one of the curious facts that stood out was the presence of a number of Obama Treasury Department officials on the list. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and no fewer than five of his subordinates–Deputy Secretary, Under Secretary, Acting Assistant Secretary, and so on, all political appointees in the Obama administration–all made unmasking requests with regard to conversations that turned out to involve General Flynn, on the same day: December 14, 2016. Lew made a second request on January 12, 2017.
The mystery of why President Obama’s Treasury Department was interested in electronic surveillance carried out for national security purposes may have been solved by this scoop in the Ohio Star: “The Treasury Department Spied on Flynn, Manafort, and the Trump Family, Says Whistleblower.”
President Barack Obama’s Treasury Department regularly surveilled retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn’s financial records and transactions beginning in December 2015 and well into 2017, before, during and after when he served at the White House as President Donald Trump’s National Security Director, a former senior Treasury Department official, and veteran of the intelligence community, told the Star Newspapers.
“I started seeing things that were not correct, so I did my own little investigation, because I wanted to make sure what I was seeing was correct” she said. “You never want to draw attention to something if there is not anything there.”
The whistleblower said she only saw metadata, that is names and dates when the general’s financial records were accessed. “I never saw what they saw.”
By March 2016, the whistleblower said she and a colleague, who was detailed to Treasury from the intelligence community, became convinced that the surveillance of Flynn was not tied to legitimate criminal or national security concerns, but was straight-up political surveillance among other illegal activity occurring at Treasury.
“When I showed it to her, what she said, ‘Oh, sh%t!’ and I knew right then and there that I was right – this was some shady stuff,” the whistleblower said.
“It wasn’t just him,” the whistleblower said. “They were targeting other U.S. citizens, as well.”
Only two names are listed in the whistleblower’s official paperwork, so the others must remain sealed, she said. The second name is Paul J. Manafort Jr., the one-time chairman of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
The Star’s source says that she filed a formal complaint with the Treasury Department’s Inspector General in March 2017, but nothing was done. There is much more at the link.
Please follow the link to read the entire article–it is fascinating.
The article concludes:
We don’t know what Flynn communication these Obama officials were poring over, but we do know that the Treasury Department was never able to make any kind of a case against Flynn for financial misdeeds of any kind. It bears remembering that Jacob Lew was an unusually political Secretary of the Treasury. He was Obama’s Chief of Staff before taking over the Treasury Department. We have written about him several times, e.g. here.
Evidence continues to grow that the corruption of the executive branch of the U.S. government by Barack Obama was comprehensive and perhaps unprecedented.
Consequences are justified and needed.
The media has become something of a joke during the past three years as they have been overtaken by Trump Derangement Syndrome. We have reached the point that whatever President Trump does is wrong and even when it turns out to be right, it is still wrong. On Friday, Paul Mirengoff at Power Line Blog posted an article that illustrates that point.
The article reports:
Yesterday, President Trump released federal guidelines regarding the reopening of the economy. Trump did not suggest a date by which the economy of the U.S. or of any state should be reopened. The guidelines call on state and local officials to make these decisions.
Trump was wise to say these decisions should be made locally. First, he lacks the power to make them. ( The Washington Post says that Trump’s “plan effectively reverses [his] claim that he had ‘total authority’ to declare the nation reopened.” But Trump hasn’t agreed that he lacks this power. He’s merely declining to attempt to exercise it.)
Second, in theory state and local officials are better able than the feds to decide when and how to reopen things in their jurisdiction. I say “in theory,” because some state and local officials, despite their closeness to the situation, have made highly questionable decisions.
However, Trump deals with governors on something like a daily basis. He has said that the vast majority of governors, whether Democrat or Republican, are doing a good job. If Trump is sincere, and he probably is, then it makes sense for him to defer to governors.
Finally, Trump’s deference makes political sense. If things go horribly wrong in a state, whether in terms of public health or the economy, its governor will have to take the blame. Trump can always say the governor made the wrong call.
After insisting that governors should be making these calls, and accusing Trump of playing “king” for denying their power to make them, the president’s critics are now accusing him of passing the buck. The Post asserts that “Trump’s the-buck-stops-with-the-states posture is largely designed to shield himself from blame should there be new outbreaks or for other problems. . .”
So when President Trump is taking charge, he is acting like a king. When President Trump appropriately delegates authority, he is passing the buck. So is there anything he could do that the press would approve of? Probably not, so he is better off simply following his instincts as a businessman and doing what he thinks is right.
The article concludes:
New York governor Andrew Cuomo has matched Trump’s media critics in this regard. He says Trump is “passing the buck without passing the bucks.” “Don’t ask the states to do this without the funding,” Cuomo moaned.
Cuomo, though, led the charge to brand Trump a king for claiming the power to make reopening decisions for states. Is Cuomo now saying that, absent the funding he desires, he doesn’t want to make such decisions?
Trump’s power (or lack thereof) to make reopening decisions isn’t contingent on federal funding decisions. If Cuomo doesn’t get the funding he wants, it’s still his call on when to reopen. If things go badly, he can blame the feds for not giving New York money. Voters can decide whether he made the right call under the circumstances.
As for Trump, I think he made the right call by deferring to state and local officials. As for his guidelines, they seem sensible, but I haven’t analyzed them carefully.
We are about to find out who the competent governors are in America!
Yesterday John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line Blog that included some good news about the coronavirus. Generally speaking it seems that a lot more people have had the virus without knowing it, and thus the death rate is much lower than originally thought. Americans are also in the early process of creating ‘herd immunity,’ which should prevent the overwhelming numbers of serious cases originally predicted.
The article includes the following graph:
As you can see, we are on the downside of the bell curve. It should be noted that the number of deaths from the coronavirus is a lagging indicator and may increase in the coming two weeks before going down.
The article reports:
…there is growing evidence that many more Americans have had COVID-19 than has generally been thought. Reuters reports that of the sailors on board the COVID-stricken aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, 60% of those who tested positive for the virus were asymptomatic. This is a higher percentage than was previously estimated by Dr. Fauci, 25%-50%. The Reuters reporter doesn’t seem to understand that this is good news, for two reasons.
First, it means that the fatality rate for COVID-19 is lower than most have believed. I think the balance of evidence so far is that the Wuhan virus is somewhat more lethal than the usual seasonal flu, but of the same order of magnitude. It is possible, however, that it may prove to be no worse, statistically, than the average flu.
Second, it means that the U.S. is closer to achieving herd immunity than previously believed. This ABC News story is to the same effect:
The first large-scale community test of 3,300 people in Santa Clara County found that 2.5 to 4.2% of those tested were positive for antibodies — a number suggesting a far higher past infection rate than the official count.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that we are still a long way from the levels that confer herd immunity.
The article concludes:
Currently, global COVID deaths are just under 30% of the average for a seasonal flu bug, per the WHO. Those numbers are likely wrong, because China and Iran have almost certainly underreported their fatalities. If we assume that China’s true fatality number is ten times what it tells the WHO, and Iran’s is three times, then total global fatalities from COVID-19 would be 41% of an average flu season, so far.
For the U.S., according to CDC, the COVID-19 deaths to date equal 53% of the deaths from seasonal flu two yeas ago.
COVID-19 is a disease, and there nothing good to be said about diseases. But today’s news is generally positive.
One of the reasons I don’t trust the Chinese numbers of people who died from the coronavirus is an article in The Epoch Times on March 22, 2020, that reported the following:
The number of Chinese cellphone users dropped by 21 million in the past three months, Beijing authorities announced on March 19. Deaths due to the CCP virus may have contributed to the high number of account closings.
That’s an awful lot of people who suddenly decided they didn’t need their cell phones.
I think we all admire people who are able to turn a difficult situation into something enjoyable. The good news story of the week illustrates that principle.
Yesterday Steven Hayward posted an article at Power Line Blog that illustrates one aspect of the coronavirus lock-down that most of us had not considered.
The article reports:
But no, by far the the best stand-up-and-cheer-for-‘Murica story this week is “Team Allegedly Sets New ‘Cannonball Run’ Record on Empty Highways During Coronavirus Lockdown.” Now that’s making the best of the bad situation, American-style! Me, I’m getting three weeks to the gallon on my car right now, and so admire and envy the lust for speed on the open road.
But it sets me to wondering whether the American economy will put the pedal to the metal when the lockdown ends, such that we’ll experience an economic Cannonball Run. We’re in uncharted territory, but unfortunately I wouldn’t bet big on a big boom coming out the other side.
Let’s consider one tiny bit of microeconomic data, and one bit of lagging macroeconomic data, that ought to make us worry. The microeconomic data is my own monthly credit card statement. For the first time in my life, I’m looking forward to getting my monthly credit card statement later this month. I’ve been too busy to check online, but I expect I’ll have a credit balance for the first time ever, on account of all the plane fights and hotel rooms I’ve had canceled and refunded over the last month, on top of the restaurant meals I’m not having and other retail purchases. I’m not even buying many books at the moment, since Amazon and other online sellers are delaying book shipments in favor of more urgent items (though for me, what could be more urgent than another book?).
Unfortunately the article ends on a discouraging note:
The point is, even if 80 percent of the pre-crisis economy comes back by mid-summer, you’re still looking at a major recession, if not a near depression. Mauldin, by the way, has been predicting for the last couple years that a recession would see the federal budget deficit soar to $2 trillion. Now that would be regarded as “the good old days.” This year’s federal budget deficit is more likely to be over $4 trillion. And that may be optimistic.
I am hoping he is wrong. What we may see is a slingshot effect–people who have been holding on to their money because of uncertainty may feel comfortable spending some of what they have been holding on to. There will also be the desire to get out of the house–go anywhere! The American economy is consumer driven. If the consumers come out of hiding when the lock-down ends, I believe the economy will recover by the fall. I am also hopeful that various areas of the economy will begin to open up in the very near future. A lot of what has gone on under this pandemic is illegal under the U.S. Constitution. The thing I fear more than an economic downturn is the precedents that are being set that may pave the way for limiting the God-given rights of Americans.
From my friends at Power Line Blog (you might have to be a certain age to get this):
The Epoch Times posted an article yesterday about the report of the Justice Department Inspector General. The report found that the FBI failed to document facts correctly in 29 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications that were reviewed. A rational person would take that as an indication that all was not well at the FBI and that Americans were being unlawfully surveilled. However, the mainstream media did not necessarily see it that way.
Eli Lake posted the following comments at Bloomberg News:
In the twisted politics of the Trump Era, some of bureau’s defenders might actually view this report as good news: It shows that the investigation of the Trump campaign was not necessarily politically motivated. The bureau made the same kinds of mistakes with suspects who were not connected to the Trump campaign.
That’s hardly reassuring — and the malpractice that the report uncovers is a much larger problem than the FBI and its defenders may wish to admit. So far, the response to Horowitz’s December report has been a series of administrative reforms, such as a requirement that FBI field offices preserve their “Woods files” and a mandate for new FISA training for FBI lawyers and agents. That’s all well and good. But one need not go back to the bad old days of J. Edgar Hoover to see that the bureau has been careless in its monitoring of U.S. citizens.
The Woods procedures were issued in 2001 after Congress obtained a memo from the FBI’s counterterrorism division detailing surveillance abuse in the late 1990s. One target’s cell phone remained tapped after he gave it up and the number was reassigned to a different person. Another FBI field office videotaped a meeting, despite a clear prohibition on that technique in its FISA warrant. In 2003, an interim report from the Senate Judiciary Committee concluded that the 2001 memo showed “the FBI was experiencing more systemic problems related to the implementation of FISA orders” than a problem with the surveillance law itself.
Very little has changed in the intervening 17 years. That’s why it’s foolish to expect new and better procedures will work this time. A better approach would be an aggressive policy to prosecute FBI agents and lawyers who submit falsehoods to the surveillance court. The best way to prevent future violations is to severely punish those who commit them in the present.
Scott Johnson posted an article today at Power Line Blog that included the following quote (follow the link to the article for the audio of the answer to the question):
The New York Times is illustrative of “the twisted politics of the Trump era.” Daniel Chaitin covers the Times angle in his Examiner article “‘Biased and out of control’: Devin Nunes rips New York Times reporting on FISA memo.” Chaitin reports on Rep. Devin Nunes’s interview with Larry O’Connor:
Radio host Larry O’Connor read a passage from the [Times’s] report [on the Horowitz memo] to Nunes during the Examining Politics podcast on Tuesday. It said DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report “helps the FBI politically because it undercuts the narrative among President Trump and his supporters that the bureau cut corners to surveil the adviser, Carter Page, as part of a politically motivated conspiracy.”
“So, the good news for the FBI is that they trampled on people’s rights all over the place, not just people who worked with Donald Trump’s campaign,” O’Connor said. “Is that the takeaway we should have here congressman?”
I agree with Eli Lake–severe punishment for those guilty of illegal spying on American citizens is the only way to prevent future abuse by the FBI.