Saturday, August 24, 2019

Ball Of Collusion: It's About Hubris

Commenter Unknown could have done much worse than to present the Andy McCarthy "theory of the case," the big picture narrative, this morning. According to this version of events, the Ball of Collusion tied both the Hillary pay to play scheme--a witches' brew of connections between the Clinton Foundation and Hillary's gig as Secretary of State, facilitated and concealed by a private communications network--to the War on Trump. The Mueller Inquisition was the attempt to cover up when the Russia Hoax failed to prevent Trump from becoming President.

There's a lot to recommend this theory. I won't argue against it in detail, although I'm skeptical, except to note that the Patrick Byrne story works against it. It seems to me that the use of Byrne to target Rubio and Cruz as well as Trump would always have been a long shot in terms of "Russian collusion," although perhaps useful for gathering political intelligence. It certainly played no discernable role in the Russia Hoax before Trump's election. I still incline toward the view that Trump himself was an existential threat to the Washington Establishment in ways that Rubio and Cruz were not, and that the over-the-top lawlessness of the Russia Hoax was therefore more than just an attempt to protect and continue the Clinton pay-to-play scheme. Any GOP administration would have been a potential threat to Hillary's operation, but Trump was something way out of the ordinary and so all the stops were pulled out to destroy him. Whatever. You can call my view "weak linkage" and McCarthy's "strong linkage."

For your reading pleasure this morning I've excerpted some of John Kass' review of "Ball of Collusion", in which that theory is presented: Andrew McCarthy’s book ‘Ball of Collusion’ thoughtfully connects the dots on Clinton and Obama. Even if you don't fully agree, it's worth the read:

Thoughtful people know that for all our grand monuments carved of granite and marble, a republic is an extremely fragile thing. Especially now, as a cynical establishment seeks restoration, as establishment Kemalist bureaucrats run for cover, and as the divisions in our nation widen and public discourse sounds like rival packs of angry barking dogs. 
And in a few weeks, sooner perhaps, the dogs will begin barking even louder upon release of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on his investigation of possible Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuses by the Justice Department and the FBI as they looked into Donald Trump and Russia.
It all starts with hubris. 

And what America is about, in part, he said, is this: 
“A self-determining people that has a government that is supposed to serve the people,” he said. 
“The turnaround here is that high officials think they are a government that happens to have people associated with it, but they are the ones who know what’s best for the country.” 
The real collusion was that the Obama administration put the awesome powers of the federal government — law enforcement and intelligence — at the service of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. 
The scheme to get Clinton elected had two parts, McCarthy argues. The first was to shield former Secretary of State Clinton from disqualifying and potentially criminal allegations that she violated federal law by having a private unsecured email server and later destroyed the evidence. 
And, as an insurance policy, the other part of the scheme was to portray Trump as an agent of Russia’s Vladimir Putin. 
“They (FBI, DOJ, CIA bosses) did not believe that Donald Trump was fit to be president,” McCarthy told me. “Now there are a lot of things you can say about Donald Trump, good and bad. But ultimately, the way this system works, is that we have elections. We don’t have the FBI and CIA as a check on the public.
“What happened here is that they decided their judgment about who was fit to be president was superior to the public’s, and they weren’t going to take the public’s determination for an answer,” McCarthy said. 

Note well what McCarthy implies here (above). The intel bosses had a much bigger problem with Trump than with any other potential GOP candidate. The full out war on Hillary's behalf might therefore never have been launched but for Trump's candidacy. In effect, therefore, what McCarthy says here argues against "strong linkage."

And when Trump won, and they were going to be found out, they panicked.

Again, I disagree. What we've seen--and McCarthy describes the famous WH meeting of the coup plot leaders in detail--doesn't look so much like panic as a coolly determined decision that this election of 2016 simply wouldn't stand. The Deep State was going to war, and they had every reason to believe that between themselves, the Dems, and the GOPe Never Trumpers, they would win. Probably quickly.

The framers truly understood human nature, the temptations that come with holding awesome federal power, and the problems with factions and blind partisanship. 
They understood what would happen if a people lost faith in their institutions, if those institutions were shaped, in grotesque partisan fashion, to serve only the elite, now often called the best and the brightest.

For all my championing of Patrick Deneen, I do tend to agree with McCarthy here regarding the framers of the Constitution. I think that, by and large, they had a fairly realistic understanding of human nature. They were faced with the daunting task of setting up a government from scratch in an environment that wasn't conducive to the older forms and they did their best to fulfill that task fairly shrewdly.


  1. I wonder how much of the Deep State shenanigans we're now viewing with the hindsight of partial knowledge, e.g. that Trump represented some special threat. At no point after Trump secured the Republican nomination was he seriously considered a threat to Hillary's victory--at least according to the polling. (I'll use Nate Silver's 538 shop as a proxy for the polling. Please correct me if I'm off here.) Trump's win was a surprise to both sides.

    My point--The Deep State wanted to assure a Clinton victory by any means necessary. They were in the tank for her from the get-go. And then things played out as they did. Running informants at low level campaign volunteers. Using oppo research. Coordinating with third parties. Gathering intel. Obtaining FISA warrants--I'll assume Page wasn't the only warrant. Leaking to the media, who had/have an overt partisan interest. Lots of thumbs on the scale.

    Everyone was working toward the same goal, but no one person was orchestrating the effort. In the current parlance, it's called "crowd sourcing." Like birds who fly in formation and move together by instinct and not by following a lead.

    1. Yes, something in that. We know these people network like crazy, in ways that conservative government employees don't. So that network would naturally work instinctively.

      One thing I said a long time ago ...

      A person whose judgment I normally take seriously told me back in 2017 or so, that the Dems realized early on from their internal polling that Trump was a serious threat to win. I have no proof that that's true, but OTOH, it does explain some of what would be otherwise difficult to understand. It seems clear that they just couldn't have thought that the election was in the bag for Hillary.

    2. I knew Trump would win, and I'm no genius.

      I grew up in Pittsburgh. I left in 1981 as the steel mills were closing down.
      35 years later Trump ran for President, running as Main St versus Wall St. I knew he would win. He had to.

      Election night, the initial "news" reports were bad for Trump, as I knew they'd be. After a few shots of vodka I relaxed and enjoyed one heck of an evening.

    3. I felt the same way. I just couldn't believe the country was so far gone as to vote to continue the craziness and hatefulness.

    4. Nixon in '72 had a 49-state landslide over McGovern. There was no way he was going to lose. Yet, campaign minions orchestrated an attempt to bug DNC HQ.

      (As I've heard it, to discover what they knew about John Dean patronizing hookers--to find out what dirt the DNC had uncovered about their opposition.)

      People in thrall of power often behave irrationally, and in inexplicable ways.

      As to internal polling indicating Trump was a threat, we know that confirmation bias has a powerful influence on human behavior. We absorb what confirms our views; we dismiss that which we find disagreeable. And we're ready to see it in others, but slow to accept that it exists in ourselves.

  2. Clearly Trump represents a threat to their way of life, their gravy train, and their corruption. He further threatens them by being impervious to their criticism, and by masterfully getting them to expose their true selves. The more he does it, the more crazed they get. There have been periods where the crazies have quieted down (that's certainly been the case on my Facebook feed). But then you will witness an eruption of hysterical "sky is falling" tweets by the likes of Rob Reiner, Michael Moore, Cher, etc.

    1. When you get down to it, money runs politics, and Trump has shown he's not in thrall to Wall St., to the moneyed interests of either party. He's therefore a dangerous man, a destabilizing influence from the the standpoint of the established interests.

  3. I don't know whether the Byrne allegations are true or not, but I have always assumed that the FBI and CIA were already running lures at the assumed front-runners for the GOP nomination, especially that of Marco Rubio. I think the remnants of those attempts can be uncovered by a serious investigator with the power of a grand jury. I don't know whether or not Barr and Durham are looking into this- I would hope so, but I don't know.

    As for what was thought of Trump's chances of winning, I think it pretty damned clear that the conventional wisdom was that he was a sure loser, and I don't think the Democrats had special insight polling showing otherwise, else Clinton would have spent the last weeks of the campaign in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. I think the Democrats were caught flat-footed by the Trump's win just like most Republicans were.

    In the end, I think it was always Clinton's and Obama's worry (right from the Summer of 2015) that someone would release the e-mails that Clinton had bleachbitted- I think they were always operating on the assumption that the private server had been penetrated by multiple adversaries- so the Russia hoax was designed as a defensive position to tar the Republican candidate with as many Russian connections as possible in the event that the e-mails were leaked out. I suspect that when Wikileaks first announced that some Democrat e-mails would be released in July of 2016, the operation went into overdrive. When it turned out the e-mails were just the Podesta and DNC crap, they probably breathed a sigh of relief and perhaps waited and waited for the release of the private server e-mails to launch the public attack. I think a lot of what you saw in October of 2016- the FISA warrant and the multiple attempts to plant the Steele Dossier in the media were the reaction to the belief that the Wiener laptop contained exactly those feared e-mails and that someone was about to unload them in the last week of October.

    1. This will interest you--the Russia Hoax clearly began as early as September, 2015. I'm pretty sure I wrote about this previously, but it's worth reading about it some more. What I take from this is the Russian angle on Trump was there from the get go--and was always baloney:

      Larry C Johnson: The FBI Tried and Failed to Entrap Donald Trump Using his Business Associate, Felix Sater. I'm not dogmatic about this, but I tend to believe this wasn't simply a defensive operation.