Bookworm Beat 8/16/2018 — the Brennan edition and open thread

Trump revoked John Brennan’s security clearance and Proggies went insane — and of course, they went stupid, too. All that and more in this Bookworm Beat.

Bookworm Beat logo Brennan editionApparently “honesty” and “integrity” have a different meaning inside the beltway. I was one of the millions who appreciated Admiral McRaven’s commencement speech at the University of Texas a few years ago, when he spoke about life lessons he’d picked up as a SEAL. Indeed, ever since then, I make my bed every morning. As he said, you’ll start your day with an accomplishment and, if it’s been a bad day, you come home to a nicely made bed. Those are two solid reasons to make a bed.

Just because I like McRaven’s homespun military wisdom, though, doesn’t mean I have to like his politics. Nor do I have to like the loopy Leftist logic that he reveals thanks to his politics. For example, in a much touted op-ed in the WaPo, McRaven actually called John Brennan “a man of unparalleled integrity, whose honesty and character have never been in question….”

It just goes to show that, in both Dem world and D.C. world, “integrity,” “honesty,” and “character” have different meanings than they do in the real world. After all, in the real world, no one would say it shows honesty, integrity, or character to lie repeatedly to Congress, but that’s what Brennan did.

By the way, I’m not even talking about the most recent go-round of lies. I’m talking about the lies in 2014, when Brennan was still living in the wonders of Obama-world. Back then, the lies were wrapped around the illegal activity of the CIA spying on our own government:

As reports emerged Thursday that an internal investigation by the Central Intelligence Agency’s inspector general found that the CIA “improperly” spied on US Senate staffers when researching the CIA’s dark history of torture, it was hard to conclude anything but the obvious: John Brennan blatantly lied to the American public. Again.

“The facts will come out,” Brennan told NBC News in March after Senator Dianne Feinstein issued a blistering condemnation of the CIA on the Senate floor, accusing his agency of hacking into the computers used by her intelligence committee’s staffers. “Let me assure you the CIA was in no way spying on [the committee] or the Senate,” he said.

After the CIA inspector general’s report completely contradicted Brennan’s statements, it now appears Brennan was forced to privately apologize to intelligence committee chairs in a “tense” meeting earlier this week.

Brennan was so bad that, back in 2014, the same WaPo that now has McRaven leaping to Brennan’s defense because Trump yanked Brennan’s security clearance, had its own opinions editor (not a guest) demand that Obama fire Brennan:

An apology and an internal review board might suffice if this were Brennan or intelligence leaders’ first offense, but the track record is far from spotless. In 2011, Brennan claimed that dozens of U.S. drone strikes on overseas targets had not killed a single civilian. This remarkable success rate was not only disputed at the time by news reports — even supporters of the drone program called it “absurd” — but as the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the New York Times both reported later, President Obama received reports from the very beginning of his presidency about drone strikes killing numerous civilians. As Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser at the time, Brennan would have received these reports as well, so either Brennan knew that his claim was a lie, or he is secretly deaf. Similarly, Brennan denied snooping on Senate computers six weeks after Feinstein first made the accusation to the CIA in private, which means either that he was lying, or he had ignored a serious charge against his agency for six weeks, then spouted off about it without any real knowledge — hardly the behavior expected of an agency director.

And last year, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied under oath to Congress when he told Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and the Senate Intelligence Committee that the National Security Agency did not collect any kind of data on millions of Americans, a claim later disproved by documents leaked by former NSA employee Edward Snowden. Despite Clapper receiving criticism from both sides of the aisle, the damage to Clapper’s and the White House’s credibility on intelligence and civil liberties issues and, well, the fact that lying to Congress is a crime (though one that’s difficult to prosecute), Obama has not disciplined Clapper in any way.

Brennan is a bad apple and has always been a bad apple, going back to his communist days. Once upon a time, the Left understood this, but Leftists are so infected with Trump Derangement Syndrome that, as many have said, if Trump figured out a way to cure cancer, the Leftists would demand he stop hurting cancer.

Oh, and to the extent McRaven, in the WaPo piece, asked to have his security clearance pulled too, I think Trump should oblige him. First, security clearance is a privilege, not a right, and one that operates to benefit the U.S., not the security holder. Which leads me to the second point, which is that McRaven has shown that his years at the Pentagon have warped his values, common sense, and ability to understand the common meaning of words. That’s not a good man to possess to valuable a privilege. Anyway who can look at the hysterical, dishonest Brennan and think he’s a safe man to trust with a security clearance has proven himself too lacking in sense to have his own clearance.

Incidentally, the current crop of lies against Trump don’t stop with denying that Brennan lies. Just in case you read the defense of Brennan that he was the point man on the bin Laden raid, he wasn’t:

If the Left says something, the rule isn’t “trust but verify.” It’s “don’t trust; verify everything.”

I’ll give the last word on the subject to Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), who issued a scathing indictment against Brennan and supporting Trump’s decision:

Elizabeth Warren doubles down on crony fascism. I’ve said repeatedly that the difference between communism and fascism, both of which are subsets of statist socialism, is that communism does away with private property while fascism does away with private control over private property. Property can still be “owned,” with individuals drawing profits, but the government calls the shots. Here in America, when big businesses voluntarily collaborates with government to destroy small businesses (which are less able to bear government regulations), I call it “crony fascism.”

Enter the profoundly stupid, greedy, power-crazed Elizabeth Warren:

Under Senator Warren’s proposal, no business with more than $1 billion in revenue would be permitted to legally operate without permission from the federal government. The federal government would then dictate to these businesses the composition of their boards, the details of internal corporate governance, compensation practices, personnel policies, and much more. Naturally, their political activities would be restricted, too. Senator Warren’s proposal entails the wholesale expropriation of private enterprise in the United States, and nothing less. It is unconstitutional, unethical, immoral, irresponsible, and — not to put too fine a point on it — utterly bonkers.

More than thirty years ago, I had the dubious pleasure of calling Warren “Professor Warren.” I disliked and distrusted her then and the years have only solidified those feelings.

Not all “oppressors” are created equal. The IRA was a terrorist organization, but that doesn’t do away with the fact that, for centuries, the British really did terrorize the Irish. I’m not just talking about the slaughters (let’s not even get into what Cromwell did to the Irish). I’m also talking about economic terrorism. Every time the Irish managed to get some economic enterprise going, the British made it illegal. In that context, Irish Republicanism made sense and their terrorism against civilians had a cruel logic because they lacked the ability to take on the British military directly.

The problem for the Irish today is that they now assume all terrorist groups must have at least a little virtue. That’s the only explanation I can come up with for their fanatic Hamas support. Joseph Puder details how Ireland has become one of the European countries most hostile to Israel.

If the Irish stop and think, they’d realize that just because a group is small and lacks the might to take on a large military, it doesn’t mean it’s virtuous. The Irish are backing misogynistic, homophobic, anti-Christian, anti-Western, genocidal Palestinian nuts against the only pluralist, free, liberal democracies in the whole God-forsaken, Allah-drenched Middle East. In other words, the Irish knee jerk impulses are stupid and downright evil.

If you pay for homeless, you’ll get homeless. Yesterday I read a marvelous article that Daniel Greenfield wrote talking about how homelessness is a big business for Democrat run shit-holes (my word, not his). And no, I don’t ordinarily use obscenity, but I’m being accurate here. My hometown of San Francisco is now the shittiest city in America, with its streets drowning in fecal matter. Greenfield starts with New York’s homeless industry:

New York City will be spending $2.06 billion on its Department of Homeless Services. There are 61,421 homeless people in the city which is spending $33,539 per homeless person.

That’s only a little short of the starting salary of an FDNY firefighter at $39,000.

More money will be spent on the homeless than on the firefighters who save New Yorkers from burning buildings. The FDNY will have to make do with $2.04 billion, and the health department with $1.6 billion.

That’s impressive for DHS, a department that was only created in 1993 by the disgraced Dinkins administration and is now burning through more cash than agencies fulfilling actual vital city functions.

Two years ago, DHS had over 2,600 employees. That’s 1 employee to every 23 homeless people. Meanwhile 234 New Yorkers get only 1 police officer to serve and protect them from criminals.

It’s the same for San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C, Portland, and Los Angeles, as Greenfield also details. He then draws the logical conclusion:

Social crises justify huge spending and expansions of the government. The homeless crisis is largely a problem in lefty cities where it’s heavily subsidized.

Federal HUD homeless grants hit $2 billion in 2018.

Homelessness statistics often come from the very agencies that are being glutted with cash to fight the problem. Worse still, many of the counts are being carried out by volunteers. Verification is chancy. Billions are being spent on a problem whose growth and scope is being charted by the self-interested.

The billions being poured into solving the problem are going everywhere but to the homeless.

In Los Angeles, the billions in tax hikes going to build homeless housing are being spent on units that cost an average of $479,000 per unit. At that rate, it would take $15 billion to house all the homeless.

That’s 150% of the entire budget. And by then the population would have doubled.

The building boom is going on even though Los Angeles County already has plenty of beds in shelters that aren’t being used. Anyone who travels downtown can see homeless encampments rising around homeless shelters. More than half of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) shelters aren’t filling their beds. The average utilization rate is 78%. The problem isn’t a shortage.

Homelessness is largely a mental health and drug abuse issue. The issue isn’t a lack of housing.

But that hasn’t stopped cities like Los Angeles and New York from spending billions on housing programs that aren’t addressing the core issue of homelessness. But they were never meant to.

Homelessness is a manufactured crisis that funnels money to special interests, building up a social welfare sector of the government, while subsidizing and fueling the scale and scope of the problem.

That was what I read yesterday. So what happens today? I read an article in the San Francisco Chronicle that describes the streets in terms Hieronymus Bosch would recognize and then demands . . . more government:

The escape room shares a large building between Sixth and Seventh streets with other businesses. The locked front door, which opens to the street, has a buzzer so employees can let customers inside, but others keep slipping in behind them.

Recently there was a knife fight, apparently over a drug deal gone bad, in the hallway. Sometimes every bathroom stall is occupied by transients or injection drug users, who regularly leave dirty needles and soiled clothing behind. There’s a stubborn urine stain on the carpet.

Outside on Stevenson Street, a tucked-away alley running alongside the building, injection drug users congregate, discarding dirty needles and trash.


In this insanely rich city with an annual budget of $11 billion, where is the money for more shelter beds, more sobering centers, more drug rehabilitation programs and far more treatment beds for the mentally ill?

The article’s author, Heather Knight, might want to brush up on Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.” If you want more homeless, give them more infrastructure at the expense of your taxpaying citizens.

“Get Trump” is the only value the Left has. I haven’t commented on the print media’s decision on Thursday to run anti-Trump editorials. The obvious point everyone made is that, to the extent Trump has been alleging that the media is colluding against him, this kind of proves it, right?

The other point is that there’s nothing special about this collusion. The reality since November 2016 is that the media runs anti-Trump editorials (and *ahem* news stories) every day.

The media has abandoned news entirely. In a sane environment, the media would report about domestic and foreign facts, leaving readers to draw their own conclusions about whether the president is serving this nation well. Instead, the media has become nothing more than a collective gossip column, endlessly retelling meaningless tidbits about “Trump did this” and “Trump said that.”

In that regard, the Rome (NY) Sentinel wrote a quite amazing editorial about the stupid and distasteful First Amendment theater in which the press engages. I urge you to read the whole thing, but I especially wanted to bring your attention to this language:

The media misdirect attention to the First Amendment rather than hold themselves accountable for reporting often wrong, misleading, or incomplete. They choose loaded words, add phrases, insert catty remarks, and bury ledes.

We know. We edit such copy every day. The president doesn’t “slap” on tariffs; he imposes them. He doesn’t “slash” budgets; he reduces them. We edit out Improvised Editorial Devices (IEDs) that have no place in journalism, like the clause “Ever the showman” designed to shape the mental battlefield. We rearrange copy to focus on what is significant, not salacious. We ignore petty subjects they favor and request coverage of significant ones they overlook.

A journalist is only as good as the last story written, and journalists should approach subjects with a full set of skills and little baggage. That’s hard to do when some are paid by news sources, fed rumors by unnamed sources, or personally involved with those about whom they report.

Quality news articles should be as accurate and complete as a nautical chart. To navigate into port, no sea captain would trust a chart that inserted non-existent shoals or omitted real ones.

Media that buy into this drama are greater fools than they take us to be. The problem grew epidemic as casualness marched though our institutions over the last decades. Schools, government, the press and other promote lack of accountability through complexity, centralization, double standards, and lack of sunshine.

True journalism is a dying art. Rome, NY might be its last bastion.

Journalists think their relationship with Trump is the story; they’re wrong. Part of the problem with the media’s abysmal reporting is that, while Americans want to read about the economy, and law and crime, and technology, and human interest, and international matters, reporters want to talk about themselves. They haven’t figured out it’s not news if we’re just invited to read their Middle School Diary: “Dear Diary, Donald Trump was mean to me today. I hate him. I’m going to make him suffer!” Not news. It’s just immature, self-centered whining.

Lee Smith points out something important, which is that the real news isn’t Trump’s verbal jabs at the media, jabs that are totally within Trump’s purview as a free citizen in our constitutional republic. The real story is that the media acted stupidly with the rise of the internet and is now at the mercy of Big Tech (which it stupidly cheers on):

But the fact that the same journalists were unable or unwilling to raise their voices in unison when the Obama administration put their colleagues under surveillance, and used the Espionage Act to prosecute sources, suggests that the issue isn’t Trump’s unique hostility toward the press.

Whether the media’s activist stance is good for journalism’s bottom line remains an open question. Probably not. And given the sinking fortunes of media giants like Conde Nast, the media’s financial situation appears hopeless.

Why, consider the Boston Globe. In 1992 the New York Times bought the Globe for $1.1 billion, the highest price ever paid for a newspaper. In 2013, the Times sold it for $70 million. That’s a 93 percent loss over 20 years. What happened?

Corporate mismanagement is partly to blame. With the rise of the internet, the Times spent nearly a decade incapable of deciding whether to charge for news or give it away for free. The hope was that digital advertising would eventually make up for the calamitous decline in print advertising. The result was that media companies, spearheaded by the industry-leading Times, devalued their product—information.

Worse was that when someone did figure out how to make money from media online, it wasn’t the trusted news sources, it was social media.

Newcomers like Facebook and Google had a huge advantage over the prestige press. Not only did they not have to pay their content providers, they were also exempt from press liabilities and responsibilities. Tech-optimists like Ron Wyden, then-congressman from Oregon and now senator, wrote it into the law.

Read the whole thing. It’s worth your time.

Did feminists get a policeman committed to life in jail for the crime of being . . . a man? Until I read the article in Townhall, I’d never heard of Officer Daniel Holtzclaw, an Oklahoma police officer convicted for having assaulted women while on the job. According to the Townhall article, which relies on Michelle Malkin’s meticulous research, feminist police officers, eventually joined by BLM activists, took a complete lack of evidence, puffed it up into smoke, and sent an honest man to prison.

If true, it’s a completely un-American travesty and nightmare ginned up by the evil anti-male, anti-police, anti-white (although Holtzclaw is part Asian) Left. You can learn more by reading the linked articles and you can check out the petition.

Does Trump have a plan for November? I hope this is true, but I’m not banking on it. I’m banking on you — and you and you and you — to get out and vote.

A movie about one of the worst American mass murderers comes to the screen. If one is being honest, no matter how one feels about abortion, the reality is that Kermit Gosnell had every hallmark of a serial killer. This was a man who ran a charnel house in which women died and in which he took a sick pleasure in personally severing the spines of fully formed babies . . . and then keeping their bodies as souvenirs. That’s not a medical procedure, that’s psychopathy.

Despite tremendous difficulty, committed conservatives in Hollywood have managed to bring a movie about Gosnell to fruition:

I’ve liked Dean Cain every since I watched Lois and Clark : The New Adventures of Superman on late night TV when my pregnancy and then a crying baby kept me up all night. I still like him.

When Chuck Schumer is right, he’s right, and here he nails it on immigration:

Today was #NationalTellAJokeDay. I liked this one:

And that’s all I’ve got for today.