PowerLine -> Pictures + Golden showers dossier was commissioned by the general counsel of the Clinton presidential campaign

Powerline John Hinderaker at HoaxAndChange

PowerLine -> Pictures + Golden showers dossier was commissioned by the general counsel of the Clinton presidential campaign

Powerline image at HoaxAndChange

Powerline image at HoaxAndChange

Daily Digest


Investigate this (3)

Posted: 28 Oct 2017 05:59 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)

Now we know that the Trump Dossier was not just a product funded by Democrats, but was commissioned by the general counsel of the Clinton presidential campaign. After the Trump campaign collusion hysteria fomented by Democrats and their media friends roughly since the election, we learn that Russian disinformation (as it seems to me) disseminated by the friends of Vladimir Putin (i.e., the Russian officials identified by alphabetic descriptors in the dossier) has come to us courtesy of Hillary Clinton herself. Yet John Podesta, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and campaign general counsel Marc Elias have all denied knowledge, either now or in the past. Whole lotta lyin’ goin’ on. As for Hillary herself, well, “she may or may not have been aware.”

But there is more. Rowan Scarborough has reported that the first of the dossier memos was circulated last year in late June. The first dossier memo is dated June 20, 2016, and cites Sources A (“a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure”) and B (“a former top-level intelligence officer still active in the Kremlin”). Sources A and B tout the collusion scenario. Sources A and B were not out to help Donald Trump, were they? They were out to throw sand in our gears or to help Hillary Clinton.

Former CIA Director John Brennan was a key player in the collusion scenario, but he has left much to the implication in his congressional testimony. Brennan has acknowledged, however, that “that there were efforts made by the [FBI] to try to understand whether or not any of the information in that [dossier] was valid.”

Following up on his comments yesterday, our friend with two decades of experience in counterintelligence as an FBI Special Agent writes to add “some additional context that may be-be useful.” He writes:

Why was the “dossier” ultimately so important for the anti-Trump conspiracy (if you think of a better way of putting it, let me know)? The reason, I think, is that the use of standard political smears against Trump had proven ineffective. Therefore it became necessary to take it all a step further and to attempt to make some superficially credible allegations of action against the national interest (again, the vague allegations of Mafia ties had fallen flat).

We know that that effort began sometime in the late Spring or early Summer of 2016 because an application was made to the FISC in June/July. That application mentioned Trump by name–and was rejected. Why FISA? Because a Title III “wiretap” would have required an actual investigation based on a violation of a real US criminal law and a quite high and specific standard in the application for a court order.

Why, you might ask, was that application even made? Why not rely on the flow of info coming from NSA, which notoriously scoops up virtually all electronic communications? The answer is that Trump and all those close to him were US Persons (USPERs). The NSA targets foreign powers and individuals. If those foreign powers and individuals of concern are in contact with USPERs and, in the judgment of NSA, US counterintelligence (basically, FBI) should know about those USPERs, then NSA informs the FBI.

In my own career, outside FBI headquarters, I only saw a handful of NSA referrals of that sort. They were mostly general in nature. They could perhaps be used to initiate a Preliminary Inquiry (PI) to gain a bit more insight into the nature of the relationship between the USPER and the foreign power or individual — if we judged that advisable based on our own knowledge and experience — meaning that typically the NSA info would not rise to the level needed in order to say that there was “reason to believe” (i.e., for practical purposes, probable cause) that the USPER was an actual agent of a foreign power. That means no Full Investigation (FI), therefore no FISA.

But in the anti-Trump conspiracy that’s exactly what was needed: FISA coverage, “wiretaps.” There was no time to do the painstaking research on Trump and his associates–they needed FISA and they needed it NOW. They’d already been turned down at least once. The NSA info was essentially useless because what they really wanted was to get conversations between Trump and his associates here in the US–all USPERs–not international conversations (those were either lacking or harmless). Yes, NSA probably scoops up internal US communications of USPERs, too, but to use it without an FI and without a FISA order would be illegal. Therefore, the “dossier.”

For the conspirators, the significance of the “dossier” was that it provided supposed “reason to believe” that Trump or those close to him were “agents of a foreign power,” subject to blackmail or pressure by a foreign power, already cooperating with a foreign power. The ability to claim that most of this “information” was coming via friendly foreign intel services with contacts in Russia added a bit of verisimilitude.

A “dossier” that could provide that sort of “reason to believe” would justify an FI and then FISA coverage. And therefore access to Trump campaign-related communications (the extent would be dependent on the nature of the FISA order, who were the USPERs listed as targets–Page for sure, Flynn maybe, etc.). NB: Although they were claiming Trump collusion with Russia, what they were really targeting was campaign communications. By claiming that key people were foreign agents they could collect ALL their domestic communications with anybody.

This is why I believe that the dossier took on added importance after the initial denial of a FISA order. We know or think we do, that the FBI wanted Steele to do additional research. The focus of that research, however, would have to be to establish “reason to believe” that Trump or persons close to his campaign were “agents of a foreign power.” Only that would get them the FISA coverage they wanted. Lacking those, FISA was the quick route, but it required “reason to believe” that Trump or persons close to his campaign were “agents of a foreign power.” Voila, the “dossier” as it apparently featured in the successful FISA application in October, the height of the campaign. And then it came to be used in the attempt to nullify the election (the attempted “coup”?).

  

The Week in Pictures: Happy Halloween Edition

Posted: 28 Oct 2017 04:48 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)

Has there ever been a “scandal” that has backfired as bad as Trump Russiagate? Suddenly I think the Trumpsters who think he should fire special counsel Muller probably now want him to stay on the job until Hillary dons some pumpkin-colored apparel. Trump must be having a great weekend. Speaking of costumes, since I’m speaking next Tuesday night at Bowdoin College, I was planning to dress up as the most frightening thing imaginable on a college campus today—a white male conservative—but instead, I think I’ll go in costume as a Hollywood producer. Or maybe Tom Steyer looking into a mirror.

Speaking of scary costume choices. . .

   

    

 

Headlines of the week:

My doctor says I should eat more fish, so . . .


And finally. . . another helping of IDF veteran Orin Julie:

  

Study claims high school students are stressed by Trump

Posted: 27 Oct 2017 06:54 PM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)

Student anxiety and hostility at public high schools have worsened since Donald Trump became president, according to a study. More than half of the 1,535 teachers who responded to a survey claimed to see more students than ever with “high levels of stress and anxiety” between January and May of this year.

The study was conducted by UCLA’s director of the Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access. The title of the institute suggests to me that the study was looking for the result is found.

Indeed, there are some obvious problems with the study. First, more than 10,000 teachers were invited to respond. Only about 15 percent did. One suspects that the teachers who responded were among the most likely to tell the researchers that student stress is rising under Trump. One suspects that many of these teachers if asked, would report that mildew in their classroom has increased since Trump became president.

Second, there’s little doubt that leftists, including those who teach high school, are more stressed under Trump than they were under Obama, as they should be. Thus, it’s quite possible that the teachers who told the researchers their students have become more stressed are projecting they stress they feel onto students — a far less politically engaged cohort.

Third, I can’t tell from the report on the study how widespread this supposed new increase in stress is. If only illegal immigrants (about whom more later) are feeling heightened stress, that would be consistent with the study’s conclusion that more students than ever before feel high levels of stress and anxiety.

Fourth, if high schools are feeling more stress since Trump became president, how much of this is due to efforts by the left, including leftist teachers, to make them fearful? If students keep hearing people, including their teachers, say that a dangerous racist now occupies the White House, they may well feel extra stress. But unless the president actually is a dangerous racist, blame for any increased stress resides with those, including teachers, who peddle this claim.

Teachers reported to UCLA that student learning is adversely affected by the stress Trump supposedly has brought on. If this is true, and I very much doubt it is except in rare cases, how pathetic! If American high school students are too soft to learn in class because the president makes them nervous, our country doesn’t have much of a future. Meanwhile, perhaps the teachers who are freaking out should consider lowering the temperature so their snowflake students can learn.

The study purports to tell us not just about student stress, but also, inevitably, about the environment for minority students under Trump. It finds that a growing number of schools, especially predominantly white ones, have become (in the words of the Washington Post story about the study) “hostile environments for racial and religious minorities and other vulnerable groups.”

What exactly is meant by “hostile environment” in this context, I cannot tell. But the problems with the study that I have discussed above — e.g., self-selection and bias — apply to this finding.

The study found that the policy issue of most concern to students is immigration, including the possible deportation of illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. One teacher/coach reported that some of his student-athletes live in “survival mode,” never knowing if they will be deported.

The facts on the ground do not support such hysteria. However, it’s easy to believe the so-called Dreamers are more stressed under the Trump administration than they were in the last few years of the Obama administration following the DACA executive order. But during most of the Obama years and the years before that, Dreamers were subject to deportation. Were they not highly stressed then?

Whatever stress students may be feeling is due to the demise of the DACA executive order flows from their illegal status and the unwillingness of Congress, so far, to change that status. Under our Constitution, the president lacks the power to make this change. We can’t ignore the Constitution just to spare Dreamers and their friends from stress.

Moreover, the “stress” argument shows why it is important to couple any relief for Dreamers with stepped up enforcement of our immigration laws. We may not want Dreamers to feel stress, but neither, as a general matter, should we want illegal immigrants and those thinking about coming here illegally to feel sanguine.

Relief for Dreamers might well encourage a wave of illegal immigration by parents hoping to see their children one day receive the same kind of relief. That relief should not be granted in the first instance without new measures to combat illegal immigration.

  

Green Weenies All Around

Posted: 27 Oct 2017 05:31 PM PDT

(Steven Hayward)

So you know how environmentalists like to tell us endlessly to “reduce our carbon footprint” and such? And how you’ve long suspected that you don’t even have to be a Hollywood star (like Leo di Caprio) to be a hypocrite about it? Now we have science to prove the matter.

Biological Conservation has an article just out that reports the results of a survey of consumption patterns of conservationists, economists, and medics. Don’t ask me why they chose economists and medics—I’m just here to report. Anyway, enjoy the results:

The environmental footprints of conservationists, economists and medics compared

Andrew Balmford, LizzyCole, ChrisSandbrook, BrendanFisher

Abstract

Many conservationists undertake environmentally harmful activities in their private lives such as flying and eating meat, while calling for people as a whole to reduce such behaviors. To quantify the extent of our hypocrisy and put our actions into context, we conducted a questionnaire-based survey of 300 conservationists and compared their personal (rather than professional) behavior, across 10 domains, with that of 207 economists and 227 medics. We also explored two related issues: the role of environmental knowledge in promoting pro-environmental behavior, and the extent to which different elements of people’s footprint co-vary across behavioral domains. The conservationists we sampled have a slightly lower overall environmental footprint than economists or medics, but this varies across behaviors. Conservationists take fewer personal flights, do more to lower domestic energy use, recycle more, and eat less meat – but don’t differ in how they travel to work, and own more pets than do economists or medics. Interestingly, conservationists also score no better than economists on environmental knowledge and knowledge of pro-environmental actions. Overall footprint scores are higher for males, US nationals, economists, and people with higher degrees and larger incomes, but (as has been reported in other studies) are unrelated to environmental knowledge. Last, we found different elements of individuals’ footprints are generally not intercorrelated, and show divergent demographic patterns. These findings suggest three conclusions. First, lowering people’s footprints may be most effectively achieved via tailored interventions targeting higher-impact behaviors (such as meat consumption, flying and family size). Second, as in health matters, education about environmental issues or pro-environmental actions may have little impact on behavior. Last, while conservationists perform better on certain measures than other groups, we could (and we would argue, must) do far more to reduce our footprint.

That last bit—that hectoring people endlessly about their “footprint” does little to change behavior—totally misses the point. Hectoring people is the whole point. I think we need some social science research on the environmental footprint of virtue signaling.

  

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