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Francis Menton: What Are The Three Worst Things You Could Possibly Imagine The Federal Government Or President Ever Doing?

The recurring themes at this blog all concern one or another badly misguided government policy that ends up being counter-productive or even greatly destructive of the welfare of the people. Examples include: undermining a functioning energy system in a delusional attempt to control the weather; spending vast sums on “anti-poverty” programs that never reduce poverty even a little; or indoctrinating young children and university students with idiotic and failed Marxist dogma.

All of these themes (and many others that I have covered) are individually important, even very important, measured by potential harm to the well-being of the people. But, however bad government actions in each of these areas may have been, there are even worse things that the government and/or the President can do.

So let’s step back from the news of the day, and consider in the abstract what could be the very worst possible things that the federal government or the President might do. Granted, that category could include things highly unlikely to be tried, like commandeering the military to execute a coup installing the President as dictator, or having the military drop nuclear bombs on U.S. cities. So I’ll impose as a condition to today’s challenge that we limit ourselves to things that a President or bureaucracy might actually try. Still, to qualify for the category of “very worst,” the potential actions must go beyond things that merely immiserate and impoverish the people — which after all could be reversed by a subsequent Congress and President — and reach the level of undermining the entire basis for our republic.

With the stated limitations, here are the three worst possible things that I can think of that the government or President might try:

  • The forces of law enforcement and national security could be enlisted into the political process on behalf of one political party, to undermine the ability of any opposition ever to win an election.

  • The President and/or his family could take massive payments from major geopolitical adversary powers, thus essentially making the President a paid agent of the nation’s adversaries.

  • The President or members of the government could engage in explicit efforts to foment racial strife based on false accusations.

I solicit any ideas that readers may have for things that may be even worse than the ones I have enumerated. But these are the three worst that I can think of.

Oh, it seems that our government and/or President have engaged in, and likely are still engaging in, all three of these things.

Use of law enforcement and national security apparatus to take a partisan political role and undermine elections.

The Report of Special Counsel John Durham, released May 12, adds considerable additional detail to previously-known information about the efforts of law enforcement (mostly the FBI) and the national security apparatus to undermine the 2016 Trump campaign and subsequent presidency. In summary, the FBI opened an investigation of the Trump campaign on zero evidence (based only on unverified opposition material sourced from the Clinton campaign), then spied extensively on the Trump campaign, and also using frequent press leaks for partisan purposes. From the Executive Summary of the Durham Report:

[T]he record in this matter reflects that upon receipt of unevaluated intelligence information from Australia, the FBI swiftly opened the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. . . . The matter was opened as a full investigation without ever having spoken to the persons who provided the information. Further, the FBI did so without (i) any significant review of its own intelligence databases, (ii) collection and examination of any relevant intelligence from other U.S. intelligence entities, (iii) interviews ofwitnesses essential to understand the raw information it had received or (iv) using any ofthe standard analytical tools typically employed by the FBI in evaluating raw intelligence.

The Durham Report contrasts the treatment of the Trump campaign with the corresponding simultaneous treatment of the investigation of hundreds of millions of dollars of foreign payments to Hillary Clinton and the “Clinton Foundation”:

[In] the Clinton Foundation matter, both senior FBI and [Justice] Department officials placed restrictions on how those matters were to be handled such that essentially no investigative activities occurred for months leading up to the election. These examples are also markedly different from the FBI’ s actions with respect to other highly significant intelligence it received from a trusted foreign source pointing to a Clinton campaign plan to vilify Trump by tying him to Vladimir Putin so as to divert attention from her own concerns relating to her use of a private email server. Unlike the FBI’s opening of a full investigation of unknown members of the Trump campaign based on raw, uncorroborated information, in this separate matter involving a purported Clinton campaign plan, the FBI never opened any type of inquiry, issued any taskings, employed any analytical personnel, or produced any analytical products in connection with the information.

For some insight into what passes for thinking at the upper reaches of the FBI hierarchy, I recommend this post that I wrote back in February 2019 on the occasion of the release of a book by Andrew McCabe, who was the number 2 guy at the Bureau during the tenure of the disgraced James Comey, and then became Acting Director when Comey was fired in May 2017. McCabe’s book was excerpted in The Atlantic, and I included some choice quotes from the book in that post. Here’s one:

The president [Trump] steps over bright ethical and moral lines wherever he encounters them. Everyone in America saw it when he fired my boss [Comey]. . . . On Wednesday, May 10, 2017, my first full day on the job as acting director of the FBI, I sat down with senior staff involved in the Russia case—the investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. As the meeting began, my secretary relayed a message that the White House was calling. The president himself was on the line. I had spoken with him the night before, in the Oval Office, when he told me he had fired James Comey. A call like this was highly unusual. Presidents do not, typically, call FBI directors. There should be no direct contact between the president and the director, except for national-security purposes. The reason is simple. Investigations and prosecutions need to be pursued without a hint of suspicion that someone who wields power has put a thumb on the scale. . . . The Russia team was in my office.

In McCabe’s brain, Trump somehow crossed a “bright ethical and moral line” by calling the Acting Director of the FBI — his constitutional subordinate whom he had an absolute right to call. And what particularly offended McCabe was that Trump called even as the “Russia team” was in his office — a team that we now learn was then improperly investigating the President (and regularly leaking tidbits to the New York Times and Washington Post) on no basis whatsoever.

Now, has the mindset at the FBI changed in any way in the intervening years? Or do the current occupants of high Bureau positions continue to believe in their own holy self-righteousness in protecting the country from having the voters give power to a member of the other political party? You only have to look at things like the difference between the treatment of Trump versus Biden on classified documents, or the protection given Hunter Biden as to his laptop or his tax issues, or many other such examples, to know the answer.

The President and/or his family taking massive payments from foreign powers, including major geopolitical adversaries.

I just had a post on the Corruption Of President Biden a few days ago on May 12, and I won’t reiterate that here. I’ll just note that of some $10 million now fully documented as having flowed from foreign powers to members of the Biden family during and after the time when Joe Biden was Vice President, some $3 million came from China, and another $3 million from the Burisma company. Burisma is a Ukrainian company, but is headed by a Putin crony named Mykola Zlochevsky, and obtained its Ukrainian gas concessions during the Russia-allied Ukrainian government that preceded the current government.

With the extensive and detailed financial records showing massive payments to Biden family members, the principal defense offered by the Democrat media has now shifted to the theme that no one has explicitly shown that Joe himself got the money. For example, the May 10 article in the New York Times has the headline “House Republican Report Finds No Evidence of Wrongdoing by President Biden.” Excerpt:

After four months of investigation, House Republicans who promised to use their new majority to unearth evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden acknowledged on Wednesday that they had yet to uncover incriminating material about him, despite their frequent insinuations that he and his family have been involved in criminal conduct and corruption.

I don’t think I’m the only one who finds completely preposterous the notion that foreign powers transfer sums aggregating in the ten figures to multiple family members of high-ranking U.S. politicians just to be nice.

Fomenting racial strife based on false accusations

And there was President Biden on Saturday (May 13) giving the commencement address at Howard University. And, of course, using the occasion to do his best to foment some racial resentment and strife:

[E]nough of us have the guts and the hearts to stand up . . . against the poison of white supremacy, as I did in my Inaugural Address — to single it out as the most dangerous terrorist threat to our homeland is white supremacy.

Sure Joe.

At the moment my usual topics, like waste of trillions of taxpayer dollars or intentional destruction by the government of the prosperity of the people, are seeming relatively insignificant by comparison.

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