A Dumpster Full of Grease Fire

I read the released FISA memo last Friday night, and since then have been mulling over how bright-yellow-gaudy-outrageous the whole thing is. And by outrageous, I mean horrific from the outset, and getting worse with each passing day. And by worse, I mean more yellow. Right now it is like a bushel basket full of jaundiced canaries. It is like that headache that Wodehouse described once, the one that started at the ankles and got worse going up. So this is not a dumpster fire. This is not a grease fire. This is a dumpster-full-of-grease-fire.

For the remainder of this rant, I would request that my readers not attempt to interrupt me with any words or gestures calculated to soothe. This is no time for sootheries. And don’t tell me I am using too many metaphors. My metaphors have all joined hands and are full of strange oaths. They are dancing around in a circle with a dangerous kind of gleam in their eyes.

Allow me to attempt my part in explaining the level of corruption involved in all of this. The issue is not what was done in private by various officials. There have always been dirty deeds done in secret. Politics have always been dirty, and it have always been this dirty. For those who are shocked, shocked, that this could possibly have happened, somebody needs to get them their hospitality basket and say, “Welcome to earth, kid.”

The terrifying issue is what is being done, now, on a massive scale, by respectable people, in public, right out in front of everybody. The issue is not that there was a cancer deep in the innards of the Republic. That happens from time to time. The true measure of our corruption is how the establishment johnnies are reacting now that the corruption has been made known. Every large nation has always had people doing things in back rooms that were better left undone. The problem, the crisis, is that massive numbers of people, well placed and hell-bent on brazening it out, are trying to shrug the whole thing off.

We all can understand how a person could think himself healthy and yet still have some blotches on his liver. You can’t see your own liver, and one makes these mistakes. This is why we are all encouraged to have periodic physicals. But what would you make of a person whose liver cancer spread all through his body, such that his skin was now covered with blisters and pustules, and he just laughed airily, and said that it was just a little sun tan?

So sure, there is the initial problem, the corruption, the conspiracy, which is bad enough, but old hat. But when it is uncovered, and the massive mainstream denial kicks in—that’s when we should start to worry. And not only has the denial kicked in, but anybody who does not share knowingly in their denials is automatically a red state tin foil hatter. If you think this is Worse than Watergate—and it is worse than Watergate, by a factor of at least ten—then you, my friend, must be worse than Watergate.

So what I find hard to handle is being patted on the head by insiders telling me I am over-reacting. And by insiders I mean denizens of the deep state. I use the phrase deep state here because I understand that the descriptor is now offensive to denizens of the deep state. Anything that irritates those boys is treasure in heaven.

I find it especially thick when the people who are telling me that this very real conspiracy is no cause for alarm are the very same people who say that a very non-existent conspiracy should have us all whipped up like a meringue. Donald Trump is supposed to have been festooned with Russians, who ought to have been discovered by this point, and they would have been discovered too, had that discovery not placed them in places inconvenient to the Prevailing Narrative, and by places inconvenient I mean the higher echelons of Hillary’s campaign. You want Russians? I can find you some Russians . . .

Look. Our apparatus of secret courts and intelligence agencies were corrupted to be used in a political campaign for political purposes. They were used in this way clean contrary to all law and custom, not to mention honor, and flat contradictory to all the most solemn assurances that the deep staters have ever offered us, hands over their little beef jerky hearts, and eyes welling with tears of solemn and patriotic sincerity.

But there is no bedrock underneath all of this. It is dirt all the way down.

This is just one step away from using the military in order to sway a political campaign. The only difference between using the intelligence agencies for political purposes and the military for political purposes is the factor of secrecy v. openness. But now—now that this whole tawdry thing has been dumped out on the table in front of us—those who would scoff at it as though it were that famous “nothingburger” are in effect telling us how they would speak and act if there were to be open coercive military pressure placed on our elections. They would object or applaud based on whether it furthered or hindered their political objectives and designs.

They have no commitment whatever to any process that allows them to be defeated fair and square. Their faction losing is illegitimate, by definition. A non-starter. Legitimacy is defined as their faction on top. If fair elections result in losses for them, then they are unfair. If unfair elections result in positive outcomes for them, well, then, the people have spoken. They are hostile to the very concept of the rule of law.

Some have been at pains to assure us that these FISA issues are not related at all to Section 702 of the act that Congress renewed just weeks before this memo dropped. But how is it possible for these things not to be intimately related? Given the hard partisan responses during the run-up to the memo’s release, and the hard partisan (and completely contradictory) response to the release of the memo after the fact, what makes us think there wouldn’t be an identical hard partisan response with any other abuse in any other area, a violation of any other section of the law, or corruption of any other agency?

Remember when release of the memo would endanger us all by revealing Sources and Methods utilized by the Steely Eyed Law Enforcement Defenders of the Republic? Good time, good times. And then, days later, when the memo was released, which I dutifully read, it turns out the only sources and methods which were exposed were the bedwetting tactics of the Left. On the up side, it is about time those sources and methods were exposed, and the sheets changed.

If Hillary Clinton had figured out some way to weaponize Section 702 for use on her political opponents, what exactly about the current controversy would reassure us? What excuses being made now would not be made then? What partisan hacks talking on camera now would not be talking on camera then? What attempts to paper over the whole thing would not be happening in exactly the same ways? Are there any of her minions defending her now who would stop, run their finger around their collar, and say, “No, no, I can’t do that. Can’t go that far. Section 702 is a sacred trust.”

This corruption is public. The corruption in out in the open. The corruption is something everyone can see. The pustules, if I may be so bold as to observe, are oozing and more than a little bit green. The issue is not the shaped and shaky FISA warrants, but rather the shrugging and shuffling afterwards. And so anybody who entrusts their data, their secrets, their phone history, their financial records, their congressional district, or their own personal safety, to these people, is out of their mind.

Here’s the deal. I don’t think we ought to even to be debating whether or not our surveillance state should be able to retain or acquire any powers unless and until we have had a series of successful prosecutions, and a bunch of the people involved in this are in jail. When they are all in jail, then it would be appropriate for us to debate whether or not our government should be entrusted with these sorts of powers. I would still be against it, but I wouldn’t be offended that we were debating it.

But if you want to protect us from the terrorists, those famous haters-of-our-freedoms across the globe, but you cannot be troubled to protect us from the haters-of-our-freedoms in the higher tiers of the Justice Department and the FBI, then you will excuse me for a moment as I hold my tummy and laugh. Are you guys serious?