The week in review

Posted By | June 3, 2019 7:04 am

The Right Stuff – By Donald Holman

Once again, it has been one of those weeks full of major developments. Let’s look at them together.

Just to get a few of the smaller items checked off the list:

Julian Assange has been visited by medical professionals who gave us the following: Melzer visited him, on May 9, accompanied by two medical professionals specializing in the impact of torture on detainees. He “shows all the signs that are typical for person who has prolonged exposure to psychological torture, including extreme stress, chronic anxiety and intense psychological trauma,” Melzer said. “You can see that that’s someone who lives in constant panic. Basically, it’s a bit like imagine being in a nightmare and never waking up.”

Why should we care? Because remember Julian is the one man that can inform us as to the source of those leaks from the ranks of the Democrats, in 2016. He has held out strongly that they did not come from Russia. Now wouldn’t it be interesting if he were telling the truth? And will he live to tell us all what happened?

The justice department is beginning an investigation of Google under the U.S. antitrust laws. This investigation may well involve other large tech companies such as Facebook and Twitter before it is over. Let us hope these companies will at a minimum be forced to become more transparent in the ways they track us and less prone to act as sensors to conservative speech. This investigation should be quite different from the one under the Obama administration when Google practically had an office in the west wing. I will keep an eye on it.

Turning to larger concerns, there was a great interview on CBS of our attorney general, and I am amazed how little of it is being shared on the mass media market…well…maybe not amazed. I am going to share some selected quotes with you and would advise you to do a search for the interview and read it – it is quite amazing. It is a rare thing to have an American official speak so plainly and candidly about facts and acts in their public life. I am going to excerpt a few exchanges between Barr and Jan Crawford, the CBS interviewer, that speak to the “timeline.” You may have heard timeline concerns mentioned before in this column but just in passing. Here is what many of us (including me) believe happened. We believe the justice department was spying on the Trump campaign prior to when they admit they were. We believe, in fact, the excuse about Russian collusion was an after-thought. It occurred to the brains running this operation that, were Clinton to lose and this little spying operation of theirs was exposed, they would need a cover. Hence the concerns over the “timeline” as expressed in this interview:

JAN CRAWFORD: Was it a timeline?

WILLIAM BARR: There was a timeline, there’s some timeline–

JAN CRAWFORD: I mean, there’s a concern that this may have happened before we realized that the investigation was initiated in July. I mean, what…

WILLIAM BARR: I don’t want to get into those details at this point. I would just say that, you know…

JAN CRAWFORD: But you said there’s a timeline concern.

WILLIAM BARR: Well I won’t, I won’t confirm that, but I’ll just say that, you know, there’s some questions that I think have to be answered, and I have a basis for feeling there has to be a review of this.

And then this:

WILLIAM BARR: Yes but you know, when you’re dealing with official government contact, intent is frequently a murky issue. I’m not suggesting that people did what they did necessarily because of conscious, nefarious motives. Sometimes people can convince themselves that what they’re doing is in the higher interest, the better good. They don’t realize that what they’re doing is really antithetical to the democratic system that we have. They start viewing themselves as the guardians of the people that are more informed and insensitive than everybody else. They can – in their own mind, they can have those kinds of motives. And sometimes they can look at evidence and facts through a biased prism that they themselves don’t realize.

WILLIAM BARR: That something objectively as applied as a neutral principle across the board really you know, shouldn’t be the standard used in the case but because they have a particular bias they don’t see that. So that’s why procedures and standards are important and review afterward is an important way of making sure that government power is being conscientiously and properly applied. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there are people – you know, that people have crossed lines have done so with corrupt intent or anything like that.

JAN CRAWFORD: But it seems like you have a concern that there may have been a bias by top officials in the FBI as they looked at whether to launch and conduct this investigation?

WILLIAM BARR: Well it’s hard to read some of the texts with and not feel that there was gross bias at work and they’re appalling. And if the shoe were on the other foot we could be hearing a lot about it. If those kinds of discussions were held you know when Obama first ran for office, people talking about Obama in those tones and suggesting that “Oh that he might be a Manchurian candidate for Islam or something like that.” You know some wild accusations like that and you had that kind of discussion back and forth, you don’t think we would be hearing a lot more about it?

This is what is so refreshing about out new AG. Barr speaks and looks at things through a common-sense lens, and he is not afraid to hold people accountable. But on the other hand, look at the paragraphs above where he talks about motivation. There he is saying that these people did not necessarily want to subvert democracy; they simply felt they knew better than us lowly voters. Their motivation is only significant to my mind when one is deciding whether to charge them with a crime or slap them on the wrist. I find that part of the interview a little worrisome because I believe many of these people need to do some time if we are to have a deterrent going forward.

Sadly, I am out of space for this week. Until next week then!

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