Rip’s Newsletter January 2023

The January 6th  “Insurrection”

By: Victor Davis Hanson, January 12, 2023 | First appeared on Review Journal

Here is what we do not understand about the January 6th Committee—if it truly was intended to appear as a disinterested investigatory body.

  1. Why for the first time in memory did Speaker Pelosi forbid the House Minority Leader’s pro forma nominees to a special House committee? Fairly or not, the result was that the only two Republicans who did serve shared two embarrassing requisites: they would likely be out of office, and not by their own volition, in January 2023; and two, they despised Donald Trump and voted for the second Trump impeachment.

So, what were the Democrats afraid of to make them break all precedents with past hearings? Pelosi, in other words, ensured that there would be no cross-examinations of any witnesses, no disagreements about witness lists, no contrasting interviews to the media about the work of the committee, and no diversity in staff interrogatories.

  1. Why did the Committee not investigate whether the FBI had numerous agents and informants present on January 6th? Michael Rosenberg, the New York Times assigned a reporter to the demonstration, claimed they were ubiquitous. Were they?
  2. Why did the Committee not review the circumstances in detail of the deaths of Officer Brian Sicknick and the fatal shooting of Ashli Babbitt? These were the two most high-profile and controversial deaths on January 6th, and Babbitt’s perhaps was the only violent death at the direct hand of a known other.
  3. Why did the Committee not investigate and release all the communications between the House leadership and the Capitol police to learn why the Capitol was virtually open and unsecured on a day that everyone knew would be the scene of mass protests there?
  4. Why did the Committee not investigate all incendiary speech by major elected officials at iconic Washington buildings, deemed inflammatory and allegedly resulting in violence at a subsequent time? For example, in 2020 then Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer screamed to a large demonstration massed at the doors of the Supreme Court:

“I want to tell you Gorsuch, I want to tell you Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”

“You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price”? “Hit you”? Did Trump say to supporting demonstrators on January 6th anything like, “Pelosi and Biden, you released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”

Had Trump said that, would he now be in jail?

Note that not too long after Schumer’s threats, protestors appeared to swarm the homes of conservative Supreme Court justices, including a would-be assassin.

  1. Why did the Committee not investigate all organized rioting by activist groups that also damaged federal properties, such as in 2020 a federal courthouse that was torched and attempts to storm the White House grounds to endanger a president?
  2. Why did the Committee not release all the full transcripts of all those it interrogated, and why not all the arrangements and conditions with witnesses it finalized to make them appear?

Destroying American Democracy – An Inside Job

By: Pete Hoekstra, Gatestone Institute, January 15, 2023 | First appeared on Gatestone Institute

Over the last few years, there has been much written about the destruction of American democracy. Frequently the threat has been of alleged interference in U.S. elections by Russia, China, or other state actors. Government agencies, by the name of election integrity, were assigned to identify and disrupt these foreign intrusions. As more and more information is revealed about these agencies, it seems that America’s Intelligence Community participated in these activities domestically, and in a way that poses a grave threat to both election integrity and American democracy.

Just last week it was revealed that the FBI again withheld pertinent information from the American public, for the past two months, until after the November 8, 2022 federal election. As with the Bureau’s reported cover-up of evidence influence-peddling reportedly found on Hunter Biden’s laptop, agents knew, since November 2, 2022, about at least some of the three sets of classified material that illegally found their way into the garage and library of President Joe Biden and into the Penn Biden Center think tank at the University of Pennsylvania — to which anonymous members of the Chinese Communist Party have donated $54.6 million.

Their existence only became known this week, after the newly elected Republican-majority House of Representatives announced that it would hold hearings on “how the [Justice] department handled investigations into classified materials found at former President Donald Trump’s Florida home and those found at President Joe Biden’s office in a Washington think tank bearing his name and his Delaware home…”

In addition, the recent release of the “Twitter Files” has raised at least two major concerns regarding actions by the Intelligence Community. The first is that the wall of separation between the Intelligence Community and the U.S. media has not only sprung a leak, it has totally collapsed. The report that officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) met weekly with Twitter executives to coordinate information is totally inappropriate. Would officials from the ODNI review, affirm, or label certain sets of information as false? When ODNI was created, no one intended its officials to have a role in these types of discussions.

It also appears that intelligence officials in recent years have politically weaponized intelligence. The combination of a politically weaponized Intelligence Community, operating hand-in-hand with organizations that are the main gateways for information to millions of Americans, poses a serious threat to American democracy and the integrity of our elections.

Let us just briefly look at the steep slope of lying, deceit, and corruption that has seeped into the leadership of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

First, there are not enough words to praise our Intelligence Community and the men and women who risk their lives to keep America safe. These are the rank-and-file professionals that form the core of the Intelligence Community. Most are dedicated to the mission of gathering the necessary information to protect our nation. Their leaders have a responsibility to serve these individuals. Too often, however, as the current array of whistleblowers indicates, those leaders have let these individuals down.

Imagine their reaction in 2013 when, in response to a question from Senator Ron Wyden to then-Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper about whether the National Security Agency (NSA) collects “any type of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans,”Clapper answered, “No sir, not wittingly.” Clapper, who had been given the question the previous day, was asked after the hearing if he wanted to amend the answer and declined. It was shortly thereafter that a massive NSA program containing millions of pieces of Americans’ data was revealed. Clapper was caught in a huge lie — to U.S. Senator Wyden and the American people.

On January 12, 2017, CNN reported that President-elect Donald Trump had been briefed by DNI Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and NSA Director Michael Rogers. The topic: “Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Donald Trump.” It was intended to inform the President-elect that these allegations “are circulating among intelligence agencies, senior members of Congress, and other government officials in Washington.” The briefing also touched on other major allegations they claimed were “circulating.”

Having this false information — some of which the FBI actually altered — in the public domain was evidently intended to damage Trump. The Russian “hoax” allegations would haunt and damage the Trump presidency for almost two years. Clapper himself stated:

“I express my profound dismay at the leaks that have been appearing in the press … they are extremely corrosive and damaging to our national security.”

Clapper also released a statement that neither he nor anyone else in the Intelligence Community was responsible for the leaks. How did this highly classified information, then, get into the public domain?

A House Republican investigation provides the answer. Clapper denied leaking the dossier but admitted to discussing the dossier with CNN correspondent Jake Tapper and perhaps other journalists in early January 2017. Later in 2017, Clapper would go on to join CNN as a “national security” contributor and CNN would receive an award for its reporting at the White House Correspondents’ dinner.

Today we know that the “Russia hoax” was a lie. After a 22-month investigation, no evidence of collusion between any element of the Trump campaign and Russia was uncovered. The supposedly compromising evidence had never existed; the information in the “Steele dossier” was false — and the FBI had known it was from the start. The entire fabrication had been an attempt to attack and politically weaken Trump.

In October 2020, shortly before the elections, 51 former intelligence professionals had even signed a joint letter stating that the Hunter Biden laptop had “…has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” They stated that their national security experience made them “deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case.” They went on:

“If we are right, this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we strongly believe that Americans need to be aware of this.”

The New York Times raised questions about the authenticity of the materials found on the laptop. Bill Evanina, the National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director, had indicated in August that Russia was trying to denigrate the Biden campaign. All these manufactured “facts” were apparently intended to create circumstances where reasonable people would have to conclude that the Hunter Biden laptop was Russian disinformation.

Signatories of the 2020 letter included Clapper, Brennan, Michael Hayden, Jeremy Bash, and David Buckley. Clapper and Brennan are familiar names. They were involved in the January 2017 briefing to President Donald Trump on the fake Steele dossier. Jeremy Bash and David Buckley are worth mentioning because they continue to play significant roles in domestic and national security areas in the U.S. government. Buckley was the majority staff director on the House Select Committee investigating January 6th. Bash has been named to co-chair a government commission to review the war in Afghanistan.

The fraudulent efforts by the U.S. government, Clapper, Brennan, and the 49 others — along with Hillary Clinton, her campaign committee, the Democratic National Committee, and the suppression of the media and social media (here and here) — to influence the public, unfortunately, met with some success. For almost two years, the authenticity of the material found on Hunter Biden’s laptop was questioned. Today, its authenticity has been verified; the information is real and damning. As summarized by the New York Post:

“Yes, that letter from the Dirty 51 had all the classic earmarks of a disinformation operation, all right – one designed to ensure Joe Biden won the presidency. And it was essentially a CIA operation, considering 43 of the 51 signatories were former CIA.”

One final example of the Intelligence Community involving itself in domestic politics comes from the recent release of the “Twitter Files.” According to tweet #20 of the third tranche released:

“This post about the Hunter Biden laptop situation shows that Roth not only met weekly with the FBI and DHS but with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.”

Tweet #17 states: “executives were also clearly liaising with federal enforcement and intelligence agencies about moderation of election-related content.”

Finally, the FBI paid Twitter $3.5 million reportedly to “handle requests from the bureau.”

We now know what happened. Twitter suppressed discussion of the Hunter Biden laptop story and suppressed conservative messaging, while at the same time, it appears the FBI, DHS and the ODNI had literally set up shop at Twitter.

The American people should be outraged. This level of collaboration between federal law enforcement and a private sector company on controlling speech is terrifying. Having our Intelligence Community, which is supposed to be focused on foreign intelligence collection, involved is even more terrifying.

DNI James Clapper lying to the American people in 2013 about government surveillance of them, the promoting of the Russian hoax theory in 2017 by CIA Director Brennan, DNI Clapper, FBI Director Comey, and others, the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story by 51 former intelligence professionals, and the close working arrangement between the FBI, DHS and the ODNI in 2020-2022 raises a staggering series of questions:

  •  Can our government, law enforcement, and the Intelligence Community still be trusted?
  • Have those federal government agencies literally weaponized law enforcement and intelligence against political opponents in the U.S.?
  • Has more than one solitary person — former FBI attorney Kevin Clinemith, for altering an email — been held accountable for these egregious abuses of power?
  • Why wasn’t there a more powerful response from the Intelligence Community and the law enforcement community about the disinformation from the 51 former intelligence professionals?
  • Who authorized the cozy relationship between law enforcement, and the intelligence community with Twitter?
  • Who in these government agencies reviewed and approved of the output and decisions coming from these joint efforts?
  • Were political appointees in the review loop?
  • Who has the records, notes, and decisions that emanated from these groups?

It is clear that our law enforcement community needs to be investigated, but most importantly we need to investigate how our Intelligence Community has evolved from having literally a non-existent relationship with speech in America to being inside the room determining what speech is allowed.

There also needs to be a significant investigation by an outside, non-government group to understand how far this massive government overreach into free speech and election manipulation went. Clearly, the government has been influencing what we get to see and hear. It needs to stop — now — before our democracy is destroyed.

Peter Hoekstra was US Ambassador to the Netherlands during the Trump administration. He served 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the second district of Michigan and served as Chairman and Ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. He is currently a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

McCarthy Learns His Three Rs: Reset, Revelation, Retribution

The hard nudge from his hard right appears to have instilled some useful forgetting and learning in Kevin McCarthy.

By: Bob Maistros, American Greatness, January 14, 2023 | First appeared on American Greatness

The restored Bourbon dynasty is said to have “learnt nothing and forgotten nothing.” But Louis XVIII’s posse had nothing on Republican “moderates” in the recently (barely) restored House majority.

Check out this choice tidbit, in the wake of Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) bruising, begrudging battle for the speakership, from Representative Nancy Mace (R-S.C.):

I am concerned that common-sense legislation will not get through to get a vote on the floor . . . [F]or example, we have 12 bills that we’re supposedly going to be voting on in our first week in office . . . [Three pro-life bills] are not legislation . . . that can pass the Senate and get onto the desk for the president to sign into law.


Pummeling by progressive radicals. Outright embarrassment in November voting. Five days, 15 ballots, and hours of nonstop, no-holds-barred negotiations and concession-coaxing to elect a Speaker.

And Mace—likely reflecting the views of many equally clueless colleagues in the Stupid Party—still thinks the GOP’s Job One is “legislation that can pass the Senate and get onto the desk of the president”?

Does the gentlelady mean legislation like the amnesty con a feckless faction of Senate Republicans tried to foist on America? The federal codification of make-believe matrimony 12 of them waved through? The $1.7 trillion lame-duck appropriations leviathan that trampled the incoming House majority’s prerogatives in instilling fiscal discipline?

One supposedly unpassable bill to which she definitely referred would require lifesaving care for aborted children born alive. Perhaps Mace prefers chloroform?

And does the Charlestonian believe that the usurper in the Oval Office gave one thought to her party’s priorities in affixing the John Hancock she covets to a typhoon of “pen-and-phone” executive orders trashing major Trump accomplishments?

The good news: in contrast to Mace and her fellow travelers on the Good Ship GOP’s port side, the hard nudge from his hard-right appears to have instilled some useful forgetting and learning in Kevin McCarthy.

He’s taking, temporarily at least, a mental Bleach Bit to the old ways of go-along, get-along, tax-along, spend-along in an age when the scorched-earth opposition—and some on his side of the aisle—have put aside Sleepy Joe’s treasured “norms” and think nothing of:

  • aiding, abetting, and institutionalizing election fraud;
  • solitary confinement for non-violent protesters and congressional show trials to advance a fictitious Big Lie narrative inoculating against future such fraud;
  • abusing power to perpetuate the Russian collusion whopper, entrap a sitting national security advisor, and sic the feds on concerned, anti-woke parents;
  • canceling ideological adversaries as irredeemably racist, transphobic, or climate deniers; and
  • raiding a former president’s home and releasing his private records.

Moreover, the speaker has seemingly absorbed the three Rs that must shape the Republican agenda for this Congress:

Reset. As previously maintained here, mimic the Green New Deal’s success in “staking out territory beyond rational hopes of capturing in the current environment—aspiring, ultimately, to re-reshape the battlefield.”

Revelation. Use every available platform—including the appropriations process, hearings, events, and a 24/7/365 “tweet storm”—to lay bare not just Bidenite corruption, incompetence, and coverups, but also every dollar of misspent and misappropriated funds in the omnibus(t) bill forced down the new majority’s throats.

Retribution. Not “score-settling,” as Democrats charge. Rather, make malicious malfeasants pay a political price for skyrocketing spending and prices; ceding hard-won energy independence; surrendering the southern border; freedom-sapping COVID mandates; promoting sexual perversion and child mutilation; emboldening America’s enemies, and most of all, weaponizing the government against political rivals and the very people it ostensibly serves.

Thus far, the Californian has wildly exceeded this commentators’ expectations to earn solid “As” across the board:

  • Advancing bills not only to defund the Democrats’ new army of nearly 90,000 tax harassers, but, incredibly, to pull the plug on the entire IRS and the income tax itself.
  • Establishing a select committee to investigate the wide-ranging misdeeds of America’s arch-foe, China—as a precursor to keeping the speaker’s pledge to move against the Middle Kingdom’s economic, trade, and human rights violations, military aggression, and “theft of Americans’ personal information, intellectual property, and jobs.”
  • Setting up a subcommittee to investigate and demand accountability for the “weaponization of the federal government” against political foes and private citizens alike.
  • Releasing 14,000 hours of January 6 security videos to undercut the “insurrection” deception.
  • Further pledging to investigate “Biden’s border crisis, pandemic relief fraud, (the) Afghanistan withdrawal, (the) energy crisis, COVID origins, (and) Biden family’s influence peddling.”
  • Promising votes on separate appropriations bills instead of opaque annual funding monsters.
  • Best of all, booting perpetual Pinocchio Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and compromised China boy-toy Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) from the intelligence committee and terrorist-touter-cum immigration-fraudster Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) from the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Yes, it’s just a start and largely symbolic. But all in all, plaudits for McCarthy’s interim report card.

Now, to reinforce his gains in learning—and forgetting—as a recharged majority forges forward, this commentator suggests one additional exercise for the lower chamber leader: write on the office whiteboard 100 times, “Nancy Mace is not the base.”

Taking on ‘The Weaponization of Government’ Led by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, the House GOP wasted no time in targeting the deep state.

By: Douglas Andrews, The Patriot Post , January 13, 2023 | First appeared on The Patriot Post

This week was a good one for limited-government constitutional conservatives — especially those who are fed up with the deep state, fed up with the Democrats’ use of the federal government as a cudgel against its political enemies within Washington and across the country.

House Republicans passed a resolution Tuesday to establish the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, which will investigate, among other things, the FBI’s effort to censor and ban conservative Twitter users, and the Justice Department’s probe of “threats” from parents who’ve had the temerity to speak out at local school board meetings against wokeness and rampant leftism.

To no one’s surprise, the vote was party-line, 221 to 211, in favor of examining the behavior of the FBI and DOJ, which followed revelations in a series of “Twitter Files” that the FBI paid the company $3 million to suppress mostly conservative voices on the social media site.

The committee will be housed under the House Judiciary Committee and will “fully investigate the Biden administration’s efforts to ‘collect information on or otherwise investigate citizens of the United States,’ examine how federal agencies collect or work with the private sector to collect information on U.S. citizens, and probe other issues ‘related to the violation of the civil liberties’ of U.S. citizens.”

The resolution, from Ohio Congressman and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, is what House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says is part of the GOP’s mission to “hold the Swamp accountable.”

During his remarks on the floor, Chairman Jordan responded to Democrat charges that the resolution was merely a ploy:

A ploy? It’s not a ploy when the Department of Justice treats parents as terrorists, moms, and dads who are simply showing up at a school board meeting to advocate for their son or daughter.

A ploy? It’s not a ploy when the FBI pays Twitter $3 million, not one, not two, but $3 million to censor American citizens.

It’s not a ploy when the Department of Homeland Security tries to set up a disinformation governance board because we all know that the Department of Homeland Security can tell what’s good speech and what is bad speech.

Writing for the opposition, The New York Times casts a jaundiced eye at the enterprise, reporting that Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern likened the panel to the House Un-American Activities Committee of the 1950s, “which demonized Americans suspected of being sympathetic to communism.”

And your point is?

“I call it the McCarthy committee,” McGovern continued, “and I’m not talking about Kevin; I’m talking about Joe. This committee is nothing more than a deranged ploy by the MAGA extremists who have hijacked the Republican Party and now want to use taxpayer money to push their far-right conspiracy nonsense.”

Here, a bit of a history lesson for the Times and McGovern: Joe McCarthy was right about everything and everyone, and the McCarthy period itself, which Ann Coulter has dubbed “The Rosetta Stone of all liberal lies,” was a period marked by the Democrats’ sustained efforts to shout down and demonize the truth-tellers and rewrite history about the very real and widespread infiltration of commies and commie sympathizers within the U.S. government, especially the State Department, from 1938 to 1946. Anyone who doubts this should read M. Stanton Evans’s 672-page Blacklisted by History, which is the definitive post-Soviet volume on the McCarthy era.

Likewise, let’s hope that history looks back on the period from 2009 to 2023 as a period of widespread weaponization of government agencies against the citizenry, and the period immediately thereafter as one of significant reform and a return of the federal apparatus to its rightful role.

Suffice it to say, honest and decent Democrats have nothing to fear from a Republican committee meant to unravel and undo the political weaponization of our federal government.

Those Democrats who are neither honest nor decent, though, they have plenty to fear.

“Americans are sick and tired of it,” said Jordan. “And we don’t want to go after anyone. We just want it to stop, and we want to respect the First Amendment to the Constitution that the greatest country in the world has. That’s what this committee is all about.”

If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools.Plato

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