Dear Rep. King: Our Civilization isn’t White and American Babies aren’t Other

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Rep Steve King of Iowa (whose constituents should be ashamed to show their faces in public went full-on racist again, supporting hate-speech master Geert Wilders in his quixotic quest to reverse globalization and ban Muslims from Europe.

King lauded Wilders’ supposed wisdom and added “we can’t restore our civilization with other people’s babies.”


I’d just like to point out that in 1900 the Netherlands was a tiny European country but a very large empire, and that it mainly amounted to something in world affairs at that time because it ruled a very large number of Muslims in its East Indies (today’s Indonesia). Some 15% of Dutch GDP was from stealing Indonesian petroleum in that era, and it was the cream that, as it accumulated and was invested, allowed nobodies like Geert Wilders to live an opulent lifestyle. That is, Dutch civilization is inextricably interwoven with Muslim civilization, and rather owes a debt to Muslims.

Likewise, in 1900 the US had taken the Philippines, a pillar of its emergence as a Pacific Power, which has a significant Muslim population of 5-8%. Yes, folks. The US went out and gathered up millions of Muslims to rule, and Filipino Americans have shaped our country. Even today, Filipino-Americans are about 23% of the state of Hawaii. (Hi, Bruno Mars!)

King has displayed his ignorance of history many times before. When he was challenged on the all-white Republican Party leadership, he alleged that only white people had contributed to civilization and actually alleged that Africa had not.

Uh, Pharaonic Egypt, which self-described white people like King have expropriated for Europe? Actually, like, in Africa . Not only was the cradle of civilization in Africa, but genetic testing on the Pharaohs appears to show Y chromosome haplotypes typical of today’s Uganda. That is, the Egyptian ruling class appears to have come up the Nile from sub-Saharan Africa. They invented elements of geometry, paper, cursive writing, and other key components of civilization.

A similar argument could be made about the contributions of ancient Mesopotamia, today’s Iraq, under the Sumerians, Akkadians and Babylonians. King’s party doesn’t seem to think Iraqis are white– it almost banned their entry into the US.

At the time that Pharaonic and Mesopotamian civilization was flourishing, Europeans were half-naked savages.

But the bigger point is that American civilization is civic and does not depend on race. There are no “other people’s babies” here. All American babies are our babies. People of all races have contributed to American civilization.

It was Senegalese Muslims, kidnapped and brought for slave labor to the Carolinas, who taught white people how to grow rice.

Michael E. DeBakey, contributor to the development of the artificial heart? Lebanese-American.

You can look up minority engineers and scientists.

Arab-American inventors and scientists are here

The US Patent and Trade Office under the impression that a lot of significant inventions have been the work of Latino Americans.

King’s self-conception as part of a northern European white Christian hegemonic class that deserves its high status because of its achievements is just wrong.

In the United States, under our Constitution, we are all equal under the law, regardless of race or religion. That is our civilization.

How Much of Globe’s Humanitarian Crisis is Fault of US?

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warned Saturday that the globe is facing the worst humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II.

2016 set post-war records in misery.

* More than 76 mn persons from 31 countries needed assistance.

* More than 51 mn persons were displaced (i.e. kicked out of their homes and made homeless). That is the highest number since WW II.

*There were more than 400 natural disasters in the most recent year for which there is a full count (2014)

* In these 400 disasters, 17,000 people died

* The disasters caused $82 bn in damages.

That’s in general. There were 6 “Level 3” emergencies in particular countries. Level 3 is the most severe category the UN has, implying large-scale humanitarian crises.

In 2016 the Level 3 emergencies were: Iraq, Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, Philippines, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

What strikes me is how up to its neck the United States is in creating these crises.

Iraq’s death spiral was kicked off when George W. Bush invaded and occupied it under false pretences. From 2003 to the present, Iraq has never had a chance to get back to normal. The US invasion led to 4 million people being displaced. Likely hundreds of thousands died.

Then the US is up to its neck in the Yemen War, wherein Washington supports the mad Saudi-led bombing raids on backward little Yemen. It helps the jet fighters refuel and the Pentagon even helps choose targets for the forces of the coalition, which is mostly led by Saudi Arabia.

The US has prolonged the Syrian Civil War by strongly backing, via the Saudis and Turkey, one side– the fundamentalist rebels. Half of the 22 million Syrians are displaced.

The US pushed for the secession of South Sudan from Sudan, but then appears, typically, to have done nothing about nation-building. Tribal feuds that have riven the new country. In the old days, the Khartoum regime could at least intervene to broker a deal but now it is irrelevant and the US hasn’t substituted.

As for the Philippines, its crisis is because of unusually powerful typhoons, which are caused by the Pacific Ocean becoming warmer. The US, by putting billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, has created the possibility of climate change on steroids.

So at the very time when the Trump administration wants to turn its back on the world’s migrants, the globe’s worst crises have accelerated.


Related video added by Juan Cole:

Euronews: “UN warning about “largest humanitarian crisis” since its creation”

Close the Coal Plants: How to Reply to Pruitt’s Lie about CO2 & Climate

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Having Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency is sort of like the plot of that Showtime thriller Dexter, where the police forensic technician trying to catch criminals is in his spare time a vigilante serial killer. Pruitt is Koch and ALEC.

Pruitt actually expressed public doubt this week about whether human-generated carbon dioxide emissions cause climate change. Since even a student in eighth grade chemistry can actually do an experiment demonstrating that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, we can only assume that Pruitt is a student of Goebbels and is practicing the Big Lie. The comparison to Goebbels is apt, since denying that human-caused CO2 and methane emissions cause global warming will cause further future genocides, mowing down human beings not because they are Jewish but because they live near a coast or in the pathway of a megastorm. Yes, friends. The proper term for denialists is Climate Fascists.

There is no point in arguing the facts with Pruitt and anyone who supports him. The facts were clear a long time ago. So how to respond?

The response must be practical. So imagine you had a robot designed to vacuum the rugs in your house. And then imagine that a virus infected its software and it started dumping dust and dirt on your rug here and there instead of vacuuming it up. The robot is the EPA and Pruitt is the virus. Obviously you have to try repair the virus at some point. But in the meantime all you can do is go get a broom and sweep up the dirt.

The broom is social action.

There are about 600 coal plants in the United States. Many are scheduled for early retirement, but others might go on belching pollution for another 20 years. Since coal is the dirtiest source of electricity, we have to close the coal plants if we are to ameliorate the worst effects of climate change.

If Pruitt angers you, swing into action. Find out if there is a coal plant near you and devote some energy to organizing to close it. Here are some things we can do:

1. Pressure your state representatives to outlaw coal plants in your state. Oregon’s legislature has mandated that all coal use in the state cease by 2040. The parliament of Finland is considering legislation to ban coal use by 2030, only 13 years from now. Coal is already more expensive than other electricity generating technologies except nuclear, and consumers will save money if coal plants are closed in favor of solar and wind.

2. Pressure your utility to close its coal plants on an accelerated schedule. Buy stock and attend the stockholders’ meeting. Be loud. Call them and complain as a consumer. Where you meet resistance, use social media to shame the perpetrator. In Indiana, stakeholders in NIPSCO succeeded in getting the company to “close Chesterton’s Bailly Generating Station by mid-2018 and a good portion of Wheatfield’s Schahfer Generating Station in 2023.” So the obvious next step is to see if the Schahfer Generating Station can’t be closed completely before 2023. On the other hand, the shameless I&M/ American Electric Power utility at Fort Wayne Indiana wants to extend the life of its Rockport coal-fired plant, to the dismay of locals. Shame I&M.

Remember, there are only 600 such plants in the country. Each closure brings us closer to our goal of limiting the worst effects of climate change.

3. Let’s make entire states coal-free. Connecticut, e.g., only has one coal-fired plant left. It should be closed as soon as possible. Unfortunately it is being replaced by a natural gas plant. Natural gas is half as dirty as coal, so that is better than nothing. But natural gas will be our next target.

4. Sue the bastards. Environmentalists are suing a Colorado Springs coal plant, on the grounds that it is violating existing environmental law by spewing noxious chemicals into the air we breathe. A similar lawsuit has been launched in Jefferson County Alabama. Recent research shows that breathing polluted air is associated with heightened risk of Alzheimers. Coal plants are inherently vulnerable to suits that require them actually to obey clean air laws and regulations.

5. Peaceful, permitted demonstrations and rallies against coal plants have been found to be effective around the world, including in Kenya. It is only right that we emulate Kenya, given that Trump insists our last president was born there. Even villagers in Myanmar/ Burma know that having a coal plant as their neighbor would be dangerous for them, and they are valiantly protesting. Why are Americans so timid, browbeaten and cowardly that they let coal plants spew mercury and sulfuric acid into their children’s lungs? Or that they let them heat up the earth to dangerous levels for our children’s children? Greening the earth is inherently a peaceful endeavor, and peaceful action gains hearts and minds. Peaceful movements are twice as likely to succeed.

So don’t argue with Pruitt or his Koch Brother-funded cousins. Close down the coal plants. End coal.

There are 600 coal plants. We should try to close them all in 8 years. That is how to reply to Trump and Pruitt and the other genocidal climate fascists.


Related video:

CBS News: “EPA chief Scott Pruitt disputes carbon’s impact on climate”

Syria: As 400 more Troops go in, What’s Trump’s Mission?

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

The US had about 500 troops embedded with the People’s Protection Units (Kurdish acronym YPG) until this week, when another 400 were deployed, along with heavy artillery. It is rumored in the Arabic press that yet more troops, perhaps as many as 2000, will soon be deployed to Syria.

Why is the Trump administration doubling down on US military involvement with Syria?

As the Mosul campaign in neighboring Iraq proceeds apace, Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) fighters are fleeing to Raqqa and other areas in Syria, from which they could regroup to fend off the US-backed coalition. Iraqi prime minister Haydar al-Abadi is promising hot pursuit, with the Iraqi military and Air Force hitting Daesh on the Syrian side of the border (they assert that Syrian strong man Bashar al-Assad has given them permission for these cross-border incursions.

At the same time, there is a dispute on the Syrian side about which forces will be taking al-Raqqa, the capital of the collapsing Daesh “caliphate.” Turkey would like it to be its own proteges, Arab militias with a tilt toward Muslim fundamentalism. The Obama Pentagon under Ash Carter had developed a plan to back the leftist Kurdish militia, the YPG along with a few of its Arab allies, in taking Raqqa.

That plan still appears to be the Pentagon favorite, but it has gotten enormous pressure from Turkey not to follow through. Turkey views the YPG as a terrorist organization tightly linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), and worries that if it secedes from Syria that act will encourage separatism among Turkish Kurds.

My guess is that Trump is sending a Marines artillery unit so as to bring heavy weaponry to the battlefield against Daesh. Having the Americans handle this weaponry avoids a raging back and forth with Turkey about the propriety of giving heavy weapons to the Kurdistan militias or YPG.

If so, this deployment is political more than it is military. US commanders are talking about staying in the region after Daesh is defeated to pacify it.

These are a whole series of Very Bad Ideas. If any number of US troops are killed, that could been seen as requiring US reprisals and a troop escalation.

US Marines shouldn’t be put in harm’s way in an attempt to make Turkey less angry. The Kurds already have much of al-Raqqa province and if they take the city from Daesh, it won’t make them more or less militant about separatism. Turkey has lost the Syrian war to Russia and Iran, and might as well suck it up.


Related video:

CGTN: ” U.S. deploys troops to Syria to aid in Raqqa assault”

Is the Public turning on Trump over Russia Ties, Sessions’ Perjury?

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Americans have become deeply concerned about Russia. Some 75% of them see it as a very or moderately serious threat. This, according to an ORC/ CNN opinion poll. They are ranking it just after North Korea and Iran. This level of anxiety about Moscow is irrational, but likely it has to do with fears of Russian interference in the presidential election. Some 55% are somewhat or very concerned “that people associated with Donald Trump’s campaign had
contact with suspected Russian operatives during last year’s campaign.”

72% of Americans view Russian president Vladimir Putin unfavorably.

As news broke that Attorney General Jeff Sessions likely had a third previously unreported meeting with the Russian ambassador during the presidential campaign, when Sessions was a Trump surrogate, opinion polling shows that a majority of Americans want Sessions to resign because, they say, he lied under oath. A plurality, of 43 percent of Americans, have a negative view of him versus 23 percent who are positive.

I can’t think of a moment in my lifetime when scandal erupted in a new administration with this ferocity. Most Americans probably never even knew who most of the attorneys general were, much less wanted them gone within a month of their swearing in.

The scandal over contacts between Russia and Trump and his cronies during the campaign season is not going away, with 62 percent of Americans saying it is a somewhat or very serious issue.

Moreover, two-thirds of Americans polled want a special prosecutor to look into it. Even among Republicans, 43% say they want a special prosecutor!

While Trump came into office bashing China and cozying up to Russia, the American public has the opposite point of view. While 75% have apprehensions about Russia, some 50% view China favorably.

There is just as big a divide on many domestic issues, according to Quinnipiac.

Some 63% of Americans want undocumented immigrants to have a path to citizenship rather than be summarily deported.

Some 82% of Americans think it is very important that everyone have health care (as opposed to the plutocrats behind Trump’s health care policies, who think it is very important that they pay less taxes and that poor people take responsibility for their own deaths if they get sick.)


Related video added by Juan Cole:

David Pakman Show

Let them eat iPhones: Jason Chaffetz on Health Care & the Poor (Young Turks)

Cenk Uygur | (The Young Turks Video Clip) | – –

TYT metadata: “Poor people don’t fund Jason Chaffetz’s campaigns, so they can take a long walk off a short pier. Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, breaks it down. . .

“Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is proposing a quick fix for low-income Americans unable to afford coverage under President Donald Trump’s newly proposed health care law: Don’t buy an iPhone.

The American Health Care Act, unveiled by House Republican leaders Monday, offers less financial assistance to low-income people than former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, so it would likely result in millions of Americans losing the health coverage they have today.

But the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said Tuesday that Americans who might struggle to afford insurance under the GOP plan simply need to make the choice to “invest in health care.”

“Americans have choices, and they’ve got to make a choice,” Chaffetz said Tuesday on CNN. “So rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and want to go spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest in their own health care. They’ve got to make those decisions themselves.”

Having to choose between a smartphone and health care coverage is a scenario Chaffetz likely can’t relate to. With a net worth of at least $320,000 in 2014, he makes less than many of his colleagues in Congress and was only the 301st wealthiest lawmaker based on financial disclosures that year. But he still lives well above the median income in America (about $56,500 in 2015) and enjoys comprehensive health care benefits afforded to members of Congress.

CNN host Alisyn Camerota asked Chaffetz if Americans might have more health care access but less coverage under Trump’s new health care bill.”*

The Young Turks: “Republicans To The Poor: iPhones Or Healthcare”

What Syrian Refugees think of Trump’s Refugee Ban

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Reuters Arabic reports that a wave of anger swept the Syrian refugee camps of southern Lebanon Monday and Tuesday when they learned that Trump intends to ban Syrians and five other nationalities from coming to the US for at least 3 months and all refugee entries for 6 months.

Reuters says that Sultan Jalloud and Abdallah al-Omar expressed their sorrow on waking up to hear the news. Jalloud said that recently his son had gone on ahead to the US as a refugee, being over 18, and the consular officer had told him that Sultan and the rest of the family would be able to join him in a couple of weeks. Now it won’t happen.

Al-Omar complained that in Akkar where he and his family had fled from Homs, the Lebanese authorities did not so much as let them go for a walk. “What is left, but for them to cut off our air and drinking water entirely, since our lives here amount to nothing?”

Trump’s Syria ban has already had a huge negative impact on the position of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, since it encouraged Lebanese President Michel Aoun, a Christian, to emulate it and to call for the expulsion of the 1.5 million Syrian refugees in that country of 4 million. If the Syrians stayed permanently, they would change the balance of power in the country toward the Sunni Arabs, whereas at the moment the Shiite Muslims are likely the largest single ethnic group, with the Christians 3rd at 22% if we count the children.

Note that all Syrians are denied visas for at least 3 months and no refugees will be accepted for at least 6 months. One implication is that the Syrian Kurds of the northeast, among whom US troops are embedded in the fight against ISIL, have just been slapped in the face. How can you say you are allies and at the same time say you don’t trust them?

The first attempt at a ban on Syrians, which was stayed by the courts, elicited from one Syrian refugee an open letter to Trump. The upshot? Refugees are not terrorists and excluding them won’t make the US safer. Refugees are themselves victims of terrorism. (Department of Homeland Security statistics bear him out).

There are at least 150,000 Syrian-Americans, though the true number is much vaster. In 1880-1924 a large number of Syrian Christians came to the US, and they typically married into other Christian families here, so that they did not retain a strong Syrian identity.

For those Syrian-Americans without permanent residency or citizenship, Trump’s ban means they cannot see family members and friends still abroad. Likely this EO interferes with the lives of millions of people. No Syrian-American has committed any terrorism in the US in this century, and very large numbers of Syrians in the US are physicians and engineers.

The Obama administration had admitted almost no Syrian refugees before 2015. In 2016 the US allowed in a little over 12,000 Syrians, out of nearly 85,000 refugees that year. American allies have been far more generous.

Note that the US is responsible for the creation of Syrian refugees. It sent weapons to fundamentalist rebels via the Saudis, prolonging the war and leading to the displacement of people. It also subjected eastern Syria to massive bombing raids, along with allies it enlisted in this endeavor. This bombing may have been justified, since it was aimed at defeating Daesh (ISIS, ISIL). But the US does bear moral responsibility for the cosequent flight of people from the bombs. Why Washington thinks it can go around inflicting massive violence on other societies without accepting any responsibility at all is a mystery. But then being Trumpist means never saying you’re sorry.


Related video:

VOA News: “Local Communities Break Bread With Refugees to Break Barriers”

Why Trump EO is Still a Racist Muslim Ban

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Whether or not the new Trump Executive Order banning visas for citizens of 6 Muslim-majority countries for a 90 day period and likewise excluding all refugees for six months stands up in the courts, it is still a piece of sordid bigotry.

The rationale for the EO as articulated by Attorney General and notorious racist Jeff Sessions is that the countries affected by the ban are in a state of disarray and so cannot effectively vet their citizens for emigration to the US. Or, he says, the country is a supporter of terrorism. But Iraq, which has been dropped from the list, is the most fragile of fragile states and half of one of its major cities is in the hands of Daesh (ISIS, ISIL). And the fact is that one of the countries on the list, Iran, is America’s best friend in the fight against ISIL in Iraq. So the geopolitics of all this are screwy and inconsistent (i.e. hypocritical).

The way you can tell that the list is generated by prejudice rather than security concerns is that there are plenty of states that are in worse shape than some of the 6 named but which are not Muslim-majority.


For instance, take South Sudan, which is mostly Christian. The US conspired to detach it from Sudan proper, and succeeded in 2011, but then the Dinka and Nuer ethnic groups promptly fell into a civil war with one another. The country is on the verge of mass starvation because of the disruptions of this civil war. Government officials have been accused of corruption by George Clooney’s organization and of being implicated in war crimes. South Sudanese wanting to come to the US could no more be vetted by the “government” than they could be provided with unicorn milk. As for violence and terrorism fears, fighters on both sides of the civil war have committed “killings, rapes and gang rapes, beatings, looting, and harassment, often along ethnic lines.” Any former fighters who tried to come to the US might well be recommended by cronies in the “government,” but they might be war criminals. Why is South Sudan not on the list? Over 60 percent of its citizens are Christian. Another 32 percent practice traditional African religion, and only 6% are Muslim.

I am not arguing for excluding South Sudanese. I am saying that there is no criterion that, if uniformly applied, could account for banning Muslim Somalis but not Christian South Sudanese.


Or take the Central African Republic, 80% Christian, which has seen substantial civil strife and where Muslims are sometimes currently persecuted, in reprisal for an attempted coup by a militant faction in 2013. I wish President Faustin-Archange Touadéra well, but it is highly unlikely that he can efficiently vet emigrants from his country, where there has been a lot of civil violence.

Don’t get me going on the Congo, D.R. Or even down the Fund for Peace fragile state index, places like Nepal or Cambodia.

Again, I don’t think anyone should be excluded. But by Sessions’s stated criteria, there would be more exclusions than 6. And the further countries banned would not be Muslim-majority.

The argument that most Muslims in the world are unaffected by the ban is mere pro-Trump propaganda. If you forbade African-Americans resident in North Carolina from voting, but allowed members of that ethnic group to vote in all the other states, most African-Americans would be unaffected by the ban. But if only African-Americans were denied the franchise in North Carolina, it would still be a racist exclusion.

Besides, we know why Trump and President Bannon are instituting this ban, and it has nothing to do with fragile states or terrorism. The Department of Homeland Security’s own report disputed the need for or efficacy of this 6-nation ban.

Trump, Bannon and Miller are white supremacists and pretty much view Muslims the way Hitler did, as “painted half-apes that ought to feel the whip.”

Trump said during the campaign that he wanted a Muslim ban.

And Rudy Giuliani let the cat out of the bag on live t.v.: “I’ll tell you the whole history of it: When he first announced it, he said ‘Muslim ban.’ He called me up, he said, ‘Put a commission together, show me the right way to do it legally.’”

So that’s what this whole thing is, a legally correct piece of racist garbage. It violates the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which forbids discrimination against people on the basis of their nationality. It might stand up in the courts. Slavery stood up in the courts. Jim Crow stood up in the courts. The Chinese Exclusion Act stood up in the courts. The internment of Japanese-Americans stood up in the courts. Court-sanctioned racist bigotry is a big part of American history.

It is shameful, and will cost America in science, medicine, engineering and entrepreneurship, i.e. the fields that contribute to US geopolitical power. It will also cost us incoming tuition dollars and tourism. A 3,000-person conference just switched from Philadelphia to Mexico City to protest the New American Racism. It isn’t so much that immigrants from the 6 countries are crucial for us as that many people will boycott us on the grounds of our racism. And it is hard to argue against them.


Related video:

Al Jazeera English: “Trump signs new immigration order excluding Iraq”

Dirty, Hot, Deadly: The Real Trump Scandal is What He’s done to the Environment

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

I don’t think Trump creates Twitter scandals to deflect attention from his real scandals. I think his mind just works in an odd way.

But the fact is that concentrating too much on the sound and fury issuing from Mar-a-Lago is counter-productive. Trump actually is changing the United States in a major way, with a massive assault on the environment.

1. Scott Pruitt at the Environmental Protection Agency is already gutting the agency, and has withdrawn the request the EPA had made of oil and gas firms that they report on methane emissions. Fracking in particular may produce a great deal of methane, which is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and less often measured at drill sites.

2. The administration is planning to cut funds for Great Lakes clean-up by 97%, which would be devastating. The Great Lakes contain 20 percent of the world’s fresh water and millions depend on them for drinking water. They have been heavily polluted, including by the oil and gas companies, and need to be nursed back to health. Instead, they’ll likely be further polluted under Pruitt, who never met an environmental regulation he liked. Algae blooms from run-off of agricultural fertilizer have struck drinking water in places like Toledo, and need to be combated.

3. Trump has already undone a regulation enacted in December that prevents corporations from dumping waste from fossil fuel plants into streams and rivers. There have been crises in recent years, such as Duke Energy’s coal ash spill in North Carolina.

4. Trump plans to get rid of automobile greenhouse gas emissions standards.

5. All this is not to mention Trump’s plan to cut the funding of the Environmental Protection Agency by 25% and lay off 3,000 workers!

Related video:

The TYT Generation

Trump covers Rockwell: Sometimes it Feels like, Obama’s Watching You

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Donald Trump is angry at his predecessor, former president Barack Obama, this weekend. He says he discovered (from the digital toilet paper ‘Breitbart,’ apparently) that a FISA court ordered a wire tap of Trump Tower in fall of 2016, and that it continued even though investigators never found anything. He said Obama ordered the wire tap, and that it was outrageous and was a form of McCarthyism. (Good to know that even far right wing white supremacist billionaires can agree that Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s persecution of the American Left in the 1950s was wrong).

Trump is developing an unhealthy and abnormal complex about Obama. He earlier blamed the former president for organizing town hall protests against Republican politicians who seek to abolish the Affordable Care Act, and of orchestrating embarrassing leaks from the Trump White House.

That is, in Trump’s paranoid mind, Michael Flynn was forced off the National Security Council by Obama smearing him as a Russian agent rather than by Flynn’s discussion of sanctions with the Russian ambassador, about which he repeatedly lied. And Little Marco Rubio can’t have a town hall in Florida on health care legislation because . . . you guessed it, that busy, busy Obama.

I am frankly worried for Obama. Trump has large numbers of white supremacist and Neo-Nazi supporters, and if the president repeatedly accuses Obama of attempting to bring him down, it could create extreme danger for the former president.

Paranoia, by the way, is a symptom, not the disease itself. It could indicate clinical depression or a host of other disorders (it would be bad for a sitting president to have any of them).

As for the case at hand, as usual, Trump is wrong about just about everything. President Obama could not have ordered a wire tap all on his lonesome. The president does not have that authority, precisely in order to prevent abuse of the power of the office. And a former spokesman for Obama’s National Security Council, Ben Rhodes, categorically denied that the White House asked for wiretap on Trump or his campaign. On the other hand, he characterized Obama’s reticence as an avoidance of interference in a Justice Department or other investigation, so there may have been such a probe, but it wasn’t Obama doing it.

Loretta Lynch at the Department of Justice or James Comey at the FBI could have gone to the FISA court and asked for a warrant to monitor Trump and his people. The National Security Agency could also have sought such a warrant.

But the FISA court would not have granted a warrant unless whoever asked for it was able to present strong evidence that Trump was a) involved in something illegal or b) was acting as a foreign agent.

It is also possible that Trump and/or his people repeatedly called someone who was under surveillance on a FISA warrant, in which case their calls would also have been monitored.

What puzzles everyone is why Trump thinks he has to get this information from Rush Limbaugh or an alt-NeoNazi rag. He is the president. He could just ask for a briefing on the probe, if there was one.


Related video:

CNN: “Ben Rhodes fires back at Trump wiretap claims”