Standing for what, exactly?

Perhaps I am the only one who is skeptical about this:

Women gathered on Westminster Bridge on Sunday to show solidarity with the victims of the London terror attack.

Is that why they were there? Or is that why they said they were there?

Many of the women wore head scarves at the tribute and said they were wearing blue to represent hope.

I’m more interested in why they were wearing headscarves than why they wore blue. Sadly, the BBC doesn’t tell us.

The event was organised by Women’s March On London group which took part in an international campaign to highlight women’s rights on the first full day of Donald Trump’s US presidency.

So it was a political event, then.

Another woman who was there, Sarah Waseem, said the Islam faith “totally condemns violence of any sort”.

Is this what you came to tell us?

She said: “When an attack happens in London, it is an attack on me.

You know, there are some people out there who wish that, in the wake of a terrorist attack, certain groups would not insist on making it all about them.

Women’s rights activist, Akeela Ahmed, who helped organise Sunday’s event said it had been “powerful and sent a clear message”.

She said there had been no speeches and that those attending had been advised to stay for the five minutes then disperse because the group had wanted it to be low key and not disruptive.

A low-key event formally organised and advertised by a political lobby group called “Women’s March On London” and reported by the BBC on its front page.

I may be being a little harsh here, but I think the memory of the victims would have been better served had these people stayed at home.

The Alt-Right and Antisemitism

There’s a reason why I don’t think the alt-right is going to become a serious political force. Take this passage, written by a reader and posted at Chateau Heartiste:

Btw, just learned about some interesting studies, posted at the (((NYT)))

Basically they argue that single motherhood weakened mostly the male children, because the sisters in such one parent families perform better in life than the brothers. In normal families, there is no difference or brothers perform better.

In other words, the lack of father harms more the male child than the female child. Therefore if you want to weaken men, push for single motherhood. No wonder jews try to destroy the family in the West, while simultaneously strengthening the family in Israel. There is deliberate push to decrease male influence in western society because jews feel threatened by white males, and by their innate nationalism.

So the next time a woman tells you that there aren’t enough good men, you can answer her: there aren’t enough good men because they were raised by women.

The author is actually making a valid point: feminism’s war on the family and their push for single motherhood is harming boys, and this ought to be discussed more than it is. But look at what gets shoe-horned in there:

No wonder jews try to destroy the family in the West, while simultaneously strengthening the family in Israel.

Jews don’t go in for family values? Single motherhood is the goal of Jewish women? Really? I know what the author is trying to say: American Jews, in general, vote Democrat, particularly Jewish women. Lunatic third-wave feminism has been enabled if not encouraged by the Democrats, and therefore it is the Jews who are destroying American families. But they are looking after their own in Israel.

It’s nonsense, of course. Sure, there will be Jewish women contributing to the idiocy of third-wave feminism just as there are atheist white men, but you can hardly dump the whole movement at the feet of the Jews. And only an idiot with think that liberal American Jews in places like New York are the same individuals, and subscribe to the same politics, as Israelis.

This is just lazy, old-fashioned antisemitism: blaming the world’s ills on “the Jews” and lumping them all together as one bloc. The problem is, you don’t need to go far into the alt-right to find this sort of stuff. It’s a shame because, as I said, the overall point made by the author is a good one. The Jew-bashing sentence added nothing, and will only serve to put normal people off. If this is how the bulk of the alt-right will go about their business, they’re going to struggle to go mainstream. I know I’ve largely abandoned alt-right websites and Gab feeds because of the constant Jew-bashing, although to be fair most is to be found in the comments. I’m sure others have too.

A Inevitable Result of Centralisation

Staying on the subject of parallels between Britain and the US and healthcare:

Many have been angered by a photograph of Mike Pence and an all-male Republican team reportedly deciding whether maternity care should be covered in Donald Trump’s new health insurance plan.

Women’s health and fertility rights campaign group Planned Parenthood expressed their outrage at the picture.

They wrote: “Here’s the picture of the leaders negotiating away birth control, maternity care & abortion. Notice anything?

As usual, the real story is being missed here. “Progressives” in the US pushed through Obamacare which massively increased the centralisation of healthcare provision in the federal government, before which it was more dispersed among the states. Some even suspect, with good reason, that Obamacare was merely a precursor to what said progressives really want, which is a single-payer system and the federal government funding all healthcare in the USA.

So having demanded that people’s healthcare is placed into the hands of a very few people in the federal government, the progressives are now complaining of the impact these people are having on their healthcare. Well, what did they expect?

Here’s what they expected: that those very few people wielding disproportionate influence over everyone’s lives think exactly like they do and, in this particular case, share the same sort of genitals. Better still, it will be they themselves who wield this power over everyone else.

We have a similar situation in the UK with the junior doctors, nurses, and everyone else permanently protesting at the supposedly harsh treatment the incumbent health minister is dishing out that week, particularly if he or she is Tory. They complain that government ministers are clueless about healthcare issues but at the same time vehemently insist that the government remains in charge of healthcare. Their entire existence revolves around living in hope that one day a health minister will turn up and do exactly as they want him to. You can say exactly the same for teachers in Britain too, only exchanging health minister for education minister.

It never occurs to these people when they insist power is centralised in the hands of a few people that one day those people might not be the ones you like. If feminists in the USA don’t like a handful of white men deciding whether or not insurance companies should be compelled to cover pregnancies, they shouldn’t have insisted that this is something to be decided by a handful of politicians in the first place.

Ryancare and Brexit

In the run-up to the 2016 US Presidential Election and the period immediately after it, I often referred to parallels that I thought I could see between the situation in the United States and that in Britain surrounding Brexit. And I think I’ve spotted another one.

Firstly, let me say that Trump has made an utter arse of himself over this healthcare bill: he is supposed to be the master deal maker and he’s now resorting to blaming the Democrats for not supporting what the media are now calling Ryancare. This will reflect badly on Trump, as it should, because he was in charge and he backed it. But other than that, this doesn’t really have much to do with Trump.

From what I can tell, Ryancare was a complete disaster: it didn’t address any of the fundamental problems with Obamacare, nor did it address any of the underlying issues with American healthcare that existed before the Affordable Care Act. If it looked like something thrown together in a hurry for the sake of being able to wave something around as an alternative to Obamacare, that’s because it was just that. The question is why.

If we are to believe the words that come out of their mouths, the Establishment Republicans were vehemently opposed to Obamacare and longed for the day they could repeal it. But if that were the case, they would have spent the necessary time and effort to come up with a viable alternative and presented that to the public loudly and often during those five or six years that they were in opposition and Obamacare was in force. Only they didn’t: for all their talk in the election about repealing Obamacare, when it came to the job of actually coming up with an alternative, they didn’t have a clue. And the reason for this is the Establishment Republicans never had any intention of repealing Obamacare: sure, they liked to use it as a stick with which to bash Obama, but they believed they’d either lose the election and not have to deliver on any promises, or that they could simply fudge their way through if and when they had to. I suspect the Establishment Republicans are terrified at having to come up with a genuine alternative because it will involve hard work and taking on the enormously powerful vested interests that make providing healthcare in America almost impossible.

The irony in all of this is that Trump won the Republican nomination mainly because conservatives in America were utterly fed up with Republican politicians saying one thing in public and then quietly going along with whatever the Democrats had in mind. The Establishment Republicans gave the impression they were in it not to lead and to govern but to enjoy the fruits of high office and the trappings of power, and if that meant staying in opposition but not rocking any progressive boats, so be it. So it’s hardly surprising that a lot of Republicans refused to back the mess that was to be Ryancare, they might be the ones who understand why the mainstream GOP is so detested by its base right now. I am glad this bill has failed because it would solve nothing and further entrench the Republicans as the party that cannot govern properly and can only tinker around the edges of the disastrous policies they inherit from the Democrats. Trump’s failure was to back this train-wreck and stake personal political capital on it instead of ordering the Republicans to go away and do what they should have done years ago: draw up a viable alternative.

The parallel with Brexit is that, just as the Establishment Republicans never wanted to repeal Obamacare and were wholly unprepared to do so when asked, David Cameron’s government was similarly caught out when the referendum went the opposite way it was supposed to. A serious, competent Prime Minister would have put in place a plan for both outcomes, and not get taken wholly by surprise by something they really ought to have considered, if not seen coming a mile off. Sure, I get that he resigned because he didn’t feel he could lead Britain out of Europe, but as the head of government in charge of the country his resignation should have been part of a plan which had been thought through in advance. He wouldn’t have had to publicise these plans in advance, but he ought to have had one, and he didn’t.

The reason he didn’t have a plan, and nor did anyone in the Conservative party, was because they were happy with the cosy status-quo which provided them with wealth, power, and privilege. For all their sniping about X, Y, and Z our Establishment politicians knew that those on the opposition benches and in the ivory towers of the EU were really their partners in crime in this great conspiracy to stitch up the public and keep the gravy train rolling. Which is exactly how the Establishment Republicans see the Democrats, and vice versa.

The only problem is, the citizenry, at least in part, has now woken up to it and is seeing how the game is played. Hence Brexit and hence Trump, and now the Establishment politicians are letting us all know who their real enemy is: us.

On that Wire-Tapping Claim

Well fancy that:

Post-election communications of Donald Trump’s team were swept up in an “incidental collection” by intelligence agencies, a Republican lawmaker says.

Having had his claims that his communications were being monitored ridiculed by all and sundry, and the BBC telling us over and over that his accusations were unsubstantiated, we now find out that Trump was actually having his communications monitored.

Sure, his communications might be collected “incidentally”, but they have nonetheless been collected. That somebody is killed in the collateral damage of an air strike on a military target doesn’t mean they have been murdered in cold blood, but it does not make the person any less dead. Naturally, this story has disappeared from the BBC’s front page and is now buried in the US news section. The Narrative must be maintained, and truth and impartiality be damned.

Bulgarians with knives found in forest, Trump to blame.

This article appeared in my Facebook feed, and is a good example of how not to do journalism:

NEAR MALKO TARNOVO, Bulgaria — Figures in camouflage and ski masks gather at a fishing lodge. Many are armed with long knives, bayonets and hatchets.

The 35 men and women are on the hunt in Strandzha Massif, a forested mountain range on Bulgaria’s border with Turkey. Migrants trying to cross into Europe are their prey.

Patches on their irregular uniforms — a coat of arms bearing a snarling wolf’s head framed by Cyrillic text — proclaim them to be members of the Bulgarian National Movement Shipka, abbreviated in Bulgarian as “BNO Shipka.”

Okay, I’m hooked. Sounds like a right nasty bunch. From here I expect to read about what they have done, what effect they’re having on the migrants in the area, perhaps even an interview with some of the migrants who have encountered these vigilantes. I’m sure there are some good stories to be had there. Has anyone been killed? Wounded? Forced to seek an alternative route into Europe?

Ah wait, I’m being awfully old fashioned, aren’t I? This is the real story:

Members of the paramilitary organization form into ranks as their leader, Vladimir Rusev, speaks. A former colonel who says he fought in Chechnya as a volunteer alongside Russians, Rusev declares his support for a man they admire: President Donald Trump.

“The CIA is trying to undermine Trump,” said Rusev, a compact 58-year-old with a neat mustache and short-cropped hair. “They want to destroy him. We offer our support to him.”

Trump’s hard-line stance on immigration and vocal criticism of Islam finds an appreciative audience here.

This was the journalist’s brief: go and find these nutjobs in the Bulgarian forest and see if you can get one of them to say something positive about Trump. Presumably had Hillary won, this whole situation wouldn’t be happening.

Most BNO Shipka members are friendly, courteous and open.

It’s funny how often this happens, isn’t it? Lefty journalist meets with supposed right-wing nutjobs and finds them rather agreeable. Didn’t Laurie Penny have one such revelation recently, and then found herself pilloried for “humanising” Trump supporters? Contrast the description of the BNO Shipka members above with those protesting on US campuses, for example.

“I’m not nationalistic or anything like that. I’m just a patriot,” said Nikolai Ivanov, a 34-year-old who was one of the group’s founding members in 2014.

“Many of these immigrants are not just some guys who are trying to run away from war. They are from age 17 to 35, with good physiques and training,” Ivanov added. “It’s not a problem that they are Muslims. The problem is it’s a different civilization. They don’t think like us, they have a totally different view about life, about everything.”

Why, it’s almost as if when politicians, the media, and other branches of the establishment refuse to allow discussions on such matters as immigration and Islam, vigilante groups form. But hey, let’s blame Trump.

The FBI and Political Campaigning

Until the news of some Irish terrorist dying this morning displaced it, the BBC once again ran an anti-Trump opinion piece as its main story of the day:

After a bit of grandstanding on the part of the top members of the House Intelligence Committee and a warm-up act from National Security Agency head Mike Rogers, Mr Comey led with the big news of the day.

“I have been authorised by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign, and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts,” he said.

That there is an investigation isn’t exactly breaking news – the BBC’s Paul Wood reported on it in early January – but official acknowledgement is a significant development.

Well, yes. Some of us are wondering when all those making noises about Russia and the 2016 Presidential Election are going to put up or shut up. So far it’s been nothing but rumour, innuendo, and hearsay. We’ve not even been told exactly what Russia is supposed to have done and the mechanism by which this is supposed to have unduly influenced the election. I’d have thought this would be a good starting point before anyone worries about “links” between “individuals associated with the Trump campaign” and the Russian government. But this isn’t so much an investigation as a political campaign.

The fact that his investigation first began in July, during the heat of the 2016 election campaign, will likely leave Democrats howling. They will contrast Mr Comey’s wide-ranging comments on the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server with his until-recent silence surrounding the Trump-related inquiry.

I am sure many people have noticed the contrast between the FBI’s treatment of Hillary over her email server and the noise being made over Trump’s alleged connections to Russia. Only it won’t be the contrast the BBC thinks it is.

Mr Rogers also said that the intelligence community stands behind the declassified report it issued in early January that concluded that the Russia government attempted to influence the US election in a way that helped Mr Trump’s candidacy.

The report which was full of woolly innuendo and contained no proper description of what this “influence” entailed, let alone any evidence for it?

The other big revelation of the day was how thoroughly both Mr Comey and Mr Rogers debunked the president-tweeted allegation that Barack Obama or his Justice Department had authorised the wiretapping of Trump Tower.

“With respect to the president’s tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration,” Mr Comey said, “I have no information that supports those tweets. And we have looked carefully inside the FBI.”

Well, the allegation will only have been thoroughly debunked if their denial is believed. Perhaps Trump wasn’t wiretapped and he made it all up, I’m quite happy to believe that. But if he was telling the truth, could we rely on the FBI in its current form not to mislead the public, e.g. by using an extremely narrow definition of “wiretapping” to sidestep the allegation? There’s been so much bullshit emitted that nobody knows who or what to believe any more.

Indeed, the ability to order such surveillance was outside the powers of any president, Mr Comey said.

Which, as Streetwise Professor noted at the time, is the sort of statement a lawyer comes out with. Sure, Obama did not have the power to authorise any surveillance, but that in itself does not make surveillance of Trump on behalf of Obama an impossibility. As a debunking, it probably only satisfies those who are politically opposed to Trump from the outset. Like the BBC, for instance.

Mr Rogers also dismissed allegations that Mr Obama had bypassed domestic surveillance controls by requesting that British intelligence oversee the operation, noting that the accusation “frustrates a key ally of ours”.

That’s neither here nor there, though: GCHQ would be equally frustrated if the accusations were true. Again, why the red herrings?

Although the FBI case has been open since July, Mr Comey said the effort is still in its early stages.

“For counterintelligence investigations, that’s a fairly short period of time,” he said.

That has to be more than a bit disconcerting to the Trump White House, which has been knocked off course by this Russia story since practically the moment Mr Trump took the oath of office. And while the administration seems intent on cracking down on unauthorised leaks out of this investigation, their efforts are unlikely to succeed.

A one-two punch of those revelations and any new developments in the FBI investigation is likely to keep the Trump team off balance for quite some time.

And finally we’re getting to the real story. This investigation is not about rooting out nefarious Russian plots to throw the US election, it is to ensure the Trump administration is so bogged down in “scandal” that it can’t get on with the business of running the country and, in the hopes of Trump’s political opponents, makes his position untenable. As has been pointed out many times before, this whole “Russia hacked the election” story is simply the one that his opponents picked as the most likely to generate the greatest volume of noise, having tried sexism, misogyny, vote-rigging, and fake news already. Trump’s opponents – the Democrats, most of the Republicans, the media, and anyone foreign – believe that by making as much froth as possible they can spin this into a scandal and plant the idea in the public’s minds that this is the next Watergate. They hope that people will think there is no smoke without fire and gain the impression that Trump is hopelessly compromised and should resign or be impeached, mere months into his tenure. This is why the BBC is running story after story about this, it is merely playing its part as political opposition to Trump.

The interesting question is how effective this will be. These are exactly the same people taking exactly the same approach they did during the election itself, and enough Americans were sufficiently disgusted at what they saw that they voted for Trump anyway. It’s hard to believe these tactics are working any better now. Sure, those who were already opposed to Trump will buy wholesale into this pantomime, but I can’t see anyone who held their nose and voted for Trump to escape the Establishment’s vice-grip on American politics thinking they have not been vindicated.

As has been noted before, the establishment politicians, media, and others appear hell-bent on making America ungovernable in the delusional belief that they can unseat Trump, get their hands on the levers of power again, and everything will go back to normal. They honestly think that it is merely the flesh-and-blood Trump that is preventing them from going back to the cosy status-quo where Democrats did whatever they want and Republicans meekly went along with it through fear the press would call them racist.

But those days are gone, and if Trump vanishes in a puff of smoke tomorrow the social forces that put him there will remain, and they won’t be in the mood to be ignored any more. Sure, half the country might endorse the any-means-necessary approach to securing political victory even if it destroys the nation in the process, but the other half won’t, not now.

But what would happen, [Lawfare blog editor Benjamin] Wittes wondered, if Mr Comey’s FBI investigation is turning up real evidence?

Well, indeed what? Trump’s going to get impeached because “former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort…had ties to pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians”? What’s the end-game, here? If there was serious wrongdoing it would have been described already and evidence provided. If the Establishment and their pro-Obama allies in the various intelligence agencies are going to bring down a sitting president over this kind of nonsense, and the American public accept it, then they deserve everything they’ve got coming to them. My guess is they won’t.

Martin Schulz

Herr Schulz seems to be a tad confused:

The candidate named by Germany’s Social Democrats to challenge Chancellor Angela Merkel, Martin Schulz, has vowed to fight populism if his party wins the elections due in September.

At an SPD party meeting in Berlin, he denounced Eurosceptics and the “racist” rhetoric of US President Donald Trump.

Mr Schultz also said that as leader of the EU Parliament he had always stood up “to those who attempt to destroy this project of unity”.

“Those people find in me a determined opponent,” he added.

Referring to Donald Trump, he denounced what he called the president’s “misogynistic, anti-democratic and racist” rhetoric.

What does any of this have to do with Germany? Is Trump running for office there? Or is that all it takes to win votes in Germany, parrot what global lefties are saying about Trump? God help them if he wins.

Francis Turner has more on Schulz here.

The Dutch Decide

I feel some people may be getting a bit ahead of themselves regarding the election results in The Netherlands:

Dutch people rejected “the wrong kind of populism”, Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said, as he celebrated victory in Wednesday’s election.

“The Netherlands said ‘Whoa!'” he declared after his centre-right VVD party’s lead positioned him for a third successive term as prime minister.

French President Francois Hollande said he had won a “clear victory against extremism”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed a “very pro-European result, a clear signal… and a good day for democracy” and her chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, tweeted: “The Netherlands, oh the Netherlands you are a champion!”

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy praised Dutch voters for their “responsibility”

For sure, Geert Wilders didn’t win outright, and nor did his Freedom Party even come close to doing so, but they came second with a seat count of 20 up from 15, which is an increase of a third. The mistake I think people like Hollande and Merkel, and possibly even Rutte, are making is believing the policies of the Freedom Party have been overwhelmingly rejected and can safely be ignored from hereon.

They would do well to remember that the referendum on Brexit was brought about by a centre-right Conservative government which found itself under considerable pressure on the single issue of Europe by UKIP. In the previous UK general election, which took place in 2015, UKIP won a single seat on 12.7% of the vote (the third highest). The Tories trounced them on every measure, but were still concerned enough to promise a referendum on Europe. And we know how things went from there: despite nobody really voting for UKIP in massive numbers, plenty turned out to vote to leave the EU. And now it’s the Conservative’s job to pull Britain out, and nothing to do with UKIP or their erstwhile leader Nigel Farage.

Wilders’ Freedom Party has pulled in 13.1% of the vote, but that doesn’t tell the whole story: in order to limit the damage posed by Wilders, Rutte’s VVD party has had to lurch to the right in a similar way that the Tories in the UK had to agree to a referendum on the EU. True, Rutte could now backtrack on all his campaign rhetoric but – again as the Tories found out to their dismay – these are issues which don’t simply disappear because the head of a mainstream political party bullshitted his way through an election. There is a good chance that Wilders and his party could wither away, but that depends largely on how Rutte governs from hereon. And this is going to be interesting:

As parliamentary seats are allocated in exact proportion to a party’s vote share, the VVD will need to go into coalition with three other parties.

Mr Rutte has spoken of a “zero chance” of working with Mr Wilders’ PVV, and will look instead to the Christian Democrats and D66, which are both pro-EU.

So the Dutch political establishment is going to ignore a rather large and inconvenient chunk of the population who are het up about one or two rather key issues, and instead will attempt to continue with business as usual? Yeah, that’ll work out well.

We’ve seen this before, twice: the EU referendum was never supposed to happen, with all right-thinking political parties fully subscribed to the notion that membership of the EU was such an obvious benefit that it wasn’t even worth discussing. And then we had the referendum itself in which the entire political establishment voted one way while the population voted the other. Whoops.

Then there was the US Presidential Election which was supposed to be Hillary Clinton versus Jeb Bush arguing only over “approved” issues and utterly ignoring things like immigration, blue collar jobs, and abuse of government powers. Only things didn’t quite go according to plan, did they?

Just because the Netherlands avoided such an upset yesterday, that does not necessarily mean that the political establishment is not in its arrogance going to lay the very foundations for a populist revolt at some point in the future. Rutte and his pals may well ignore Wilders and his party, but they would do well to start listening to those who voted for him. I suspect I might be saying similar things about Marine Le Pen later on this year, too.

Two Allegations, No Evidence

Reporting on Trump’s allegations of wiretapping, the BBC says:

The Republican president, who faces intense scrutiny over alleged Russian interference in support of his presidential bid, made the claims in a series of tweets on Saturday.

He offered no evidence to support his allegation that phones at Trump Tower were tapped last year.

Perhaps the BBC could have also mentioned that there is no evidence to support the allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, either. So we’re looking at two sets of allegations, neither of which have been backed up by evidence.

But it’s interesting to look at the allegations in each case. When Russia was accused of “hacking” the 2016 election a lot of people asked, quite reasonably, “What exactly do you mean by that?” Nobody came forward and gave a clear answer to this question. Two or three months after the allegations were first aired I still don’t know what, specifically, the Russians are supposed to have done. That’s why Trump’s reaction has largely been “WTF are you on about?” His opponents attacked Flynn who got fired on the spot, probably for bullshitting his management rather than breaking any laws or ethical codes. They’ve had another go against Sessions, with the media spinning like fury to portray the Attorney General as having lied under oath. As Streetwise Professor explains, he did no such thing:

The entire Sessions imbroglio smacks of scumbag lawyer tactics. The Unfunny Clown, Senator Al Franken, asked (in a convoluted way) a very narrow question (which was related to an even narrower written question in a set of interrogatories) about Session’s interactions with the Russians. Sessions answered the question–which was not an unconditional query about contacts with the Russians, but which related to very specific types of contacts and discussions. Franken and the Democrats then accused Sessions of perjury because the Senator (and then-Attorney General designate) had met with the Russian ambassador to the US on two occasions. Asking a narrow question, and then claiming the answer was a false response to a broader question (that was not asked) is a sleazy lawyer trick.

It is a certainty that were there any hard evidence of allegations of Russian influence in the 2016 election and links between Trump and the Russian government they’d have been plastered all over every news channel and newspaper long ago. As things stand they haven’t even been able to get the allegations properly specified. This is why Trump has been able to impudently wave them away, although the daily media storm will certainly be hampering his ability to do his job.

Perhaps Trump thought that if this is the way things were going to carry on in Washington then he’d sling some mud of his own. Perhaps he pulled the allegations of Obama wiretapping him out of his arse, but even if that is true he has at least had the brains to accuse his opponents of something specific and verifiable, rather than woolly concepts such as “influence” and “possible links”.

And despite the lack of evidence, the reactions themselves are telling a story. As SWP notes in the same post:

I will just mention one fact that strongly supports the veracity of Trump’s allegation: namely, the very narrow–and lawyerly–“denials” emanating from the Obama camp.

Obama and his surrogates–notably the slug (or is he a cockroach?) Ben Rhodes–harrumph that Obama could not unilaterally order electronic surveillance. Well, yes, it is the case that Obama did not personally issue the order: the FISA court did so. But even if that is literally correct, it is also true that the FISA court would not unilaterally issue such an order: it would only do so in response to a request from the executive branch. Thus, Obama is clearly implicated even if he did not issue the order. He could have ordered his subordinates to make the request to the court, or could have approved a subordinate’s request to seek an order. Maybe he merely hinted, a la Henry II–“will no one rid me of this turbulent candidate?” (And “turbulent” is a good adjective to apply to Trump.) But regardless, there is no way that such a request to the court in such a fraught and weighty matter would have proceeded without Obama’s acquiescence.

And from the BBC:

FBI director James Comey has rejected Donald Trump’s claim that his predecessor, Barack Obama, ordered a wiretap of his phone before he was elected US president, US media say.

Mr Comey reportedly asked the US justice department (DOJ) to publicly reject Saturday’s allegation, according to the New York Times and NBC.

He is said to have asked for this because the allegation falsely insinuated that the FBI broke the law.

The DOJ has not commented.

US media quoted officials as saying that Mr Comey believed there was no evidence to support Mr Trump’s allegation.

From an FBI director this is a startling rebuke of a sitting president and Mr Comey will be under pressure from Democrats to voice it publicly, the BBC’s Nick Bryant reports from Washington.

The mainstream media is reporting unnamed “officials” relaying the words of the FBI director which amount to a “startling rebuke” of Trump. If the allegations are untrue, why all the cloak-and-dagger stuff?

Ask yourself, who seems to be responding with the more convincing demeanour: those accused of having “ties” with Russia, or those accused of illegally wiretapping Trump?