Thanks to The Donald, the U.S. goes further down the tubes

March 4, 2017 • 10:00 am

As a secular Jew (yes, Dave Silverman, we exist), I have the right to utter a loud OY!

Donald Trump is now trumpeting loudly—on Twitter, of course—that his campaign phone lines were tapped by Obama. Here are four tweets in reverse order, and OY, are they strong! McCarthyism! Obama is a “Bad (or sick) guy!” And of course there’s the misspelled “tapp”.




Is any of this true? It doesn’t seem so. No phones were tapped, though there was surveillance of computers. As the Washington Post and Politico report, it appears that, under Obama, the Justice Department monitored a computer server located in New York’s Trump Tower to see if there were surreptitious links to Russian banks. As for the legality of monitoring computers, Trump should be asking his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. As Politico reported:

A New York Times article published on Jan. 19 – just one day before Trump’s inauguration – reported that U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies had intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a probe of links between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.

There has been no definitive reporting, however, that any phone lines belonging to the Trump campaign were tapped.

And from The Washington Post:

“It’s highly unlikely there was a wiretap,” said one former senior intelligence official familiar with surveillance law who spoke candidly on the condition of anonymity. The former official continued: “It seems unthinkable. If that were the case by some chance, that means that a federal judge would have found that there was either probable cause that he had committed a crime or was an agent of a foreign power.”

A wiretap cannot be directed at a U.S. facility, the official said, without finding probable cause that the phone lines or Internet addresses were being used by agents of a foreign power — or by someone spying for or acting on behalf of a foreign government. “You can’t just go around and tap buildings,” the official said.

In my entire life I’ve never imagined that a.) we’d have a loose cannon like this in the White House, one who goes flinging unsubstantiated accusations at former Presidents, and b.) that there would be governance by pronouncements on social media like Twitter.  Imagine a President calling his predecessor a “bad (or sick) guy”, and with no evidence to back that up! Clearly, Trump is trying to divert attention from his own failing agenda, and the debacle that has been his cabinet selections, to unevidenced missteps of others.

This is the man who controls the armed forces and our nuclear weapons, and has the power to order their use. Lord knows what’s in the offing . . . .

98 thoughts on “Thanks to The Donald, the U.S. goes further down the tubes

  1. I expected you would have to mention this one. Bat shit crazy is my verdict. This is the guy pretending to be the president of the country. This guy is not only stupid, insane and without evidence, he is absolutely dangerous. This is impeachment stuff, folks and it’s too bad we have no congress to take action.

    1. Yup, “bat shit crazy” is the only way to describe it. Oh yes, and also scary.

      Everything Trump says is really describing himself: bad/sick.

      He’s probably seething about the award Obama just received too.

    2. Yeah. I thought he’d already lost the plot, but it seems he still had some more unwinding to do.

  2. Technically he was wiretapped – all Americans are -thanks to NSA mass surveillance.

    And this is the issue with giving governments the right to spy on their citizens without any oversight. What is to prevent future Presidents – or even Trump – from spying on political rivals in the future? This technology will increasingly be abused.

    The road to ruin was opened with the Patriot Act in 2001. It’s only gone downhill from there, with government increasingly granting itself more power.

    1. That is simply wrong. You can go all the way back to Watergate and Nixon if you want. That is why we have protections today. The President (Obama) could not wiretap the Trump tower or any America with a probably cause and permission from the federal court.

      1. The NSA captures any and all digital information.

        It’s likely that the contents of Hillary’s private server are archived in an NSA database somewhere.

        The NSA sweeps everything up. It’s automatic. Everyone of you – all Americans – are under constant surveillance and all of that info is stored on NSA hard drives.

        Specific wiretaps? No. Mass data collection and surveillance – yes.

        1. There was a FISA warrant (or whatever it’s called) in this case, obviously approved by a judge.

          1. And where is the proof that Obama went to court to get a warrant to tap into Trump. To any who think otherwise and want to just spread the Donald crap, put up or shut up.

            1. I’m not saying it was Obama. I don’t even know if he knew about it. There was/is an investigation related to payments made to Russia by one of the internal security agencies. They were looking from the other end, and got a FISA warrant to monitor a computer in Trump Tower. There’s a lot more in that building than Trump. No one I heard in the media said that computer belonged to Trump, but I’ve been asleep in NZ and don’t know today’s developments. From my pov the Trump tweets are the first things saying it was his computer.

              1. Yes, I should have directed my comment at the conspiracy specialist above. Of course the NSA will already have this on their hard drive and sending it to Obama.

    2. @Cindy The NSA does NOT “capture any & all digital data” – the resources do not exist to make such a thing possible & anyway much digital traffic is encrypted gobbledegook. They certainly can’t see & record the data stored ‘behind’ the firewalls of the hundreds of millions of U.S. home computers, business computers & servers.

      You are also incorrect regarding your “technically wiretapping” comment – this mass surveillance that you speak of by the NSA is not wiretapping – which is the monitoring of ‘phone conservations by a 3rd party. Mass surveillance wiretapping of the U.S. population is not feasible

      What the NSA was doing [& kind of still is doing – see article below] is collecting indiscriminately nearly all domestic ‘phone call metadata. That is the phone numbers of both parties, the SIM card IMSI number if used, I.D. number of any pre-paid ‘calling cards’ if used, date, time & duration of the call. That’s it – no ‘phone convos are captured

      So these comments of yours are wrong:

      “The NSA captures ANY AND ALL digital information.”

      “It’s likely that the contents of Hillary’s private server are archived in an NSA database somewhere”

      “The NSA sweeps EVERYTHING up.”

      Rubbish I’m afraid. The article below is closer to the truth & of course we can rely on the limits of technology & the general, FAMED incompetence of these agencies [such as the FBI having virtually no Arab-speaking staff prior to 2001 & even FIVE YEARS after 9/11 they only had around 50!]

    3. and it’s also true that this was EXTENDED in the last weeks of the Obama presidency. Specifically raw data without filtering due to US citizenship (illegal) was distributed by the NSA including to 16 other nations’ intelligence agencies.

      His wording may be a bit wild but Trump has a point… though I doubt he will pull it back (but then again neither would Hillary).

      1. (And I an only speculate WHY Obama decided to make that change at the height of this political confrontation)

        Got a good guess, though.

        1. A good guess? No, you don’t. You have some wild, unsupported conspiracy guess, promoted by nutty, right wing websites.

  3. There seems to be no sewer of infamy into which this vile creature will not enthusiastically hurl himself.

    May his impeachment come soon, even if it installs the Pence creature.

    1. There will be no impeachment, that’s simply a pipe dream. Republicans in Congress don’t care about all the background noise Trump provides, as long as he rubber-stamps their agenda.

      1. Oh, the congressional Republicans have no loyalty to Trump personally. They just dread the wrath of his hardcore, energized alt-right base. The most solemn fear of a Republican congressperson holding a safe seat is to be “primaried” by a candidate coming from his or her far right.

        The Congressional Republicans themselves would love to be rid of Trump and to have a President Pence — someone who is completely simpatico with their program and would avidly sign whatever bills they could ram past a senate filibuster.

        If the Donald’s approval rating slips low enough, he’ll have no one watching his back on Capitol Hill.

        1. This, I am afraid, is a forlorn hope as well, since it doesn’t matter how unpopular Trump becomes, only how unpopular he becomes with the GOP base. So far, he’s very popular with them. It’s difficult for me to imagine what he could do that would change that. If he paid Russian agents cash to assassinate Chuck Schumer, I honestly believe that 50% of the GOP would immediately start arguing that Schumer had it coming.

  4. LIke so much flamboyant Trumery, this is not stupid. It is, as usual, deliberate distraction from a real issue, so that Trump can claim to be the victim in the emerging scandal of his Russian connections, and his minions’ lies about them

      1. Trump is getting edgy about the revelations of his Russian connection, so he is setting up his followers to believe this is all just fabricated by Democrats.

  5. This is the man who controls the armed forces and our nuclear weapons, and has the power to order their use.

    So just supposing that Trump fell out with Putin, and in a fit of pique ordered a first strike on Russia.

    Would the military say: “You know Mr President, that really is not a good idea”, or would they say: “Yes Sir, Mr President”?

    1. Don’t be silly. Bullies only pick on little guys. Little guys like North Korea. I read the other day that Trump has commissioned a Pentagon report setting out all the options, with nothing ruled out.
      You see the way that he milked the Yemen raid during his speech to Congress. It was utterly sickening. And waht was the part which meant most to him? – The two minute standing ovation for Maureen / Ryan and God (or as Trump would have thought, himself!). What Trump would ideally like is a big “Mission Accomplished” military victory. (After all it didn’t do Mrs Thatcher much harm. It gave her a landslide victory at the general election in the following year.)
      From this side of the Pond this is beginning to get scary.

  6. To temper this just a bit, I would propose that Trump doesn’t know shit from shinola about ANYTHING.

    NSA, CIA, FBI, ATT, Comcast – it’s all the same to Trump. This is not a nuanced guy!

    It’s quite reasonable (in a Bizarro World sort of way) for Trump to consider an investigation into Russian hacking and contacting as an Obama wiretap operation.

    I am unable to imagine that Trump has the foggiest notion of the laws or methods around wiretapping. Maybe Trump was thinking of “Three Days of the Condor” imagining Robert Redford stealing a toolbox out of a repair truck and sneaking into Trump Tower.

    And, finally, “McCarthyism?” I mean, WHAT THE HELL?

  7. It appears to me that Trump suffers from Obama’s continued high popularity, compared to his own miserable ratings.

    Many things he said or did seemed like the harbinger of his downfall, and yet nothing brought him down. But this might be it — combined with the flurry of problems already in the air (especially the Russian Connection).

    I know little of Pence, but what I know makes this alternative not much better. Replacing a bumbling fool with a committed ideologue is really like jumping from a frying pan into the fire. Also, Americans are then ruled by somebody nobody really elected, and by absolute voter approval is even further behind Clinton.

    I don’t say this often, or at all, but with great sympathies: You’re f*cked.

    1. How is it that a governor of a state can make himself available to run for high national office, without getting fired for not showing up for work? A member of “the working class,” sanitation worker or nurses aide or school teacher, e.g., can’t get by with that.

      1. For one thing, state governors (and presidents, for that matter) and even, to a certain extent, the legislatures aren’t really necessary for the day-to-day running of a state or country. The real work is done by the civil servants of the bureaucracy. So if a governor or state legislator takes time out to run for another office the routine tasks that keep the government going keep getting done. Legislators, governors and presidents are doers of deeds but the bureaucrats are doers of tasks. A deed done seldom needs doing again, but tasks return to be done anew every day.

        1. Your analysis is most reasonable.

          Would you say that the task-doer is more indispensable than the deed-doer?

            1. Deed-doers are not necessarily good administrators – we have a perfect example of that squatting in the White House right now. The task-doers know what is expected of them and how to go about it. All the executive orders and grand gestures in the world don’t mean much when the garbage starts piling up and the mail doesn’t get delivered.

              1. I wasn’t implying that the deed-doer is a good administrator, and yes, the Tweeter-in-chief definitely is not.
                So if he sets the agenda of deporting immigrants and cutting environmental regulations above all else for our task-doers, they may do a great job on the tasks they’re given, but the end result will not be great.

  8. I have degrees in English and Linguistics; I am a former writing teacher and technical writer. As such, I cannot respect someone who holds a public office who does not know how to spell. Intelligent people make tipo typograf typographik typos; stupid people don’t know how to spell.

    1. I dunno. As Twain said, it’s a damn poor mind can’t come up with but one way to spell a word. 🙂

        1. If it’s Twain for the “win” on misquotations, Churchill and Yogi come in for a close “place” and “show” — quite the trifecta, those three!

      1. “I dunno. As Twain said, it’s a damn poor mind can’t come up with but one way to spell a word.”

        He isn’t coming up with more than one way, he keeps coming up with one wrong way. :p

  9. Something (lawful) must be done about Donald, before he exhausts and gaslights us all. The nation, and the world, can’t take four full years of this.

    You can always tell what Trump has been up to by what he accuses others of — whether it’s promulgating “fake news,” trying to rig an election, or cozying up to Wall Street. It’s all pure projection on his part. These tweets suggest he’s formed a Nixonian “plumbers” unit to plug his administration’s leaks.

    As a secular goy, I fully endorse your loud OY!

    1. Well, we could sneak him out behind the huge wall he is going to build so he could never find his way back. Oh, wait a minute, I thought you said awful, not lawful.

  10. It’s a warning to Obama. Like *he said* punch back twice as hard.

    If you want to run a coup from your house in DC, here’s what you’ll be dealing with from me.

    A special prosecutor for it would be entertaining.

    The gloves are coming off.

    No more feigned niceness, no more pretending there is honor, if differences, in Obama. The Unwritten Code of Conduct has been torn.

    I believe this is a good thing. No illusions.

    I don’t think Obama has ever had someone come at him like Trump will.

    Obama’s pride will require him to not leave the rebukes to his people this time– he will want to mix it up himself.

    If you’ve never been in a street-fight you might want to think twice about getting into one.

    1. We know Valerie Jerret move in with the Obama’s.

      We know that a FISA warrant was sought by the obama admin in June and was denied. Why? What was the justification for that request? By whom?

      We know that the FISA warrant was resubmitted in October and granted. What was altered/added/modified from the original June request? Was a different FISA judge sought? Did someone go “judge shopping”?

      We know that obama, in the closing days of his administration, radically changed the rules for sharing of raw intel captured with US Citizens names NOT redacted to a much broader swath of intelligence agencies and personnel (from dozens into the hundreds) AND that a much broader swath of individuals would have access to US citizen names in the raw data (redaction would occur later in the “process”)

      We know that in the final months of the obama administration hundreds of obama loyalists were moved into “career” roles in key agencies which would ensure their continued presence and access to raw intel/data after Trump was inaugurated.

      We know that obama, in the last week of his administration, quietly (very very quietly) altered the succession rules for which DOJ individual would be the next in line for determining whether or not any special prosecutor would be established and we know that the “new” guy identified as the “next in line” is a hardcore obama/Holder asset. Gee, that’s sounds like something that happens everyday, doesn’t it?

      BTW, buried in Sessions recusal statement is the blurb that the succession for DOJ decision-making in the absence of the AG (for whatever reason, like recusal) is reverting back to Dana Boente, at least until Tuesday morning when the Senate will have it’s hearing/vote on the new Trump guy for that role.

      And we know that we have had unprecedented leaks and coordination between the IC and the NYT amongst others.

      So I guess we’ll just chalk up all these people, their actions and the timing of all this as “coincidence” and get back to our regularly scheduled Trump bashing, eh?

      Not a chance. We are seeing, in real time, an attempted coup.

      And that phrase is not used lightly. This is a coup attempt and we shall see what comes of it.

      1. I’ll still be waiting. If you are getting this stuff from any place with credibility lets hear it. Or is it just another bart report.

      2. The FISA court is composed of seven federal district judges, all selected by Chief Justice John Roberts. Each sits for a seven year term, and one replacement judge is selected by the Chief every year. Where a FISA judge denies a warrant request, the federal agency that submitted the application — generally either the National Security Agency or the FBI — is forbidden from subsequently seeking review of the application from a different judge. Thus, the opportunity for “judge-shopping” is nonexistent.

        Maybe you should do some basic, minimal research before slathering fever-swamp allegations across the comments section.

      3. If what you say is true… to what end?
        If the ultimate to happen is the removal of Trump by impeachment, then there must be some wrongdoing found. Even so, the final outcome would be having Pence as president, which would likely put the Dems in an even worse position, as he doesn’t have Trump’s baggage or bizarre qualities.

        1. Ah yes, well spotted. From a comment posted by one ‘Drago’, if anyone wants to check further.

          This ‘Rick Graham’ has a definite whiff of the trollish about him.


    2. Wow, spoken like an escapee from the Breitbart funny farm, RG.

      “Honor” — don’t make me laugh; Trump wouldn’t know it if it bit him on the ass.

  11. My first thought, on hearing this, was that Trump learned he had been tapped talking with the Russian ambassador about going soft after the election. This is a stupid thing he just might have done. The tweets would have been an attempt to shield himself by attacking the source of the tap. If the tap could be made out to be illegal, maybe it couldn’t be used in court.
    However, it now looks like it was unlikely to have actually happened at all.

  12. The word ‘grave’ springs to mind for some reason.

    Someone is digging his own grave.
    Someone would turn in his grave.
    Someone has made a grave mistake.

  13. Relax, boyz and grls. The idiot has dug himself a very deep hole, and he’s still digging. Eventually gravity will prevail and the vertical tunnel will completely collapse around him.

    Hopefully, Pence will have descended to examine the bottom of the pit at the appropriate moment. And also hopefully, a CNN crew will be present to live stream the glorious event.

    All we can really hope for at this point is that the idiot hasn’t been given the combination to the football by his caretakers.

    1. Do you think he’s digging to Russia (instead of China)? Trump seems to parrot what other idiots have to say (far right and Russia). Someone from Russia accused us of a return to McCarthyism within the last few days. Strange coincidence,eh?!

    2. If Pence knows what’s good for him (and he strikes me as a pol who does), he’ll keep that idiotic, nut-less grin pasted on his mug and wait for the hammer to fall on “the boss.”

  14. I am afraid that this is a variation on Trump’s birth trick. Appeal to the racism of your supporters and your conspiracy theories stand a much better chance of being accepted by them.

  15. I’ll try again…
    As time goes by the evangelical support for Trump makes more sense. Trump may be the most god-like president ever. He’s petty, spiteful, vain, incoherent, and incomprehensible. If only he also failed to exist.

      1. Let’s not forget lust, gluttony, and mental sloth — Trump’s got the Seven Deadly Sins covered like a tarp.

        1. Sounds like Mr Bad Example by Warren Zevon:

          “I’m very well acquainted with the seven deadly sins
          I keep a busy schedule trying to fit them in
          I’m proud to be a glutton, and I don’t have time for sloth
          I’m greedy, and I’m angry, and I don’t care who I cross”

    1. The thing that’s most concerning (if not outright terrifying) is that so many of Trump’s followers appear to actually see him as an infallible, god-like entity. He is akin to a cult leader now, with unquestioning supporters who are completely, willingly cutting themselves off from any so-called “fake news” information that doesn’t flow directly out of right wing propaganda outlets.

      This will not end well.

    2. O my golly, All — Alpha Neil, veroxitatis, Mr Kukec, Mr Portman, Mr ToddP — yours = a welcomed, clear – cut defining of those Deplorables, er, I mean: of how it is that evangelicals can be (apparently without its being of that nonexistent free – will nature anyhow !) .so willingly. bamboozled in to their own near – necklacing by this Pet Woo – President of theirs.

      Indeed, after listening to some of the comments (on tonight’s network news) from these — the blinkered brainless — who, today, were around the entire countryside rallying on behalf of and to “the defense of” their “God – Prez,” as Alpha Neil and Mr ToddP describe, it is deafening upon my one working eardrum: Mr Donald Trump is an “outright terrifying cult leader” who is not going to be taken down.


  16. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. H.L. Mencken

    1. Mencken would’ve been great on Trump — hell, compared to Trump, William Jennings Bryan comes off like William Gladstone.

  17. Forget America. Forget its Federal law. The civilised World has a real need to know at as early a stage as possible what this dangerous idiot is talking about and to whom.

  18. Long time ago I was in the military for a time. During some of my time there we would be around nuclear weapons, although not like the President has direct control of. We had this thing they called human reliability, and if you did or said anything that seemed odd, they would jerk your human reliability and you were done. You career and job were likely over and you disappeared. Trump is way past this step and needs to have his access to any nuclear weapons removed.

    1. No way could Trump pass the background investigation needed to get an FBI security clearance. But a few thousand disgruntled voters in the Brexit belt (PA, MI, WI) handed this boob the nuclear football. Sheesh.

      1. You know very well what will happen. Donald will slip into the bathroom and lock the door any time he feels the need to dump on someone.

  19. It sounds to me like he’s saying “how else can they know about the secret Russian meetings in my Tower?”

    Certainly the US can wiretap the Russian ambassador.

    I’m waiting to see what “memory” Jeff Sessions has about his secret meeting with the Kislyak on Monday… not knowing whether it’s been recorded or not.

  20. Donald Trump is beginning to unravel like a cheap cardigan. He’s guilty of something and beset at every turn. This is just getting interesting.

    The NSA is welcome to my metadata…i’m not selling out to the Russians.

  21. Do I think the spooks (e.g. NSA) are likely to spy on / wiretap anybody they feel like snooping on, legally or otherwise, any time they feel like it? Yes.

    Do I think they might have snooped on the Drumpf? Very possibly.

    Do I think Obama ordered it? I very much doubt it.

    Would they tell Obama if they had? Probably not.

    Do I think they have a juicy file on Obama / Trump / Hilary / anyone else influential in Washington? Hoover certainly did, does anyone think the practice died with him?


  22. The problem is Trump supporters believe everything Trump says. The ruling members of Congress don’t have the spines to mount any sort of independent investigation.

  23. I agree with you on a lot, sir, but I’m shocked that your response to this news is to critique Trump and excuse actions, under president Obama, of a Justice Department that spied on a presidential candidate…

    1. Well, sir, when you have real evidence (or anybody has real evidence) that Obama and the Justice dept. and a judge okayed the wiretapping, then we’ll talk. In the meantime, have some tea to get over your shock.

  24. IMO, the most amazing thing isn’t even the accusations, startling as they are, but the fact that thirty minutes later he’s Tweeting about the ratings of The Apprentice.

  25. I think the evidence is that Trump didn’t “learn” anything at all here. He is just parroting a Mark Levin theory that he heard earlier that day.

    This is a frequent pattern of his: hear something on TV, tweet about it. Some people have catalogued the long list of Fox news segments followed, 20 minutes later, by a Trump tweet on same topic using the same words.

    A joke I saw yesterday said that Bannon plans to leave the WH and move back to Brietbart so that he can have more influence on the President.

  26. What Trump should have said was that Obama found out that Trumps wires were short circuited, not tapped.

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