On Thursday evening I kept my regular date with "Tucker Carlson Tonight", talking about, of course, the removal of John Brennan's security clearance. Brennan, a man psychologically unfit to be either CIA director or "former CIA director", is now the darling of the left - the people's spook, on whose behalf Senator Blumenthal is arguing that America's founders had cannily foreseen the need for a security clearance. Click below to watch:
Incidentally, that New York Times column by Brennan bears the headline "President Trump's Claims of No Collusion Are Hogwash". The only evidence the ex-Director of Central Intelligence adduces to support his confident declaration is as follows:
The already challenging work of the American intelligence and law enforcement communities was made more difficult in late July 2016...when Mr. Trump, then a presidential candidate, publicly called upon Russia to find the missing emails of Mrs. Clinton. By issuing such a statement, Mr. Trump was not only encouraging a foreign nation to collect intelligence against a United States citizen, but also openly authorizing his followers to work with our primary global adversary against his political opponents.
As anyone who saw that moment on television will know (and as Rush discussed yesterday), Mr Trump was making what those of us outside Brennan's "intelligence community" call a "joke". It is a joke rooted, as all the best ones are, in cold reality - in this case, that due to the indulgence of Brennan and the rest of the Obama Administration, Mrs Clinton's homebrew email server was hacked by foreign intelligence agencies.
Nevertheless, the head of the world's most lavishly funded spy agency is seriously arguing that Trump's joke is evidence that he's guilty of treason. If you've read my book The [Un]documented Mark Steyn (personally autographed copies of which are exclusively available from the SteynOnline bookstore and make a delightful pre-Labor Day gift), you'll be familiar with the following:
I read The Joke, Milan Kundera's first novel, when I was a schoolboy. Bit above my level, but, even as a teenager, I liked the premise. Ludvik is a young man in post-war, newly Communist Czechoslovakia. He's a smart, witty guy, a loyal Party member with a great future ahead of him. His girlfriend, though, is a bit serious. So when she writes to him from her two-week Party training course enthusing about the early-morning calisthenics and the "healthy atmosphere," he scribbles off a droll postcard:
Optimism is the opium of the people! A healthy atmosphere stinks of stupidity! Long live Trotsky! Ludvik.
A few weeks later, he's called before a committee of the District Party Secretariat. He tries to explain he was making a joke. Immediately they remove him from his position at the Students Union; then they expel him from the Party, and the university; and shortly thereafter he's sent to work in the mines. As a waggish adolescent, I liked the absurdity of the situation in which Ludvik finds himself. Later, I came to appreciate that Kundera had skewered the touchiness of totalitarianism, and the consequential loss of any sense of proportion. It was the book I read on the flight to Vancouver, when Maclean's magazine and I were hauled before the British Columbia "Human Rights" Tribunal for the crime of "flagrant Islamophobia." In the course of a week-long trial, the best part of a day was devoted to examining, with the aid of "expert witnesses," the "tone" of my jokes.
And I concluded:
Who would have thought all the old absurdist gags of Eastern Europe circa 1948 would transplant themselves to the heart of the West so effortlessly?
Indeed. It used to be the touchy totalitarians of Communism who demanded secret investigations for unsound jokes. Now ex-spooks do it in the pages of The New York Times - and so-called "liberals" cheer.
~I was very gratified by all those first-year Founding Members of The Mark Steyn Club who've decided to sign up for another twelve months. On the other hand, I've also been delighted by the uptick in new members in recent weeks. So, if you were waiting a year to see if we were in it for the long haul, you can find more details about the Club here - and about our inaugural Club Cruise with me and my special guests here. Or, if you're looking for a present for a Steyn fan, don't forget our limited-time Gift Membership.