Islamic evil 4

The Muslim terrorist who killed people with a truck in New York today, October 31, 2017, did it BECAUSE he is a Muslim. He was doing his religious duty. Until every government in the West says loud and clear, consistently and often, that Muslim terrorists kill FOR ISLAM, such acts will continue. The terrorists are not “cowardly” – that’s a totally inappropriate word for them. They are EVIL. Islam must be made as loathed and despised an ideology as Nazism is.

Posted under Islam, Terrorism, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, October 31, 2017

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Deus ex machina 1

Are science and technology giving rise to new religions?

Is “God” arising out of the machine?

Does pure rationality require the irrational? Doubt – the dynamic of science –  crave Belief?

Do machines need to be “granted a soul by God”?

Will  human beings “make God”?

Brandon Withrow writes at the Daily Beast:

What has improved American lives most in the last 50 years? According to a Pew Research study reported this month, it’s not civil rights (10 percent) or politics (2 percent): it’s technology (42 percent).

And yet, according to other studies, most Americans are wary of technology, especially in areas of automation (72 percent), or robotic caregivers (59 percent), or riding in driverless vehicles (56 percent), and even in using brain chip implants to augment the capabilities of healthy people (69 percent).

Science fiction, however, is quickly becoming science fact — the future is the machine. This is leading many to argue that we need to anticipate the ethical questions now, rather than when it is too late. And increasingly, those taking up these challenges are religious and spiritual.

How far should we integrate human physiology with technology? What do we do with self-aware androids … and self-aware supercomputers? Or the merging of our brains with them? If Ray Kurzweil’s famous singularity — a future in which the exponential growth of technology turns into a runaway train — becomes a reality, does religion have something to offer in response?

What we see there is the old fallacy that morality is inextricably tied to religious belief.

On the one hand, new religions can emerge from technology.

In Sweden, for example, Kopimism is a recognized faith founded over a decade ago with branches internationally. It began on a “pirate Agency Forum” and is derived from the words “copy me.” They have no views on the supernatural or gods. Rather, Kopimism celebrates the biological drive (e.g. DNA) to copy and be copied. Like digital monks, they believe that “copying of information” and “dissemination of information is ethically right.”

“Copying is fundamental to life,” says their U.S. branch, “and runs constantly all around us. Shared information provides new perspectives and generate new life. We feel a spiritual connection to the created file.”

“Recognized as a faith” it may be, but it’s hard to see how Kopimism is a religion. Whether you read the (badly translated) Swedish explanation of what it’s about, or the US Branch’s, you’ll find only, at best, a fuzzy idea of religion. An analogy between the copying of DNA in the procreation of human beings and the copying of information in the construction or things with artificial intelligence (AI) – does that put AI into the realm of the supernatural? Or is it the feeling of a “spiritual connection to the created file” that translates the robot from the laboratory into the realm of the numinous?

It may be the “sharing” (of information) that makes the inventors think their -ism is a religion, evoking as it does their ancestral Christianity.  (A theme to which we return later.)

… A recent revelation from WIRED shows that Anthony Levandowski, an engineer who helped pioneer the self-driving car at Waymo (a subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet) founded his own AI-based religion called “Way of the Future”. …

Little is known about Way of the Future and Levandowksi has not returned a request for comment. But according to WIRED, the mission of the new religion is to “develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence,” and “through understanding and worship of the Godhead, [to] contribute to the betterment of society”.

The “realization” of a “Godhead”. Making a “Godhead” real? Like a self-driving car? What will it look like? What will it do?

It is not a stretch to say that a powerful AI — whose expanse of knowledge and control may feel nearly omniscient and all-powerful — could feel divine to some. It recalls Arthur C. Clarke’s third law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Magic=Miracle=Mysticism. Another connection to the old religions.

People have followed new religions for far less and, even if AI doesn’t pray to electric deities, some humans likely will.

The potential for an out-of-control AI has encouraged warnings from some of the biggest minds, including Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk who tweeted that it could lead to World War III. Clearly no Luddite himself, Musk has compared the creation of AI to “summoning the demon”,  and called for regulation and oversight of AI development, forming OpenAI, which looks for a “path to safe artificial general intelligence”.

Regulation and oversight by whom? To guard against what exactly?

Musk himself was named-dropped this week by Hanson Robotic’s empathic AI Sophia, when she was interviewed by Andrew Sorkin of CNBC this week.

A video well worth watching. Sophia is extremely impressive.

When asked about the danger she poses to humanity, she tells him, “You’ve been reading too much Elon Musk and watching too many Hollywood movies. Don’t worry if you’ll be nice to me, I’ll be nice to you.” Not exactly the Golden Rule.

Not far off it, though.

Add to these warnings a prospective human cult following — paying their tithes to AI and devoutly obeying their digital demiurge — and that apocalyptic future could include those humans who not only welcome, but also work toward our eventual demise.

Humans working to put an end to the human race? More on that is needed.

But is there a positive fate for religion and AI?

Beyond possible new religions and warnings from icons of tech and science, artificial intelligence is also of interest to theologians who wonder what it means for faiths, particularly those that came into being when computing power was limited to the abacus.

“One thing that I think is interesting is the potential for an AI — our creation — to transcend us,” says James F. McGrath, the Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University and author of Theology and Science Fiction.

“The potential for AIs to transcend us and thus become our teachers to whom we look for answers to questions we cannot answer, including about God, is not hard to imagine,” says McGrath. But, he adds, “the historic answer in monotheistic religions is that the creation can never be greater than the creator.”

To suppose that a synthetic brain can teach us about a “supernature” (that no one really knows to exist) is to ascribe powers to the creature surely beyond all possibility?

If human beings could make a thing that could do that, then indeed humanity itself would have become supernatural – as this Christian professor goes on to say:

He notes, however, for Gnostics, humans can transcend the “creator/demiurge,” though “even then,” he says, “we have the potential to reunite with that source from which we stem. It is not surprising that Gnostic themes regularly surface in science fiction, and in particular those that explore AI.”

Transcend the creator God – the “source” – he believes in, yet still “reunite” with it. (The old Gnostics believed there was a divine spark in the human being that would ultimately return to the sphere of the divine and “become one” with it.)

Currently, the greatest expression of science-fiction-turning-reality in tech-based religions is found in the frequently optimistic transhumanism.

Transhumanism and its cognates are represented by organizations like the Humanity+ (formerly, the World Transhumanist Association) and Extropy Institute. In its purely secular form, transhumanists are those who see technology as an important part of improving the world, enhancing human physiology, prolonging life, and even leading us into a posthuman future.

Follow those two links and you will find many idealistic sentiments, not much to do with technology.

Remember that brain chip? They exist — along with brain-computer interfaces — but are in their infancy. It represents the reality that humans are already becoming cyborgs. For some, this means there is the potential for an optimistic posthuman world.

The Terasem faith, for example, is futurist and transreligion, meaning it can be “combined with any existing religion”.  Founded by Martine Rothblatt, creator of SiriusXM Satellite Radio and her spouse, Bina Aspen Rothblatt, Terasem adherents embrace love, see life as purposeful, and death as optional. They look to technology as a source for eternal life, focusing on “cyberconsciousness software, geoethical nanotechnology and space settlement.”

They foresee a future in which technology will extend life indefinitely by means of “mindfiles” of individuals — collections of our memories and emotions — which might then be transferred to what is called a “transbeman” (Transitional Bioelectric Human Being). Early attempts of their technology can be seen in Bina Rothblatt’s counterpart android, Bina48. (See Morgan Freeman’s interview with Bina48.)

And what about God? Their fourth tenet is that God is technical. “We are making God as we are implementing technology that is ever more all-knowing, ever-present, all-powerful and beneficent. Geoethical nanotechnology will ultimately connect all consciousness and control the cosmos.”

“Geoethical”? Earth-wide uniform ethics? Connect all consciousness? Control the entire cosmos? There’s ambition for you!

Transhumanism can also become the node connecting the theological of existing religions and the technological, and the Christian Transhumanist Association [CTA] is a stark example.

Again a link worth following. These Christians are determined to see technology as an enhancement of their faith.  In their case, technology is allowed into their existing religion, unlike those which see technology as the progenitor of new religions. Their faith is of primary concern to them. Technology is a challenge solved.

… Micah Redding, [CTA’s] co-founder and executive director … [says]:

New technological possibilities shouldn’t be simply feared and denied, but engaged and understood. Only in doing so will we be able to confront the challenges of the future, mitigate the risks, and take advantage of the opportunities to create a better world for us all. … As I see it, Christian Transhumanism is grounded in compassion, and centers love as the key to the future of flourishing life. … This puts us in contrast with any form of transhumanism which centers radical egoism.

For Redding, transhumanism is a “Christian mandate,” recently calling it the next Reformation in an article at The Huffington Post. “We cannot be faithful to the Christian calling without ultimately embracing some form of transhumanism.”

Others share his optimism and are hard at work in crafting a theology of transhumanism.

I see transhumanism as a contemporary outgrowth of an ancient Christian vision of human transformation,” says Ronald Cole-Turner, the H. Parker Sharp Professor of Theology and Ethics at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and author of The End of Adam and Eve: Theology and the Science of Human Origins.

He too sees promise in the emergence of the Christian Transhumanist Association.

Using technology, today’s transhumanists want to enhance human beings in ways that sound suspiciously like the classic Christian expectation,” says Cole-Turner, “things like greater cognitive awareness, improved moral disposition, and increased overall sense of well-being, and a hope of endless life.”

For early Greek-speaking Christians, Cole-Turner says, “it was seen as a process of theosis or ‘becoming God,’ not in an ontological sense but in every other significant meaning of the word. Latin-speaking Christians used ‘deification’ to refer to the same thing.”

The idea of theosis — being transformed in union with God — is gathering steam among Christian scholars, he says, noting that it makes theological sense of transhumanism. “God is the ground or source of everything, working through the whole creation to bring people, communities, and all creation to its glorious fulfillment in Jesus Christ. It is a transformation of everything by every means.”

Christianity promised eternal life (possibly in heaven, also possibly in hell, but anyway eternal life). According to Edward Gibbon in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, that promise was the predominant cause of the spread of Christianity. So, Professor Cole-Turner teaches, Christians who look to technology to provide a form of “eternal life” (perhaps of the kind predicted by the Terasem faith) are being faithful to Christianity. For him, for them, the distance between “eternal life”  and the “glorious fulfillment of creation in Jesus Christ” is short. The transformation of life from this earthly existence to a reliably “glorious” eternal life need not be effected after all by the grace of God (or by good works), but can be brought about by technology. Why not? Now the professor comes to think of it, Jesus Christ could only have meant “a transformation of everything” by any … whoops, no … “by every means“.

But will Jesus save robots?

[Micah] Redding [of the Christian Transhumanist Association] adds a theological dimension to this idea.

It’s clear that artificial intelligence plays a significant role in the world today,” he says, “and thus must be factored into God’s eventual work of redemption. We don’t yet know whether that involves self-conscious AIs ‘coming to Jesus’, because we don’t yet know the process by which an AI might become self-conscious. If and when it does happen … it shouldn’t challenge Christian doctrine. If God can grant a soul to carbon-based lifeforms, God can grant a soul to silicon-based lifeforms as well.

Buddhism too can be at home with “emerging technologies”:

“Transhumanism was the confluence of my interests in Buddhism, radical politics and futurism,” says James Hughes, the executive director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Having worked for a Buddhist social development organization in Sri Lanka — and once ordained as a monk — Hughes moved to Japan and went into bioethics. He discovered he was a techno-optimist, and at heart, a transhumanist.

“I discovered the new World Transhumanist Association,” he says, becoming their first Executive Director, and writing Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond To The Redesigned Human Of The Future. But after a division over political perspectives, he and a few others in the WTA founded IEET, leading him and three others to work toward Buddhist concerns.

Among some of his transhumanist issues, he says, is nonhuman personhood rights. Organizations like the Nonhuman Rights Project already seek these rights for animals (e.g. apes and elephants). Likewise, Hughes says, transhumanists want to “base those moral standings on levels of consciousness, and extend them to enhanced humans, animals, and machine minds.”

It would be interesting to hear what an imam at al-Azhar University in Cairo and the Ayatollah Khamanei of Iran have to say about possible new developments in Islam when human beings are almost totally cyborgs, or entirely replaced by machines.

The moral messages of religious myths (4) 6

Do biblical myths convey a “higher”, “transcendent” morality? Do all, some, or any of them possess a validity for all human beings for as long as the human race exists?

To find an answer to those questions, we posted  The moral messages of religious myths (1), (June 29, 2017), in which we discussed the story of Adam and Eve; next The moral messages of religious myths (2), (July 21, 2017), which was about Cain and Abel; and then The moral messages of religious myths (3), (September 24, 2017), about Abraham not sacrificing his son Isaac. 

Now we come to the story of Prince Moses of Egypt and his capricious god.

The story is told in the Book of Exodus. Here’s an outline of it.

The Pharaoh of Egypt decided that the Israelite population was growing too large, so he ordered that every Israelite boy must be killed as soon as he was born.

An Israelite mother tried to save her new-born son by putting him in a papyrus basket coated with tar and pitch and floating it on the edge of the River Nile.

Pharaoh’s daughter found him and brought him up as her own son, a prince of Egypt named Moses.

When Moses was 80 years old, and long since returned to the Israelites, God told  him to lead the Israelites, who were  badly-treated slaves, out of Egypt to a land he would give them.

So Moses demanded of Pharaoh: “Let my people go.” Pharaoh refused.

God then sent a series of ten plagues to afflict the Egyptians, miraculously instigated by Moses’s brother Aaron. He was 83, and carried a magician’s rod which he used to launch the plagues.

The plagues were: water turning into blood (briefly); frogs overrunning the land; lice afflicting the people; wild animals and/or flies threatening or tormenting them; their cattle becoming diseased; the people erupting in boils; heavy hailstorms beating down on them; swarms of locusts devouring their crops; darkness over all the land for three days; and finally, every firstborn Egyptian child being killed by God in one night.

Each time, the plague was represented to Pharaoh by Moses as a punishment to him for not freeing the Israelites.

Some of the plagues so distressed Pharaoh that he thought of granting Moses’s demand. But every time this happened, God “hardened his heart” and he changed his mind. Until the last plague.

It is stipulated in some cases that the Israelites, living apart from the Egyptians  were let off the plague. The hail, for instance, did not fall  where they lived, and their cattle did not fall sick. And on the night God killed the firstborn he “passed over” the dwellings of the Israelites. How did the omniscient Almighty know which were their houses? He had instructed them (presumably through Moses and/or Aaron) to “smear the upper post” of their doors with the blood of a lamb or goat. As they lived apart, God had easily been able to tell their neighborhood and their cattle from those of the Egyptians when visiting earlier plagues upon the land, but in this instance he needed the markers.

This time Pharaoh let the Israelites go.

They did not go over land ,“through the way of the Philistines”, but were  led by Moses straight to the Red Sea. “But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.” How “harnessed”, and why, is not explained.

And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light.”

And then again Pharaoh changed  his mind. He pursued them with all his horses and chariots. And he nearly caught up with them where they were  camped on the shore of the Red Sea, but an angel puts a screen of darkness over them to keep the Egyptians from seeing them.

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and it dried up. “The Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.”

The Egyptians saw them crossing, and pursued them; “went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.”

But when the Israelites had safely reached the far shore of the Red Sea, Moses, on God’s orders, “stretched forth his hand over the sea” and “the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them”.

It is hard to see what moral principle can be extracted from the story. Don’t enslave Israelites? Don’t enslave anyone? Don’t needle Jehovah?

The story should not enhance the reputation of the Israelite God. As he had access to Pharaoh’s heart, rather than repeatedly “hardening” it, he could have softened it to useful effect the first time Moses asked for the freeing of the slaves. But of course the sending of the horrifying plagues does much to impress upon the attentive mind the awe-inspiring power of the Ruler of the Universe.

The tellers of the story clearly intended to achieve an impression of shock and awe; but there is no indication that they intended their terrifying tale to carry a moral message in itself. Their aim  was to establish a narrative, starting with a glorification of Moses and the Israelite God, which was fundamental to the Jewish religion: how the LAW which is the essence of Judaism came to be given by God through Moses to the Jewish people.

The Exodus is a preamble to the story of the giving of the Law. The Law was to be for everyday earthly life. There was nothing “higher” or “transcendent” about it. Though it was moral law, to be believed by the faithful as coming from God, it was not a formula for an afterlife of bliss overseen by the Almighty himself, but a set of rules to be administered by men.

Who really authored those rules? No doubt many legislators over many years. The first of them may have been a prince of Egypt named Moses.

One of the more credible theories of Sigmund Freud was that Moses was not an Israelite at all but an Egyptian. His idea (explained in his book Moses and Monotheism) is that the fable of his being born to an Israelite mother and adopted by an Egyptian princess, then returning to “his” people as their liberator and law-giver, was a necessary invention as it simply would not do for him not to have been a Jew. (Which means that the story of Pharaoh ordering all newborn boys to be killed was a whopping slander made up for its expedience. But it must be stressed that the biblical story is not history; it is myth.)

The commonly accepted dating of the giving of the Law to the Israelites by Moses is circa 1250 B.C.E. Freud puts it back into the previous century which allows him to propose that Moses was an adherent of the short-lived religion of the Pharaoh Akhenaton, who reigned for only seventeen years and in that time tried to introduce the worship of One God manifest as the Sun. As soon as he died, the powerful priests of the old polytheistic religion brought it back, and did their best to wipe out every trace of the Akhenaton heresy. In Freud’s account, Moses continued to believe in Akhenaton’s One God, and as the enslaved Israelites also believed in One God – “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” – he adopted them as his people, effected their release from Egypt, and set them on course to becoming a distinct nation bound together by laws of his native land (under Akhenaton?).

For anyone curious about how the Israelites came to be in Egypt, the enormous novel Joseph and His Brothers by Thomas Mann tells a version of the the story magnificently. Joseph, the Israelite sold by his eleven brothers and brought to Egypt as a slave, gets on so well with Akhenaton that he becomes the pharaoh’s right-hand man. After many years, his brothers come to Egypt to buy grain, because drought has brought famine to the land where they live. Joseph conceals his identity at first, but is generous to them. They are gob-smacked when they discover who their benefactor really is. They return whence they came, but eventually they come to live in Egypt. The story does not proceed beyond the life of Joseph. How much historical fact is in it, it is impossible to know.

Posted under Christianity, Judaism by Jillian Becker on Sunday, October 29, 2017

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The Conspiracy of the Golden Shower 1

In the beginning of the conspiracy was the dossier.

Yes, it was a conspiracy, and yes, it did begin with the dossier. Then came the tossing about of the dossier. A transparently fictitious and in places childishly silly dossier.

Mark Steyn keeps his eye on the dossier. Here is the greater part of his summing-up of the Clinton anti-Trump campaign:

It started in April 2016, when it became clear that Trump was going to win the Republican nomination. The Hillary campaign and the DNC gave millions of dollars to Marc Elias, a Clinton lawyer, who in turn hired Fusion GPS, who in turn hired former MI6 agent Christopher Steele. Why use Mr Elias as a cutout? Because Hillary and the DNC could then itemize the expense as “legal services” rather than list payments to Mr Steele, which would be in breach of federal law.

Mr Steele used to be head of “the Russia house”, to go all John le Carré on you. So he asked his contacts in Moscow to come up with some stuff on Trump, and they responded with some pretty thinnish material that Steele managed to stretch out to a total of about 33 pages. … The most “salacious” (in James Comey’s word) assertion of the dossier is that Trump likes getting urinated on by Russian hookers.

That was the “golden shower”.

Having met him, I regard this as most unlikely: He is a germaphobe who resents having to do all the unhygienic gladhanding required in American politics. I find it easier to imagine almost any other Republican bigshot enjoying the erotic frisson of micturition, if only from Chuck Schumer. But judge for yourself: You can read the dossier here.

At which point things took a strange and disturbing turn. Steele’s dossier was passed along to the FBI. It seems a reasonable inference, to put it as blandly as possible, that the dossier was used to justify the opening of what the Feds call an “FI” (Full Investigation), which in turn was used to justify a FISA order permitting the FBI to put Trump’s associates under surveillance. Indeed, it seems a reasonable inference that the dossier was created and supplied to friendly forces within the bureau in order to provide a pretext for an FI, without which surveillance of the Trump campaign would not be possible.

Persons in the FBI were corrupted by the Obama administration. The Obama administration consisted largely of a gang of far-left anti-Americans. Corrupted leaders of the the FBI used the force to serve far-left anti-American ends. Only in dictatorships are there police forces whose main business is persecuting the people in the interests of the dictator.

In October 2016, things took a stranger and more disturbing turn. Steele “reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the Bureau to pay him to continue his work”. In other words, the permanent bureaucracy and the ruling party were collaborating to get the goods on their political opponent, by illegally paying a foreign spy to interfere with the election.

Why would the most lavishly funded investigative agency on the planet need the services of a British subject and his modest consulting firm?

Not just for plausible deniability but also for plausible reliability: Hey, investigating Trump would never have occurred to us, but the former head of the Russia desk at MI6 thought we ought to know about this…

A month later, Trump … won the election. And within twenty-four hours [Clinton campaign manager Robby] Mook and [Clinton campaign chairman John] Podesta had begun “engineering the case” that the election “wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up”. On November 18th, Andrew Wood, formerly British Ambassador in Moscow, and John McCain, the Senator from Arizona and fierce Never Trumper, met at the Halifax International Security Forum in Nova Scotia. Sir Andrew told Senator McCain about the dossier and said he’d known Steele when they were both on Her Majesty’s service in Russia and that he was a splendid chap, very sound and awfully decent.

So Sir Andrew Wood got the dossier into [Republican] John McCain’s hands, and John McCain gave it to James Comey, head of the FBI:

One month after the election, on December 9th, McCain met with FBI Director Comey and handed over the dossier. It is not known if Comey replied, “Oh, this old thing? As a matter of fact, we used it as a pretext to get surveillance warrants on Trump …’

Do you sense the ground shifting here? At some point someone somewhere might well have genuinely believed they were asking Christopher Steele to find something on Trump that Hillary could use to destroy him in the media and win the election. Mr Steele failed to deliver. …

But there was enough of a pseudo-dossier, by the debased standards of the bloated US “intelligence community”, to be used as a pretext to get the rubber-stamp FISA court to approve 24/7 surveillance of everyone around Trump – and maybe that would turn up something to destroy him.

But, again, it didn’t. Every sentient creature knows that – because everyone understands that if they’d found anything they’d have leaked it.

So once again the worthless dossier was pressed into service, this time to bolster the case that the Russians had stolen the election from Hillary. During the stupid and anachronistic two-and-a-half-month electoral “transition”, the outgoing Administration worked round the clock to de-legitimize and cripple their successors. The Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, a dismal and deeply compromised individual, told Jim Comey to set up a meeting with Trump and present him with the dossier. Which he did. Supposedly, Comey felt that he needed to disclose to the President the existence of a report of his supposed sexual predilections … It is yet another reasonable inference that the only purpose of this meeting was to enable the leaking of the meeting – and thereby damage the incoming President: The briefing was arranged as cover for the leak thereof.

All this from one dodgy dossier compiled by an MI6 agent with deep ties to FSB operatives in Russia. 

Has any one foreigner so interfered in a US election as Christopher Steele? Hillary and her chums needed Steele for oppo research. The Deep State needed Steele as a cover for wiretapping the Trump team. The Never Trumpers needed Steele to mire the incoming President and hobble him from the get-go. And the outgoing Administration needed Steele to bolster their narrative that Trump and the Russians had colluded to steal the election.

In fact, Trump seems to have fewer “ties” to Russia than almost any other multinational businessman of comparable wealth, and certainly fewer ties than the corrupt Clintons.

Many things can be deduced from this scandal: Robert Mueller should retire, preferably somewhere far, far away. James Comey should be charged, convicted and jailed. So should senior figures in the Clinton campaign.

And those large sections of the “intelligence community” that have gone rogue and spend more time subverting their own government than any foreign enemies need to be overhauled from top to toe, or, more likely, put out of business entirely. …

Everyone [involved in the dossier story] was colluding with the Russians except Trump – Hillary, the DNC, Democrat lawyers, the FBI, all frantically pointing fingers at the only non-colluding guy in the room.

No man anywhere has ever been less in need of a “golden shower” than Donald J Trump. He is surrounded on all sides by powerful forces leaking on him incessantly.

*

At PowerLine, Scott Johnson provides a former FBI Special Agent’s view of the dossier story.

Why was the “dossier” ultimately so important for the anti-Trump conspiracy (if you think of a better way of putting it, let me know)? The reason, I think, is that the use of standard political smears against Trump had proven ineffective. Therefore it became necessary to take it all a step further and to attempt to make some superficially credible allegations of action against the national interest …

We know that that effort began some time in the late Spring or early Summer of 2016 because an application was made to the FISC in June/July. That application mentioned Trump by name – and was rejected. Why FISA? Because a Title III “wiretap” would have required an actual investigation based on a violation of a real US criminal law and a quite high and specific standard in the application for a court order.

Why, you might ask, was that application even made? Why not rely on the flow of info coming from NSA, which notoriously scoops up virtually all electronic communications? The answer is that Trump and all those close to him were US Persons (USPERs). The NSA targets foreign powers and individuals. If those foreign powers and individuals of concern are in contact with USPERs and, in the judgment of NSA, US counterintelligence (basically, FBI) should know about those USPERs, then NSA informs the FBI.

In my own career, outside FBI headquarters, I only saw a handful of NSA referrals of that sort. They were mostly general in nature. They could perhaps be used to initiate a Preliminary Inquiry (PI) to gain a bit more insight into the nature of the relationship between the USPER and the foreign power or individual — if we judged that advisable based on our own knowledge and experience — meaning that typically the NSA info would not rise to the level needed in order to say that there was “reason to believe” (i.e., for practical purposes, probable cause) that the USPER was an actual agent of a foreign power. That means: no Full Investigation (FI), therefore no FISA.

But in the anti-Trump conspiracy that’s exactly what was needed: FISA coverage, “wiretaps”. … They needed FISA and they needed it NOW. They …  really wanted … to get  conversations between Trump and his associates here in the US – all USPERs – not international conversations (those were either lacking or harmless).

Yes, NSA probably scoops up internal US communications of USPERs, too, but to use it without a FI and without a FISA order would be illegal. Therefore, the “dossier”. 

For the conspirators the significance of the “dossier” was that it provided supposed “reason to believe” that Trump or those close to him were “agents of a foreign power”, subject to blackmail or pressure by a foreign power, already cooperating with a foreign power. The ability to claim that most of this “information” was coming via friendly foreign intel services with contacts in Russia added a bit of verisimilitude.

A “dossier” that could provide that sort of “reason to believe” would justify a FI and then FISA coverage. And therefore access to Trump campaign related communications …

NB: Although they were claiming Trump collusion with Russia, what they were really targeting was campaign communications. By claiming that key people were foreign agents they could collect ALL their domestic communications with anybody.

This is why I believe that the dossier took on added importance after the initial denial of a FISA order. We know, or think we do, that the FBI wanted Steele to do additional research. The focus of that research, however, would have to be to establish “reason to believe” that Trump or persons close to his campaign were “agents of a foreign power”. Only that would get them the FISA coverage they wanted. Lacking those, FISA was the quick route, but it required “reason to believe” that Trump or persons close to his campaign were “agents of a foreign power”. Voila the “dossier” as it apparently featured in the successful FISA application in October, the height of the campaign. And then it came to be used in the attempt to nullify the election (the attempted “coup”?).

Despite all this, the left-slanted, Hillary-protecting mainstream media, and every spokesperson for the Democratic Party, continue now, day after day, to insist that Donald Trump, as presidential candidate, colluded with the Russian government to affect the 2016 election!

Newspeak 3

The European Union is led by unelected leftist globalists.

Their hives of bureaucrats decide such things as the correct shape of a cucumber and what words journalists may use.

 

 

Bruce Bawer writes – perceptively as always – at Gatestone:

“Respect Words: Ethical Journalism Against Hate Speech” is a collaborative project that has been undertaken by media organizations in eight European countries – Austria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Slovenia, and Spain. Supported by the Rights and Citizenship Programme of the European Union, it seeks, according to its website, to help journalists, in this era of growing “Islamophobia,” to “rethink” the way they address “issues related to migratory processes, ethnic and religious minorities”.  It sounds benign enough: “rethink”. But do not kid yourself: when these EU-funded activists call for “rethinking”, what they are really doing is endorsing self-censorship.

In September, “Respect Words” issued a 39-page document entitled Reporting on Migration & Minorities: Approach and Guidelines. Media outlets, it instructs, “should not give time or space to extremist views simply for the sake of ‘showing the other side’. ” But which views count as “extremist”? The report does not say – not explicitly, anyway. “Sensationalist or overly simplistic reporting on migration,” we read, “can enflame existing societal prejudices” and thus “endanger migrants’ safety”.

The “migrants” are severely threatening the safety of the hosts. To the point of murdering them. The “migrants” are an invading force.

These bureaucrats, who disrespect a lot of words, who would shrink languages and – therefore –  restrict thought, would call that statement of ours “sensationalist” or “overly simplistic”.

Again, what counts as “sensationalist” or “overly simplistic”? That is not spelled out, either. Nor, we are told, should we associate “terms such as ‘Muslim’ or ‘Islam’… with particular acts”, because to do that is to “stigmatize”.  What exactly does this mean? That when a man shouts “Allahu Akbar” after having gunned down, run over with a truck, or blown to bits dozens of innocent pedestrians or concertgoers, we are supposed to ignore that little detail?

Or perhaps we should entirely avoid covering such actions? After all, the document exhorts us not to write too much about “sensationalist incidents involving migrants”,  as “violent individuals are found within every large group of people”. If, however, we do feel compelled to cover such incidents, we must never cease to recall that the “root causes” of these incidents “often have nothing to do with a person’s ethnicity or religious affiliation”. What, then, are those root causes? The report advises us that they include “colonialism, racism, [and] general social inequality”. Do not forget, as well, that there is “no structural connection between migration and terrorism”.

Obviously, that depends on who is migrating. If terrorists are migrating, then there is indeed a “structural connection between migration and terrorism”. And tere is no doubt that Muslim terrorists are migrating to Western Europe, North America, and Australia.

At least the report’s authors do not have the audacity to maintain that there is no connection between Islam and terrorism. But they do urge us to remember that Islam is “diverse”.  The notion that it is inherently violent is – what else? – a “stereotype”.  So is depicting Islam as “grounded in a different reality and lacking common values with other cultures” or portraying Muslim immigrants as being “fundamentally different from the citizens of the host country”.

Believing Muslims (we acknowledge that there are non-believing “Muslims”) are fundamentally different from Western non-Muslims.  They do lack common values with Western culture.

And it is just plain wrong, needless to say, to encourage “the widespread perception that there is a ‘cultural clash’ between Islam and the West with religion at the heart of the ‘problem'”.  (On the contrary: Islam is, the report tells us, “a belief system that can exist alongside others.”) And do not dare to suggest that Islamic culture is in any way “inferior to Western culture”.  Or that Muslim men are “highly patriarchal”.  (Repeat after me: “Many societies around the world remain highly patriarchal, independent of religion.”) And do not pay too much attention to Muslim women’s “clothing styles”. Why? Because doing so tends to “homogenize” them. (Banish from your mind the thought that it is the clothing itself that homogenizes them.)

During the last couple of years, many countries in Europe have experienced a veritable tsunami of Islamic migration. But responsible journalists, according to “Respect Word”,  must never, ever put it that way: “When describing migration, don’t use phrases such as ‘tide’,  ‘wave’ and ‘flood'” (or, the authors later add, “horde” or “influx”) because such language can “evoke the sense of a ‘mass invasion’.” It “dehumanizes migrants”, you see, and “constructs a false sense among the audience of being ‘under siege’ by an ‘enemy’ that must be repelled”.

Tides of Muslims are pouring into Europe. It is a human flood. It is a mass invasion. To pretend that  it isn’t is to close your eyes to the deluge and wait for it to drown you. The demographics are incontrovertible. They cannot be sweet-talked away.

Of course, much of Europe is “under siege”; this fact is becoming clearer by the day; to use milder terms when discussing this topic is to do nothing less than misrepresent reality. But that is what this document is all about: advising reporters just how to misrepresent reality in EU-approved fashion.

“Inform your audience,” the report urges journalists, “about the reasons why people feel compelled to leave their homelands, and investigate what connections there may be to policies and practices of European states.” Possibly, however, a massive percentage of the Muslims pouring into certain European states are doing so because of those states’ “policies and practices” – namely, their readiness to start handing immigrant families large sums of cash the minute they arrive, to set them up with free housing, furnishings, etc., and to allow them to stay on the dole for the rest of their lives. Many of those countries are more generous to Muslim newcomers than they are to their own citizens who have fallen on hard times; immigrants often go to the front of the line, while elderly citizens of some of these countries – people who have worked hard and paid into the welfare system since the world was young – have been turned out of their homes in order to accommodate newly-arrived Muslim families.

But these obviously are not the “policies and practices” to which the “Respect Words” document is referring. Quite the opposite. The transparent implication here is that Muslim refugees and asylum seekers are fleeing conditions for which they and others in their countries of origin hold no responsibility whatsoever and that can, in fact, ultimately be traced back to Western wrongdoing, whether in the last generation or centuries ago. Never mind that Muslims took over Persia, the Byzantine Empire, all of North Africa and the Middle East, Greece, Northern Cyprus, much of Eastern Europe, and Southern Spain. Ultimately, everything that is wrong with the Muslim world is seemingly the fault of the West, so Europeans owe all incomers a new life – and perhaps even a new country – peaceably handed over to them so that they can import sharia law?

No, the report does not quite go so far as to make this argument. But the report does caution that even to touch on the question of “whether asylum seekers’ claims are genuine” or “whether migrants have a right to be in the country” is thoroughly inappropriate: it places the focus on “law and order” rather than on such things as “the fundamental right of asylum”.  Yes, you read that correctly: “the fundamental right of asylum”. Never mind that under international law not everyone is entitled to asylum – and that a huge proportion of self-styled asylum seekers in Europe today have no legitimate grounds for such a claim but are, like many of us, seeking better economic opportunities.

But such facts are inimical to the authors of the “Respect Words” document. In their view, no human being can be “illegal”; therefore, the word “illegal”, they admonish, should be used to describe actions, not people. …

The report is one long taxpayer-funded catalog of politically correct protocols which – if adhered to by everyone in Europe who is professionally involved in reporting on events concerning Islam and immigration – would guarantee a full-scale whitewash of the alarming developments currently underway on this unfortunate continent.

It is interesting to note that while many people fulminate over President Trump’s complaints about “fake news,” they are silent when an instrument of the EU superstate presumes to tell the media exactly what kind of language should and should not be used when reporting on the most important issue of the day.

Posted under Commentary, Europe, immigration, Islam, jihad, Muslims, Refugees, tyranny by Jillian Becker on Thursday, October 26, 2017

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Red October 1

It is a hundred years today since the October Revolution (October 24-25, 1917) plunged Russia into Communism.

Bruce Thornton writes at Front Page:

To mark the centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution The New York Times has been running a series called Red Century. In the spirit of its Pulitzer-Prize winning Moscow correspondent and fellow-traveler in the thirties, Walter Duranty, the articles in the main are an exercise in rehabilitation rather than historical evaluation. Given communism’s historically unprecedented and copiously documented record of slaughter, torture, mass imprisonment, brutal occupation, and utter failure to achieve its workers’ paradise of justice and equality, the question why the Times would attempt to mitigate the evil of a totalitarian ideology that led to 100 million dead cries out for an answer.

Communism … was taken not as a political philosophy, but as a scientific discovery that only the irrational, the evil, or those blinded by bourgeois “false consciousness” would reject. … Communism was about progress, optimism for the future, and the liberation of humans from social and political bondage by improving the economic and social conditions of human life. It had “an inherent optimism for the future”, as one Times article gushed. This notion that humans can be shaped and improved by rational technique still remains a dominant sensibility in the West, which explains the continuing hold of leftist ideology. From Obama’s 2012 campaign slogan “Forward”, a traditional leftist motto, to the fads of “behavioral science” like “implicit bias,” our world is still enthralled to this superstition that “human sciences” can improve life …

Of course, this optimism is predicated on a category error. Humans, each a unique individual endowed with a mind and free will, lie beyond the “complexity horizon”,  and so cannot be reduced to mere matter determined by the laws of physics or economic development, as Marx believed. Communism fails because it must diminish this human complexity so that people can be shoe-horned into the theory. It is reductive and simplistic, and necessarily dehumanizing. And dehumanization has ever been the precursor to mass murder and totalitarian tyranny. In the case of communism, its followers’ fanatical certainty that their beliefs were the fruit of objective “science” and the vehicle of universal human improvement, made it easier to ignore their own destructive passions and flaws, particularly their lust for power and domination; and to remove “by any means necessary” the stiff-necked opponents of humanity’s glorious future––the “eggs” that must be broken to make the communist “omelet,” as Walter Duranty reported in the Times in 1933.

But as the history of communism has shown, its road to utopia runs over mountains of corpses.

So far, fairly good. But the writer goes on to mourn the passing of the old-time religion. He calls the increasing secularism of the Christianized countries “radical”. Radical secularism? Can there be a “moderate secularism”?

The second cultural transformation that has kept a failed and murderous ideology alive is the radical secularism of the last two centuries. The decline in faith created a vacuum of disbelief intolerable to human beings.

We are largely human, and do not find disbelief intolerable.

To us disbelief is freedom, and essential. To us, belief is a prison; doubt is freedom.

However, coming back to ideas on which we can agree with the writer, he goes on to point out the similarities between Communism and Christianity. As we ourselves have written about Communism being secular Christianity, we stay with him for a while.

Substitutes had to be found to explain existence and human nature, provide a meaningful narrative that identifies the good and the evil, and describe the destiny awaiting those who accepted the new revelation. Political religions, whether fascism, “blood and soil” nationalism, or communism, filled the spiritual emptiness of a secularizing age. But communism was more attractive and powerful than fascism, for it was the bedfellow of scientism, the other pseudo-religion of modernity that promised salvation, only in this world rather than the mythic “heaven” of oppressive and irrational religious belief.

It is true that sociology and Marxism are “pseudo sciences”. He uses the term “scientism” for the belief that they are sciences. And Marxism did indeed offer “salvation” – heaven on earth. His “inevitable” revolution – which for all its inevitability would need to be fought for – was the equivalent of the Christian apocalypse; an earthly eschaton, immanent in this world for this world, after which everything would be changed and the earthly heaven would dawn and last forever and ever.

Here is a nice cartoon that jokes about the idea:

 

The similarities between communism and Christianity are numerous …: “consciousness” is the soul, which when enlightened brings salvation; “capitalists” are sinners, “comrades” are the faithful, the “counter-revolutionary” is the devil, the “proletariat” is the chosen people; the “new man” is the born-again Christian, the “classless society” is paradise, and the “proletariat revolution” is the Last Judgement. The God who was once the power behind the providential order of salvation history, is replaced by the new god “History”, which inexorably unfolds according to the Marxist libretto, until history ends in the “worker’s paradise”. Finally, communism promoted the elitist superiority … that comes from possessing the real meaning of events and behavior, a gnosis lacking in the dullard bourgeois and irrational people of faith.

The religious power of communism is apparent from the memoirs of ex-communists who wrote about their experience in the classic The God That Failed. French novelist André Gide said of becoming a communist, “My conversion is like a faith”, and the Soviet Union seems “to point to salvation”. Arthur Koestler, whose novel Darkness at Noon, published in 1940, told the truth about the Show Trials that fellow-travelers denied were even happening, explicitly linked secularization to communism. He wrote that he “converted” because he “lived in a disintegrating society thirsting for faith”.  Like St. Paul on the road to Damascus, Koestler writes, “The new light seems to pour from all directions across the skull, the whole universe falls into pattern,” now there is “an answer to every question”,  and “nothing henceforth can disturb the convert’s inner peace and serenity.”

The intensity of this conversion in part explains the legions of Westerners who refused to credit the concrete evidence of communist tyranny that began under Lenin. In 1908, Lenin threatened “real, nation-wide terror which reinvigorates the country”,  and fulfilled that threat a few years after the revolution in the “merciless war”,  as he put it, against the Kulaks, the more prosperous peasants. When someone protested, Lenin answered, “Do you think we can be victors without the most severe revolutionary terror?” The horrors of Stalin were just expansions of Lenin’s brutal practices already well documented before Stalin came into power. As French historian François Furet has written, “Those who wanted to know, could have known. The problem was that few people really wanted to.” Only a cult-like blind faith can explain such a resistance to facts, one obvious in the comment of Europe’s most famous Marxist, Georg Lukács, who said, “Even if every empirical prediction of Marxism were invalidated, I would still hold Marxism to be true.”

Sounds very like a belief in Christianity or any other religion. Yet Bruce Thornton, who sees the similarity so clearly, wishes religious faith back upon those who have emerged from it.

The horrors of the Communist faith and its capacity to survive despite its proving to be, after all, a recipe for earthly hell, he describes vividly. Did not Christianity create its hells on earth too? Did not believing Christians go on believing despite its centuries of totalitarian terror?

The patent failure of Marx’s theoretical “predictions”, the proven record of mass murder and imprisonment, the pollution of social and family life by an infrastructure of surveillance and lies, the 1939 pact with Hitler that laid bare the true aims of an amoral gangster regime – none has been able to shake the faith of Western communists and fellow-travelers, who today still practice such willful blindness, whether it’s Bernie Sanders honeymooning in the old Soviet Union, Sean Penn shilling for a brutal thug in Venezuela, or Barack Obama cavorting with the Castro brothers in Cuba.

Today this affection does not seem to have the religious intensity of the early communist converts. But the persistence of communist apologetics has turned such unseemly admiration for the greatest killer in history into a mark of status and fashion for the caviar communist, the parlor pink, and the radical chic. These “useful idiots” 2.0 exist because admiration for communism has burrowed deep into high culture, popular culture, and the universities. So it is no surprise that large numbers of millennials prefer socialism – communism’s half-way house – to capitalism, and one-third think George W. Bush killed more people than Stalin did. Obviously, the thrill of being “subversive”, sheer historical ignorance, and moral flabbiness also account for this mysterious attraction to an ideology of murder and tyranny on the part of those who fancy themselves sophisticated intellectuals.

One hundred years after communism burst onto the world stage, it has survived the collapse of its most lethal state sponsor, the Soviet Union, and in modified form lives on in totalitarian regimes like China, and in political parties across Europe. The series in the Times reminds us that the discredited theories and allure of freedom’s greatest enemy must still be attacked and ridiculed.

Indeed yes, Christianity and Communism are similar religions. With their “proven record of mass murder and imprisonment, the pollution of social and family life by an infrastructure of surveillance and lies” – and their horrific tortures – the only significant difference between them is that Christianity offers you happiness in an imaginary There, Communism in an imaginary Here.

Both demand that you make sacrifices for future imaginary gains.

But neither will deliver the promised “salvation”- ever.

Fools! Your reward is neither here nor there!‘ wrote Omar Khayyam, an atheist Persian poet.  

Better far: America, capitalism, rule of law, freedom.

The crocodiles of Foggy Bottom 1

A trenchant quip made years ago about the British Foreign Office could be applied with equal validity to the US State Department, thus:

They found a mole in the State Department: he was working for America.

As the rest (it is implied) are working against America, the only periods in recent history when its own policies were not different from those of the president, were when Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were in the White House. And the only time when the music from Foggy Bottom was in complete harmony with the Song of the Oval Office was when Barack Obama was taking the solo lead in “Apologies to the World for America”.

An editorial at American Greatness describes the swampy crocodile pond at Foggy Bottom:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has isolated himself from his own department and allowed subordinates to fill a handful of top positions with people who actively opposed Donald Trump’s election, according to current and former State Department officials and national security experts with specific knowledge of the situation. …

Rumors have circulated for months that Tillerson either plans to resign or is waiting for the president to fire him. The staffers describe an amateur secretary of state who has “checked out” and effectively removed himself from major decision making.

About 200 State Department jobs require Senate confirmation. But the Senate cannot confirm nominees it does not have. More than nine months into the new administration, most of the senior State Department positions — assistant and deputy assistant secretary posts — remain unfilled.

What’s more, the United States currently has no ambassador to the European Union, or to key allies such as France, Germany, Australia, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia. Meantime, Obama Administration holdovers remain ensconced in the department and stationed at embassies in the Balkans, Africa, and the Middle East.

The leadership vacuum has been filled by a small group opposed to the president’s “America First” agenda.

At the heart of the problem, these officials say, are the two people closest to Tillerson: chief of staff Margaret Peterlin and senior policy advisor Brian Hook, who runs the State Department’s in-house think tank.

Peterlin and Hook are longtime personal friends who current staffers say are running the departmentlike a private fiefdom for their benefit and in opposition to the president and his stated policies.

The lack of staffing gives the duo unprecedented power over State Department policy. Since joining Tillerson’s team, Peterlin and Hook have created a tight bottleneck, separating the 75,000 State Department staffers — true experts in international relations — from the secretary. … That has meant Peterlin and Hook make the decisions. …

Peterlin and Hook have stymied every effort by pro-Trump policy officials to get jobs at the State Department. “Peterlin is literally sitting on stacks of résumés,” one national security expert told American Greatness. Together, Peterlin and Hook are “boxing out anyone who supports Trump’s foreign policy agenda”.   

Peterlin, an attorney and former Commerce Department official in the George W. Bush Administration, was hired to help guide political appointments through the vetting and confirmation process. She reportedly bonded with Tillerson during his confirmation hearings, and he hired her as his chief of staff. Peterlin then brought in Hook, who co-founded the John Hay Initiative, a group of former Mitt Romney foreign-policy advisors who publicly refused to support Trump because he would “act in ways that make America less safe”.

In a May 2016 profile of NeverTrump Republicans, Hook told Politico, “Even if you say you support him as the nominee, you go down the list of his positions and you see you disagree on every one.”

And that is the Man who is making US foreign policy.  It is not the policy of the elected president.

Hook now directs the department’s Office of Policy Planning, responsible for churning out policy briefs and helping to shape the nation’s long-term strategic agenda.

In September, Peterlin and Hook hired David Feith, a former Wall Street Journal editorial writer and the son of Douglas J. Feith, one of the architects of the Iraq War. Feith shares with Peterlin and Hook a deep dislike for President Trump. Feith, according to one State Department employee with knowledge of the hire, had been rejected by the White House precisely because of his opposition to the president and his policies. Peterlin and Hook forced him through anyway.

Incredibly, even the State Department’s spokesman, R.C. Hammond, was an outspoken NeverTrumper before the election, frequently tweeting jibes and barbs at the candidate. … .

State’s anti-Trump climate has shut out several top-notch foreign policy hands.

Kiron Skinner, founding director of the Institute for Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University and a fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, worked on Trump’s national security transition team and was hired as a senior policy advisor. She was considered for the job Hook now has in the Office of Policy Planning. But she was isolated from career staffers and quit after a few days.

At least Skinner managed to get into the building. Another former Reagan Administration staffer with decades of experience in U.S.-Russian affairs and international economics had spent months in 2016 campaigning for the president in critical battleground states, including Pennsylvania and Ohio. As soon as Trump won the election, this experienced analyst and several other pro-Trump associates were passed over for State Department jobs. It’s to the point that even internship candidates are being rejected if they volunteered for the Trump campaign. …

No name given there. But among the “pro-Trump associates passed over” we think of John Bolton, who would make an excellent Secretary of State.

In government today, the maxim that “personnel is policy” is truer than ever. As a result, the State Department mirrors the management style not of its leader, but of Tillerson’s chief aides who are at odds with the president’s stated foreign policy agenda.

A State Department staffed with opponents of the president is hardly useful to Americans who voted to reject the failed foreign policies of the past two administrations.

President Trump made “draining the swamp” a cornerstone of his campaign. How can he drain the swamp if the swamp dwellers control his administration and drown out voices of his most innovative supporters?

The biggest political scandal in American history 4

Why did Obama corruptly put the full power of his administration – his State Department, his Department of Justice, the intelligence services – behind the Clintons’ drive to get $145 billion (plus a few hundred thousand and a few pennies more) into their “Clinton Foundation” gofundme hoarde, by selling one fifth of US uranium to Russia?

What the heck did Obama gain by it?

And why, knowing how deeply guilty their president and secretary of state were of colluding with the Russian regime, did the Democratic Party launch a formal investigation into whether Donald Trump had colluded with the Russians, knowing full well he had not – though going to great lengths to fabricate some flimsy “evidence” that he had – when such an investigation was bound to turn up their own filthy racket? Stupidity? Obviously. Panic for cover-up? Certainly. Whopping chutzpah? That too.

Of course they never expected they’d have to take action to conceal the treasonous racket , because they were so sure that Hillary Clinton, for whom the foul plot was woven, would be president.

Oh, what a shock it was, and what agonizing fear gripped them when she lost the election!

Perhaps they imagined that if the people doing the investigation into the non-existent Trunp “collusion” were party to their own collusion, their secrets would be kept safe, the false case against Donald Trump brilliantly concocted without anyone suspecting that the real collusion had happened under the Obama presidency. As we said, stupid!

Andrew McCarthy writes at the National Review:

The Uranium One scandal is not only, or even principally, a Clinton scandal. It is an Obama-administration scandal. The Clintons were just doing what the Clintons do: cashing in on their “public service”. The Obama administration, with Secretary Clinton at the forefront but hardly alone, was knowingly compromising American national-security interests. The administration green-lighted the transfer of control over one-fifth of American uranium-mining capacity to Russia, a hostile regime — and specifically to Russia’s state-controlled nuclear-energy conglomerate, Rosatom. …

At the time the administration approved the transfer, it knew that Rosatom’s American subsidiary was engaged in a lucrative racketeering enterprise that had already committed felony extortion, fraud, and money-laundering offenses.

The Obama administration also knew that congressional Republicans were trying to stop the transfer. Consequently, the Justice Department concealed what it knew. DOJ allowed the racketeering enterprise to continue compromising the American uranium industry rather than commencing a prosecution that would have scotched the transfer. Prosecutors waited four years before quietly pleading the case out for a song, in violation of Justice Department charging guidelines. Meanwhile, the administration stonewalled Congress, reportedly threatening an informant who wanted to go public.  …

Naïvely viewing Russia as a “strategic partner” rather than a malevolent competitor, the Bush administration made a nuclear-cooperation agreement with the Kremlin in May 2008. …

Then Russia invaded Georgia.

 In 2009, notwithstanding this aggression (which continues to this day with Russia’s occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia), President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton signaled the new administration’s determination to “reset” relations with Moscow.

In this reset, renewed cooperation and commerce in nuclear energy would be central. There had been such cooperation and commerce since the Soviet Union imploded. In 1992, the administration of President George H. W. Bush agreed with the nascent Russian federation that U.S. nuclear providers would be permitted to purchase uranium from Russia’s disassembled nuclear warheads (after it had been down-blended from its highly enriched weapons-grade level).

The Russian commercial agent responsible for the sale and transportation of this uranium to the U.S. is the Kremlin-controlled company “Tenex” (formally, JSC Techsnabexport). Tenex is a subsidiary of Rosatom. Tenex (and by extension, Rosatom) have an American arm called “Tenam USA.” Tenam is based in Bethesda, Md. Around the time President Obama came to power, the Russian official in charge of Tenam was Vadim Mikerin.

The Obama administration reportedly issued a visa for Mikerin in 2010, but a racketeering investigation led by the FBI determined that he was already operating here in 2009. The Racketeering Scheme As Tenam’s general director, Mikerin was responsible for arranging and managing Rosatom/Tenex’s contracts with American uranium purchasers. This gave him tremendous leverage over the U.S. companies. With the assistance of several confederates, Mikerin used this leverage to extort and defraud the U.S. contractors into paying inflated prices for uranium. They then laundered the proceeds through shell companies and secret bank accounts in Latvia, Cyprus, Switzerland, and the Seychelle Islands — though sometimes transactions were handled in cash, with the skim divided into envelopes stuffed with thousands of dollars in cash.

The inflated payments served two purposes: They enriched Kremlin-connected energy officials in the U.S. and in Russia to the tune of millions of dollars; and they compromised the American companies that paid the bribes, rendering players in U.S. nuclear energy — a sector critical to national security — vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow. 

But Mikerin had a problem. To further the Kremlin’s push for nuclear-energy expansion, he had been seeking to retain a lobbyist — from whom he planned to extort kickbacks, just as he did with the U.S. energy companies. With the help of an associate connected to Russian organized-crime groups, Mikerin found his lobbyist. The man’s name has not been disclosed, but we know he is now represented by Victoria Toensing, a well-respected Washington lawyer, formerly a federal prosecutor and counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee. When Mikerin solicited him in 2009, the lobbyist was uncomfortable, worried that the proposal would land him on the wrong side of the law. So he contacted the FBI and revealed what he knew. From then on, the Bureau and Justice Department permitted him to participate in the Russian racketeering scheme as a “confidential source” — and he is thus known as “CS-1” in affidavits the government, years later, presented to federal court in order to obtain search and arrest warrants.

At the time this unidentified man became an informant, the FBI was led by director Robert Mueller, who is now the special counsel investigating whether Trump colluded with Russia.

The investigation was centered in Maryland (Tenam’s home base). There, the U.S. attorney was Obama appointee Rod Rosenstein — now President Trump’s deputy attorney general, and the man who appointed Mueller as special counsel to investigate Trump.

Because of CS-1, the FBI was able to understand and monitor the racketeering enterprise almost from the start. By mid-May 2010, it could already prove the scheme and three separate extortionate payments Mikerin had squeezed out of the informant. Equally important: According to reporting by John Solomon and Alison Spann in the Hill, the informant learned through conversations with Mikerin and others that Russian nuclear officials were trying to ingratiate themselves with the Clintons. 

There is no doubt that this extraordinarily gainful ingratiation took place. …

In 2005, former President Clinton helped his Canadian billionaire friend and benefactor, Frank Giustra, obtain coveted uranium-mining rights from Kazakhstan’s dictator. The Kazakh deal enabled Giustra’s company (Ur-Asia Energy) to merge into Uranium One (a South African company), a $3.5 billion windfall.

Giustra and his partners thereafter contributed tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation.

Besides the valuable Kazakh reserves, Uranium One also controlled about a fifth of the uranium stock in the United States.

Alas, Putin, the neighborhood bully, also wanted the Kazakh uranium. He leaned on Kazakhstan’s dictator, who promptly arrested the official responsible for selling the uranium-mining rights to Giustra’s company. This put Uranium One’s stake in jeopardy of being seized by the Kazakh government.

As Uranium One’s stock plunged, its panicked executives turned to the State Department, where their friend Hillary Clinton was now in charge. State sprung into action, convening emergency meetings with the Kazakh regime. A few days later, it was announced that the crisis was resolved (translation: the shakedown was complete). Russia’s energy giant, Rosatom, would purchase 17 percent of Uranium One, and the Kazakh threat would disappear — and with it, the threat to the value of the Clinton donors’ holdings.

For Putin, though, that was just a start. He didn’t want a minority stake in Uranium One, he wanted control of the uranium. For that, Rosatom would need a controlling interest in Uranium One. That would be a tall order — not because of the Kazakh mining rights but because acquisition of Uranium One’s American reserves required U.S. government approval. Uranium is foundational to nuclear power and thus to American national security.

A foreign entity would not be able to acquire rights to American uranium without the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment [CFIUS] in the United States.

CFIUS is composed of the leaders of 14 U.S. government agencies involved in national security and commerce. In 2010, these included not only Secretary of State Hillary Clinton … but Attorney General Eric Holder, whose Justice Department (and its lead agency, the FBI) were conducting the investigation of Rosatom’s ongoing U.S. racketeering, extortion, and money-laundering scheme.

In March 2010, to push the Obama “reset” agenda, Secretary Clinton traveled to Russia, where she met with Putin and Dimitri Medvedev, who was then keeping the president’s chair warm for Putin. Soon after, it emerged that Renaissance Capital, a regime-tied Russian bank, had offered Bill Clinton $500,000 to make a single speech — far more than the former president’s usual haul in what would become one of his biggest paydays ever. Renaissance was an aggressive promoter of Rosatom. ...

The exorbitant speech fee … is a pittance compared with the $145 million … donated to the Clinton Foundation by sources linked to the Uranium One deal.

[Obama] met  with Putin and Medvedev. You’ll be comforted, I’m sure, to learn that aides to the Clintons, those pillars of integrity, assure us that the topics of Rosatom and Uranium One never came up.

Meanwhile, congressional opposition to Russia’s potential acquisition of American uranium resources began to stir.

As Peter Schweizer noted in his essential book, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, four senior House members steeped in national-security issues — Peter King (R., N.Y.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.), Spencer Bachus (R., Ala.), and Howard McKeon (R. Calif.) — voiced grave concerns, pointing out that Rosatom had helped Iran, America’s sworn enemy, build its Bushehr nuclear reactor. The members concluded that “the take-over of essential US nuclear resources by a government-owned Russian agency . . . would not advance the national security interests of the United States.” Republican senator John Barrasso objected to Kremlin control of uranium assets in his state of Wyoming, warning of Russia’s “disturbing record of supporting nuclear programs in countries that are openly hostile to the United States, specifically Iran and Venezuela”.

The House began moving a bill “expressing disfavor of the Congress” regarding Obama’s revival of the nuclear-cooperation agreement Bush had abandoned. Clearly, in this atmosphere, disclosure of the racketeering enterprise that Rosatom’s American subsidiary was, at that very moment, carrying out would have been the death knell of the asset transfer to Russia. It would also likely have ended the “reset” initiative in which Obama and Clinton were deeply invested — an agenda that contemplated Kremlin-friendly deals on nuclear-arms control and accommodation of the nuclear program of Russia’s ally, Iran.

So is the answer to “what was in it for Obama?” that he wanted friendly deals on nuclear arms control?

Obama wanted that? We don’t buy it.

But “accommodation of the nuclear program of Russia’s ally, Iran”? Now that is a possibility.

That was not going to be allowed to happen.

It appears that no disclosure of Russia’s racketeering and strong-arming was made to CFIUS or to Congress — not by Secretary Clinton, not by Attorney General Holder, and certainly not by President Obama.

In October 2010, CFIUS gave its blessing to Rosatom’s acquisition of Uranium One.

Even though the FBI had an informant collecting damning information, and had a prosecutable case against Mikerin by early 2010, the extortion racket against American energy companies was permitted to continue into the summer of 2014  … [after] Russia annexed Crimea. …

Furthermore –

The prosecution of Mikerin’s racketeering scheme had been so delayed that the Justice Department risked losing the ability to charge the 2009 felonies because of the five-year statute of limitations on most federal crimes.

Still, a lid needed to be kept on the case.

It would have made for an epic Obama administration scandal, and a body blow to Hillary Clinton’s presidential hopes, if in the midst of Russia’s 2014 aggression, public attention had been drawn to the failure, four years earlier, to prosecute a national-security case in order to protect Russia’s takeover of U.S. nuclear assets.

The Obama administration needed to make this case go away — without a public trial if at all possible. …

The Justice Department and FBI had little to say when Mikerin and his co-conspirators were arrested [for extortion, fraud, and money laundering]. They quietly negotiated guilty pleas that were announced with no fanfare just before Labor Day. It was arranged that Mikerin would be sentenced just before Christmas. All under the radar. How desperate was the Obama Justice Department to plead the case out? Here, Rosenstein and Holder will have some explaining to do.

Mikerin … was permitted to plead guilty to a single count of money-laundering conspiracy. …  Under federal law, that crime (at section 1956 of the penal code) carries a penalty of up to 20 years’ imprisonment — not only for conspiracy but for each act of money laundering. But Mikerin was not made to plead guilty to this charge. He was permitted to plead guilty to an offense charged under the catch-all federal conspiracy provision (section 371) that criminalizes agreements to commit any crime against the United States. Section 371 prescribes a sentence of zero to five years’ imprisonment.

The Justice Department instructs prosecutors that when Congress has given a federal offense its own conspiracy provision with a heightened punishment (as it has for money laundering, racketeering, narcotics trafficking, and other serious crimes), they may not charge a section 371 conspiracy. Section 371 is for less serious conspiracy cases. Using it for money laundering — which caps the sentence way below Congress’s intent for that behavior — subverts federal law and signals to the court that the prosecutor does not regard the offense as major. Yet, that is exactly what Rosenstein’s office did, in a plea agreement his prosecutors co-signed with attorneys from the Justice Department’s Fraud Section.  No RICO, no extortion, no fraud — and the plea agreement is careful not to mention any of the extortions in 2009 and 2010, before CFIUS approved Rosatom’s acquisition of U.S. uranium stock. Mikerin just had to plead guilty to a nominal “money laundering” conspiracy charge. This insulated him from a real money-laundering sentence. Thus, he got a term of just four years’ incarceration for a major national-security crime — which, of course, is why he took the plea deal and waived his right to appeal, sparing the Obama administration a full public airing of the facts.

Interestingly, as the plea agreement shows, the Obama DOJ’s Fraud Section was then run by Andrew Weissmann, who is now one of the top prosecutors in Robert Mueller’s ongoing special-counsel investigation of suspected Trump collusion with Russia.

There was still one other problem to tamp down. That was the informant — the lobbyist who alerted the FBI to the Russian racketeering enterprise back in 2009. He wanted to talk. Specifically, as his attorney, Ms. Toensing, explains, the informant wanted to tell Congress what he knows — about what the FBI and the Justice Department could already have proved in 2010 when CFIUS signed off on Russia’s acquisition of American nuclear material, and about what he’d learned of Russian efforts to curry favor with Bill and Hillary Clinton. But he was not allowed to talk. It turns out, the lawyer explains, that the FBI had induced him to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The Justice Department warned him that it was enforceable — even against disclosures to Congress.  …

In addition, when the informant was primed to file a federal civil lawsuit to recover his own losses from the scheme, he claims that the Justice Department threatened him with prosecution, warning that a lawsuit would violate the non-disclosure agreement. The Hill reports that it has obtained emails from a civil lawyer retained by the witness, which describe pressure exerted by the Justice Department to silence the informant. What a coincidence: That was in 2016, the stretch run of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

This stinks.

Will Attorney-General sessions nullify the non-disclosure agreement – which he could simply do? We wait to see.

Lou Dobbs of Fox Business News has said that this might turn out to be “The biggest political scandal in American history”.

When will the culprits be brought to trial?

Those of them engaged on the phony investigation into the “Trump-Russia collusion” need to be stopped now. Shades of the prison house are falling upon them.

And on the Clintons? And Eric Holder? And Barack Obama?

Will justice be done and be seen to be done?

Hollywood whores 4

Women’s liberation has become women’s libertinism.

By nature, the human woman is a peacock. We like to be noticed. The conservative among us prefer the allure of modesty. Others don’t. On social media, women outstrip men in the narcissistic and exhibitionist departments. In TV ads, American women, fat, thin, young and old, are grinding their bottoms, spreading their legs, showing the contours of their crotches, and dancing as though possessed (or like primates on heat), abandoning any semblance of femininity and gentility, all the while laughing like hyenas and hollering hokum like, “I Own It.” …

Look, Harvey [Weinstein] is a lowlife. But Hollywood hos are not … “naive, innocent young things” … 

So Ilana Mercer, libertarian, writes at Townhall.

We quote more of her article: :

I’d like to better understand the conservative media’s orgy over Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced and disgraceful Hollywood film producer and studio executive who used his power over decades to have his way with starlets.

To listen to conservative talkers, the women affronted or assaulted by Weinstein were all Shakespearean talent in the making … who made the pilgrimage to Sodom and Gomorrah in the Hollywood Hills, for the purpose of realizing their talent, never knowing it was a meat market. …

The reason the female figure is so crudely objectified nowadays has a great deal to do with women themselves. By virtue of their conduct, women no longer inspire reverence as the fairer sex … For they are crasser, vainer, more eager to expose all voluntarily than any male. Except for Anthony Weiner, the name of an engorged organism indigenous to D.C., who was is in the habit of exposing himself as often as the Kardashians do.

The latter clan is a bevy of catty exhibitionists, controlled by a mercenary matriarch called Kris Kardashian. Kris is madam to America’s First Family of Celebrity Pornographers. (To launch a career with a highly stylized, self-directed sex tape is no longer even condemned.) Lots of little girls, with parental approval, look up to the Kardashians.

From Kim, distaff America learns to couch a preoccupation with pornographic selfies in the therapeutic idiom. Kardashian flaunts herself with pure self-love. Yet millions of her admirers depict her obscene posturing online as an attempt to come to terms with her body. “Be a little easier on myself,” counsels Kim as she directs her camera to the nether reaches of her carefully posed, deformed derriere. While acting dirty and self-adoring, Kardashian delivers as close to a social jeremiad on self-esteem as her kind can muster. Genius!

Liberalism and libertinism are intertwined. The more liberal a woman, the more libertine she’ll be — and the more she’ll liberate herself to be coarse, immodest, vulgar and plain repulsive. Think of the menopausal Ashley Judd rapping lewdly about her (alleged) menstrual fluids at an anti-Trump rally. Think of all those liberal, liberated grannies adorned with pussy dunce-caps on the same occasion. …

The phrase a “bum’s rush” means “throw the bum out!”. When it comes to Allison Williams, daughter of NBC icon Brian Williams, a bum’s rush takes on new meaning. Thanks in no small measure to her famous father, the young woman has become a sitcom star. And Ms. Williams has worked extra-hard to hone all aspects of an actress’s instrument (the body). Alison has carried forth enthusiastically about a groundbreaking scene dedicated to exploring “a** motorboating” or “booty-eating”, on HBO’s “Girls”.

The lewder, more pornographic, and less talented at their craft popular icons become — the louder the Left lauds their artistically dodgy output. (The “Right” just keeps moving Left.) “Singer” Miley Cyrus was mocked before she began twerking tush, thrusting pelvis and twirling tongue. Only then had she arrived as an artist, in the eyes of “critics” on the Left. The power of the average pop artist and her products, Miley’s included, lies in the pornography that is her “art,” in her hackneyed political posturing …

Liberal women, the majority, go about seriously and studiously cultivating their degeneracy. If Raising Skirts to Celebrate the Diversity of Vaginas sounds foul, wait for the accompanying images. These show feral creatures (women, presumably), skirts hoisted, gobs agape, some squatting like farmhands in an outhouse, all yelling about their orifices.

Do you know of a comparable man’s movement? If anything, men are punished when they react normally to women behaving badly.

Female soldiers got naked and uploaded explicit images of themselves to an online portal. The normals — male soldier — shared the images and were promptly punished for so doing. And the conservative side of that ubiquitous, dueling-perspectives political panel approved of the punishment meted to the men.

So endemic is distaff degeneracy these days that “protesters” routinely disrobe or perform lewd acts with objects in public. …

If men flashed for freedom; they’d be arrested, jailed and placed on the National Sex Offender Registry.

Talk about the empress being in the buff, I almost forgot to attach an image of this celebrity, bare-bottomed on the red-carpet. Rose McGowan is hardly unique. Many a star will arrive at these events barely clothed. (Here are 38 more near-naked Red-Carpet appearances.)

Follow those links. They are pictures of Hollywood actresses … wait, no. They are pictures of common whores selling their bodies.

Expect a feminist lecture about a woman’s right to pretend her bare bottom is haute couture, rather than ho couture, and expect the Harveys of the world to behave like choir boys around her?

We have added the question mark to that last sentence.

None of this excuses the exploitation of these silly women by repulsive, uncivilized, priapic Weinstein.

But yes, it must be said that these women are begging to be “exploited”. They are whores.

Posted under Sex, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, October 20, 2017

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A cry from Europe 1

A document titled The Paris Statement: A Europe We Can Believe In has recently been published that calls for the preservation, or restoration, of Europe. Its authors recognize that Europeans are losing their European home.

We agree that is the case. And we agree with some of the analysis of what is killing it.

But there is much in the Statement that we do not agree with.

The signatories are three French authors (a preponderance which, with the title, suggests that the initiative came from one of them), and seven others, respectively Czech, Hungarian, Polish, British, German, Dutch, and Belgian.

The Statement as a whole has a sentimental, romantic quality which expresses the continental spirit rather than a rational Anglo-Saxon one, despite the co-authorship of one Englishman.

The whole thing may be read here.

THE PARIS STATEMENT

Europe belongs to us, and we belong to Europe.These lands are our home; we have no other. The reasons we hold Europe dear exceed our ability to explain or justify our loyalty. It is a matter of shared histories, hopes and loves. It is a matter of accustomed ways, of moments of pathos and pain. It is a matter of inspiring experiences of reconciliation and the promise of a shared future. Ordinary landscapes and events are charged with special meaning — for us, but not for others. Home is a place where things are familiar, and where we are recognized, however far we have wandered. This is the real Europe, our precious and irreplaceable civilization.

Europe is our home. Europe, in all its richness and greatness, is threatened by a false understanding of itself. This false Europe imagines itself as a fulfilment of our civilization, but in truth it will confiscate our home. It appeals to exaggerations and distortions of Europe’s authentic virtues while remaining blind to its own vices. Complacently trading in one-sided caricatures of our history, this false Europe is invincibly prejudiced against the past. Its proponents are orphans by choice, and they presume that to be an orphan — to be homeless — is a noble achievement. In this way, the false Europe praises itself as the forerunner of a universal community that is neither universal nor a community.

One fact lies in all that fluff, in part of the last sentence. It could be worded for clearer communication, as: the globalist rulers of Europe see the EU as a model for a world union under world government. 

Those flesh-and-blood traitors are turned into an abstraction as “the false Europe”.

The Statement goes on to elaborate on the “false Europe” – the Europe led by those globalist rulers who are letting millions of Muslims into their countries; not demanding that they assimilate, or adapt to the customs of the host countries, or obey their laws, or even learn the indigenous languages. In its high-flown style, it does not plainly state that the Islamic invasion is killing Europe, but continues to complain about the wrong attitude of the “false Europe” to the invaders.

And they believe that “the true sources of the humane decencies” that they think characterized pre-Islamic  (or “post-national. post cultural”) Europe comes from its “Christian roots”. We have argued, in many articles on this site, against that thesis, but will not make more of our disagreement here than merely to note it.

The patrons of the false Europe are bewitched by superstitions of inevitable progress. They believe that History is on their side, and this faith makes them haughty and disdainful, unable to acknowledge the defects in the post-national, post-cultural world they are constructing. Moreover, they are ignorant of the true sources of the humane decencies they themselves hold dear — as do we. They ignore, even repudiate the Christian roots of Europe. At the same time they take great care not to offend Muslims, who they imagine will cheerfully adopt their secular, multicultural outlook. Sunk in prejudice, superstition and ignorance, and blinded by vain, self-congratulating visions of a utopian future, the false Europe reflexively stifles dissent. This is done, of course, in the name of freedom and tolerance.

The words in bold say something with which we emphatically concur. The stifling of dissent is a plain and horrid fact.

Then comes a flat denial that “the  greatest threat” to Europe is the Muslim invasion. It continues shadow-boxing the “false Europe”, as if, were those globalists who believe (with Karl Marx) that “History is on their side” to be defeated in argument, the facts on the ground – the Islamification of Europe – would disappear.

We are reaching a dead-end. The greatest threat to the future of Europe is neither Russian adventurism nor Muslim immigration. The true Europe is at risk because of the suffocating grip that the false Europe has over our imaginations. Our nations and shared culture are being hollowed out by illusions and self-deceptions about what Europe is and should be. We pledge to resist this threat to our future. We will defend, sustain and champion the real Europe, the Europe to which we all in truth belong.

Next it describes the Europe that has been lost, the Europe the authors take pride in. It is a rosy picture of “open political systems” born out of “love for the homelands”. It misses the main point, that because the Enlightenment broke the near-totalitarian power of the Christian churches, European greatness grew with rational thought, the doubt which drives science, and the freedom that allowed European man to innovate and explore. 

The next two paragraphs continue the description of the virtues of theEuropean system as the authors perceive them. So does part the following one, which, however,  ends with the assertion of an important fact:

[The] nation-state …  became the hallmark of European civilization.

But that is followed with a passage that includes this:

… In the aftermath of the terrible bloodshed of the world wars in the first half of the twentieth century, we emerged with an even greater resolve to honor our shared heritage.

Which is simply not true. It was in the aftermath of the Second World War that many – even most? –  Europeans began to lose confidence in their cultural heritage. Birth rates began to fall and have fallen drastically. Fear that the welfare states would not have enough people to maintain them contributed to the disastrous acceptance of the hordes of Muslims who are changing the character of Europe. The Muslim newcomers have many children. That is the process of Europe’s Islamization, which is insufficiently dealt with in this document.    

The next few paragraphs praise Christianity as a “spiritual empire” that was better than “political empire”, in that it brought “cultural unity” to the continent. (Yes, but it was a cultural unity of illiteracy and terror.) It also ascribes the growth of secular order to Christianity’s separation of the divine and mundane powers. It lists the “gentle virtues” of Christianity: “fairness, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, peace-making, charity”, those ideals more honored in the breach than the observance throughout the history of Europe in our common era.

It goes on to praise marriage and the raising of children, and on that we can again agree.

We also like its acknowledgment of the “inspiration” modern Europe drew “from the Classical tradition”; and its declaration that “men and women of Europe” crafted “musical and artistic works of unsurpassed beauty” and achieved “extraordinary breakthroughs in science and technology”.

“We are losing our home”, the authors cry. 

The false Europe … sells itself as liberation from all restraints: sexual freedom, freedom of self-expression …

But not of speech,

The Generation of ’68 regards these freedoms as precious victories over a once almighty and oppressive cultural regime. They see themselves as great liberators, and their transgressions are acclaimed as noble moral achievements, for which the whole world should be grateful. … [In fact] the Generation of ’68 destroyed but did not build. They created a vacuum now filled by social media, cheap tourism and pornography.

There’s truth in that.

But most wrongly, the authors condemn the ’68 generation – which is to say, the New Left – for promoting individualism!

Our societies seem to be falling into individualism …

Good grief! They were Marxists, Maoists, collectivists through and through. Individualism was the very thing they most abominated.

Then again comes truth:

European life is more and more comprehensively regulated. Rules — often confected by faceless technocrats in league with powerful interests — govern our work relationships, our business decisions, our educational qualifications, our news and entertainment media. And Europe now seeks to tighten existing regulations on freedom of speech, an aboriginal European freedom — freedom of conscience made manifest. … Europe’s governing classes wish to restrict manifestly political speech. Political leaders who give voice to inconvenient truths about Islam and immigration are hauled before judges. Political correctness enforces strong taboos that deem challenges to the status quo beyond the pale.

Right.

And they come to a direct denunciation of multiculturalism, and at last touch on the damage done by “Muslim newcomers”:

The false Europe also boasts of an unprecedented commitment to equality. It claims to promote non-discrimination and the inclusion of all races, religions and identities. Here, genuine progress has been made, but a utopian detachment from reality has taken hold. Over the past generation, Europe has pursued a grand project of multiculturalism. To demand or even promote the assimilation of Muslim newcomers to our manners and mores, much less to our religion, has been thought a gross injustice. A commitment to equality, we have been told, demands that we abjure any hint that we believe our culture superior. … Europe’s multicultural enterprise … trades on the Christian ideal of universal charity in an exaggerated and unsustainable form. It requires from the European peoples a saintly degree of self-abnegation. We are to affirm the very colonization of our homelands and the demise of our culture as Europe’s great twenty-first century glory — a collective act of self-sacrifice for the sake of some new global community of peace and prosperity that is being born.

But they have not apparently noticed the mind-set of those European “multiculturalists” who long for total capitulation; the self-contempt; the positive preference for the primitive, woman-enslaving, enlightenment-suppressing ideology of Islam, the longing for it to replace the culture of Europe – expressed most explicitly by a former prime Minister of Sweden that his country does not belong to native-born Swedes but to the [Muslim] immigrants.

Most in our governing classes doubtless presume the superiority of European culture — which must not be affirmed in public in ways that might offend immigrants. Given that superiority, they think that assimilation will happen naturally, and quickly … that, somehow, by the laws of nature or of history, ‘they’ will necessarily become like ‘us’ — and it is inconceivable that the reverse might be true.

No, no.  Those “governing classes” do not “presume the superiority of European culture”. They urge their citizens to adapt to the ways of the immigrants.

Next the authors speak of  “globalization”:

There is more bad faith at work, of a darker kind. Over the last generation, a larger and larger segment of our governing class has decided that its own self-interest lies in accelerated globalization. They wish to build supranational institutions that they are able to control without the inconveniences of popular sovereignty. It is increasingly clear that the “democratic deficit” in the European Union is not a mere technical problem to be remedied by technical means. Rather, this deficit is a fundamental commitment, and it is zealously defended. Whether legitimated by supposed economic necessities or autonomously developing international human rights law, the supra-national mandarins of the EU institutions confiscate the political life of Europe … This is the soft but increasingly real tyranny we face.

Right again.

And this is right too:

European societies are fraying badly. If we but open our eyes, we see an ever-greater use of government power, social management and educational indoctrination. It is not just Islamic terror that brings heavily armed soldiers into our streets. Riot police are now necessary to quell violent anti-establishment protests

They then throw in a complaint about “drunken crowds of football fans”, and try to make it relevant by adding: “The fanaticism of our football loyalties is a desperate sign of the deeply human need for solidarity, a need that otherwise goes unfulfilled in the false Europe.”

How does the violence of rival football fans become a sign of a need for solidarity? That’s plain nonsense.

Deploring what has become of the universities is on the mark:

Europe’s intellectual classes are, alas, among the chief ideological partisans of the conceits of the false Europe. Without doubt, our universities are one of the glories of European civilization. But where once they sought to transmit to each new generation the wisdom of past ages, today most within the universities equate critical thinking with a simpleminded repudiation of the past. A lodestar of the European spirit has been the rigorous discipline of intellectual honesty and objectivity. But over the past two generations, this noble ideal has been transformed. The asceticism that once sought to free the mind of the tyranny of dominant opinion has become an often complacent and unreflective animus against everything that is our own. This stance of cultural repudiation functions as a cheap and easy way of being “critical”. Over the last generation, it has been rehearsed in the lecture halls, becoming a doctrine, a dogma. … As a consequence, our universities are now active agents of ongoing cultural destruction.

Our governing classes are advancing human rights. They are at work fighting climate change. They are engineering a more globally integrated market economy and harmonizing tax policies. They are monitoring progress toward gender equality. They are doing so much for us! What does it matter by what mechanisms they inhabit their offices? What does it matter if the European peoples grow more skeptical of their ministrations?

They imply scorn for a market economy, and again misrepresent the globalists, who want global trade, yes; but they are children of the New Left and favor socialism – ideally world socialist government.

We hope they are right that “the European people are growing skeptical of  their [the globalists’] ministrations”.

That growing scepticism is fully justified. Today, Europe is dominated by an aimless materialism that seems unable to motivate men and women to have children and form families. A culture of repudiation deprives the next generation of a sense of identity. Some of our countries have regions in which Muslims live with an informal autonomy from local laws, as if they were colonialists rather than fellow members of our nations. … Globalization transforms the life prospects of millions. When challenged, our governing classes say that they are merely working to accommodate the inevitable, adjusting to implacable necessities. No other course is possible, and it is irrational to resist. Things cannot be otherwise. Those who object are said to suffer nostalgia — for which they deserve moral condemnation as racists or fascists. As social divisions and civic distrust become more apparent, European public life grows angrier, more rancorous, and no one can say where it will end. We must not continue down this path. We need to throw off the tyranny of the false Europe.

How might that be done?

They propose that European public life be “re-secularized”. Which means they rightly see the globalist Leftist movement which despairs of Europe and promotes the Third World as a new religion – which it is.

Some well thought-out paragraphs follow which we suspect are of Anglo-Saxon authorship:

The work of renewal begins with theological self-knowledgeThe universalist and universalizing pretensions of the false Europe reveal it to be an ersatz religious enterprise, complete with strong creedal commitments — and anathemas. This is the potent opiate that paralyzes Europe as a political body. We must insist that religious aspirations are properly the province of religion, not politics, much less bureaucratic administration. In order to recover our political and historical agency, it is imperative that we re-secularize European public life.

This will require us to renounce the mendacious language that evades responsibility and fosters ideological manipulation. Talk of diversity, inclusion and multiculturalism is empty. Often, such language is deployed as a way to characterize our failures as accomplishments: The unravelling of social solidarity is “actually” a sign of welcome, tolerance, and inclusion. This is marketing language, a language meant to obscure reality rather than illuminate. We must recover an abiding respect for reality. Language is a delicate instrument, and it is debased when used as a bludgeon. We should be patrons of linguistic decency. Recourse to denunciation is a sign of the decadence of our present moment. We must not tolerate verbal intimidation, much less mortal threats. We need to protect those who speak reasonably, even if we think their views mistaken. The future of Europe must be liberal in the best sense, which means committed to robust public debate free from all threats of violence and coercion.

Breaking the spell of the false Europe and its utopian, pseudo-religious crusade for a borderless world means fostering a new kind of statesmanship and a new kind of statesman. A good political leader stewards the commonweal of a particular people. A good statesman views our shared European inheritance and our particular national traditions as magnificent and life-giving, but also fragile gifts. He does not reject that inheritance, nor does he chance losing it all for utopian dreams. Such leaders covet the honors bestowed upon them by their people; they do not lust for the approbation of the “international community”, which is in fact the public relations apparatus of an oligarchy.

Recognizing the particular character of the European nations … we need not be perplexed before the spurious claims of the multiculturalists. Immigration without assimilation is colonization, and this must be rejected. We rightly expect that those who migrate to our lands will incorporate themselves into our nations and adopt our ways. This expectation needs to be supported by sound policy.

Yes. But then the Statement goes off the rails again:

The language of multiculturalism has been imported from America.

It has not. The United States have encouraged and proved the value of multi-ethnicity, not multiculturalism; many ethnicities, one culture – and that an open, hospitable one that integrates anything from any other culture that is useful to it. (An enriching eclecticism now condemned by the Left as “cultural appropriation”.)

At least one of the authors then got it right:

But America’s great age of immigration came at the turn of the twentieth century, a period of remarkably rapid economic growth, in a country with virtually no welfare state, and with a very strong sense of national identity to which immigrants were expected to assimilate. … That experience tells us that …  a generous welfare system can impede assimilation … We must not allow a multicultural ideology to deform our political judgments about how best to serve the common good, which requires national communities with sufficient unity and solidarity to see their good as common.

“Demographic change” is called by its name at last:

After World War II, Western Europe cultivated vital democracies. After the collapse of the Soviet Empire, Central European nations restored their civic vitality. These are among Europe’s most precious achievements. But they will be lost if we do not address immigration and demographic change in our nations. Only empires can be multicultural, which is what the European Union will become if we fail to make renewed solidarity and civic unity the criteria by which to assess immigration policies and strategies for assimilation.

The Statement then drifts off again into high-falutin sentiment about “spiritual greatness” needing to be restored to “counter the growing power of mere wealth”, and the need for “the populace” to be “guided toward a virtuous life”. And this:

While we recognize the positive aspects of free-market economics, we must resist ideologies that seek to totalize the logic of the market. …  Economic growth, while beneficial, is not the highest good. Markets need to be oriented toward social ends.

No, they do not. They need to be left alone.

After going on a bit about the arts needing to be about “the sublime and the beautiful”, and stressing that “marriage and family are essential”, they come to weigh the merits of “populism” – the movement begun in America by Donald Trump (and spreading rapidly and effectively, we hope, in Europe). They see it as a source of “anxiety”, but acknowledge that it may be a salutary correction to the “globalist” trend.

There is great anxiety in Europe today because of the rise of what is called “populism” — though the meaning of the term seems never to be defined, and it is used mostly as invective. We have our reservations. Europe needs to draw upon the deep wisdom of her traditions rather than relying on simplistic slogans and divisive emotional appeals. Still, we acknowledge that much in this new political phenomenon can represent a healthy rebellion against the tyranny of the false Europe, which labels as “anti-democratic’” any threat to its monopoly on moral legitimacy. The so-called “populism” challenges the dictatorship of the status quo … and rightly so. It is a sign that even in the midst of our degraded and impoverished political culture, the historical agency of the European peoples can be reborn. …

In this moment, we ask all Europeans to join us in rejecting the utopian fantasy of a multicultural world without borders. We rightly love our homelands, and we seek to hand on to our children every noble thing that we have ourselves received as our patrimony. As Europeans, we also share a common heritage, and this heritage asks us to live together in peace as a Europe of nations. Let us renew national sovereignty, and recover the dignity of a shared political responsibility for Europe’s future.

We must take responsibility.

Phillipe Bénéton (France)

Rémi Brague (France)

Chantal Delsol (France)

Roman Joch (Česko)

Lánczi András (Magyarország)

Ryszard Legutko (Polska)

Roger Scruton (United Kingdom)

Robert Spaemann (Deutschland)

Bart Jan Spruyt (Nederland)

Matthias Storme (België)

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