Whom or what is he for and against?
Whom, in his own mind, does he serve? To what end?
Bizpac Review reports:
Rep. Trey Gowdy [R-SC] questioned FBI Director James Comey Monday [March 20, 2017] during a House Intelligence Committee hearing about leaks of classified information to the media.
In reference to the taped call between Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador, the South Carolina lawmaker grilled Comey about who can “unmask” a U.S. citizen when collecting intelligence.
Gowdy would later point out that making a person’s identity publicly known when protected by law is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. He asked how many people are able to unmask a person and what other agencies have the authority to do so — besides the FBI, Comey named the NSA, CIA and the Justice Department.
He also said the White House can request the agency collecting the intelligence to unmask a person, but said they can’t do it on their own.
Gowdy named a number of people from the Obama administration, to include former national security adviser Susan Rice, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates, all of whom Comey confirmed would likely have had access to the name of an unmasked U.S. citizen.
He asked Comey if he briefed former President Barack Obama on any calls involving Flynn, but the director would not comment on his conversations with Obama.
Gowdy proceeded with the precision of a surgeon in discussing “nefarious motives” for leaking Flynn’s name, none of which reflected well on the last administration.
Regardless, Comey would not confirm whether an investigation into who unmasked Flynn is underway, although he confirmed earlier the bureau is investigating Trump campaign ties to Russia.
So he was happy to confirm that the FBI is investigating “Trump campaign ties to Russia” – which have not been found, though the investigation has been going on since July 2016. By doing so he is thickening the cloud of suspicion that the Democratic Party has created in its efforts to destroy the Trump presidency.
But he would not say whether an investigation is underway into the only known felony that has certainly been committed in connection with this evil Leftist conspiracy – the betrayal of the American citizen Michael Flynn to the Democratic Party’s toady press; the “betrayal” being a report of a perfectly legitimate conversation between Flynn as a member of the Trump campaign when Donald Trump was president-in-waiting and a diplomat with whom he had official business. The crime was the leaking of the intercepted conversation to the New York Times and the Washington Post. It needs to be investigated, the leaker needs to be arrested and tried – but that is something that the head of the FBI does not feel he can talk about to the people’s representatives in a Congressional hearing.
So there is a long ongoing investigation into alleged nefarious activity where not a trace of evidence for any wrong-doing has been found in eight months, and the head of the FBI can announce that fact to all the world. But he cannot say whether or not his bureau of investigation is looking into a serious crime, known to have taken place, that affects the democratic processes on which the government of the country depends?
Why? Why is the great detective openly chasing after a shadow while apparently ignoring a crime?
And why has President Trump kept this man Comey in his job?
Please, Mr. President, issue an executive order that will prevent this happening in America. You did? What happened? Some judge declared it unconstitutional? …
According to the Pentagon:
A ballistic missile launched by Iran on Sunday [March 12, 2017] was North Korean in construction or design. …
This latest test could set Iran on a collision course with the Trump Administration, which has promised to take a hard line on Iran.
Why has President Trump not already torn up the “deal” Obama made with Iran? It really is “the stupidest deal of all time”, as President Trump himself called it.
Is the process of disempowering Iran starting with a warning to Iran’s nuclear-armed ally North Korea?
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday [March 17, 2017] issued the Trump administration’s starkest warning yet to North Korea, saying that a military response would be “on the table” if Pyongyang took action to threaten South Korean and U.S. forces.
Speaking in Seoul after visiting the Demilitarized Zone dividing the Korean peninsula and some of the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, Tillerson said former President Barack Obama’s policy of “strategic patience” towards Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs was over.
“We are exploring a new range of security and diplomatic measures. All options are on the table,” Tillerson told a news conference.
He said any North Korean actions that threatened U.S. or South Korean forces would be met with “an appropriate response,” turning up the volume of the tough language that has marked President Donald Trump’s approach to North Korea.
“Certainly, we do not want for things to get to a military conflict,” he said when asked about possible military action, but added: “If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action, that option is on the table.”
Nuclear co-operation between Iran and nuclear-armed North Korea is hastening the day when there will be a nuclear-armed Iran.
But at present, the alliance between Iran and Russia is even more dangerous.
This is from an article at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, by Anna Borshchevskaya, dated February 6, 2017:
It is going to be difficult to drive a wedge between Russia and Iran. Too many interests hold them together …
From Moscow’s perspective, the U.S. has been and will continue to be an enemy, no matter how hard any U.S. president tries to improve relations. Putin needs the U.S. as an enemy to justify domestic problems at home and he sees the current geopolitical order, anchored by the U.S., as disadvantaging him. Nothing short of a rearrangement of that order will satisfy Putin. Nobel Prize-winning author and journalist Svetlana Alexievich observed in October 2015 that Russians “are people of war. We don’t have any other history. Either we were preparing for war or we were fighting one. And so all of this militarism has pushed all of our psychological buttons at once.” Putin needs allies who share this worldview.
President Trump expressed two contradictory policies during his campaign: being tough on Iran and improving relations with Russia. These two goals are incompatible because Putin wants a partnership with Trump in Syria, but Syria is where Putin is most closely allied with Iran. In order to push Iran and Russia apart, Trump needs to resolve this contradiction. The recent Syria peace talks in Kazakhstan only brought Russia and Iran closer together, if anything, given their pledge to fight “jointly” against ISIS and al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat Fateh al-Sham [aka the al-Nusra Front]. This development will also make it even more difficult for Trump to ally with Russia on Syria.
So far, Putin has succeeded in balancing Israeli and Sunni interests with its growing relationship with Iran. But it is unclear how long Putin can sustain this policy. Certainly, Putin did not hesitate to discount Israel’s interests when it came to selling S-300 weapons to Iran. Indeed, it is not in Israel’s interest for Putin to continue supporting Bashar al-Assad and thereby expand Iran’s influence in the Middle East. The Trump administration could encourage and support U.S. allies like Israel in order to make it more difficult for Putin to maintain his balance of good relations with all sides. It should also step up security cooperation with its allies to demonstrate that it is still committed to the region.
In the long term, Russia and Iran diverge somewhat on Syria. Iran perceives Syria as within its sphere of influence, which is not very different from how Putin views the former Soviet Union countries that he does not consider real states. Iran is interested in exacerbating sectarian divisions in Syria so that the Assad regime becomes an Iranian client-state with no independent decision-making. Iran is also closer to Assad himself than Putin, who simply wants Assad or someone else like him to ensure his interests in Syria. He cares more about how he can leverage Syria in his relations with the West than Syria itself. At the same time, Putin also increasingly perceives the Middle East as falling within the Russian sphere of influence, albeit differently than Iran. Historically, Moscow always looked for buffer zones out of its sense of insecurity, and this is precisely how it feels now.
The Trump administration could emphasize to Putin that Russian and Iranian interests in Syria are bound to clash in the future, and therefore an alliance with Iran can only go so far. But most of all, the U.S. needs to be present in the region and regain its leadership position. Putin preys on weakness and has perceived the U.S. as weak for years. He stepped into a vacuum in the Middle East, especially in Syria, that was created by America’s absence. By taking an active role in the region, the U.S. would limit Putin’s influence, including his alliance with Iran.
The article ends with a statement that seems to contradict the one with which the quotation opens.
Can the US “limit Putin’s influence, including his alliance with Iran”, or is it “going to be difficult to drive a wedge between Russia and Iran”?
The Russian-Iranian alliance is extremely dangerous for the US and the world. Can President Trump weaken it? Can he disengage Russia from Iran? Can he subdue Russia’s intensifying belligerence? Will he tear up Obama’s “deal” and put an end to Iran’s acquisition of nuclear bombs and the missiles to deliver them to the Middle East, Europe, and America?
Is there a plan to achieve all that, a process starting with the much-needed, long-delayed, serious warning to North Korea?
Published as a YouTube video yesterday, March 16, 2017 –
From The Mark Steyn Show, here’s a SteynPost from a few weeks back musing on the supposedly non-existent Deep State as it sinks its tentacles deeper and deeper:
The elections in the Netherlands have not brought Geert Wilders and his party to power, as we hoped they would.
But his campaign, chiefly concerned with saving his country from Islamization, has had a permanent effect on Dutch and European politics.
In order to hold on to power, Mark Rutte – then and now again prime minister – had to display a sudden resolve in dealing with the Muslim threat … well that’s not exactly how it was described, but anyway with the Turks in the Netherlands, and Turkey itself.
Robert Mackey wrote at The Intercept on the day before the election:
Pre-election polls in the Netherlands, one day before voters choose a new parliament, suggest that Prime Minister Mark Rutte could be returned to office as the head of the country’s largest party, boosted by a wave of approval for his feud with Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Rutte, who is trying to stave off a challenge from the virulently anti-Muslim xenophobe Geert Wilders, provoked fury from the Turkish government on Saturday by blocking Turkey’s foreign minister from the country. The foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, had planned to rally expatriate Turks in Rotterdam, ahead of an upcoming referendum in Turkey that would alter the Turkish constitution to give the office of the presidency more power.
Geert Wilders is not a “xenophobe”. That is the nasty name his enemies call him, they being the ruling elite of the Netherlands and the other European countries who have brought hordes of hostile Muslims into Europe to be a criminal threat and a financial drain. He is “anti-Muslim” in the sense that he does not want that suicidal policy to continue. (“Virulently” is thrown in to make Wilders, his Party, and his policies seem utterly disgusting and terrifying. It implies, “I, the politically correct journalist writing this piece, hate Geert Wilders and all he stands for.”)
After Rutte barred the foreign minister, and then expelled another Turkish minister who arrived in Rotterdam by car without permission, Erdogan first compared the Dutch to Nazis and then blamed them for the massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995.
That massacre was, in fact, carried out by Bosnian Serb forces who overran the town, but a lightly-armed battalion of Dutch peacekeepers did fail to prevent the slaughter.
Images of the Dutch police using water cannon and dogs to disperse protests by Erdogan supporters in Rotterdam angered Turkish officials, but appeared to please the tabloid press and its readers in the Netherlands.
The Dutch pollster Maurice de Hond reported that 86 percent of those surveyed supported Rutte’s handling of the crisis, including an identical number of Wilders supporters.
As tensions between the two countries continued to escalate, members of President Erdogan’s ruling party beat a Norwegian journalist in Istanbul they mistook for a Dutch national, and Prime Minister Rutte told the BBC the Turkish leader’s comments were “more and more hysterical by the day”.
Wilders, a former member of Rutte’s center-right VVD party [Party for Freedom and Democracy] who now campaigns almost exclusively on a hatred of Islam — and praised Donald Trump’s efforts to ban Muslims from the United States — helped to stoke anti-Turkish sentiment last week, when he appeared outside the Turkish embassy in The Hague, surrounded by his bodyguards, and holding a banner that read: “Stay Away — This Is Our Country”.
Islam is a totalitarian, supremacist ideology. Everyone should hate it. And the reason Geert Wilders has those bodyguards – which the writer seems to be mocking him for, as if he were guilty of paranoia or cowardice – is that his life has been seriously threatened by you-can-guess-whom.
After Rutte’s crackdown on Erdogan supporters seemed to increase his popularity, Wilders tried to up the ante, calling for the Turkish ambassador to the Netherlands to be expelled along with his entire staff.
In response, Rutte told Wilders during a televised debate on Monday night that there was “a difference between tweeting from a couch and leading the country”. Wilders’ desire to escalate the confrontation even further, Rutte said, showed that he was not fit to lead the country.
In polling conducted after the start of the crisis, Rutte’s center-right party, the VVD, appeared to gain in projected vote-share, and seemed likely to emerge as the largest party in the next parliament, as the Wilders-led PVV [Party for Freedom] slipped to second in one poll and as far as fifth in another.
Buoyed by this surge in support, Rutte told the BBC correspondent Gabriel Gatehouse on Tuesday that he expected to defeat Wilders and keep the Netherlands from following in the footsteps of Britain and the United States by handing power to anti-immigrant extremists.
Despite a large number of undecided voters on the eve of the election, the Dutch system of proportional representation, combined with a splintering of support among a dozen or more parties, makes it likely that no one party will take more than 20 percent of the overall vote for the 150-seat parliament.
Even if the polls are off, and Wilders does emerge as the leader of the largest party, political analysts put his chances of leading the next coalition government at “the square root of not much” …
Well, now the election has been held.
Daniel Greenfield at Front Page tells “the real story of the Dutch election”:
The truly final results will only be known next week. But the current numbers show that the Freedom Party [led by Geert Wilders] has become the second largest political party in Parliament having gained five seats while the Labor Party has disastrously lost 29 seats.
Labor hit a post-war low. The media is spinning this as Prime Minister Rutte’s defeat of Geert Wilders, but the Labor half of the Second Rutte Cabinet just went up in flames. VVD [led by Mark Rutte] lost quite a few seats, but remains the largest party only because so much of the overall vote had dissipated. Rutte will now have to awkwardly build an unstable coalition out of four parties just to avoid dealing with Wilders.
It is quite possible though that Rutte will be trading the somewhat moderate Labor for GroenLinks [Green Left] which was formed out of, among others, the Communist Party of the Netherlands. When the media cheers that the “moderates” have defeated that terrible extremist, Geert Wilders, what they aren’t mentioning is that the alternative “moderate” coalitions may include the daughter party of the Communist Party.
The election was, in a sense, always rigged. The political system of the Netherlands fragments the vote and then puts it back together in government coalitions. The demonization of Wilders and the PVV was meant to ensure that even if his political party had won a majority, it would not have been allowed to form a government. And so Wilders won more by being in the second spot than by achieving the majority that some polls had predicted, while leaving the PVV unable to form a government.
Despite the attempts to kill it, smear it and destroy it, the Freedom Party continues to rise. And its enemies are being forced to respond to its ideas. The dangerous campaign by Turkey’s Islamist butcher, complete with threats and intimidation, helped Rutte salvage his government. But not his coalition.
The centrist politics that made Rutte’s government possible are imploding. The decline of Rutte’s VVD and Labor is an unmistakable rejection of the status quo. The gains in this election flowed to parties further out on the spectrum on the right and the left. The traditionally moderate Dutch are losing their patience. The polarization is eliminating the center and replacing it with some hard choices. …
Wilders had spoken of a “Patriotic Spring” sweeping the West. After the election, he said that the election results were a thing to be proud of. “The Patriotic Spring continues onward. And it has only begun.”
The media’s celebrations may also be badly misguided for another reason. In the wake of Brexit, the media largely forgot how it had mocked UKIP and [its leader] [Nigel] Farage as failures. But a political party doesn’t always have to win elections to have an impact. Rigging the system against UKIP didn’t keep the UK in the EU. Instead it ultimately had the opposite effect. Keeping Wilders and the PVV down may backfire.
Geert Wilders has fundamentally changed the conversation about Islam and immigration. And the political parties of the Netherlands are increasingly reacting to him. Wilders took an election in a country whose political shifts are generally of little interest to those living outside it and made it a matter of international interest. His courage and common sense have made him into a world leader.
Wilders had the courage to defy the assassins and murderers, the politically correct scolds and the bleeding hearts, the pallid men and women who counsel moderation in all things and at all times, to tell the truth about Islam and Islamic migration. That is what he will go on doing even as he lives under threat. And his courage inspires opponents of the Jihad in the Netherlands and around the world.
This election was an erosion of faith in the establishment and a show of support for Wilders. To become Prime Minister Wilders, the PVV will either need a truly massive victory or a fundamental change in the political environment. Wilders understands this. He knows that the role of his party is to fight a failing establishment. Everything he does builds support and momentum for either of the two roads.
The media is cheering a defeat that never happened. And just as with Brexit, it may find that it had overlooked the seeds of its own destruction in the dirty politics of its own making.
“This patriotic revolution,” Geert Wilders said, “whether today or tomorrow, will take place anyway.”
We fervently hope it will – in the Netherlands and other European countries. If it does not, Europe will be lost to the hideous tyranny of Islam.
A Muslim woman of Palestinian descent, Linda Sarsour, was one of the chief organizers of the Women’s March on Washington, January 21, 2017.
Along with Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian woman and convicted terrorist, Rasmea Yousef Odeh, helped organize “A Day Without a Woman” demonstrations on March 8, 2017.
Both demonstrations purported to be for “women’s rights”, though they were more discernibly protests against the Republican administration under President Trump and against the Republican Party. Their mobilization is an aspect of the fierce opposition that the American and international Socialist Left is conducting against the popular choice of capitalism, individualism, and the nation-state – recently proved by voters in the US and Britain.
Principles that the feminist movement claims to stand for are: equality with men, freedom of way-of-life choices, freedom from legal and cultural restraints particular to women, sexual freedom and absolute personal control over their own bodies.
Here are those ideas as (presumably) expressed by feminists:
- Working to increase equality: Feminist thought links ideas to action, insisting we should push for change toward gender equality and not just talk about it.
- Expanding human choice: Feminists believe that both men and women should have the freedom to develop their human interests and talents, even if those interests and talents conflict with the status quo. For example, if a woman wants to be a mechanic, she should have the right and opportunity to do so.
- Eliminating gender stratification: Feminists oppose laws and cultural norms that limit income, educational and job opportunities for women.
- Ending sexual violence & promoting sexual freedom: Feminists feel that women should have control over their sexuality and reproduction.
Feminism in fact has long since ceased to be a movement for women’s social and political equality with men, and become a sub-group of the international Left. But those principles are widely and generally considered fair and acceptable, so we will for the moment rate feminism according to its best aspirations. Above all feminism is conceived of as a women’s liberation movement.
Now, to come to the point, Linda Sarsour, feminist, urges the adoption of sharia law.
Here, briefly, is how sharia law applies to women*:
• A non-Muslim man who marries a Muslim woman is punishable by death.
• A man can marry an infant girl and consummate the marriage when she is 9 years old.
• Girls’ clitoris should be cut (Muhammad‘s words, Book 41, Kitab Al-Adab, Hadith 5251).
• A woman can have 1 husband, who can have up to 4 wives.
• A man can beat his wife for insubordination.
• A man can unilaterally divorce his wife; a woman needs her husband’s consent to divorce.
• A divorced wife loses custody of all children over 6 years of age or when they exceed it.
• Testimonies of four male [eye-]witnesses are required to prove rape against a woman.
• A woman who has been raped cannot testify in court against her rapist(s).
• A woman’s testimony in court, allowed in property cases, carries ½ the weight of a man’s.
• A female heir inherits half of what a male heir inherits.
• A woman cannot drive a car, as it leads to fitnah (upheaval).
• A woman cannot speak alone to a man who is not her husband or relative.
Linda Sarsour apparently sees no incompatibility – glaringly obvious though it is – between the principles of feminism and the tenets of sharia. (Have any feminists noticed it? It doesn’t seem so.)
She does, however, say that it is impossible for a woman who supports Israel to be a feminist.
The Washington Free Beacon reports:
Prominent Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, a leader in the feminist movement, said in an interview published Monday that Zionists cannot be feminists. …
It just doesn’t make any sense for someone to say, “Is there room for people who support the state of Israel and do not criticize it in the movement? There can’t be in feminism. You either stand up for the rights of all women, including Palestinians, or none. There’s just no way around it.”
In fact, Palestinian women in Israel have equal rights with all other citizens – the same rights citizens have in all the Western liberal democracies. They do not have these rights in Islamic countries.
The actual disabilities of women under sharia law, and in Muslim custom and culture generally, are far greater and more oppressive even than the letter of sharia law demands. It is no exaggeration to say that the status of a woman in traditional Islam is that of a slave.
Linda Sarsour will not be contradicted by the mainstream media or Democrats because she is seen by the Left as a Palestinian and therefore a victim.
Rasmea Odeh will be excused by the media and Democrats for bombing and murdering, because her victims were Israeli Jews.
The opposition that the American and international Socialist Left is conducting is most successful in the universities, where its activists use brutal physical violence against their perceived enemies, while simultaneously claiming to be intimidated victims needing protection from the speaking of ideas they don’t want to hear. The nearest representatives of their perceived enemies are fellow Jewish students – nearest and so most easily bullied and assaulted. They are picked on as the vulnerable part of the otherwise tough Big Enemy, whose names are: President Trump; the Republican Party; the Constitution; America; the nation-state; individual freedom; Western civilization.
*This summary is from a Christian source. It was the most succinct we could find for our purposes in this article, and we did consult other sources to confirm its accuracy.
The essence of freedom is freedom of speech.
Our civilization depends on it, cannot survive without it.
It was the key that unlocked the genius of classical Greece, where science began, and where Socrates taught us to question everything, always.
It was the intellectual light that began to rise in the seventeenth century, finally dispelling the long darkness of church-dominated Europe; the thousand years when Christian dogma was held to be the truth, the only truth, and people were tortured to death for questioning it.
When Rome made Christianity the official religion of the Empire in 380 C.E., it discarded the wisdom encapsulated in the saying: Ubi dubium ibi libertas: where there is doubt there is freedom.
Freedom of speech is the life of the mind.
We have posted many articles on this supremely important subject, in our own words and quoting the words of others. Put “freedom of speech” into our search slot and you will find them. They are all worth reading.
The point we want to make with this post is that freedom of speech is gravely threatened with suppression – again.
Freedom of speech is the issue above all others that divides political opinion the world over.
Freedom of speech must be absolute. Any restriction on it is fatal to it.
The Socialist Left – another dark international religion – is ever more passionately against it. Of course it is, because free criticism of it can destroy its power, just as free criticism of the old religions destroyed theirs.
In Europe it has already been largely abandoned, because most of the continent has surrendered to invading Muslim hordes, whose ideology – an invention of the dark ages – forbids it.
Freedom of speech was all the European Parliament had going for it that was of any use at all. Nigel Farage, leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), was able to promote his cause far and wide by speaking freely for it within the assembly, from where it was broadcast to the outside world. He also used it to expose the lies and bigotry of the European ruling parties, and the tyrannical nature of the EU itself. But now the European Parliament, an almost totally powerless institution created as window-dressing for the undemocratic European Union, has used what little power it has (just enough to rule itself) to bar any speech its leadership does not like from spreading beyond its hallowed hall.
Judith Bergman writes at Gatestone:
The European Parliament has introduced a new procedural rule, which allows for the chair of a debate to interrupt the live broadcasting of a speaking MEP “in the case of defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or behavior by a Member”. Furthermore, the President of the European Parliament may even “decide to delete from the audiovisual record of the proceedings those parts of a speech by a Member that contain defamatory, racist or xenophobic language“.
No one, however, has bothered to define what constitutes “defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or behavior”. This omission means that the chair of any debate in the European Parliament is free to decide, without any guidelines or objective criteria, whether the statements of MEPs are “defamatory, racist or xenophobic”. The penalty for offenders can apparently reach up to around 9,000 euros.
That’s approximately $9,600 at today’s exchange rate.
“There have been a growing number of cases of politicians saying things that are beyond the pale of normal parliamentary discussion and debate,” said British EU parliamentarian Richard Corbett, who has defended the new rule. Mr. Corbett, however, does not specify what he considers “beyond the pale”.
Although Richard Corbett is in fact British, it is misleading to describe him exclusively as that. Britain has a long, perhaps the longest, tradition of upholding free speech. Richard Corbett is first and foremost a Socialist. He is the Deputy Secretary General of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, and persistently voluble against British independence from the European Union.
In June 2016, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, addressed the European Parliament in a speech which drew on old anti-Semitic blood libels, such as falsely accusing Israeli rabbis of calling on the Israeli government to poison the water used by Palestinian Arabs. Such a clearly incendiary and anti-Semitic speech was not only allowed in parliament by the sensitive and “anti-racist” parliamentarians; it received a standing ovation. Evidently, wild anti-Semitic blood libels pronounced by Arabs do not constitute “things that are beyond the pale of normal parliamentary discussion and debate”.
Mahmoud Abbas later admitted that his accusation was false and retracted it.
The European Parliament apparently did not even bother to publicize their new procedural rule; it was only made public by Spain’s La Vanguardia newspaper. Voters were, it appears, not supposed to know that they may be cut off from listening to the live broadcasts of the parliamentarians they elected to represent them in the EU, if some chairman of a debate subjectively happened to decide that what was being said was “racist, defamatory or xenophobic”.
The European Parliament is the only popularly elected institution in the EU. Helmut Scholz, from Germany’s left-wing Die Linke party, said that EU lawmakers must be able to express their views about how Europe should work: “You can’t limit or deny this right”. Well, they can express it (but for how long?), except that now no one outside of parliament will hear it.
The rule strikes at the very center of free speech, namely that of elected politicians, which the European Court of Human Rights has deemed in its practice to be specially protected. Members of the European Parliament are people who have been elected to make the voices of their constituents heard inside the institutions of the European Union. …
The rule can only have a chilling effect on freedom of speech in the European Parliament and will likely prove a convenient tool in trying to shut up those parliamentarians who do not follow the politically correct narrative of the EU.
The European Parliament lately seems to be waging war against free speech. At the beginning of March, the body lifted the parliamentary immunity of French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen. Her crime? Tweeting three images of ISIS executions in 2015. In France, “publishing violent images” constitutes a criminal offense, which can carry a penalty of three years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros. By lifting her immunity at the same time that she is running for president of France, the European Parliament is sending the clear signal that publicizing the graphic and horrifying truth of the crimes of ISIS, rather than being received as a warning about what might soon be coming to Europe, instead ought to be punished.
This is a bizarre signal to be sending, especially to the Christian and Yazidi victims of ISIS, who are still largely ignored by the European Union. European parliamentarians, evidently, are too sensitive to deal with the graphic murders of defenseless people in the Middle East, and are more concerned with ensuring the prosecution of the messengers, such as Marine Le Pen.
So, political correctness … has not only taken over the media and academia; elected MEPs are now also supposed to toe the politically correct line, or literally be cut off. …
Where does this clearly totalitarian impulse stop and who will stop it?
Perhaps the rebel nationalist movements in Europe will resist the anti-free speech campaign by winning the next state elections, encouraged as they are by the victory of Donald Trump’s patriotic movement in America.
But it is certain that the battle between the Socialist and Muslim dogmatists on the one side and the defenders of free speech on the other will be long and hard.
Your Samsung Smart TVs may have been turned into a CIA listening device, according to documents published by WikiLeaks yesterday.
The attack, which seems to require physical access to the TV and an infected USB drive, enables a “Fake-Off mode” that allows the microphone to be accessed remotely even after the TV has been seemingly turned off. The malware also suppresses the TV’s LED lights, removing any suspicion that the device is still active.
Weeping Angel can also reportedly extract usernames, passwords and Wi-Fi keys – allowing access to the target’s network and other connected devices.
“The tool appears to be under active development,” security researcher Matthew Hickey told Forbes. “The capabilities it boasts cannot currently capture video, according to the leaked docs. But that is a goal of the project. It can record audio but it does not stream it in real-time to the CIA. Instead it copies it off the TV as files.”
The malware called “Weeping Angel” is said to have been developed by the CIA about three years ago in collaboration with Britain’s internal spy agency MI5.
Hickey also stated that Weeping Angel may be neutralized if the target updates their TV’s firmware since the malware is designed specifically for versions below 1118. …
[But] the CIA can also use a feature known as “prevent updates” to stop a device from removing the malware. While a factory reset code can bring the TV back to its original state, most users are unlikely to closely monitor their firmware version.
Security researchers have long warned about vulnerabilities with not only Samsung TVs but with IoT (Internet of Things) devices in general.
In a 2012 Wired article, entitled, CIA Chief: We’ll Spy on You Through Your Dishwasher, then-CIA Director David Petraeus heralded emerging technologies in relation to espionage. “‘Transformational’ is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies,” Petraeus said, “particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft.”
As reported by Infowars in 2012, security firm ReVuln discovered similar issues that allowed a Samsung TV’s microphone and camera to be accessed.
“It could give an attacker the ability to access any file available on the remote device, as well as external devices (such as USB drives) connected to the TV,” Security Ledger reported at the time. “And, in an Orwellian twist, the hole could be used to access cameras and microphones attached to the Smart TVs, giving remote attacker the ability to spy on those viewing a compromised set.”
While the vast majority of smart TV users are not going to have their devices physically targeted by CIA, Samsung has admitted in its own terms of service that a user’s personal conversations can be recorded and transmitted to third parties – creating a larger attack surface for the private data.
“Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition,” the policy stated.
An “Orwellian twist?” This story is pure Orwell. Spying on private lives by the state through TV screens as such was prophesied in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four:
[Winston Smith] thought of the telescreen with its never-sleeping ear. They could spy upon you night and day, but if you kept our head you could still outwit them. With all their cleverness they had never mastered the secret of finding out what another human being was thinking.
Winston Smith discovers he is wrong about that. His thoughts get not only found out but changed, by torture and terror, to those the state – “Big Brother” – wants him to have. Remember the horrifying last words of the novel?
He loved Big Brother.
Who has allowed America to become a Big Brother’s state? Whose idea was it? Why?
And what are Americans going to do about it?
Where’s the outrage?
Honors program at one university pays students to take “white privilege” and BLM courses
That is the headline of this article – a factual report with critical comment – at Liberty Unyielding:
The question that naturally arises is whether these students would take the courses if they weren’t bribed to do so, although knowing today’s campus climate, the answer is probably an emphatic yes.
An honors program at a public university gives students a scholarship and early course signup and lets them use laptops if they take classes on subjects like “white privilege” and Black Lives Matter [BLM], which both have community engagement components.
Sam Houston State University in Texas (SHSU) offers a scholarship of up to $2,800 to students who take these courses or others as part of its Elliott T. Bowers Honors College. Students who gain admission into the Honors College can sign up for courses earlier than their non-Honors peers, obtain access to a special computer center, and “automatically receive the Bowers Scholarship upon acceptance into the college”. The Honors students also graduate with distinction and gain usage of cameras, video cameras, and laptops for their class projects.
As SHSU is a taxpayer-funded public school, Americans of all colors, ethnicities, and political persuasions are financing this subversive course.
Subversive and racist:
“Understanding Whiteness: Historic and Contemporary Viewpoints on Privilege,” asks SHSU Honors students “how might white people better understand white privilege and their potential role in dismantling systemic racism?” and requires students to “engage in personal self-reflection” and “educate others about white privilege through action research projects and community engagement initiatives.”
“Systemic racism” is treated as an established fact. The implication is that contempt for black people is mystically inherent in all white people because they are white, in the same way that Christians believe “original sin” is mystically inherent in all human beings because they are human.
The seminar examines “white privilege” from modern and historical perspectives — e.g., “the social construction of whiteness” — as well as “key historic events and movements advancing white privilege (eugenics, global colonization, holocaust).”
Eugenics is almost universally regarded as immoral.
Nations of various human colors have been colonizing foreign territories for millennia. At present, Islam is colonizing Europe.
Holocaust? As an example of “white privilege”? Presumably the privilege of the white Germans. But weren’t the European Jews who were massacred also white?
The Black Lives Matter Honors College seminar is taught by associate professor Ervin Malakaj, who co-chairs SHSU’s Diversity Committee for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Ervin Malakaj is an associate professor of German at SHSU.
“The Black Lives Matter movement has called on Americans to address the racial violence, mass incarceration, and dehumanizing social policies directed at African Americans,” reads the seminar description.
The implication there is that “racial violence” is a carried out only or mainly by whites on blacks. That is not true.
Go here to read a superbly well-researched article by Heather Mac Donald on The Myth of Criminal-Justice Racism, in which she demolishes false allegations of “mass incarceration” and racial inequity. “The most poisonous claim in the dominant narrative is that our criminal justice system is a product and a source of racial inequity,” she writes.
What “dehumanizing social policies directed at African Americans” are there?
The course seems to be intended to indoctrinate students with lies calculated to rouse distress and indignation.
Whose idea was it to pay people to be aggrieved and enraged?
And worse. To take action – which is surely implied by the phrase “community engagement”:
The BLM course is part of SHSU’s Academic Community Engagement (ACE) program, which blends teaching with community engagement.
Are there no intelligent, rational, well-informed, pro-American sages in the universities objecting to proposals for degree courses that stoke racial hostility and potentially encourage violence? If there are, they must be a very small and ineffectual minority. Tenured teachers would not risk their jobs by making a public fuss about this inculcation of racist ideology into generations of Americans.
President Trump has beautifully, elegantly, brilliantly finessed his enemies.
By taking the New York Times at its word that his communications were intercepted last year, Trump has forced the NYT either to take responsibility for exposing Obama’s scandalous activity, or to say that it was lying.
According to Andrew McCarthy (see our post immediately below, Now, President Trump, hit back), the Obama administration sought and eventually obtained FISA (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) authorization to conduct the wire-tapping.
For what purposes can such FISA authorization be obtained? And by whom?
The President may authorize, through the Attorney General, electronic surveillance without a court order for the period of one year, provided that it is only to acquire foreign intelligence information, that it is solely directed at communications or property controlled exclusively by foreign powers, that there is no substantial likelihood that it will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party, and that it be conducted only in accordance with defined minimization procedures.
The code defines “foreign intelligence information” to mean information necessary to protect the United States against actual or potential grave attack, sabotage or international terrorism.
“Foreign powers” means a foreign government, any faction of a foreign nation not substantially composed of U.S. persons, and any entity directed or controlled by a foreign government. The definition also includes groups engaged in international terrorism and foreign political organizations. The sections of FISA authorizing electronic surveillance and physical searches without a court order specifically exclude their application to groups engaged in international terrorism.
A “U.S. person” includes citizens, lawfully admitted permanent resident aliens, and corporations incorporated in the United States.
“Minimization procedures” is defined to mean procedures that minimize the acquisition of information concerning United States persons, allow the retention of information that is evidence of a crime, and require a court order be obtained in order to retain communication involving a United States person for longer than 72 hours.
The Attorney General is required to make a certification of these conditions under seal to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and report on their compliance to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Under the FISA act, anyone who engages in electronic surveillance except as authorized by statute is subject to both criminal penalties and civil liabilities.
So if the New York Times was correct, President Obama’s Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, authorized electronic surveillance of communication devices in Donald Trump’s offices, on the grounds that her Department of Justice had provable grounds for suspicion that Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for the presidency, was one side of a conspiracy to mount “grave attack, sabotage, or international terrorism” against the United States – even though there was “substantial likelihood” that by doing so she would “acquire the contents of … communication(s) to which a United States person” – Donald Trump personally or an associate of his – was a party”.
If that’s what she did, she broke the law.
If she gathered any information from FISA-authorized wire-tapping, and retained it for more than an allowed 72 hours, or disseminated it to persons who illegally leaked it to the media, she broke the law.
If any of this happened, then there was a deep-laid plot by the Obama administration to destroy Donald Trump’s reputation and wreck his presidency should he be elected.
But then again, maybe the wire-tapping never happened, in which case the New York Times was lying – not at all an implausible probability.
Matthew Vadum writes at Front Page:
President Donald Trump caused a media firestorm by claiming over the weekend that then-President Obama wire-tapped telephones at Trump Tower in Manhattan during the final leg of last year’s election campaign.
Seeing the writing on the wall, tainted FBI Director James Comey promptly and publicly urged the Department of Justice to reject Trump’s claims. Although it is an attempt at a cover-up, it is an admirably transparent one.
Now the outlines of a Watergate-like conspiracy are emerging in which a sitting Democrat president apparently used the apparatus of the state to spy on a Republican presidential candidate. Watergate differed in that President Nixon didn’t get involved in the plot against the Democratic National Committee until later as an accomplice after the fact. Here Obama likely masterminded, or oversaw someone like the diabolical Benghazi cover-up artist Ben Rhodes, masterminding the whole thing.
Throughout his agonizingly long presidency, Obama serially abused his powers as the nation’s Chief Executive to undermine his political opponents. It might be said that every day of his presidency he committed at least one impeachable offense.
Obama used the IRS to target conservative and Tea Party nonprofits, along with Catholic, Jewish, and pro-Israel organizations. He brazenly lied about it, too. His Justice Department surreptitiously obtained telephone records for more than 100 reporters. … Books have been written about his corruption and many more such volumes will follow. …
A spokesman for Obama, who now lives in former Bill Clinton press secretary Joe Lockhart’s walled mansion with Valerie Jarrett on Washington’s Embassy Row so he can pursue his unprecedented, taxpayer-subsidized post-presidential war against Trump, denied Obama ordered that Trump Tower be wiretapped.
“A cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice,” according to a carefully-worded statement. “As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.”
Of course, as others quickly pointed out, the denial is misdirection.
Former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy wrote yesterday that the denial “seems disingenuous on several levels”. When a warrant is obtained under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), “it is technically the FISA court that ‘orders’ surveillance”. Moreover, under the law, “it is the Justice Department, not the White House, that represents the government in proceedings before the FISA court”.
McCarthy wrote presciently on Jan. 11: “The idea that FISA could be used against political enemies always seemed far-fetched. Now it might not be.”
Besides, Obama and his gang have generally been smart enough to hide their tracks when carrying out political dirty tricks. The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, FBI, CIA, and NSA, aren’t headquartered in the White House. Obama could wage war against Trump by creating multiple layers of plausible deniability. That’s what a community organizer from Chicago does.
Predictably, former Obama speechwriter [Ben] Rhodes went on Twitter to lie. Replying to a Trump tweet, the Iranian mullahs’ best friend wrote, cheekily, that, “No President can order a wiretap. Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you.” …
Most mainstream journalists were loath over the past eight years to call the exhaustively documented and at times bald-faced lies and misdeeds of President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, and HHS Secretary Sebelius. It would seem uncovering government corruption is only a journalist’s duty when a Republican resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. …
Let’s recount what former British Member of Parliament Louise Mensch reported at Heat Street on Nov. 7, the day before the U.S. election.
Two separate sources with links to the counter-intelligence community have confirmed to Heat Street that the FBI sought, and was granted, a FISA court warrant in October, giving counter-intelligence permission to examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.
Contrary to earlier reporting in the New York Times, which cited FBI sources as saying that the agency did not believe that the private server in Donald Trump’s Trump Tower which was connected to a Russian bank had any nefarious purpose, the FBI’s counter-intelligence arm, sources say, re-drew an earlier FISA court request around possible financial and banking offenses related to the server. The first request, which, sources say, named Trump, was denied back in June, but the second was drawn more narrowly and was granted in October after evidence was presented of a server, possibly related to the Trump campaign, and its alleged links to two banks; SVB Bank and Russia’s Alfa Bank. While the Times story speaks of metadata, sources suggest that a FISA warrant was granted to look at the full content of emails and other related documents that may concern US persons.
The FBI agents who talked to the New York Times, and rubbished the ground-breaking stories of Slate (Franklin Foer) and Mother Jones (David Corn) may not have known about the FISA warrant, sources say, because the counter-intelligence and criminal sides of the FBI often work independently of each other employing the principle of ‘compartmentalization’.
… We already knew that days before Trump’s inauguration, it was reported that Obama green-lighted a disturbing relaxation of the rules regulating the National Security Agency’s ability to circulate globally intercepted personal communications among the other 16 intelligence agencies, some of which are more politicized than the NSA, before applying important longstanding privacy-protection protocols. Before the policy was altered, the NSA [had] screened out the identities of innocent people and irrelevant personal information before passing intercepted communications along to other agencies like the CIA or the FBI’s intelligence units.
Put another way, 17 days before President Trump was sworn in, NSA was unleashed against his embryonic administration, newly empowered to share raw intelligence gathered from telephone calls and emails that go through network switches outside the country, as well as messages between people outside the U.S. that go through domestic network switches.
WikiLeaks offered a refresher course in Obama’s treachery on Twitter Sunday, noting that “Obama has a history of tapping & hacking his friends and rivals”, and providing plenty of examples. …
And despite the growing mass media hysteria, there is still no publicly available evidence the Trump campaign somehow colluded with the Russian government last year. Sources in newspaper articles are never identified.
There is not a scintilla of proof of improper conduct.
All we have is the alleged say-so of faceless CIA spooks whose motives are questionable, to put it charitably.
Tom Shattuck writes at the Boston Herald:
In what has already been a historically bad year for Democrats, it just may be that they’re about to lose again to Donald Trump, this time in a high-stakes game of Russian roulette.
The Dems’ Putin smear was supposed to paint President Trump as a friend of the tyrant and beneficiary of Russian meddling in the election. Instead, it is the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party, former President Barack Obama, who may take the fall.
Snooping on a presidential candidate is serious business.
The Democrats want you to think this is a crazy conspiracy theory for an unhinged tweeting president.
But Obama has a rich legacy of using the federal government as a political weapon and it would be foolish to think he suddenly started restraining himself, when he was never held to account by either the media or Democrats in power.
Remember, Obama’s Justice Department secretly subpoenaed the private phone records of Associated Press editors and reporters. It was pure spying.
Fox News reporter James Rosen and his family were wiretapped.
Former CBS news reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s computer was hacked by the government.
Add to these incidents the harassment of conservative organizations by Obama’s IRS, and the mercenary nature of the Obama administration reveals itself.
We’re told Obama administration officials went to the FISA Court twice last year for warrants to conduct electronic surveillance on candidate Trump. Why?
The DNC leaks show that DNC staffers were formulating “Russia” attacks on Trump as far back as last April, with one email between two committee members reading “the pro-Russia stuff ties in pretty well to idea that Trump is too friendly with Putin/weak on Russia”.
Then there is the infamous “dossier” — anonymous reports that Trump campaign members were speaking to Russian officials with some frequency last year and the existence of wiretapped audio. …
The left wants to play the Russia game and President Trump should oblige.
There should be an immediate investigation, and we’ll see where the espionage trail leads.
President Trump has requested the congressional intelligence committees “to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016”.
Barack Obama and Loretta Lynch would be foolish not to be afraid.