A turning point for Europe? 8

Is it too late for Europe to save itself from Muslim conquest?

Bruce Bawer surveys the battlefield that Europe has (yet again) become, and suggests that the tide of war may be turning.

He  writes at Front Page:

For Western Europe, 2016 began with an apocalyptic frenzy, a nightmarish vision of its possible future – namely, an avalanche of brutal sexual assaults, over a thousand of them, committed on New Year’s Eve by savage Muslim gangs in the streets and squares of Cologne and several other major German cities.

The horrific events of New Year’s Eve didn’t happen out of the blue, of course. For over a generation, thanks to irresponsible immigration policies that had never been submitted for approval to any electorate, as well as to straightforward demographic realities, Western Europe had been steadily Islamized. At first in a few large cities and eventually even in small, remote towns, the presence of Islam became more and more visible.

Over time, government officials who had made these developments possible, and who had cut back their own citizens’ welfare-state entitlements in order to feed, clothe, and house newly arrived Muslims, were rewarded not with the gratitude and assimilation they had expected but with the exact opposite. Steadily, Muslim communities developed into crime-ridden, sharia-governed enclaves, increasingly explicit in their hostility to infidels, increasingly aggressive in their rejection of the values of their host cultures, and increasingly insistent on their legal independence from secular authorities. Forced marriage, female genital mutilation, and honor killing became European problems. Hijab proliferated, then (in some places at least) niqab.

And authorities reacted to all of it with a feckless passivity. 

Along with the quotidian reality of stealth jihad came jihad of the more headline-grabbing sort: terrorism. …

The writer goes on to recall Muslim terrorist attacks in the Netherlands, Spain, Britain, France. Also the massacres resulting from the publication in Denmark of cartoons of Muhammad.

Each time, mainstream media and public officials made haste to insist that the atrocities had nothing to do with Islam, to reaffirm their dedication to the policies that made this bloodshed possible, and to shower Europe’s Muslims with inane, unmerited praise.

Europeans didn’t have to be familiar with Islamic theology to understand that, like it or not, they were at war. And they didn’t need to know the term dhimmi to recognize that their elites were kowtowing to would-be conquerors. These elites inhabited a bubble of privilege, protected from the consequences of their own policies. Most Western Europeans did not. In the space of a few years, they’d seen their neighborhoods dramatically transformed. Their once-safe streets were dangerous. Their children were harassed at school. Jews, especially, were terrorized. There was no sign of a reversal in this rapid process of civilizational decline and destruction. And if they tried to discuss the issue honestly, they risked being labeled bigots, losing their jobs, and even being put on trial.

Here and there, voters found, and supported, politicians who articulated their concerns. But the political establishment erected cordons sanitaires around them, denying them power and, when possible, dragging them, too, into court. Instead of heeding the voice of the people, officials doubled down.

And then came the final straw: in August 2015, Western Europe’s most powerful leader, Angela Merkel, invited all Syrian refugees to come to Germany. The floodgates opened even wider. Syrian refugees poured in – but most of them proved to be neither Syrians nor refugees. Naive do-gooders who welcomed these monsters into their homes ended up being raped and robbed.

And the terrorist attacks became even more frequent. On November 13, 2015, jihadists slaughtered 130 people in and around the Bataclan Theater in Paris. Then came the aforementioned New Year’s Eve carnage. Brussels was hit in March, with 32 civilian deaths. On Bastille Day, a truck-driving terrorist mowed down 86 pedestrians on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. And these were just a few of the jihadist offenses committed in Western Europe during this period.

As I write this, a Turkish cop shouting “Allahu akbar!” has just gunned down Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, and – shades of Nice – a truck driven by a Muslim has plowed into a busy Christmas market in the center of Berlin, killing at least 12 and injuring dozens. (P.S. Apparently Merkel heard of the attack shortly after attending a celebration of the “International Day of Migrants”. This is not a joke.)

The good news is that this year’s spikes in out-of-control immigration and in jihadist terror appear to have been accompanied – at last – by an equivalent spike in outrage. Western Europeans’ fury over the relentless rise of Islam in their midst – and at the complicity, and complacency, of their leaders – may finally have reached a tipping point.

On June 23, defying the counsel (and upending the predictions) of virtually the entire U.K. political, cultural, business, ecclesiastical, academic, and media elite, the people of Britain voted to quit the EU, reinstate their national borders, and establish proper immigration controls – an act that voters in several other EU countries now yearn to replicate.

This month, not long after Donald Trump won an equally stunning triumph against his own nation’s see-no-evil establishment, a referendum in Italy rejected an attempted power grab by their insouciant elites.

The winds are shifting. Merkel’s approval ratings have plummeted, raising the odds that her party will go down to defeat in next year’s parliamentary elections, which will probably be held in September. Meanwhile, in France, presidential hopeful and outspoken Islam critic Marine Le Pen’s numbers are rising in the run-up to that country’s April elections. Since a kangaroo court declared him guilty of anti-Islamic hate speech on December 9, Geert Wilders, the already highly popular head of the Netherlands’ Freedom Party, has won even more support.

I gave a talk in Rome a few days after Trump’s win, and was surprised when several members of the audience, including a history professor, came up to me afterwards and voiced strong pro-Trump sympathies. From their perspective, the Donald had come along just in the nick of time, giving the entire West a desperately needed jolt of hope. Their sentiment: we may win this one after all.

In November 1942, after British forces defeated General Ernst Rommel in the Second Battle of El Alamein, bringing the Allies their first major victory in World War II, Winston Churchill famously said: “This is not the end. This is not even the beginning of the end. But it may be the end of the beginning.” In these closing days of 2016, it can feel, very much as it did in late 1942, as if the effort by at least some freedom-loving Europeans to push back the tide of tyranny – an effort that for many years seemed quixotic – is finally making some headway. Is this the end of the beginning? We can hope so. But it’ll take more than hope to win this struggle. Among other things, it’ll take a Churchill. Preferably a few of them.

Churchills are very rare. Trumpists are what Europe needs, and they – Bruce Bawer found – are rising.

Mass schizophrenia in Angela Merkel’s Germany 3

Last New Year’s Eve, in Cologne, Germany, “an estimated two thousand exclusively Muslim men raped, assaulted and robbed more than 1200 women” among the crowd gathered in the main square fronting the city’s famous cathedral.

Almost all the attackers have managed to walk free. Ralf Jäger, Interior Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, admitted recently that “most of the cases will remain unsolved”.

Yesterday, December 19, 2016, a Muslim jihadi drove a truck at speed into a crowd at a Christmas Market in Berlin. At least 12 people were killed (more may die), and some 50 others were injured.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in the middle of a re-election bid, has stuck to her claim that there is “no connection” between terror attacks in the country and uncontrolled mass migration from Arab and Muslim lands.

So there is no reason to expect that crowds gathered to celebrate this New Year in public places in Germany – in, say, Cologne’s cathedral square – will be subject to attack by Muslim immigrants.

None at all.

In fact, the city authorities are preparing for the festivities without a care in the world for anything but traditional jolliness and fun:

The Mayor of Cologne, Henriette Reker, is planning to put on a big show this coming New Year’s Eve in the city’s main square. … The city will be lighting up the crime scene as part of a multi-media show.

“Cologne will send good images to the world,” says the city’s mayor. The taxpayer-funded spectacle has been named Time Drifts Cologne. The “light artist” running the show, Philipp Geist, considers last year’s crime scene “a fantastic place for an art installation.”

“Fantastic”. Yes. Fantasyland is another name for Europe now.

Art. Fun. Happy gatherings for customary celebrations. No connection between terror attacks and Muslims. No reason to  expect them in Cologne, on the cathedral square, on New Year’s Eve. And so:

An estimated 1,800 police officers will be on duty in Cologne on New Year’s Eve, compared to just 140 last year. Barricades have been erected in the city center to check the flow of the crowd. The city’s historic cathedral and adjoining area have been placed under a crush barrier. Police will man observation posts and fly helicopters to monitor the crowd, and deploy mounted police and six armoured vehicles for riot-control. “No expense will be spared,” assured the mayor. In an important election year, the government wants to defend the city to the last taxpayer dime.

Did they say “fantastic”? Did we say “fantasy”? “Schizophrenia” would be a better word. Mass shizophrenia in Merkel’s Germany.

We have taken our quotations from an article at Gatestone by the Indian writer, resident in Europe, Vijeta Uniyal.

Unwilling to acknowledge the breakdown of law and order in face of the rising migrant crime wave, the German media and politicians are going after the messenger.

Their latest target is the head of German Police Union, Rainer Wendt. Wendt’s crime, after a series of rape crimes this December, was to speak the obvious truth. “The criminals are using open borders,” he said.

Ralf Stegner, deputy leader of Social Democratic Party (SPD) and a fervent supporter of Merkel’s “Refugees Welcome” policy, denounced Wendt’s statement as “politically disgusting and stupid as one can get”. 

Wendt has also been attacked for questioning the customary kid-glove treatment given to violent and criminal “refugees” by German courts.

Sven Rebehn, Chairman of the German Association of Judges, called Wendt, “the Donald Trump of domestic politics” – apparently the biggest insult a German liberal can come up with these days.

That statement coming from persons of such egregious stupidity as Rebehn and his like-thinkers – the many women and few soppy men who rule Europe these days – is a HUGE compliment to President-elect Donald Trump.   

Meanwhile, representatives of Arab community were reported telling the police in Ruhr, “The police will not win a war with us because we are too many.”

Chancellor Merkel, Germany’s ruling elites and the media can continue putting a happy face on uncontrolled mass-migration from Arab and Muslim lands, or suppress news reporting on rising migrant crime, as much as they want, but they cannot wish away the country’s deteriorating law-and-order situation.

As the desperate plea of the police union shows, the Merkel government has decided to ignore the plight of law enforcement, at least for now. It should be evident to even a casual observer that her government still does not care about the victims of its own failed “refugee” policy: Germany appears to be heading toward another rough year.

Indeed – unless enough sanity returns to the German voters for them to get rid of Mad Merkel and put someone in charge who understands why the Trump revolution needs to sweep Europe as therapeutically as it is sweeping America.

The impending collapse of the global warming scare 1

… is the title of an article by Francis Menton – economist – at his blog, Manhattan Contrarian.

He sums up the signs of what is likely to happen to the “climate change” environmentalist movement under President Trump.

Here’s (almost all of) what he writes:

Over the past three decades, the environmental movement has increasingly hitched its wagon to exactly one star as the overwhelming focus of the cause, namely “climate change.”  Sure, issues of bona fide pollution like smog and untreated sewage are still out there a little, but they are largely under control and don’t really stir the emotions much any more. If you want fundraising in the billions rather than the thousands, you need a good end-of-days, sin-and-redemption scare. Human-caused global warming is your answer!

Even as this scare has advanced, a few lonely voices have warned that the radical environmentalists were taking the movement out onto a precarious limb.  Isn’t there a problem that there’s no real evidence of impending climate disaster? But to no avail. Government funding to promote the warming scare has been lavish, and in the age of Obama has exploded.  Backers of the alarm have controlled all of the relevant government bureaucracies, almost all of the scientific societies, and the access to funding and to publication for anyone who wants to have a career in the field.  What could go wrong?

Now, enter President-elect Trump.  During the campaign, as with many issues, it was hard to know definitively where Trump stood. Although combatting climate change with forced suppression of fossil fuels could be a multi-trillion dollar issue for the world economy, this issue was rarely mentioned by either candidate, and was only lightly touched on in the debates. Sure, Hillary had accused Trump of calling climate change a “hoax” in a November 2012 tweet. (Actual text: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make American manufacturing non-competitive.”) But in an early 2016 interview, Trump walked that back to say that the statement was a joke, albeit with a kernel of truth, because “climate change is a very, very expensive form of tax” and “China does not do anything to help.”Trump had also stated that he intended to exit the recent Paris climate accord, and to end the War on Coal. So, was he proposing business-as-usual with a few tweaks, or would we see a thorough-going reversal of Obama’s extreme efforts to control the climate by fossil fuel restrictions?

With the recently announced appointments, this is starting to come very much into focus.  In reverse order of the announcements:

  • Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil, as Secretary of State.  As of today, we still have as our chief diplomat the world leader of smugness who somehow thinks that “climate change” caused by use of fossil fuels is the greatest threat to global security.  He is shortly to be replaced with the CEO of Exxon.  Could there be a bigger poke in the eye to the world climate establishment?  I’m trying to envision Tillerson at the next meeting of the UN climate “conference of parties” with thousands of world bureaucrats discussing how to put the fossil fuel companies out of business.  Won’t he be laughing his gut out?
  • Rick Perry as Secretary of Energy.  Not only was he the longest-serving governor of the biggest fossil fuel energy-producing state, but in his own 2012 presidential campaign he advocated for the elimination of the Department of Energy.  This is the department that passes out tens of billions of dollars in crony-capitalist handouts for wind and solar energy (Solyndra!), let alone more tens of billions for funding some seventeen (seventeen!) research laboratories mostly dedicated to the hopeless task of figuring out how to make intermittent sources of energy competitive for any real purpose.
  • And then there’s Scott Pruitt for EPA.  As Attorney General of Oklahoma, another of the big fossil fuel energy-producing states, he has been a leader in litigating against the Obama EPA to stop its overreaches, including the so-called Clean Power Plan that seeks to end the use of coal for electricity and to raise everyone’s cost of energy.

You might say that all of these are very controversial appointments, and will face opposition in the Senate. But then, Harry Reid did away with the filibuster for cabinet appointments.  Oops! Barring a minimum of three Republican defections, these could all sail through. And even if one of these appointments founders, doesn’t the combination of them strongly signal where Trump would go with his next try?

So what can we predict about where the climate scare is going? Among members of the environmental movement, when their heads stop exploding, there are plenty of predictions that this will be terrible for the United States:  international ostracism, loss (to China!) of “leadership” in international climate matters, and, domestically, endless litigation battles stalling attempts to rescind or roll back regulations. I see it differently. I predict a high likelihood of substantial collapse of the global warming movement, both domestically and internationally, over the course of the next couple of years.

Start with the EPA. To the extent that the global warming movement has anything to do with “science,” EPA is supposedly where that science is vetted and approved on behalf of the public before being turned into policy. In fact, under Obama, EPA’s principal role on the “science” has been to prevent and stifle any debate or challenge to global warming orthodoxy.  For example, when a major new Research Report came out back in September claiming to completely invalidate all of the bases on which EPA claims that CO2 is a danger to human health and welfare, and thus to undermine EPA’s authority to regulate the gas under the Clean Air Act, EPA simply failed to respond.  In the same vein, essentially all prominent global warming alarmists refuse to debate anyone who challenges any aspect of their orthodoxy. Well, that has worked as long as they and their allies have controlled all of the agencies and all of the money.  Now, it will suddenly be put up or shut up. And in case you might think that the science on this issue is “settled,” so no problem, you might enjoy this recent round-up at Climate Depot from some of the actual top scientists. A couple of excerpts:

Renowned Princeton Physicist Freeman Dyson:  “I’m 100% Democrat and I like Obama. But he took the wrong side on climate issue, and the Republicans took the right side.” 

Nobel Prize Winning Physicist Dr. Ivar Giaever: “Global warming is a non-problem. I say this to Obama: ‘Excuse me, Mr. President, but you’re wrong. Dead wrong.’ ” 

Now the backers of the global warming alarm will not only be called upon to debate, but will face the likelihood of being called before a highly skeptical if not hostile EPA to answer all of the hard questions that they have avoided answering for the last eight years. Questions like:  Why are recorded temperatures, particularly from satellites and weather balloons, so much lower than the alarmist models had predicted?  How do you explain an almost-20-year “pause” in increasing temperatures even as CO2 emissions have accelerated? What are the details of the adjustments to the surface temperature record that have somehow reduced recorded temperatures from the 1930s and 40s, and thereby enabled continued claims of “warmest year ever” when raw temperature data show warmer years 70 and 80 years ago?  Suddenly, the usual hand-waving (“the science is settled”) is not going to be good enough any more.  What now?

And how will the United States fare on the international stage when it stops promising to cripple its economy with meaningless fossil fuel restrictions? … Here’s my prediction: As soon as the United States stops parroting the global warming line, the other countries will quickly start backing away from it as well. …

Countries like Britain and Australia have already more or less quietly started the retreat from insanity. In Germany the obsession with wind and solar … has already gotten average consumer electric rates up to close to triple the cost in U.S. states that embrace fossil fuels. How long will they be willing to continue that self-destruction after the U.S. says it is not going along? And I love the business about ceding “leadership” to China. China’s so-called “commitment” in the recent Paris accord is not to reduce carbon emissions at all, but rather only to build as many coal plants as they want for the next fourteen years and then cease increasing emissions after 2030! At which point, of course, they reserve their right to change their mind.  Who exactly is going to embrace that “leadership” and increase their consumers’ cost of electricity by triple or so starting right now?  I mean, the Europeans are stupid, but are they that stupid?

And finally, there is the question of funding. Under Obama, attaching the words “global warming” or “climate change” to any proposal has been the sure-fire way to get the proposal whatever federal funding it might want. The Department of Energy has been the big factor here. Of its annual budget of about $28 billion, roughly half goes to running the facilities that provide nuclear material for the Defense Department, and the other half, broadly speaking, goes to the global warming cause: crony capitalist handouts for wind and solar energy providers, and billions per year for research at some seventeen (seventeen!) different energy research laboratories.

During the eight Obama years, the energy sector of the U.S. economy has been substantially transformed by a technological revolution that has dramatically lowered the cost of energy and hugely benefited the American consumer.

No thanks to Obama himself, who opposed fracking in concert with the “global warming” chorus.

 I’m referring, of course, to the fracking revolution.

How much of the tens of billions of U.S. energy subsidies and research funding in that time went toward this revolution that actually produced cheaper energy that works?  Answer:  Not one single dollar! All of the money was completely wasted on things that are uneconomic and will disappear as soon as the government cuts off the funding spigot. All of this funding can and should be zeroed out in the next budget.  Believe me, nobody will notice other than the parasites who have been wasting the money.

If the multi-tens-of-billions per year funding gusher for global warming alarmism quickly dries up, the large majority of the people living on these handouts will have no choice but to go and find something productive to do.  Sure, some extreme zealots will find some way to soldier on.  But it is not crazy at all to predict a very substantial collapse of the global warming scare over the course of the next couple of years.

The environmental movement has climbed itself way out onto the global warming limb.  Now the Trump administration is about to start sawing off the limb behind them.

And that’s good news for us anti-religion extremists. Man-made climate change is a religion. The notion that giving money to Al Gore and his fellow alarmists will save planet Earth from destruction by fire and flood is a particularly silly doctrine of  it.

Came the hour, came the man – soon-to-be president Donald Trump – to swipe this superstition off the agenda of international politics.

 

(Hat-tip Cogito)

The amazing power of Vladimir Putin 2

The Left believes that not only Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential elections, but also Brexit was finagled by …

You guessed it! RUSSIA!

 

And via PowerLine:

obama-putin

 

Posted under Britain, Europe, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Saturday, December 17, 2016

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The arbiters of truth 5

From now on, when you write news on Facebook, it will be judged by certain people – specially talented, it is implied, in being totally uninfluenced by their own likes and dislikes – and if they reject it as untrue, it will be …

Deleted? Banned? Demoted? Obscured?

Discredited, anyway.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Facebook Inc. is inching closer to fact-checking the news on its platform, a role that Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg shunned a month ago, by rolling out steps to weed out “the worst of the worst”, the social media platform said on Thursday.

It has inched all the way. It is commissioning fact-checking.

Facebook said it has identified several markers of sites that consistently peddle fake news, and it will demote posts from those sites in people’s news feeds.

It is also outsourcing the delicate task of determining whether individual stories are true or false to a few external organizations and tweaking its news feed algorithm based on their rulings. It is unusual for Facebook to entrust outsiders with this much power to influence the way posts are played in the news feed, the central stream of information that is customized for each user by Facebook’s algorithm. …

Mr. Zuckerberg initially dismissed concerns over fake news, but later backed away from that stance. Still he remains wary of Facebook becoming the “arbiters of truth” … 

By drafting the help of a network of fact-checking groups affiliated with the Poynter Institute, a journalism nonprofit based in St. Petersburg, Fla., Facebook is seeking to keep the task at arm’s length. …

(More about Poynter below.)

The fact-checking organizations — Snopes.com, PolitiFact, ABC News, Factcheck.org and the Associated Press — will sift through the flagged stories to determine if they are fake. It will be up to those organizations to determine whether or not to fact-check them. …

Facebook’s partnerships immediately sparked questions among users and conservatives on the neutrality of the fact checkers themselves.

“Fact checkers all seem to be from the left,” said a Twitter message from the account of Republican strategist Evan Siegfried. “Not good for conservatives.”

If a fact checker determines articles are untrue, those stories will appear lower in Facebook’s news feed and publishers can’t promote them with Facebook ads, the company said. The links will also carry a warning label to indicate that their accuracy is in dispute.

ABC news and the Associated Press (AP) as arbiters of truthful reporting? Orwell, your Ministry of Truth exists, and rules over us! Both are notoriously left-biased. (Read about ABC’s bias here. As for AP – Google “Associated Press misreporting” and see instantly on page one just some of the topics they’ve lied about.)

But wait! Worse is to come.

Aaron Klein writes at Breitbart:

The organization partnered with Facebook to help determine whether a certain story is “disputed” is financed by billionaire George Soros and a slew of other left-wing funders.

The partnering organization is Poynter. It has set up a new subsidiary for this task, the International Fact-Checking Network, and yes, it is funded by George Soros, the ideal man to head Orwell’s Ministry of Truth!

The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) drafted a code of five principles for news websites to accept, and Facebook yesterday announced it will work with “third-party fact checking organizations” that are signatories to the code of principles.

Facebook says that if the “fact checking organizations” determine that a certain story is fake, it will get flagged as disputed and, according to the Facebook announcement, “there will be a link to the corresponding article explaining why. Stories that have been disputed may also appear lower in News Feed”.

IFCN is hosted by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. A cursory search of the Poynter Institute website finds that Poynter’s IFCN is openly funded by Soros’ Open Society Foundations as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Google, and the National Endowment for Democracy.

Poynter’s IFCN is also funded by the Omidyar Network, which is the nonprofit for liberal billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. The Omidyar Network has partnered with the [Orwellian-named] Open Society on numerous projects and it has given grants to third parties using the Soros-funded Tides Foundation. Tides is one of the largest donors to left-wing causes in the U.S.

Another significant Poynter Institute donor is the Craig Newmark Foundation, the charitable organization established by Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark. On Monday, just days before the announcement of the Facebook partnership, Poynter issued a press release revealing that Newmark donated $1 million to the group to fund a faculty chair in journalism ethics.

States the press release:

The gift will support a five-year program at Poynter that focuses on verification, fact-checking and accountability in journalism. It’s the largest donation Poynter’s ever received from an individual foundation.

The Newmark Chair will expand on Poynter’s teaching in journalism ethics and develop certification programs for journalists that commit to ethical decision-making practices. The faculty member will also organize an annual conference on ethics issues at Poynter and be a regular contributor to Poynter.org.

Newmark funds scores of liberal groups also financed by Soros, including the Sierra Club, the New America Foundation, and the Sunlight Foundation.

Newmark also finances the investigative journalism group called the Center for Public Integrity, where he serves on the board.  Soros’s Open Society is another Public Integrity donor.

Soros has earned his megafortune in part by short selling currencies and causing economic crises. He is credited with breaking the pound on September 16, 1992 in a day that became known in Britain as “Black Wednesday.” He reportedly made $1.2 billion from that crisis.  In 2002, he was convicted for insider trading.

And that’s the least of his offenses. See the very long list of the organizations through which he works his evil will, and read what their principles and purposes are.

Poynter, meanwhile, has hosted controversial journalism programs in the past, including one that was accused of downplaying the threat of global Islamic terrorism. FoxNews.com reported the course suggested reporters “keep the death toll from Islamic terrorism in ‘context’ by comparing that toll to the number of people killed every year by malaria, HIV/AIDS and other factors”.

It is typical of the Left to compare terrorism to accidents and diseases, as though no moral decision is involved in the committing of random murder. This amounts to a condoning of terrorism, which positively encourages it.

The course taught reporters that the term “jihad” means internal struggle, and it discussed what it claimed was the issue of “right-wing activists” attempting to link American Muslims to terrorism.

As examples of fact-checking, the propagation of such blatant lies does not inspire confidence.

The section includes the good-journalism tip that reporters should check to see if experts they’re interviewing “have a bias or a stake in the story you are covering.” But then it only cites examples of anti-Muslim groups.

The course in Islam, Fox News reported, was supported by a group calling itself the Social Science Research Council, which has received funding from Soros-financed groups.

In response to the report, the Poynter Institute explained that it created the course “as a tool for journalists who want to be accurate in educating their audience about the religion and culture of Islam, Muslim communities in the U.S., and the distinctions between Islam as a political movement and the radical philosophies that inspire militant Islamists”. 

As there is NO distinction to be drawn between “Islam as a political movement and the radical philosophies that inspire militant Islamists”, those journalists who long to achieve strict accuracy will be teaching a lie from the get-go.    

“We believe there is a need to better understand the complexities of Muslim societies and the online course offered by Poynter and Washington State University is a vital resource toward that end,” Poynter added.

The values underpinning the course are truth, accuracy, independence, fairness, minimizing harm and context — the core journalistic values on which we build all our teaching here at Poynter.”

No one should be surprised at Poynter’s capacity for self-deception. It is what makes Leftism possible.

What of the other “fact-checkers”  on which Facebook will rely?

Poynter owns the Tampa Bay Times, and the Tampa Bay Times owns Politifact,

Politifact declares about itself:

PolitiFact is a project of the Tampa Bay Times and its partner news organizations to help you find the truth in American politics. …

Control of the newspaper and its operations, however, lies with a single executive. Upon retirement, that leader picks a successor. …

We received a grant from the Democracy Fund that has assisted us in expanding to new states. …

For our PunditFact project — which fact-checks talking heads and opinion leaders – we have received grants from the Ford Foundation and the Democracy Fund. Seed money for the project was provided by craigconnects. …

The Democracy Fund is administered by the iniquitous United Nations. The Ford Foundation funds such causes as Black Live Matter.

 When it comes to the question of “Who is PolitiFact?” or “Who pays for PolitiFact?”, we can assure you that no one is behind the scenes telling us what to write for someone else’s benefit. We are an independent, nonpartisan news organization. We are not beholden to any government, political party or corporate interest. We are proud to be able to say that we are independent journalists. …

Sorry, but we find that really, really hard to believe.

Then there is Snopes.com. It too is heavily left leaning(Read about it here and here.)

And what of Factcheck.org?

We quote from (conservative) Free Republic, which investigated it:

The “Truthfulness” website called FactCheck.org is itself decidedly BIASED toward the LEFT …

Among several proofs of this assertion, it cites this:

The sponsoring agency behind FastCheck.org, is itself supported by the same foundation, the ANNENBERG FOUNDATION, that Bill Ayers secured the 49.2 million dollars from to create the Chicago ANNENBERG Challenge “philanthropic” organization in which Barack Obama was the founding Chairman of the Board for and Ayers served as the grant writer of and co-Chair of for its two operating arms.

That’s Bill Ayers the terrorist. Read here how he and Barack Obama tried to “push radicalism in schools” through the Annenberg Challenge.

Free Republic concludes its report on Factcheck.com with a question:

Does the LEFT have no conscience at all?

Answer: Absolutely none.

Has all this been revealed to Mark Zuckerberg? Does he not know or not care?

Facebook is a global platform. With this ploy, the lying Left has brought off a power-grab of immeasurable proportions. From now on it will be the arbiter of truth, all over the world.

And for the Left, “truth” equals political correctness.

But does anyone over there on the Left know what you stand for now? Where you’re going, or why?

A lucid exposition of the Trumpist Revolution 5

Every minute of Newt Gingrich’s address to a Heritage Foundation audience in this video is worth hearing.  It is gripping, informative, amusing, and inspiring.

He emphasizes that November 8, 2016, was a Watershed Moment.  The “old world” was on that side of it, and the new – the genuinely new – is on this side.

He speaks of Trumpism, calls it  a Revolutionary Movement –  the “Revolution we need”. Those who want it must help it to succeed. Then we will see how big the change is going to be.

The mainstream media simply do not understand it. He urges us not to speak of the “news media” but of the “propaganda media”, because that is what they truly are.

And there is more, much more, of real value.  The hour it takes to hear the whole speech is an hour very well spent.

 

[Hat-tip to our commenter Damon]

Posted under government, revolution, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, December 15, 2016

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Whose CIA? 5

The Democrats who cannot bear to accept the result of the presidential election, and their toady press, are trying to delegitimize the election of Donald Trump by various ineffectual means.

One was declaring that this time, for the first time ever, the number of popular votes for a candidate should decide the winner, not the number of Electoral College votes (and Hillary Clinton, they say, won the popular vote). Won’t work.

Another was to join with a Green candidate who got a few votes in demanding a recount in certain states that they feel deeply should have preferred Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump. Didn’t work.

Next comes their attempt to get a majority of the super-delegates of the Electoral College to vote for Hillary Clinton even though their duty is to vote for Donald Trump. Won’t work.

Another ploy is to imply that the election is of dubious validity because the CIA has concluded that Russia intervened in the 2016 election.

According to the Washington Post of September 5, 2016:  :

A Russian influence operation in the United States “is something we’re looking very closely at”, said one senior intelligence official who, like others interviewed, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter. Officials also are examining potential disruptions to the election process, and the FBI has alerted state and local officials to potential cyberthreats

The way that’s worded, “a Russian influence operation” is an established fact, waiting only to be explored by intelligence officials. To lend the story a gloss of verisimilitude, the cunning writer adds that “the FBI has alerted state and local officials to potential cyberthreats”, which we expect is true because it is only sensible after all.

However –

The official cautioned that the intelligence community is not saying it has “definitive proof” of such tampering, or any Russian plans to do so. “But even the hint of something impacting the security of our election system would be of significant concern,” the official said. “It’s the key to our democracy, that people have confidence in the election system.”

The “hint” coming, of course, only and entirely from them.

The same Washington Post story included this:

The Kremlin’s intent may not be to sway the election in one direction or another, officials said, but to cause chaos and provide propaganda fodder to attack U.S. democracy-building policies around the world, particularly in the countries of the former Soviet Union.

But the paper and its like changed that part of the story.

The Washington Post reported on December 9 – after the election:

The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.

Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.

Never mind that Julian Assange of Wikileaks has denied that the emails it acquired and released came from Russia.

And no plausible explanation of why Russia would prefer Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton is provided.

Cliff Kincaid comments at GOPUSA:

The line-up of former CIA personnel opposing Trump sounds impressive, except when you consider the fact that the CIA has a habit of getting things wrong. Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a former vice-chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, once declared that “for a quarter century, the CIA has been repeatedly wrong about the major political and economic questions entrusted to its analysis.” Moynihan had introduced a bill to abolish the CIA. The late Lt. Gen. William Odom, then-director of the National Security Agency (NSA), said the CIA should be disbanded.

Trump critic Michael Hayden, who served as director of both the NSA and CIA, was on a list of “former national security officials” from Republican administrations who announced they wouldn’t vote for Trump. …

Under the headline, “CIA Judgment On Russia Built On Swell Of Evidence,” The New York Times reports that “many believe” there is “overwhelming circumstantial evidence” that the Russians tried to help Trump. The paper said “the conclusion that Moscow ran an operation to help install the next president is one of the most consequential analyses by American spy agencies in years.”

These “many’ have come to “believe” it on “a swell of evidence”? What evidence? None – none at all – has been produced.

Such analyses can mean nothing and can, in fact, divert the attention of elected officials from the truth. Trump calls the verdict on alleged Russian involvement in the election “ridiculous”. It would not be the first ridiculous work product from the intelligence community. The CIA failed to predict the Soviet “collapse,” and then mistakenly assumed the collapse was real and not a strategic deception.

It is significant that The Washington Post, owned by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, broke the story about the CIA allegedly concluding that the Russians had somehow meddled in the U.S. elections by hacking into Democratic Party computers. The CIA has a $600 million contract with Amazon Web Services.

Interestingly, Amazon CEO Bezos plans to attend President-elect Donald Trump’s meeting of tech-industry executives this Wednesday [today] in New York. Perhaps Trump will ask Bezos whether the Post is being manipulated by political partisans in the Intelligence Community.

Trump has tweeted, “Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and WE tried to play the Russia/CIA card. It would be called conspiracy theory!” Or “fake news”. …

After he takes office, Trump should immediately clean house in the CIA and other intelligence agencies. But it may be the case that the charges being directed against him at the present time are designed to prevent just that. If Trump cleans house, he will be accused in the press of trying to purge intelligence officials with evidence of a Russian plot to elect Trump!

The American people have been saddled with an Intelligence Community that is full of what are called “insider spies”. The situation is so bad that a special paper has been published about a novel new way to deal with traitors. The idea is to provide a “safe refuge” and a secret process of “reconciliation” for them without threatening long prison terms or the death penalty. In this manner, the American people would hear nothing about spies being arrested and the damage they have done.

We know that the media picked sides in the presidential contest. Now we are seeing more evidence of how the CIA picked sides, to the point of engaging in what is an obvious effort to bring down the Trump presidency even before it  begins.

What does Michael Hayden himself – Director of the National Security Agency from 1999 to 2005 and the Central Intelligence Agency from 2006 to 2009 –  say?

He – who announced in advance of the election that he wouldn’t vote for Trump –  writes a Washington Post article headlined, Trump is already antagonizing the intelligence community, and that’s a problem: 

A month ago I wrote here about the importance and challenge of the intelligence community establishing a relationship with President-elect Donald Trump.

That has just gotten more important and more challenging.

In my November op-ed, I asked: “What role will facts and fact-bearers play in the Trump administration? . . . Which of the president-elect’s existing instincts and judgments are open to revision as more data is revealed?”

Instincts open to revision“? And this was a top intelligence official?

I had in mind the president-elect’s confidence in his own a priori beliefs and specifically his rejection of the intelligence community’s judgment that Russia had stolen American emails and weaponized their content to corrode faith in our electoral processes.

The president-elect has been unmoved in his rejection of this high-confidence judgment. In Time magazine’s article last week naming him “Person of the Year,” Trump repeated, “I don’t believe it. I don’t believe they interfered.”

Such obstinacy, to have confidence in his own judgment!

Shortly afterward, The Post reported that CIA analysts now believe the Russian aim was to help Trump win.

Why Russia might do that, might want that, is not explained.

And some might consider that publishing such a “belief” to be an attack on Trump – especially considering that not a trace of evidence has been produced to support any of these alleged CIA analysts’ alleged “beliefs”.  But this luminary of the Intelligence world, Michael Hayden, thinks it is Trump who is going “on the attack”:

Team Trump immediately went into attack mode, employing the bureaucratic equivalent of the ad hominems the president-elect used during the campaign (“Crooked Hillary,” “Lyin’ Ted,” “Little Marco”). “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” its first salvo described the U.S. intelligence community.

A failed analogy that. A reminder of a  CIA failure is not an “ad hominem” of the sort quoted in brackets.

Then Republican National Committee communications director Sean Spicer alleged on CNN that “there are people within these agencies who are upset with the outcome of the election”.

How could he say such a thing? How could that possibly be true? As if there were Democrats in the CIA who would be upset that their candidate lost and Donald Trump won!

Incompetent. Politicized. No need to discuss any further. Move on.

“Move on”, Mr. Hayden, is a signature motto of the Democratic Party, not of any Republicans.

To be fair, the “Russia did it” announcement in October was official and well documented.

Was it? To be fair, tell us how. Show us the documents.

No need, Mr. Hayden soothes us, because two absolutely dependable human pillars of integrity attest to the veracity of the announcement:

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. attached their reputations to it.

That would be the Jeh Johnson who stated that “ISIS is not Islamic”, and the James Clapper who announced that the Muslim Brotherhood was “largely secular”.

An administration-in-waiting more confident in itself, in its own legitimacy, in U.S. institutions and in the people it will soon govern might have said, “These are serious issues. We intend to hear them out. Nothing is more precious than our democratic process. We have asked the Obama administration for details.”

The fact that that didn’t happen should invite tons of commentary. But not from me.

So, “it needs commentary, but I’m not commenting on it”. There is a Greek word for that rhetorical device: Apophasis. It means that the speaker brings up a subject by saying he will not bring it up.

This article could have been scripted for a villain’s speech in a play!

My narrow concerns as an intelligence officer are the questions raised above. How will this affect the new president’s relationship with the intelligence community?

A lot. And not well.

First is the question of how the incoming administration values intelligence. On Sunday, the president-elect again rejected the Russian role, adding that he was smart enough that he didn’t want or need a daily briefing.

This creates more than hurt feelings. The intelligence community makes great sacrifices, and CIA directors send people into harm’s way to learn things otherwise unavailable. And directors have seen stars carved on the agency’s memorial wall because of it. If what is gained is not used or wanted or is labeled as suspect or corrupt — by what moral authority does a director put his people at risk? …

Now the suppliers of intelligence are victims of callous indifference?

Wasn’t it revealed not so long ago that Centcom (U.S.Central Command] actually served up to President Obama what he wanted to hear about the progress of his tentative little war on ISIS rather than the depressing truth discovered “at great sacrifice”? And that in any case President Obama has skipped more than half his intelligence briefings?

What happens if the incoming administration directs that the “Russia did it” file be closed?

There’s a file? With documents in it? That prove the case? And it is still open?

Would standing intelligence requirements to learn more about this be eliminated? And if they were, what would the agency do with relevant data that would inevitably come through its collection network?

And what about the statute that requires the CIA and the rest of the intelligence community to keep Congress “fully and currently informed” about all significant intelligence activities? Data on a foreign power manipulating the federal electoral process would certainly qualify. What will the White House position be when the agency is asked by Congress if it has learned anything more on the issue?

More immediately, what will CIA Director-designate Mike Pompeo say during his confirmation hearings about this? He is not yet director, so he can fairly deflect any questions on the substance of this debate, for now. But every TV set at Langley will be turned on during his confirmation hearings, and his most important audience will not be the senators on the dais. His future workforce will be looking for clues about his willingness to defend them against charges of incompetence and politicization simply for saying what their craft tells them to be true. …

And, finally, how does the intelligence community break through and explain itself to the incoming team?

Don’t worry about that, Mr. Hayden. We are confident that Mr. Pompeo will manage it perfectly well.

To shrink bureaucrats and swat pundits 4

Adolf Hitler. Dictator of Germany. Oppressor of nations. He launched a world war that destroyed tens of millions of lives. He ordered the murder of millions more by execution, torture, incarceration, starvation, forced labor.

Or didn’t he? There are American media people, opinion-writers, who seem to think that he didn’t do any of those things. In their view Hitler was just an authoritarian figure who powerfully opposed political correctness, safe spaces, redistribution, and combating climate change by driving Priuses and recycling garbage. Therefore, any American who comes to power by democratic election and is against those things, is just like Hitler.

Or Hitler’s Italian ally, Mussolini.

Persons who hold that view are ill-informed, under-educated, and/or intellectually stunted. But they are many. They are the rulers of the press and the airwaves; they constitute the greater part of the American Fourth Estate.    

William McGurn writes at the Wall Street Journal:

Guess it depends on what you mean by “authoritarian”.

During the election, Donald Trump was routinely likened to Hitler. The headlines suggest not much has changed.

From the New Republic: “Donald Trump Is Already Acting Like an Authoritarian”.  National Public Radio: “Donald Trump: Strong Leader or Dangerous Authoritarian?” The New York Times: “Beyond Lying: Donald Trump’s Authoritarian Reality”. The New Yorker: “Trump’s Challenge to American Democracy”.

What’s striking here is that the same folks who see in Mr. Trump a Mussolini in waiting are blind to the soft despotism that has already taken root in our government.

This is the unelected and increasingly assertive class that populates our federal bureaucracies and substitutes rule by regulation for the rule of law. The result? Over the Obama years, the Competitive Enterprise Institute reckons, Washington has averaged 35 regulations for every law.

In the introduction to its just-released report on how to address this federal overreach, CEI President Kent Lassman puts it this way: “It is time for a reckoning.”

Philip Hamburger is a law professor at Columbia and author of “Is the Administrative State Unlawful?” He believes the president-elect’s cabinet selections thus far — Scott Pruitt for the Environmental Protection Agency, Betsy DeVos for Education, Ben Carson for Housing and Urban Development, Andrew Puzder for Labor — may give Mr. Trump a unique opening not only to reverse bad Obama rules but to reform the whole way these agencies impose them. If Mr. Trump really hopes to drain the swamp, says Mr. Hamburger, cutting these agencies back to constitutional size would be a terrific start. 

For one thing, almost all these departments are legacies of some progressive expansion of government. While an uneasy William Howard Taft, for example, made Labor its own cabinet office on the last day of his presidency, Woodrow Wilson named its first secretary.

Meanwhile, HUD is a child of LBJ’s Great Society. The EPA was Nixon’s attempt to buy liberal approval for his administration. As for the Education Department, it was a reward from Jimmy Carter for the endorsement the National Education Association gave him in 1976. At the time this cabinet seat was established, even the New York Times called it “unwise” and editorialized against it.

There’s a good case that Americans would be better off without most of these departments meddling in our lives and livelihoods, however politically unfeasible this might be. The next best news, however, is that Mr. Pruitt, Dr. Carson, Mr. Puzder and Mrs. DeVos are not beholden to the orthodoxies that drive the rules and mandates these bureaucracies impose.

Mrs. DeVos, for example, has spent her life promoting school choice, and her husband founded a charter school. It is difficult to imagine an Education Department under Secretary DeVos ever sending out a “Dear Colleague” letter to bully universities into expanding the definition of sexual harassment and then encouraging them to handle allegations in a way that has turned many campus tribunals into Star Chambers. Not to mention making a federal case about bathrooms.

Ditto for HUD. Under President Obama, HUD bureaucrats, under the banner of “fair housing”, have taken it upon themselves to decide what the right mix of race, income and education is for your town — and will impose fines and punishments for communities that resist. Anyone remember the people’s elected representatives directing HUD to impose its ideas of social engineering on the rest of America?

Or take the EPA. Whether it’s some Ordinary Joe running afoul of wetlands laws or the department’s deliberate attempt to destroy the market for coal, the EPA needs more than good science. It also needs some honest cost-benefit analysis about the prescriptions it pushes.

And then there’s Labor. Under Obama Secretary Tom Perez, the department has so overstepped the authority Congress gave it (for example, on its overtime rule) that federal judges have stepped in to block it, notwithstanding the courts’ traditional deference. As an employer himself, Mr. Puzder appreciates the fundamental reality of labor: which is that you don’t help workers by making them too expensive to hire.

The good news is that Mr. Trump does not have to fight government by regulatory fiat alone. House Speaker Paul Ryan has a raft of legislation that would reassert the authority of the people’s elected representatives over an unaccountable bureaucracy — including a regulatory budget that would limit the costs an agency can impose each year.

Even without legislation, there are things Mr. Trump could do. Mr. Hamburger, for example, dreams of a president ordering federal agencies to submit all their rules to Congress for approval. He further believes the stars are in rare alignment for reform, with Mr. Ryan pushing it in the House, cabinet secretaries who appear sympathetic to the cause and a popular mandate against rule from above.

“Oddly enough, the danger is that Mr. Trump will not think big enough,” says Mr. Hamburger. “To paraphrase him, the impact of changing the way Washington issues rules would be YUGE—and it would make him a historic and transformative president.”

And he won’t be putting his enemies into concentration camps. Or launching a world war.

And the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN and the rest of them will no doubt claim he’s only refraining from such actions in order to prove them wrong.

The word of the CIA 1

The CIA has concluded in a secret [!?] assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.

(Words taken from the Washington Post whose report is to be found here.)

Donald Trump dismissed CIA claims that Russian hacks on Democratic emails were intended to help him win the presidency as “ridiculous”. He told Fox News Sunday that it was “another excuse” for Democrats and said he believed that rival politicians had spread the news. He’s not the only one with doubts – in a secret Capitol meeting last week, a senior FBI official refused to back the CIA’s claim. Russia has been named as the culprit in a number of hacks during the election that saw Democratic emails being leaked. But the FBI says there isn’t enough evidence to confirm Russia was pro-Trump, rather than just causing interference with the election.

(Words taken from the Daily Mail whose report is to be found here.)

The Obama man heading the CIA is John Brennan.

That great resource, Discover the Networks, reveals the following (inter alia) about John Brennan:

In September 2012, Brennan was involved in crafting the false talking points that then-Secretary of State Susan Rice gave regarding the 9/11/12 terrorist attack against a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. Specifically, Rice claimed that according to the “best information at present”. the deadly attack was not premeditated, but rather, a “spontaneous reaction” to “a hateful and offensive video that was widely disseminated throughout the Arab and Muslim world.”

On January 7, 2013, President Obama nominated Brennan for the position of CIA director. …

At a May 21, 2013 CIA ceremony honoring the Agency officials killed in the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, several CIA officers who had survived those attacks were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) — despite the fact that they were: (a) leaving government service, and (b) still bound by previous NDAs which they had signed. Both before and after the May 21st NDAs, intelligence officials adamantly denied that anyone affiliated with the CIA had been asked to sign nondisclosure agreements regarding the events in Benghazi.

Perhaps the most notable of those denials came in a September 3, 2013 letter from CIA director Brennan to House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chairman Mike Rogers, in which Brennan responded to several specific questions that Rogers had previously posed (in a letter dated August 2, 2013) regarding whether or not the CIA officers who survived the Benghazi attacks were subsequently subjected to polygraphs or required to sign NDAs. Posing and answering several questions as a means of responding to Rogers’ queries, Brennan wrote:

Has any officer, either staff of contractor, been forced to undergo any polygraph because of their presence or their participation in any activity related to Benghazi attacks? Response: No.

Has any officer, either staff of contractor, been required to sign any non-disclosure agreement because of their presence at Benghazi or their participation in any activity related to the Benghazi attacks? Response: No.

According to sources familiar with the NDAs that were presented to the Benghazi survivors at the May 21, 2013 memorial service, the documents did not specifically mention the Benghazi attacks and thus were technically consistent with Brennan’s letter. But as a Weekly Standard analysis notes:

That’s a generous interpretation. The new NDAs were presented to Benghazi survivors after they had flown in from around the country (or world) to attend a CIA memorial for the Benghazi fallen at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia — where the attacks in Benghazi were the focus of the day. It’s hardly a leap to imagine that these NDAs, perhaps not even necessary, were intended to remind CIA officials a little more than six months removed from their service in Benghazi that the U.S. government would prefer that they not discuss what happened there.

In March 2014, Senator Dianne Feinstein — the head of a Senate Intelligence Committee that was involved in a multi-year probe (begun in 2009) of the CIA’s use of harsh interrogation measures on suspected terrorists during the Bush Administration — went to the Senate floor and angrily accused Brennan’s CIA of having hacked into the computers of her Committee staffers. In response, Brennan expressed dismay that “some members of the Senate” were making “spurious allegations about CIA actions that are wholly unsupported by the facts”. Moreover, he demanded an end to “outbursts that do a disservice to the important relationship that needs to be maintained between intelligence officials and Congressional overseers”. And he told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell:

As far as the allegations of the CIA hacking into Senate computers, nothing could be further from the truth. We wouldn’t do that. I mean, that’s just beyond the, you know, the scope of reason in terms of what we do.” Brennan likewise told the media that “a lot of people who are claiming that there has been this tremendous sort of spying and monitoring and hacking will be proved wrong.

But according to the findings of a CIA inspector general’s report released on July 31, 2014, it was actually Brennan who was proved wrong. The report indicated that five CIA employees — two attorneys and three computer specialists — indeed had surreptitiously and unlawfully searched files and emails on the computers of the aforementioned Senate investigators. In response to the report, Brennan apologized to Senate Intelligence Committee leaders.

Committee members were infuriated, however. Senator Mark Udall (D-Colorado), for example, called for Brennan’s resignation, citing “the unprecedented hacking of congressional staff computers”, damaging leaks about the Committee’s investigations, and Brennan’s “abject failure to acknowledge any wrongdoing by the agency”.

By contrast, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that President Obama continued to support Brennan and had “not at all” lost faith in the CIA leader’s credibility. …

In a May 2012 teleconference, Brennan revealed some highly sensitive information that, in turn, was relayed to the press by one of the other parties to the call — Richard Clarke, former chief of counter-terrorism in the Clinton White House. This highly serious intelligence leak blew the cover of secrecy off of an active counterterrorism operation in which the British and Saudi intelligence agencies had successfully placed an operative deep inside al Qaeda’s organization in the Arabian Peninsula. Consequently, the initiative had to be terminated immediately, enraging America’s foreign intelligence allies.

… CNN reporter Tal Kopan found a striking admission from CIA Director John Brennan. When he first applied to join the CIA, and received his polygraph test, he was asked this standard question:

Have you ever worked with or for a group that was dedicated to overthrowing the US?

Remarking on this last week during a panel discussion at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual conference, Brennan said: “I froze…. This was back in 1980, and I thought back to a previous election where I voted, and I voted for the Communist Party candidate.” Brennan was responding to a question about barriers to recruiting diverse candidates for the intelligence agencies, including whether past records of activism could hurt someone applying for a clearance later in life.

Brennan called his support of the Communist Party a mere “indiscretion”, and reminded his audience that the Constitution grants free speech. He then remembered that he said to himself he could either lie and the polygraph machine would “go wacko” or tell the truth and face the consequences, including possibly being rejected for employment. He told the audience he voted for Gus Hall because while in college he was unhappy “with the system” and saw the “need for change”.

It is relevant to mention that John Brennan probably converted to Islam. (He has not confirmed this.) He is certainly highly protective of Islam.

In a March 2015 speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, Brennan refused to refer to the Islamic State (ISIS, a.k.a. ISIL) terror group as an “Islamic” entity. Said the CIA director: “Quite frankly I am amused at the debate that goes on [that] unless you call it what it is [Islamic terrorism], you don’t know what you’re fighting. And let’s make it very clear that the people who carry out acts of terrorism, whether it be Al Qaeda or the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant [ISIS], are doing it because they believe it is consistent with what their view of Islam is. It is totally inconsistent with what the overwhelming majority of Muslims throughout the world [believe]. And so by ascribing it as a Muslim terrorism or Islamic extremism — I think it does really give them the type of Islamic legitimacy that they are so desperately seeking, but which they don’t deserve at all. They are terrorists, they’re criminals. Many of them are psychopathic thugs, murderers, who use a religious concept and masquerade, mask themselves, in that religious construct. And I do think it does injustice to the tenets of religion when we attach a religious moniker to [ISIS]. The Muslims I know … The people I’ve worked with throughout the Middle East most of my career find just disgraceful that these individuals present themselves as Muslims.”

Considering all this, we would concede that John Brennan’s trustworthiness may be a little higher than Hillary Clinton’s.

And the reliability of reports that come out of John Brennan’s CIA may sometimes rise to the level of Susan Rice’s statements about the Benghazi attack.

The immorality of religion 8

Sunday. The day of rest throughout the Christianized world. Throughout the West.

A day for rumination.

Some of our fellow atheists say that we ought to respect people’s religious beliefs.

But what religious belief deserves respect?

It is obviously wise to treat other people with respect, whatever their beliefs (unless they prove themselves unworthy of it). Politeness is the oil of social relations. And enlightened self-interest tells us that it is intelligent policy.

But beliefs are a different matter. All ideas need to be critically examined. And none so thoroughly as a dogma.

Are there aspects of the three so-called moral religions that can be respected?

Judaism holds justice (or “righteousness”) to be its highest value. That can be respected. (The most sacred thing of Judaism, secluded in the innermost sanctum of the Temple,”the Holy of Holies” where only the High Priest could enter, was nothing but the written law.) But what the old Jewish scriptures declare to be just does not always – or often – seem just to us now. And Jehovah commanded an awful lot of mass murder, even the merciless slaying of little children.

Christianity’s revolution against Judaism lay in new moral commandments: to love everybody, which is not in itself evil, of course, but by ignoring the emotional range of human nature can only promote hypocrisy; and unstinting forgiveness, which is the opposite of justice.

And Islam? Islam forbids and punishes critical examination of its doctrine. That alone makes it entirely unacceptable. It is right and just to abhor and reject it.

Here’s Christopher Hitchens on religion as the source of immorality:

Posted under Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Sunday, December 11, 2016

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