The ruinous cost of free health care 1

“Free” government benefits are the most expensive goods in the world.

The Democratic Socialist Party – formerly the Democratic Party – is trying to win votes by promising free health care for all.

Supposing a national health service were to be introduced into the USA, what would it cost?

Investor’s Business Daily reports and comments:

Democrats have been falling over themselves to endorse Bernie Sanders’s government takeover of health care. Maybe they should have taken a closer look at his “Medicare for all” plan before signing up. The gargantuan price tag is just one of its many terrible flaws.

Last year, 16 Senators, including three presidential hopefuls, co-sponsored Sanders’s “Medicare for all” bill. And earlier this month, more than 70 Democrats signed on to form a “Medicare for all” caucus. Support for the bill is now something of a litmus test for Democratic hopefuls.

Do they have any idea what they’re endorsing?

A new study out Monday from George Mason University’s Mercatus Center finds that the Sanders plan would add $32.6 trillion to federal spending in its first 10 years, with costs steadily rising from there. That closely matches other studies — including one by the liberal Urban Institute — that looked at the Sanders plan.

To put this in perspective, “Medicare for all” would nearly double the size of the already bloated federal government.

Doubling corporate and individual income taxes wouldn’t cover the costs.

Even this [estimate of $32.6 trillion over 10 years] is wildly optimistic. To get to this number, author Charles Blahous had to make several completely unrealistic assumptions about savings under Sanders’ hugely disruptive plan.

The first is a massive cut in payments to providers. Sanders wants to apply Medicare’s below-market rates across the board, which would amount to a roughly 40% cut in payments to doctors and hospitals. Blahous figures this will save hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

Democrats are also apparently unaware that “Medicare for all” would be a more expensive than anything that exists anywhere else in the world … 

Sanders’ plan would eliminate all out-of-pocket expenses for medical, dental and vision care. The only exception would be a small copay for brand-name drugs. …

There is no industrialized country in the world that does this.

Even in the Scandinavian countries that Bernie Sanders directs us to admire (rather than Stalinist Russia which is actually his ideal), “people pay as much as 30% of their nations’ health costs out-of-pocket”. 

And – perhaps surprisingly to American communists –

In Communist China, almost a third of health spending is out-of-pocket.

In Bernie’s USA, the illusion of all medical treatment being “free” would need to be maintained. But how? After all, doctors cannot work for nothing. Hospitals have running costs.

Because Sanders would eliminate prices entirely from health care, the only way to control health spending would be to slap stiff price controls on doctors, hospitals and drugs, or ration care.

Rationing is inevitable in any government-run health service. Administrators have to decide how to allocate resources. When you are in control of your own medical decisions, you decide what treatment, what drugs you are able or prepared to pay for. When the state decides for you, it will not consult your preferences. It will make kill-or-cure, life-or-death decisions for you. The “death panels” that Sarah Palin warned against will determine how long you live; and, for as long as you live, in what state of health.   

Here’s what health care in the U.S. would look like as a result:

There would be chronic shortages of doctors nationwide. Hospital overcrowding would be epidemic. Waits for everything from hip replacements to cataract surgery to cancer treatments would be extensive. Drug innovation would come to a virtual standstill. And there would be endless fights over the size of the government’s health budget, along with massive amounts of waste, fraud and abuse.

How do we know this? Because this is precisely what’s happened in countries that have already gone down the “Medicare for all” road.

In Canada, the average wait time for a hip replacement is nearly two years in some provinces. Patients with cataracts can end up waiting a year for surgery. The UK has fewer doctors, nurses and hospital beds per capita than any other industrialized nation, and is in a state of almost constant crisis.

Almost constant crisis”? There is no break, no pause, no relief for the briefest of moments from the crisis that is the National Health Service of Great Britain.

Here at home, the Veterans Health Administration — once touted by the left as a model of socialized medicine — has seen deadly delays and massive corruption, even as its budget ballooned in size.

Almost 10% of Medicare spending today is for what the government euphemistically calls “improper payments”, but anyone else would label it waste. Extend this across the entire health care system and Sanders’s “Medicare for all” would result in some $400 billion a year in “improper payments”.

But the biggest problem with “Medicare for all” — and any plan to socialize medicine — is its underlying assumption. Namely, that a handful of government central planners can manage trillions of dollars’ worth of resources better than hundreds of millions of people making trillions of decisions every day in the free market. They can’t.

We already know central planning never works, since it has miserably failed where it’s been tried. It didn’t work in the Soviet Union. It doesn’t work in North Korea or Cuba, and it’s causing untold misery in Venezuela.

A socialist government – which is what the government would be that saves or executes its subjects by controlling their health care – is always, necessarily, inescapably, one big Death Panel.

Social Democrats and Democratic Socialists 1

The people who were to lead the Russian revolution in 1917 called themselves Social-Democrats.

Here’s an extract from an essay by the Leader of the leaders, V. I. Lenin, written in 1897 when he was in exile. It is titled The Tasks of the Russian Social-Democrats: 

The object of the practical activities of the Social-Democrats is, as is well known, to lead the class struggle of the proletariat and to organize that struggle in both its manifestations: socialist (the fight against the capitalist class aimed at destroying the class system and organizing socialist society), and democratic (the fight against absolutism aimed at winning political liberty in Russia and democratizing the political and social system of Russia). We said as is well known. And indeed, from the very moment they appeared as a separate social-revolutionary trend, the Russian Social-Democrats have always quite definitely indicated this object of their activities, have always emphasized the dual manifestation and content of the class struggle of the proletariat and have always insisted on the inseparable connection between their socialist and democratic tasks — a connection clearly expressed in the name they have adopted.

As is well known, when the Revolution had been accomplished in 1917, and Lenin was supreme dictator, there was no political liberty for the Russian people. No liberty at all.

Stella Morabito wrote (March 2016) at The Federalist (in an essay chiefly recalling the execution by Joseph Stalin of his faithful friend and follower, Nikolai Bukharin):

[Socialism is] a system in which suspicion and the smell of treason tend to hang in the air. … This is the case whether you call it by any other name, whether communism, utopianism, or collectivism. Oh, go ahead and slap some lipstick on that pig and call it “democratic” socialism or “progressivism” or “communitarianism”. 

Lenin and his gang all started out calling themselves socialists. Social democrats, to be exact. So the fact remains: the path of socialism is ultimately paved with coercion, censorship, and, yes, terror.* Does stating this make me an alarmist? No. It makes me a realist.

Socialism demands that we place blind trust in whomever takes the reins of power to distribute society’s goods and services. …

Socialism also has a way of producing bloated bureaucracies that in turn produce ever greater scarcity. Along the way, this produces ever more corruption and cronyism. Censorship puts down deep roots because dissent cannot be tolerated or the system would collapse. Those are all prime ingredients for a closed society and surveillance state. …

And for gulags, torture, mock trials and executions.

We are … witnessing a new trendiness for all things socialist and communist among college youth. They sport T-shirts featuring the image of nauseatingly murderous tyrants like Che Guevara.

Thanks to the popularity of the avuncular Bernie Sanders, coupled with an astonishing ignorance of history, millennials have fast become trusty mouthpieces for socialism. This is ironic, because socialism has a way of redistributing power away from the “99 percent” and puts it into the hands of the few central planners—a teensy fraction of 1 percent — at the top.

And Bernie Sanders is forever sniping at “the 1%” – “millionaires and billionaires”, “the rich”, ie. Lenin’s “capitalist class” – when he himself is a millionaire.

Then what? …  There’s an indisputable correlation between big government and terror that keeps turning up throughout history. …

We need to remember that, when soft socialism with its siren song of “equality” is left to its own devices, it takes ever more rigid forms. The political hubris of “progressives” who know better than you and me — and with such utter certainty — always leads to central control, corruption, cronyism, censorship, and abject conformity.

The more than 100 million victims of communism shows just how slippery a slope socialism is. Any person of goodwill who is familiar with the history and realities of socialism would do everything possible to avoid going down that minefield of a road.

How is it possible that young Americans can emerge from long established universities with degrees in history, political science, economics, international relations, and not know what happened to the millions of victims of socialism?

Or if they do know, and maintain that their socialist revolution would be different, bringing equal happiness for all, what possible reason can they produce for saying so? They don’t, of course. They cannot.

Because socialist economics do not, cannot work.

Because no one will study for years to become a doctor when he/she/ze is going to be paid the same as a janitor who doesn’t have to study at all.

Because when everyone’s been given equal pay with nice freshly printed banknotes, their money goes chasing too few goods, or none at all.

Because no one is going to make and sell goods if he cannot make a good living out of doing so.

Because state ownership of the means of production means Venezuela under Maduro. Because the state cannot know what goods to produce, how many, at what price. Because only the market sends the messages, the signals, that provide that information. As Hayek teaches the student of economics. If he/she/ze is  allowed to read his works in the universities. But they are not.

They are allowed to read Marx.

We doubt that many of the democratic socialists emerging from the academies actually ever bothered to read Marx for themselves. Their professors told them what he said was right and good. Told them that democratic socialism was the happy future of mankind.

That is the faith, and they keep it.

 

 

*Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky all explicitly advocated the use of terrorism. See The Soviet Union and Terrorism by Roberta Goren, ed. Jillian Becker, Introduction by Robert Conquest, George Allen & Unwin, London 1984.

The trashy romance of recycling 10

Recycling is uneconomic.

It is nothing more than a ritual, a rite. Those who want it performed – the sentimental Self-Appointed Protectors of the environment (SAPs) – feel that it is a virtuous thing to do.

Actually, it’s a colossal waste of time, energy, and money.

It doesn’t even happen anywhere near as much as the SAPs imagine it does.

And, in any case, most trash is beyond redemption.

Here are some extracts from an enlightening article by Sultan Knish:

Every branch of government from Washington D.C. to your local town council had spent a fortune convincing people that recycling is a magical process that turns your old pizza boxes into new pizza boxes while creating those imaginary “green jobs” in the community. The reality was a lot dirtier.

All of America’s industries, including trash sorting, had been outsourced to China. … All that recycling, which children in progressive communities are taught to sort as the closest thing to a religious ritual, was really being dumped by the ton on dirty ships and sent over to China. We weren’t recycling it. The Chinese were.

But now China is banning foreign recycling …

Even the Communists got tired of sorting through the trash of American socialists. The recycling scam shipped garbage on dirty ships for dirty industries while pretending that they’re clean and green.

There was never anything clean about it. …

Now the recycling party’s over. Plastic recycling imports were banned early this year. Even fiber has trouble getting in to the People’s Republic. China’s mixed paper standards mean that most of the recycled cardboard and paper no longer passes muster. Instead it’s piling up in the United States.

The recycling scam used to be an easy trade. China shipped its cheap products made from recycled American junk and scrap here. The empty vessels used to dump Chinese junk products on America were then filled up with tons of recycling for the return trip back to China at minimal cost.

We sent them junk, they sent us junk. …

But China is out of the recycling dump business. And the recycling business depended on it. No other market pays what it did. And no other country has the industrial scale to handle this much recycled trash. The American market is flooded with recycling that no one wants and trash prices have imploded.

And that’s having an immediate impact on the progressive recycling programs in the United States.

California’s trash is going right back to landfills. 62% of exported materials used to go to China. But no more. California’s Department of Resources Recycling sent a letter cautioning that the “economics of recycling” had become “unfavorable” thus “challenging what recycling means to Californians”. …

In Massachusetts, mountains of trash recycling are piling up and there’s talk that trucks may stop picking it up. In Pennsylvania, a “recycling crisis created by China” was blamed for a refusal to accept paper. In Seattle and Phoenix, recycling is going into landfills. Fees are going up in Portland. In Pasco, recycling was abandoned before its start. In a Kansas City plant, one out of four items is going into a landfill. In Sacramento, where all of California’s recycling rules are made, most recyclables no longer are. …

Recycling has become economically unsustainable, but that doesn’t mean it’s going away.

If you live in a blue state or city, expect to spend a lot more time sorting your trash, cleaning your cans and removing plastic from your envelopes … China will no longer be sorting American trash. So progressives have decided that you will. …

Most homeowners have no idea how much of their recyclables go into landfills anyway. The dirty business of municipal waste contracts will continue on uninterrupted. The extra fees and costs will be another one of the left’s thousand cuts that are bleeding the middle class to death.

Homeowners will be taxed harder so that crony cash can flow to even bigger recycling operations. …

Recycling is not a reality, but an idea. Like Communism, it can never be achieved, but must be aspired to. …

The ships carrying most of the blue state and city “green” trash will no longer be allowed into China. But there are other countries and continents desperate enough to take their socialist trash.

The dirty secret of recycling is that it depended on the willingness of Third World countries to greenwash our trash so that progressives could pretend that their moral garbage was saving the planet. …

The People’s Republic [of China] has progressively been colonizing Africa. Some African countries were already being used to recycle and dump e-waste. The shipping won’t be as cheap, but recycling’s next stop is likely to be Africa where environmentalists will turn it into a trash heap … to protect the environment.

Recycling is a trashy romance. Let it end.

Posted under Africa, China, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, July 27, 2018

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Obama knowingly funded Islamic terrorism 2

It is no secret that the Obama administration sought to downplay the threat of Islamism, and even to co-opt some Islamist movements to promote its agenda. In its foreign policy, the administration expressed support for Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, while domestically, the White House invited Islamists to design the government’s Countering Violent Extremism program. It is difficult to argue that these efforts were the product of anything but great naïveté and political dogma. Is it possible that this combination extended to deliberately funding an al-Qaeda affiliate?

Sam Westrop, whose investigative research was used for the video, is the director of Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.

He writes (in part, but the whole article is well worth reading for more detail) at National Review:

The Middle East Forum has discovered that the Obama administration approved a grant of $200,000 of taxpayer money to an al-Qaeda affiliate in Sudan — a decade after the U.S. Treasury designated it as a terrorist-financing organization. More stunningly, government officials specifically authorized the release of at least $115,000 of this grant even after learning that it was a designated terror organization.

The story began in October 2004, when the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated the Khartoum-based Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA), also known as the Islamic African Relief Agency (IARA), as a terror-financing organization. It did so because of ISRA’s links to Osama bin Laden and his organization Maktab al-Khidamat (MK), the precursor of al-Qaeda.

According to the U.S. Treasury, in 1997 ISRA established formal cooperation with MK. By 2000, ISRA had raised $5 million for bin Laden’s group. The Treasury Department notes that ISRA officials even sought to help “relocate [bin Laden] to secure safe harbor for him”. It further reports that ISRA raised funds in 2003 in Western Europe specifically earmarked for Hamas suicide bombings.

Despite this well-documented history, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in July 2014 awarded $723,405 to World Vision Inc., an international evangelical charity, to “improve water, sanitation and hygiene and to increase food security in Sudan’s Blue Nile state.” Of these funds, $200,000 was to be directed to a sub-grantee: ISRA.

Mark Smith, World Vision’s senior director of humanitarian and emergency affairs, wrote to USAID, stating that the Islamic Relief Agency “had performed excellent work” for World Vision in the past, and that “putting contractual relationships in limbo for such a long period is putting a significant strain” on World Vision’s relationship with the Sudanese regime. Smith also revealed that World Vision had submitted a notice to OFAC indicating its “intention to restart work with [ISRA] and to transact with [ISRA]” if OFAC did not respond within a week. …

Then, incredibly, on May 7, 2015 — after “close collaboration and consultations with the Department of State” — OFAC issued a license to a World Vision affiliate, World Vision International, authorizing “a one-time transfer of approximately $125,000 to ISRA,” of which “$115,000 was for services performed under the sub-award with USAID” and $10,000 was “for an unrelated funding arrangement between Irish Aid and World Vision.”

Obama-administration officials knowingly approved the transfer of taxpayer dollars to an al-Qaeda affiliate, and not an obscure one but an enormous international network that was often in the headlines.

Now we know that the [Obama] government deliberately chose to transfer at least $115,000 to ISRA after confirming that it was on the terror-designation list. In other words, an al-Qaeda front received taxpayers’ money with the apparent complicity of public officials. 

US Diplomacy explains: The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent agency of the U.S. Government that works closely with the State Department and receives overall foreign policy guidance from the Secretary of State.

Obama’s State Department apparently shared his view that the US needed to be humbled and Islam exalted. Hence his government’s promotion of the Muslim Brotherhood followed by its even more outrageous submission to the demands of the Iranian theocracy. Both policies were enthusiastically implemented by former Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. And no doubt there are “deep state” operatives still inside the Department who even now, with (Trump-loyal) Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State, remain faithful to the Obama sentiment.

Conspiracy, collusion, corruption condoned? 1

It is past time for the vindictive conspirators against the president of the United States to be brought to justice.

Evidence of their guilt continues to pile up, and still they are not prosecuted.

Are these conspirators and colluders exempt from the law? Are their crimes to be condoned?

Investor’ Business daily provides an outline of their scandalous plot, stressing the “stunning” revelation by one of the conspirators that President Obama was behind it:

As the saying goes, a fish rots from the head down. Well, so do bad governments. Recent revelations about the behavior of President Obama and his CIA director John Brennan in pushing the bogus Russian collusion investigation suggest that’s been the case. The release of the FISA application by the FBI to investigate alleged collusion between Russia and President Trump’s campaign and recent comments made by top officials are eye opening.

Not only did President Obama know about the investigation, he seems to have pushed it from the very beginning.

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, the nation’s former spy master, James Clapper, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper:

If it weren’t for President Obama we might not have done the intelligence community assessment that we did that set up a whole sequence of event which are still unfolding today, including Special Counsel (Robert) Mueller’s investigation. President Obama is responsible for that. It was he who tasked us to do that intelligence community assessment in the first place.

Why didn’t this get more attention in the media? Obama and [John] Brennan [Obama’s CIA chief] not only knew the dubious nature of the allegations against Trump, but pushed them anyway.

As Kimberley Strassel wrote in the Wall Street Journal, Brennan in particular has revealed himself to be a total anti-Trump partisan to an extent that’s shocking for a public official. His animus is raw and deep, as his actions suggest.  She wrote:

The record shows (Brennan) went on to use his position — as head of the most powerful spy agency in the world — to assist Hillary Clinton’s campaign (and keep his job).

Brennan’s manic partisanship could be seen last week in an over-the-top, bizarrely unhinged tweet following Trump’s press conference after his mini-summit with Vladimir Putin. Brennan called Trump’s remarks”nothing short of treasonous” and said they exceeded “the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors'”.

While Brennan’s hate for the GOP nominee may be public now, it wasn’t in the summer of 2016. His evidence for collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia was so weak neither the FBI nor Clapper would commit to it.

Knowing his role as CIA head forbade him from intervening in domestic spying and trying to take the investigation from a low simmer to a high boil, Brennan got the ball rolling in August of 2016 by telling thenformer Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a tale of Russians interfering in our election on Trump’s behalf.

It worked. Pushed on by Brennan, Reid, then the most powerful person in Congress, wrote a letter to FBI Director James Comey citing “evidence of a direct connection” between the Trump campaign and seeking an investigation.

Not only did Brennan share intelligence with the FBI, but soon after, the Democrat-linked opposition research firm Fusion GPS began leaking the “Trump Dossier” to the media. The fix was in.

As the [recent] release … of the FBI’s FISA court application used to spy on former Trump aide Carter Page indicates, the dossier was used extensively for the application. That’s contrary to what the FBI had maintained.

Moreover, an influential article written by Michael Isikoff detailing the dossier’s contents and Harry Reid’s letter to the FBI were likewise used to get approval for the FISA court application.

What do they all have in common? They all go back to the same phony dossier, written by former British spy Christopher Steele for Fusion GPS. It was never verified or validated by the FBI. It was bought and paid for by Hillary Clinton and her pals at the Democratic National Committee, solely to smear Trump.

… Hillary … was adept at insinuating her phony oppo research document into the public record and at using it to weaponize U.S. intelligence agencies on behalf of her failed campaign.

But then, we all knew this had happened. What’s stunning is the casual way Clapper let us know that President Obama “was responsible” for the whole shebang.

If that’s so, there are really only two possibilities:

One, that a gullible Obama was fed phony information from Brennan and the Hillary Clinton campaign. He then over-reacted by tasking the intelligence community to look into it.

Or, two, that Obama knew he was dealing with tainted information. Instead of halting a bogus investigation, he let Brennan carry it forward. Why? He thought it would help elect Hillary Clinton — and cement his own presidential legacy for posterity.

At a minimum, what seems obvious is that the deep state triad of Obama, Clinton and Brennan colluded. They did it to damage Trump’s campaign with allegations of Russian interference in the election. And they got the FBI and, later, a special prosecutor, to conduct a high-profile investigation.

Instead of investigating Trump, shouldn’t we investigate those who subverted our democracy for rank partisan purposes to influence a presidential election? That’s Obama, Brennan and Clinton.

Removing security clearances for those in the Obama administration who lied or were guilty of misconduct and political bias would be a minimum.

The crimes of the plotters “are bigger than Watergate”, the IBD editorial declares. Yes, they are hugely bigger.

When will the perpetrators answer for them in a court of law?

Is it conceivable that a Republican administration, its Department of Justice, and a Republican-majority House and Senate will let them go unpunished?

The false claims of leftist humanism 23

We seldom argue with atheists of the Left. We seldom argue with the Left. We find the attempt to be, almost always, a nugatory exercise. Leftism is a religion, and religions are not to be argued with. Faith and Reason exclude each other.

A religion need not have a god in it. Atheists on the Left can and do reason against the existence of a deity, but not against the doctrines of collectivist ideology such as: the community must be organized; the economy must be planned; the purpose of government is to control and direct the lives of the people to serve the general interest.

This time we make an exception. We raise arguments with certain statements that seem reasonable, but are not, because – we want to demonstrate – they are premised on dogma.

We quote an article from Patheos Friendly Atheist, a Humanist website. As far as we can discover, all self-named humanists and all Humanist organizations are on the Left (although there is nothing about Humanism as such that makes Leftism logically necessary to it). Patheos is no exception.

Patheos Friendly Atheist’s most frequent columnist, Hemant Mehtawrites:

Here’s a really important development in the world of organized atheist activism.

On Thursday [July 19, 2018], the American Humanist Association launched what they’re calling the Humanist Legal Society.

I’d call it the atheist equivalent of the conservative Federalist Society: A way to identify, bring together, and support those in the legal professional who are dedicated to maintaining church/state separation, science-based evidence, civil rights (especially for marginalized people), and ethics in government.

You know… all the things conservatives no longer give a damn about.

The statements we have stressed in bold provide us with an opportunity to make clear how the issues we are concerned about, the values we hold, and the judgments we make according to the information we acquire, are opposed to the issues, values, and judgment of Hermant Mehta, the Humanist Legal Society, and the Left in general.

1.”The atheist equivalent of the conservative Federalist Society

To start with, he does not, or they do not, really mean “the atheist equivalent”. The Federalist Society is not a god-concerned institution. What is meant is a “leftist-humanist equivalent”.

So what is the Federalist Society?

This is what the members of the Federalist Society say about themselves under the heading,

Our Purpose

Law schools and the legal profession are currently strongly dominated by a form of orthodox liberal ideology which advocates a centralized and uniform society. While some members of the academic community have dissented from these views, by and large they are taught simultaneously with (and indeed as if they were) the law.

The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies is a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order. It is founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be.  The Society seeks both to promote an awareness of these principles and to further their application through its activities.

This entails reordering priorities within the legal system to place a premium on individual liberty, traditional values, and the rule of law.  It also requires restoring the recognition of the importance of these norms among lawyers, judges, law students and professors.  In working to achieve these goals, the Society has created a conservative and libertarian intellectual network that extends to all levels of the legal community.

The first paragraph makes it perfectly clear that the Federalist Society opposes “a centralized and uniform society”.

The second and third paragraphs provide a summary of certain core conservative principles: “that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be”; that individual liberty is a prime value, along with “traditional values, and the rule of law”. The Federalist Society works to restore “the recognition of the importance of these norms among lawyers, judges, law students and professors.” To this end it has “created a conservative and libertarian intellectual network” in the world of the legal profession.

Plainly, this new association is intent on reinforcing the very “orthodox liberal ideology” that the Federal Society exists to overcome.

The Humanist Legal Society’s purpose is to defend “a centralized and uniform society” that does not believe in the state’s prime duty to preserve individual freedom, traditional values and the rule of law. It would hold that the duty of the judiciary is to say what the law should be, not what it is. It would exist to preserve all that the Federalist Society finds wrong with “the current state of the legal order”. There is no equivalence between the cause of individual freedom protected by the rule of law and the cause of collectivist state-dictatorship. The Humanist Legal Society might be called the “counterpart” of the Federalist Society, but not its “equivalent”.

2. “All the things conservatives no longer give a damn about”

2.1″Church-state separation”

Conservatives want the Constitution to be preserved intact. They want no variation of the First Amendment, the separation of church and state clause. So to say that “conservatives no longer  give a damn about church-state separation” is a lie.

2.2 “Science-based evidence”

Mehta may be referring here to the belief among Christians, many of whom are also conservatives, in Bible literalism, and their rejection of evolution. But Bible literalism, or any variety of Creationism, is not a core principle of conservatism.

What is also probably being referred to here is the widespread skepticism among conservatives that climate change is caused – dangerously – in our time by human activity. We are unwilling to go over the arguments as to why we conservatives are skeptical about it, but they can be found easily. One of our own posts revealing the vicious motivation behind the Anthropological Global Warming (AGW) movement, The real enemy is humanity itself, may be found here.

The Left maintains that the science of AGW is “settled”. That in itself is an unscientific statement. It is a dogmatic statement.

All real science is ardently encouraged by most conservatives. American conservatives are delighted that NASA is returning to the exploration of space under President Trump’s leadership, after Obama had told the space agency to concentrate on outreach to Muslims!

Furthermore, as gathered by the Heritage Foundation …

Conventional wisdom holds that it’s conservatives who are anti-scientific morons, and liberals who are devotees of reason, science, and evidence. But as the The Chapman University Survey on American Fears reveals, that accusation is based on nothing but prejudice.

As The Washington Post summarizes it, “Democrats were slightly, and in some cases significantly more likely than Republicans to believe in paranormal phenomena.” From fortune telling to astrology, liberals live in a world of spirits. At least belief in Bigfoot is bipartisan. 

The Chapman study shouldn’t surprise anyone. A 2011 Pew Research Center study similarly found that liberals were more likely than conservatives to believe in the evil eye, spiritual energy, reincarnation, communication with the dead, and of course fortune tellers and ghosts.

2.3 “Civil rights”

Since President Trump was elected, the civil rights of his supporters have been violently interfered with by  militant organizations of the Left. Instance are numerous, but one of the most egregious was the violent action of masked ANTIFA thugs at Berkeley on February 1, 2017. There are no such violent militant organizations on the conservative Right interfering with anyone’s civil rights.

Towards the end of the article “letting the government dictate what a woman can do with her body”  – meaning her “right” to abort a child she has conceived – is raised, probably  to be understood as a civil rights issue. The Left consistently refuses to allow that when there is another body inside a woman, the law has to extend its protection to that other, helpless, human being.

2.4″Marginalized people”

The Left is obsessed with race and sex. What matters about you, according to Leftist ideology – propounded continually by ever-more-lefty Democrats – is your race, your descent, your ethnicity, your sex and sexual proclivity. Not your individual worth, your talents, your achievements. And they like to pretend that women, non-whites, and those classed as  “LGBT”, are “marginalized” in the United States.

American women are the most privileged class of person that has ever existed in the history of humankind.

And in fact, far from it being “LGBT” persons, it is white men and the sexually normal who are marginalized wherever the Politically Correct and the Social Justice Warriors have power – notably in the academies.

As for blacks – it is ironic and outrageous that Democrats should virtue-signal themselves as the champions of blacks. Democrats whose party defended slavery and segregation; Democrats who  launched and exclusively manned the KKK; who passed the Jim Crow laws; who consistently opposed every effort the Republicans made to give equal rights to blacks! A black woman professor, Carol Swain, explains in this video how that was really the case. And now it is the Democratic Party that insists on the humiliating policy of affirmative action, based on the notion that blacks cannot compete unless whites (and Asians) are handicapped!

2.5 “Ethics in government”

The Left makes wild unsubstantiated accusations against President Trump of every kind of moral offense from his being given two scoops of ice-cream when everyone else was only given one, to his being a “racist” and a “sexist”, and even a “traitor” for meeting with Vladimir Putin and not throwing the Russian leader’s crimes in his face. Meanwhile, in a manifestation of deliberate amnesia, the Left ignores the indisputable fact that the Obama administration was deeply morally disgraceful, guilty over and over again of scandalous turpitude. Its inaction over the appalling events in Benghazi on 9/11/12, to recall just one of the scandals, marks Obama’s terms in office as a period of ethical baseness hard to outmatch in the history of the United States. And how ethical was it to give permission to the hostile regime of Iran to build a nuclear arsenal in a few years’ time?

Mehta quotes:

“Many lawyers approach the world and the law from a humanist standpoint, but there is a need for them to have a way of organizing professionally as a group,” said the Society’s president, David Codell, a nationally recognized constitutional litigator who has served as counsel in many major cases involving LGBT rights. “The Humanist Legal Society will give humanist lawyers solidarity and resources that will make a difference.”

No. It is against the iniquitous Left, with its religious intolerance, its betrayal of science, its denial of civil rights to everyone it disagrees with, its marginalization of whites, and its lack of moral responsibility, that lawyers, judges, law students and professors need to band together. And fortunately they have done so, in the Federalist Society.

The North American Venezuela 28

The choice is becoming increasingly clear. Stark would be an even better word for it.

Voters can choose between –

Keeping the Republic set up in 1787 and prospering now as never before under the leadership of President Trump, by voting for his Republican followers.

Or changing into the North American Venezuela by voting for the other major political party forming rapidly to replace the Democratic Party, the Democratic Socialist Party, under the leadership of an old communist, Bernie Sanders, and a young communist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The North American Venezuela. It is a vision hovering in the spacious skies over the purple mountains and the fruited plain.

AP reports:

A week ago, Maine Democrat Zak Ringelstein wasn’t quite ready to consider himself a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, even if he appreciated the organization’s values and endorsement in his bid to become a U.S. senator.

Three days later, he told The Associated Press it was time to join up. He’s now the only major-party Senate candidate in the nation to be a dues-paying democratic socialist.

Ringelstein’s leap is the latest evidence of a nationwide surge in the strength and popularity of an organization that, until recently, operated on the fringes of the liberal movement’s farthest left flank. As Donald Trump’s presidency stretches into its second year, democratic socialism has become a significant force in Democratic politics. Its rise comes as Democrats debate whether moving too far left will turn off voters.

“I stand with the democratic socialists, and I have decided to become a dues-paying member,” Ringelstein told AP. “It’s time to do what’s right, even if it’s not easy.”

There are 42 people running for offices at the federal, state and local levels this year with the formal endorsement of the Democratic Socialists of America, the organization says. They span 20 states, including Florida, Hawaii, Kansas and Michigan.

The most ambitious Democrats in Washington have been reluctant to embrace the label, even as they embrace the policies defining modern-day democratic socialism: Medicare for all, a $15 minimum wage, free college tuition and the abolition of the federal department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Congress’s only self-identified democratic socialist, campaigned Friday with the movement’s newest star, New York City congressional candidate Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old former bartender who defeated one of the most powerful House Democrats last month.

Two-head Communism

Her victory fed a flame that was already beginning to burn brighter. The DSA’s paid membership has hovered around 6,000 in the years before Trump’s election, said Allie Cohn, a member of the group’s national political team. Last week, its paid membership hit 45,000 nationwide.

There is little distinction made between the terms “democratic socialism” and “socialism” in the group’s literature. While Ringelstein and other DSA-backed candidates promote a “big-tent” philosophy, the group’s constitution describes its members as socialists who “reject an economic order based on private profit” and “share a vision of a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, feminism, racial equality and non-oppressive relationships”. 

Note that, voters. Even private relationships will be monitored by the planners of the social order. It completes the totalitarian vision. 

Members during public meetings often refer to each other as “comrades”,wear clothing featuring socialist symbols like the rose and promote authors such as Karl Marx.

Four-head Communism

The common association with the failed Soviet Union has made it difficult for sympathetic liberals to explain their connection.

“I don’t like the term socialist, because people do associate that with bad things in history,” said Kansas congressional candidate James Thompson, who is endorsed by the DSA and campaigned alongside Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez, but is not a dues-paying democratic socialist. “There’s definitely a lot of their policies that closely align with mine.”

Thompson, an Army veteran turned civil rights attorney, is running again after narrowly losing a special election last year to fill the seat vacated by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Even in deep-red Kansas, he embraces policies like “Medicare for all” and is openly critical of capitalism.

In Hawaii, 29-year-old state Rep. Kaniela Ing isn’t shy about promoting his status as a democratic socialist in his bid for Congress. He said he was encouraged to run for higher office by the same activist who recruited Ocasio-Cortez.

“We figured just lean in hard,” Ing told the AP of the democratic socialist label. He acknowledged some baby boomers may be scared away, but said the policies democratic socialists promote — like free health care and economic equality — aren’t extreme.

Republicans, meanwhile, are encouraged by the rise of democratic socialism — for a far different reason. They have seized on what they view as a leftward lurch by Democrats they predict will alienate voters this fall and in the 2020 presidential race.

The Republican National Committee eagerly notes that Sanders’ plan to provide free government-sponsored health care for all Americans had no co-sponsors in 2013. Today, more than one-third of Senate Democrats and two-thirds of House Democrats have signed onto the proposal, which by one estimate could cost taxpayers as much as $32 trillion.

The co-sponsors include some 2020 presidential prospects, such as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and California Sen. Kamala Harris.

Those senators aren’t calling themselves democratic socialists but also not disassociating themselves from the movement’s priorities.

Most support the push to abolish ICE [the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency] which enforces immigration laws …

… and want to abolish national borders.

So not even a North American Venezuela?

No nations, no nation-states. No national governments, no voting, no political parties, no law to enforce.

The hovering vision fades.

If the comrades have their way, the reality will be even worse than Venezuela.

What foreign entity has her emails? 7

Russia, it seems, could only get Hillary Clinton’s and the Democratic Party’s secrets by hacking into their computers, but another, unnamed, “foreign entity” did not have to go to such trouble. More than 30,000 of her emails were simply sent to it. But to whom and by whom?

The Daily Caller reports:

A member of the House Committee on the Judiciary said during a hearing Thursday (July 20, 2018) that a government watchdog found that nearly all of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails were sent to a foreign entity and that the FBI didn’t follow-up on that finding.

The Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) found an “anomaly on Hillary Clinton’s emails going through their private server, and when they had done the forensic analysis, they found that her emails, every single one except four, over 30,000, were going to an address that was not on the distribution list,” Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said during a hearing with FBI official Peter Strzok.

It was going to an unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia,” he added.

Gohmert said the ICIG investigator, Frank Rucker, presented the findings to Strzok, but that the FBI official did not do anything with the information.

Strzok acknowledged meeting with Rucker, but said he did not recall the “specific content”.

“The forensic examination was done by the ICIG and they can document that,” Gohmert said, “but you were given that information and you did nothing with it.”

He also said that someone alerted the Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz to the issue.

Mr. Horowitz got a call four times from someone wanting to brief him about this, and he never returned the call,” Gohmert said.

The ICIG previously caught problems regarding Clinton’s server that the FBI missed. The bureau didn’t notice that some emails were openly marked classified with a “(C)” when they were sent.

The ICIG spotted the oversight after the FBI missed it, texts between Strzok and his mistress, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, show.

“Holy cow,” Strzok wrote, “if the FBI missed this, what else was missed? … Remind me to tell you to flag for Andy [redacted] emails we (actually ICIG) found that have portion marks (C) on a couple of paras. DoJ was Very Concerned about this.”

In late 2017, ICIG Chuck McCullough — who was appointed by former President Barack Obama —  took the unusual step of coming forward publicly to say that he perceived pushback after he began raising the alarm about issues with Clinton’s servers to then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

He said he found it “maddening” that Democrats, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, were underselling the amount of classified information on the server.

McCullough said he “expected to be embraced and protected,” but was instead “chided” by someone on Capitol Hill for failing to consider the “political consequences” of his investigative findings, Fox News reported.

The ICIG has not publicly disclosed the findings Gohmert described in the meeting between Rucker and Strzok, but the congressman said the watchdog can document them.

Thursday’s exchange is below:

Gohmert: “You said earlier in this hearing you were concerned about a hostile foreign power affecting the election. Do you recall the former Intelligence Community Inspector General Chuck McCullough having an investigation into an anomaly found on Hillary Clinton’s emails?

Let me refresh your memory. The Intelligence Community Inspector General Chuck McCullough sent his investigator Frank Rucker along with an IGIC attorney Janette McMillan to brief you and Dean Chapelle and two other FBI personnel who I won’t name at this time, about an anomaly they had found on Hillary Clinton’s emails that were going to the private unauthorized server that you were supposed to be investigating?”

Strzok: “I remember meeting Mr. Rucker on either one or two occasions. I do not recall the specific content or discussions.”

Gohmert: “Mr. Rucker reported to those of you, the four of you there, in the presence of the ICIG attorney, that they had found this anomaly on Hillary Clinton’s emails going through their private server, and when they had done the forensic analysis, they found that her emails, every single one except four, over 30,000, were going to an address that was not on the distribution list. It was a compartmentalized bit of information that was sending it to an unauthorized source. Do you recall that?”

Strzok: “Sir, I don’t.”

Gohmert: “He went on to explain it. And you didn’t say anything, you thanked him, you shook his hand. The problem is it was going to an unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia and from what you’ve said here, you did nothing more than nod and shake the man’s hand when you didn’t seem to be all that concerned about our national integrity of our election when it was involving Hillary Clinton. So the forensic examination was done by the ICIG — and they can document that — but you were given that information and you did nothing with it. And one of the things I found most egregious with Mr. Horowitz’s testimony, and — by the way Mr. Horowitz got a call four times from someone wanting to brief him about this, and he never returned the call.”

What foreign entity has masses of US government information, including classified information, thanks to the incompetence and negligence (or treasonous intent?) of Hillary Clinton, and the passion of the bureaucrats who protected her and longed for her (incompetent and negligent though they knew she was) to be president of the United States?

SPLC: a factory of calumny and lies 1

Yes. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is one of the most extreme “hate groups” in America.

The Washington Examiner reports:

Maajid Nawaz is a former extremist whose new role, speaking out against extremism, got him branded as an extremist by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC, which bracketed Nawaz with racists and anti-Islamic bigots, had to apologize, retract its publication, and pay Nawaz $3.4 million.

Yet when a major, well-respected magazine covered this story, here was its lead: “The Southern Poverty Law Center, the venerable civil-rights organization, has issued a formal apology to British political activist Maajid Nawaz….”

This reporting is part of the problem. The SPLC is not “venerable”; it is contemptible. It is not a “civil-rights organization”; it is a scam. Whatever its origins, the organization rotted to its core and has become a financial and ideological racket.

Its business model is to smear defenders of religious liberty or critics of radical Islam by lumping them with racist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, and then to raise massive amounts of money fooling credulous liberals into fearing a massive, underground army of “hate groups”. This fraud helps real hate groups by sowing confusion, harms and endangers the innocent groups it targets, and makes many millions of dollars for the organization and its corrupt management. …

These supposed hate groups and hate figures have included Nawaz, Ayaan Hirsi Ali [see here] … Charles Murray [see here]…

If you favor immigration restriction, like the Center for Immigration Studies, you’re a hate group, according to SPLC. These designations have caused real harm to the groups in question. Murray, when trying to speak at Middlebury, was shut down by shouting crowds, and violently mobbed, leaving his faculty companion injured and requiring a neck brace.

One gunman, who says he was inspired by SPLC’s designation of the Family Research Council, showed up at the organization’s Washington headquarters in 2012 intending to kill as many people as he could.

“I want to say plainly,” Mark Potok of the SPLC said once of the groups his organization targets, “that our aim in life is to destroy these groups.” Besides maligning and bullying its opponents in the culture wars, SPLC’s fearmongering and hatemongering has another purpose, which is to raise obscene amounts of cash. It has become a vested interest immorally pursuing its own enrichment at the expense of all truth and decency.

The group’s endowment is more than $400 million, according to its website. The Trump era has brought in massive flows of funds from well-heeled left-wing culture warriors, and well-intentioned liberals fooled into believing their donations would be used to fight extremists. Unfortunately, it cannot be used to fight the extremists who run the organization that benefited from these massive sluices of money. Less than one-third of SPLC’s haul goes to programs compared to a nonprofit norm of about three-fourths …  .

The other millions get scurried away in offshore accounts …, enrich the top executives who enjoy $300,000-plus salaries, and otherwise cover lavish overhead.

The SPLC’s looseness and irresponsibility with “hate” labels has been noted, demonstrated, and proven by many journalists Left and Right. So has the group’s nature as a fundraising scam. Somehow, though, SPLC still gets treated as a legitimate source of information and an important resource.

Last year, Apple donated $1 million to it, and JP Morgan gave another $500,000. Reputable news outlets that should know better cite SPLC as an authority.

This needs to end. The settlement with Nawaz and the retraction of the Islamic guide ought to be a wake up call to deep pockets and reporters alike: The Southern Poverty Law Center is not a good-faith actor, and it is not a reliable authority. It is a dishonest multimillion-dollar scam.

Its massive endowment means it won’t disappear soon. But let it howl unheard on the margins of day-to-day events, and a long way beyond the margins of decency, as is its wont. But, please, stop citing the SPLC as authoritative. It’s garbage.

Daniel  Greenfield writes at Front Page:

Keith Ellison was formerly a member of the Nation of Islam, a racist black nationalist hate group. He has allegedly met with Farrakhan more recently and has worked with anti-Semitic and pro-terrorist Islamic organizations such as CAIR and ISNA.

Despite that, as Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch reports, he’s demanding that Amazon censor books and other materials produced by organizations listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate groups. …

Among the organizations, Jihad Watch and the Freedom Center.

The SPLC, despite its record of bad research and fraud, and its recent multi-million dollar settlement over an entry [Maajid Nawaz] on its anti-Muslim list, the basis for which any ban against Jihad Watch and the Freedom Center would be leveled, is considered an authority. And its hate maps and lists have been used to go after conservative groups fighting against Islamic supremacist and black nationalist groups of the kind that Ellison belonged to and continues to support.

Ellison’s letter describes his idea of “hate groups” as having provided, “support for racist policies like the Muslim ban, and the ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policies”.

Those are mainstream policies enacted by the President of the United States and supported by the majority of Americans.

If that makes one a hate group, then most Americans are members of a hate group.

What reason, excuse, or pretext do these fierce campaigners against normalcy, decency, truth and America give to themselves for their destructiveness, indecency, lies and subversion?

With all their virtue-signaling, what exactly do they claim is their virtue?

What good do “the well-heeled left-wing culture warriors” think they are doing when they donate huge sums of money to these mountebanks?

The Democratic Party, the George Soros-funded rebel groups, all the organizations and parties that make up the political Left are now openly and violently seditious. 

What would they put in place of a democratic republic that guards everyone’s freedom, and has achieved – through freedom and capitalism – world leadership, unrivaled military strength, and unprecedented prosperity?

The gains of Helsinki 1

What actually was discussed by the presidents of the US and Russia at Helsinki on July 16, 2018?

Was anything achieved, anything agreed between them that will have an effect in reality?

Were the leaders of these two powers, who together have more than 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons under their control, able to find common cause in at least some troubled areas where their militaries are or might be engaged?

Angelo Codevilla writes at American Greatness:

The high professional quality of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin’s performance at their Monday press conference in Helsinki contrasts sharply with the obloquy by which the bipartisan US ruling class showcases its willful incompetence. …

Having taught diplomacy for many years, I would choose the Trump-Putin press conference as an exemplar of how these things should be done. Both spoke with the frankness and specificity of serious business. This performance rates an A+.

Both presidents started with the basic truth.

Putin: The Cold War is ancient history. Nobody in Russia (putting himself in this category) wants that kind of enmity again. It is best for Russia, for America, and for everybody else if the two find areas of agreement or forbearance.  

Trump: Relations between the globe’s major nuclear powers have never [since the Cold War? – ed] been this bad — especially since some Americans are exacerbating existing international differences for domestic partisan gain. For the sake of peace and adjustment of differences where those exist and adjustment is possible, Trump is willing to pay a political cost to improve those relations (if, indeed further enraging his enemies is a cost rather than a benefit).

In short, this was a classic statement of diplomatic positions and a drawing of spheres of influence.

As Putin listed his agenda, he showed that today’s Russia is a status quo power, whose primary objective is stability. Having come to power over a country diminished and dispirited, he sought to recover as much as possible of what Russia had lost in the Soviet break-up. He forcibly took back parts of Georgia and Ukraine. In doing so, he pushed against open doors.

Today, no other doors are open. Now being ahead, he wants to stop the game. He knows that this is possible because nobody is going to wage or even risk war against Russia to try disgorging Abkhazia and Crimea. He wants Trump to acknowledge that. Warning against extending NATO to Ukraine and Georgia, he signaled that all else is negotiable.

He also has rebuilt Russia’s military and wants to protect its edge by persuading Trump to keep US missile defense in its current dysfunctional mode. This is an inflexible demand that deserves an equally inflexible rejection. Trump had already delivered it by ordering the establishment of the US Space Force.

By securing his naval and air bases in Syria, Putin succeeded in returning Russia to warm-water sea power. That required backing the Shia side in its intra-Muslim war against the Sunni in Syria, while the United States backed the other side. Today Iran, Syria, Iraq, and Turkey are much as Putin wants them. He wants Trump’s acknowledgment of this statusRussia continues to argue to Americans that both countries have suffered far more from Sunni terrorism — ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood — than from the Shia version.

The two made clear that their commitment to stability in the Middle East outweighs support for either side, and signaled wider cooperation, especially on military matters.

Trump, leaving no doubt that America’s commitment to Israel’s security is absolute, faced Putin with the choice of partnering with America in restraining Iran or of being drawn into an Israeli-American war against an Iran with whose forces Russia’s are interwoven. Putin, for his part, seemed to concur with Trump’s priority. That along with tripartite security consultations with Israel is likely to cool Iran and Hezbollah’s ardor for war.

Trump signaled that America’s interest in Eastern Europe lies in re-establishing peace there, and in safeguarding the independence of its states. Poland and the Baltic States are not just NATO members, but also close to the American people’s hearts. By stressing peace, he made clear that America does not intend to make its defensive commitments there the occasion for a war at or beyond the extreme reach of American power.

Though Russia has backed North Korea in the past, Putin signaled that he is not happy with its acquisition of a modern nuclear force that is effectively China’s pawn. He seemed to promise pressure on North Korea to denuclearize — something that would displease China. Though that was a minor part of both sides’ press conference, it may well signal both sides’ recognition of their mutual interest in not letting China become the Western Pacific’s overlord. Such an understanding would be no minor achievement.

The American ruling class’s attribution of the 2016 election to Trump-Putin collusion, which has characterized US-Russia relations for two years, provided the press conference’s fireworks. Both denied any such thing and insisted there was no evidence of it. In response to a question about whether Putin would make available the 12 Russian state intelligence employees indicted for interference in that election to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Putin pointed to the existence of a treaty of cooperation on criminal matters and promised Mueller that access to the accused through the treaty.

This led to the final flourish. The Associated Press reporter demanded that Trump state whether he believes the opinions of US intelligence leaders or those of Putin. It would be healthy for America were it to digest Trump’s answer: The truth about the charge that Russia stole the contents of the Democratic National Committee’s computer server is not to be found in the opinions of any persons whatever. The truth can be discovered only by examining the server in question—assuming it has not been tampered with since the alleged event. But, said Trump emphatically, those making the accusations against Russia have refused to let the server be examined by US intelligence or by any independent experts. What is the point of accusations coupled with refusal of access to the facts of the matter?

The classic texts of diplomatic practice teach that diplomacy advances the cause of peace and order only to the extent that its practitioners avoid contentious opinions and stick to demonstrable facts.

The AP reporter, who should be ashamed, is beyond shame. Then again, so are the ruling class representatives who have redoubled their animus against Trump. Cheap partisanship is not all that harmful. It is the transfer of domestic partisan animus to international affairs, however, that has the potential to start wars. …

What that ignorant “journalist” was demanding of Trump — precisely what the credentialed experts should know better than to have demanded — was that the president of the United States scream at the president of Russia for all his evils. Competitive “virtue signaling” has become the way of political life in America. To the extent that it bleeds into America’s foreign policy, we are all in big trouble.

It did not, and will not, “bleed into America’s foreign policy” through President Trump. Though his style of negotiating is to be frank and straightforward, he knows, through long experience, how to maintain an atmosphere of amicable goodwill which makes agreement easy where it is possible.

Contrast this meeting with the silly performance that a giggling US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, put on with her failed “Reset” act when she met the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on March 6, 2009, in Geneva; a farce which simply signaled to the Russians that Obama’s America was a push-over.

From the Obama-Clinton “reset’, Russia made all the gains. The US agreed to reduce its nuclear arsenal by a third (which Vice-President Biden hailed as a victory for the US!). Obama broke a US promise to Poland and the Czech Republic to provide them with missile defense systems and radar stations because the Russians were furious at the very idea. The Russians proceeded to destabilize Ukraine, shoot down a civil aircraft in Ukrainian airspace – and annex the Crimea. Though Obama drew a “red line” against the Syrian dictator, Bashar Assad, using chemical weapons against his own people, he did nothing about it when Assad crossed the line by gassing the population of Ghouta, an area in southwest Syria, in August 2013. In the following month, the egregious John Kerry, successor to Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, claimed to have reached  an agreement with the Russians whereby they would reign Assad in, to prevent such a horror being perpetrated again. Russia, he was confident, would oversee the destruction of Assad’s arsenal of sarin and mustard gas and the facilities for their manufacture. Needless to say, Russia did no such thing.

True, we have yet to see the long-term results of any understanding reached by the two presidents at Helsinki. But of this this we can be sure: Vladimir Putin will have understood that Donald Trump is not a man to be trifled with.

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