The Biden scandal 24

When Joe Biden was vice president of the United States, he was bribed through his son by a crooked Ukrainian company to force the Ukrainian government, under threat of denying aid, to fire the prosecutor in charge of investigating it.

Vice President Joe Biden was televised boasting about how easily he had worked the threat to achieve his end.

All this has been well known for years. But new evidence that Joe Biden “subverted American foreign policy in order to enrich his own family” (to use the words of Tucker Carlson on Fox News) has come to light in emails from a laptop computer belonging to Hunter Biden.

Now that Joe Biden is the Democrat candidate for the presidency, the fact that their candidate is a corrupt crook must surely trouble the Democrat Party? Obviously no, it doesn’t. Not in the least. The Democrats and their voters want to have a corrupt crook as their president.

The case shows that the US already has a crooked and corrupt federal police force. We’ve known that also for years, but there’s new evidence of that too from the Biden emails.

Megan Fox points out at PJMedia:

The FBI had possession of this information back in December? Why didn’t the FBI come forward with this evidence about Hunter Biden’s emails, which appear to show collusion and influence-trading? Isn’t that something they should have told the president or members of Congress? … If the good citizen who came forward and alerted the FBI of the contents of the laptop [containing the emails] had not made a copy of the information, it would still be under FBI lock and key. … It’s a stunning indictment of the FBI that an American citizen who alerted them to … multiple crimes involving a guy with the last name Biden knew not to trust them and made other arrangements should they try to cover it up (which, apparently, they did).

One new revelation is that the son, Hunter Biden, wrote about giving 10% of bribe money he got from a company in China to the “big guy”. There can be little doubt that the”big guy” is Joe Biden, candidate for the presidency.

These corrupt practices are a political scandal of immense proportions.

It is so big and appalling that the Democrat-supporting mainstream media refuse to report it. Twitter and Facebook, actively trying to get Joe Biden elected, have blocked or limited users’ discussion of it. Why? Not because they are disturbed by the Bidens’ immorality, but because they know that many citizens would be.

The facts are spreading anyway. The election will show whether America is still a moral nation, by voting Donald Trump back into the presidency; or has become an immoral nation, happy to be led by the venal scoundrel Joe Biden.

Posted under China, corruption, Ethics, Ukraine, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, October 17, 2020

Tagged with , , , ,

This post has 24 comments.

Permalink

Working for a worse world 6

If there is a Devil he lives on this earth – and his name is George Soros. (Read about him here.)

Where is James Bond when we need him? Why hasn’t he hunted down Soros and his minions?

Soros is more dangerous than any of those infamous villains working for a worse world, those power-hungry psychopaths whom 007 defeats with debonair ease.

Ah, but of course, he and they are  fictitious, and Soros is all too real.

American Wire reports:

In November 2016, a little known Central Florida prosecutor scored a stunning upset over the incumbent elected state’s attorney to become the chief prosecutor over the Orlando area.

Aramis Ayala won with the help of $1.4 million pumped into her campaign funding by leftist billionaire George Soros. Ayala promptly became infamous around Florida for abandoning the death penalty as a potential punishment, including in a case involving a suspect who murdered his pregnant girlfriend and a local cop.

But Ayala was not a one-offer.

Soros has shown a willingness to spend big to corrupt the criminal justice system from within — as shown by the protests over George Floyd, the Black Minneapolis man who died in police custody. Soros’s chosen DAs are making a mockery of justice across America.

In California, for example, Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton refused to prosecute a Black Lives Matter protester charged with resisting arrest and assault. The suspect failed to disperse as cops tried to clear the streets, and then picked up a live tear gas canister that officers fired to move the crowd and hurled it back at the cops.

Additionally, Becton also announced she would prosecute two anti-BLM protesters for a hate crime after they painted over the “Black Lives Matter” mural painted on the street in front of the courthouse.

“We must address the root and byproduct of systemic racism in our country. The Black Lives Matter movement is an important civil rights cause that deserves all of our attention,” she said. …

In St. Louis, Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner has announced she will prosecute local lawyers Mark and Patricia McCloskey. The McCloskeys are renowned for being photographed outside their ritzy home holding guns as angry BLM protesters, who had broken into their private gated community, marched down the street. The couple maintained the demonstrators threatened them and their property. In early June, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt lashed out at Gardner after she released three dozen suspected looters following a Floyd-protest riot. “There wasn’t one person looting and rioting and shooting at police officers that could have been charged? It’s absurd,” Schmitt told local media. …

In Chicago, State Attorney Kim Foxx opted not to prosecute thousands of arrests for what she termed “minor offenses” related to riots. She attributed the unrest to “righteous anger” and “collective grief” over Floyd’s death and praised those who were “standing against years of racial injustice”, according to local media.

Foxx also implemented a policy regarding violent offenses – such as assault, resisting arrest, battery, mob action, and aggravated battery to a police officer – that there would be a “‘presumption against proceeding’ unless there’s body or dash cam footage available, or if a police officer is the complainant”. In other words, if it’s not on tape, it didn’t happen.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that between June 20 and July 5 nine children under 18 were shot to death in a wave of violence that has resulted in nearly twice as many murder victims in Chicago as in New York, even though the Big Apple has three times the population. “The Windy City is becoming the Bloody City,” a local minister, the Rev. Michael L. Pfleger told the Times. He described this moment as “the worst period in the 45 years he has worked on social issues”.

In Houston, District Attorney Kim Ogg tossed nearly 800 total criminal charges filed against 600 people after Floyd-related protests. In a statement, Ogg said:

Prosecutors conducted a review that divided the cases between those people who sought to do harm others (sic) and property vs. those arrested for simple civil disobedience. … The cases dismissed were for non-violent misdemeanor offenses, mostly obstructing a highway and trespassing. While probable cause existed for the arrests of those people who refused to disperse after being ordered to do so by police, our young prosecutors worked hard to identify the few offenders who came to inflict harm on others and intentional damage to property. … With the dismissals, the people whose cases were dismissed no longer charged don’t face the prospect of being saddled with a criminal prosecution that could jeopardize future educational, employment and other opportunities.

So down in Houston, hundreds of people menacing the public by trespassing and blocking highways is OK, so long as it’s done for the progressive reason.

And this is only one of the ways Soros is mobilizing forces for injustice.

His fiendish machinations are harming other countries too, among them most notably Ukraine, Hungary, Israel, the Balkan states …

His plots against the human race surpass any fiction.

Of rats and Democrats 16

The Democratic majority in the House of Representatives is guilty of abuse of power and conspiracy to overthrow a duly elected president.

We quote from an article (well worth reading in full) by Michael Anton at the Claremont Review.

People capable of feeling shame would not have immediately followed up the Russiagate hoax fiasco with another transparently phony—and in “substance” nearly identical—attempt to remove President Trump from office, overturn the 2016 election, and shower deplorable-Americans with contempt and hatred. But our ruling elites have no shame. …

The Democrats, the corporate-Left media (CLM), the permanent bureaucracy or “administrative state”,and the “deep state” (which is not precisely the same thing), along with a few Republicans, have “publicly voiced” many causes for removing the president—a few specific but most maddeningly, yet safely, vague.

From the beginning—that is to say, from November 9, 2016—impeachment has been a cause in search of a trigger, an occasion. The president’s enemies hoped they’d finally hit pay dirt when an anonymous “whistleblower” alleged that the president made, or attempted to make, foreign aid to Ukraine contingent on that country’s government investigating his likely 2020 challenger. Or, in other words, that Trump attempted to “collude” with a foreign power to influence an American election. …

If we are to take the current “publicly voiced” cause at face value, then we may say that the entire Washington establishment, plus most of the country’s elites, are trying to remove the president from office on the basis of an anonymous individual’s private opinion of the content of one phone call he heard about second or possibly even thirdhand. A phone call, let’s remember, of which we have extensive notes that almost, but not quite, constitute a transcript—in other words, whose content everyone in the country can examine for himself.

That the “telcon” (national security geekspeak for what people are calling the “transcript”) does not support the “publicly voiced” cause is made plain by two facts. First, you can read it yourself and see that it doesn’t say what it is alleged to say. Second, if it did say what the president’s enemies want it to say, they could just quote it verbatim, which they never do, instead of deliberately mischaracterizing it, which they always do.

Only two substantive points make the phone call at all interesting. First, President Trump very plainly wants to get to the bottom of the entire, still-obscure “election-meddling” story of 2016. That includes not just “deep state” attempts to prevent his election and to set him up for removal should the first effort fail, but also allegations of Russian hacking against American targets, including the Democratic National Committee. It appears—and the Justice Department apparently agrees—that some actors within Ukraine may have had something to do with some of this, possibly colluding … with a shady, Democrat-linked tech firm called CrowdStrike, though we as yet know nothing like the full story. Trump wants to know and asked the Ukrainian president for his help in finding out. …

The second question President Trump asked the Ukrainian president is another “publicly voiced” cause to seek his removal. That question regarded a specific instance of a well-known Washington-insider phenomenon. It is a measure of how insouciantly our elites accept and even welcome the immense corruption of our government that they raise not a single eyebrow at the phenomenon that underlay the president’s question: exactly how is it that well-connected Americans with no particular or relevant skill sets can “earn” enormous sums of money for doing, essentially, nothing?

The “specific instance” was to do with Hunter Biden being paid an enormous sum for doing nothing but getting his dad, Obama’s Vice-President Joe Biden, to threaten to withhold funds in aid to Ukraine if its government didn’t stop investigating corruption in the firm that was … well, to put it bluntly, bribing Hunter. Joe Biden did as he was asked. President Trump wanted to have the matter investigated and said so in the phone call to a new Ukrainian leader.

Understand this plainly: Trump may well be impeached, ostensibly, for asking about this corrupt arrangement. But no one is ever impeached for engaging in it. Nor can our elites, who almost all benefit from this system one way or another, muster the integrity to do, or even say, anything against it.

Though currently central to the “publicly voiced” case, this charge is not the only one levelled [against President Trump in connection with the phone call]. It is also insinuated that the administration somehow acted improperly by not making the telcon available within the government to a wide enough range of bureaucrats. But that’s preposterous.

Such documents are inherently products of the executive branch. They may be shown to, or withheld from, absolutely anyone the president and his senior staff want. To argue anything else is to presuppose that bureaucrats whom the president doesn’t know and likely will never see somehow are entitled—have a “right”—to review anything and everything they wish. Does this sound reasonable to anyone not out to get Trump? Would you run your business this way? Or would you try to limit information—especially sensitive information—on a “need-to-know” basis? Formally, the U.S. government insists that it operates according to the latter principle, but in reality, everyone in Washington believes himself so important that he becomes indignant when not allowed to see what he believes by right he ought to see.

Then ask yourself: assuming the president and his team did try to limit access to this or other documents, why would they do that? Perhaps to prevent illegal and damaging leaks? What could possibly give rise to that concern? I dunno—maybe because this has been, and continues to be, the most leaked-against White House and administration in the history of the United States government?

When one thinks for a second about the impact this particular document has already had—the president may well be impeached over it, on the say-so of precisely such a bureaucrat from whom his team allegedly tried, but evidently failed, to withhold it—can one blame Trump or his team for trying to limit the dissemination of internal documents? A saner response is to wish they had restricted the circle even more. The detail, alleged in the press, that the “whistleblower” (more on him below) heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend, etc., does not, to say the least, suggest any kind of cover-up. …

[But] “cover-up” is the latest “publicly voiced” charge. A member of the National Security Council staff  [Lt.-Col. Vindman] alleges that he attempted to include language in the telcon that others insisted on excluding. This is held to be a very serious charge.

Here’s what they’re not telling you. The document, as noted, is not a transcript; there’s no stenographer on the line and such calls are not recorded. Several people, however, will be listening and taking notes for the express purpose of creating the telcon. These will include duty officers in the White House Situation Room, who are not necessarily—and are not expected to be—experts on the country being called; rather, they are covering the call simply because it takes place during their shifts. These duty officers, with the aid of impressive but not infallible voice recognition software, prepare a first draft of the telcon. Since neither the voice recognition software nor human notetakers can catch every word perfectly, sometimes “Inaudible” appears in brackets. But ellipses—about which much is currently being made—represent not omissions but natural pauses in the conversation. This is before we even get into the thorny issues raised by sequential translation, which is necessary for most foreign leader calls.

After the first draft of the telcon is prepared, the duty officer hands it over to the National Security Council’s (NSC’s) executive secretary (ExecSec), the office responsible for all NSC paper flow and records management (among other things). ExecSec then routes the telcon to specific individuals, whom the national security advisor has personally authorized to review it, for their “chop” or edits. The person responsible for shepherding the document through this phase of the process is the “country director”, the NSC staffer who coordinates policy and handles documents with respect to a given country or countries. The country director will, in almost all cases, have been listening to the call. He will check the draft telcon against his notes and make corrections, even as others cross-check against their own notes. These will include the relevant senior director (the country director’s boss) and others, up to and including the national security advisor.

The key takeaway here is that the country director is the not highest or final authority on the content of the call. He’s one person who heard it; others may have heard it or parts of it differently. And the country director does not have the final say over what the telcon says. He works in a chain of command and has superiors. His senior director—who presumably was also on the call—can overrule him. If other “equities” such as classification or legal issues are affected, the senior director for intelligence programs and the legal advisor can as well. Ultimately the final say falls to the national security advisor—who, in almost all cases, would also have been listening to the call.

The person alleging a cover-up, Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Vindman, was, at the time, the country director for Ukraine. But the way he’s being presented—and has presented himself—is meant to convey a much grander impression. No less than the “whistleblower”, he is being sold as a patriotic, dedicated, impartial, non-partisan, career officer simply standing up for what’s right. …

But he is also, unquestionably, a mid-level officer in the U.S. Army working a mid-level staff job at the National Security Council, i.e., someone who as such has no standing even to serve as the final arbiter of a telcon, much less make policy or remove a president.

We actually don’t know what language the country director was prevented from including in the telcon, but we do know … that “the phrases do not fundamentally change lawmakers’ understanding of the call”. …

At least the country director [Vindman] was actually in the NSC chain of command and so had some standing to weigh in on the issue. This cannot be said of the so-called “whistleblower”, who of course is nothing of the sort—not as defined by law nor in any commonsense understanding. As to the former, the statute is clear: officials qualify for legal protection if they blow the whistle on activities within their own organizations and relevant to those organizations’ official duties. There is no possible way to interpret this particular “whistle” as consistent with that standard. By definition, the president’s phone call was not conducted under the auspices of the “whistleblower’s” “home agency” (reportedly the CIA) nor did it have anything to do with intelligence matters. …

The “whistleblower” reportedly wasn’t on the call and never saw the telcon. Given that several—probably at least a dozen—others were and did, why didn’t one of them lodge a complaint? One—our country director—did complain to the NSC’s top lawyer, who could find no wrongdoing. The others? Nothing. Is it possible most of them also saw no wrongdoing? …

But then the question arises: complain to whom? Neither the NSC nor its parent organization, the Executive Office of the President (EOP), have a formal whistleblower process. If one wishes to make a complaint, one has five options: complain within your chain of command, complain to the lawyers, complain to the White House chief of staff, complain to Congress, or complain to the press. Even our country director declined four of these five avenues, and all the others apparently declined them all. Why? Perhaps someone calculated that the optics would be better—more “disinterested,” less nakedly political—if the complaint came from somewhere else, a “patriotic career civil servant just doing his job”. …

The “whistleblower” was just a tool, witting or not (I’m betting on the former) to get something new going after the ignominious collapse of Russiagate. His usefulness over—indeed, his presence in the drama now counterproductive—we are instructed to forget he ever existed. …

It was a dirty plot. How did it begin? Who leaked (inaccurate) information about the phone call to “a friend” who leaked it to “a friend” who leaked it to his friend the “whistleblower”. Or was that not really how the “whistleblower” came to know about it?

Vindman, the “country director”, is the obvious suspect for the original leak: “One [who was on the call] —our country director—did complain to the NSC’s top lawyer, who could find no wrongdoing.”

Did Vindman then report the call to Adam Schiff? (Had Schiff asked him to report anything he could use against the President? Very possibly.)

If so, Schiff would need to account for the leak reaching him, and Vindman would certainly not let himself be named as the leaker. A stooge had to be found to take on the role of the leaker  a “whistleblower”.  Someone who would be “good for the optics”.

Did Schiff consult with Biden, and did Biden suggest Eric Ciaramella – who has been named on social media as the “whistleblower” – be employed in that role? Or did Vindman suggest him?

Who is Eric Ciaramella?

The Washington Examiner reports:

[Eric] Ciaramella is a career CIA analyst and was the Ukraine director on the NSC from 2016 until the summer of 2017. In October 2016, he was [Joe] Biden’s guest at a State Department banquet. …

Ciaramella could be told to say that he had heard about the call “from a friend who had heard about it from a friend” and had been shocked and appalled by what he heard.

But there would be no obvious reason why he would take his complaint to Adam Schiff. A plausible explanation for Schiff finding out about it had to be invented. 

Well, what if there happened to be someone on Schiff’s staff who knew Eric Ciaramella? 

There wasn’t, but that was a lack easily remedied.

The alleged whistleblower filed an Aug. 12 complaint with the Intelligence Community inspector general about the July 25 phone conversation between Trump and Zelensky …

 … which he “had heard about from a friend who had heard about it from a friend” …

after meeting with a House Intelligence Committee aide on Schiff’s staff about the call

Hey presto! Suddenly there was someone on Schiff’s staff to whom Ciaramella might reasonably confide his outrage. Who was this “aide on Schiff’s staff”?

Sean Misko, who [had] worked with alleged Ukraine whistleblower Eric Ciaramella at the NSC during the Obama and Trump administrations”, was hired by Schiff [on July 26] the day after the phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Both Ciaramella and Misko started their tenures during the Obama administration and left during the first year of the Trump administration. The Washington Examiner was told by a former senior White House official that both had a close, “bro-like” relationship while working at the NSC together.

Smell a rat? There’s a whole stinking nest of them.

Michael Anton again:

The worst charge thus far alleged against President Trump is that he attempted to make $400 million in aid to Ukraine contingent on that country’s government investigating possible corruption by the Bidens. This is the much hoped for “smoking gun,” the “quid pro quo”—as if the foreign policy of any country in history has ever been borne aloft on the gentle vapors of pure altruism. …

I don’t see it. Especially since a) no aid was actually withheld; b) no investigation was actually launched; c) the American people don’t care about Ukraine and would probably prefer to get their $400 million back; and d) they would inevitably ask: so were, in fact, Joe Biden and his son on the take from a foreign government? And if it looks like they might have been, why, exactly, was it improper for the president to ask about it?

Trump’s enemies’ answer to the last question is: because the president was asking a foreign government to investigate a political opponent for purely personal gain. Really? Is potential corruption by a former vice president—and potential future president—and his family a purely private matter, of no conceivable import or interest to the public affairs of the United States? That’s what you have to insist on to maintain that the request was improper. That’s the line we can expect the Democrat-CLM axis to flog, shamelessly and aggressively. But will a majority of Americans buy it? Especially since career officials at the Department of Justice already determined, and anti-Trump witnesses appearing before Representative Adam Schiff’s secret star chamber reluctantly conceded, that nothing Trump did or is alleged to have done was technically, you know, illegal.

And besides all that, aren’t all relations between nation-states conducted on the perpetual understanding of quid pro quo? Isn’t quid pro quo what all diplomacy is about: the exchange of envoys; the setting up of embassies and consulates; treaties? Isn’t even the giving of aid done in wistful hope for some reward (such as a supportive vote in the UN)? What is trade between countries – or, come to that, what is all trade – but a system of quid quo pro?

A system of honest, open, mutually beneficial quid pro quo is what international trade needs to be. And President Trump is working to make it so. Part of that effort may involve asking the more trustworthy leaders of foreign governments to investigate corruption, even if an American Democratic leader and his son get caught in the sweep.

Corruption 7

Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) has written a letter to House Republicans in which he makes it plain that President Trump has a principled and very strong hatred of corruption.

Here’s an extract from the letter (which needs to be read in full):

[President Trump] expressed strong reservations about supporting Ukraine. He made it crystal clear that he viewed Ukraine as a thoroughly corrupt country both generally and, specifically, regarding rumored meddling in the 2016 [American] election. …

I acknowledged that he was correct regarding endemic corruption. I said that we weren’t asking him to support oligarchs and politicians but to support the Ukrainian people who had given [the newly elected president] Zelensky a strong mandate to fight corruption. …

It was obvious that his [President Trump’s] viewpoint and reservations were strongly held, and that we would have a significant sales job ahead of us getting him to change his mind. I specifically asked him to keep his viewpoint and reservations private and not to express them publicly until he had a chance to meet Zelensky. He agreed not to, but he also added that he wanted Zelensky to know exactly how he felt about the corruption in Ukraine prior to any future meeting. …

I asked him about whether there was some kind of arrangement where Ukraine would take some action and the hold [on military aid] would be lifted. Without hesitation, President Trump immediately denied such an arrangement existed. … [He said] “No way. I would never do that. Who told you that?” I have accurately characterized his reaction as adamant, vehement and angry.

In the light of that, the irony is painful that President Trump is being corruptly accused by corrupt Democrats of committing crimes of corruption – extortion, bribery, treason – for none of which they have evidence; and could not have, since it does not exist.  

As usual Democrats falsely and shamelessly accuse a Republican of committing the very crimes they themselves are guilty of. They know President Trump did not commit them. 

However, by his own admission, Obama’s Vice-President Joe Biden did commit crimes of corruption – most notably in his dealings with Ukraine: as for instance when he bribed the Ukrainian government, with US tax payers’ money, to fire a Ukrainian prosecutor. The official was investigating the corruption of the gas firm Burisma, from which Biden’s son received  a colossal “salary” – for being the American Vice-President’s son.

Will Joe Biden ever be brought to trial in a properly constituted court of law? Or is the justice system of the United States now so corrupted by the Democrats that only the innocent are punished? 

 

Update: The head of the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings, Nikolai Zlochevsky, was indicted yesterday (Wednesday, 20 November, 2019) by the Ukrainian Prosecutor General.

Posted under corruption, Ukraine, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, November 21, 2019

Tagged with , , ,

This post has 7 comments.

Permalink

Lies 10

A lie is a weak little thing pitted against boundless inexorable Reality.

Chief Inquisitor Adam Schiff has said he does not know who “the whistleblower” is in whose alleged (unpublished) report to him – of a phone call by President Trump to the president of Ukraine – he claims there is proof that President Trump committed an impeachable crime.

What crime might that be? Asking for something in return for aid – for a “quid pro quo” – perhaps? [Can that be called a crime? Isn’t diplomacy all about quid pro quo?] Or how about bribery? Or even treason perhaps?

Schiff would have it known that it was a surprise to him to receive the report. He continued to disclaim any knowledge of who had authored it. He learnt, however, by some untold means, that the man (whom he called “the whistleblower”) had not actually heard the phone call he was reporting so couldn’t vouch for its accuracy. In which case, since the report wasn’t all that Schiff wished it to be, he  could and did compose his own version, one in which President Trump demands “reciprocity” and asks  the government of Ukraine to “dig up dirt” [on his political enemies, is implied].

Strangely, he read his version of the phone call to the House Intelligence Committee – and the media – one day after President Trump released the true transcript of it. 

Schiff admitted that his version was a “parody”. But driven on by his intense irrational hatred of the President, he insisted there were still solid grounds for impeachment even with only the real transcript to go on – plus the testimony of many witnesses he would call. Among them, he said, would be “the whistleblower”. There was no doubt, he said over and over again in one way or another, that “the whistleblower” would have to be heard from in person.

So an impeachment inquiry was launched by the House Intelligence Committee chaired by Adam Schiff.

Then Schiff changed his mind about calling “the whistleblower”. Not only would he not be called to testify, his identity – which Schiff went on claiming he did not know – was to remain strictly hidden. He was not even to be mentioned. The (false) excuse given was that it was against the law for the name of a whistleblower to be revealed.

One of the witnesses on whose testimony Schiff built his hopes of framing the President of the United States, was Ukrainian-born Lt.-Col. Alexander Vindman, one of only three people who had actually been there when the phone call was made and had heard what was said.

Vindman was Schiff’s lucky find. He was most likely Schiff’s chief witness. And he was artfully played: not called the first day of the inquiry but only the second day, and then not on his own but in company with one of the other two who had been present when the phone call was made, an adviser to Vice President Pence whose testimony was of no help whatsoever to Schiff.  

Vindman came to the hearing in his full dress military uniform. It declared his loyalty to America. In his testimony he stressed how honest, how honorable, how obedient to the rules he was.

Virtuous fellow that he is, he was so disturbed by what the President had said in that phone call that he made his concern know to a few other people – though any suggestion that he was a leaker, he said, was “preposterous”.

He too had consistently maintained that he did not know who “the whistleblower” was.

He played his part faultlessly, and all went as Adam Schiff wanted it to go.

Until this happened: 

We refer especially to what is said between the marks of 4.00 and 5.36 minutes.

The mention of an intelligence officer, though he is not named, scares Adam Schiff into interrupting with a stern order that “the whistleblower” must not be “outed”. Rep. Jim Jordan, masterfully disingenuous, expresses surprise at that. Why bring up “the whistleblower”, he asks. Both Schiff and Vindman, he reminds them, had said they didn’t know who he was. (And he slips in – as it were in parenthesis – that no one believes Adam Schiff doesn’t know who “the whistleblower” is.)

Vindman is saved from having to explain his silence about the secret name by his lawyer’s instruction not to utter the name of anyone in the intelligence services. It is Adam Schiff who gives away his own secret – that that very intelligence officer mentioned by Vindman is “the whistleblower”.

Schiff shows signs of confusion when Jim Jordan wakes him up to the realization that his lie has been exposed.

So now we are certain that Schiff does know who “the whistleblower” is, and why he is trying to lock him away out of sight.

The story must be something close to this:

Vindman leaked his version of the phone call to Schiff (directly or indirectly). Schiff, reading what he liked into it, wanted to treat it as a whistleblower’s report. Vindman on no account would allow himself to be known as either a leaker or a whistleblower. Someone else must be found to play the whistleblower role. Vindman would admit that he had imparted the information, but  only to people with “proper clearance” who had a “need to know”. So the person who would play the part of the whistleblower must be someone with “proper clearance”. Who better than an intelligence officer? Such a man was known to Schiff. And to Joe Biden. He was a Democrat who had been put to use few times before and would do nicely now. Schiff claimed that he would come forward with his testimony.

But when the impeachment inquiry actually began, he could not be called – because in fact he knows nothing. He is not a whistleblower; he is a plant, a flunkey. He would agree to have his name revealed to Democratic leaders  – Nancy Pelosi for instance – who would insist on knowing it. But his identity must be kept from common knowledge.

Adam Schiff doesn’t seem to think his plans through very well. He didn’t anticipate that Republicans would demand to question the so-called whistleblower in an inquiry. To prevent that he ruled that the Republicans would not be permitted to call any witnesses, and that “the whistleblower” was not to be mentioned during the hearings. Now he seems not to be reckoning with the probability that if President Trump is impeached by the House and sent to trial by the Senate, the man would be called to testify and his identity would have to be revealed.

And what if under cross-examination he were to tell the truth?

That possibility really could put his career, and even his life, in danger. Not from his political enemies who already know his name, but from his political friends and masters who do not want it to come out that his enemies have nothing to fear from him.

An impeachment process in search of a crime 3

Rep. Devin Nunes truthfully accuses the lying accusers at the start of the impeachment enquiry, which is the latest move in the Democrats’ evil plot to overthrow the elected president:

Posted under corruption, Crime, Russia, Ukraine, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Tagged with , , , , , , , , ,

This post has 3 comments.

Permalink

Scandalous Ukrainian connections 2

Clouds of scandal thicken round US politicians – Democrats and Republicans – who have had shady dealings with Ukraine.

It is alleged that Hunter Biden, son of Joe Biden, Obama’s vice-president and candidate for the presidency, and Chris Heinz, the stepson of John Kerry, Obama’s secretary of state, and James Bulger, nephew of mobster James “Whitey” Bulger who was killed in prison, have laundered millions of dollars from Ukraine and China through Latvia.

A witness for the prosecution in a $220 BILLION money laundering case concerned with transfers through Latvia, Aivar Rehe, has recently been found dead in his own yard. He was a former CEO of Danske Bank in Estonia, which has a reputation for money laundering.

Conservative blogger Peggy Traeger Tierney reveals details about US politicians’ connections, direct and indirect, to corrupt Ukraine business practices, at her website Real News Network:

Mitt Romney’s top adviser, Joseph Cofer Black, joined the board of the [corrupt] Ukraine energy firm, Burisma, while Hunter Biden was also serving on the board. Hunter Biden was taking a salary of $50,000 per month from Burisma …[Black] trained for covert operations and eventually became the director of the National Counterterrorism Center.  …

VP Biden bragged on camera that he was able to force the former Ukraine President to fire a prosecutor who was investigating his son, Hunter, by threatening to withhold $1 BILLION in US loans from Ukraine – all with approval from Obama!

While Communist China ran $1.5 BILLION through the Biden/Heinz private equity firm to purchase US companies with military ties, John Kerry, as Secretary of State, approved questionable acquisitions that threatened national security, but enriched his family and friends.

(For more information about these unsavory dealings by John Kerry and his stepson go here.)

Kurt Volker, who served as the U.S. Ambassador to NATO under Obama, and was just fired [by President Trump] as special envoy to Ukraine, is the executive director of the John McCain Institute.

Nancy Pelosi’s son, Paul Pelosi Jr., is involved in oil importing from Ukraine and his company, Viscoil, is under investigation for securities fraud.

(For more information about Paul Pelosi Jr. and Viscoil corruption go here.)

In 2015, Pelosi used the Air Force to fly her entire family to Ukraine at a cost of over $185,000. Nancy Pelosi’s legislative aide, Ivanna Voronovych, is from Ukraine and is connected to the Ukrainian Embassy, the Ukrainian military, the Ukrainian government and Ukrainian party life.

Pelosi and [Adam] Schiff are both connected to a Ukrainian arms dealer.

The arms dealer is Igor Pasternak. (For more information about the Schiff-Pasternak connection go here.)

The connection between Schiff and Pasternak is certain. The Pelosi-Pasternak connection less certain. She attended the fund-raiser Pasternak gave for Schiff.

We also know that Ukraine was involved in helping the Clinton campaign fabricate evidence against Paul Manafort to smear the Trump campaign. And the firm the DNC used to “inspect” Hillary’s email server, Crowdstrike, is funded by anti-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs and run by a man who used to work for Mueller at the FBI!

Doesn’t it seem that the Congressional Democrats are taking a very big risk with their threat to impeach President Trump because he asked the new president of Ukraine to look into the Biden scandal? It must mean that the Biden scandal itself – largely ignored until now by the left-biased media – will be a focus of attention.

And one Ukrainian investigation will lead to another, such as the Schiff and Pelosi involvements. Many a dirty deal could be exposed – none of them involving President Trump, who is likely to be the only one to emerge from investigation far cleaner than a billion dollars laundered by a Baltic bank.

“Projection is always the soup du jour at Café la Résistance” 8

Joe Biden used American taxpayer’s money to blackmail and bribe the government of Ukraine in order to provide his son, Hunter Biden, with an opportunity for personal enrichment, and to protect him from criminal investigation. He did it when he was vice-president of the United States by threatening to withhold a billion dollars of US aid from Ukraine if that country’s investigator into those criminal activities was not fired.

Now he and his fellow Democrats are accusing President Trump of threatening to withhold funds from Ukraine unless  …

… unless those dealings of Joe Biden with the Ukrainian government are investigated. And they are calling the alleged threat a high crime and misdemeanor of such gravity on the part of President Trump as to warrant his impeachment.

Of course President Trump is innocent. And Joe Biden is guilty.

It is the habit of the Left always to accuse its enemies of the crimes it is itself committing. 

We quote from an article by Michael Thau at American Greatness:

No one disputes that when Joe Biden was vice president, he threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees from the Ukrainian government unless it replaced the state’s lead prosecutor, Viktor Shokin. But the Washington Post is pushing a funny narrative about Biden’s motives [claiming that] the reason Biden wanted Shokin fired had nothing whatsoever to do with the more than $3.5 million his son Hunter’s consulting firm was paid by a company called Burisma Holdings, which Shokin happened to be investigating at the time.

In the past few days, the Post has published around 30 articles claiming that Burisma had no reason to engineer Shokin’s termination since his investigation was “dormant”. Every single story uses that same phrase. It isn’t just the Post. … And all but a handful were published in the course of a week, including at least one from each of the Post’s elite media brethren such as the New York Times, CNN, CBS, and NBC. …

Thau describes Hunter Biden as “a dissipated American wastrel …, a Navy washout with no pertinent experience in the energy sector (or any other business)” and wonders with his readers what could make him “worth millions to a Ukrainian natural gas company” other than “his powerful father’s influence”.

The Post claims Biden strong-armed Ukraine into replacing Shokin because the prosecutor was “soft on corruption”, not to stop him from investigating it. And many other outlets like the Wall Street Journal have gone further, alleging that “Shokin had dragged his feet” in investigating the very company shelling out millions to Hunter Biden! …

If you’re having a tough time swallowing the idea that Joe Biden was trying to get Shokin fired for not doing enough to investigate a company enriching his son, your gag reflex is in good working order.

The alleged facts about Shokin peddled by the corporate leftist press are at best dubious and the creepily ubiquitous claim that his investigation was “dormant” is an outright falsehood. So are the suggestions that President Trump is spinning fables when he claims, not just that the company paying Hunter Biden millions, but also the man himself, was a subject of interest to Ukrainian prosecutors.

The repeated assertions that Trump is, once again, making things up entirely out of thin air—not surprisingly—are once again being created entirely out of thin air. Projection always being the soup du jour at Café la Résistance.

The avalanche of stories attempting to exonerate Biden was precipitated on May 2, after Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani called for an immediate investigation, claiming that the elder Biden’s conflict of interest when he pushed for Shokin’s dismissal was “too apparent to be ignored”.

Five days later, the first story attempting to exonerate Biden by alleging Shokin’s investigation “had been long dormant” appeared at Bloomberg News. The headline was a direct rebuttal to Giuliani: “Timeline in Ukraine Probe Casts Doubt on Giuliani’s Biden Claim.”

The source for Bloomberg‘s story was one of Shokin’s deputies named Vitaliy Kasko. He alleges that, though he “urged Shokin to pursue the investigations” into Burisma, his boss ignored him.

Bloomberg reports that neither the Bidens nor anyone from Burisma would comment on the story. Strangely, however, Viktor Shokin’s response—or lack thereof—isn’t mentioned alongside that of the other main characters. It’s 900 words in, long past the point where most readers will have moved on to other things, that we learn what the main villain of Bloomberg’s story has to say in his defense:

Shokin has denied any accusations of wrongdoing and declined to provide immediate comment for this article. In an interview with the Ukrainian website Strana.ua . . . Shokin said he believes he was fired because of his Burisma investigation, which he said had been active at the time.

So, though you have to pay close attention and read almost to the end to discover it, the Bloomberg story that suddenly spawned almost a hundred clones—also using the word “dormant” to exonerate Joe Biden of any wrongdoing—essentially boils down to a former Ukrainian lead prosecutor telling a tale that implicates Biden while his subordinate at the time tells another story that seems to exonerate him. Bloomberg simply presents the latter as fact and buries the former.

At best, Bloomberg’s suggestion that its reporting has exonerated Joe Biden is unsubstantiated. But it turns out, in the interview Bloomberg cites, Shokin does more than merely make self-serving claims that contradict equally self-serving ones made by his former deputy Kasko. Though the story fails to mention it, Shokin backs up his account with at least one pertinent fact, which turns out to be verified by Ukrainian media.

Shokin claims that the Ukrainian government pressured him to stop his investigation into Burisma and that Kasko was the one working on their behalf to stifle it. He also says that, when Joe Biden got him fired, he was about to interrogate Hunter:

Shokin: We were going to interrogate Biden, Jr. . . .

Interviewer: What got in the way?

Shokin: [We] did not have enough time. The President told me repeatedly that Biden demanded that they remove me.

Shokin goes on to claim that he took specific actions which, if verified, prove he was actively investigating Burisma:

There were regular ultimatums and discussions about me. I finally crossed the threshold on February 2, 2016, when we went to the courts with motions to re-arrest the property of Burisma. I suppose that then the president received another call from Biden, blackmail by non-allocation of a loan . . . Then [President] Poroshenko surrendered.

Apart from Shokin’s interview with Ukrainian media to which Bloomberg links, his claim that he was preparing to interrogate Hunter Biden has been in the public record since April 1, when The Hill’s John Solomon published the results of his own interview with Shokin. [For John Solomon’s article, see the post immediately below.] Moreover, among many other revelations suggesting that Biden may have pressured for Shokin’s termination to protect Burisma, Solomon also says:

The general prosecutor’s official file for the Burisma probe—shared with me by senior Ukrainian officials—shows prosecutors identified Hunter Biden, his business partner Devon Archer and their firm, Rosemont Seneca, as potential recipients of money.

Why do almost none of the almost 100 articles parroting Bloomberg’s completely worthless attempt to exonerate Biden make any mention at all of Solomon’s vastly more informative and better-sourced story implicating him?

Could it be that the establishment press doesn’t give a damn about uncovering the truth and, instead, is focused solely on advancing a narrative that discredits Trump’s remarks to Ukrainian president Zelensky concerning what Biden was up to when he got Shokin fired and, thus, helping to convince our more gullible citizenry that Trump might be guilty of something justifying impeachment?

Way back on July 22, before anyone imagined that the Biden family’s Ukrainian misadventures would be contrived to impeach Trump, the Washington Post published a quite different take on Joe and Hunter’s probity in an article headlined (you’re going to get a kick out of this): “As vice president, Biden said Ukraine should increase gas production. Then his son got a job with a Ukrainian gas company.”

Almost unbelievably, the Post’s story actually features portions of an email interview they did with Shokin in which he, once again, claims Biden wanted him fired for aggressively investigating “the activities of Burisma and the involvement of his son, Hunter Biden” and that he would have interrogated Hunter had he not been forced out.

Yet the Post mentions its own prior interview with Shokin in only one of the two-dozen-or-so stories about him the paper has published since his answers turned out to be inconvenient for the establishment media’s latest impeachment fantasies.

And that one article is an exercise in deception … citing Bloomberg that “U.S. and Ukrainian officials have said the probe had long been dormant” … [and] lying about Bloomberg’s sources.

Kasko is Bloomberg’s only source for claiming that Shokin’s investigation was dormant and their story contains no information obtained from any U.S sources. They do allege that certain unspecified U.S. officials criticized Shokin. But their source is some unspecified set of “internal documents from the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office” they claim to have seen by some completely mysterious process. And they never suggest that the mysterious Ukrainian documents portray the unknown American officials as believing the Burisma investigation was “dormant”, using that or any other expression.

But the Washington Post’s flagrant deceit gets worse.

The paper has published at least three stories claiming “there is no evidence” for Trump’s assertion that Hunter Biden was a target of Ukrainian prosecutors.

In other words, the Washington Post has repeatedly suggested that Trump is just making it all up even though their own article from just two months ago directly quotes the head Ukrainian prosecutor during the time in question as explicitly saying he was investigating Hunter Biden and reports that he also intended to interrogate Hunter.

If that’s all there was, it would be bad enough. It’s already clear that Bloomberg, the rest of the corporate leftist press—and especially the Washington Post—engaged in willful dishonesty by presenting Kasko’s story as if it were fact, while completely burying Shokin’s detailed and damning counter-tale.

If the corporate press had presented both sides of the story properly, at best we’d have a case of two Ukrainian officials contradicting each other without any sound basis for deciding which of them to believe. No one without prejudice could claim that the Bidens were definitely innocent of any wrongdoing and, as Mayor Giuliani suggested, an investigation would clearly be in order. But  … Interfax-Ukraine published an article on April 2, 2016, which verifies that “the movable and immovable property” of Burisma’s owner “Mykola Zlochevsky . . . has been seized” and that “the court satisfied the petition on February 2, 2016″, two weeks before Shokin was forced to resign and, in fact, on the exact date he claimed to have “crossed the threshold” that caused his termination because of Biden’s demands.

Without further official inquiry, we’ll never be certain of the full story. But Bloomberg’s assertion that the investigation into Burisma was dormant under Shokin, which is the lynchpin of the mainstream press’s attempt to convince people that Joe Biden’s Ukrainian ultimatum had nothing to do with his son’s multi-million-dollar gig with Burisma, simply isn’t true. And the fact that Shokin turns out to be the honest one here lends at least a little credence to his claim that Hunter Biden was indeed a target of his investigation.

Moreover, the story that Shokin was the one protecting Burisma doesn’t make a whole lot of sense given what happened in the aftermath of his dismissal. Not only was Burisma not prosecuted, but the investigations were also completely terminated after Biden got his way and Shokin was out of the picture.

In October 2017, Burisma issued a statement saying Ukrainian prosecutors had closed all legal and criminal proceedings against it. …

The end result of Joe Biden’s arrogant and aggressive meddling in another nation’s domestic politics was that a company paying his good-for-nothing son millions of dollars was let off the hook even though his own administration claimed it had engaged in illegal activity deserving of serious punishment.

Bottom line: Well over 50 news articles are trying to convince Americans of Biden’s innocence by claiming that Burisma had absolutely no reason to want Viktor Shokin fired. And every single one of those news articles is a deceitful insult to the intelligence of the reader. As Thomas Jefferson said in response to the fake news of his day: “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.”

Putrid Joe 2

The key question here that nobody seems to want to ask in the media is: What was [Hunter Biden] being paid for? He wasn’t being paid for his expertise. What was he being paid for? And what were the Ukrainians expecting to get in return? I think when you overlay the financial payments with the fact that Joe Biden as point person on Obama administration policy to Ukraine was steering billions of dollars of Western money to Ukraine it becomes crystal clear exactly why they were paying him money. They wanted access and they wanted to influence Joe Biden. And Joe Biden has been around a long time here, and he had to know exactly why his son was being paid.

So said Peter Schweizer to Mark Levin on Fox News Channel yesterday (September 29, 2019).

He convinced Levin – and us – that Joe Biden is deeply corrupt. (We admit we were not lacking in conviction to start with!)

As Vice President Biden he sold the power of his office.

Among other dirty deals, he blackmailed the government of the Ukraine.

Here’s the You Tube recording – sound only. Well worth listening to:

SORRY – YOUTUBE HAS REMOVED IT. WE HOPE YOU WILL SEEK IT SOMEWHERE ELSE. PETER SCHWEIZER IS THE BEST SOURCE OF THE FACTS OF THE MATTER.

John Solomon wrote at The Hill on April 1, 2019:

Two years after leaving office, Joe Biden couldn’t resist the temptation last year to brag to an audience of foreign policy specialists about the time as vice president that he strong-armed Ukraine into firing its top prosecutor.

In his own words, with video cameras rolling, Biden described how he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 that the Obama administration would pull $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, sending the former Soviet republic toward insolvency, if it didn’t immediately fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

“I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’” Biden recalled telling Poroshenko.

“Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time,” Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations event, insisting that President Obama was in on the threat.

Interviews with a half-dozen senior Ukrainian officials confirm Biden’s account, though they claim the pressure was applied over several months in late 2015 and early 2016, not just six hours of one dramatic day. Whatever the case, Poroshenko and Ukraine’s parliament obliged by ending Shokin’s tenure as prosecutor. Shokin was facing steep criticism in Ukraine, and among some U.S. officials, for not bringing enough corruption prosecutions when he was fired.

But Ukrainian officials tell me there was one crucial piece of information that Biden must have known but didn’t mention to his audience: The prosecutor he got fired was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings that employed Biden’s younger son, Hunter, as a board member.

U.S. banking records show Hunter Biden’s American-based firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, received regular transfers into one of its accounts — usually more than $166,000 a month — from Burisma from spring 2014 through fall 2015, during a period when Vice President Biden was the main U.S. official dealing with Ukraine and its tense relations with Russia.

The general prosecutor’s official file for the Burisma probe — shared with me by senior Ukrainian officials — shows prosecutors identified Hunter Biden, business partner Devon Archer and their firm, Rosemont Seneca, as potential recipients of money.

Shokin told me in written answers to questions that, before he was fired as general prosecutor, he had made “specific plans” for the investigation that “included interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden”.

Most of the general prosecutor’s investigative work on Burisma focused on three separate cases, and most stopped abruptly once Shokin was fired. The most prominent of the Burisma cases was transferred to a different Ukrainian agency, closely aligned with the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, known as the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), according to the case file and current General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko.

NABU closed that case, and a second case involving alleged improper money transfers in London was dropped when Ukrainian officials failed to file the necessary documents by the required deadline. …

As a result, the Biden family appeared to have escaped the potential for an embarrassing inquiry overseas in the final days of the Obama administration and during an election in which Democrat Hillary Clinton was running for president in 2016.

But then, as Biden’s 2020 campaign ramped up over the past year, Lutsenko — the Ukrainian prosecutor that Biden once hailed as a “solid” replacement for Shokin — began looking into what happened with the Burisma case that had been shut down.

Lutsenko told me that, while reviewing the Burisma investigative files, he discovered “members of the Board obtained funds as well as another U.S.-based legal entity, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, for consulting service”.

Lutsenko said some of the evidence he knows about in the Burisma case may interest U.S. authorities and he’d like to present that information to new U.S. Attorney General William Barr, particularly the vice president’s intervention.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Biden had correlated and connected this aid with some of the HR (personnel) issues and changes in the prosecutor’s office,” Lutsenko said. …

But what makes Lutsenko’s account compelling is that federal authorities in America … uncovered financial records showing just how much Hunter Biden’s and Archer’s company received from Burisma while Joe Biden acted as Obama’s point man on Ukraine.

Between April 2014 and October 2015, more than $3 million was paid out of Burisma accounts to an account linked to Biden’s and Archer’s Rosemont Seneca firm … The bank records show that, on most months when Burisma money flowed, two wire transfers of $83,333.33 each were sent to the Rosemont Seneca–connected account on the same day. The same Rosemont Seneca–linked account typically then would pay Hunter Biden one or more payments ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 each. Prosecutors reviewed internal company documents and wanted to interview Hunter Biden and Archer about why they had received such payments …

Lutsenko said Ukrainian company board members legally can pay themselves for work they do if it benefits the company’s bottom line, but prosecutors never got to determine the merits of the payments to Rosemont because of the way the investigation was shut down. …

Some hard questions should be answered by Biden as he prepares, potentially, to run for president in 2020: Was it appropriate for your son and his firm to cash in on Ukraine while you served as point man for Ukraine policy? What work was performed for the money Hunter Biden’s firm received? Did you know about the Burisma probe? And when it was publicly announced that your son worked for Burisma, should you have recused yourself from leveraging a U.S. policy to pressure the prosecutor who very publicly pursued Burisma?

Which all goes to show that Joe Biden is corrupt.

In just one instance of his corruption, this is what he did: as vice-president of the US, he demanded from the state of Ukraine, in return for a billion dollars of American taxpayers’ money, that it stop an investigation into crooked transactions by a firm on whose board of directors his son Hunter held a colossally remunerated sinecure, by firing the investigator.

Russia 1

An illuminating article. For us, lifelong students of Communism and the modern history of Russia, almost as full of surprises as of affirmations.

Angelo M. Codevilla writes at CRB:

What 21st-century Russia is in itself, to its neighbors, and to America flows from the fact it is no longer the Soviet Union. As the red flag came down from the Kremlin on Christmas Day 1991, Russian president Boris Yeltsin, when asked what he thought of Communism, nearly wept as he replied: “I wish it had been tried somewhere else.” Vladimir Putin, who famously said that the USSR’s collapse had been a tragedy, nevertheless shares the Russian people’s consensus that their country was Communism’s first and foremost victim, and that no one knows how long it may take to live down its dysfunctions. To its neighbors, this Russia is a rebudding tsarist empire. To Americans, it is a major adversary despite the lack of clashing geopolitical interests.

After Communism

The Revolution of 1917 was possible because socialists, in Russia and throughout the Western world, believed that “present-day society”, as Karl Marx put it, is a jumble of “contradictions”, which could be resolved only by tearing down the pillars of the house. Once that was done, history would end: man and woman, farmer and industrial worker, producer and consumer, intellectual and mechanic—heretofore at odds—would live harmoniously, freely, and prosperously ever after.

Because they really believed in this utopian dream, the socialists gave absolute power to Lenin and Stalin’s Communist Party to wreck and reorganize—to break eggs in order to make a delicious omelette. But Communism, while retaining some of Marxism’s antinomian features (e.g., war on the family and on religion), became in practice almost exclusively a justification for the party’s absolute rule. For example, the economic system adopted by the Soviet Union and by other Communist regimes owed precisely zero to Marx, but was a finely tuned instrument for keeping the party in control of wealth.

The Leninist party is gone forever in Russia because, decades after its leaders stopped believing in Marxism, and after Leonid Brezhnev had freed them from the Stalinist incubus that had kept them loyal to the center, they had learned to make the party into a racket. That, and the residual antinomian features, made Russia into a kakotopia. Russian men learned to intrigue and drink on the job rather than work. Shunning responsibility for women and children, they turned Russian society into a matriarchy, held together by grandmothers. In a thoroughly bureaucratized system, each holder of a bit of authority used it to inconvenience the others. Forcing people to tell each other things that both knew not to be true—recall that “politically correct” is a Communist expression—engendered cynicism and disrespect for truth. The endless anti-religion campaigns cut the people off from one moral system and failed to inculcate another. Alcohol drowned unhappiness, life expectancies declined, and fewer Russians were born.

Religious morality? Communism not a religious morality? Not the same religious morality in certain vital respects? All red capes waving at us bulls!  But for the sake of what’s to come, we’ll only stand and paw the ground – and give a snort or two.

The Russian people rejected Communism in the only ways that powerless people can—by passivity, by turning to anything foreign to authority, and by cynicism. Nothing being more foreign to Communism than Christianity, Russians started wearing crosses, knowing that the regime frowned on this feature of the Russia that had pre-existed Communism, and would survive it.

A louder snort. But on:

No sooner had the USSR died than Russia restored the name Saint Petersburg to Peter the Great’s “window on the West”. Even under Soviet rule, Russians had gone out of their way to outdo the West in Western cultural matters—“nekulturny” (uncultured!) was, and remains, a heavy insult in Russia. Moscow let countless priorities languish as it rebuilt in record time its massive Christ the Savior cathedral to original specifications. As the Russian Orthodox church resumed its place as a pillar of the Russia that had been Christianity’s bastion against the Mongol horde as well as against the Muslim Ottomans, golden domes soon shone throughout the land. Whatever anyone might think of the Russian Orthodox church, it anchors the country to its Christian roots.

Few Americans understood Vladimir Putin’s rise to power at the close of the 20th century as the reassertion of a bankrupt, humiliated, resentful people looking to make Russia great again. Since then, Putin has rebuilt the Russian state into a major European power with worldwide influence. Poverty and a resource-based economy notwithstanding, it is on a sounder financial basis than any Western country. Corruption is within historical limits. The leadership is appreciated by the vast majority, whose national pride and solidarity dwarf those of Western publics. Nearly all Russians approve strongly of its absorption of Crimea. Russia effectively controls Ukraine’s eastern end, and has exposed the West’s incapacity to interfere militarily in the former Soviet empire. In the Middle East, Russia is now the dominant force.

In sum, the Russian bear licks its deep wounds as it growls behind fearsome defenses.

The Neighborhood

Russia’s Westernism is neither imitation nor love of the West. It is the assertion that Russia is an indispensable part of it. The Russians saved Europe from Napoleon, and from Hitler, too. That they did the latter tyrannically, as Soviets, does not, in their minds, disqualify them from their rightful place in Europe, or justify Europeans, much less Americans, trying to limit Russia’s rightful stature. Today’s Russian rulers are not gentler or nicer than the emperor who shook off the Mongol yoke—who wasn’t known as Ivan the Nice Guy. Like their forebears they are calculating Russia’s stature in terms of the limits—primarily in Europe—set by their own present power as well as by that of their immediate neighbors.

Russian writing on international affairs focuses exclusively on the country’s role as a member of the European system. By the 2030s, if not sooner, the Russian government will have filled such territory, and established such influence, as befit its own people’s and its neighbors’ realities, and will be occupied with keeping it. More than most, Putin is painfully aware of Russia’s limits. Its declining population is less than half of America’s and a tenth of China’s. Despite efforts to boost natality, its demography is likely to recover only slowly. Nor is its culture friendly to the sort of entrepreneurship, trust, and cooperation that produces widespread wealth. What, then, are Putin’s—or any Russian leader’s—national and international objectives?

As always, Ukraine is of prime interest to Russia because it is the crux of internal and external affairs. With Ukraine, Russia is potentially a world power. Without it, it is less, at best. But Putin’s pressures, disruptions, and meddlings have shown him how limited Russia’s reach into Ukraine is, and is sure to remain. Hence, Russia’s conquest of Ukraine east of the Don River signifies much less the acquisition of a base for further conquest than the achievement of modern Russia’s natural territorial limit in Europe. The 20th century’s events forever severed Ukraine and the Baltic states from Russia; even Belarus has become less compatible with it. Modern Russia is recognizing its independence, even as the Soviet Union at the height of its power effectively recognized Finland’s. As the Russian Federation’s demographic weight shifts southeastward—and Islamism continues to gain favor there—the Russian government will have to consider whether to shift its efforts from keeping the Muslim regions within the federation to expelling and building fences against them.

As the decades pass, post-Soviet Russia will have to work harder and harder to cut the sort of figure in Europe that it did under the tsars. That figure’s size is the issue. The Russian empire’s size has varied over the centuries according to the ratios between its and its neighbors’ national vigor and power. In the past, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, the Hanseatic powers, Germany, all have shrunken or swollen Russia. Borders and spheres of influence have varied. There is no reason why this should not be so in the future. Russia will neither invade Europe nor dominate it politically because its people lack the political will, and its state the capacity, to do either. During Soviet times, this will and this capacity were the product of the national and international Communist Party apparatus, now gone forever.

A glance back at this gargantuan human structure reminds us of how grateful we should be that it now belongs to history. The Communist faction that resulted from the 1918 split in the international socialist movement—like the rump socialist faction that ended up governing Europe after 1945, but unlike the fascist one—already intended to conquer the world. (Fascism, Mussolini’s invention, recalled some of ancient Rome’s peculiar institutions and symbols—the fasces was the bundle of punishing rods carried by the consuls’ lictors—and added governing Italy through business-labor-government councils. It was not for export.) Communists worldwide came under the firm control of the Soviet Party’s international division run by formidable persons like Andrei Zhdanov and Boris Ponomarev, disposing of virtually unlimited budgets and, after 1929, of the services of countless “front organizations.” These, the party’s hands and feet and its pride and joy, reached out to every imaginable category of persons: union members, lawyers, teachers, journalists, housewives, professional women, students, non-students. Each front organization had an ostensible purpose: peace, through opposition or support of any number of causes. But supporting the “Soviet line” was the proximate purpose of all. Through tens of thousands of “witting” Communists, these fronts marshaled millions of unwitting supporters, helping to reshape Western societies. Soviet political control of Europe was eminently possible, with or without an invasion, because the Soviet domestic apparatus had marshaled Soviet society, and because its international department and front organizations had convinced sectors of European societies to welcome the prospect.

The tools that today’s Russia wields vis-à-vis Europe are limited to commerce in natural gas, and to the opportunities for bribery that this creates—witness Russian Gazprom’s employment of former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Not only do European governments not fear being invaded by Russia, they refuse to diversify their sources of natural gas, and generally oppose American sanctions imposed on Russia because of its actions in Ukraine. The notion among European ruling parties that the voters who are in the process of rejecting them for various “populist” and nationalist options, are pining for Russian-style governance or tricked by Russian wiles is a baseless attempt to sidestep the ruling parties’ own failures.

The Lefty globalists think that? There’s a surprise! Whatever makes them think so? We see the populist movements as being unequivocally towards conservative nationalism, self-determination, personal liberty, not … neo-tsarism.

Europe’s rulers know that Russian military forces are not built to conquer the continent, because these forces lack the wherewithal for large-scale projection of power. Instead, they possess formidable capacity for what soldiers call “area denial”. This fits Russian leaders’ strategic goals, the people’s sentiments, and material constraints. The wars that today’s Russian military are built to fight are in areas that today’s Russian military sees most threatened by the U.S. and NATO, on its borders with Poland and Lithuania (where Russia crushed the Wehrmacht in 1944-45), and in Ukraine, north of Crimea. Russia’s military posture has ever been, and gives every sign of remaining, strategically defensive but operationally offensive. Now as before, when war seems imminent Russia’s operational doctrine calls for taking the initiative in a preemptive manner.

Although Russian strategy would be to surround and seal off foreign troops by air and ground, for the first time in Russia’s history, military manpower is scarce and precious. Economizing manpower is one reason why the country has fully integrated nuclear weapons in ordinary military operations, recalling nothing so much as President Dwight Eisenhower’s doctrine in the 1950s of “more bang for the buck”. To seal off the airspace, and to provide an umbrella for their ground forces, the Russians would use the S-400 air-missile defense system—the world’s best, which is now deployed around some 300 high-value locations. Strikes (or the threat thereof) by the unique Iskander short-range missile would preclude the foreign forces’ escape, as Russian troops moved in with Armata tanks, which carry the world’s best reactive armor.

Possession of perhaps the world’s best offensive and defensive strategic forces—comparable to America’s and far superior to China’s—is why Russia is confident that it can contain within limited areas the wars that it needs to fight. Because Russia has nothing to gain by military action against America or China, this arsenal is militarily useful only as insurance against anyone’s escalation of border disputes, and as the basis for Russia’s claim to be a major world player.

Priorities and Collusion

Russia loomed small in U.S. foreign policy from the time of the founding until the 1917 Bolshevik coup, because the interactions between America’s and Russia’s geopolitical and economic interests were few and mostly compatible. Given that these fundamentals have not changed, it would be best for both countries if their policies gradually returned to that long normal.

But for both countries, transcending the past century’s habits is not easy. The essential problem is that neither side’s desires, nor its calculus of ends and means, is clear to the other, or perhaps to itself. It seems that the main thing Putin or any other Russian leader might want from America is no interference as Russia tries to recreate the tsars’ empire. Thus Russia’s continuing relations with anti-U.S. regimes in Latin America can only be understood as Cold War inertia—the almost instinctive sense that what is bad for America must somehow be good for Russia. The U.S. government, for its part, while largely neglecting Russia’s involvement in the Western hemisphere, tries to limit its influence in Europe while at the same time reaching agreements concerning strategic weapons—a largely Cold War agenda. The soundness of these priorities on both sides is doubtful.

Both Russia and the U.S. fear China, and with good reason. The crushing size of contemporary China’s population and economy frightens the Russians. The fact that some Russian women marry Chinese men (disdaining Russian ones) embarrasses them and has made them more racially prejudiced than ever against the Chinese. Yet Russia aligns with China internationally and sells it advanced weapons, paid for with American money—money that China earns by trading its people’s cheap labor for America’s expensive technology. With these weapons as well as its own, China has established de facto sovereignty over the South China Sea and is pushing America out of the western Pacific. Nonetheless, the U.S. treats Russia as a major threat, including “to our democracy”. For Russia and America to work against one another to their common principal adversary’s advantage makes no geopolitical sense. But internal dynamics drive countries more than geopolitics.

Nowhere is this clearer than with the notion that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election—a charge which has roiled American public life for the past two years and counting. Interference in American life? That is what the Soviet Union was all about. By contrast, current concerns about Russia are a tempest, albeit a violent one, in a domestic American teapot.

In America, the Soviets worked less through the Communist Party than they did in Europe. Here [in America], they simply seduced and influenced people at the top of our society. Even in America prominent persons in the Democratic Party, academia, media, and intelligence services (or who would become prominent, e.g., future Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and CIA Director John Brennan), were Communists more or less openly. Far more important to the Soviets were persons convinced that Soviet and American interests were identical. Harry Hopkins, for example, who ran the U.S. government on President Franklin Roosevelt’s behalf, considered Stalin’s objectives to be so indistinguishable from America’s that the KGB considered him to be effectively Stalin’s agent. By contrast, Alger Hiss, an important State Department official, was one of many controlled Soviet agents within the U.S. government. But the compatibility between Hiss’s views and those of many in the U.S. ruling class was striking. For example, even after Soviet archives confirmed Hiss’s status as a Soviet agent, Robert McNamara, secretary of defense under Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, like many of his class, angrily insisted on Hiss’s innocence.

The comradeship of American liberals and Soviet Communists lasted to the Soviet Union’s end. In May 1983, for example, in an incident widely reported at the time and confirmed by Soviet archives, former U.S. senator John Tunney visited Moscow and, on behalf of his friend and classmate—and prospective Democratic presidential candidate—Senator Edward Kennedy, proposed to KGB director Viktor Chebrikov that Kennedy work with Soviet dictator Yuri Andropov to “arm Soviet officials with explanations regarding problems of nuclear disarmament so they may be better prepared and more convincing during appearances in the USA” because “the only real potential threats to Reagan [in the 1984 election] are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations”. Kennedy promised “to have representatives of the largest television companies in the USA contact Y.V. Andropov for an invitation to Moscow for the interviews”. Collusion, anyone? Today, with the Soviet Union gone, its moral-intellectual imprint on our ruling class remains.

The contemporary notion of Russian interference, however, owes nothing to Russia. It began when, in June 2016, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) tried to explain how a trove of e-mails showing its partiality for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders got into the public domain, alleging that they had been hacked from its server by Russian agents. To this day, there is zero evidence for this, the DNC not having allowed access to that server by any law enforcement agency or independent party.

Throughout the rest of the 2016 campaign, this narrative merged with one from CIA Director John Brennan and other leaders of U.S. intelligence, who were circulating a scurrilous dossier, paid for by the Clinton campaign, that alleged Trump’s connections with Russia. The Obama Administration used the dossier as the basis for electronic and human surveillance of the Trump campaign. Together, these narratives prompted a two-year investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which found no basis for the dossier, or for a relationship between Russia and the Trump campaign. Nevertheless, the assertion of Trump’s indebtedness to Russia became the pretext for #TheResistance to the 2016 election’s result, led by the Democratic Party, most of the judiciary, the bureaucracy, and the media.

In Europe as well as in America, the establishment’s protagonists have pointed to Russia to allege that their rejection by the voters is somehow “undemocratic”. Larry Diamond in the Wall Street Journal, following Robert Kagan in the Washington Post, wrote that “in one country after another, elected leaders have gradually attacked the deep tissues of democracy—the independence [from sovereign voters] of the courts, the business community, the media, civil society, universities and sensitive state institutions like the civil service, the intelligence agencies and the police.” Voting against the establishnment, you see, is undemocratic!

What Are Our Interests?

Making impossible a rational public discussion of U.S. policy toward Russia is the very least of the damage this partisan war has wrought. American liberals believed the Soviet Union’s dissolution was impossible; conservatives flattered themselves that they caused it. Few paid attention to what happened and how. Once the Soviet Union was gone, the West in general and Americans in particular presumed to teach Russians how to live, while helping their oligarchs loot the country. Russians soon got the impression that they were being disrespected. At least as Soviets, they had been feared. The Clinton Administration was confident that Russia would become a liberal partner in the rules-based international order. At the same time Clinton tried to load onto Russia the hopes that the U.S. establishment had long entertained about global co-dominion with the Soviets. In the same moment they pushed NATO to Russia’s borders—a mess of appeasement, provocation, and insult. Long-suffering Russians, who had idolized the West during the Soviet era, came to dislike us.

As the George W. Bush Administration fumbled at the new reality, it tried to appease Russia by continuing to limit U.S. missile defenses in fact, while publicly disavowing the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty; it formally objected to Russia’s dismemberment of Georgia, while effectively condoning it. The incoming Barack Obama Administration tried to go further along the same self-contradictory line by withdrawing anti-missile support from eastern Europe, and quietly promising even more restraint. But when, in 2014, Putin seized Crimea, Obama imposed serious economic sanctions and agreed to place NATO and American troops in Poland and the Baltic States. Then, for the most tactical of domestic political considerations, the Obama Administration, and hence the U.S. establishment, decided to try explaining the course and results of the 2016 U.S. election campaign as “Russia’s attack on our democracy”.

What are the American people’s interests in Eurasia, and how big are these interests? Although today’s Russia poses none of the ideological threats that the Soviet Union did—and despite the absence of geopolitical or any other clashing interests—Russia is clearly a major adversary in Europe and the Middle East. Its technical contributions to China’s military, and its general geopolitical alignment with China, are most worrisome. What, other than Soviet inertia and wounded pride, motivates the Russians? The U.S. maintains economic sanctions on Russia. To achieve precisely what? From both sides’ perspective, it is difficult to see what good can come from this continued enmity.

Today’s triangular U.S.-Russia-China calculus is not comparable to the Soviet-Chinese military confrontation of the 1970s and ’80s, when both the U.S. and China feared Soviet missiles, and the U.S. best served its own interests by implicitly extending its nuclear umbrella over China. Today, the problems between Russia and China stem from basic disparities that U.S. policy obscures by treating Russia as, if anything, more of a threat than China. The best that the U.S. can do for itself is to say nothing, and do nothing, that obscures these disparities. Without backhanded U.S. support for close Russo-Chinese relations, the two countries would quickly become each other’s principal enemies.

Ongoing U.S. anxiety about negotiations with Russia over weaponry is nothing but a legacy of the Cold War and a refusal to pay attention to a century of experience, teaching that arms control agreements limit only those who wish to limit themselves. Russia violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty by developing the Iskander missile; the U.S. was right to withdraw from the agreement, but mistaken in ever expecting another country not to arm itself as it thinks best. In that regard, Americans should not listen to, never mind accommodate in any way, Russia’s (or any other country’s) objections to U.S. missile defenses. These are in our clear and overriding interest. Defending America as best we can—against missiles that might come to us from anywhere, for any reason—is supremely our business.

What then are America’s legitimate, realizable demands on Russia?

Putin’s Russia, by its 2015-18 intervention in Syria and its management of Turkey, achieved the tsars’ historic desire for a warm water port. Although the former conquest is firm, keeping Turkey friendly to Russia must ever be troublesome. Absent a friendly Turkey, Russia’s renewed control of Crimea and even the Syrian bases will be of very limited worth for any but defensive purposes. Whatever else might be said of its role in the Middle East, Russia has brought more stable balance to local forces than ever in this young century. Only with difficulty will American statesmen regret that our old adversary now deals with some of the problems that bedeviled us for a half-century.

The U.S. would be more secure geopolitically were Russia merely one of several European powers. But it has always been an empire, whose size has varied with time. An independent Ukraine has always been the greatest practical limitation on Russia’s imperial ambitions. That is very much a U.S. interest, but is beyond our capacity to secure.

U.S. relations with Russia regarding Ukraine are analogous to U.S. relations with Europe 200 years ago. Our overriding interest then was to prevent the Europeans from holding any major part of the Western hemisphere. By stating America’s intention to guard its hemispheric interests while forswearing meddling in European affairs, the U.S. encouraged them to face that reality. Today’s Russia realizes it cannot control Ukraine except for its Russian part, nor the Baltics, never mind the Visegrád states. The U.S. could lead Russia to be comfortable with that reality by reassuring it that we will not use our normal relations with Ukraine or with any of Russia’s neighbors to try to define Russia’s limits in Europe. We should realize that our setting such limits is beyond America’s capacity, and that it undercuts the basis for fruitful relations.

The U.S. prefers the Baltic States, and especially Ukraine, to be independent. But we know, and should sincerely convey to Russia, that their independence depends on themselves, and that we regard it as counterproductive to make them into American pawns or even to give the impression that they could be. Ukraine’s independence—and hence Russia’s acceptance of it as inevitable—depends on Ukraine retrenching into its Western identity, rejecting the borders that Stalin and Khrushchev had fixed for it, and standing firmly on its own feet—as, for example, by asserting its Orthodox church’s independence from Russia’s.

Wise U.S. policy would remove sanctions that previous administrations placed on Russia on behalf of Ukraine. Fruitless strife has been these sanctions’ only result. For example, they emboldened Ukraine to suppose it had U.S. support for presuming it had the same right to navigation in the Sea of Azov, passing under a Russian bridge, as it does in the Atlantic Ocean.

But in accord with the Monroe Doctrine, we should be willing to wage economic war on Russia—outright and destructive—on America’s own behalf, were the Russians to continue supporting anti-U.S. regimes in the Western hemisphere. If you want economic peace with America, we would say, stop interfering in our backyard. We Americans, for our part, are perfectly willing to stop interfering in your backyard.

In sum, nothing should be geopolitically clearer than that the natural policy for both America and Russia is not to go looking for opportunities to get in each other’s way.

Older Posts »