A good man with a bad idea 32

The US Attorney General, William Barr, gave a formal talk at (Roman Catholic) Notre Dame Law School last week (Friday, October 11, 2019) which has come to our notice.

We respect Attorney General Barr for declaring, to questioners at a congressional hearing, that the admitted surveillance of President Trump by US intelligent agents was indeed spying. A statement that shocked the Democrats. Not because it wasn’t true, but because they didn’t want the truth to be spoken, and hated it to be spoken so bluntly.

We expect the Attorney General to shock them much more deeply and permanently by bringing all their criminal machinations to overthrow the duly elected president into open scrutiny, and charging all the guilty with their crimes. Our expectation and hope extend to seeing them jailed.

So we are reluctant to criticize Mr. Barr.

But his speech at the Law School raises an issue of importance to us.

Terry Jeffrey, editor in chief of CNSnews.com, reports the speech and comments on it at Townhall:

Barr simply explained what President John Adams meant by a statement he made in 1798 letter. He then showed the significance of that statement to American life today.

“We have no Government armed with Power which is capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by … morality and religion,” Barr quoted from Adams’s letter. “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”

Within this context, Barr accurately described the cultural war raging in America today.

“The challenge we face is precisely what the founding fathers foresaw would be the supreme test of a free society,” Barr told the Notre Dame law students.

“They never thought that the main danger to the republic would come from an external foe,” he said. “The question was whether the citizens in such a free society could maintain the moral discipline and virtue necessary for the survival of free institutions.”

“And this is really what they meant by self-government,” said Barr. “It did not mean primarily the mechanics by which we select a representative legislature. It referred to the capacity of each individual to restrain and govern themselves.”

A notion with which we have no quarrel.

Mr. Barr went on to say:

But what was the source of this internal controlling power? In a free republic, those restraints could not be handed down from above by philosopher kings. Instead, social order must flow up from the people themselves freely obeying the dictates of inwardly possessed and commonly shared moral values.

Certainly they must.

But then he said:

And to control willful human beings with an infinite capacity to rationalize, those moral values must rest on an authority independent of men’s wills. They must flow from the transcendent Supreme Being. In short, in the framers’ view, free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people, a people who recognized that there was a transcendent moral order antecedent to both the state and to manmade laws and had the discipline to control themselves according to those enduring principles.

Why must they, how could they, “flow” from a “transcendent Supreme Being”? How is such a “transcendent moral order” made known to human beings? By the “Supreme Being” implanting the knowledge as instinct? Or through ancient assertions by ignorant men?

We state apodictically that no superhuman being ever spoke to a human being. Though both St. Paul and Muhammad say they were spoken to by “Jesus” and “the Archangel Gabriel” respectively.

We laugh off all such claims. Can we then accept that it is by instinct the religious have knowledge of a “transcendent moral order”? Moral knowledge planted deep in their souls?

But which “transcendent moral order”? Not only did Jesus and Gabriel give quite different moral commandments according to the human conduits of their messages, but instinct too has conveyed a variety of convictions as to what is morally right and wrong. They often contradict one another. While (for instance) some religions teach that a woman who commits adultery must be stoned to death by a crowd of righteously outraged citizens, another maintains that only one who is without sin may cast the first stone, and insists that all mortals are tainted with the sin of their first ancestors, so no one may start stoning.

We atheists want – as we thought the Founding Fathers all wanted – a state that has nothing to do with religion; steers clear of making any laws “respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. But William Barr, and Terry Jeffrey  insist – and remind us John Adams insisted – that “our constitution was made only for a moral and religious People”. And they tell us the Constitution, and America itself as the free country founded on the Constitution, are chiefly under threat not – as we observe – from Congressional socialists, revolutionaries in the schools and universities, violent anarchists in the streets, but from “secularists”.

Barr argued that “secularists” are now attacking the moral order that is the foundation of our liberty and threatening religious freedom in pursuit of their cause.

First is the force, fervor and comprehensiveness of the assault on organized religion we are experiencing today. This is not decay. This is organized destruction. Secularists and their allies have marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry and academia, in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.

The threat is not that the government will establish a state religion; the threat is that the state will attack people for conscientiously practicing their own.

“The problem is not that religion is being forced on others,” Barr said. “The problem is that irreligion is being forced; secular values are being forced on people of faith.

What secular values? What secularists are fervently and comprehensively assaulting organized religion?

It may be that secularists and atheists on the Left are doing so. But are they doing it to force secularist values, or Leftist values which are secular?

We atheist conservatives are doing nothing like that. And we don’t know any secularists or atheists on the political Right who are actively trying to stop people worshiping this or that god or sets of gods. Most of us just think it is absurd to do so. (And we certainly don’t want a theocracy. If we saw any danger of that coming up we would attempt, fervently and comprehensively, to stop it.)

Mr. Barr cites an example which is typical of the intolerance of the Left. Not of atheists and secularists generally – though it affected a religious organization – but essentially of the Left:

One example he cites is the crusade the Obama administration fought all the way to the Supreme Court to force Americans – including the Little Sisters of the Poor – to act against their conscience by mandating that they buy insurance coverage for contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs and devices.

But Barr recognizes that the ultimate battle is for the hearts and minds of America’s children.

“Ground zero for these attacks on religion are the schools,” he said.

He cited as one example an opinion issued by the Orange County Board of Education in California that said, “Parents who disagree with the instructional materials related to gender, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation may not excuse their children from this instruction.”

In other words, if you cannot afford to liberate your child from the government school, you must allow that government agency to teach your child that a boy can become a girl.

We share his indignation. That is not an atheist or a secularist reaction. It is common sense to repudiate such nonsense.

But the excellent Mr. Barr thinks that only Christian teaching – not science – can make the conclusive argument against the proposition that there are or can be more than two sexes.

Education is not vocational training. It is leading our children to the recognition that there is truth and helping them develop the facilities to discern and love the truth and the discipline to live by it.

Sounds good, but by “truth” he means the Christian religion.

We cannot have a moral renaissance unless we succeed in passing to the next generation our faith and values in full vigor.

“Our values” certainly.

“Our faith”? No. The less religion is taught to new generations, decidedly the better!

Wherever wars are being fought or threatened now, this month, this year, anywhere in our world, the cause in almost every case arises, burning hot and lethal, out of one or another religion’s “truth”.

Posted under Christianity, Ethics, Leftism, Religion general, United States, US Constitution by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Tagged with , , , ,

This post has 32 comments.

Permalink

The US and the Kurds: no debt owed 7

To serve another’s needs at the cost of disservice to one’s own, may be a virtue when a person does it (though we don’t think it is, any more than Ayn Rand did); but when a state serves the interests of another state at the cost of its own, it is incontrovertibly wrong. It is a betrayal of the people by their government.

President Trump, whose responsibility it is to serve American interests before all else and does so unfalteringly, recently announced that he was withdrawing US soldiers from a region of Syria where there are many Kurds, and letting Turkish troops enter the zone – as the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, intends they shall. The reaction of many conservatives, including Trump supporters, as well as liberals and Leftists, has been an outbreak of passionate concern for the Syrian Kurds.

“Turkey is the enemy of the Kurds and will surely slaughter them,” the cry goes up. “The Kurds have been our faithful allies. They helped us, and now we are abandoning them. Betraying them. Letting them down. Who will ever trust us again?”

Sober conservative voices have argued differently. Among them is Andrew C. McCarthy, from whose article in the National Review, disagreeing with that periodical’s editorial position, we quote:

The Kurds have been our allies against ISIS, but it is not for us that they have fought. They fight ISIS for themselves, with our help.

The US has helped the Kurds more than the Kurds have helped the US. 

They are seeking an autonomous zone and, ultimately, statehood. The editorial fails to note that the Kurds we have backed, led by the YPG (People’s Protection Units), are the Syrian branch of the PKK (the Kurdistan Worker’s Party) in Turkey. The PKK is a militant separatist organization with Marxist-Leninist roots.

During the Cold War, the PKK was one of a multitude of murderous terrorist organizations attacking Western interests all over the world, supported in one way or another by the Soviet Union. Russia has continued to support the PKK, and in retaliation Turkey has given material and diplomatic help to Chechnya in its terrorist war against Russia.

Like it or not (and we do not) –

Turkey remains our NATO ally, even though the Erdogan government is one of the more duplicitous and anti-Western actors in a region that teems with them.

McCarthy says he “would be open to considering the removal of both the PKK from the terrorist list and Turkey from NATO”. But he adds:

For now, though, the blunt facts are that the PKK is a terrorist organization and Turkey is our ally.”

(We aren’t entirely in agreement with him there. We too want to see Turkey removed from NATO, but we do not think the PKK should be removed from the terrorist list.)

Why did the US send its military into Syria?

Our intervention in Syria has never been authorized by Congress. Those of us who opposed intervention maintained that congressional authorization was necessary because there was no imminent threat to our nation. Contrary to the [NR’s] editorial’s suggestion, having US forces “deter further genocidal bloodshed in northern Syria” is not a mission for which Americans support committing our men and women in uniform. Such bloodlettings are the Muslim Middle East’s default condition, so the missions would never end.

ISIS is an atrocious organization, its savage cruelty so extreme as to render all words of horror and outrage inadequate for description of it. It cannot but be a good thing that it has been deprived of the territory it ruled with terror. But was anything it did forbidden by the religion in whose name it acted? It is Islam that threatens us all, the whole non-Muslim world.

Barbaric jihadist groups such as ISIS (an offshoot of al-Qaeda) come into existence because of Islamic fundamentalism. But saying so remains de trop in Washington. Instead, we tell ourselves that terrorism emerges due to “vacuums” created in the absence of US forces. On this logic, there should always and forever be US forces and involvement in places where hostility to America vastly outweighs American interests.

In ISIS’s “Caliphate” that appalling ideology could be, and has been, punished by defeat. And by defeating it, the US was serving its own interests. For the duration of the battle, US interests coincided with the interests of groups oppressed by ISIS, including the Kurds. But that battle is over. No debt is owed to those who fought with us. 

The easily foreseeable conflict between Turkey and the Kurds is at hand. We are supposed to see the problem as Trump’s abandoning of US commitments. But why did we make commitments to the Kurds that undermined preexisting commitments to Turkey? The debate is strictly framed as “How can we leave the Kurds to the tender mercies of the Turks?” No one is supposed to ask “What did we expect would happen when we backed a militant organization that is tightly linked to US-designated terrorists and that is the bitter enemy of a NATO ally we knew would not abide its presence on the ally’s border?” No one is supposed to ask “What is the end game here? Are we endorsing the partition of Syria? Did we see a Kurdish autonomous zone as the next Kosovo?” (We might remember that recognition of Kosovo’s split from Serbia, over Russian objections, was exploited by the Kremlin as a rationale for promoting separatism and annexations in Georgia and Ukraine.)

It is true, as the editors observe, that “there are no easy answers in Syria”. That is no excuse for offering an answer that makes no sense: “The United States should have an exit strategy, but one that neither squanders our tactical gains against ISIS nor exposes our allies to unacceptable retribution.” Put aside that our arming of the Kurds has already exposed our allies in Turkey to unacceptable risk. What the editorial poses is not an “exit strategy” but its opposite. In effect, it would keep US forces in Syria interminably, permanently interposed between the Kurds and the Turks. The untidy questions of how that would be justifiable legally or politically go unaddressed.

President Trump, by contrast, has an exit strategy, which is to exit. He promises to cripple Turkey economically if the Kurds are harmed. If early reports of Turkey’s military assault are accurate, the president will soon be put to the test. … For a change, he should have strong support from Congress, which is threatening heavy sanctions if Turkey routs the Kurds.

Americans, however, are not of a mind to do more than that. We are grateful for what the Kurds did in our mutual interest against ISIS.

As they are to us?

We should try to help them, but no one wants to risk war with Turkey over them. The American people’s representatives never endorsed combat operations in Syria, and the president is right that the public wants out. Of course we must prioritize the denial of safe havens from which jihadists can attack American interests. We have to stop pretending, though, that if our intentions toward this neighborhood are pure, its brutal history, enduring hostilities, and significant downside risks can be ignored.

Posted under Kurds, Syria, Turkey, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, October 13, 2019

Tagged with , , , , , , , ,

This post has 7 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.

Whistling for another world 7

The first “whistleblower” mobilized by the tireless plotters again the President of the United States in their latest conspiracy, was faulted for not having first-hand knowledge of what he was snitching, and reproached for huddling with the lynch-mob Democrats in Congress round the cauldron in which his evil lies were brewed. So another one has been produced, nice and fresh, who, they say, has first-hand knowledge of the same alleged wrongdoing by the President, and has not been in the huddle. And if he is faulted for anything, another one will be found, and if necessary there will be another, and another.

The attorney “representing” – ie. recruiting – these snooping liars, set up an organization named Whistleblower Aid. It advertised for whistleblowers who could and would snitch on the Trump administration.

Jim Hayek writes about it at American Truth. We select parts of his article:

Mark Zaid, the activist attorney representing the so-called whistleblower at the center of the impeachment movement targeting President Donald Trump, says he is representing a second so-called whistleblower who spoke to the Intelligence Community’s inspector general about Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president. Missing from the avalanche of news media coverage about Zaid’s two anonymous clients rocking the nation’s capital is that at the beginning of Trump’s presidency Zaid co-founded Whistleblower Aid, a small nonprofit that blasted advertisements around D.C. actively seeking whistleblowers during the Trump administration.

Whistleblower Aid is heavily tied to far-left activist organizations and Democratic politics.

ABC News broke the story on Sunday about the existence of the second so-called whistleblower speaking about Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The network reported :

Zaid tells ABC News’ Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos that the second person — also described as an intelligence official — has first-hand knowledge of some of the allegations outlined in the original complaint and has been interviewed by the head of the intelligence community’s internal watchdog office, Michael Atkinson.

Zaid says both officials have full protection of the law intended to protect whistleblowers from being fired in retaliation. While this second official has spoken with the IG — the internal watchdog office created to handle complaints — this person has not communicated yet with the congressional committees conducting the investigation.

In a tweet on Sunday, Zaid confirmed his firm is representing another so-called whistleblower. This one “has firsthand knowledge”, he tweeted without elaborating.

In his twitter profile, Zaid describes himself as a “non-partisan” attorney “handling cases involving national security, security clearances, govt investigations, media, Freedom of Information Act, & whistleblowing”. Missing from his twitter profile and from much of the the news media coverage about Zaid’s role representing the so-called whistleblowers in the impeachment scandal is that he co-founded Whistleblower Aid. That detail is also not mentioned in Zaid’s bio on his attorney website.

The Whistleblower Aid activists against President Trump “did not sit around waiting for whistleblowers”. From its inception “it actively sought to attract the attention of Trump administration government employees”. That’s what it was for. It was not secretive about its function and aims. Its ads for snitchers appeared on Metro trains, on”mobile billboards that circled government offices for 10 hours a day“. It’s workforce “handed out whistles on street corners as a gimmick to gain attention”.

Zaid doubles as Executive Director and founder of the James Madison Project, which says it seeks to promote government accountability. The Project features on its four-person advisory board John Podesta, who led Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, served as Chief of Staff to Bill Clinton and founded the Soros-funded Center for American Progress

Zaid’s co-founder  of Whistleblower Aid is John Tye. “He himself is a whistleblower. He is a former State Department official who went public in 2014 about U.S. government electronic surveillance practices”.

Tye’s bio on Whistleblower Aid’s proudly proclaim that he has worked for far-left groups.

The bio reads:

Mr. Tye has worked at the Southern Poverty Law Center, Avaaz, and also Southeast Louisiana Legal Services … He was on the board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is known for its anti-conservative stance and controversially publishes a “hate map” listing groups that warn about radical Islam such as Jihad Watch, the Clarion Project, the Center for Security Policy

Tye’s other former employer, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), is financed heavily by billionaire activist and Democratic Party mega-donor George Soros and is known for its hyper-partisan liberal activism. 

Avaaz, a radical group where Tye served as campaign and legal director, describes itself as a “global web movement to bring people-powered politics to decision-making everywhere.” The group has repeatedly engaged in anti-Israel activism.

Channeling the mantra of radical community organizer Saul Alinsky, Avaaz says it aims to “organize citizens of all nations to close the gap between the world we have and the world most people everywhere want.”

Amazingly, absurdly, these insurgent plotters and liars really believe that “people everywhere” want to live under Communism!

Avaaz was founded in 1997 by the Soros-funded, partisan MoveOn.org organization and by the Soros-funded Res Publica activist group. Tax forms from Soros’s Open Society document donations to Res Publica specifically earmarked for support to Avaaz. Res Publica oversees Avaaz activism.

Avaaz’s former general counsel and campaign director, Ian Bassin, in 2017 formed United to Protect Democracy. The latter is a grouping of former top lawyers for the Obama administration working to utilize legal advocacy methods to oppose Trump’s policies. [It] works in partnership with the Brennan Center for Justice, located at NYU School of Law. The Brennan Center is heavily financed by Soros’s Open Society Foundations and is the recipient of numerous Open Society grants.

(The Brennan Center for Justice is named after Supreme Curt Justice William Brennan – not John Brennan the Communist-voting probable Muslim, erstwhile head of the CIA, appointed by Obama.)

Also in the web of conspiring organizations is “CrowdStrike, the outside firm utilized to conclude that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee’s servers since the DNC would not allow the U.S. government to inspect the servers”.

CrowdStrike founder Dmitri Alperovitch is a nonresident senior fellow of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council.

The Atlantic Council is funded by and works in partnership with Burisma, the [UKRAINIAN] natural gas company at the center of allegations regarding Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

Breitbart News reported that a staffer for Rep. Adam Schiff’s House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence took a trip to Ukraine last month sponsored and organized by the Atlantic Council think tank. Schiff’s office denied any impropriety.

The Schiff staff member, Thomas Eager, is also currently a fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Congressional Fellowship. Burisma in January 2017 signed a “cooperative agreement” with the Council to sponsor the organization’s Eurasia Center.

Besides Burisma funding, the Council is also financed by Google as well as Soros’s Open Society Foundations, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Inc. and the U.S. State Department.

Google Capital also led a $100 million funding drive that financed Crowdstrike directly.

Google, Soros’s Open Society Foundations, the Rockefeller Fund and an agency of the State Department each also finance a self-described investigative journalism organization repeatedly referenced as a source of information in the so-called whistleblower’s complaint alleging Trump was “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country” in the 2020 presidential race.

The charges in the July 22 report referenced in the so-called whistleblower’s document and released by the Google and Soros-funded organization, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), seem to be the public precursors for a lot of the so-called whistleblower’s own claims

One key section of the so-called whistleblower’s document claims that “multiple U.S. officials told me that Mr. Giuliani [Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s lawyer] had reportedly privately reached out to a variety of other Zelensky advisers, including Chief of Staff Andriy Bohdan and Acting Chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine Ivan Bakanov”.

This was allegedly to follow up on Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in order to discuss the “cases” mentioned in that call, according to the so-called whistleblower’s narrative. The complainer was clearly referencing Trump’s request for Ukraine to investigate the Biden corruption allegations.

Joe Biden, when he was vice-president, corruptly threatened to withhold billions in aid to Ukraine unless the Ukrainian government stopped an investigation into the corrupt company Burisma, which was paying enormous sums of money to his son Hunter Biden in order to get Joe Biden to do just that.

But the Bidens are allowed to be corrupt by the Democratic Party. All Democrats, and their media lackeys, are allowed to be corrupt.

Corruption is only bad when President Trump is accused of it. Accusations against President Trump do not have to be true. Any number of whistleblowers recruited by Whistleblower Aid will bring stories to the Democrats to make it seem that the President is corrupt. And the ghost of Saul Alinsky will applaud them.

“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.

The pursuit of happiness 57

Gentlefolk in the 18th. century thought that to try to live happily was a reasonable aim, to judge by the statement of the great authors of the US Declaration of Independence. To them it appeared “self-evident” that every person had a “right” (“endowed by their Creator”, or, in other words, a natural right) to his life and his choice how to live it, which surely meant that he would live it as nearly to his heart’s desire as he could.

Horny handed sons of toil, even if as free under the law, were not expected, either by themselves or their betters, to achieve the same forms of happiness. Enough for them if they could earn their daily bread. For that they lived and strove. Their life was the striving. It occupied their hours, their days, their years, their bodies and their thoughts. Success was survival. Survival was for most of them the only reasonable attainable happiness. If some strove for more – excess, property, leisure – and attained it, then happiness abounded. (Happiness, that is to say, as contentment. Other forms of gratification – thrills, excitement, delights of the senses, scoring triumphs – are not our subject. They are experienced episodically and enjoyed to the degree the individual is capable of.)

The welfare state relieved the workers of the need to strive for survival. Now all could be philosophers. The joy of exploring the limitless sphere of the mind was open to all. Universal happiness would reign.

But doesn’t.

The reasons why people commit suicide are many and various, but what they all have in common is that they find life unbearable. So suicide rates might be taken as a gauge of happiness and the lack of it in a population.

The figures for those rates from the last few years (according to Wikipedia – and perhaps not entirely trustworthy) provide some surprises. (Worth noticing in passing – far more males kill themselves than do females everywhere.)

Highest suicide rate in the world: Greenland. Average 82.8 per 100,000 per annum. It is a welfare state.

Google reveals:

As part of Denmark, Greenlanders have access to one of the most extensive social welfare systems in Europe, including universal, nationalized medical care and free state education, including college.

(President Trump has asked Denmark if it would sell Greenland to the USA. Rhetorical question: Would life in Greenland be better, more bearable, happier if it became the 51st. state of the USA, which provides much less welfare? USA suicide average per 100,000 per annum, 14.5.)

Big drop to the next highest. Guyana 30.2, Lithuania 28.27, South Korea 26.6

The average for most European countries is between 12.57 (Germany) and 17 (Belgium).

Britain? Only 7.23!

China? 9.8

Iran 4.8   The state does most of the killing there.

Venezuela 3.2  Nature does it there, because the people are starving and have no medicines. Venezuela is – way beyond a welfare state – a socialist state.

Syria 0.1  Constant civil war rages there.

Pakistan 1.1   People are happy in Pakistan?

Haiti  – a truly miserable place of hunger and disease. Average suicide?  0.0

But back to the pursuit of happiness in the civilized West.

What went wrong? Is it possible that the strivers enjoyed the striving and its meager rewards?

Or did philosophizing bring the newly leisured to ask, “What is it all for anyway?“. And find no answer?

There are thousands of counselors – even millions, we would guess – telling unhappy people how to be happy. There are hundreds of thousands of books giving readers rules for living –  from obedience to which, happiness might be expected.

And there is religion. Religion is supposed to “give meaning to life”.

Does it answer the question “what is it all for anyway?”

Let’s look at an individual case of unhappiness. In America.

At the American Conservative, we found this letter, reproduced by Rod Dreher, to whom it was sent as if to an agony aunt:

Mr. Dreher,

The things you have been writing lately about alienated young men and mass shootings prompt me to reach out to you. I am not a young man anymore, but I am dealing with things that I did not imagine I would be when I was young and newly married. Back then, everything made sense. I feel like I need to tell my story.

My background is that I am a successful businessman (a kind of consultant) living in a well-to-do suburb of a Southern city. My wife and I married relatively early, and had two kids. The boys are in good colleges in other states. They are getting ready to head back to school next week. It has been a real pleasure having them here this summer. Our house becomes a tomb when they are not around.

Four years ago, my wife told me that she didn’t want to be married to me anymore. After almost 30 years, she had had enough. I did not see that coming. We almost never fought. We used to go to dinner together, take family vacations, do things together, etc etc. She just said that she thought she had hitched herself to a man too young, and now that the boys were older and out of the house, she was reconsidering her life. I asked her if there was another man. She said no, and eventually I believed her. I asked her if she wanted a divorce. She said probably so, but she wanted to wait until the boys got out of school. She is a reasonable person with a finance background, and knows that a divorce would cost us a lot at a time when we are supporting two kids in college.

She has a job she loves. I work from a home office. I was so glad when my company gave me the chance to do this. I miss the friendships in the office, but when you talk on your blog about wokeness in the workplace, I always find myself nodding along. A few years back, my company started getting engaged with “diversity and inclusivity” in the workplace. I noticed that every time they would run us all through one of those seminars, we would all come out of it more suspicious of each other. It was crazy. It was as if our bosses were trying to poison the office environment. I got to the point where as a white male, I saw my co-workers as potentially the people who would try to get me fired if I said one wrong thing by mistake. They might have seen me that way too. It was crazy. The more management pushed “diversity and inclusivity”, the more anxious things felt in the office. When the company was restructuring and offered people in my division the chance to work at home, I jumped at it, just to get out of that tense environment.

It was a blessing at first, but nowadays I wonder if that was the right thing to do. The idea of working from home seems great, until you realize that you don’t see people at all. I have a nice home office where I put in my 9 to 5, which is really more like 8 to 7, but everybody does that. If I’m being truthful, I stay in my office longer than I have to on most days, because there is nothing for me outside of it. My wife used to be my best friend. Now we just share a house and a bed. She has friends from her office, and goes out with them a lot. When all this started, I honestly thought she was seeing some guy. I’m not going into the details, but I’m truly convinced that she’s not. She’s just hanging out with other middle-aged women who are sick of their husbands too.

I used to think only men behaved like that. Mother and Daddy have both passed away, but they had a good marriage. Some of their friends got divorced when I was a kid, and it was always the man leaving his wife for a younger woman. They were very judgmental of them, but in a way I still think was right. They were Southern people (I think you know what I mean, Mr. Dreher), and that meant that they thought it was dishonorable for a man to do his wife like that. I internalized that honor code, and have always lived by it, and my Catholic faith. If my wife demands a divorce, I will give it to her, but I won’t marry again. How could I go through an annulment? I can’t say truthfully that this was not really a marriage. I meant it when I said my vows, and I believe my wife did too. I am not going to make bastards of my sons because my wife abandoned me and I want to be married again. Besides, there would be no marrying again for me anyway. I look at myself in the mirror — mid to late 50s, half-bald, pot belly, etc etc. What woman would want me even if I was free to marry her?

I was an only child, so I have no close family to speak of. We are Catholics. My faith is just about the only thing that keeps me going through all this, but it’s thin. My wife refuses to see a marriage counselor. I made the first steps to getting an appointment to talk to our priest, but I gave up because that was hopeless. I feel bad for our priest. He’s managing a big suburban parish all on his own. It would have taken forever to get an appointment, and there was no way he was going to be able to give us the time it would take to save our marriage, especially given that my wife doesn’t want to save it. Besides, there is nothing I’ve ever heard our priest say that tells me he is a man who could help us. He talks like one of those life coaches our company used to bring in for team building exercises, a guy who gets all his ideas from Hallmark cards.

She still goes to mass with me, but just out of habit. When I stand there listening to Fr give his cheerful but empty homilies, I think about what’s keeping me from going home and blowing my brains out. I’m not going to do this because I’m scared of pain and I’m scared of going to Hell. Also, I don’t want to hurt the boys, and make them feel like they did something to cause it or give them something to be ashamed of. However, I think a lot about how little I have to live for anymore. I am not even sure that the boys think of me much, except as “Good Old Dad”…

Nobody can see it. I stand there in church, wearing my coat and tie, and people probably think I have it all together. We drive nice cars, we live in a nice house in a good neighborhood, etc, etc. I am grateful to have a good job that has allowed me to provide for my family. By all the world’s standards, I’m doing well. I have “white privilege”. 

What a joke. When I first started working in my home office, I would dress up in a coat, no tie, and dress pants to go to “work.” It felt right to hang on to that habit. Since my marriage fell apart, I notice that some days I don’t even get out of my pajamas. I sit there at my nice desk doing all my work on my laptop, and go right back to bed at the end of the day without even taking a shower. I know this is pathetic, and if the boys were still at home, I would know to keep up appearances. This is my life.

When the boys graduate and don’t have to depend on us, I guess that will mean Decision Time. I will probably move out, though to all rights we ought to sell the house. I remember the day we bought it, and talking with my wife about that big dining room, and how we looked forward to the kids coming home with their wives and children for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Oh, we sure had big plans for that dining room. We bought a house with a fireplace because we dreamed about sitting around it with the grandchildren. All that is over now, and not because I wanted it to be. I feel so powerless. Maybe I would stay here if either one of the boys moved back, but given the fields they have chosen, I don’t look for that to happen, and even if it did, we would just be keeping up appearances for their sake. Southern people are real good at that, as you know.

What prompted me to write to you is your writings about the loneliness crisis. I am not some white trash 22 y.o. living in a trailer somewhere, playing video games, and living off his Mama, but I am completely isolated in my life. My “video game” is Excel spreadsheets. The friends I had back in the happier days were all “couples friends” through my wife. When she said she didn’t want to be married to me, we stopped having people over, and stopped accepting invitations to other people’s houses. After a few years, those invitations stopped coming. I tried to keep up these friendships with the husbands, but it was awkward. I told a couple of the guys I was closest to about the mess in my marriage, and they seemed sympathetic, but there wasn’t a lot they could do. They all had kids, and their couples friends. Two or three times I went to their dinner parties by myself, but you talk about awkward! I was embarrassed by it all, and just quit going. I miss those guys, and I even miss their wives. We used to be happy all together.

If this is “white privilege”, screw it. I stopped by the shoe repair shop a couple of weeks ago, and there were some black guys my age sitting around talking and laughing with each other. I envied them. I probably make 10 or 15 times more than them, but they are probably rich in ways that I used to be before I went “bankrupt”. I would trade all this so-called “white privilege” for a happy marriage, a strong family, and good friends. Mother and Daddy didn’t have a lot of money, but at least they had that. They also had a small-town church where they felt at home. How can anybody feel at home in a big parish like mine? I was taught to be charitable, especially to the clergy, and I do feel bad for our priest, who is carrying a heavy load. But this ain’t church. I’ve gotten to the point where I sit there during mass and I wonder how many of those men in the pews are just like me: barely holding it together, wondering what the hell we’re living for, ignored by our wives, and starving for friendship. God feels so far away. I have never doubted His existence, but these days, He feels like the Pope — a nice man who lives far away and who doesn’t see us.

I know I sound like I’m feeling sorry for myself. I guess I am. But damn it, I didn’t think things were going to work out like this. I did everything I was supposed to do, and it all fell to pieces anyway. I’m racking my brains trying to figure out how I can fix this, but my wife doesn’t want it to be fixed. She just wants out. I recognize that I am privileged economically and socially, but I’m here to tell you that if you were a working man who drove by my house, and saw me out front mowing our big lawn, you would think I had it made. In fact, you would be looking at a dead man, at a man who secretly hopes he falls over from a heart attack so he doesn’t have to keep carrying this weight of loneliness. At this point, my only purpose in life is to do what I have to do so my sons can have a good life or think they have a good life, until they get to my age and it falls to shit, and they end up doing just what their Good Old Dad is doing.

The thought just occurred to me as I’m writing this that the only real reason we will have to keep our household together after our sons graduate is if one of them can’t find a job, and has to live with us. That’s a sorry state to be in, knowing that the only thing that would keep you and your wife together is an unemployed grown-up child.

I appreciate the opportunity to get this off of my chest. I like reading your blog because even though it’s depressing sometimes, I feel like you talk about the real world, which is more than I get from my priest. I would just ask your readers to keep in mind that when they see people at church, in the store, and at other places, that those people might be suffering in ways that are not obvious. You think folks have it made, but they don’t. You see me getting out of my [luxury car brand] at church, with my wife, and we’re all dressed up and smiling, but from my very jaded perspective, we’re dead people who have no future. At least my wife has the girls from the office.

I’ve thought about asking my manager if I can come back to the office, but I know that’s not a solution. I’m the Great White Male, the source of all evil in the world. Given my run of luck, it would be about right for somebody to falsely accuse me of something, and end up taking away the last I have left from what started out as an American dream. I’d end up jobless and poor, and then the gun to the head might not seem so scary after all.

Sorry. Thanks for listening.

One thing we find particularly interesting about this “confession” is how little the man’s faith does for him. Fear of hell keeps him from suicide. That’s about all.

If he were not a believing Catholic, he might have developed some curiosity about the world he lives in. It has not occurred to him to go exploring in the infinite realm of the mind.

He was happier when his children lived with him. If he had grandchildren living near by he might be happy again. For a while, anyway. Until they grew up. But young men are not quick to marry now and raise a family.

Readers, your comments are needed.

Terrifying children 6

Plainly and simply, the Left is the side of evil. The sinister side.

At present it is mentally torturing millions of children.

Dennis Prager (with whom we often agree on political issues and always strongly disagree on religion) writes about the adult-made Children’s Climate Crisis:

The entire American Left – the mainstream media, the environmentalist movement and Democratic politicians in particular – are celebrating the involvement of teenagers and even younger children in protesting the world’s “inaction” with regard to global warming.

And not just the American Left, of course. The Left throughout the world is celebrating. A 16-year-old Swedish girl whose contempt for adults is breathtaking is an international hero. Congressional Democrats invited her to testify in Congress, and the United Nations has likewise invited her.

All those LEFTIES sit back in their comfy chairs and smile placidly as the kids shout about having the earth snatched from under them and their future confiscated by us right-wingers who refuse to abandon civilized life and revert to the life of savages under THEIR control!

The 16-year-old Swedish kid is called Greta Thunberg. Thunberg the Teenage Thunderer. (See her long Wiki entry here.) Prophet of earth’s imminent doom. Of whom President Trump (arguably the wittiest president) has remarked:

She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!

Dennis Prager goes on:

The mayor and city council of New York City further politicized their city’s public schools by allowing students to skip school to actively participate in a global warming protest.

The message of young climate change activists is: “You adults aren’t doing your job. As a result, we have no future.” As a sympathetic reporter – are there any non-sympathetic reporters? – for the Los Angeles Times put it, “Teens are still waiting for a sign that their elders get it.”

The Times’ coverage is typical. It reported: “Underneath the activism lies a simple truth: Young people are incredibly scared about climate change. They see it as a profound injustice and an existential threat to their generation and those that will follow.” …

“‘They do worry, and they worry kind of a lot,’ said Maria Ojala, an environmental psychologist at Orebro University in Sweden. …

It is critical to remember that hysterias – such as Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, “endemic and systemic racism in America”, the heterosexual AIDS “crisis” in America and the “rape culture” on American college campuses – are to the left what oxygen is to biological life. No oxygen, no life; no hysteria, no left.

Apparently, however, the left-wing hysteria about global warming leading to the virtual extinction of life on Earth has not moved enough adults. …

The “existential threat” scenario is another left-wing falsehood used to whip up hysteria that will lead to the Left’s control of the economy and society.

Consider this: If the Left didn’t tell them the world is going to end, they wouldn’t worry about it. They’d be enjoying their young lives, maybe even learning to appreciate that they [Americans] live in the freest country at the most prosperous time in human history. Instead, thanks to Leftists (who are children in adult bodies), they live in their grip of “existential eco-anxiety”.

This is but one more way in which the left abuses children (along with telling them they are neither boys nor girls but whatever they later choose to be; teaching them contempt for their country …

Right!

… and depriving them of the greatest source of morality, meaning, community and happiness — any of the Judeo-Christian religions).

Ah – just there, of course, is where we disagree with the writer. He seems to have forgotten hellfire!

But otherwise, yes, we agree.

It’s depressing, and it’s frightening.

The scariest movies are those featuring brainwashed children. This horror show is happening in real life.

 

Posted under Climate, Sweden, United Nations, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Tagged with , , ,

This post has 6 comments.

Permalink

The climate lies (1) 8

Today (Friday, September 20, 2019), children are staying out of school in 150 countries to gather in the streets by which gesture their elders tell them they will help save the world from burning up.

Heralding this great salvationist event, kids were first sent to yap about man-made global warming to the US Congress.

James Delingpole wrote on September 18 at Breitbart about the Congressional climate hearings:

“I want you to unite behind the science,” said Greta Thunberg to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

Finally, something on which the pig-tailed 16-year-old Swedish climate activist and I can agree. I too believe passionately that if the world’s governments are going to spend upwards of $1.5 trillion of our money a year on ‘combating climate change’ then at least they ought to have some credible evidence that this expenditure is necessary.

Perhaps, I thought, some of this credible evidence might be presented at today’s Climate Crisis Hearing, subtitled ‘Voices Leading the Next Generation on the Global Climate Crisis.’

Instead, all that I heard was the usual junk science, fake statistics, left-wing agitprop, and scaremongering nonsense regurgitated by kids — some claiming to have mental health issues — who’d been brainwashed at school by their left-wing, know-nothing teachers.

Here are just a few of the lies I spotted. My comments are italicised.

Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA)

“We’re witnessing the effects of climate change daily, whether it’s storms, forest fires, floods, and other disasters occurring…”

These are weather events, not climate events. They have happened since time immemorial.

“…with increasing frequency and intensity.”

There is no evidence of this. On the contrary, we know, for example, that hurricane activity is currently at a historic low.

“Increased migration due to sea level rise.”

Not a single person, anywhere in the world, has migrated anywhere due to sea level rise.

“Threats to food and water.”

Increased CO2 levels are greening the planet. The misuse of agricultural land to grow biofuels poses a far bigger threat to global food supplies than climate change. There is no evidence that climate change has affected water supplies.

“This is the reality we are facing right now because of climate change.”

This is a reality which exists only in the parallel universe occupied by Democrats and RINO Republicans.

“I see it every time I go home.”

Parti-pris anecdote is not evidence, let alone science.

America knows how to lead in a crisis.

There IS no climate crisis.

Our witnesses would be happily and safer in school pursuing their dreams — not protesting and pushing their governments to act — if everyone were doing their part.

Your witnesses certainly SHOULD be in school. The fact that they are sitting here today and being encouraged to emotionally blackmail Congress into taking action, which will almost certainly make life worse, not better, for future generations, is little short of disgraceful.

It’s high time we picked up this fight and took the rest of the world with us. Waiting for other countries to do the right thing is making a bad bet on our future.

Unilateral disarmament was a bad idea during the Cold War arms race. It’s just as bad an idea with regards to CO2 emissions. China and India are rapidly expanding their economies regardless of CO2. Why should America hamstring its own economy when others are growing? This, essentially, is why President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Accord.

The IPCC report warns us that without cuts in carbon emissions the world could see an average sea level rise of 62 centimetres over the course of the lifetime of people born today. That’s over two feet. Scientists are gravely concerned that sea level rise could be even faster.

Sea levels rose by around 1.9 mm per year during the 20th century and have risen by around 1.8 mm per year since 1970. That’s 18 mm per decade, so 180 mm per century — or just 18 cm. You’d need a pretty massive increase in current trends to get anything close to a two-foot rise — and there is no evidence that this is happening or likely to happen.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)

Climate change is real, and the best way to combat it is reducing our nation’s carbon emissions and that of the rest of the world.

Climate has been changing for the last 4.5 billion years; it’s true. There is no convincing evidence to suggest that man-made CO2 — ‘carbon’ — is significantly responsible. CO2 is not some magical control knob.

“Diversification,” “Market-driven technologies,” “Put the United States at the forefront of environmental technology.”

This is just the specious, faux-market language lawmakers use to try to persuade you that there’s nothing sinister about redirecting the entire economy towards the green decarbonisation scam.

Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) 

“Burning fossil fuels warms the planet and alters the earth’s climate. Scientists tell us that more than half of the carbon pollution that has been emitted into the atmosphere has occurred since that [first Congress] hearing [on Climate Change] in 1988.”

Carbon dioxide is a beneficial trace gas that greens the planet. Rebranding it ‘pollution’ is a lie. Since there is no evidence that anthropogenic CO2 is significantly warming the planet, there is no reason to worry about increases in atmospheric CO2.

Jamie Margolin, 17-year-old climate justice activist from Seattle

“Lobbyists from corporations that make billions of dollars off the destruction of my generation’s future.”

Leftist bullshit. The most dangerous lobbyists are those for the expensive, ineffective, environmentally damaging renewables industry. It’s much-scorned fossil fuels, which power the economy, keep hospital machinery working, get kids get to school, provide the synthetic material for the anoraks worn by idiot kids at climate protests…

“I want the entirety of Congress to remember the fear and despair that my generation lives with every day and I want you to hold on to it.”

Jamie is a tragic and pitiful indictment of the climate propaganda, which has deprived impressionable kids of their happy carefree childhoods by filling their heads with complete nonsense.

“Within my lifetime the destruction we have seen from the climate crisis will only get worse.”

Citations needed.

“The reality is my generation has been committed to a planet that is collapsing.”

Kids who think this should lay off the weed.

“The shellfish, orcas, salmon, and all the beautiful wildlife of my Pacific Northwest home is dying due to ocean acidification caused by the climate crisis”

Absolute nonsense, no matter how much of a stroppy, sulky teenager look you wear when you say this stuff. Ocean acidification is a green propaganda lie. [See this article for details] The oceans remain resolutely alkaline. There is no evidence that this non-existent phenomenon is killing shellfish, let alone killer whales. Why is Congress wasting its time listening to this second-hand propaganda?

Vic Barrett, 21 years old, Honduras

“Despite overwhelming adversity we organised our community and emancipated ourselves to protect our future. However the struggle continues for me and my people. As temperatures increase, sea levels rise, storms become more intense and frequent, and the coral reefs and fisheries on which we depend disappear, the oceanfront land that my family has inhabited for generations and that I’m supposed to inherit will be underwater if the U.S. federal government continues to promote a fossil fuel-based energy system.”

Just in case you ever doubted that green is the new red. This Marxist revolutionary language gives the game away.

“These frontline communities around the world are already feeling the effects disproportionately. These are made up of people like me: young, black and brown, LGBTQ, indigenous communities that place them at significantly higher risk than the general populace.”

Identity politics, too. This kid has been listening to too much leftist agitprop.

“I myself have felt the consequences of climate change directly. Growing up in New York I was impacted by the climate change-fueled Hurricane Sandy, which left my family and school without power.”

Sandy was not caused or exacerbated by ‘global warming.’ This is a leftist urban myth.

“I still experience grave anxiety about experiencing another climate driven disaster. As someone who already struggles with anxiety and depression…”

Sorry kid but your modish mental health issues are not a reason to hamstring the U.S. economy with pointless green regulation.

Benji Backer, 21 years old, American Conservation Coalition

“Markets and competition reduce emissions far more than heavy-handed regulation.”

The first sense talked by any of the kids addressing Congress today.

Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA)

“This whole thing is a charade. When you look at science, Miss Thunberg, when you look at facts, the facts are it wasn’t Waxman-Markey legislation that led to the U.S. leading the world in emissions reduction. It was actually folks doing the right thing. Through innovation, through energy efficiency, through conservation.”

Amen, bro.

Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA)

“We are facing an existential threat…an exacerbation of conflicts abroad are a threat to us all.”

The ‘climate change causes wars’ meme is another greenie/leftist urban myth. See, for example, my piece called “For The Last Time, No, The Syrian Crisis Was Not Caused By Climate Change.”

Greta Thunberg, 16 years old, Swedish climate activist

“People don’t seem to be very aware of the actual science.”

And guess which pig-tailed 16-year-old climate activist and school dropout is one of the worst offenders in this regard…?

And today John Nolte writes, also at Breitbart:

For more than 50 years Climate Alarmists in the scientific community and environmental movement have not gotten even one prediction correct, but they do have a perfect record of getting 41 predictions wrong.

In other words, on at least 41 occasions, these so-called experts have predicted some terrible environmental catastrophe was imminent … and it never happened.

And not once — not even once! — have these alarmists had one of their predictions come true.

Think about that… the so-called experts are 0-41 with their predictions, but those of us who are skeptical of “expert” prediction number 42, the one that says that if we don’t immediately convert to socialism and allow Alexandria Ocasio-Crazy to control and organize our lives, the planet will become uninhabitable.

Why would any sane person listen to someone with a 0-41 record?

Why would we completely restructure our economy and sacrifice our personal freedom for “experts” who are 0-41, who have never once gotten it right?

If you had an investment counselor who steered you wrong 41times, would you hang in there for number 42?

Of course not. You’d fire him after failed prediction two or three.

And if that’s not crazy enough, the latest ploy is to trot out a 16-year-old girt to spread prediction number 42, because it is so much more credible that way.

Sometimes you just have to sit back and laugh.

Anyway, I want you to have the data, so go ahead and print this out in advance of Thanksgiving dinner with your obnoxious Millennial nephew.

LIST OF DOOMSDAY PREDICTIONS CLIMATE ALARMIST GOT RIGHT

NONE.

ZIP.

ZERO.

NADA.

BLANK

DONUT HOLE

NIL.

NOTHING.

VOID.

ZILCH.

LIST OF DOOMSDAY PREDICTIONS THE CLIMATE ALARMIST GOT WRONG

Here is the source for numbers 1-27. As you will see, the individual sources are not crackpots, but scientific studies and media reports on “expert” predictions. The sources for numbers 28-41 are linked individually.

    1. 1967: Dire Famine Forecast By 1975
    2. 1969: Everyone Will Disappear In a Cloud Of Blue Steam By 1989 (1969)
    3. 1970: Ice Age By 2000
    4. 1970: America Subject to Water Rationing By 1974 and Food Rationing By 1980
    5. 1971: New Ice Age Coming By 2020 or 2030
    6. 1972: New Ice Age By 2070
    7. 1974: Space Satellites Show New Ice Age Coming Fast
    8. 1974: Another Ice Age?
    9. 1974: Ozone Depletion a ‘Great Peril to Life
    10. 1976: Scientific Consensus Planet Cooling, Famines imminent
    11. 1980: Acid Rain Kills Life In Lakes
    12. 1978: No End in Sight to 30-Year Cooling Trend
    13. 1988: Regional Droughts (that never happened) in 1990s
    14. 1988: Temperatures in DC Will Hit Record Highs
    15. 1988: Maldive Islands will Be Underwater by 2018 (they’re not)
    16. 1989: Rising Sea Levels will Obliterate Nations if Nothing Done by 2000
    17. 1989: New York City’s West Side Highway Underwater by 2019 (it’s not)
    18. 2000: Children Won’t Know what Snow Is
    19. 2002: Famine In 10 Years If We Don’t Give Up Eating Fish, Meat, and Dairy
    20. 2004: Britain will Be Siberia by 2024
    21. 2008: Arctic will Be Ice Free by 2018
    22. 2008: Climate Genius Al Gore Predicts Ice-Free Arctic by 2013
    23. 2009: Climate Genius Prince Charles Says we Have 96 Months to Save World
    24. 2009: UK Prime Minister Says 50 Days to ‘Save The Planet From Catastrophe’
    25. 2009: Climate Genius Al Gore Moves 2013 Prediction of Ice-Free Arctic to 2014
    26. 2013: Arctic Ice-Free by 2015
    27. 2014: Only 500 Days Before ‘Climate Chaos’
    28. 1968: Overpopulation Will Spread Worldwide
    29. 1970: World Will Use Up All its Natural Resources
    30. 1966: Oil Gone in Ten Years
    31. 1972: Oil Depleted in 20 Years
    32. 1977: Department of Energy Says Oil will Peak in 90s
    33. 1980: Peak Oil In 2000
    34. 1996: Peak Oil in 2020
    35. 2002: Peak Oil in 2010
    36. 2006: Super Hurricanes!
    37. 2005 : Manhattan Underwater by 2015
    38. 1970: Urban Citizens Will Require Gas Masks by 1985
    39. 1970: Nitrogen buildup Will Make All Land Unusable
    40. 1970: Decaying Pollution Will Kill all the Fish
    41. 1970s: Killer Bees!

THEY – the power-hungry Community Organizers of theLeft – want a pretext for establishing a permanent dictatorship over us.

That is what it’s about, and that is all that it’s about.

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 »