Out of those many, never one 3

Globalism has failed. It was always a bad idea.

It was invented by Americans. Because Americans live in a man-made multi-ethnic state, they are comfortable with the concept.

But most countries are mono-ethnic. With few exceptions, each has its own distinct culture, history, language, character – some with an uncomfortable mix of religions. They are not man-made nations, they are time-made nations. They have evolved. Through very long stretches of time.

They do not resemble each other. Many have warred with each other and have old scars, ancestral antipathies. That’s why the League of Nations – envisioned and established by President Woodrow Wilson, yet strangely never joined by the USA – failed; and why the United Nations Organization is a hellish institution; and why the European Union is a racket run by a gang.

Americans built their nation out of several young states, fastened them together, “out of many one”, with the bolt of a constitution, and the project succeeded. The land prospered, from sea to shining sea, a vast enterprise park of ethnicities, religions, cultures where individuals work together in just one language. So certain Americans, well-meaning and incapable of allowing themselves to think badly of human nature, thought the whole world could be like the USA – in 6,500 languages. 

They were wrong.

Curtis Ellis, who was a policy advisor with the Trump presidential campaign, writes at American Greatness:

The CCP virus pandemic has added urgency to a long-overdue reassessment of the assumptions underlying the post-World War II “international rules-based order.”

To be clear, “international rules-based order” is a euphemism for globalism, and globalism has taken a beating these past few months.

We’ve seen how the true cost of doing business with China is a very high price indeed. We’ve seen how an economy reliant on global supply chains and just-in-time inventory management is a fragile one, and we’ve seen how the Chinese Communist Party is not the benign force we expected it to be when we welcomed it into “the family of trading nations.”

The pandemic has exposed the flaws in the globalization project the elites have been pursuing for the past 70 years.

The World Trade Organization is a cornerstone of that project and, like the World Heath Organization, its sister in the globalist pantheon, the WTO is now under fire in Washington. …

The World Trade Organization was born after the Berlin Wall fell. Gone were the days of a trade and military alliance of Western industrial democracies—the free world standing against a Communist bloc. In the new post-Cold War world order, goods and capital would flow freely in a global economy of universal prosperity and democracy.

Though the WTO was born in 1995, it’s conception dates to 1947. That’s when the State Department sought to create an international trade organization “to bring about world peace . . . and prevent World War III.”

A California congressman at the time described Washington’s negotiators as “boatloads of smug diplomats, all wise economists, experts, theorists, specialists and whatnots eager to barter away the little factory in Wichita, the little shop in Keokuk.”

While they failed in ’47, they kept the dream alive over the decades. “What’s good for the global economy” replaced “what’s good for America” as the guiding principle for Washington’s trade negotiators, diplomats, and strategists.

The “experts” pursued their plan without debate or congressional vote. No one came right out and told the American people their nation and system of government were being replaced.

As Richard Gardner, the man who served as Bill Clinton’s ambassador to Spain explained, “The ‘house of world order’ will have to be built from the bottom up. . . . An end-run about national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece, will accomplish much more than a frontal assault.”

Strobe Talbott served in Bill Clinton’s State Department when the WTO was founded. He described “The Birth of the Global Nation” in Time magazine in 1992: “Countries are . . . artificial and temporary. . . . Within the next hundred years . . . nationhood as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single, global authority. A phrase briefly fashionable in the mid-20th century—“citizen of the world”—will have assumed real meaning by the end of the 21st.”

Long before the pandemic exposed the follies and fallacies of the globalist project, before it showed us how, when push comes to shove, national governments will always put their own interests first, administrations on both sides of the aisle had problems with the WTO.

Another problem of the WTO involves its appellate body—judges who interpret WTO rules and settle disputes among members. Yet the WTO doesn’t follow its own rules.

Article 17.5 of the WTO rules says cases that come before the organization—disputes between nations over unfair trade practices—must be settled within 90 days. In reality, cases drag on for years, during which time the victims go bankrupt while awaiting justice.

The rules also say judges cannot be affiliated with any government. Yet in a recent case involving paper imports, none of the judges met the WTO’s criteria, and one was actually an official of the Chinese government. The judges, not surprisingly, ruled against the United States.

Where should the judges come from? Another planet?

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer blasted the ruling as “the latest example of judicial activism” by the WTO aimed at undermining U.S. trade laws.

And when the WTO isn’t flouting its own rules, it’s making up new ones.

We thought we signed a contract when we joined the WTO, but it’s a contract with terms that keep changing. We put our country at the mercy of an entity with rules and authority that are constantly growing.

Past administrations both Democratic and Republican objected to WTO judges creating obligations to which the United States never agreed.

The Trump Administration, fed up with U.S. complaints falling on deaf ears, stopped approving new judges and froze the appeals “courts” process. In response, WTO bureaucrats went ahead and created a new judicial body outside the agreed-upon rules—and it is using American taxpayer dollars to fund its operation.

The WTO’s various power grabs threaten American sovereignty.

The Article XXI rule,the national security exception, reads: “Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed . . . to prevent any contracting party from taking any action which it considers necessary for the protection of its essential security interests.”

That’s what the United States signed and we take its meaning to be absolutely clear: We can take actions based on what we consider to be in our national security interest and the WTO can’t stop us.

President Trump determined the national security interests of the United States require us to be self-sufficient in producing steel and aluminum. To that end, he imposed tariffs to stop China and other countries from dumping their metals and driving American producers out of business.

But the Eurocrats in Geneva believe it’s up to their unelected “judges,” not the elected government of the United States, to decide what’s in America’s national security interest, no matter what Article XXI says.

Steven Vaughn served as counsel to the office of the United States Trade Representative. He believes there’s a fundamental problem with the WTO when we can read the same text and come to opposite conclusions.

“Somebody misunderstood what we all agreed to. We were told we had not given up any of our sovereignty,” Vaughn says. “If we’re this far apart just in terms of the basic concept, what is the point of trying to paper over them.”

How can you even talk about reform with an organization that doesn’t agree on the meaning of “cases will be settled within 90 days”? What good is rewriting rules for an outfit that doesn’t follow rules?

Why bother to remain in the WTO?

It has done nothing to stop the greatest threat to world trade today: Communist China’s beggar-thy-neighbor predatory trade practices.

China supports its export industries with subsidies, tax breaks, export rebates, low-cost loans, and cheap inputs including a militarized workforce. The WTO has allowed Beijing to maintain its trade barriers even as we lowered ours. It requires the United States to treat repressive regimes that use forced labor the same as our democratic allies.

President Clinton’s Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott saw the WTO, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank as “protoministries of trade, finance, and development for a united world”.

The WTO was part of a bold experiment to build a borderless, post-national world.

We can now say with certainty the experiment failed.

It’s time to take back control of our destiny, leave the WTO, and rebuild America

Leave the UN. 

Leave all international organizations.

Trade yes, join no.

To make America great again.

Totalitarian Catholic Communism – an ideal for America? 8

Adrian Vermeule is a Harvard professor of Constitutional Law who doesn’t like the US Constitution, is nostalgic for Roman Catholic statist totalitarianism, and proposes a new dispensation for Americans under “authoritative rule for the common good” which, he gleefully declares, requires the “overriding” of “the selfish claims of individuals to ‘private rights’”.

Vermeule is a convert to Catholicism. He does not mention Catholicism by name in this article, but his belief that morality is rightly defined and imposed by a central authority for the “common good” belongs to his religion. And the idea that self-sacrifice is the highest moral good is essentially a Christian teaching. A fear of heresy – people being allowed to voice an opinion that the state-as-church does not approve – suffuses his political philosophy.

Free speech and free-speech ideology — that government is forbidden to judge the quality and moral worth of public speech,” he writes, “should be not only rejected but stamped as abominable, beyond the realm of the acceptable forever”.

The article in which he propounds these views appears in the Leftist journal, The Atlantic, as “part of the project The Battle for the Constitution, in partnership with the National Constitution Center”. (Go there to see how all the contributions to this project are actually against the Constitution.)

It is easy to see why The Atlantic likes his ideas. Stalin would have applauded them.

As for the structure and distribution of authority within government, common-good constitutionalism will favor a powerful presidency ruling over a powerful bureaucracy, the latter acting through principles of administrative law’s inner morality with a view to promoting solidarity and subsidiarity. The bureaucracy will be seen not as an enemy, but as the strong hand of legitimate rule. The state is to be entrusted with the authority to protect the populace from the vagaries and injustices of market forces, from employers who would exploit them as atomized individuals, and from corporate exploitation and destruction of the natural environment. 

The close resemblance between Left statism and Catholic Christianity could not be more candidly displayed.

This Constitutional Law professor would not allow a thread of the Constitution to remain … Oh, wait! He does allow a few threads to remain, useful for the re-construction of the United States of America:

The general-welfare clause, which gives Congress “power to … provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States”, is an obvious place to ground principles of common-good constitutionalism (despite a liberal tradition of reading the clause in a cramped fashion), as is the Constitution’s preamble, with its references to general welfare and domestic tranquility, to the perfection of the union, and to justice.

And he could endure the retention of some words, provided they were re-interpreted:

Constitutional words such as freedom and liberty need not be given libertarian readings; instead they can be read in light of a better conception of liberty as the natural human capacity to act in accordance with reasoned morality.

“Reasoned morality” being the “common-good” morality such as was propounded by the Catholic Church and for many centuries enforced by the Papal and Spanish Inquisitions.

This imposed “common-good” morality will be resisted at first, but –

Subjects will come to thank the ruler whose legal strictures, possibly experienced at first as coercive, encourage subjects to form more authentic desires for the individual and common goods, better habits, and beliefs that better track and promote communal well-being.

Notice that citizens have become “subjects” under this ideal regime. And the state run by bureaucrats has become “the ruler” – more pope than king.

If it can be taken that The Atlantic speaks for the Left – and surely it can? – we are being told in the strongest possible terms that the Left wants and intends to abandon the Constitution – which alone binds the states of America together into a nation – and substitute a federal government with totalitarian policies and absolute powers that would establish Roman Catholicism as a state religion, substitute central planning for the free market, and implement the “green” policies of environmentalists further to restrict our lives as “subjects” of the Moral State.

If it was just one Catholic religious nut pleading for the establishment of this utopia, we could laugh at it and forget it.

But it is not just one. It is millions of – mostly young, school-indoctrinated – Leftist religious nuts wanting dependence on parental government; the drowning of individuals in an ocean of common-good; the implementation of anti-industrial “green” policies with the hard forced labor and poverty they’ll entail; sacrifice of personal ambitions and talents; acceptance of chastisement for sin (you “will come to thank the ruler” for it) and life-long indebtedness for food, shelter, and apportioned health care; total loss of self-determination; obedience.

Obedience. Bureaucrats will tell you what to do. Do it!  It is for the common good.

Above all, obedience. 

Waiving or waving the Constitution 5

We ask an urgent question:

MILLIONS OF OUR ANCESTORS GAVE THEIR LIVES TO SAVE OUR LIBERTY. WILL WE NOW GIVE UP LIBERTY TO SAVE OUR LIVES?

Governors are using fear of the coronavirus pandemic to assume tyrannical powers.

The Democratic governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, for example, believes she has the right in such an emergency to issue dictatorial orders.

But the Republican governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem, takes a contrary view. She defends the liberty granted to all Americans by the Constitution, in which there is no instruction that it must – or may – be suspended if a pandemic occurs.

We quote from an article by Jodi Giddings from Victory Girls, where “outspoken conservative women” express their opinions:

Americans are growing restless. We’ve done a decent job of doing what we can to help quell the coronavirus outbreak, but some of us are recognizing that many of our governors and other officials are jumping headlong into dictator-status in their efforts to fight coronavirus (or at least that’s the excuse they’re using). In response, a growing number of us are opposing the overreach. We’re Americans; we’re hard workers; we love our freedom; so it’s in our nature to resist anyone usurping our rights. And no two governors in America stand in starker contrast than Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer and South Dakota’s Kristi Noem.

You might have heard that Whitmer restricted hydroxychloroquine a couple of weeks back, and most recently ordered that no group of any size may congregate, and has decided for her constituents what is and is not “essential” to their daily lives. … So, no, you can’t buy seeds and plants for which to grow your own food until she says you can, plebes. And to you small businesses: go get a small business loan and shut up.

Except Michiganders are not shutting up.

More than 15,000  cars and trucks “descend[ed] on Michigan’s state capital on Wednesday to protest what they’re calling Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s tyrannical new guidelines to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in the state”.

Why? Because they recognize that freshman Governor Whitmer has governed like a dictator. …

She was forced, by active protest and a lawsuit, to “amend her dictate”.

The media had to report, though no doubt they hated to:

“Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is backing down in t“““he face of a pro-life activist’s federal lawsuit against her and Detroit police.”

… She got caught violating the First Amendment rights of her constituents. But make no mistake, the woman who’s made herself the decider of what is and isn’t “essential” would have continued trampling all over the Bill of Rights had no one punched her in the neck.

“Quarantine is when you restrict movement of sick people. Tyranny is when you restrict the movement of healthy people,” Meshawn Maddock, an organizer of the protest with the Michigan Conservative Coalition, told Fox News. “Every person has learned a harsh lesson about social distancing. We don’t need a nanny state to tell people how to be careful.”

The other governor discussed in the article has no wish to be a political nanny:

In contrast, Governor Noem of South Dakota has thus far refused issuing a stay-at-home order, or dictates that tell her citizens what they can and cannot buy, or where they can and cannot go….

For which she was subjected to “near-constant slings and arrows from just about every direction”, especially from the media.

She’s issued guidelines [for keeping safe], but Noem, to her credit … remains rooted in the principles of freedom and personal responsibility.

She declared that she had faith in the people of South Dakota. Which is to say, in their common sense.

The South Dakota Medical Association sent Noem a letter last week asking her to issue a stay-at-home order but there’s no indication she has any plans to reverse course.

And just yesterday, Noem proactively announced a statewide hydroxychloroquine clinical trial to test the malaria drug’s effectiveness on battling, and even preventing, coronavirus.

She said:

“The public deserves the truth. And the truth is all the facts. And I would appreciate it if our media would remember that.”

Jodi Giddings believes South Dakota will gain residents. And we expect it will. Because people move from oppression to freedom.

I predict South Dakota will gain itself some freedom-seeking residents post haste

The moral of the story is this: we are witnessing in real time what socialism looks like. The bread lines, the joblessness, the freedom-crushing dictates, the withholding of life-sustaining necessities that are inherent in that destructive system are on full display all across our nation. But we are also witnessing what the bedrock, unwavering principles of liberty look like, where a governor with a spine of steel, against massive pressure from all around her, has resisted the siren song of “give up your liberty for a little security”.  Instead she has empowered both her citizens to make their own decisions on how to keep themselves and others safe amid this health crisis, and her state’s medical professionals to make the right decisions for their patients without her interference. … And the [clinical] trial will both save lives and provide further data about the drug’s effectiveness to the country itself in its time of need, all without draconian dictates from the executive.

The contrasts between the two governors amid this crisis are clear: tyranny versus freedom; dependence versus self-reliance.

The shut-downs must end; Americans need to get back to work.

A nation governed by its enemies? 5

The fact: Americans are bound together as a nation by the Constitution. Americans have nothing but the Constitution to bind them together as a nation.

The logical consequence: America can only be governed by citizens whose prime object is to uphold the Constitution. Nobody who does not honor and defend the Constitution should be allowed any part in government. Those who regard themselves as subject to a system of law that opposes the U.S. Constitution should be prohibited from running for government office.

Stephen M. Kirby, a scholar of Islam and the author of 6 books about Islam, writes (in part – the whole thing needs to be read) at Jihad Watch:

[For a survey] I presented four questions to eighty Muslim public officials across the United States; each question asked the Muslim public official to choose between following the U.S. Constitution/our man-made laws or Islamic DoctrineAn eye-opening 93% of these Muslim public officials would not express support for the U.S. Constitution or our man-made laws.  Of the six who did express this support, only two allowed me to mention their name. …

 And all six – as sharia permits in the interest of Islam – could have been lying.

I then decided to submit the same four questions to 36 Muslim American candidates who appeared to be seeking public office for the first time.

The Questions:

If you are elected to public office you will take an oath of office that includes swearing, or affirming, to support the United States Constitution.  With that in mind, I am interested in your response, as a candidate who follows the religion of Islam, to the following questions:

No. 1:  Will you go on record now and state that our 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech gives the right to anyone in the United States to criticize or disagree with your prophet Muhammad, and will you also go on record now and state that you support and defend anyone’s right to criticize or disagree with your prophet Muhammad, and that you condemn anyone who threatens death or physical harm to another person who is exercising that right?

No. 2:  Our 1st Amendment guarantees freedom of religion in the United States. As part of that freedom, anyone in the United States has the right to join or leave any religion, or have no religion at all.  Will you go on record now and state that you support and defend the idea that in the United States a Muslim has not only the freedom to leave Islam, but to do so without fear of physical harm, and will you also go on record now and state that you condemn anyone who threatens physical harm to a Muslim who is exercising that freedom?

No. 3:  According to the words of Allah found in Koran 5:38 and the teachings of your prophet Muhammad, amputation of a hand is an acceptable punishment for theft.   But our U.S. Constitution, which consists of man-made laws, has the 8th Amendment that prohibits cruel and unusual punishment such as this.  Do you agree with Allah and your prophet Muhammad that amputation of a hand is an acceptable punishment for theft in the United States, or do you believe that our man-made laws prohibiting such punishments are true laws and are to be followed instead of this 7th Century command of Allah and teaching of Muhammad?

No. 4:  According to the words of Allah found in Koran 4:3, Muslim men are allowed, but not required, to be married to up to four wives.  Being married to more than one wife in the United States is illegal according to our man-made bigamy laws.  Do you agree with Allah that it is legal for a Muslim man in the United States to be married to more than one woman, or do you believe that our man-made laws prohibiting bigamy are true laws and are to be followed instead of this 7th Century command of Allah?

Only three Muslim candidates clearly stated that they would support the U.S. Constitution/our man-made laws over Islamic Doctrine

And all three – as sharia permits in the interest of Islam – could have been lying.

Conclusion

These 36 Muslim Americans seeking public office would have to, if successful, take an oath of office that includes swearing (or affirming) to support the U.S. Constitution.  In theory then, one would think such Muslim Americans would be quite willing even now to express their support for that Constitution and our man-made laws.  The fact that 92% of them would not take this opportunity to express that support is troubling.

Troubling, but not surprising.  As we saw earlier, 93% of current Muslim public officials and 77% of aspiring Muslim reformers also declined to make such a choice.  This, in spite of the fact that anyone holding a public office in the United States is required to take an oath to support the U.S. Constitution and our man-made laws, and we regularly hear from aspiring Muslim reformers that Islamic Doctrine needs to be modernized and made more compatible with Western laws.  But when faced with specific choices … 91% of all the Muslims listed in these three categories would not express support for Western laws over Islamic Doctrine.

One might wonder if it is fair to ask Muslims to make such a choice.  It certainly is because of the irreconcilable conflict between major tenets of Islamic Doctrine and Western Laws, especially the U.S. Constitution.

For as long as sharia is an inseparable part of Islamic doctrine, no observing Muslim should be allowed to run for elected office in the United States.  

Posted under Islam, United States, US Constitution by Jillian Becker on Sunday, March 8, 2020

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Revolution? 4

Is America in the throes of a revolution? Are we sliding unstoppably into totalitarian communism?

Angelo Codevilla writes at American Greatness:

Some conservatives, rejoicing that impeachment turned into yet another of #TheResistance’s political train wrecks and that President Trump is likely to be reelected by a bigger margin than in 2016, expect that a chastened ruling class will return to respecting the rest of us. They are mistaken.

Trump’s reelection, by itself, cannot protect us. The ruling class’s intolerance of the 2016 election’s results was intolerance of us.

Nor was their intolerance so much a choice as it was the expression of its growing sense of its own separate identity, of power and of entitlement to power. The halfhearted defenses with which the offensives of the ruling class have been met already advertise the fact that it need not and will not accept the outcome of any presidential election it does not win. Trump notwithstanding, this class will rule henceforth as it has in the past three years. So long as its hold on American institutions continues to grow, and they retain millions of clients, elections won’t really matter.

Our country is in a state of revolution, irreversibly, because society’s most influential people have retreated into moral autarchy, …

Autarchy, or autocracy, is rule by a dictator. Has any Democrat proclaimed a desire for a dictator, or to be a dictator? If so, we missed it. The Democrats want absolute power in their own hands, but have’t yet wished up a Stalin or a Mao. It’s highly likely that Bernie Sanders would like to be an American Stalin, but has he admitted it?

Besides which, there is not a single Democratic candidate for the presidency of the United States who could run a poll in Iowa, let alone the country. 

Moral autarchy? Not sure what that means. But okay, let’s accept the term in order to follow the writer’s argument.

… have seceded from America’s constitutional order, and because they browbeat their socio-political adversaries instead of trying to persuade them. Theirs is not a choice that can be reversed. It is a change in the character of millions of people.

Does character change? Does the character of a people – a nation – change? What characterizes any nation must by definition be what does not change about it. For a country to change its character it would have to have its population replaced by a different population – as is happening rapidly in Sweden, France, Spain, and Germany.  The Democrats seem to like the idea of America becoming more “Hispanic” than “Anglo”, but it hasn’t happened yet, and might never happen.

There has been a change in America over the last 70 years or so. It is not a change of character. In all their variety, Americans are recognizably the same as they were 100 years ago. What has changed in America are ideas about values and morals, about what matters and what doesn’t.

And that is what the article under discussion is really about.

The sooner conservatives realize that the Republic established between 1776 and 1789—the America we knew and loved—cannot return, the more fruitfully we will be able to manage the revolution’s clear and present challenges to ourselves. How are we to deal with a ruling class that insists on ruling—elections and generally applicable rules notwithstanding—because it regards us as lesser beings?

The resistance that reached its public peaks in the Brett Kavanaugh hearings and the impeachment imbroglio should have left no doubt about the socio-political arbitrariness that flows from the ruling class’s moral autarchy, about the socio-political power of the ruling class we’re forced to confront, or of its immediate threat to our freedom of speech.

Chief Justice John Roberts, presiding over the Senate’s impeachment trial, was as clear an example as any of that moral autarchy and its grip on institutions.

Pursuant to Senate rules, Senator Rand Paul sent a written question through Roberts to House Manager Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) regarding the extent of collaboration between Schiff’s staffer Sean Misko and his longtime fellow partisan, CIA officer Eric Ciaramella in starting the charges that led to impeachment. Roberts, having read the question to himself, declared: “The presiding officer declines to read the question as submitted.”

The chief justice of the United States, freedom of speech’s guardian-in-chief, gave no reason for declining to read Paul’s question. The question was relevant to the proceedings. It violated no laws, no regulations. The names of the two persons were known to every member of the House and Senate, as well as to everyone around the globe who had followed news reports over the previous months. But the Democratic Party had been campaigning to drive from public discussion that this impeachment stemmed from the partisan collaboration between a CIA officer and a Democratic staffer.

“Collaboration” is the polite term for it; “conspiracy” the more accurate one.

Accordingly, the mainstream media had informally but totally banned discussion of this fact, supremely relevant but supremely embarrassing to Schiff in particular and to Democrats in general. Now, Paul was asking Schiff officially to comment on the relationship. Schiff could have explained it, or refused to explain it. But Roberts saved him the embarrassment and trouble—and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) spared senators the problem of voting on a challenge to Roberts’s  ruling. The curtain of official concealment, what the Mafia calls the omertà, remained intact. Why no reason?

Just as no dog wags his tail without a reason, neither did Roberts wag his without reason. Neither the laws of the United States nor the rules of the Senate told the presiding officer to suppress the senator’s question. Why was Roberts pleased to please those he pleased and to displease those he displeased? In short, why did this impartial presiding officer act as a man partial to one side against the other?

This professional judge could hardly have been impressed by the ruling class’s chosen instrument, Adam Schiff, or by Schiff’s superior regard for legal procedure. Since Schiff’s prosecution featured hiding the identity of the original accuser—after promising to feature his testimony—and since it featured secret depositions, blocked any cross-examination of its own witnesses, and prevented the defense from calling any of their own, it would have been strange if Chief Justice Roberts’s bias was a professional one.

Is it possible that Roberts favored the substance of the ruling class claim that neither President Trump nor any of his defenders have any right to focus public attention on the Biden family’s use of public office to obtain money in exchange for influence? That, after all, is what Washington is largely about. Could Roberts also love corruption so much as to help conceal it? No.

Roberts’s professional and ethical instincts incline him the other way. Nevertheless, he sustained the ruling class’s arbitrariness. Whose side did he take? His dinner companions’ side? The media’s? His wife’s? Roberts’s behavior—contrary as it was to his profession, to his morals, and to his political provenance—shows how great is the ruling class’s centripetal force.

The sad but inescapable consequence of this force is that conservatives have no choice but to follow the partisan logic of revolution—fully conscious of the danger that partisanship can make us as ridiculously dishonest as Adam Schiff or CNN’s talking heads, into rank-pullers like John Roberts, and into profiteers as much as any member of the Biden family.

Do conservatives have no choice but to go along with “the revolution”, with the abandonment of the values that inspired the Constitution, with corruption as a matter of indisputable but unchangeable fact?

The writer then seems to change his mind. He suggests there is a choice:

And yet, revolution is war, the proximate objective of which is to hurt the other side until it loses the capacity and the will to do us harm. That means treating institutions and people from the standpoint of our own adversarial interest: controlling what we can either for our own use or for bargaining purposes, discrediting and abandoning what we cannot take from our enemies.

Opposing them by the means they choose, the weapons they use? That – so the writer suggests – is our best recourse?

Unlike our enemies, our ultimate objective is, as Lincoln said, “peace among ourselves and with all nations”. But what kind of peace we may get depends on the extent to which we may compel our enemies to leave us in peace. And for that, we must do unto them more and before they do unto us.

Which is true? Do we have no choice but to join “the revolution” – a change from a free open society of self-reliant individuals into a government-controlled, race and sex obsessed, doom prophesying, totally organized community? Or are we still in control of our destiny? And if we fight our revolutionary enemy, must it be with their weapons, or ours? On their terms, or ours?

We do not see that there has been a revolution – though the Obama administration tried to make one. We do not think the only way to save America from totalitarian one-party rule is by following the rules laid down by the Gramsci-Alinsky school of sedition and the Cloward-Piven blueprint for chaos. (See here and here and here and here.)

By great good luck we have President Trump leading us in another direction, showing us another way, prioritizing better (characteristic) values: freedom, individual enterprise, innovation, industry, competence, patriotism, strength, ambition, self-confidence, prosperity. For a few more years at least. During which the Left revolutionaries may, in the fury of their frustration, stamp themselves into the ground.

Loving prayers, hate speech, and disinformation 1

Nancy Pelosi, Democrat Speaker of the House of Representatives and official leader of the campaign to destroy President Trump by impeaching him, furiously denied to a reporter that she hates Donald Trump when he asked her if she did:

“I don’t hate anybody,” responded Pelosi. “I was raised in a Catholic house. We don’t hate anybody, not anybody in the world. Don’t accuse me of hate.”

Being accused of hatred was, in Pelosi’s mind, the same as accusing her of being a bad Catholic.

“As a Catholic, I resent your using the word ‘hate’ in a sentence that addresses me,” she said. “I don’t hate anyone.”

Hatred was not part of her upbringing, she said. “I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love.”

On the contrary, she said, she always prays for the president. “I still pray for the president. I pray for the president all the time.”

How deeply reassuring for the president. (And the reporter – a rare one to provoke Speaker Pelosi! – must have felt warmly loved too.)

But in Reality, for the last four years, the Democrats, the Left everywhere, and the media have been spewing hatred of Donald Trump non-stop, night and day. They hate him.

It’s not that they merely don’t like what he stands for, what he does or how he does it. They certainly don’t, and they would be against anyone who stood for the same and did the same. But their intense hatred is plainly for the man himself.  

The hatred is totally irrational, and for those of us who much admire and like President Trump, impossible to understand. Is their hatred motivated by envy? Can they not bear it that Donald Trump is a successful businessman, a billionaire, a TV star, and on top of it all, president of the United States, the most powerful man in the world? And he has a very beautiful wife. And successful children. How dare he?

They – the politicians, the celebrities, the globalists, the socialists, the America-haters, the intersectionalists, the feminists, the environmentalists, the climate alarmists, the Antifa activists, the professors, the media hacks – hate him with a hatred that drives them to any length in their effort to destroy him. For days, weeks, months, years on end they rage against him in the House and the Senate. They make up absurd lies about him. There is no accusation, however farfetched, however unlikely, however ridiculous, however crazy, however impossible that they have not or will not level against him, over and over again.

Has there ever before been so much hate speech poured out against an elected American leader?  

No matter how much good he does for the country – and he has done a lot; no matter how competent he is – and he is highly competent; no matter how generous he is – and he is generous, even giving away his salary: they hate him, hate him, hate him. They want him thrown out of office; they want him humiliated; they want him tortured; they want him dead. 

To help them achieve his ruin, to help them advance the great cause of destroying Donald Trump, the media (most of them) lie about him. They spread misinformation, disinformation, scurrilous rumors, obscene tales, filthy smears.   

And at the same time they all – the politicians, the celebrities, the globalists, the socialists, the America-haters, the intersectionalists, the feminists, the environmentalists, the climate alarmists, the Antifa actvists, the professors, the media hacksceaselessly rail against “hate speech and disinformation”.

What they mean by “hate speech” is the expression of any opinion that differs from their own. And by “disinformation” they mean any contradiction, any disproof, any exposure of their lies.

They want “hate speech and disinformation” stopped. Pronto. It’s intolerable to them that people go on saying things they don’t like. It’s too provoking! People .. people … do it, go on and on doing it, in the “social media”. Freely. Saying whatever they like. No regulation. No punishment. Good grief, they behave as if the United States of America were Liberty Hall!

We quote parts of an article by Paul Bradford at American Greatness:

 Joe Biden wants to punish Facebook and Twitter so they will censor more.

Biden endorsed one of the most aggressive proposals against Big Tech last week in an interview with the New York Times. He wants to eliminate Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects tech platforms from publisher liabilities.

“Section 230 should be revoked, immediately should be revoked, number one,” Biden said. “For [Mark] Zuckerberg [CEO of Facebook] and other platforms.”

“It should be revoked because [Facebook] is not merely an internet company,” Biden said. “It is propagating falsehoods they know to be false, and we should be setting standards not unlike the Europeans are doing relative to privacy. You guys still have editors. I’m sitting with them. Not a joke. There is no editorial impact at all on Facebook. None. None whatsoever. It’s irresponsible. It’s totally irresponsible.”

Biden also won’t rule out criminal penalties for Zuckerberg over alleged collusion with the Russian government.

Biden, it needs to be borne in mind, was vice president when Barack Obama was president and they were colluding with the Russians.

He implied the Facebook executive is selling out American democracy to foreign tyrants for cold hard cash.

Biden, it should also be borne in mind, and through him his brothers and his son and his sister and his son-in-law, corruptly raked in cold hard cash, much of it from foreign tyrants, by the million when he was vice-president. He sold his office.

Biden is particularly upset with the number of ads Trump runs on Facebook.

He sees a terrible risk that if Trump is allowed to do that, he could get himself re-elected! Why can’t Zuckerberg and the other tech giants see what danger they’re running America into?

Nearly every Democratic presidential candidate, both former and current, wants to punish tech companies for allowing “hate speech” and “disinformation” on their platforms.

Three candidates besides Biden want to target Section 230. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wants to look into Section 230 to make sure “right-wing groups don’t abuse regulation to advance their agenda” and that tech platforms censor hate speech. He doesn’t call for the outright elimination of Section 230 but his meaning is plain enough.

Similarly, Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), a forgotten presidential candidate, wants to revise Section 230 to hold Big Tech accountable for “misinformation and hate speech on their platforms”.

The other candidates also want to pressure Big Tech to censor more, but haven’t specifically mentioned Section 230. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wants to break up Facebook and other tech giants as punishment for “profiting off of hate speech and disinformation campaigns”.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg says his administration would investigate and call out platforms that “traffic in hate and encourage or fail to moderate abuse and hate”. Buttigieg wants more aggressive measures to suppress ads that liberals deem to be erroneous.

Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), another former presidential candidate, also wants Big Tech punished for alleged hate speech. “We will hold social media platforms responsible for the hate infiltrating their platforms, because they have a responsibility to help fight against this threat to our democracy,” she told the NAACP last year.

No matter who wins the Democratic nomination, that candidate will demand more online censorship. Every major candidate sees what they call “hate speech” as something that should not be protected by the First Amendment. Every single one of them wants to use state power to push Facebook, Twitter and other platforms into only allowing liberal discourse.

In fact, in Reality – the sphere where Leftists do not like to live – conservatives are constantly being censored, suspended, rebuked, and outright banned by the Powers that govern the internet. Every one of those Powers is Left-biased. But some conservative opinion does get published to the world, and how can the Left, and especially those in it who have been raised in a way that fills their hearts with love, be expected to tolerate such a state of affairs?

Progressive theocracy? 4

“Progressivism” – which is to say, Leftism – is a secular ideology, hostile to religion.

Doctrinaire and intolerant as it is, it can reasonably be classed as a religion itself – but essentially godless. (Which accounts for its superficial appeal to many atheists.)

Yet in recent years the Left has been in alliance with Islam. How can this be explained? How do the theoreticians of the Left condone it? How do the theologists of Islam excuse it?

In an important article for City Journal, republished in an expanded form for the Middle East Forum, Sam Westrop, Director of Islam Watch, discusses this weird phenomenon of political cognitive dissonance, examining it from the Muslim side of the illogical equation:

In 2018, the first two Muslim women elected to Congress – Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib – did so with the help of both Islamist and progressivist bases. For years, critics have thought the collaboration between Islamist groups and sections of the Left to be a cautious, temporary ideological alliance. In fact, a growing section of American Islamism has sincerely embraced progressivist politics, despite its clear contradictions with theocratic ideals.

Writing recently in the New York Times, Cato Institute fellow Mustafa Akyol argues that America’s “Muslim community”, far from campaigning for theocracy (as claimed by “Islamophobes”), is in fact being swarmed by a powerful, welcome “creeping liberalism”.

Liberalism now embraced by Muslims in America?

On the face of it, it seems he has a point. Prominent Muslim voices lead Women’s Marches in cities across America and argue for “intersectional feminism”. Groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) – just 10 years ago named by federal prosecutors as part of an enormous terror finance network – now spend a great deal of time publishing social media items about Black Lives Matter while also campaigning for “social justice”, prison reform and higher minimum wages. Leading Muslim clerics are to be found praising Malcolm X as “our prince”, and protesting Trump’s immigration plans at the southern border. And a few Muslim campaigners even express solidarity with transgender and “queer” activists, and publicly dream, as the prominent Islamist-linked activist Linda Sarsour puts it, of “a world free of anti-black racism, islamophobia, xenophobia, antisemitism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, ageism, sexism, and misogyny.”

All of which would seem to be listed hypocritically. Is this a display of taqiyya – the lying that is permitted to Muslims if it benefits their faith? So merely a ruse, an expedient ploy?

If Sarsour is still a believing Muslim – and as she always appears in a hijab she surely wants us to know that she is – the hypocrisy is glaring. In Africa, blacks – even if they’re Muslims – are intensely despised by Arabs. Their anti-black racism  is enshrined in their language, the word for a black, “abd”, being also their word for a slave. “Islamophobia” – irrational fear of islam – does not exist, since fear of Islam is entirely rational. Islam, not America, is xenophonic. And Islam is doctrinally antisemitic. So homophobic is Islam, that Islamic law requires homosexuals to be killed. As women are subordinate – virtual slaves – in Islam, it is systemically misogynistic, quintessentially sexist. And its homophobia and sexism implies intolerance of “transphobia”. As for “ableism” and “ageism”, they are probably thrown in to accentuate how totally tolerant these deeply intolerant liars are.

Sam Westrop considers the question of Sarsour’s sincerity – at least in wanting to sing the same song as the Left. (Which is itself intensely hypocritical – for instance when it claims to be against antisemitism).

This is not, however, a broad creeping liberalism; it is, more specifically, a creeping progressivist narrative – and it is changing the face of American Islamism.

But is this genuine progressivism? Or is this just part of the perennial debate among Islamists living in the West: in the effort to advance a theocratic agenda using lawful means, to what extent should Islamists dilute their message to fit Western political narratives?

The conversion, or concession, of some American Muslims active in politics to the “progressivist narrative” is opposed by some outspoken imams. Do they represent only a minority opinion?

Standing against the march of progress, Akyol observes, is a minority group of “conservative” Muslim clerics. He quotes a few from extreme Salafi circles, but there is in fact a much broader array of contending ideas among America’s Sunni Muslims – and its Islamists – on the question of whether progressivist politics pose a threat or afford an opportunity.

Many of those who oppose the progressive trend are not bearded Wahhabis in Arab dress. Ismail Royer, for instance, is a former jihadist who claims to have moderated and now works for the multi-faith Religious Freedom Institute in D.C. Although he claims to regard Islam as a “vehicle for social justice”, he firmly rejects progressivism, and urges an Islamic alliance with conservative Christian movements – even writing pieces in Christian publications in support of the evangelical opposition to gay marriage.

Islamists will, however, find a limited supply of sympathy from American evangelicals.

Sections of the Left, meanwhile, have a long history of welcoming Islamist activists into their tent. But it is the very eagerness of the Left to co-opt American Islam that concerns certain leading Islamists.

Traditional, purist Salafi and Wahhabi clerics condemn those modernist Salafis trying to “westernise Islam” by appealing to progressivist impressions of Islam. The modernist Salafis use progressive rhetoric about Islamophobia and the Black Lives Matter movement, but also warn about the dangers of support for feminism and homosexuality within Muslim Students Associations, which are supported and funded by organizations tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. Meanwhile, the Muslim Student Associations (when taking a break from those intersectional solidarity marches) debate fractiously whether to “de-platform” either the “regressive” Salafi clerics, or those extra-progressive Muslims who seem just a little too committed to working with Jewish groups or advocating for gay rights.

There is no doubt that some of the more ascetic Islamists reject all ideological alliances. Some may engage in some barebones interfaith activities, but they do so while warning against accepting the “validity” of other religions and preaching that “Islam in the West is a resistance movement against totalitarian liberal ideology”. …

But there are many, especially within modernist Salafi networks, who have observed the growth of political activist Islamist movements in America, such as the Muslim Brotherhood or Jamaat-e-Islami, and partly ascribe their success to the adoption of modish political trends. Much of the progressivist rhetoric that emanates from these modernist Salafis, however, is manifestly deceitful.

In their private sermons before Muslim audiences, modernist Salafi clerics rail against the evils of apostate ideologies. Yasir Qadhi, a leading cleric of the AlMaghrib Institute, for instance, denounces the theology of Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam (NOI) as heretical and “perverted’. In public, however, Qadhi’s clerical colleagues eulogize Malcom X – a progressivist darling — and praise NOI leader Louis Farrakhan as a great radical hero. This may be ideologically incoherent, but it is tactically shrewd.

Other duplicity is more plainly apparent. The Texas-based imam Omar Suleiman, for instance, has been an active voice in the protests against the Trump administration’s immigration. In March 2018, he was arrested at the Capitol after “civil disobedience” to demand “protection for young immigrant Dreamers”. And yet before a Muslim audience, Suleiman has warned young girls, without condemnation, that if they are “promiscuous” they may be killed by a family member.

Or look at Islamist media: Al Jazeera’s social media channel AJ+ broadcasts documentaries on transgender rights and the wickedness of misogyny, homophobia and other bigotries; while its Arabic parent station broadcasts sermons by Muslim Brotherhood clerics advocating the killing of gays, and offering husbands permission to beat their wives.

Some Islamists have sought to explain American Islamist institutions’ partial-embrace of progressivism as a response to “Islamophobia”. Shariq Siddiqui, an official of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), has written that “Islamophobia makes it difficult for ISNA and Muslim Americans to determine which positions are centered on their religious values and which positions are based on political necessity. … For example, in 2003, ISNA was opposed to gay marriages, but now ISNA is part of a coalition working in favor of gay marriage.”

Others have made it clear that non-Muslim progressivists are dispensable partners. As Counter Islamist Grid director Kyle Shideler recently discovered: newly-elected Virginia General Assembly Member Ibraheem Samirah (who was recently exposed as a virulent anti-Semite) has explicitly compared the Islamist alliance with progressivists to the decision of the Islamic prophet Muhammad “to form treaties with his enemies. He had to form alliances with people who weren’t necessarily believers of his message, who would later on become people who would be his enemies.” (Samirah also served as a senior campaign official for freshman Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib.)

So expediency is indeed a motive for Muslims echoing progressive – and essentially un-Islamic – ideas. And imams are not comfortable with the tactic.

[A]n increasing number of clerics and Muslim thinkers have begun to regret their forays into progressivist politics. Leading modernist Salafi clerics such as Yasir Qadhi now appear deeply shocked that Muslim students have moved from carefully taking advantage of progressivist trends to openly supporting “LGBTQ” campaigns on campuses.

They can accept going along with the progressive Left hypocritically, but not sincerely.

And indeed, at one end of the spectrum, there is a rising group of activists from Islamist circles who seem to believe in this fused progressivist-Islamist creed. Across America, branches of the Council on American-Islamic Relations are today staffed with young hijab-wearing graduates of Muslim Students Associations, who appear to have reconciled working for terror-linked extremists while also publishing transgender rights petitions on their social media accounts. …

Such as Linda Sarsour:

Sarsour is a harbinger of a broader trend. Whether American Islamist movements intended to embrace progressivism authentically or not, many Islamist groups are now so firmly entrenched in the progressive movement that a generation of young American Muslims is growing up convinced that the progressivist social justice and sexual identity narratives are intrinsic components of the Islamist agenda.

No wonder some traditional Islamists speak out so forcefully against “liberal ideology”, or caution against too tight an embrace of progressivist allies – their own radicalism is being supplanted.

American Islamists are conflicted. Some reject the embrace of left-wing politics entirely. Others clearly exploit progressivist organizations to advance their cause. And then there are some, a new generation of intersectional Islamists, who seem to have found a genuine way to advocate for, or warily justify, “queer”-friendly politics. It looks like the progressivist rhetoric of Islamist activists such as Sarsour, or politicians such as Ilhan Omar, is sincere – even if it seems patently confused and inconsistent to any rational observer.

This poses a new sort of threat. These intersectional Islamists – these theo-progressives – are part of a broader radical undertaking that has a much greater chance of imposing extremist ideas on American society than the Muslim Brotherhood or Wahhabis ever did.

On their side, the Progressives have made concessions to Islam to secure the alliance – by, for instance, refusing to censure its misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and racism. The international Left in general supports the Muslim demand that criticism of Islam be banned, and the UN is working on it. (See here and here.)  Finding fault with Islam must be deemed “hate speech”. To protect Islam from it, freedom of speech can be – must be – sacrificed. The American Left endorses the demand.

But there is no hypocrisy in that. The American Left is in any case unhappy with the First Amendment.

At least on this issue Progressivism and Islam are in genuine accord: freedom is not to be tolerated.

Of rats and Democrats 16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who is Eric Ciaramella?

The Washington Examiner reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michael Anton again:

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

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

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

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

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

Whose treason? 1

President Trump acts as the framers of the Constitution intended the president of the United States to act. But many of his civil servants want him to be a mere figurehead without power over their actions and decisions.

In fact, this president has achieved enormous gains for America by his personal efforts, persisting despite unprecedented moves on the part of civil servants, Democrats and the media to hamper and even incapacitate him.

Most recently he has compelled NATO members to pay more for the defense of the West – the ostensible reason for the organization’s existence. Until now, the US has uncomplainingly borne by far the greater part of the financial burden. Now the US is complaining – though still bearing most of the costs. And the president’s achievement, the very change itself such as it is, angers civil servants in the State Department

Julie Kelly writes at American Greatness:

Since 2016, delinquent NATO allies have coughed up an additional $130 billion in new defense spending. Trump also is redirecting NATO’s focus away from Russia and insisting the alliance address more serious threats such as cyber security, Syria, terrorism, and China.

But it’s not supposed to happen this way. Any progress with America’s allies—or enemies—only can be achieved, we are cautioned, through proper channels of carefully constructed diplomatic finesse.

Very important people with very important advanced degrees from very important universities must be involved at every step. Coaxing American allies to stop welching on their debt requires many white papers and think tank conferences and pricey parties at well-appointed embassies.

Before the president speaks with another head of state, polite talking points must be drafted and edited and redrafted and approved by dozens of people with lengthy titles who occupy offices situated along the Potomac River decorated with many impressive diplomas and commendations.

So it’s understandable why people who have been groomed their entire lives to one day serve as the deputy director assistant undersecretary of East Samoan Affairs are a little huffy at the Trump Administration. During her opening statement before the House Intelligence committee, ousted Ukrainian ambassador Marie Yovanovitch warned Congress about a “crisis” at the State Department. No, the crisis isn’t about rising tensions in Iran or the ongoing instability in the Middle East or desperate Venezuelans fleeing to neighboring countries.

The crisis, Yovanovitch emotionally explained, is empty corner office suites and silent cell phones and bruised egos. “Leadership vacancies go unfilled and senior and mid level officers ponder an uncertain future. The State Department is being hollowed from within in a competitive and complex time on the world stage. This is not a time to undercut our diplomats.” Morale, she warned, is low.

But Yovanovitch only told a portion of the harrowing situation besieging Foggy Bottom. There are more “horror stories”, according to GQ reporter Julia Ioffe. No, not horror stories about child trafficking or forced starvation or mass slaughter around the world. Ioffe tells the terrifying account of how one American diplomat in the U.K. got his walking papers from Trump’s appointed ambassador to that country. Trump, Ioffe fumed, is waging war on America’s diplomats!

Lewis Lukens, the deputy chief of mission (yes, his actual title) in London, got the boot after he offered effusive praise of Barack Obama in two speeches last year. In addition to raving about the previous president, Lukens gave Trump a few shots, asking Brits not to give up on the “special relationship” between the two countries.

Lukens was referring to Trump’s criticism of both former British Prime Minister Theresa May and London Mayor Sadiq Khan. In fact, Lukens tweeted his support for Khan a few hours after Trump ridiculed the London mayor for his response to a deadly terror attack in June 2017. Lukens also asked the Trump White House to stop criticizing May. It’s interesting how the diplomatic graces of these self-important envoys don’t ever apply to their American boss.

So Lukens, who worked for Hillary Clinton and helped set up her illicit email system when she was head of Obama’s State Department, got the ax about two years later than he should have. But rather than presenting Lukens’ ouster as a cautionary tale of how a disloyal political hack finally got his comeuppance, Ioffe instead claims his sob story is a “grim illustration of how the administration—through three years of attempted budget cuts, hiring freezes, and grotesquely personal attacks—has eviscerated the country’s diplomatic corps”.

Ambassadorships remain unfilled as are one-third of foreign service positions overseas, according to Ioffe. Recruitment in the foreign service is way down.

“Many of Trump’s political ambassadors have an unfounded belief that government bureaucrats are overwhelmingly Democrats and liberals and working against Trump’s agenda, and that’s just not the case,” Lukens, the Obama appointee, said⁠—presumably with a straight face.

But it’s not just Obama/Clinton loyalists who are living a nightmare. Nicholas Burns, the U.S. Ambassador to NATO under George W. Bush and a frequent Trump critic, cringed at the president’s performance in London this week.

“When interacting with allied leaders, Trump’s predecessors have generally followed a golden rule: Disagreements with friends are okay—but only behind the scenes, not in public,” Burns sniffed. “Trump, in contrast, seems to relish going after the Europeans in full view of the rest of the world.” Burns was aghast at Trump’s “testy” exchange with French President Emmanuel Macron. (In an April op-ed for the Washington Post, Burns called Trump “NATO’s most urgent and difficult problem”.)

But the real crisis for former State Department bureaucrats and their colleagues who have been recycled back to the Ivy League campuses whence they came is not that Trump poses an existential threat to national security; it’s that he poses a legitimate threat to their professional sinecures. If indeed the State Department is being “hollowed out”, no one outside the Beltway or the Kennedy School of Government has noticed.

Trump, almost single-handedly, is addressing the international fiascos left behind by Barack Obama including North Korea, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and China to name a few. He’s pushing our allies to get on board while pulling out of poorly-enforced and outdated international pacts that handicap Americans.

Meanwhile, the global chaos that the diplomatic class predicted under a Trump presidency hasn’t come to pass: “Donald J. Trump is entirely unqualified to serve as President and Commander-in-Chief. He is ignorant of the complex nature of the challenges facing our country, from Russia to China to ISIS to nuclear proliferation to refugees to drugs, but he has expressed no interest in being educated. We fear the damage that such ineptitude could cause in our closest relationships as well as the succor it might offer our enemies.”

That passage was part of a letter signed in September 2016 by 75 “former career ambassadors and senior state department officials”, as they humbly described themselves.

They were wrong then, and they’re wrong now. And there’s no strategic plan or multilateral talks that can save them from their transparent career angst. As Harry Truman observed in his memoirs about the challenges he encountered in recognizing Israel, “The foreign service officer has no authority to make policy. They act only as servants of the government, and therefore they must remain in line with the government policy that is established by those who have been chosen by the people to set that policy.”

Folks like Lukens and Yovanovitch and Burns might not like that reality. But it is they, not Trump, who are the problem.

The teasing question is: what are they – the US government’s servants who deal on Americans’ behalf with other countries – for, what are they on the side of?

President Trump is on the side of America: his slogans are “America First, and “Make America Great Again”. Among his chief foreign policies are: to trade with other nations prosperously for America; to put an end to China’s economic exploitation of America; to be militarily strong against perceived enemies, chiefly Russia and China; to demand that America’s allies pay their promised share of defense expenses; to keep rogue states from becoming nuclear powers or using nuclear weapons if they have them; to maintain friendly relations with friendly nations and ease tension with unfriendly nations; to prevent illegal and subversive immigration.

What is there in all that for America’s representatives and agents to object to?

They did not object to Barack Obama’s foreign policies. They cooperated enthusiastically with him. Among his chief policies were: paying huge sums of money illegally to Iran, an extremely oppressive tyranny, and enabling it to become a nuclear power; appeasing Russia by refusing to honor America’s commitment to provide defensive arms to Ukraine; stealthily supporting the enemies of allied Israel; encouraging illegal immigration; befriending Communist Cuba, another extremely oppressive tyranny; promoting world government through the United Nations and  “climate change”  pledges that would have harmed the American economy; conniving at corruption in foreign governments;  assisting the Muslim Brotherhood, the self-declared enemy of America and the West, to gain power in Egypt, and encouraging Islam generally to spread through the West?

What can be concluded but that a multitude of Americans appointed to serve the interests of their nation, are for tyranny, corruption, communism, the spread of Islam, unlimited immigration, the impoverishment of America in the name of combatting “climate change”, the weakening of America’s defenses, its governance by an international body, and so its dissolution as a free, prosperous, strong, independent nation-state?

The destruction of the Republic. Could there be any greater treason than that?

Enlightenment values 8

Christian values (as described in the post immediately below) are alien to human nature. Human beings do not, cannot, love all other human beings. (Many find it hard to love a few. Some find it impossible to love any.) A thirst for vengeance is common among us. Normal people do not prefer poverty to riches.

Christian values do not underlie our civilization. What values do?

Freedom, justice, reason.

None of which are of any interest to the Christian religion – though millions of individuals who are Christian benefit from them and, to their credit and reward, consciously defend them.

The rewards of reason are, most importantly, scientific knowledge, technological progress, innovation. “Measurement began our might,” wrote W. B. Yeats, referring to ancient civilizations.

To live in freedom, to make justice attainable, to reap the rewards of reason, we need government by Law.

In its beginning, Christianity rejected Law. The author of the Christian religion, St.Paul, contended that the sacrifice of Christ marked a new era and the Law was no longer needed. Christianity was instead of the Law. Later the Church found it necessary to retrieve the moral law of Judaism, and to compile its own canon law. The period of Christian antinomianism was short-lived, but Catholic rule failed spectacularly through the centuries of the Church’s power to provide justice to the peoples of Christendom. It punished heresy, blasphemy, innovation, mere disagreement. It opposed scientific discovery. The Church of Rome was a totalitarian tyranny. So were the Protestant regimes of the Reformation.

The greatness of our civilization began with the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, the recovery of ancient thought, the launch of the Age of Reason. Europe measured again. Our age of science dawned.

And on the principles of reason, freedom, rule of law, the United States of America was founded.

Yes, some of the Founders were Christians. (And some were deists. And some, though pre-Darwin, were probably quietly atheist.) Yes, the Declaration of Independence mentions a Creator. It designates this Creator as “Nature’s God” – a bold statement of an Enlightenment perception. (Spinoza’s god was nature, the laws of physics.) This god, the Framers said, “endowed” human beings with certain rights. In other words, they saw them as natural rights. There is barely a trace of Christian doctrine in the founding documents, but just enough for those to discern it who want it to be there.

 

Jillian Becker    October 22, 2019

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