Global citizenship, world government 4

When the time comes – is it not coming? – to ask, “Who killed Western civilization?” there will be certain names to speak; names of a few individuals who must be held more responsible than any others.

We quote from an article by Bruce Bawer in the October 2019 issue of Commentary. (The article rewards reading in full). 

On September 24, Donald Trump told the United Nations General Assembly, “The future does not belong to the globalists. The future belongs to the patriots.” Four days later, as if in a rebuke to his assertion, the Great Lawn in New York’s Central Park was the site of the “Global Citizen Festival”.  This event brought together “top artists, world leaders, and everyday activists to take action” (in the words of its website) and offered free tickets to “Global Citizens who take a series of actions to create lasting change around the world”.  Those “actions” included writing tweets and signing petitions affirming their dedication to “changing the world”. …

The Global Citizen Festival was organized by a group called Global Citizen in partnership with firms such as Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, and Cisco Technologies. Rarely have so many heavyweight corporations described their activities in such benign language: Verizon stated on the event’s website that “we focus our business and resources to uplift people and protect the planet”. Who knew?

Covering the festival live, MSNBC hosts kept insisting—between interviews with Democratic politicians and recitation of DNC talking points—that it was “not about politics”. Hurricane Sandy, Central American drought, and the fall of Venezuela, we were informed, were all caused by climate change. … Politicians from Norway, Barbados, and elsewhere waved their globalist credentials, while America’s withdrawal from the Paris accords was cited as a sin against globalism and thus against humanity itself. …

In the past decade, the very concept of citizenship has become not only passé but déclassé. We should all be global citizens. …

Ironically enough, the contemporary enthusiasm for global citizenship has its roots in the historical moment that marked the triumph of modern national identity and pride—namely, the World War II victory of free countries (plus the Soviet Union) over their unfree enemies. Citizens of small, conquered nations resisted oppression and, in many cases, gave their lives out of sheer patriotism and love of liberty. As Allied tanks rolled into one liberated town after another, people waved flags that had been hidden away during the occupation. Germany and Japan had sought to create empires that erased national borders and turned free citizens into subjects of tyranny; brave patriots destroyed that dream and restored their homelands’ sovereignty and freedom.

And yet a major consequence of this victory was the establishment of an organization, the United Nations. Its founding rhetoric, like that of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, was all about the erasure of borders, even as it hoisted its own baby-blue flag alongside those of its members.

On December 10, 1948, the UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. …

Among the UN “rights” are:  the right to food, clothing, medical care, social services, unemployment and disability benefits, child care, and free education. 

Whose duty is it to supply all those goodies? And to what power will those appeal whose “rights” of this sort are violated? 

The chief force behind the Declaration was Eleanor Roosevelt, the chair of the UN’s Human Rights Commission. In a 1945 newspaper column, she had had some interesting things to say about patriotism and what we would now call globalism. “Willy-nilly,” she wrote, “everyone [sic] of us cares more for his own country than for any other. That is human nature. We love the bit of land where we have grown to maturity and known the joys and sorrows of life. The time has come however when we must recognize that our mutual [sic] devotion to our own land must never blind us to the good of all lands and of all peoples.”

So Eleanor Roosevelt, sentimental and manifestly unable to think clearly, was a source of our civilization’s rot.

“Willy-nilly”? “Bit of land”? Didn’t America deserve better than that from its longtime first lady? Didn’t America’s armed forces, who had fought valiantly for their own “bit of land”? One part of Mrs. Roosevelt’s testimony was ambiguous. When she referred to “the good of all lands and of all peoples”, did she mean that Americans should care about what’s best for other peoples? Or was she saying that all lands and peoples are good? She couldn’t possibly be saying that, could she? Hadn’t the Holocaust just proven otherwise? It’s striking to recognize that Mrs. Roosevelt wrote this only months after the bloody end of the crusade to restore freedom to Western Europe—and at a time when our erstwhile ally Joseph Stalin’s actions in Eastern Europe were underscoring precisely how evil our fellow man could be, and just how precious a gift to the world the United States was. …

Another would-be global citizen was Wendell Willkie, who had challenged FDR for the presidency in 1940. In 1943, Willkie published One World, an account of a round-the-world trip he had made and a plea for the nations of that world to accept a single international order. Willkie wanted more than just a UN: he wanted world government, based on the Atlantic Charter. It is said that his book was the biggest non-fiction bestseller in history up to that time, inspiring an international One World movement to which both Albert Einstein and Mahatma Gandhi belonged.

Gandhi, yes, he would. Einstein’s political opinions are irrelevant.

Like Eleanor Roosevelt, Willkie was determined to build a new world founded on specifically American notions of rights and freedoms. Like Mrs. Roosevelt, too, he was convinced that postwar feelings of goodwill toward the U.S. by other governments would lead them to embrace those notions. On his world trip, wrote Willkie, he had discovered that foreigners knew that America had no desire for conquest, and that the U.S. therefore enjoyed their respect and trust—a respect and trust, he argued, that America must use “to unify the peoples of the earth in the human quest for freedom and justice.”

Needless to say, the world didn’t end up with Willkie’s One World. But it got the UN—where, from the outset, there was more talk of peace than of freedom and where the differences between the West and the Soviet bloc were routinely glossed over in order to present a façade of international comity.

Behind the Iron Curtain, captive peoples weren’t citizens, global or otherwise, but prisoners. Yet in the West, the UN’s language of what we now call global citizenship started to take hold, and the UN began to be an object of widespread, although hardly universal, veneration.

In reality, the UN may be a massive and inert bureaucratic kleptocracy yoked to a debating society, most of whose member states are unfree or partly free; but people in the free world who grow starry-eyed at the thought of global citizenship view it as somehow magically exceeding, in moral terms, the sum of its parts.

Sentimentality began the rot and keeps it going.

You can’t discuss the UN and global citizenship without mentioning Maurice Strong.

Christopher Booker wrote in the Telegraph in December 2015:

A very odd thing happened last weekend. The death was announced of the man who, in the past 40 years, has arguably been more influential on global politics than any other single individual. Yet the world scarcely noticed.

What Strong, an extremely rich Canadian businessman, did—almost single-handedly—was to create, out of the blue, the global-warming panic that is now a cornerstone of left-wing ideology.

Although he never was secretary-general of the UN, Strong wielded massive power within that organization and innumerable other international bodies, serving, for instance, as a director of the World Economic Forum and as a senior adviser to the president of the World Bank. He also played pivotal roles in a long list of programs and commissions that were nominally dedicated to the environment—among them the UN Environmental Programme and World Resources Institute, the Earth Charter Commission, and the UN’s World Commission on Environment and Development.

But although he was nicknamed “Godfather of Global Warming”, Strong didn’t really care about climate. His real objective was to transform the UN into a world government—a permanent, unelected politburo composed of elders such as himself.

At first, indeed, climate played no role in his plans. To fund the all-powerful UN of his dreams, in 1995 he proposed a 0.5 percent tax on every financial transaction on earth—a scheme that would have netted $1.5 trillion annually, approximately the entire annual gross income of the United States at the time. When the Security Council vetoed this move, Strong tried to eliminate the Security Council. The failure of such stratagems led Strong to focus increasingly on climate.

By promoting the idea that the planet was in existential peril, he was able to argue that a looming disaster on the scale he predicted could be solved only by vesting in the UN an unprecedented degree of authority over the lives of absolutely everyone on earth.

To this end, Strong concocted Agenda 21. Formulated at the 1992 UN Earth Summit (or Rio Conference), of which he served as secretary-general, Agenda 21 proposed a transfer of power from nation-states to the UN.

Strong opined:

It is simply not feasible for sovereignty to be exercised unilaterally by individual nation states. The global community must be assured of global environmental security.

What kind of regime did Strong wish to establish? Suffice it to say that he disdained the U.S. but admired Communist China, where he maintained a flat—to which, incidentally, he relocated after being implicated in the UN “oil for food” scandal in 2005. Another one of the many financial scandals in which he was implicated (but for which he repeatedly managed to get himself off the hook) involved funneling massive sums to North Korea, of whose regime he was also fond.

The intention from the beginning of the climate hoax was to use it as a pretext for imposing world communist government.

After the UN came the European Union. As a free-trade zone gradually morphed into a would-be superstate, the EU’s supposed raison d’être was that nationalism had almost destroyed Europe in World War II. But this was wrong. Europe had been torn apart because of two totalitarian ideologies, one based on racial identity and the other on a utopian universalist vision. Communism’s end goal was, indeed, nothing more or less than a kind of global citizenship under which everyone except for a handful of elites would be equally controlled, spied on, and oppressed.

The concept of global citizenship now pervades our politics.

During her 2016 campaign, Hillary Clinton envisioned a Western hemisphere, and ultimately a world, without borders.

Barack Obama, in reply to a question about American exceptionalism, said that, yes, he saw America as exceptional, but that people in other countries, too, saw their countries as exceptional. The last sentence of his Nobel Peace Prize citation contained the word “global” not once but twice: “The Committee endorses Obama’s appeal that ‘Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges’.” What U.S. president had ever been more global? A Kenyan father, an Indonesian boyhood: his bestselling autobiography conveyed his affection for both of those countries; it was the U.S. for which his feelings were ambivalent. …

Global citizenship is also big at America’s most prestigious colleges. …

The author proceeds to give many examples of universities pushing the idea of globalism hard on their students.

Decades ago, American curricula included a subject called “civics”. Students learned about responsible citizenship—understanding how government worked, knowing one’s constitutional rights, following current affairs, and voting intelligently in elections. Describing these courses was not problematic; students weren’t “invited” or “challenged” to “figure out” what citizenship means. They were told. They were given specifics. They experienced something known as education. Alas, those civics courses have long since disappeared. The contemplation of global citizenship has filled that vacuum. Its apparent purpose is to undo any sense of responsible citizenship that a young person might have acquired and to replace it with a higher loyalty. …

A “higher loyalty”?  To what?

Global citizenship is a luxury of those who’ve reaped rewards earned by the blood of patriots. Global citizens pretend to possess, or sincerely think they possess, a loyalty that transcends borders. It sounds pretty. But it’s not. By the same token, to some ears a straightforward declaration of patriotism can sound exclusionary, bigoted, racist. It isn’t. To assert a national identity is to make a moral statement and to take on a responsibility. To call yourself a global citizen is to do the equivalent of wearing a peace button—you’re making a meaningless statement because you think it makes you look virtuous. …

To be American is to partake in the benefits that flow from American freedom, power, wealth, and world leadership. Very few Americans who call themselves global citizens ever actually back up their proclamation by relinquishing any of these benefits … No, they gladly embrace the benefits of being an American; they’re just too virtuous, in their minds, to embrace the label itself. They’re like young people living off a generous trust fund while sporting an “Eat the Rich” button.

One way of looking at the aftermath of 9/11 is to recognize that many Americans who were simply unable (for very long, anyhow) to dedicate themselves to country were thrust by that jihadist assault into the arms of the only alternative they could imagine—namely, global citizenship. Instead of being usefully dedicated to the liberty and security of their own country in a time of grave threat, they have bailed on America and have found, in global citizenship, a noble-sounding illusion of freedom from patriotic obligation.

And in fact they are floating free, hovering above the earthly struggle between good and evil and refusing to take sides—and, moreover, presenting this hands-off attitude as a mark not of cowardice but of cultural sophistication and moral superiority.

To a large extent, the project of global citizenship is about trying to replace the concrete with the abstract, about exchanging the real for the idealistic. It’s a matter of trying to talk Americans into rejecting the pragmatic and industrious patriotism that, yes, made America great, and pushing on them, instead, yet another pernicious utopian ideology of the sort that almost destroyed Europe in the 20th century.

It’s a matter of endlessly talking up ideas for radical change on every level of society—from ecological measures that would bring down the world economy to a neurotic obsessiveness with hierarchies of group identity that threatens to destroy America’s social fabric—instead of implementing practical reforms that enjoy popular support and would improve everyone’s life.

It’s a matter of trying to persuade ordinary citizens, in the name of some higher good—whether world peace or world health or protection of the planet’s environment—to relinquish their freedom and obey a small technocratic elite.

In the final analysis, global citizenship is a dangerous dream, a threat to individual liberty, and an assault on American sovereignty—a menace not only to Americans but to all humanity, and one that should therefore be rejected unambiguously by all men and women of goodwill and at least a modicum of common sense.

“Should” be rejected, yes, but will it be? All the Democratic candidates for the presidential election in November 2020 call for “open borders” – the first requisite for One World government. If the electorate rejects the “dangerous dream of global citizenship” by not voting the Democrats into power, the rot may be stopped and our civilization may be saved. It will be a decisive election. It will be a decisive battle in “the earthly struggle between good and evil”.

 

PS: Essentially, for the saving of civilization,

the UN must be destroyed!

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.

Putrid Joe 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which all goes to show that Joe Biden is corrupt.

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

Russia 1

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

Angelo M. Codevilla writes at CRB:

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

After Communism

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

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

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

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

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

A louder snort. But on:

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

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

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

The Neighborhood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Priorities and Collusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Are Our Interests?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Comey did 3

The report from the Department of Justice’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz titled

Report of Investigation of Former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey’s Disclosure of Sensitive Investigative Information and Handling of Certain Memoranda

may be found in full here.

The investigator finds that Comey did not handle certain documents as he should have done according to the agency’s regulations.

The Department of Justice, we are told, does not intend to bring charges against Comey for doing this wrong thing. Apparently it’s too small a wrong thing.

But what James Comey was trying to do was a very big thing. Comey and his fellow conspirators were intent on committing a colossal crime.

They were concocting false evidence of treason to destroy the President of the United States.

It is quite clear that the memos Comey kept at home were deliberately created for unofficial anti-Trump sliming in the media. That is where, after all, the Resistance was and still is fighting its campaign to unseat President Trump.

Comey knew that the “Trump-Putin collusion” investigation was

1) fraudulently predicated

2) not going to reveal Trump collusion

3) being corruptly used by anti-Trump officials – including himself – to sabotage Trump, his administration and his appointees, and to deter anyone thinking of joining Team Trump.

The Comey memos, the Special Counsel authorization, the Mueller Report, the FISA warrants are all official launderings of Hillary Clinton’s dirty dossier and created to further its purpose: to libel and delegitimize President Donald Trump.

They are all exhibits in the abuse of power case (that will never be brought?) against the politically corrupted officials who, under color of law, conspired to deprive Donald Trump and his associates of their civil rights and the electorate of a duly elected President. 

 

C. Gee   August 29, 2019

Corruption, lies, and emails 17

The number of persons in government agencies known to have lied to protect Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton from public knowledge of their wrong-doing, mounts up continually. The full count may never be known.

The very fact they needed to lie is a glaring indication that the cause they supported was a bad one. But if any of them realized this, it apparently didn’t trouble them.

Judicial Watch reports:

Judicial Watch [has] obtained 44 pages of records from the State Department through court-ordered discovery revealing that the Obama White House was tracking a December 2012 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking records concerning then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of an unsecure, non-government email system.

That 2012 request had been made by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). They did not get what they asked for.

Months after the Obama White House involvement, the State Department responded … falsely stating that no such records existed.

CREW’s general counsel, Anne Weismann, submitted a FOIA request to the State Department on December 6, 2012, seeking “records sufficient to show the number of email accounts of or associated with Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the extent to which those email accounts are identifiable as those of or associated with Secretary Clinton.”

On May 10, 2013, [Information Programs and Services] replied to CREW, stating that “no records responsive to your request were located.”

So Judicial Watch made a court application to obtain the information that CREW had been denied.

Judicial Watch’s discovery is centered upon whether Clinton intentionally attempted to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by using a non-government email system and whether the State Department acted in bad faith in processing Judicial Watch’s FOIA request for communications from Clinton’s office.

They were lucky that their case came before a nonpartisan judge.

U.S District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ordered Obama administration senior State Department officials, lawyers, and Clinton aides, as well as E.W. Priestap [assistant director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division], to be deposed or answer written questions under oath. …

So certain agency records have fallen into the hands of Judicial Watch at last, recording the intention to lie, and proving that lying and evasion were what Obama required. 

They “include a January 2013 email exchange discussing Clinton’s departure from the State Department in which Agency Records Officer Tasha M. Thian specifically stated that Secretary Clinton ‘does not use email’.”

But also include this, directly contradicting that statement:

The State Department’s Office of Inspector General issued a report in January 2016 saying “At the time the [2012] request was received, dozens of senior officials throughout the Department, including members of Secretary Clinton’s immediate staff, exchanged emails with the Secretary using the personal accounts she used to conduct official business.” Also, the IG “found evidence that [Clinton Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills] was informed of the request at the time it was received …”

On whose orders – in addition to Secretary Clinton’s – were the lies told and the CREW request not complied with?

Several documents answer that question: the Obama White House.

The State Department produced records in response to court-ordered document requests that detail Obama White House involvement in the Clinton email FOIA request [and the refusal to grant it]

In a December 20, 2012, email with the subject line “Need to track down a FOIA request from CREW”, Sheryl L. Walter, director of the State Department’s Office of Information Programs and Services (A/GIS/IPS), writes to IPS officials Rosemary D. Reid and Patrick D. Scholl and their assistants:

WH calledhave we received a FOIA request from CREW (Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington) on the topic of personal use of email by senior officials? Apparently other agencies have. If we have it, can you give me the details so I can call the WH back? I think they’d like it on quick turnaround. Thanks! Sheryl

In the same email chain, Walter on December 20, 2012 also emailed Heather Samuelson, Clinton’s White House liaison, describing the CREW FOIA request:

Hi Heather – Copy attached, it was in our significant weekly FOIA report that we send to L and S/ES also. Do you want us to add you to that list? It’s a subset of things like this that we think likely to be of broader Department interest. More detail below re this request. As a practical matter given our workload, it won’t be processed for some months. Let me know if there are any particular sensitivities. If we don’t talk later, happy holidays! All the best, Sheryl

Sheryl: The request is assigned Case #F-2012-40981. It was received on 12/6/2012 and acknowledged on 12/10/2012. The request is assigned for processing.

On January 10, 2013, Walter writes to Samuelson that she is not including “personal” accounts in the FOIA request search:

Hi Heather – did you ever get any intell re what other agencies are doing re this FOIA request that seeks records about the number of email accounts associated with the Secretary (but isn’t specifying “personal” email accounts so we are interpreting as official accounts only). We are considering contacting the requester to find out exactly what it is they are looking for. Do you have any-concerns about that approach?

Soon afterward, Samuelson responds, “White House Counsel was looking into this for me. I will circle back with them now to see if they have further guidance.” …

The White House counsel found that Clinton had no email accounts.

Which was exactly what Secretary Clinton wanted them to find.

She was very pleased with Heather Samuelson.

Samuelson became Secretary Clinton’s personal lawyer and in 2014 led the review of Clinton’s emails to determine which ones were work-related and which were personal. She was also one of five close Clinton associates granted immunity by the Department of Justice in the Clinton email investigation. …

Further proof that President Obama was involved in the deception – can be said to have presided over it – is found in the sworn testimony of  Priestap, assistant director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division:

[He] admitted, in writing and under oath, that the agency found Clinton email records in the Obama White House, specifically the Executive Office of the President.

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch concludes:

“These documents suggest [prove – ed] the Obama White House knew about the Clinton email lies being told to the public at least as early as December 2012,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “A federal court granted Judicial Watch discovery into the Clinton emails because the court wanted answers about a government cover-up of the Clinton emails. And now we have answers because it looks like the Obama White House orchestrated the Clinton email cover-up.”

And Judge Lamberth is taking the matter as seriously as it needs to be taken. He added a comment to his order: “The Clinton email system” he said, was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency”.

It remains to be seen if there will be any consequences for the officials who cheated and lied for Obama and Clinton. To expect that Obama himself will be so much as mildly reproached for “orchestrating” the cover-up, or Clinton punished for breaking the law, is probably, tragically, to expect too much.

Freedom of speech on the internet 7

In 2011 Elizabeth Warren said:

There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did.

In 2012 President Obama said:

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me – because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t – look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something – there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

Whether or not they meant to be attacking private enterprise capitalism, that is what they were generally understood to be doing.

The capitalist, free-market argument is that if you own something you can use it as you like for all lawful purposes. If bakers of wedding cakes do not want to sell a cake, or florists do not want to supply bouquets, to same-sex couples, they are within their rights not to do so.

It is generally agreed that the private owners of places of public entertainment such as restaurants, movie theaters, hotels cannot be permitted to shut out some customers on grounds of personal antagonism.

Controversy has arisen as to whether the private owners of the “social media”, notably Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google, have a right to refuse the use of their forums to persons whose opinions they dislike, or whether they have the same obligations as owners of restaurants, movie theaters and hotels not to discriminate against some on grounds of personal disagreement.

Daniel Greenfield writes this magisterial opinion on the arguments:

“But, it’s a private company.”

It’s a familiar argument. Bring up the problem of Google, Facebook and Twitter suppressing conservative speech and many conservatives will retort that it’s a free market. The big dot com monopolies created their own companies, didn’t they? And we wouldn’t want government regulation of business.

In a FOX Business editorial, Iain Murray writes that breaking up dot coms like Google would be “a repudiation of conservative principles”. He argues that “Twitter is a private company” and that “there is no positive right to free speech on Twitter or any other private venue.”

“The same goes for the president’s attacks on Google and the complaints of conservative censorship,” Diane Katz writes at the Heritage Institute. “These private enterprises are not obligated to abide any sort of partisan fairness doctrine.”

The talking point that Google, Facebook and Twitter are private companies that can discriminate as they please on their private platforms, and that the First Amendment doesn’t apply, is in the air everywhere.

But it overlooks two very simple facts.

The driving force behind the censorship of conservatives isn’t a handful of tech tycoons. It’s elected officials. Senator Kamala Harris offered an example of that in a recent speech where she declared that she would “hold social media platforms accountable” if they contained “hate” or “misinformation”.

“Misinformation” is a well-known euphemism among Democrats and the media for conservative political content. It was originally known as “fake news” before President Trump hijacked the term to refer to the media. The recent Poynter list of “unreliable” sites was stacked with conservative sites. Lists like these aren’t hypothetical. Poynter runs the International Fact Checking Network which had been empowered by Facebook and other sites to deplatform conservative content through its “fact checks”.

All of this got underway in response to claims by Hillary Clinton and her allies that “fake news” had cost her the election and represented a grave attack on our democracy. The call was quickly taken up by Democrats in the House and the Senate. It’s been commented on supportively by powerful Clinton allies in the tech industry, like Eric Schmidt, the former chairman of Google.

Dot coms like Facebook are cracking down on conservatives as an explicit response to pressure from elected government officials. That’s not the voluntary behavior of private companies. When Facebook deletes conservatives in response to threats of regulatory action from Senate Democrats, its censors are acting as government agents while engaging in viewpoint discrimination.

Free market conservatives can argue that Facebook should have the right to discriminate against conservatives. But do they really want to argue that Senate Democrats should have the right to compel private companies to censor conservatives?

What’s the difference between that and a totalitarian state?

It might, arguably, be legal for your landlord to kick you out of your house because he doesn’t like the fact that you’re a Republican. But is it legal for him to do so on orders from Senator Kamala Harris?

Defending abusive behavior like that is a desecration of the free market.

The second fact is that the internet is not the work of a handful of aspiring entrepreneurs who built it out of thin air using nothing but their talent, brains and nimble fingers.

At this point we are going to have to concede, however much it stings our political nerve to do so, that Obama got something right when he said that Government research created the internet.

The internet was the work of DARPA. That stands for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. DARPA is part of the Department of Defense. DARPA had funded the creation of the core technologies that made the internet possible. The origins of the internet go back to DARPA’s Arpanet.

Nor did the story end once the internet had entered every home.

Where did Google come from? “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine,” the original paper by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the co-founders of Google, reveals support from the National Science Foundation, DARPA, and even NASA.

Harvard’s computer science department, where Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg learned to play with the toys that turned him into a billionaire, has also wallowed in DARPA cash. Not to mention funds from a variety of other DOD and Federal science agencies.

Taxpayers sank a fortune into developing a public marketplace where ideas are exchanged, and political advocacy and economic activity takes place. That marketplace doesn’t belong to Google, Amazon or Facebook. And when those monopolies take a stranglehold on the marketplace, squeezing out conservatives from being able to participate, they’re undermining our rights and freedoms.

“A right of free correspondence between citizen and citizen on their joint interests, whether public or private and under whatsoever laws these interests arise (to wit: of the State, of Congress, of France, Spain, or Turkey), is a natural right,” Thomas Jefferson argued.

There should be a high barrier for any company seeking to interfere with the marketplace of ideas in which the right of free correspondence is practiced.

Critics of regulating dot com monopolies have made valid points.

Regulating Google or Facebook as a public utility is dangerous. And their argument that giving government the power to control content on these platforms would backfire is sensible.

Any solution to the problem should not be based on expanding government control.

But there are two answers.

First, companies that engage in viewpoint discrimination in response to government pressure are acting as government agents. When a pattern of viewpoint discrimination manifests itself on the platform controlled by a monopoly, a civil rights investigation should examine what role government officials played in instigating the suppression of a particular point of view.

Liberals have abandoned the Public Forum Doctrine, once a popular ACLU theme, while embracing censorship. But if the Doctrine could apply to a shopping mall, it certainly applies to the internet.

When dot com monopolies get so big that being banned from their platforms effectively neutralizes political activity, press activity and political speech, then they’re public forums.

Second, rights are threatened by any sufficiently large organization or entity, not just government. Government has traditionally been the most powerful such organization, but the natural rights that our country was founded on are equally immune to every organization. Governments, as the Declaration of Independence asserts, exist as part of a social contract to secure these rights for its citizens.

Government secures these rights, first and foremost, against itself. (Our system effectively exists to answer the question of who watches the watchers.) But it also secures them against foreign powers, a crisis that the Declaration of Independence was written to meet, and against domestic organizations, criminal or political, whether it’s the Communist Party or ISIS, that seek to rob Americans of their rights.

A country in which freedom of speech effectively did not exist, even though it remained a technical right, would not be America. A government that allowed such a thing would have no right to exist.

Only a government whose citizens enjoy the rights of free men legally justifies its existence.

If a private company took control of all the roads and closed them to conservatives every Election Day, elections would become a mockery and the resulting government would be an illegitimate tyranny.

That’s the crisis that conservatives face with the internet.

Protecting freedom of speech does not abandon conservative principles, it secures them. There are no conservative principles without freedom of speech. A free market nation without freedom of speech isn’t a conservative country. It’s an oligarchy. That’s the state of affairs on the internet.

Conservatives should beware of blindly enlisting in leftist efforts to take regulatory control of companies like Facebook. The result would be a deeper and more pervasive form of censorship than exists today. But neither should they imagine that the “free market side of history” will automatically fix the problem.

We have an existing useful toolset to draw on, from anti-trust laws to civil rights investigations to the Public Forum Doctrine. This will be a challenging process, but we must remember through it all, that we have a right to freedom of speech on the internet.

Our tax dollars, invested over generations, built this system. It does not belong to the Left. Or, for that matter, the Right. It belongs to all of us.

Now how to make sure Facebook etc. do not discriminate against us because of their political bias?

President Trump is willing to help us. (Though exactly what he can do we don’t know.)

SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS should advance FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Yet too many Americans have seen their accounts suspended, banned, or fraudulently reported for unclear “violations” of user policies. 

No matter your views, if you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump.

https://whitehouse.typeform.com/to/Jti9QH?fbclid=IwAR1oumZ36_InMnU29hRFZukzdSUrbBAxAaQ338B2_Lf-DYxMTJr2UBJMJWs

It’s worth trying.

.

(Hat-tip to liz for the White House link)

 

 

Mr. Mueller’s report 7

Have you read the Attorney General’s summary of the Mueller report? (It’s easy to find on the net. Lots of the websites that Google favors have published it in full. And it’s not very long.)

Yes, that Mueller. The one who produced a report.

It seems that Mueller’s report is a strangely empty document.

The second part is more a meditation on small sayings and events which it cannot make up its mind about … what might they mean? We cannot tell. We are not sure. They might mean something …

Which is odd since the report took a couple of years to be born, well nourished on malice.

To understate the matter, it not only fails to justify the length of time it took to come to its unsurprising conclusions (where it comes to any at all), but also the number of people it kept busy, or its enormous cost.

Its gestation apparently required the destruction of several lives, the imprisonment and bankrupting of some men, and the ruining of their reputations for doing nothing much.

It should have been aborted.

When it emerged with drum-roll and trumpeting that echoed round the globe – voila! – there arrived …. an anti-climax!

For all the effort of its numerous progenitors, and all the hope which they invested in it, they could not make it do what they wanted.

Reality is an obstinate barrier to fantasy’s wish-fulfillment.

It reveals nothing of any interest that was not already known – except of course to the Democrats and their toadying media the total innocence of President Trump on the charge of his “colluding” with an enemy power to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

To them that is a shocking surprise because they had convinced themselves that it would condemn him as a traitor – because they really, really hate him, because – and now that it doesn’t … Hear them roar!

Amazing that leading politicians are bitterly disappointed and foaming furious to learn that the duly elected president of their country is NOT a traitor!

Posted under corruption, Leftism, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, April 19, 2019

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A question of liberty 2

If Julian Assange has published information that has harmed anybody working for the United States, it is right that he has been arrested and right for him to be brought to trial.

But has he?

The BBC (no longer a trustworthy source in general but quoting other sources here) reported and commented in 2010 when “a trove of US diplomatic cables which offer, among other things, unflattering and candid assessments of world leaders” was released by Assange’s organization Wikileaks: .

Much of the criticism of Wikileaks … revolves around the notion that releasing such information risks lives.

Identities of informants could be compromised, spies exposed, and the safety of human rights activists, journalists and dissidents jeopardized when information of their activities is made public, the argument goes.

US military officials contend that allowing enemies access to their strategic and operational documents creates a dangerous environment for American troops serving abroad. ..

But is there any real evidence of this peril?

The problem … is proving direct links between the information released and any loss of life.

After the release of an enormous haul of US defense department documents in August, [a] Pentagon spokesman… told the Washington Post: “We have yet to see any harm come to anyone in Afghanistan that we can directly tie to exposure in the Wikileaks documents.” …

After this latest release a Pentagon official … [said] that even three months later the US military still had no evidence that people had died or been harmed because of information gleaned from Wikileaks documents.

Daniel Ellsberg, the former military analyst who in 1971 released the Pentagon Papers which detailed government lies and cover-ups in the Vietnam War, is skeptical of whether the government really believes that lives are at stake.

He told the BBC’s World Today programme that US officials made that same argument every time there was a potentially embarrassing leak.

“The best justification they can find for secrecy is that lives are at stake. Actually, lives are at stake as a result of the silences and lies which a lot of these leaks reveal,” he said. “The same charges were made against the Pentagon Papers and turned out to be quite invalid.” …

Assange did not steal Pentagon documents, he published them. If he was wrong to do so, then so were the newspapers that did the same, such as the New York Times.

Professor Alan Dershowitz writes at The Hill:

Before WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gained asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012, he and his British legal team asked me to fly to London to provide legal advice about United States law relating to espionage and press freedom. I cannot disclose what advice I gave them, but I can say that I believed then, and still believe now, that there is no constitutional difference between WikiLeaks and the New York Times.

If the New York Times, in 1971, could lawfully publish the Pentagon Papers knowing they included classified documents stolen by Rand Corporation military analyst Daniel Ellsberg from our federal government, then indeed WikiLeaks was entitled, under the First Amendment, to publish classified material that Assange knew was stolen by former United States Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning from our federal government.

So if prosecutors were to charge Assange with espionage or any other crime for merely publishing the Manning material, this would be another Pentagon Papers case with the same likely outcome. Many people have misunderstood the actual Supreme Court ruling in 1971. It did not say that the newspapers planning to publish the Pentagon Papers could not be prosecuted if they published classified material. It only said that they could not be restrained, or stopped in advance, from publishing them. Well, they did publish, and they were not prosecuted.

The same result would probably follow if Assange were prosecuted for publishing classified material on WikiLeaks, though there is no guarantee that prosecutors might not try to distinguish the cases on the grounds that the New York Times is a more responsible outlet than WikiLeaks. But the First Amendment does not recognize degrees of responsibility. When the Constitution was written, our nation was plagued with irresponsible scandal sheets and broadsides. No one described political pamphleteers Thomas Paine or James Callender as responsible journalists of their day.

It is likely, therefore, that a prosecution of Assange for merely publishing classified material would fail. Moreover, Great Britain might be unwilling to extradite Assange for such a “political” crime. That is why prosecutors have chosen to charge him with a different crime of conspiracy to help Manning break into a federal government computer to steal classified material. Such a crime, if proven beyond a reasonable doubt, would have a far weaker claim to protection under the Constitution. The courts have indeed ruled that journalists may not break the law in an effort to obtain material whose disclosure would be protected by the First Amendment.

But the problem with the current effort is that, while it might be legally strong, it seems on the face of the indictment to be factually weak. It alleges that “Assange encouraged Manning to provide information and records” from federal government agencies, that “Manning provided Assange with part of a password,” and that “Assange requested more information.” It goes on to say that Assange was “trying to crack the password” but had “no luck so far.” Not the strongest set of facts here!

It was Manning who committed a crime, not Assange.  Where Assange is concerned, we ( in agreement with Mark Steyn – see the video in the post immediately below – who is as firm a conservative as we are) do not accept that the US has a legal or moral right to have an Australian arrested in London and extradited here for offending the US. In his case, it is not a question of treason and betrayal as with Manning. It is a question of liberty.

Even if Assange is a Leftist, with opinions we strongly dislike, we cannot approve the gross interference with his personal liberty, cannot but object indignantly to his arrest and incarceration.

However, we are interested in what sort of person we are defending.

Is he a Lefty?

Hard to be sure. A sign that he is not, is that there are people on the Left who wish him dead. For instance, Bob Beckel said on Fox News:

A dead man can’t leak stuff. This guy’s a traitor, a treasonist, and he has broken every law of the United States. The guy ought to be — And I’m not for the death penalty, so if I’m not for the death penalty, there’s only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son of a bitch.

Chris Hedges writes cogently (in part only – we strongly disagree with some of his comments) at truthdig.com:

The arrest Thursday of Julian Assange eviscerates all pretense of the rule of law and the rights of a free press. The illegalities, embraced by the Ecuadorian, British and U.S. governments, in the seizure of Assange are ominous. They presage a world where the internal workings, abuses, corruption, lies and crimes, especially war crimes, carried out by corporate states and the global ruling elite will be masked from the public. They presage a world where those with the courage and integrity to expose the misuse of power will be hunted down, tortured, subjected to sham trials and given lifetime prison terms in solitary confinement. They presage an Orwellian dystopia where news is replaced with propaganda, trivia and entertainment. The arrest of Assange, I fear, marks the official beginning of the corporate totalitarianism that will define our lives.

Under what law did Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno capriciously terminate Julian Assange’s rights of asylum as a political refugee? Under what law did Moreno authorize British police to enter the Ecuadorian Embassy — diplomatically sanctioned sovereign territory — to arrest a naturalized citizen of Ecuador? Under what law did Prime Minister Theresa May order the British police to grab Assange, who has never committed a crime? Under what law did President Donald Trump demand the extradition of Assange, who is not a U.S. citizen and whose news organization is not based in the United States? …

Pause here for a particular disagreement. President Trump has not personally approved the extradition. During his presidential campaign he defended Wikileaks.

Britain will use as its legal cover for the arrest the extradition request from Washington based on conspiracy charges. This legal argument, in a functioning judiciary, would be thrown out of court. Unfortunately, we no longer have a functioning judiciary. We will soon know if Britain as well lacks one.

Assange was granted asylum in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to answer questions about sexual offense allegations that were eventually dropped. Assange and his lawyers always argued that if he was put in Swedish custody he would be extradited to the United States. Once he was granted asylum and Ecuadorian citizenship the British government refused to grant Assange safe passage to the London airport, trapping him in the embassy for seven years as his health steadily deteriorated.

The Trump administration will seek to try Assange on charges that he conspired with Manning in 2010 to steal the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs obtained by WikiLeaks. …

U.S. government lawyers will attempt to separate WikiLeaks and Assange from The New York Times and the British newspaper The Guardian, both of which also published the leaked material from Manning, by implicating Assange in the theft of the documents. …

Once the documents and videos provided by Manning to Assange and WikiLeaks were published and disseminated by news organizations such as The New York Times and The Guardian, the press callously, and foolishly, turned on Assange. News organizations that had run WikiLeaks material over several days soon served as conduits in a black propaganda campaign to discredit Assange and WikiLeaks. This coordinated smear campaign was detailed in a leaked Pentagon document prepared by the Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch and dated March 8, 2008. The document called on the U.S. to eradicate the “feeling of trust” that is WikiLeaks’ “center of gravity” and destroy Assange’s reputation.

Assange, who with the Manning leaks had exposed the war crimes, lies and criminal manipulations of the George W. Bush administration, soon earned the ire of the Democratic Party establishment by publishing 70,000 hacked emails belonging to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and senior Democratic officials. The emails were copied from the accounts of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman. The Podesta emails exposed the donation of millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two of the major funders of Islamic State, to the Clinton Foundation. It exposed the $657,000 that Goldman Sachs paid to Hillary Clinton to give talks, a sum so large it can only be considered a bribe. It exposed Clinton’s repeated mendacity. She was caught in the emails, for example, telling the financial elites that she wanted “open trade and open borders” and believed Wall Street executives were best positioned to manage the economy, a statement that contradicted her campaign statements. It exposed the Clinton campaign’s efforts to influence the Republican primaries to ensure that Trump was the Republican nominee. It exposed Clinton’s advance knowledge of questions in a primary debate. It exposed Clinton as the primary architect of the war in Libya, a war she believed would burnish her credentials as a presidential candidate. Journalists can argue that this information, like the war logs, should have remained hidden, but they can’t then call themselves journalists. 

What has Julian Assange himself said that reveals what motivates him?

He is against governments keeping secrets from the people. He thinks it is the job of journalists to reveal them.

Journalism should be more like science. As far as possible, facts should be verifiable. If journalists want long-term credibility for their profession, they have to go in that direction. Have more respect for readers.

One of the best ways to achieve justice is to expose injustice.

It raises questions about the natural instincts of Clinton that, when confronted with a serious domestic political scandal, she tries to blame the Russians, blame the Chinese, et cetera.

Although I still write, research and investigate, my role is primarily that of a publisher and editor-in-chief who organizes and directs other journalists.

Cablegate [the scandal over the release by Wikileaks of State Department documents in 2010 and 2011] is 3,000 volumes of material. It is the greatest intellectual treasure to have entered into the public record in modern times. 

You can either be informed and be your own rulers, or you can be ignorant and have someone else, who is not ignorant, rule over you. 

Wikileaks is a mechanism to maximize the flow of information to maximize the amount of action leading to just reform.

True information does good. 

In the history of Wikileaks, nobody has claimed that the material being put out is not authentic. 

Well, I mean, the real attack on truth is tabloid journalism in the United States.

With these statements at least, we agree. We agree that Western governments have become too secretive. We agree that it is a journalist’s business to report what a government is doing to the people who elect it …

… always provided that no individual working for the country is harmed, and no planned strategies of war are betrayed to our enemies. For that to be prevented, it is the responsibility of governments to keep their secrets safe.

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