What happened at the FBI? 9

Yesterday we wrote about the corruption of the leadership of the CIA.

Now here’s a summary of just some of the instances when the FBI failed the nation in recent years – under corrupt leadership. (James Comey’s leadership is not discussed, but a good brief overview of his failures and deceptions can be found here.)

Many murders were committed because the Left in power favored Islam.

Lloyd Billingsley writes at Front Page:

After Nikolas Cruz gunned down 17 people at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, FBI special agent Robert Lasky, head of the bureau’s Miami division, said he “truly regrets” the pain caused by the FBI’s failure to act on a tip about the shooter.

The FBI said it had no way to trace the tip …

An obvious lie …

… then FBI boss Christopher Wray said the message was never passed on to the FBI’s Miami field office, as official protocol required. Relatives of the victims might have noted the passive verb construction. In typical style, Wray failed to name the person who never passed on the tip, and offered no explanation why that person might have done so.

Wray did say “we deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy”. In response to that admission Florida governor Rick Scott called for Wray to resign. Across the country Americans could make a case that Wray and many others in the FBI deserved much sterner measures.

In 2013 Omar Mateen lost his job as security guard at Florida’s St. Lucie County courthouse. Mateen had made “inflammatory comments about women, Jews and the mass shooting at Ft. Hood.” The FBI twice questioned Mateen after he touted ties to terrorists, but FBI special agent Ronald Hopper told reporters “we were unable to verify the substance of his comments and the investigation was closed.” On June 12, 2016, Mateen gunned down 49 people and wounded 58 others at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

Mateen was born in the United States of Afghan parents but the Tsarnaev brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar, [Sufi] Muslims from the Caucuses region, entered the United States on tourist visas then claimed asylum. Russian intelligence warned the FBI the Tsarnaev brothers were dangerous but the FBI’s investigation found no links to terrorism.  On April 15, 2013, the brothers planted bombs at the Boston Marathon that killed three people and wounded at least 264.

In 2008, the FBI had picked up emails between U.S. Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan and Islamist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a terrorist with ties to the 9/11 hijackers. In these emails, Hasan was asking for religious sanction to kill American soldiersThe FBI failed to interview Hasan or even make a phone call to his superiors, and no government agency took any steps to stop him. On November 5, 2009, at Fort Hood Texas, Hasan gunned down 13 unarmed American soldiers, including private Francheska Velez, 21, who was pregnant, and wounded more than 30 others.

Senator Joseph Lieberman sought to make the Hasan-Awlaki emails public but the FBI blocked their release, and military prosecutors forbade their presentation in the trial.

During those proceedings, reporters asked Robert Mueller, FBI boss from 2001-2013, if the bureau had dropped the ball by failing to act. “No,” Mueller responded, “I think, given the context of the discussions and the situation that the agents and the analysts were looking at, they took appropriate steps.” No word about any “regrets,” deep or otherwise, about Hasan’s victims.

For POTUS 44 [Obama], the Fort Hood attack was not terrorism or even “gun violence”. The mass murder was “workplace violence” and Mueller had no problem with that. POTUS 44, who as Barry Soetoro attended a Muslim school in Indonesia, proclaimed that the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. He also ordered that the FBI must not consider any links between Islam and terrorist attacks against the United States.

Mueller duly purged hundreds of counter-terrorism training materials of any hint that Islamic terrorists might pose a security problem. CAIR boss Nihad Awad thanked Mueller for his “pledge” to review FBI counterterrorism training.  So Mueller slavishly put political correctness above the safety of the American people, and that doubtless explains why the FBI looked the other way as the Tsarnaevs, Omar Mateen and others plotted their deadly actions.

Mueller’s politically correct compliance also explains why deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who has problems of his own, tapped the former FBI boss to head up the Russia investigation. Mueller duly bulked up his team with big-time Clinton supporters but his probe has turned up no collusion with the Trump campaign, as the 2016 presidential loser and her media fan club charged.

If Mueller wants to show some integrity, he should shut down the probe immediately.

But where would he suddenly get integrity from?

The former FBI boss’s preference for politics over safety, abetted by incompetence, has trickled down into similar inaction against walking red flags such as Nikolas Cruz. After his mass shooting Christopher Wray admitted the FBI failed and expressed deep regrets. President Trump and Congress need to lean on this guy more than a little bit.

Peter Strzok worked three shifts exonerating Hillary Clinton and framing Donald Trump. That doesn’t sound much like the job description of the FBI’s chief of counterintelligence. So why is this partisan bigot still employed by the FBI in any capacity?

Who are the FBI agents, and their bosses, who looked the other way in the Fort Hood, Boston Marathon and Orlando terrorist attacks? What, exactly, are they doing now?

Answer: Continuing to work hard at undermining the Donald Trump presidency. Is there any reasonable doubt about it?

The Left ‘s passion for stereotyping, exclusion and uniformity 2

Q: How many of these statements are true?

1.You are Hispanic and in the US illegally, so you need protection from law-enforcement.

2.You are an American with black African ancestry, so you are oppressed, and you cannot compete academically or in business without special allowances being made for you.

3.You are Chinese or Japanese, so you are too smart academically and would get all the available places at the top universities if you were allowed to, so you need to be handicapped.

4.You are Jewish, so you are pro-Israel and anti-Palestinian, and deserve contempt and exclusion.

5.You are Muslim, so you need asylum and are subjected to irrational prejudice, and ignorantly held responsible for Muslim terrorists who misunderstand your religion.

6.You are a woman, so you are oppressed.

7.You are a white man, so you are an oppressor and the the arch-villain of history, and ought frequently and publicly to declare and demonstrate that you are ashamed of yourself for being both (a) white and (b) male.

8.You are LGBQT…, so you are oppressed.

9.You are rich and fail to deplore capitalism, so you are greedy, selfish, and have no heart.

10.You are a Leftist, so you believe all the above.

A:Only number 10.

Yes, we are putting it all too bluntly. Without “nuance”. But the Left is in no position to complain about that.

The ideologues of the Left would deal with you not as an individual but according to your “race”, “gender identity”, and political opinions. The Left is communist, so by definition collectivist,  against individualism. Their tediously repeated claim to be for “inclusion and diversity” is one of their many hypocrisies, their glib, orthodox, platitudinous lies.

They do their utmost to exclude opinions they don’t like from academic and public forums; they insist upon a uniformity of expressed opinion.

David Horowitz writes:

In January, when negotiations over the fate of 800,000 DACA recipients broke down, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) blamed the impasse on the alleged racism of President Trump and his senior advisers.

“Last night the president put forth a plan,” Pelosi told the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “Let me just say what I said last night, that plan is a campaign to make America white again.” This was not only an obvious lie, but a spectacularly brazen one, since Trump’s announced plan would provide a path to citizenship not only for the illegal aliens who had benefited from President Obama’s constitutionally suspect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, all of whom are nonwhite, but for a million additional illegals, mainly from Latin America, who are also mainly nonwhite. Trump’s general immigration plan seeks to move to a merit-based system, which would give priority to immigrants who can contribute needed skills to the country and would have a reasonable chance of success once they arrived. Giving priority to English speakers would enhance the ability of new arrivals to assimilate and succeed. To oppose such a plan on the grounds Pelosi does, one would have to believe that nonwhite immigrants don’t have skills or don’t speak English. Anti-Trump reporter Jim Acosta made the latter insinuation on CNN. He said Trump wanted only immigrants from majority-white countries like “England and Australia”.  In fact, English is the official language in more than 57 countries, including such nonwhite countries as Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Botswana, as well as Caribbean nations like Jamaica and Guyana.

Pelosi’s malicious accusation was even more disconnected from reality, since Trump has never proposed excluding or expelling populations based on race, which would be the only way to “make America white again” (whatever that might mean). Yet this denial of obvious facts in order to gin up a racial indictment of what otherwise would be seen as patriotic policies has become the ever-present theme of the Democrats’ attacks on Trump’s presidency. These attacks began with his first statement on immigration during the opening presidential primary debate. At that time, speaking specifically of people crossing the border illegally, Trump said, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best . . . . They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with [them]. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

This warning, however factual its basis, was ineptly put by a novice politician …

We strongly agree with most of all that, but disagree here. How else ought it to be put?

… but its meaning was clear to any fair-minded listener. When millions of people invade a country in defiance of its laws and without passing through a vetting and citizenship process, that is a threat to the nation and its citizens — regardless of the color or origin of the perpetrators. Yet this otherwise reasonable concern was immediately turned by Trump’s opponents into an alleged attack on Mexicans for being Mexican, and more pointedly on “people of color” for being different — both blatant lies.

After Trump’s election, Democrats adopted the same strategy in their “resistance” to his presidential executive order temporarily suspending travel from six terrorist states. The express purpose of the order was to provide time for a proper vetting system to be put in place to protect American citizens. The Democrats’ unscrupulous campaign to frame this policy as “anti-Muslim” and “anti-minority” included suborning left-wing appeals courts to ignore the president’s clear constitutional authority, and instead invoke his off-the-cuff campaign remarks to make the case that the order was racially biased. …

There is no evidence that President Trump is “anti-minority”. We would wish him to be “anti-Muslim”. Not to discriminate against individuals, but to keep the appalling ideology of Islam – supremacist, totalitarian, homophobic, misogynist, murderous, aggressive, and savagely cruel – out of the United States as much as possible.

The inevitable consequence of using a blanket standard like race to evaluate immigration policy is to eliminate any possibility of designing a policy that is rational or that protects the nation’s sovereignty. It also eliminates the possibility of designing a policy that serves the national interest, since America is built on the idea of individual accountability and individual freedom.

Balkanizing its community into races and ethnicities renders individuals and their characteristics invisible or secondary at best. If race is the trump card, factors like the possession of skills, adherence to the law, economic viability, language compatibility, and allegiance to the constitutional founding, are rendered irrelevant in selecting new citizens, and thus in preserving the factors that have made America what is today.

The Democrats’ support for “sanctuary cities” and “sanctuary states” is the summary statement of this race-based attitude towards would-be citizens. It prevents consideration of even the most basic question of how large an influx of individuals the nation can absorb and support, while maintaining its culture of individual accountability and freedom. For progressives, the number of individuals coming into this country and their actual behaviors are irrelevant; all that matters is their ethnicity and race — and potential for voting left in future elections. These collectivities override the fundamental consideration of the law, and thus of the entire democratic enterprise.

The attacks by Democrats and leftists on federal law, on national borders, and on the idea of assimilation into an American culture can only be understood as attacks on the nation itself. Members of the Democrats’ “resistance” employ loaded phrases like “white supremacy” and “white nationalism” in referring to the White House and the supporters of secure borders and a rational immigration policy. The clear meaning of this abuse of language is that, in the eyes of the left, an American patriotism is illegitimate; American patriotism is equivalent to “white nationalism” and is racist.

The racial politics of the Left is part of a larger spectrum of “identity politics”, which has been embraced by the Democratic Party and is better understood as “cultural Marxism”. Cultural Marxists divide the population into racial, ethnic and gender groups and arrange them in a hierarchy of alleged oppression. This perverse and divisive view of American society was, in fact, the organizing principle of Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential campaign, which justified her candidacy as ending the alleged inequality of women and the mythical wage-gender pay gap. Her opponents, she said, belonged in a “basket of deplorables”,  which she identified as “racists, sexists, homophobes, Islamophobes, xenophobes — you name it”.

Following her defeat, her Democratic supporters formed #TheResistance to the incoming president, whom they denounced as a white nationalist, sexist, anti-Muslim racist. A “resistance” is hardly an appropriate posture for an opposition party in a democracy, where compromise and tolerance are foundational values. This war declared on the Trump presidency was launched with a Women’s March, billed as the largest protest ever, which presented itself as a movement to defend “oppressed” groups against the incoming “white supremacist” administration that Americans had just elected.

The Women’s March was headed by Linda Sarsour, an advocate of Islam’s misogynistic Sharia law and a vocal supporter of Islamist holy war … Sarsour told the assembled marchers, “I also remember that I live in a country that was founded on the extermination of indigenous people.” This was a declaration of hate for America, approved by the protesters and typical of their speakers. It was also a libel — the perfect expression of the Left’s oppressive chain of being, in which whites, males, heterosexuals and patriotic Americans are framed as genocidal enemies of “social justice” and human progress. It was a lie equal in brazenness to Pelosi’s claim that Trump’s agenda was to make America white again. There are, in fact, more “native Americans” alive today than there were when the first European settlers arrived. It never was, nor has been, the policy of the United States to exterminate indigenous people or any racial or ethnic group.

The ideological miasma that has overcome the Democratic Party and the Left, was crystallized in Hillary Clinton’s claim that “sexism” rather than her own incompetence, corrupt history, and inept campaign was responsible for her defeat. “Sexism” is a bastardized term that was coined by 1960s-era radicals in a calculated attempt to appropriate the moral authority of the civil rights movement through a false association with “racism”. Only a perverse reading of history and the social relations between the sexes could lead to this absurd attempt to link the treatment of African Americans and women. But for radicals, the conflation of the two is essential to their Marxist view of the world as a hierarchy of oppressors and oppressed, of America as the great Satan on the hierarchy’s crest. …

[This view] can criminalize merely boorish and inappropriate behaviors and invoke punishments that can be quite severe. In the hysterical atmosphere created by the #MeToo movement — a by-product of the Women’s March and the “movement” that produced it — mere accusations become tantamount to guilt with chilling results, and ominous implications for a country built on “due process,” and the defense of individual rights. …

This ideological framework — abstract and collectivist — eliminates individual nuance and distinction. … What is important is no longer the particulars of [individual] cases, or the character of the individuals involved, but their collective identity  — as white oppressor males — and the collective identity of their alleged victims, oppressed women. …

While democracy and individual freedoms still prevail in America, the injustices perpetrated by these totalitarian ideas, which have caused so much misery in modern times, will be limited. But the totalitarian march has already resulted in a kind of civil war in our political life, although such violence as exists has been mainly verbal. But consider what happened when there were no democratic restraints and these ideas became the reigning ideology of a Marxist state in 1917: “We are not carrying out war against individuals,” explained a member of Lenin’s secret police about his government’s campaign against the kulaks, or land-owning peasants. “We are exterminating the bourgeoisie as a class. We are not looking for evidence or witnesses to reveal deeds or words against the Soviet power. The first question we ask is — to what class does he belong, what are his origins, upbringing, education or profession? These questions define the fate of the accused. This is the essence of the Red Terror.”

Similar questions have already defined the fate of the accused in our country, and the frequency of such incidents should be a warning. Thankfully, despite the disturbing influence of identity politics in our schools, in the Democratic Party, and among growing number of political actors, we are still far away from a Red Terror. But as Ronald Reagan famously warned:

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.

The erosion of individual freedom and individual rights, and of the idea of individual agency and accountability, is well advanced. The policies of the Democratic Party on immigration, race, women and a host of critical issues are now shaped by a collectivist, identity politics mentality. We cannot be certain where this will lead, and we should be alarmed that it has gotten so far.

The article is worth reading in full. It can be found here.

Our Darkening Hour 8

Our Western civilization is roiled by conflict; political struggles of the utmost importance.

Some call them “wars”. They are being fought mostly without weapons and violence, though one side (the wrong side of course) often resorts to physical attack, convinced that its righteousness justifies and demands it.

We quote from an article by Paul Collits at the Australian magazine Quadrant. (Our cuts include most of the specifically Australian references.)

By my reckoning there are six key wars, all of which must be identified, understood and, most of all, fought.

First, there is the war that must be won against political correctness in all its forms.  This is a fight between the elites and the punters.  It is a battle for the heart and soul of our society.  On one side are the careerists and ideologues of the fevered swamps of Washington, Canberra and so on; on the other, the deplorables, the Reagan Democrats, the Howard Battlers, the Struggle Street listeners tuned in to talkback radio, the small businessmen and women, the two-income families who want what is right for their kids. …

Second, there is the war against environmentalism in all its guises.  The god of “sustainability”, born in the 1980s … is now so embedded in schools, universities and media it is not remotely clear how one might fight back.  The god of sustainability has delivered to us the scourges and nonsenses that are “peak oil”, “climate change” and “renewable” energy.

Third, there is the war between Islam and the West.  This takes many forms – from global migration of economic refugees, to sharia law, welfare fraud, gangs and terrorism.  Its fronts are the banlieu of Paris, the bookshops of Lakemba and the streets of Melbourne.  Taking the side of Islam in this war is politics 101 for today’s “leaders”.

Fourth, there is the war against the Administrative State.  The State’s overreach is now all but complete.  The nanny state rules our lives.  It is the tool by which political correctness is enforced, by which freedom of speech and freedom of belief are purged and personal conduct regulated. Paranoia, you say? … The State’s nannyism combines with political correctness to haul the innocent before the faux courts of our time … Their crime? Saying that which others do not want heard. …

Fifth, there is the war between globalism and nationalism. The Davos brigade, the Soros network of lavishly funded activists, and their many lackeys in politics, Silicon Valley and elsewhere, lead the charge. Their weapons are globalisation and technology.  Their institutions are global, not national. Their aim is global governance and the end of the nation state, with its old fashioned values of patriotism flag and family.

Finally, there is the war on truth. This is the biggest of them all. …  [We must fight for truth against] the victory of Derrida, Foucault and their fellow-travelling Marxists and neo-Marxists who occupy the commanding cultural heights of our society and have succeeded in embedding and seizing our key institutions – the media, political parties, schools, universities, Hollywood and now even the corporations. The whole phenomenon of fake news bespeaks their success. …

[Their] biggest victory … was over our poor dumb millennials, now two generations removed from any proper understanding of Western values and virtues, and the core value of the West is truth. Earlier, when I spoke of schools, I did not say “our” schools, for they no longer are. They, too, have been colonised. Their graduates will list the ills and crimes of the West and rattle them off by Pavlovian rote, and thus do we hear of a past populated by the likes of Simon Legree [the cruel slave-owner in Uncle Tom’s Cabin – ed] but seldom if ever of Wilberforce [who launched the successful campaign to free all the slaves in the British Empire – ed]. The ease with which, for example, the young are convinced of something patently untrue can be seen in the numbers of our young who lazily embrace the ersatz version of marriage now de rigueur. …

There are other battles outside the six wars, of course, but it would be hard to find a front or even a minor skirmish that is not a theatre of these six conflicts. …

In [the] “darkest hours” [of World War II] Churchill certainly did not believe that checking and defeating an existential threat to the very being of the British Isles would be easy, nor that it could be avoided. Everything was on the line. His own War Cabinet was divided.  A serious argument was made … that Britain should seek an accommodation with Hitler.  Much of the British army was stranded and exposed in a foreign land, albeit only 22 miles away at its closest. … Victory would be deemed by any reasonable appraisal as most unlikely. …

The two wars since – Vietnam and the second Iraq War – featured murky enemies, often hard to find and certainly hard to destroy, and new technologies. But far more telling was the lack of consensus at home about whether those wars should be fought at all — whether the enemy was, indeed, “the enemy”. What Churchill could count on was a united and angry populace … committed to the fight with heart and soul — “blood, sweat and tears”, as he put it. …

Who do we have manning the barricades today? 

The barricades of the wrong side, that is to say.

Justin Trudeau.  Macron.  Merkel. Theresa May. Jean-Claude Juncker.  Turnbull.  The Davos set.  The UN.  Pope Francis. Mark Zuckerberg. Oprah. Prince Charles. These are the figures that flit across the world’s TV screens and its collective frontal lobe, mouth their platitudes and move on to the next sound byte, their pronouncement’s on Islam’s amity or the wickedness of cheap power seldom questioned by a media imbued with the same views, the same agendas, the same presumption that projected virtue can trump the precedent of history. Just how they never explain. These leaders, so called, are almost to a man or woman, batting for the enemy by word and deed and silence.  The worst of them actively collaborate and work against the interests of their own people.

If, on the off-chance, our young people might be cajoled to see [the film] Darkest Hour, they just might begin to see with a clarity not previously available to them how we are, indeed, involved in a number of lethal wars. To lose them will destroy their futures in ways even more insidious than Hitler or even Stalin could have imagined. And they might consider voting for folks who might be minded to fight the battles that matter now.  An outsider?  One hated by his own party?  Someone who sees enemies and understands how to fight them.  Someone willing to spare the niceties?  Someone willing to make his country great again?  Err, wait a minute …

Although at present we have on our side – the side of truth, freedom, civilized values, and the nation state – a great Commander-in-Chief in the person of President Trump, it is not at all clear at this time which side will be victorious.

In all the wars, the enemy is the Left. With its “political correctness”, environmentalism, alliance with Islam, deep-state socialism, globalism, and hatred of our civilization which it is determined to destroy, the Left has conquered the institutions of education, most of the media, the entertainment industry, and the pinnacles of power in many Western states. It held the pinnacle of power in the US for eight years and did much harm to America, making the people poorer and the country weaker; and to the world by upheaving populations, sending millions pouring out of shithole countries and flooding into our world. The tide is against us.

Will President Trump, standing alone among leaders as Churchill did, succeed as he did in turning the tide?

A great man, a great president 4

It is time to sing the praises of a great president who has accomplished wonders in just one year of his presidency – while being opposed, impeded, maligned, frustrated, denigrated and threatened  by his political opponents, most of the media, and a large contingent of snobby Republicans.

Karin McQuillan does the singing beautifully. She understands that great accomplishment is possible only to those who possess the character and talent for it.

She writes at American Thinker:

As more and more people who hate Trump are forced to admit his achievements as president, they are doubling down on character assassination. Even Trump voters often preface their satisfaction with Trump’s actions by criticizing his tweets or his personality.

Here’s an alternate take on things: Trump’s character is responsible for his outstanding performance in his first year as president. If you want to know who someone is, you look at what he does. What we have: a booming economy, growing jobs, more lawful governance, fewer regulations, more global security. What character traits this took: hard work, focus, commitment, courage, honesty, independence, incorruptibility, self-confidence, love of excellence. The list of Trump’s positive character traits goes on and on. You don’t get achievements independent of character.

I think Trump’s character is excellent.

Trump’s integrity in office is outstanding – the first politician in my memory who is sticking to his promises to voters. We are hugely benefiting from his promise-keeping.

His primary promise was to focus on jobs. Wow, has he delivered. Jobless claims have dropped to the lowest level in 44 years – last seen in 1973, under Nixon. Record-breaking low unemployment in 13 states. Investment reinvigorating the Rust Belt. More high-paying jobs in mining, oil, and industry – another promise kept, as President Trump has unleashed the energy sector and boosted capital investment.

Lazy, leftist, passive President Obama lectured us to accept the new normal of a stagnant economy, which was what his policies delivered. GDP growth was 1.6 percent in 2016.

Passivity and defeatism are not in Trump’s nature. He is a fighter who thinks big. He believes in free enterprise in his gut, because he is himself a go-getter. He thought big for the American economy, because he believes in Americans. Trump likes to say he completed his projects on time and under budget. It was a matter of pride for him. Pride can be a good thing.

Trump was scoffed at as a braggart and buffoon for promising 3-percent growth. He has already over-delivered.

The unemployment gap between blacks and whites has fallen to a record low. Trump promised the black community a better life in a better economy, and he has come through.

Unemployment for Hispanic Americans is the lowest in history. Another promise kept, as our Hispanic citizens have benefited from Trump enforcing our border laws and driving farm wages up. …

Trump boosted the economy through vigorous action: cutting regs, boosting the energy sector, restoring business confidence, dramatic corporate tax cuts, bringing back investments from overseas, and cutting job competition from illegal aliens. We now have a tight labor market, and wages are rising.

For much of the year, Trump was doing a lot of jaw-boning and executive actions, with no legislative back-up. These economic achievements came from President Trump’s character strengths. He is a high-focus, driven bulldozer of a man who gets things done. He’s a practical man. He’s a hard worker. These are not sophisticated or cultured or warm, fuzzy traits; they are traits of a strong man.

We have forgotten to honor masculinity in our culture.

President Trump did more than any president in history in his first year to relieve the regulatory burden on Americans. Complying with useless government regulations costs the economy $2 trillion a year, or 21% of the average payroll per American company. Estimates are that the Obama regs slowed the economy by 0.8%. Trump’s regulatory cuts, in which his administration removed 22 outdated regulations for each new one, is a big part of his doubling our economic growth in one year.

What did it take to cut the size of government and unleash the power of capitalism in this way? It was motivated not by conservative principles of small government. It was based in Trump’s character. He is one hundred percent practical. He has a strong sense of fairness. He is fearless. He thrives on opposition. He has incredible guts and stubbornness, necessary to take on the federal bureaucracy. He doesn’t give in when opponents fight dirty, and boy, does the Deep State fight dirty. He is not scared of the media’s attacks on him as a monster destroying the planet and abandoning the poor.

He is a creative and master fighter, as we see in the his effective use of tweets and branding to encourage his supporters and sow confusion among the enemy. …

He does not flout the law … like the underhanded Barack Obama. Obama’s DOJ and EPA created secret and illegal slush funds. The Democrat DOJ blackmailed the industries it was regulating in order to provide half a billion dollars to left-wing groups. The EPA used phony sue-and-settle tactics to hand undemocratic power to privileged leftist groups.

In sharp contrast, Trump … respects the rule of law. He honors the presidency. He is open and forthright. His administration has turned the DOJ and EPA back to following the laws as written.

Obama was an unhealthy narcissist who had never accomplished anything in the real world, yet he boasted that he knew more about every topic than his top advisers. … The mediocre surround themselves with lesser mediocrities. Obama undoubtedly did know more about foreign affairs than his right-hand national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, a speechwriter with a degree in creative writing.

Trump … is not afraid of being surrounded by top experts. He expects them to know far more in their fields than he does. Trump’s pride makes him seek excellence in others. He has created an impressive Cabinet and White House staff of brilliant achievers. You don’t get effective results on the economy and foreign affairs without a high-quality leader.

The importance of character to effectiveness cannot be overstated. … He is not discouraged by failures and mistakes; he learns from them. He doesn’t just set goals; he follows up on results. He faces reality.

Trump does not see Americans in different categories.  He cares about all Americans, black, white and brown; rich, middle-class, and poor; city-dwellers and country-dwellers; New York sophisticates and Evangelicals. He values freedom and prosperity for himself and for the rest of us. He wants to do what is best for the country, not what is best for only some identity groups or some regions at the expense of others, as in Obama and Hillary’s zero-sum game of identity politics.

We barely survived eight years of a bigot in the White House: the resentful, racially obsessed President Obama, who disliked Evangelicals, rural Americans, working-class whites, white small businessmen, and Jews. At home, Obama purposefully stirred up racial hatred and violence for political gain. Abroad, Obama tried to hand over the Middle East to the Muslim Brotherhood and facilitate nuclear weapons for the mullahs as payback to America. Obama’s race-baiting led to Americans dying – assassinations of our men in blue and innocent black victims of the resulting crime spree. He chose to destabilize Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and Libya, setting off an unprecedented war on Christians and a Muslim migrant invasion of Europe. Maybe I missed it, but I don’t remember NeverTrumps criticizing Obama on character flaws.

Unlike our last president, President Trump is who he is. What you see is what you get. His candor is blunt and refreshing.  e is not an ideologue, not a secret schemer, not a race-baiter, not a bitter person seeking payback. …  [He] is a happy warrior.

Trump is honest in another sense, also: he is not corrupt.  Indeed, he seems incorruptible. Trump does not sell himself to certain industries or lobbying groups (think the Clinton Foundation; think Obama’s wasting the trillion-dollar economic stimulus on Solyndra green schemes and payoffs to Democrat voting blocs).

President Trump is a unique politician – a free man.

There’s another set of admirable traits responsible for Trump’s economic achievements. … Trump actually notices and cares about other people.  His voters are real people to him, as he is real to them. …  His priority on growing the economy and job promotion comes from his love of ordinary people, working-class people of all colors and all regions, whom he sees as real human beings and treats with respect. What a relief after the cold and contemptuous President Obama, who cared about power, not people. Trump’s compassion and insight into working people’s lives are wonderful character traits, shared by few in his class.

The president is also our commander in chief. How has Trump’s character served him in this role?

Trump’s love of country and patriotism are dominant character traits. … [His] personal qualities have resulted in the defeat of ISIS, our improved relations with the Saudis (now on board fighting terrorism and cooperating with Israel), restoration of our warm alliance with Israel, decertifying the odious Iran deal, and supporting the Iranian demonstrators against the mullahs. European countries are finally paying their NATO dues, illegal aliens invading our country are being stopped at the border, the H-1B visa system is being applied lawfully to protect American jobs, and terrorists are no longer welcome into the country. Trump is in the process of bullying the Chinese and the U.N. and South Korea into more effective action against North Korea … The ability to bully opponents is something you want in a president.

Thanks to his fearless and clear-sighted character, we finally have a president who will not allow North Korea or Iran to have nuclear weapons.  Those of us who see that this is vital for national security are deeply grateful … 

Trump has an abundance of character strengths as a tough guy – he is brave, he is assertive, he is an experienced fighter, and he always goes on offense. He uses punishments and threats and intimidation, as well as cooperation and rewards, to get things done, because that is what it takes to win, and he wants to win. He is unpredictable and keeps his opponents off balance. He is impervious to their outrage. He is a fierce fighter against all who attack him or his family or his country.

NeverTrumps are allergic to Trump’s aggressive masculinity. … His commonsense thinking, bold methods, and blunt personality are toxic to them – never smart, never constructive, never heroic, never associated with his achievements. They are so blinded by their own hatred that they see Trump as a dangerous monster. They accept outright lies and miss the real man entirely.

In a mere 800-word column, Bret Stephens, conservative columnist for the New York Times, managed to call Trump, in Stephens’s own words, a lying, bullying, bigoted, ignorant, crass, petty, paranoid incompetent; a disgrace; an intemperate, dishonest demagogue who requires debased toadyism from his White House and Cabinet; a man who humiliates, denigrates, and insults his own officers and agencies, who is comparable to Juan Perón and Hugo Chávez and a deviant. Stephens talks of the irremediable “stain of [Trump’s] person,” Trump’s violence, his cult of strength (as in dictatorship), his disdain for truth, his hostility toward high culture, his conspiratorial thinking, and his white identity politics. In the midst of the hysterical name-calling, Stephens doesn’t point to a single bigoted word or action by Trump. He can’t. There is none. The accusations are partisan nonsense. In Stephens’s alternate universe, Trump’s evident competence, his love, respect, and commitment to help his fellow Americans, goes invisible, and we are left with a racist, fascist caricature born of leftist agitprop.

It is a sorry reflection on our polite society that they are having conniption fits over Trump’s character. They want to divide the man from his achievements, just as they successfully divided Obama from his failures. Can they succeed in besmirching Trump’s character as they succeeded in sanitizing Obama’s? Their megaphone is large, and their self-interest in supporting the status quo ante is strong. They have a ready-built audience. They have enlisted enemies within our own Republican camp.

We have Trump.  We are winning.

President Trump wants everything he works on to be as good, as well made, as fit for its purpose, as it can possibly be. He achieves it because he works for it. He is not satisfied by anything less than the best. How lucky is America that it has such a person willing and able to come to its rescue, not only to save it but to make it even better than it has ever been, after the eight-year battering it took under the former administration led by the Communist, Islam-loving, America-hating nonentity, Barack Obama!

 

(Hat-tip to Cogito for the link to Karin McQuillan’s fine article)

Posted under Commentary, Conservatism, Defense, Economics, Ethics, Law, liberty, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, January 6, 2018

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Winning 17

We had a commenter recently on our Facebook page who said that President Trump should “get off his ass” and do something. When we replied that he had achieved more in his first year than any other president in living memory, and against more deliberate hampering, blocking and resistance than any other president – and that he, the commenter,  only did not know this because he read the mainstream media which refused to report President Trump’s accomplishments – his further comment was a long string of hahahas.

As there must be millions who would also laugh at our assertion, it is time to list those accomplishments. And it is also time to name the conservatives who joined the hamperers, blockers and resisters in making it as hard for the president to achieve anything as they possibly could – out of sheer prejudice.

John Nolte has made such a list and named some of the most prominent guilty conservatives.

He writes at Breitbart:

Remember these names: Jonah Goldberg, David Frum, Bill Kristol, Rich Lowry, Max Boot, Mitt Romney, John Kasich, Joe Scarborough, Jeff Flake, Ben Sasse, Jennifer Rubin, George Will, Josh Jordan, Tom Nichols, Charles Cooke, Stephen Hayes, Tim Miller, John Podhoretz, Nicole Wallace, Steven Schmidt, Bret Stephens, Ross Douthat, Leon Wolf, David Brooks, Rick Wilson, Evan McMullin, Stuart Stevens, Red State, National Review, the Weekly Standard 

These are the so-called conservative men, women, and institutions who (among others) fought the hardest to sabotage Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, all in the unforgivable hope that Hillary Clinton would become president.

These are so-called conservatives who have, for nearly two years now, been promoting themselves and fundraising by smearing Trump as incompetent and “not a real conservative,” as a “Democrat in sheep’s clothing” — when, in fact, all of that best describes #NeverTrump.

These are the so-called conservatives who — after Trump’s first year in office — have now been proven as wrong as wrong can be. If their conservative credentials lost all credibility during a 2016 campaign during which they used whatever residual influence they had to hand the Oval Office to Clinton, the proven results of the past year should mean that they are written off forever as idiots, quacks, mercenaries, and con men.

Trump has had, in my opinion, the most successful first year of any president since Ronald Reagan. And not just a consequential first year that has already built a legacy, but conservative first year. Below, I do my best to list these accomplishments, but there are so many, forgive me if a few are missed:

  • Real, honest-to-goodness tax reform and cuts — the most consequential in 30 years.
  • Opening ANWR for oil exploration, an accomplishment few can appreciate who do not remember the 90s and what a sacred cow this is for the left.
  • Killing the Obamacare mandate that brutalized those making less than $50,000 a year.
  • The Islamic State (ISIS) has been decimated. [We would say obliterated– ed]
  • After a 2016 of just 1.9 percent GDP growth, we have now had two quarters in a row of growth over three percent; predictions for the final quarter of 2017 are as high as four percent.
  • [The appointment of] Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, who has already proven himself the perfect replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia.
  • The Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines are a go — which means tens of thousands of jobs.
  • A record number of judicial appointments on the appeals courts.
  • The end of the War on Coal.
  • A surge in coal mining after 2016’s decline.
  • The end of the federal government’s violating the religious conscience through indefensible Obamacare mandates involving birth control and abortion pills.
  • The civil rights movement for school choice is getting the green light throughout the country.
  • Illegal immigration is way down.
  • The stock market hit record highs 70 times in 2017, rising 5,000 points for the first time ever.
  • The long-overdue recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
  • We are free of the awful Paris climate treaty.
  • Regulatory reform that is just getting started, but it has already had a hugely positive effect on our economy.
  • Withdrawal from the Global Compact on Migration, which undercut American sovereignty.
  • Return of nearly two million acres to the state Utah that the federal government had stolen.
  • A $250 billion trade deal with China.
  • Many of our NATO allies are finally paying their dues.
  • Consumer confidence is the best we have seen in more than a decade.
  • Pulled us out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in favor of the American worker and sovereignty.
  • Trump has managed to get China to help rein in North Korea. [To some extent – ed]
  • Black unemployment is at a 17-year low.
  • Hispanic unemployment is at an all-time low.
  • Overall unemployment is at [four point] one percent.
  • Manufacturing jobs boom.
  • Standing up for persecuted Christian minorities in the Middle East. [More needs to be done, but it’s a start – ed]
  • Promoting Christmas.
  • Banning [immigration] or demanding stronger vetting [of immigrants] from [predominantly Muslim] countries most likely to [export] terrorists.
  • Housing sales are at an 11-year high.
  • Ban on transgender military recruits.

Now, you need to close your eyes and imagine what the list above would look like had #NeverTrump won the day and made Hillary Clinton president.

Now, try to imagine any one of the 16 Republicans who competed [with Trump] for the 2016 nomination accomplishing all of this, or even having the courage to stand up to a media onslaught to accomplish all of this, or even being, yes, conservative enough to do things like pull us out of the Paris climate agreement (something the Republican establishment’s failed 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney, opposes).

Trump’s conservatism, his competence, his willingness to stand up to gale force media hate to keep his promises, is unlike anything we have seen since 1981.

In the pursuit of only their own grift, personal fame, the gratification of bottomless egos, and a soft place to land among the Beautiful People, #NeverTrump lied to us, took our money, and fought tooth and nail to extend the disastrous Obama presidency into a third term.

And now, just one year into Trump’s presidency, #NeverTrump has once again been exposed for who they truly are — bitter, dishonest saboteurs more interested in their lofty place at the trough than the future of their own country.

All these bitter clingers have left now is to further degrade outlets such as the once-necessary National Review, a once-cherished laboratory of vibrant conservative ideas and thought, which is now a hangout for sore losers to keep rewriting the same column over and over and over again about how pure and virtuous they are, as they scold the rest of us for fighting for and sticking with a president who has delivered in ways they told us was not even within the realm of possibility.

So now the real conservatives can laugh – the longest string of triumphant hahahas they can manage while their breath lasts.

*

Later: WND provides an even longer list: 168 accomplishments.

The high moral ideals of a liar, traitor, and adulterer 2

The man who, at least as much as anyone else in the Obama-corrupted Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), worked to undermine the duly elected President of the United States with a tissue of lies connected to each other with brilliant cunning and prodigious labor, was Peter Strzok, Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI and second in command of Counterintelligence. (For some of the things he did to help the plot to stitch up Donald Trump, see our post of two days ago: One Strzok after another – “as wrong as it gets”, December 11, 2017.

Yet he lays claim to high moral principles.

He wrote of Donald Trump that he “appears to have no ability to experience reverence which I [missing word here – let’s read “consider”] the foundation for any capacity to admire or serve anything bigger than self to want to learn about anything beyond self, to want to know and deeply honor the people around you.”

Let’s “deconstruct” this (to borrow a word for the nonce from the Evil Left).

Peter Strzok thinks a man should “have the ability” to “experience reverence” … He does not say “should revere”, but should ”experience reverence” as something that comes upon him. This reverence is “the foundation for a capacity to admire”. It is not in itself enough to bring one to admire; it is the foundation for a capacity to do it.

And what is it that should be admired? “Anything bigger than self” and “beyond self”. It is a thing worthy of being “served” as well as admired. One should ”want to learn about” it.

And it’s identity is finally revealed. What one should “want to know” and “deeply honor” is – are – “the people around you”.

To cut a long-winded piece of sanctimonious virtue-signaling short, Peter Strzok believes one should want to know and deeply honor the people around him. And – he believes –  Donald Trump does not have the ability to do this, because he cannot experience the reverence which is the foundation of the capacity to do it, it being something bigger than himself, so he does not want to know the people around him and does not honor the people around him.

So he does not deserve to be president.

Before we come on to the person Peter Strzok thinks does deserve to be president – someone who, presumably in his view, has the ability … the capacity … to want to know and deeply honor the people around her (yes, it’s her), let’s look harder at Peter Strzok.

He wrote that example of his high moral ideals to his mistress, Lisa Page, who was working for Andrew McCabe, Deputy Director of the FBI and Acting Director from May 9, 2017 until August 2, 2017.

Peter Strzok and Lisa Page exchanged thousands of emails.

Page wrote of Donald Trump: “What an utter idiot.” And “God trump is a loathsome human. … omg he’s an idiot.” “He’s awful,” Strzok agreed.

Both of them are married. We do not regard adultery as a “sin”, but we recognize that many Americans do. And certainly neither of them was deeply honoring his and her spouse.

Lisa Page’s husband is Joseph Burrow ,“a non-profit executive” of  “an international  education organization”. His self-authored profile at LinkedIn tell us that he is Vice President for Student Engagement, International Student Exchange Programs (ISEP). Also that he is an “Experienced International Education Executive, Advocate for Flattening the Higher Education Hierarchy through User-Focused Design and Technology, Student Champion. Oversee Student Engagement and Marketing for 360+ Higher Education Institutions.” And, he says: “I also really like natural wine, good food, opera and taking time to eat on the street when traveling.” (The words in bold words do suggest, though it is no surprise, that he is a person of the Left.)

Peter Strzok’s wife is Melissa Hodgman, Associate Director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), appointed by Obama in late 2016. (And she wouldn’t have been appointed by Obama if she were not a person of the Left.)

The emails exchanged between the lovers yield much information about the plot laid against the man whom tens of millions of Americans chose to be their president. That much has emerged from some of the emails, and there are thousands more whose contents we have yet to hear about.

What else has been revealed is that both of them respected, admired, and actively supported Hillary Clinton when she was the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate.

“God Hillary should win 100,000,000 – 0,” Strzok wrote in March 2016.

To abhor and despise a man who arouses enormous enthusiasm among tens of millions of people, on the grounds that he doesn’t want to know or honor them; and at the same time to revere, admire and actively support – by profoundly crooked means – a woman who called those people “deplorables” and is herself coldly immoral, unrepentantly corrupt, and even positively criminal, does not demonstrate an ability to judge character. 

Nor does Peter Strzok seem to have insight into his own character. Not an uncommon failing of us human beings. But for those who enjoy membership of the vast left-wing hypocrisy, a positive asset.

Posted under corruption, Crime, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, December 14, 2017

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In defense of classical liberalism 7

A Harvard University reader of this website, who goes by the pseudonym of Adam Smythe, sent us by email this well-informed reply to the Yoram Hazony article we posted yesterday. He explores the issues with admirable intellectual rigor:

The article is interesting, though rather confused – mainly because the categories that he is trying to describe are themselves confused. In turn, I found much of his article confusing, and my response will, doubtless, further confuse the issues in question. So confused at first was I by his article that I did not know whether I wholeheartedly agreed or abjectly opposed it.

First things first: von Mises strongly believed (too much, I would say) in the right of self-determination. The comment  he made about world government mentioned in the article was predicated upon all countries first adopting his brand of liberalism. He argued that the size of a state was an irrelevancy, and that if all states happily adopted liberalism, then a world government in line with the liberal program would be favorable.

That von Mises opposed hugely bureaucratic institutions, of the kind lauded by “globalists”, is even more clear. It is true that German and Austrian 19th century liberalism did generally argue for the widespread adoption of governmental bureaucracies full of well-educated administrators; one might conclude from this that Mises, an outspoken “liberal” himself, would be in favor of a world bureaucratic government. Nothing could be further from the truth — he wrote extensively against bureaucracies in, among other things, his scathing book Bureaucracy, and was the originator of the entire intellectual opposition to the idea of “educated” planning with his essay Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth. In this respect he was opposed to his “liberal” colleagues.

The “liberal” infatuation with bureaucracies further confounds the author’s thesis that liberalism is fundamentally rationalist. Most liberals liked these bureaucracies because they could be empirically minded, and pragmatic, whereas laws originating from legislative bodies could not. Von Mises, however, generally opposed this position.

To argue that von Mises was in favor of big government, on the basis of the single comment mentioned by the author, and to further conclude that this is the backbone for the case for widespread “liberalizing” military intervention in contemporary American politics, is absurd. In particular, a man in favor of international government in general or forcible interventions by liberal states into the affairs of non-liberal ones, would not write as von Mises did in Man, State and Economy:

Liberalism knows no conquests, no annexations; just as it is indifferent towards the state itself, so the problem of the size of the state is unimportant to it. It forces no one against his will into the structure of the state. Whoever wants to emigrate is not held back. When a part of the people of the state wants to drop out of the union, liberalism does not hinder it from doing so. Colonies that want to become independent need only do so. The nation as an organic entity can be neither increased nor reduced by changes in states; the world as a whole can neither win nor lose from them.

In fact, I would say von Mises went too far in opposition to world government — he believed strongly (I believe too strongly) in the right of self-determination. Also from Man, State, and Economy):

The right of self-determination in regard to the question of membership in a state thus means: whenever the inhabitants of a particular territory, whether it be a single village, a whole district, or a series of adjacent districts, make it known, by a freely conducted plebiscite, that they no longer wish to remain united to the state to which they belong at the time, but wish either to form an independent state or to attach themselves to some other state, their wishes are to be respected and complied with. This is the only feasible and effective way of preventing revolutions and civil and international wars.

As for Hayek: it is true that Hayek broadly favored multinational trade federations, and a European trade federation in particular. He enunciated the conditions for such trade federations in an early essay from the 30’s.  Most of Hayek’s followers despised and despise the EU itself, however. (I cannot find Hayek’s point of view on the EU.) But Hayek outspokenly did not identify himself as a conservative. The AEI has an interesting piece on this: http://www.aei.org/publication/europes-hubris-and-nemesis/

In both cases, any discussion of world government was predicated upon the government being, in the first place, little more than a nightwatchman state. So it is wrong to read into them the kind  of technocratic “globalist” view so reviled by Trumpist or Bannonist conservatives.

The author is right insofar as he claims that von Mises and Hayek believed that liberalism and human liberty were universally good, and that all states ought to adopt liberal policies. He is wrong to suggest that these ideas lead to the conclusion that liberal states ought to forcibly liberalize illiberal ones. (Ayn Rand, however, did say that liberal states had the right — though not the obligation — to liberate illiberal states. But, she wrote, there were, in fact, no presently existing states – America included – that were “liberal” enough to have earned this right .)

The position that liberal states like America ought to forcibly liberalize illiberal states is quintessentially “neoconservative” — a philosophy which certianly borrowed some things from the liberal tradition, but, in this respect, not only parts company from its classical liberal forebears, but lies in opposition to them. In today’s world, for instance, most right-wing individuals who identify as “classical liberal” as opposed to “conservative” – Rand and Ron Paul, for example – do so in order to make it clear that they favor an isolationist foreign policy, in opposition to conservatives on this very issue.

If we are to conclude, as the author does, that America’s intervention into Iraq and Afghanistan are failures (even if we simultaneously acknowledge that postwar liberalizing of Japan, Germany, Eastern Europe, and Korea are successes), and we therefore conclude that the internationalist position on American hegemony is wrong, then we simply ought to conclude that internationalism has not worked, not that liberal ideals are wrong in general. 

You see, Mr. Hazony goes  further: not only is American military intervention as a general practice wrong, he says, but the very idea that the “virtues” of classical liberalism  — private property, free markets, and individualism — are universal, is wrong, too. This is chucking the baby out with the bathwater. The reason Iraq and Afghanistan failed is because they failed in the end to liberalize Iraq and Afghanistan, not because liberalization as an end is bad. 

The fact that some societies do not easily adopt liberal policies does not mean that liberal policies are not the right ones always to strive for. For what are the alternatives? Dictatorship, oppression, and serfdom. The problem with an interventionist foreign policy might be that, in an effort to liberalize certain nations under the rule of a dictator, say, we create a power vacuum that is filled by something even worse (think about the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt after the toppling of Mubarak). For instance, I am the first to acknowledge that Pinochet was a superior leader of Chile to Allende, despite the fact that the latter was “liberally” elected. This is because I measure a government, always, on the scale of how liberal it is. And despite the despotic nature of Pinochet, society was governed far more liberally under him than under his deposed predecessor.

I do not at all take the (almost) relativist stance, which is advanced in the article, that we shouldn’t hold classical liberal ideals as universal. We absolutely should, even if we are pragmatic about when to urge (or force) other societies to adopt them. Our consideration should be the effectiveness of such policies, not whether the ends of liberalism are the right ones for that particular society. The answer to that question, I think, is always, “Yes. They are.” 

Now, in general, as far as I can tell, the author is somewhat bizarrely categorizing present-day ideological associations as follows (I’ve tried to offer a respective juxtaposition of each of the views):

Conservatism — Empiricism — Religion — Nationalism — International Pragmatism

(Classical) Liberalism — Rationalism — Secularism — Globalism — Interventionism.

Not just one, but every single one of these categories is disputable.

The least debatable is the association between classical liberalism and secularism versus conservatism and religion, which I think has been true historically. But there are plenty of religious classical liberals, and plenty (led by Jillian Becker) of atheist conservatives! 

However, assuming that classical liberalism is less empirical and more rationalist as a rule is wrong. True: Ayn Rand, von Mises, and, to a lesser extent, Hayek, were fairly “philosophical”, “a priori”, or “rationalist” in their reasoning. Milton Friedman, however, was not; he and the “Chicago School” considered themselves to be (and indeed were) very empirical. Meanwhile, many “pragmatic” liberals — Herbert Spencer and William Graham Sumner, for instance, founded the liberal tradition (continued by Hayek) about societal evolution in metaphor with Darwin’s theory of species evolution. This is clearly not a viewpoint that considers values to be unchanging without reference to observed facts. I am also fairly sure that there is significant overlap between American “pragmatists” and American classical liberals of the nineteenth century. “Pragmatists” eschewed general principles on principle. Today, this is something far more associated with the political left than the political right — many on the right think of the left as deeply unprincipled, whereas they are guardians of the classical virtues; the left thinks of the right as doctrinaire, whereas it thinks of itself as pragmatic. 

Indeed, the left thinks (and to a certain extent they are right in this) that the universal “values” upheld by many on the right, stem from the right’s greater religiosity. But then for Hazony to suggest that religion is something founded more on empirical than a priori “rationalist” principles is bizarre. Indeed, religion should be eschewed on both rationalist and empirical grounds — God is an intrinsically incoherent concept, for which there has never been any shred of real-world evidence. And whereas I have seen many a fallacious rationalist justification for God, I have never seen an “empirical” one from any of the “serious” religious propagandists.

To suggest that liberalism, in its “rationalist” adherence to principle, neglects noneconomic forces, is curiously myopic. Hayek considers these institutions at great length – including family, religion, and moral precepts –  particularly in his later writings (see The Fatal Conceit, for example). And finally to suggest that somehow liberalism is associated with globalism and military interventionism, whereas conservatism is (or should be?) associated with nationalism and international pragmatism is, as I’ve described above, rather odd.

“Classical liberalism” and contemporary conservatism 0

We find this essay by Yoram Hazony peculiarly interesting, so we are posting it in full.

It was published in the Wall Street Journal two days ago on October 13, 2017.

We have long assumed that contemporary Western conservatism is “liberal” in the sense that John Locke and Adam Smith used the term. This essay enlightens us about that. We discover that we are not “classical liberals” after all.

And we are surprised to learn from Yoram Hazony that Friedrich Hayek, whom we much admire and often quote, was at one time an advocate for world government. (We have called world government “the ultimate nightmare” in an essay listed under Pages in our margin). The same goes for Ludwig von Mises. And we are less surprised but still concerned to learn that Charles Krauthammer is too.

We offer no criticism, make no comment, except to say that, like Hayek, Milton Friedman, Robert Nozick and Ayn Rand, we still “place religion outside the scope of what is essential to know about politics and government”.

Is ‘Classical Liberalism’ Conservative?

American conservatism is having something of an identity crisis. Most conservatives supported Donald Trump last November. But many prominent conservative intellectuals—journalists, academics and think-tank personalities—have entrenched themselves in bitter opposition. Some have left the Republican Party, while others are waging guerrilla warfare against a Republican administration. Longtime friendships have been ended and resignations tendered. Talk of establishing a new political party alternates with declarations that Mr. Trump will be denied the GOP nomination in 2020.

Those in the “Never Trump” camp say the cause of the split is the president—that he’s mentally unstable, morally unspeakable, a leftist populist, a rightist authoritarian, a danger to the republic. One prominent Republican told me he is praying for Mr. Trump to have a brain aneurysm so the nightmare can end.

But the conservative unity that Never Trumpers seek won’t be coming back, even if the president leaves office prematurely. An apparently unbridgeable ideological chasm is opening between two camps that were once closely allied. Mr. Trump’s rise is the effect, not the cause, of this rift.

There are two principal causes: first, the increasingly rigid ideology conservative intellectuals have promoted since the end of the Cold War; second, a series of events — from the failed attempt to bring democracy to Iraq to the implosion of Wall Street — that have made the prevailing conservative ideology seem naive and reckless to the broader conservative public.

A good place to start thinking about this is a 1989 essay in the National Interest by Charles Krauthammer. The Cold War was coming to an end, and Mr. Krauthammer proposed it should be supplanted by what he called “Universal Dominion” (the title of the essay): America was going to create a Western “super-sovereign” that would establish peace and prosperity throughout the world. The cost would be “the conscious depreciation not only of American sovereignty, but of the notion of sovereignty in general.”

William Kristol and Robert Kagan presented a similar view in their 1996 essay “Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy” in Foreign Affairs, which proposed an American “benevolent global hegemony” that would have “preponderant influence and authority over all others in its domain”.

Then, as now, conservative commentators insisted that the world should want such an arrangement because the U.S. knows best: The American way of politics, based on individual liberties and free markets, is the right way for human beings to live everywhere. Japan and Germany, after all, were once-hostile authoritarian nations that had flourished after being conquered and acquiescing in American political principles. With the collapse of communism, dozens of countries — from Eastern Europe to East Asia to Latin America — seemed to need, and in differing degrees to be open to, American tutelage of this kind. As the bearer of universal political truth, the U.S. was said to have an obligation to ensure that every nation was coaxed, maybe even coerced, into adopting its principles.

Any foreign policy aimed at establishing American universal dominion faces considerable practical challenges, not least because many nations don’t want to live under U.S. authority. But the conservative intellectuals who have set out to promote this Hegelian world revolution must also contend with a problem of different kind: Their aim cannot be squared with the political tradition for which they are ostensibly the spokesmen.

For centuries, Anglo-American conservatism has favored individual liberty and economic freedom. But as the Oxford historian of conservatism Anthony Quinton emphasized, this tradition is empiricist and regards successful political arrangements as developing through an unceasing process of trial and error. As such, it is deeply skeptical of claims about universal political truths. The most important conservative figures — including John Fortescue, John Selden, Montesquieu, Edmund Burke and Alexander Hamilton — believed that different political arrangements would be fitting for different nations, each in keeping with the specific conditions it faces and traditions it inherits. What works in one country can’t easily be transplanted.

On that view, the U.S. Constitution worked so well because it preserved principles the American colonists had brought with them from England. The framework — the balance between the executive and legislative branches, the bicameral legislature, the jury trial and due process, the bill of rights — was already familiar from the English constitution. Attempts to transplant Anglo-American political institutions in places such as Mexico, Nigeria, Russia and Iraq have collapsed time and again, because the political traditions needed to maintain them did not exist. Even in France, Germany and Italy, representative government failed repeatedly into the mid-20th century (recall the collapse of France’s Fourth Republic in 1958), and has now been shunted aside by a European Union whose notorious “democracy deficit” reflects a continuing inability to adopt Anglo-American constitutional norms.

The “universal dominion” agenda is flatly contradicted by centuries of Anglo-American conservative political thought. This may be one reason that some post-Cold War conservative intellectuals have shifted to calling themselves “classical liberals”. Last year Paul Ryan insisted: “I really call myself a classical liberal more than a conservative.” Mr. Kristol tweeted in August: “Conservatives could ‘rebrand’ as liberals. Seriously. We’re for liberal democracy, liberal world order, liberal economy, liberal education.”

What is “classical liberalism,” and how does it differ from conservatism? As Quinton pointed out, the liberal tradition descends from Hobbes and Locke, who were not empiricists but rationalists: Their aim was to deduce universally valid political principles from self-evident axioms, as in mathematics.

In his “Second Treatise on Government” (1689), Locke asserts that universal reason teaches the same political truths to all human beings; that all individuals are by nature “perfectly free” and “perfectly equal”; and that obligation to political institutions arises only from the consent of the individual. From these assumptions, Locke deduces a political doctrine that he supposes must hold good in all times and places.

The term “classical liberal” came into use in 20th-century America to distinguish the supporters of old-school laissez-faire from the welfare-state liberalism of figures such as Franklin D. Roosevelt. Modern classical liberals, inheriting the rationalism of Hobbes and Locke, believe they can speak authoritatively to the political needs of every human society, everywhere. In his seminal work, “Liberalism” (1927), the great classical-liberal economist Ludwig von Mises thus advocates a “world super-state really deserving of the name”, which will arise if we “succeed in creating throughout the world . . . nothing less than unqualified, unconditional acceptance of liberalism. Liberal thinking must permeate all nations, liberal principles must pervade all political institutions”.

Friedrich Hayek, the leading classical-liberal theorist of the 20th century, likewise argued, in a 1939 essay, for replacing independent nations with a world-wide federation: “The abrogation of national sovereignties and the creation of an effective international order of law is a necessary complement and the logical consummation of the liberal program.”

Classical liberalism thus offers ground for imposing a single doctrine on all nations for their own good. It provides an ideological basis for an American universal dominion.

By contrast, Anglo-American conservatism historically has had little interest in putatively self-evident political axioms. Conservatives want to learn from experience what actually holds societies together, benefits them and destroys them. That empiricism has persuaded most Anglo-American conservative thinkers of the importance of traditional Protestant institutions such as the independent national state, biblical religion and the family.

As an English Protestant, Locke could have endorsed these institutions as well. But his rationalist theory provides little basis for understanding their role in political life. Even today liberals are plagued by this failing: The rigidly Lockean assumptions of classical-liberal writers such as Hayek, Milton Friedman, Robert Nozick and Ayn Rand place the nation, the family and religion outside the scope of what is essential to know about politics and government. Students who grow up reading these brilliant writers develop an excellent grasp of how an economy works. But they are often marvelously ignorant about much else, having no clue why a flourishing state requires a cohesive nation, or how such bonds are established through family and religious ties.

The differences between the classical-liberal and conservative traditions have immense consequences for policy. Establishing democracy in Egypt or Iraq looks doable to classical liberals because they assume that human reason is everywhere the same, and that a commitment to individual liberties and free markets will arise rapidly once the benefits have been demonstrated and the impediments removed. Conservatives, on the other hand, see foreign civilizations as powerfully motivated — for bad reasons as well as good ones — to fight the dissolution of their way of life and the imposition of American values.

Integrating millions of immigrants from the Middle East also looks easy to classical liberals, because they believe virtually everyone will quickly see the advantages of American (or European) ways and accept them upon arrival. Conservatives recognize that large-scale assimilation can happen only when both sides are highly motivated to see it through. When that motivation is weak or absent, conservatives see an unassimilated migration, resulting in chronic mutual hatred and violence, as a perfectly plausible outcome.

Since classical liberals assume reason is everywhere the same, they see no great danger in “depreciating” national independence and outsourcing power to foreign bodies. American and British conservatives see such schemes as destroying the unique political foundation upon which their traditional freedoms are built.

Liberalism and conservatism had been opposed political positions since the day liberal theorizing first appeared in England in the 17th century. During the 20th-century battles against totalitarianism, necessity brought their adherents into close alliance. Classical liberals and conservatives fought together, along with communists, against Nazism. After 1945 they remained allies against communism. Over many decades of joint struggle, their differences were relegated to a back burner, creating a “fusionist” movement (as William F. Buckley’s National Review called it) in which one and all saw themselves as “conservatives”.

But since the fall of the Berlin Wall, circumstances have changed. Margaret Thatcher’s ouster from power in 1990 marked the end of serious resistance in Britain to the coming European “super-sovereign”. Within a few years the classical liberals’ agenda of universal dominion was the only game in town — ascendant not only among American Republicans and British Tories but even among center-left politicians such as Bill Clinton and Tony Blair.

Only it didn’t work. China, Russia and large portions of the Muslim world resisted a “new world order” whose express purpose was to bring liberalism to their countries. The attempt to impose a classical-liberal regime in Iraq by force, followed by strong-arm tactics aimed at bringing democracy to Egypt and Libya, led to the meltdown of political order in these states as well as in Syria and Yemen. Meanwhile, the world banking crisis made a mockery of classical liberals’ claim to know how to govern a world-wide market and bring prosperity to all. The shockingly rapid disintegration of the American family once again raised the question of whether classical liberalism has the resources to answer any political question outside the economic sphere.

Brexit and Mr. Trump’s rise are the direct result of a quarter-century of classical-liberal hegemony over the parties of the right. Neither Mr. Trump nor the Brexiteers were necessarily seeking a conservative revival. But in placing a renewed nationalism at the center of their politics, they shattered classical liberalism’s grip, paving the way for a return to empiricist conservatism. Once you start trying to understand politics by learning from experience rather than by deducing your views from 17th-century rationalist dogma, you never know what you may end up discovering.

Mr. Hazony is president of the Jerusalem-based Herzl Institute. His book “The Virtue of Nationalism” will be published next year by Basic.

 

(Hat-tip to our reader and commenter, Cogito)

“A Czech Donald Trump” and the salvation of Europe 7

In our recent post A new idea that could save Europe? (October 3, 2017), we quote an article by Soeren Kern about the Austrian Foreign  Minister Sebastian Kurz, expected to be the next Chancellor, taking measures to preserve Austrian national identity and culture by forcing the hordes of Muslims that have poured into his country to become Austrian. No more multiculturalism. Immigrants must speak German and obey Austrian law. He is the first European leader to make such a demand on Muslim immigrants.

An even better solution to the threat and likelihood of European countries being swamped by Muslims and before much longer dominated by them, is not to let them in at all. It is the preferred solution of  the Hungarian and Polish governments, and now also of a leader of the Czech Republic.

Here again is Soeren Kern, writing at Gatestone:

A “politically incorrect” billionaire businessman opposed to further EU integration is on track to become the next prime minister of the Czech Republic.

Andrej Babis, a Slovak-born former finance minister who has been sharply critical of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door migration policy, is leading the polls ahead of general elections, set for October 20.

Babis, one of the country’s wealthiest people, presents himself as a non-ideological results-oriented reformer. He has pledged to run the Czech Republic like a business after years of what he calls corrupt and inept management. He is demanding a return of sovereignty from the European Union and rejects the euro; he argues that it would “be another issue that Brussels would be meddling with”. He has also said he plans to cut government spending, stop people from “being parasites” in the social welfare system, and fight for Czech interests abroad. Babis is often referred to as “the Czech Donald Trump”. 

Babis’s anti-establishment party ANO (which stands for “Action of Dissatisfied Citizens” and is also the Czech word for “yes”) is centrist, technocratic and pro-business. ANO, which rejects political labels, has attracted voters from both left and right, pulling support away from the established parties. Babis has said that ANO aims to replace left and right with “common sense.”

A recent poll shows that support for ANO has grown to 30.9%, while the support for the Czech Social Democrats has dropped to 13.1%. The pro-Russian Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia has 11.1%; the nationalist Civic Democratic Party 9.1%. TOP 09, the only openly pro-EU party, will not pass the 5% barrier of entry into Parliament; it is supported by only 4.4% of Czech voters.

Babis’s approach to the EU is pragmatic: “They give us money, so our membership is advantageous for us.” He does not want the Czech Republic to leave the EU, but he is opposed to the country joining the eurozone:

No euro. I don’t want the euro. We don’t want the euro here. Everybody knows it’s bankrupt. It’s about our sovereignty. I want the Czech koruna, and an independent central bank. I don’t want another issue that Brussels would be meddling with.

Babis has expressed opposition to mass migration: “I have stopped believing in successful integration and multiculturalism.” He has called on Merkel “to give up her political correctness and to begin to act” on securing European borders:

In return for billions of euros, she should make sure that Greece and Turkey completely stop the arrival of refugees in Europe. Otherwise, it will be her fault what happens to the European population. Unfortunately, Mrs. Merkel refuses to see how serious the situation is in Germany and in other EU nations. Her attitude is really tragic.

Babis blamed Merkel for the December 2016 jihadist attack on a Berlin Christmas market:

Unfortunately, the migration policy is responsible for this dreadful act. It was she who let migrants enter Germany and the whole of Europe in uncontrolled waves, without papers, therefore without knowing who they really are. Germany is paying a high price for this policy. The solution is peace in Syria and the return of migrants to their homes. There is no place for them in Europe.

Babis has rejected pressure from the European Commission, which has launched infringement procedures against the Czechs, Hungarians and Poles for refusing to comply with an EU plan to redistribute migrants. In August 2016, he tweeted:

I will not accept refugee quotas for the Czech Republic. The situation has changed. We see how migrants react in Europe. There is a dictator in Turkey. We must react to the needs and fears of the citizens of our country. We must guarantee the security of Czech citizens. Even if we are punished by sanctions.

In June 2017, Babis reiterated that the Czech Republic would not be taking orders from unelected bureaucrats in Brussels:

We have to fight for what our ancestors built here. If there will be more Muslims than Belgians in Brussels, that’s their problem. I don’t want that here. They won’t be telling us who should live here.

Babis has called on the EU to establish a system to sort economic migrants from legitimate asylum seekers:

The EU must say: You cannot come to us to be unemployed and immediately take social benefits.

In an interview with the Czech daily Pravo, Babis said:

We are not duty-bound to accept anyone and we are not even now able to do so. Our primary responsibility is to make sure that our own citizens are safe. The Czech Republic has enough of its own problems, people living on the breadline, single mothers. The West European politicians keep repeating that it is our duty to comply with what the immigrants want because of their human rights. But what about the human rights of the Germans or the Hungarians? Why should the British accept that the wealth which has been created by many generations of their ancestors, should be consumed by people without any relationship to that country and its culture? People who are a security risk and whose desire it is not to integrate but to destroy European culture?

The public service media in some countries have been brainwashing people. They have been avoiding problems with the immigrants. Politicians have also been lying to their citizens. This has only increased tension between the indigenous population and the immigrants. It is not acceptable that Europeans should have fewer rights than immigrants.

It is unthinkable that the indigenous European population should adapt themselves to the refugees. We must do away with such nonsensical political correctness. The refugees should behave like guests, that is they should be polite, and they certainly do not have the right to choose what they want to eat.

Europe and Germany in particular are undergoing an identity crisis. There is a deep chasm between what people think and what the media tell them.

Many of the Middle Eastern refugees are unusable in industry. Many of them are also basically illiterate …

With the rise of AfD in Germany which is frankly an anti-Islamization party*; a growing grassroots movement of protest against the Islamization of Britain; the refusal of Eastern European countries to accept Muslim immigrants at all; and a world leader, US President Donald Trump, who has set an example by taking the common sense step of banning immigrants from certain Islamic countries, is there reason at last to hope that Western civilization will survive?

The demographic facts are against it. Most of the countries of the European Union, and Britain, will have Muslim majorities in this century. If most of the Muslims became Europeanized on the Austrian model, the demographic statistics would not be a determining factor. But will the Austrian solution succeed? Will other EU member countries follow it?

Will Islam itself change to conform to Western values, law, customs, secularism?

In other words, will the looming darkness be dispelled?

 

*Also see here.

The Russian hacking that never happened 3

The Nation weekly journal is generally on the side of the Others: the Democrats, the socialists, the statists, the Islam-promoters, the politically correct, the “social justice warriors”.

So if THEY say that there was no Russian hacking of the DNC during the 2016 election year and can prove it – which it seems they can and have – then the conspiracy to spin a “narrative” that presidential candidate Donald Trump plotted with “the Russians” to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House, is over.

We quote the meaty parts of the article by Patrick Lawrence at The Nation:

It is now a year since the Democratic National Committee’s mail system was compromised — a year since events in the spring and early summer of 2016 were identified as remote hacks and, in short order, attributed to Russians acting in behalf of Donald Trump. A great edifice has been erected during this time. President Trump, members of his family, and numerous people around him stand accused of various corruptions and extensive collusion with Russians. Half a dozen simultaneous investigations proceed into these matters. Last week news broke that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had convened a grand jury, which issued its first subpoenas on August 3. Allegations of treason are common; prominent political figures and many media cultivate a case for impeachment.

The president’s ability to conduct foreign policy, notably but not only with regard to Russia, is now crippled. Forced into a corner and having no choice, Trump just signed legislation imposing severe new sanctions on Russia and European companies working with it on pipeline projects vital to Russia’s energy sector. Striking this close to the core of another nation’s economy is customarily considered an act of war, we must not forget. In retaliation, Moscow has announced that the United States must cut its embassy staff by roughly two-thirds. All sides agree that relations between the United States and Russia are now as fragile as they were during some of the Cold War’s worst moments. To suggest that military conflict between two nuclear powers inches ever closer can no longer be dismissed as hyperbole.

All this was set in motion when the DNC’s mail server was first violated in the spring of 2016 and by subsequent assertions that Russians were behind that “hack” and another such operation, also described as a Russian hack, on July 5. These are the foundation stones of the edifice just outlined. The evolution of public discourse in the year since is worthy of scholarly study: Possibilities became allegations, and these became probabilities. Then the probabilities turned into certainties, and these evolved into what are now taken to be established truths. By my reckoning, it required a few days to a few weeks to advance from each of these stages to the next. This was accomplished via the indefensibly corrupt manipulations of language repeated incessantly in our leading media.

Lost in a year that often appeared to veer into our peculiarly American kind of hysteria is the absence of any credible evidence of what happened last year and who was responsible for it. It is tiresome to note, but none has been made available. Instead, we are urged to accept the word of institutions and senior officials with long records of deception. These officials profess “high confidence” in their “assessment” as to what happened in the spring and summer of last year—this standing as their authoritative judgment. Few have noticed since these evasive terms first appeared that an assessment is an opinion, nothing more, and to express high confidence is an upside-down way of admitting the absence of certain knowledge. This is how officials avoid putting their names on the assertions we are so strongly urged to accept — as the record shows many of them have done.

We come now to a moment of great gravity.

There has been a long effort to counter the official narrative we now call “Russiagate”.  This effort has so far focused on the key events noted above, leaving numerous others still to be addressed. Until recently, researchers undertaking this work faced critical shortcomings, and these are to be explained. But they have achieved significant new momentum in the past several weeks, and what they have done now yields very consequential fruit. Forensic investigators, intelligence analysts, system designers, program architects, and computer scientists of long experience and strongly credentialed are now producing evidence disproving the official version of key events last year. Their work is intricate and continues at a kinetic pace as we speak. But its certain results so far are two, simply stated, and freighted with implications:

  • There was no hack of the Democratic National Committee’s system on July 5 last year — not by the Russians, not by anyone else. Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak — a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system. This casts serious doubt on the initial “hack,” as alleged, that led to the very consequential publication of a large store of documents on WikiLeaks last summer.
  • Forensic investigations of documents made public two weeks prior to the July 5 leak by the person or entity known as Guccifer 2.0 show that they were fraudulent: Before Guccifer posted them they were adulterated by cutting and pasting them into a blank template that had Russian as its default language. Guccifer took responsibility on June 15 for an intrusion the DNC reported on June 14 and professed to be a WikiLeaks source—claims essential to the official narrative implicating Russia in what was soon cast as an extensive hacking operation. To put the point simply, forensic science now devastates this narrative.

This article is based on an examination of the documents these forensic experts and intelligence analysts have produced, notably the key papers written over the past several weeks, as well as detailed interviews with many of those conducting investigations and now drawing conclusions from them. …

 

Qualified experts working independently of one another began to examine the DNC case immediately after the July 2016 events. Prominent among these is a group comprising former intelligence officers, almost all of whom previously occupied senior positions. Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), founded in 2003, now has 30 members, including a few associates with backgrounds in national-security fields other than intelligence. The chief researchers active on the DNC case are four: William Binney, formerly the NSA’s technical director for world geopolitical and military analysis and designer of many agency programs now in use; Kirk Wiebe, formerly a senior analyst at the NSA’s SIGINT Automation Research Center; Edward Loomis, formerly technical director in the NSA’s Office of Signal Processing; and Ray McGovern, an intelligence analyst for nearly three decades and formerly chief of the CIA’s Soviet Foreign Policy Branch. Most of these men have decades of experience in matters concerning Russian intelligence and the related technologies. …

Until recently there was a serious hindrance to the VIPS’s work, and I have just suggested it. The group lacked access to positive data. It had no lump of cyber-material to place on its lab table and analyze, because no official agency had provided any. …

Based on the knowledge of former officials such as Binney, the group knew that (1) if there was a hack and (2) if Russia was responsible for it, the NSA would have to have evidence of both. Binney and others surmised that the agency and associated institutions were hiding the absence of evidence behind the claim that they had to maintain secrecy to protect NSA programs. … [but] “Everything that they say must remain classified is already well-known,” Binney said …

Research into the DNC case took a fateful turn in early July, when forensic investigators who had been working independently began to share findings and form loose collaborations wherein each could build on the work of others. In this a small, new website called www.disobedientmedia.com proved an important catalyst. Two independent researchers selected it, Snowden-like, as the medium through which to disclose their findings. One of these is known as Forensicator and the other as Adam Carter. On July 9, Adam Carter sent Elizabeth Vos, a co-founder of Disobedient Media, a paper by the Forensicator that split the DNC case open like a coconut.

By this time Binney and the other technical-side people at VIPS had begun working with a man named Skip Folden. Folden was an IT executive at IBM for 33 years, serving 25 years as the IT program manager in the United States. He has also consulted for Pentagon officials, the FBI, and the Justice Department. Folden is effectively the VIPS group’s liaison to Forensicator, Adam Carter, and other investigators, but neither Folden nor anyone else knows the identity of either Forensicator or Adam Carter. … Unanimously, however, all the analysts and forensics investigators interviewed for this column say Forensicator’s advanced expertise, evident in the work he has done, is unassailable. They hold a similarly high opinion of Adam Carter’s work.

Forensicator is working with the documents published by Guccifer 2.0, focusing for now on the July 5 intrusion into the DNC server. The contents of Guccifer’s files are known — they were published last September — and are not Forensicator’s concern. His work is with the metadata on those files. These data did not come to him via any clandestine means. Forensicator simply has access to them that others did not have. It is this access that prompts Kirk Wiebe and others to suggest that Forensicator may be someone with exceptional talent and training inside an agency such as the FBI. “Forensicator unlocked and then analyzed what had been the locked files Guccifer supposedly took from the DNC server,” Skip Folden explained in an interview. “To do this he would have to have ‘access privilege’, meaning a key.” …

Forensicator’s first decisive findings, made public in the paper dated July 9, concerned the volume of the supposedly hacked material and what is called the transfer rate — the time a remote hack would require. The metadata established several facts in this regard with granular precision: On the evening of July 5, 2016, 1,976 megabytes of data were downloaded from the DNC’s server. The operation took 87 seconds. This yields a transfer rate of 22.7 megabytes per second.

These statistics are matters of record and essential to disproving the hack theory. No Internet service provider, such as a hacker would have had to use in mid-2016, was capable of downloading data at this speed. Compounding this contradiction, Guccifer claimed to have run his hack from Romania, which, for numerous reasons technically called delivery overheads, would slow down the speed of a hack even further from maximum achievable speeds.

What is the maximum achievable speed? Forensicator recently ran a test download of a comparable data volume (and using a server speed not available in 2016) 40 miles from his computer via a server 20 miles away and came up with a speed of 11.8 megabytes per second — half what the DNC operation would need were it a hack. Other investigators have built on this finding. Folden and Edward Loomis say a survey published August 3, 2016, by www.speedtest.net/reports is highly reliable and use it as their thumbnail index. It indicated that the highest average ISP speeds of first-half 2016 were achieved by Xfinity and Cox Communications. These speeds averaged 15.6 megabytes per second and 14.7 megabytes per second, respectively. Peak speeds at higher rates were recorded intermittently but still did not reach the required 22.7 megabytes per second.

“A speed of 22.7 megabytes is simply unobtainable, especially if we are talking about a transoceanic data transfer,” Folden said. “Based on the data we now have, what we’ve been calling a hack is impossible.” Last week Forensicator reported on a speed test he conducted more recently. It tightens the case considerably. “Transfer rates of 23 MB/s (Mega Bytes per second) are not just highly unlikely, but effectively impossible to accomplish when communicating over the Internet at any significant distance,” he wrote. “Further, local copy speeds are measured, demonstrating that 23 MB/s is a typical transfer rate when using a USB–2 flash device (thumb drive).”

Time stamps in the metadata provide further evidence of what happened on July 5. The stamps recording the download indicate that it occurred in the Eastern Daylight Time Zone at approximately 6:45 pm. This confirms that the person entering the DNC system was working somewhere on the East Coast of the United States. In theory the operation could have been conducted from Bangor or Miami or anywhere in between — but not Russia, Romania, or anywhere else outside the EDT zone. Combined with Forensicator’s findings on the transfer rate, the time stamps constitute more evidence that the download was conducted locally, since delivery overheads — conversion of data into packets, addressing, sequencing times, error checks, and the like — degrade all data transfers conducted via the Internet, more or less according to the distance involved.

In addition, there is the adulteration of the documents Guccifer 2.0 posted on June 15, when he made his first appearance. This came to light when researchers penetrated what Folden calls Guccifer’s top layer of metadata and analyzed what was in the layers beneath. They found that the first five files Guccifer made public had each been run, via ordinary cut-and-paste, through a single template that effectively immersed them in what could plausibly be cast as Russian fingerprints. They were not: The Russian markings were artificially inserted prior to posting.“It’s clear,” another forensics investigator self-identified as HET, wrote in a report on this question, “that metadata was deliberately altered and documents were deliberately pasted into a Russianified [W]ord document with Russian language settings and style headings.

To be noted in this connection: The list of the CIA’s cyber-tools WikiLeaks began to release in March and labeled Vault 7 includes one called Marble that is capable of obfuscating the origin of documents in false-flag operations and leaving markings that point to whatever the CIA wants to point to. (The tool can also “de-obfuscate” what it has obfuscated.) It is not known whether this tool was deployed in the Guccifer case, but it is there for such a use. …

VIPS has assembled a chronology that imposes a persuasive logic on the complex succession of events just reviewed. It is this:

  • On June 12 last year, Julian Assange announced that WikiLeaks had and would publish documents pertinent to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
  • On June 14, CrowdStrike, a cyber-security firm hired by the DNC, announced, without providing evidence, that it had found malware on DNC servers and had evidence that Russians were responsible for planting it.
  • On June 15, Guccifer 2.0 first appeared, took responsibility for the “hack” reported on June 14 and claimed to be a WikiLeaks source. It then posted the adulterated documents just described.
  • On July 5, Guccifer again claimed he had remotely hacked DNC servers, and the operation was instantly described as another intrusion attributable to Russia. Virtually no media questioned this account.

It does not require too much thought to read into this sequence. With his June 12 announcement, Assange effectively put the DNC on notice that it had a little time, probably not much, to act preemptively against the imminent publication of damaging documents. Did the DNC quickly conjure Guccifer from thin air to create a cyber-saboteur whose fingers point to Russia? There is no evidence of this one way or the other, but emphatically it is legitimate to pose the question in the context of the VIPS chronology. WikiLeaks began publishing on July 22. By that time, the case alleging Russian interference in the 2016 elections process was taking firm root. In short order Assange would be written down as a “Russian agent”.

By any balanced reckoning, the official case purporting to assign a systematic hacking effort to Russia, the events of mid-June and July 5 last year being the foundation of this case, is shabby to the point taxpayers should ask for their money back. The Intelligence Community Assessment [ICA], the supposedly definitive report featuring the “high confidence” dodge, was greeted as farcically flimsy when issued January 6. Ray McGovern calls it a disgrace to the intelligence profession. It is spotlessly free of evidence, front to back, pertaining to any events in which Russia is implicated. James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, admitted in May that “hand-picked” analysts from three agencies (not the 17 previously reported) drafted the ICA. There is a way to understand “hand-picked” that is less obvious than meets the eye: The report was sequestered from rigorous agency-wide reviews. This is the way these people have spoken to us for the past year.

Behind the ICA lie other indefensible realities. The FBI has never examined the DNC’s computer servers — an omission that is beyond preposterous. It has instead relied on the reports produced by Crowdstrike, a firm that drips with conflicting interests well beyond the fact that it is in the DNC’s employ. Dmitri Alperovitch, its co-founder and chief technology officer, is on the record as vigorously anti-Russian. He is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, which suffers the same prejudice. Problems such as this are many.

In effect, the new forensic evidence considered here lands in a vacuum. We now enter a period when an official reply should be forthcoming. What the forensic people are now producing constitutes evidence, however one may view it, and it is the first scientifically derived evidence we have into any of the events in which Russia has been implicated. … The cost of duplicity has rarely been so high.

How has the Democratic Part reacted to the revelation, in a usually supportive magazine, that they have been proved to have lied?

Flat denial, and accusation that the revelation is itself  a “conspiracy  theory”:

[The Nation’s] Editor’s note: After publication, the Democratic National Committee contacted The Nation with a response, writing, “U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the Russian government hacked the DNC in an attempt to interfere in the election. Any suggestion otherwise is false and is just another conspiracy theory like those pushed by Trump and his administration. It’s unfortunate that The Nation has decided to join the conspiracy theorists to push this narrative.” 

We await with keen interest – animated we confess by more than a little Schadenfreude – the reaction of: the Mainstream Media, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Robert Mueller, James Comey, Julian Assange, Guccifer 2.o, Vladimir Putin, Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

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