President Trump’s D-Day commemoration speech 2

Today, on June 6, 2019, President Trump delivers his very moving speech commemorating D-Day in Normandy:

 

“This beach, codenamed Omaha, was defended by the Nazis with monstrous firepower, thousands and thousands of mines and spikes driven into the sands so deeply. It was here that tens of thousands of the Americans came. The G.I.s who boarded the landing craft that morning knew that they carried on their shoulders not just the pack of a soldier, but the fate of the world.”

Posted under Miscellaneous by Jillian Becker on Thursday, June 6, 2019

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Spying yes, treason no, gross bias yes 19

In this video there is rather too much chat by the CBS people about what Attorney General Barr said and why, and too little of Barr speaking for himself. But we post it for what Barr says between 3 minutes and 3.47 minutes about the importance of not destroying our institutions, and that it is not President Trump who is doing that but his accusers.

 

Here are some more extracts from the interview. You can read the whole of it here.

JAN CRAWFORD: You have testified that you believe spying occurred.

WILLIAM BARR: Yes.

JAN CRAWFORD: Into the Trump campaign.

WILLIAM BARR: Yes.

JAN CRAWFORD: You’ve gotten some criticism for using that word.

WILLIAM BARR: Yeah, I mean, I guess it’s become a dirty word somehow. It hasn’t ever been for me. I think there is nothing wrong with spying, the question is always whether it is authorized by law and properly predicated and if it is, then it’s an important tool the United States has to protect the country.

JAN CRAWFORD: On using the word, I mean, do you understand, and I know that some of the, some former intelligence chiefs have said that the president has made that word somewhat pejorative, that there is spying, this is a witch hunt, this is a hoax, and so your use of that word makes it seem that you are being a loyalist.

WILLIAM BARR: You know, it’s part of the craziness of the modern day that if a president uses a word, then all of a sudden it becomes off bounds. It’s a perfectly good English word, I will continue to use it.

JAN CRAWFORD: You’re saying that spying occurred. There’s not anything necessarily wrong with that.

WILLIAM BARR: Right.

JAN CRAWFORD: As long as there’s a reason for it.

WILLIAM BARR: Whether it’s adequately predicated. And look, I think if we – we are worried about foreign influence in the campaign? We should be because the heart of our system is the peaceful transfer of power through elections and what gives the government legitimacy is that process. And if foreign elements can come in and affect it, that’s bad for the republic. But by the same token, it’s just as, it’s just as dangerous to the continuation of self-government and our republican system that we not allow government power, law enforcement or intelligence power, to play a role in politics, to intrude into politics, and affect elections.

JAN CRAWFORD: So it’s just as dangerous – So when we talk about foreign interference versus say a government abuse of power, which is more troubling?

WILLIAM BARR: Well they’re both, they’re both troubling.

JAN CRAWFORD: Equally?

WILLIAM BARR: In my mind, they are, sure. I mean, republics have fallen because of Praetorian Guard mentality where government officials get very arrogant, they identify the national interest with their own political preferences and they feel that anyone who has a different opinion, you know, is somehow an enemy of the state. And you know, there is that tendency that they know better and that, you know, they’re there to protect as guardians of the people. That can easily translate into essentially supervening the will of the majority and getting your own way as a government official.

JAN CRAWFORD: And you are concerned that that may have happened in 2016?

WILLIAM BARR: Well, I just think it has to be carefully look at because the use of foreign intelligence capabilities and counterintelligence capabilities against an American political campaign to me is unprecedented and it’s a serious red line that’s been crossed.

JAN CRAWFORD: Did that happen?

WILLIAM BARR: There were counterintelligence activities undertaken against the Trump Campaign. And I’m not saying there was not a basis for it, that it was legitimate, but I want to see what that basis was and make sure it was legitimate. The attorney general’s responsibility is to make sure that these powers are not used to tread upon first amendment activity and that certainly was a big part of my formative years of dealing with those issues. The fact that today people just seem to brush aside the idea that it is okay to you know, to engage in these activities against a political campaign is stunning to me especially when the media doesn’t seem to think that it’s worth looking into. They’re supposed to be the watchdogs of, you know, our civil liberties.

JAN CRAWFORD: So –

WILLIAM BARR: That’s one of the, you know, one of the key responsibilities of the Attorney General, core responsibilities of the Attorney General is to make sure that government power is not abused and that the right of Americans are not transgressed by abusive government power. That’s the responsibility of the Attorney General.

JAN CRAWFORD: You know the – I guess – we’ve spent the last two years or more talking about and hearing about Russian interference into the elections and what occurred there. And so now we’re shifting to talking about actually investigating, reviewing that investigation and the people who did that. So I guess in making this turn can you help us understand, I mean what’s – what is the concern? What have you seen, what’s the basis for that?

WILLIAM BARR: Well I don’t want to  get you know, too much into the facts because it’s still under review. But I think it’s important to understand what basis there was for launching counterintelligence activities against a political campaign, which is the core of our second amendment – I’m sorry, the core of our first amendment liberties in this country. And what was the predicate for it? What was the hurdle that had to be crossed? What was the process – who had to approve it? And including the electronic surveillance, whatever electronic surveillance was done. And was everyone operating in their proper lane? And I’ve selected a terrific career prosecutor from the department who’s been there over thirty years, he’s now the U.S. attorney.

WILLIAM BARR: But he has, over the years, been used by both Republican and Democratic attorney generals to investigate these kinds of activities. And he’s always gotten the most laudatory feedback from his work. So there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s going – he’s going to conduct a thorough and fair review of this. And we’re working closely with the intelligence agencies, the bureau and the agency and others to help us reconstruct what happened. And I want to see, what were the standards that were applied. What was the evidence? What were the techniques used? Who approved them? Was there a legitimate basis for it?

JAN CRAWFORD: Okay. Yes. … Obviously you’ve seen this like the people are raising concerns that this is going to undermine FBI morale. The rank and file – what are we saying here – but you said in recent Senate testimony, “this is not launching an investigation of the FBI frankly to the extent there were any issues at the FBI, I do not view it as a problem that’s endemic to the FBI. I think there was probably a failure among a group of leaders there at the upper echelon.”

WILLIAM BARR: That’s right.

JAN CRAWFORD: So there was probably a failure among a group of leaders there at the upper echelon?

WILLIAM BARR: Correct. In other words, I don’t believe this is a problem you know, rife through the bureau.

JAN CRAWFORD: What suggests to you there was a failure in the upper echelon at the FBI?

WILLIAM BARR: Because I think the activities were undertaken by a small group at the top which is one of the – probably one of the mistakes that has been made instead of running this as a normal bureau investigation or counterintelligence investigation. It was done by the executives at the senior level. Out of head quarters –

JAN CRAWFORD: And you’re talking about James Comey, McCabe?

WILLIAM BARR: I’m just not going to get into the individual names at this point. But I just view that – I don’t view it as a bureau wide issue. And I will say the same thing for other intelligence agencies. And they’re being very cooperative in helping us.

JAN CRAWFORD: They’re being cooperative?

WILLIAM BARR: Yes.

JAN CRAWFORD: You’re working with the DNI, the head of CIA. I want to ask you about something – just declassification. But the president has tweeted and said publicly that some in the upper echelon, Comey, McCabe, etc., committed treason. I mean do you agree with that?

WILLIAM BARR: Well, I – as a lawyer I always interpret the word treason not colloquially but legally. And you know the very specific criteria for treason – so I don’t think it’s actually implicated in the situation that we have now. But I think what he —

JAN CRAWFORD: Legally.

WILLIAM BARR: Right.

JAN CRAWFORD: You don’t think that they’ve committed treason?

WILLIAM BARR: Not as a legal matter, no.

JAN CRAWFORD: But you have concerns about how they conducted the investigation?

WILLIAM BARR: Yes, but you know, when you’re dealing with official government contact, intent is frequently a murky issue. I’m not suggesting that people did what they did necessarily because of conscious, nefarious motives. Sometimes people can convince themselves that what they’re doing is in the higher interest, the better good. They don’t realize that what they’re doing is really antithetical to the democratic system that we have. They start viewing themselves as the guardians of the people that are more informed and insensitive than everybody else. They can – in their own mind, they can have those kinds of motives. And sometimes they can look at evidence and facts through a biased prism that they themselves don’t realize. That something objectively as applied as a neutral principle across the board really you know, shouldn’t be the standard used in the case but because they have a particular bias they don’t see that. So that’s why procedures and standards are important and review afterward is an important way of making sure that government power is being conscientiously and properly applied. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there are people – you know, that people have crossed lines have done so with corrupt intent or anything like that.

JAN CRAWFORD: But it seems like you have a concern that there may have been a bias by top officials in the FBI as they looked at whether to launch and conduct this investigation?

WILLIAM BARR: Well it’s hard to read some of the texts with and not feel that there was gross bias at work and they’re appalling. And if the shoe were on the other–

JAN CRAWFORD: Appalling.

WILLIAM BARR: Those were appalling. And on their face they were very damning and I think if the shoe was on the other foot we could be hearing a lot about it. If those kinds of discussions were held you know when Obama first ran for office, people talking about Obama in those tones and suggesting that “Oh that he might be a Manchurian candidate for Islam or something like that”. You know some wild accusations like that and you had that kind of discussion back and forth, you don’t think we would be hearing a lot more about it?

JAN CRAWFORD: You – I guess when you said that there were things done that were not the typical run of business, ad hoc, small group, it’s not how these counterintelligence operations normally work. I  think that maybe Comey and others might say well this was such an extraordinary thing we had to keep it so closely held. So we had to do it differently what’s your response to that? Is that legit?

WILLIAM BARR: Well it might be legit under certain circumstances but a lot of that has to do with how good the evidence was at that point. And you know Mueller has spent two and half years and the fact is there is no evidence of a conspiracy. So it was bogus, this whole idea that the Trump was in cahoots with the Russians is bogus. …

JAN CRAWFORD: I know you’ve seen some of the criticism and the push back on this. Do you have any concerns that doing this investigation, talking about de-classifying certain materials – that that’s undermining your credibility or the credibility of the department?

WILLIAM BARR: No I – I don’t. I think it’s – actually the reaction is somewhat strange. I mean normally–

JAN CRAWFORD: Strange?

WILLIAM BARR: Sure.

JAN CRAWFORD: Their reaction?

WILLIAM BARR: Well the media reaction is strange. Normally the media would be interested in letting the sunshine in and finding out what the truth is. And usually the media doesn’t care that much about protecting intelligence sources and methods. But I do and I will. …

Posted under corruption, Crime, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Saturday, June 1, 2019

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Freedom of speech on the internet 7

In 2011 Elizabeth Warren said:

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

In 2012 President Obama said:

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

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

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

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

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

Daniel Greenfield writes this magisterial opinion on the arguments:

“But, it’s a private company.”

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

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

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

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

But it overlooks two very simple facts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Critics of regulating dot com monopolies have made valid points.

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

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

But there are two answers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s worth trying.

.

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

 

 

China’s Belt and Road Initiative 6

While the West is busy raging and plotting against President Trump, complaining about Russia, destroying statues, submitting to invasion by hordes from the Third World, deciding whether to let citizens return who had gone to help ISIS kill and torture, disentangling the European Union, adding new pronouns to the English language, changing men into women and vice verse, China has been reaching out, near and far, grasping chunks of the world by its real needs, making itself the center of a new international trade order, which could some day be a new political order with Beijing as its capital.

China calls it the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Wikipedia describes it thus:

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a development strategy adopted by the Chinese government involving infrastructure development and investments in [so far] 152 countries and international organizations in Europe, Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Africa.

“Belt” refers to overland routes for road and rail transportation, called “the Silk Road Economic Belt”; “Road” refers to the sea routes, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

The old name “Silk Road” makes the Belt sound long-established, connoting beautiful merchandise being carried by traders from East to West, a romance of mutually beneficial trade.

Because the Chinese government wants the world to understand that its initiative is good for all concerned:

The Chinese government calls the initiative “a bid to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future” .

And it isn’t only regional, the connectivity: distant parts are brought into the embrace too:

North, central and south belts are proposed. The North belt passes from China through Central Asia and Russia to Europe; the Central belt from China through Central Asia and West Asia to the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean; the South belt from China to Southeast Asia, South Asia, to the Indian Ocean through Pakistan.

The land corridors include:

The New Eurasian Land Bridge, which runs from Western China to Western Russia through Kazakhstan, and includes the Silk Road Railway through China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland and Germany.

The China–Mongolia–Russia Corridor, which will run from Northern China to the Russian Far East

The China–Central Asia–West Asia Corridor, which will run from Western China to Turkey.

The China–Indochina Peninsula Corridor, which will run from Southern China to Singapore.

The Bangladesh–China–India–Myanmar Economic Corridor, which runs from southern China to Myanmar.

The China–Pakistan Economic Corridor.

All of which is over land.

But China is reaching across the seas too.

The Maritime Silk Road is the name of the sea route corridors. It is a complementary initiative aimed at investing and fostering collaboration in Oceania [Australia and the islands round it], Africa, and South America, by way of the South China Sea, the South Pacific Ocean, and the Indian Ocean area.

And China has made an agreement with Russia to create an ‘Ice Silk Road’ along the Northern Sea Route in the Arctic (a maritime route which Russia considers to be part of its internal waters). There Chinese and Russian companies are cooperating in oil and gas exploration, infrastructure construction, tourism, and scientific expeditions.

Most of the countries joined to China by Belt and Sea Road have become members of China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

The bank provides funds for the joint projects, each one of which is part of the great world-wide infrastructure project.

So China has become the indispensable benefactor of countries that could not on their own afford to build their “ports, railways, highways, power stations, aviation and telecommunication facilities”. China joins them together in vast international enterprises. For instance: “the super grid project aims to develop six ultra high voltage electricity grids across China, north-east Asia, Southeast Asia, south Asia, central Asia and west Asia” .

Formal respect is paid to global warming belief:

The wind power resources of central Asia would form one component of this grid.

Back in 2016, This Week in Asia pointed out in what ways and how greatly China would benefit from BRI:

[The Chinese] will generate enough demand abroad to keep their excess steel mills, cement plants and construction companies in business, so preserving jobs at home. They will tie neighboring countries more closely into their own economic orbit, so enhancing both their hard and soft power around the region. They will further their long term plan to promote their own currency as an international alternative to the US dollar. And to finance it all, they will set up a new multi-lateral infrastructure bank, which will undermine the influence of the existing Washington-based institutions, with all their tedious insistence on transparency and best practice, by making more “culturally sensitive” soft loans. The result will be the regional hegemony they regard as their right as Asia’s leading economic and political power.

The paper predicted that BRI was “doomed to fail”. But it seems to be succeeding.

European governments, other than those of Poland and Belarus, have not yet agreed to step on to the Belt, but Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte intends to, and it is rumored that Britain’s insane Prime Minister Theresa May is thinking of it.

General Electric and Caterpillar have signed up to work on BRI projects.

New Zealand has launched itself on the Road.

No doubt President Xi Jinping has his eye on North America.

This would be a good time for him to woo Canada with the Brighter Future song, while Justin Trudeau is still there making destructive decisions.

As for the US, we wonder – did Xi broach Belt and Road propositions to President Trump? If he did, we can probably guess the gist of the answer he got.

But what will the next US President say? Will he/she/zir take America into the warm embrace of China?

Ads like this, the Chinese suppose, will win the hearts and minds of American millennials:

 

But for now – has anybody noticed that China’s hegemony is growing by the day, not just in its region, but world-wide?

Posted under China, Videos, world government by Jillian Becker on Saturday, April 27, 2019

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A political resurrection 3

So old Joe Biden re-arises as a presidential candidate.

He again offers to lead the nation. He did it twice before, in 1984 and 1988, and his offer was not taken up.

Now he is 76 years old. Is the nation keener on him now than it was all those years ago? Will he be the nominee of the Democratic (Socialist) Party?

Does he qualify? Which is to say, to how many of these questions can he answer “Yes”? Only a score of 100% is sufficient: 

Is he black? No.

Is he a woman? No.

Has he tried to be a woman? No.

Is he homosexual? No.

Is he a socialist? N-ye-maybe.

Does he believe in manmade global warming? Yes.

Is he for late-term abortion? Yes.

Is he for open borders? Yes.

Plainly, on the question of qualification, he fails.

Breitbart reports:

The “women of color” who hosted this week’s presidential forum expressed frustration that the leading Democrat candidates are old, white men. It is an example, they say, of “racist” and “sexist” polling.

In particular, a member of the organizing committee for the event insisted that polls showing Joe Biden in the lead were absurd, especially because he had not yet even officially joined the race as the polls were being conducted, according to Politico.

“With all due respect to the vice president, he hasn’t even announced yet, but he’s the frontrunner?” said Leah Daughtry, organizer of the “She the People” event. “Racism and sexism are part of the fabric and the fiber and the founding of our country,” she added, “and the way that the [Democratic] candidates are being treated, it just reminds you of that. We’re not past it.”

Another minority Democrat activist, LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter, also slammed the media for pushing white men as the Democrat frontrunners.

“When you got a media that’s constantly saying Biden and Beto and Bernie and literally elevating the male candidates, I think that’s going to be reflected in the polls,” Brown said.

(“She the people”? This solecism is a New American Fact. Grammar is outdated. It was a White masculine racist idea.)

Thing is, Joe, almost every country in the First World is now a gynocracy. Women rule, okay?

You scored quite highly on the old qualifications for Democratic leadership. They must have been just the ticket when you were picked for vice president.

What were those old-time qualifications?

Are you corrupt?  Yes.

[Joe Biden’s] family, particularly his son, cashed in while he was vice president of the United States. … Joe Biden was the Obama administration’s point-person on policy towards Ukraine. He steered $1.8 billion in aid to that government and while he was doing so, his son got a sweetheart deal with this energy company  … [which] paid $3.1 million into an account where Hunter Biden was getting paid.”

So says author Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute, who also revealed this:

“In December of 2013, Vice President Joe Biden flies to Asia for a trip, and the centerpiece for that trip is a visit to Beijing, China,” said Schweizer. “To put this into context, in 2013, the Chinese have just exerted air rights over the South Pacific, the South China Sea. They basically have said, ‘If you want to fly in this area, you have to get Chinese approval. We are claiming sovereignty over this territory.’ Highly controversial in Japan, in the Philippines, and in other countries. Joe Biden is supposed to be going there to confront the Chinese. Well, he gets widely criticized on that trip for going soft on China. So basically, no challenging them, and Japan and other countries are quite upset about this.”

Elaborating, Schweizer said, “Well, I think the reason he goes soft on China is because with him on that trip, flying on Air Force Two, is his son Hunter Biden, and ten days after they return from China, Hunter Biden — who has this small firm, he has no background in private equity, he has no background in Chinese finance — gets a whopping $1.5 billion deal from the Chinese government. This is the Chinese government giving Joe Biden and a [John] Kerry confidant the management over this money, and they made huge fees off of this money, and it’s an example of this kind of corruption. That’s the first of three major deals that the Chinese government does with people who are either the children — that is the sons — or close aides to Vice President Biden or Secretary of State John Kerry.

Schweizer discussed national security implications related to modern corruption, highlighting the acquisition of Henniges Automotive —  a formerly America-based company developing “dual-use” technologies with military applications — by Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), a Chinese state-run military contractor. AVIC acquired Henniges in 2017 with a 51 percent stake purchase. The remaining 49 percent was purchased by the Biden- and-Kerry-linked BHR.

“So [Hunter Biden and Devon Archer] get this $1.5 billion to invest, and what they are supposed to do is basically invest in companies that benefit the Chinese government,” stated Schweizer. “So just think about this for a second. This is the vice president of the United States whose father is supposed to be commanding American presence and power in the Pacific to deal with the rising challenge from China, and his son is investing $1.5 billion of Chinese government money. So what do they do? They invest in an American high-precision tools company called Henniges, which used to be owned by Rocket Company, but they produce anti-vibration technologies which have a dual-use application, so this transaction actually requires the approval of the federal government, as it has national security implications. So again, the vice president’s son is helping the Chinese government take over a dual-use military technology-related company called Henniges.”

BHR also invested in a Chinese state-run atomic energy company indicted by the Department of Justice in crimes related to stealing nuclear secrets, Schweizer said.

“But it gets even worse because another investment that they make is in something called CGN — China General Nuclear — which is an atomic power company,” recalled Schweizer. “They invest in this company in 2014. A year later, what happens? The FBI arrests and charges senior officials in this company with stealing nuclear secrets in the United States. Specifically, they’re trying to get access to something called the AP-1000 nuclear reactor that is very similar to the ones that we put on U.S. submarines. So again, you have the son of the vice president, a close aide to the secretary of state who are investing in a company that is trying to steal nuclear secrets in the United States. It’s a stunning story, and here’s the thing: none of this is required to be disclosed because they’ve figured out a way to get around these disclosure laws.”

Have you colluded with a foreign power? Yes.

“There is far more evidence of collusion involving Joe Biden — or even involving the Clintons — of collusion with these foreign powers than there was with Donald Trump, because you actually have the transaction of money, you have very favorable policies that were carried out. I think ‘collusion’ is not too strong a word. I think it’s a pretty accurate word.”

Schweizer added, “There’s no question. The Bidens got a lot of money — millions of dollars — from these foreign powers. Hunter Biden had no legitimate reasons to get the deal. He simply wasn’t qualified.”

Schweizer warned of politicians and officials monetizing their political influence.

“So what [Joe Biden] is doing is using U.S. taxpayer government resources for the personal benefit of his family, and by the way, all of this absolutely rings true,” remarked Schweizer. “Joe Biden was the Obama administration’s person on Ukraine, he traveled to that country something like 17 times during his tenure as vice president, which is pretty amazing.”

Schweizer went on, “What’s remarkable is when, a couple of days before Donald Trump was inaugurated in Washington, D.C., Joe Biden was actually in Ukraine. It’s pretty remarkable for a vice president of the United States to be overseas that late in the game, but he was in Ukraine. [Joe Biden’s] sway and influence there was enormous, and it raises all kinds of questions about the way that he used or abused government power, and of course it raises questions about what potentially did Ukrainians have on Hunter Biden.”

“What kind of evidence and information do we have?” asked Schweizer of corruption concerns regarding Joe Biden. “We know that millions of dollars flowed into Hunter Biden’s accounts. We know that he was not qualified for the job, and the question is, what did he get for Ukrainians in return? I think that’s all the sort of thing that needs to be investigated and looked into by a grand jury.”

Do you have traitorous impulses? Yes.

From Discover the Networks:

Shortly after 9/11, Biden told his staff that America should respond to the worst act of terrorism in its history by showing the Arab world that the U.S. was not seeking to destroy it. “Seems to me this would be a good time to send, no strings attached, a check for $200 million to Iran,” he said.

Do you have poor political judgment? Yes.

In 1979 Senator Biden shared President Jimmy Carter‘s belief that the fall of the Shah in Iran and the advent of Ayatollah Khomeini’s rule represented progress for human rights in that country. Throughout the ensuing 444-day hostage crisis, during which Khomeini’s extremist acolytes routinely paraded the blindfolded American captives in front of television cameras and threatened them with execution, Biden opposed strong action against the mullahs and called for dialogue.

Do you have a favorable opinion of Communism and advocate for good relations with Communist states? Yes.

Throughout the 1980s, Biden opposed President Ronald Reagan’s proactive means of dealing with the Soviet Union. Biden instead favored détente — which, in practice, meant Western subsidies that would have enabled the moribund USSR to remain solvent much longer than it ultimately did. He also opposed Reagan’s effort to fund the Contras, an anti-Communist rebel group in Nicaragua.

Biden was a leading critic of the Reagan defense buildup, specifically vis a vis the MX missile, the B-l bomber, and the Trident submarine. He criticized Reagan for his “continued adherence” to the goal of developing a missile defense system known as the Strategic Defense Initiative, calling the President’s insistence on the measure “one of the most reckless and irresponsible acts in the history of modern statecraft”.

Do you lie about your own record? Yes.

Biden first ran for U.S. President in 1987. He was considered a strong contender for the Democratic Party’s nomination, but in April of that year controversy descended on Biden’s campaign when he told several lies about his academic record in law school. In an April 3, 1987 appearance on C-SPAN, a questioner asked Biden about his law school grades. In response, an angry Biden looked at his questioner and said, “I think I have a much higher I.Q. than you do.” He then stated that he had gone “to law school on a full academic scholarship — the only one in my class to have a full academic scholarship”; that he had “ended up in the top half” of his law school class; and that he had “graduated with three degrees from college.”

But each of those claims proved to be untrue. In reality, Biden had: (a) earned only two college degrees — in history and political science — at the University of Delaware in Newark, where he graduated only 506th in a class of 688; (b) attended law school on a half scholarship that was based on financial need; and (c) eventually graduated 76th in a law-school class of 85. “I exaggerate when I’m angry,” Biden would later concede, “but I’ve never gone around telling people things that aren’t true about me.”

Do you steal intellectual property when you think you can get away with it? Yes.

Then, in August 1987 Biden plagiarized a portion of a speech made by British politician Neil Kinnock. Before long, revelations surfaced that Biden also had plagiarized extensive portions of an article in law school and consequently had received a grade of “F” for the course. (He eventually was permitted to retake the course, and the failure was removed from his transcript.)

So what makes Joe Biden think he should stand for president again now?

Is there some great issue on which he feels he – more than any other Democrat aspiring to the presidency – can run against President Trump and win?

Again Breitbart reports:

Former Vice President Joe Biden launched his third presidential campaign on Thursday [April 25, 2019] by referring to a debunked claim that President Donald Trump referred to neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 as “very fine people.”

In a three-and-a-half minute YouTube video, Biden cited the August 2017 riots as his primary motivation for running against Trump, presenting a version of events that even a CNN contributor has declared to be fraudulent.

After referring to the town’s historic role — including Thomas Jefferson, a slave owner — he added, “Charlottesville is also home to a defining moment for this nation in the last few years,” followed by footage of a neo-Nazi procession.

Biden noted that the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville were “chanting the same antisemitic bile heard in the ’30s”. He then added that they were “met by a courageous group of Americans, and a violent clash ensured.”

Go here to read a justifiably furious objection to those statements.

(Among that “courageous group of Americans” were left-wing Antifa extremists who specifically came to Charlottesville to cause violence, and whom even Nancy Pelosi later condemned after they caused another riot.)

Biden then cited the debunked “very fine people” claim:

And that’s when we heard the words of the President of the United States that stunned the world and shocked the conscience of this nation. He said there were, quote, some “very fine people on both sides”. Very fine people on both sides? With those words, the president of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate, and those with the courage to stand against it. And in that moment, I knew that the threat to this nation was unlike any I had every seen in my lifetime.

What Biden said is completely untrue, as the transcript of Trump’s press conference about Charlottesville shows.

Trump was referring to protesters against the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, as well as to non-violent left-wing protesters against racism, and specifically excluded the neo-Nazis from “very fine people” (emphasis added):

REPORTER: The neo-Nazis started this thing. They showed up in Charlottesville.

TRUMP: Excuse me, they didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group – excuse me, excuse me. I saw the same pictures as you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down, of to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.

REPORTER: George Washington and Robert E. Lee are not the same.

TRUMP: Oh no, George Washington was a slave owner. Was George Washington a slave owner? So will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down – excuse me. Are we going to take down, are we going to take down statues to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson? What do you think of Thomas Jefferson? You like him? Okay, good. Are we going to take down his statue? He was a major slave owner. Are we going to take down his statue? You know what? It’s fine, you’re changing history, you’re changing culture, and you had people – and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally – but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly. Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats – you had a lot of bad people in the other group too. …

[Biden] apparently planned to launch his campaign directly in Charlottesville this week, but local leaders objected because “some residents [were] unhappy about the scene a tragedy the city would prefer to forget being used as a campaign launch backdrop” …

It is unclear why Biden chose to run on a divisive racial hoax, even one that remains dogma among many on the left. Biden may feel vulnerable in a Democratic Party now dominated by identity politics. Indeed, the Associated Press reported Thursday that some “women of color” were “frustrated” by his candidacy.

So would this corrupt, traitorous, dishonest man, this candidate out of a past era

Oh, yes, it must be mentioned too that he is also an assaulting groper and hugger, according to recent reports …

… be a good choice for president of the United States?

Mr. Mueller’s report 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It should have been aborted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A question of liberty 2

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

But has he?

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

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

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

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

But is there any real evidence of this peril?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Professor Alan Dershowitz writes at The Hill:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is he a Lefty?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

True information does good. 

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

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

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

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

The man who let out secrets 3

Julian Assange, the man who published secrets stolen from the Pentagon by Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning, was dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London yesterday (April 12, 2019) and is being held in jail while an extradition request from the US is being considered.

 

 

AP reports:

A bearded and shouting Julian Assange was pulled from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and hauled into court Thursday, the start of an extradition battle for the WikiLeaks founder who faces U.S. charges related to the publication of tens of thousands of secret government documents.

Police arrested Assange after the South American nation revoked the political asylum that had given him sanctuary for almost seven years. Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno said he took the action due to “repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols”.

In Washington, the U.S. Justice Department accused Assange of conspiring with former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break into a classified government computer at the Pentagon. The charge was announced after Assange was taken into custody.

His lawyer said the 47-year-old Assange would fight extradition to the U.S.

Assange took refuge in the embassy in 2012 after he was released on bail in Britain while facing extradition to Sweden on sexual assault allegations that have since been dropped. He refused to leave the embassy, fearing arrest and extradition to the U.S. for publishing classified military and diplomatic cables through WikiLeaks.

Manning, who served several years in prison for leaking troves of classified documents before her sentence was commuted by then-President Barack Obama, is again in custody in Alexandria, Virginia, for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.

Over the years, Assange used Ecuador’s embassy as a staging post to keep his name before the public, frequently making appearances on its tiny balcony, posing for pictures and reading statements. Even his cat became well-known.

But his presence was an embarrassment to U.K. authorities, who for years kept a police presence around the clock outside the embassy, costing taxpayers millions in police overtime. Such surveillance was removed in 2015, but the embassy remained a focal point for his activities.

Video posted online by Ruptly, a news service of Russia Today, showed several men in suits pulling a handcuffed Assange out of the embassy and loading him into a police van while uniformed British police formed a passageway. Assange … shouted and gestured as he was removed …

He later appeared in Westminster Magistrates’ Court, where District Judge Michael Snow wasted no time in finding him guilty of breaching his bail conditions, flatly rejecting his assertion that he had not had a fair hearing and a reasonable excuse for not appearing.

“Mr. Assange’s behavior is that of a narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interests,” Snow said. “He hasn’t come close to establishing ‘reasonable excuse’.”

Assange waved to the packed public gallery as he was taken to the cells. His next appearance was set for May 2 via prison video-link in relation to the extradition case.

Assange’s attorney, Jennifer Robinson, said he will fight any extradition to the U.S.

“This sets a dangerous precedent for all journalist and media organizations in Europe and around the world,” she said. “This precedent means that any journalist can be extradited for prosecution in the United States for having published truthful information about the United States.”

Asked at the White House about the arrest, President Donald Trump declared, “It’s not my thing,” and “I know nothing about WikiLeaks,” despite praising the anti-secrecy organization dozens of times during his 2016 campaign.

Speaking in Parliament, British Prime Minister Theresa May said the arrest shows that “no one is above the law”.

A stupid remark that, inapplicable to Julian Assange. It would apply to people in power who evade answering for their crimes, such as Hillary Clinton.

Moreno [President Lenin Moreno of Ecuador] said in a video posted on Twitter that Ecuador was no longer willing to give Assange protection. Other Ecuadorian officials in Quito accused supporters of WikiLeaks and two Russian hackers of trying to destabilize the country. …

Assange has been under U.S. Justice Department scrutiny for years for WikiLeaks’ role in publishing government secrets. He was an important figure in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe as investigators examined how WikiLeaks obtained emails that were stolen from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and Democratic groups.

WikiLeaks quickly drew attention to U.S. interest in Assange and said that Ecuador had illegally terminated Assange’s political asylum “in violation of international law”.

“Powerful actors, including CIA, are engaged in a sophisticated effort to de-humanise, de-legitimize and imprison him,” the group said in a tweet over a photo of Assange’s smiling face. …

Assange’s arrest came a day after WikiLeaks accused Ecuador’s government of an “extensive spying operation” against him. It alleges that meetings with lawyers and a doctor in the embassy over the past year were secretly filmed. …

Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa called [President] Moreno’s decision “cowardly”, accusing him of retaliating against Assange for WikiLeaks spreading allegations about an offshore bank account purportedly linked to Moreno’s family and friends.

Allegations were made that the publication by Wikileaks of the stolen information endangered American agents in foreign countries. Of course that would tell against Assange. But he has denied it, and it has not been confirmed.

Assange was at one time accused of acting for Russia, which he also denied.

We agree with Mark Steyn’s opinion of the matter.

At issue is not the honesty or the virtue or the motives of Julian Assange.

The issue is liberty. 

We would like to know our readers’ opinions. 

For Freedom 3

Victor Davis Hanson explains why he supports the presidency of Donald Trump:

Posted under Capitalism, liberty, United States, US Constitution, Videos by Jillian Becker on Monday, March 18, 2019

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Europe-Iran: an evil partnership 17

Europe loves Iran.

Which is to say, Germany loves Iran. And Germany decides what Europe loves.

Which is to say, the rulers of Germany decide what Germany decides what Europe loves.

And Chancellor Angela Merkel decides what the rulers of Germany will decide, and she has decided that Germany and therefore Europe love Iran.

She can rely on the concurrence of the EU’s mascot, French president Emmanuel Macron.   

Here’s a bark or two of his clap-trap against Brexit in an open letter:

‘Brexit … symbolizes the European trap. The trap is not being part of the European Union. The trap is in the lie and the irresponsibility that can destroy it. … And this trap threatens the whole of Europe …”  (Our emphasis.)

We hope it does more than threaten the EU. We hope Brexit brings down the whole rickety structure. It really could set an example to other member states, and with a little bit of luck the European Union will fall into a heap of rubble in a pall of dust. 

Meanwhile, it loves Iran.

From Gatestone, by Majid Rafizadeh:

According to a report published by Amnesty International on February 26, the human rights situation in Iran has “severely deteriorated”. Why then does the European Union continue to pursue appeasement policies with a regime that has an excruciating human rights record? Sadly, Europe — in spite its endless moral preening and self-righteousness — seems to have become the world most immoral player — if it was not already. The European Union, for instance, unjustly singles out for bullying the only liberal, democratic, human-rights-abiding country in the Middle East: Israel … yet tries to find ways to keep on doing business with a country such as Iran that is not only trying to establish its hegemony throughout the Middle East — through proxies in Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Lebanon — but is also the serial violator of just about every human right imaginable … The only conclusion one can come to is that Europe would evidently still like to kill the Jews and is happy to support those wishing to kill them. How much more immoral can one get?

The list of unspeakable human rights violations committed by Iran’s regime is lengthy; however, by far the most disturbing seems the cruelty enacted against children.

According to the Norway-based organization Iran Human Rights (IHR), which closely monitors executions in Iran:

“Despite ratifying the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child which bans the death penalty for offenses committed at under 18 years of age, Iran stays the world’s top executioner of juvenile offenders. According to reports by IHR, Iranian authorities have executed at least 40 juvenile offenders since 2013. “

These children are held in custody and executed before they have the chance to reach adulthood. At least 6 minors, including two child brides were executed in 2018. Amnesty International comments on Iran’s use of capital punishment on children:

“Girls as young as nine can be sentenced to execution; for boys it’s 15. At least 73 young offenders were executed between 2005 and 2015. And the authorities show no sign of stopping this horrific practice. …

Under Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, executions can be conducted in four different ways: hanging, stoning, firing squad, or crucifixion.

Vague charges can be brought up by the Islamic Republic’s judiciary system or the Revolutionary Court, such as “waging war against God”, spreading moharebeh(“corruption on earth”) such as protesting, or endangering the country’s national security. These charges can be stretched to allow for simple acts such as criticizing the Supreme Leader to become crimes, simply to allow an order of execution to be carried out.

This is all allowed to occur while the deeply cynical EU continues to label the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as a “moderate”.

The use of cruel and inhumane punishments is also on the rise in Iran. According to Amnesty International’s report, the use of various forms of torture such as amputation and flogging has been increasing at an alarming rate. …

Due to the recent protests in the country, the theocratic establishment has also ratcheted up its censorship of media, jamming of foreign satellite television channels, and detention of human rights defenders. Human rights defenders and prominent lawyers … who defended or supported social movements such as the opposition of  compulsory hijab, have been unfairly prosecuted and sentenced to long prison sentences.

These increasingly wanton human rights violations should raise alarms among the European governments, who are always lecturing the rest of the world about how caring they are — for instance not sending criminals back to countries where they might be tortured. It should horrify them to know that they are in some way enabling and emboldening this regime and empowering it to continue to commit these vicious acts.

But Europe is not horrified by the Iranian regime. Not in the least. In fact the EU actively supports the Iranian theocracy, because Germany rules Europe, and Angela Merkel’s Germany loves Iran.

Caroline Glick writes at Breitbart:

In a recent conversation with senior Trump administration officials, Breitbart News was told that the force behind the European Union’s trenchant support for Iran is Germany.

This EU support for Iran is manifested in a series of ways.

For example, after President Donald Trump walked away from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal, last May, the EU responded harshly.

Brussels refused U.S. calls to join America in abandoning the deal that paves the way for Iran to develop a nuclear arsenal, and which funds its terrorism and aggression throughout the Middle East and world. The EU’s “big three”, Germany, France and Britain, spent months putting together a financial vehicle to sidestep U.S. economic sanctions on Iran. They instructed European firms to defy U.S. sanctions and maintain their economic operations in Iran.

In other words, rather than siding with their most powerful and important ally – the United States of America – in its efforts to forge a policy vis-à-vis Iran that actually diminishes the threat the regime poses to global security and stability, the Europeans – led by Germany — have stood with Iran against the United States.

The EU has also, following Germany’s lead, refused to ban Hezbollah – Iran’s terror proxy – from operating in Europe. Instead, the EU’s policy is to make an artificial distinction between what it refers to as the “military wing” of Hezbollah and what it refers to as Hezbollah’s “political wing”. The fact that even Hezbollah rejects the distinction, and that the so-called “political wing” in Europe raises money for Hezbollah and mobilizes terrorists to join Hezbollah through open indoctrination, is of no interest.

Like its Iranian controllers, Hezbollah seeks the obliteration of the Jewish state. When the British parliament voted last week to outlaw Hezbollah’s fake “political wing” from operating in the United Kingdom, the German government was quick to announce that it would not follow suit.

Germany — and through it, the rest of continental Europe — will continue to allow the genocidal terror group to operate openly on its soil.

As for the Iranians, German leaders insist that their continued allegiance to the nuclear deal stems from their conviction that the deal is a non-proliferation agreement and advances their security, and not from their support for Iran. But evidence grows by the day that the opposite is the case. Whereas in Iran, last month the regime had to hire people to fill the streets to “celebrate” the fortieth anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution, senior German leaders were happy to gush in joy as they congratulated the murderous regime for its longevity.

The German Foreign Ministry sent State Minister Niels Annan and an Iran desk officer to celebrate the occasion at the Iranian Embassy in Berlin. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeyer sent a congratulatory telegram to his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, praising the Islamic regime. In contrast, in November 2016, Steinmeyer refused to send a congratulatory telegram to President-elect Donald Trump and referred to him as a “hate preacher.”

In an article in the Washington Examiner, Iran expert Michael Rubin argued that Germany’s support for the Islamic regime is a function of financial interests.

In his words, “For German authorities across from the political spectrum, human rights is only a tool with which to dress its foreign policy rhetoric. … For German authorities, the primary goal is commercial benefit. The execution of gays, slaughter of Jews, repression of other minorities, and terrorism are inconveniences to ignore.”

There is much to support Rubin’s conclusion. But a cursory glance at Germany’s focus in its hypocritical human rights activism shows that money isn’t the only reason that Germany is the greatest defender of a regime that openly seeks the annihilation of the Jewish people and the Jewish state.

Israel’s NGO-Monitor is a group that reports on funding for radical non-governmental organizations (NGOs) dedicated to advancing the cause of Israel’s destruction. NGO-Monitor has documented copiously how the German government spends millions of dollars every year funding groups that criminalize Israel’s very right to exist, and goes to great efforts to hide reporting of is funding activities.

During a visit to Israel in 2017 by Germany’s then-foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel, the depths of Germany’s commitment to these groups was laid bare. Parallel to scheduling a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Gabriel ostentatiously announced his plan to meet with two radical anti-Israel propaganda groups funded by Germany …

When Netanyahu heard about Gabriel’s plan … he informed Gabriel that he had to choose between meeting with [the two anti-Israel organizations] or meeting with [him]. Gabriel insisted on meeting with the German-funded NGOs. So Netanyahu canceled their meeting.

When seen in the context of Germany’s extensive funding for political groups whose goal is to criminalize Israel and delegitimize its right to exist, Germany’s enthusiastic, warm, and supportive ties to the genocidally anti-Jewish Iranian regime seem to point to motivations far more sinister than mere greed.

We suspected that Islam-loving President Obama’s most compelling reason for wanting a “deal” with Iran that allowed it to become a nuclear-armed power, was that he thought it the most likely way Islam would be able to destroy Israel.

We suspect that Germany-dominated Europe thinks so too.

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