Privileged to review Set My People Free before publication, it suggests specific comprehensive solutions to the economic and political problems encountered in the American political tradition. Expanding on the foundational premise which is required of all successful enduring political and economic relationships from the individual to the corporate to between nations, immutable Law demands that love be bound by justice and vice versa. Unfortunately, individual morality authorizing governments and intended by the Framers and Founders to direct and hold legislative bodies accountable has not kept pace with technology.
Turnabout Is Fair Play or What Goes Around Comes Around
One must remember that the main reason Russia left Afghanistan after suffering horrible military losses is that the U.S. supplied those attacking them with arms and other logistic support.
Now with one of the largest natural resource supplies of rare earth elements in the world, Afghanistan has a strategic importance far exceeding any isolated political or opium supply agenda.
Also, do not forget that Russia, like China, responds to past humiliations in ways that “save face”. Viewing the fact that America’s foreign policies have had significant undesirable effects on both nations from the break up of the Soviet Union as a result of the economic impact of Vietnam to China’s losses in Vietnam and Korea, it is not surprising that neither nation trusts us.
Additionally, our foreign policy errors such as imposing majority rule (Shi’ite) in Iraq unintentionally helped al-Qaeda and ISIS. Russia’s Syrian involvement is partially a response to our policies. Both China and Russia view Sunni jihad as a serious security threat.
With all that is going on, be it in the Ukraine, Georgia, or the South China Sea, it is more reasonable to assume that turnabout is fair play is to be expected from those we are at war with, at least economically speaking.
Regardless, whether it is in individual personal relations or playing out on the world’s political stage, integrity and trust are necessary for success. For all governments, from the corrupt Putin dynasty to the merciless Chinese totalitarianism of the Communist Party, injustice sustained by force cannot endure.
“We’ve had weapons brought to this headquarters and given to us by Afghan leaders and [they] said, this was given by the Russians to the Taliban.”
Russia arming Taliban For months, U.S. military commanders have sounded alarms that Russia is supporting the Afghan Taliban, and now the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, has gone a step further, accusing Moscow of directly arming the Taliban.
“We’ve had weapons brought to this headquarters and given to us by Afghan leaders and [they] said, this was given by the Russians to the Taliban,” Nicholson said in an interview with the BBC.
Meanwhile, American military commanders are drumming up support for the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, promising that new troops and equipment and a closer relationship with Afghan forces will reverse Taliban gains.
“This is not another year of the same thing we’ve been doing for 17 years,” Gen. Joseph Dunford , chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Washington Post. “This is a fundamentally different approach.”
That note of optimism comes as the Taliban have made significant territorial gains, with the group now openly active in 70 percent of Afghanistan’s territory. Afghan military forces, meanwhile, are taking casualties at a record level. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani continues to drum up support for a peace initiative that would bring the Taliban to the negotiating table, but so far a a breakthrough appears far off.
China’s global kidnapping campaign Extralegal renditions and coercive repatriations are an increasingly common tool of the Chinese government, Foreign Policy contributor Zach Dorfman reports.
Chinese officials have beaten and drugged Chinese economic or political fugitives living abroad and forced them onto planes or shipping vessels headed back to China. In other cases, they have threatened family members to get their targets to return home. It may even be happening within U.S. borders.
Idlib in the crosshairs With Syrian government forces and their Russian allies pursuing a scorched earth strategy to reclaim rebel-held territory, Idlib province may be their next target, the New York Times reports. The population of the province, which borders Turkey, has doubled in recent years, and Idlib now represents the largest patch of rebel-controlled territory.
Getting tough on Russia? Some advisers to President Donald Trump are pushing him to adopt a tougher line on Russia on the heels of the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain and an ensuing diplomatic crisis, according to the New York Times. Trump so far hasn’t signed on to a policy of levying additional sanctions on Moscow.
Lies and Deceptions To Achieve Political Ends
Following the tragic shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, the liberals again raised their voices seeking to deny our Second Amendment rights. In doing so, they once again confirm that they are willing to ignore and deny the indelible truths of science and history as they seek to destroy all that made America great.
Succinctly, any semiautomatic weapon has the same capacity to do evil as an “assault rifle” of the same caliber, or it may rightfully be used to hunt to provide food, target shoot, or lawfully protect oneself and one’s family and property. Somehow, the fact that evil and sin are caused by people, not the weapons they choose, is always forgotten and ignored.
Magnified by the false propaganda of the media, the celebration of the unrighteous and ignorant at the Oscars and other liberal venues proclaimed their attack on America. From homosexuality to gun control to immigration, and on and on, they rejected, and continue to ignore and deny, truth. Supporting movements that are funded by our avowed enemies seeking to overthrow our government, they abandon reality to aid and abet those whose only agenda is to attain political power through an ideologic civil war. Bribing voters, Democrats ask that their stated platform be ignored in favor of their lies and deceptions.
The following two articles clarify what some call treason.
Friday, August 12, 2016
The core strategic problem we face is two conflicts with two ideologies that operate subversively until they are in power. That is, instead of stating their agenda openly, Islam and the left operate as false fronts maintaining a friendly moderate image while pursuing a far more radical agenda.
The distinction between moderates and radicals is at the heart of the debate about Islamic terrorism. Much as it used to be at the heart of the debate about Communism and its fellow travelers. Everyone will concede that there are indeed radicals, if only ISIS and Stalin. What they will deny is the extent of the complicity and, more significantly, the fact that the radicals were pursuing the same ends as the moderates, an Islamic Caliphate or a Communist dictatorship, only more rapidly and ruthlessly.
The thing that must be understood is that moderates do not disavow radicals. Rather they bridge the gap between the radicals and the larger society, justifying their ends, and eventually their means, while pretending to disavow them. Radicals reject any dialogue. Moderates emphasize dialogue.
Moderates will verbally reject the means with which an end is pursued. Accordingly they will reject terrorism. They may even claim to reject the ends, such as an ideological dictatorship, but they will, in good fellowship, ask you to accept their premise which inevitably leads to the acceptance of both the ends and the means.
For example, moderates on the left and in Islam will ask you to accept that terrorism is caused by American foreign policy. Once you have accepted this premise, then you have partially justified terrorism and paved the way for accepting an “Arab Spring” that eliminates the consequences of American foreign policy by properly Arabizing and Islamizing the governments of the region.
Likewise, if you accept the premise that Israel’s presence in its ’67 territories is driving terrorism, then you have signed on to everything from BDS to the destruction of the Jewish State.
If you concede that crime and violence are driven by class and racial inequities, then you accept that the only way to end this “class war” is massive taxation and wealth redistribution through government intervention that addresses the root cause.
That is not the way it seems to most people. And that is why the “moderate” strategy works so well.
Once you have accepted the moderate definition of the root cause, you will inevitably be forced to accept the radical remedy. This is true across a spectrum of lower level policies. For example, accept that homosexuality is genetic and gay rights become the inevitable and inescapable outcome. That is how the root cause defines the outcome. And this is how moderates achieve radical goals.
Moderates convince you to accept their premise of the root cause. Then they argue for sensitivity to the radicals whose motives have suddenly become understandable. Finally they argue for a settlement in which a compromise is reached that will allow the radicals to achieve a moderate version of their ends.
The Muslim Brotherhood takeovers of the Arab Spring are an example of a compromise to avert Islamic terror aimed at creating a Caliphate. The ultimate outcome is the same, but the moderates dress it up as a kinder and gentler alternative.
And this is the core strategic problem that we face.
The radicals are not any kind of serious physical threat. We could destroy ISIS easily if we chose to unleash our full force against them. The same is true for every single Islamic terror group in the world. And, for that matter, their state sponsors too.
The real threat is always the subversion of the moderates. The challenge then becomes the need to expose the false facade of the moderates. This leads to a push-pull struggle. The moderates cry that they are being unfairly victimized by hateful people. There are shouts of red-baiting and McCarthyism, profiling and bigotry. Their critics are paranoid and unhinged. The moderates even assert that there is something ugly and “Un-American” about asking them to account for their agenda.
And this is really the core argument made by the two allied subversive ideologies. It is “ugly” to expose their views, to quote them, to bring them to the surface. It is intolerant. It’s not the way that respectable people should behave. And the moderates, who pose as respectable people precisely to play on the weakness of the middle class for being respectable, understand that this is the ultimate weapon.
Respectable people do not accuse the friendly Imam on the block of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood or promoting Jihadist texts. They do not accuse the cheerful teacher in the school whom everyone likes of pushing anti-American views on her students. That is not respectable behavior.
And moderates, who pretend to be respectable, excel at pushing the respectable shame button.
It doesn’t matter if it’s true. It’s ugly to discuss it. That is respectability simplified. It’s much better to talk about how much we have in common, to speak about how we can unite and make the world a better place. And the moderates have plenty of ideas in that regard. All of them involve accepting their premise of what the world’s problems are and how they can be improved by a series of proposals that would culminate with mass tyranny and murder.
There are actual moderates of course.
The majority of those on the left aren’t harboring secret plans to build gulags. They would find the idea horrifying. Likewise many Muslims in Western countries don’t support Islamic terrorism.
They are moderates, but only in the sense that they have not yet signed on to radical ideas. Not in the sense that they would fight and oppose them to their very last breath. They are mostly moderates out of a lack of conviction rather than a surplus of it.
Subversive organizations operate through incremental radicalization. The average American liberal of twenty years ago would not have supported half of what he vocally advocates for today. Even Obama and Hillary were against gay marriage when they ran for office. In a few years they moved from opposing a policy to threatening to prosecute those opposed to it. That is how the left works.
Obama and Hillary always had a consistent position. The leadership of the left had one. It was the ordinary rank and file liberal who might have been in the dark until the whistle was blown and the herd stampeded toward the next policy abyss. A year ago those same liberals might have felt uncomfortable with the notion of men using the ladies room. Today they would fight a civil war for it.
The process operates the same way across a spectrum of policies. The left keeps its more moderate followers in the dark about its real goals. Then once the stampede begins, the moderates who derive their sense that they are good people from following the ideas of the left, quickly fall in line.
The same is true of Islam. Plenty of Muslims would not be happy with an immediate transition to ISIS. But plenty are willing to back the more incremental attempts to build a Caliphate through political Islam in Turkey or through the Muslim Brotherhood. Their moderation, like that of many Germans in WW2, consists of an unwillingness to know what dirty deeds are being done.
The moderates bridge this gap both for their rank and file, and for the outsiders who have to be fooled into accepting their premise in order to accept their ends. Their greatest weapon is respectability. When cornered, they insist that they are just nice people who want to make the world a better place. And their critics are bigots, nasty people, who don’t want everyone to get along and spread disunity.
And doesn’t everyone just want to get along? Isn’t that nicer and better? Isn’t it a good thing that there are passionate young people who want to make the world a better place?
The chief ally of the moderates is this sort of middle class respectability. The moderates paint their critics as radicals who have no solutions. When in fact they themselves are radicals with a final solution. And yet combating this sort of happy talk remains our greatest challenge.
Yet it is also a passing challenge.
Middle class respectability is a function of a sense of security. When that sense of security begins to implode as a society experiences chaos, the middle class stops clinging to respectability.
And then the real conflict begins.
We may well be approaching that phase. Economic decline and Islamic terror are leading to a radical break with respectability. We are entering a radical age in which the moderates take off their masks and radicals of various stripes gain great influence and openly recruit for their cause.
This will be a shattering experience for many. It will be a very ugly one in many ways. And yet the only way to avert it would be to expose the false moderates who are driving this process for what they are. And this is exactly what those who have the most to lose from a radical rise refuse to do.
None of this is a new phenomenon. History is repeating itself.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
“Guns are uniquely lethal.”
In 2016, a Muslim terrorist with a truck killed 86 people and wounded another 458.
Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, the Tunisian Muslim killer, had brought along a gun, but it proved largely ineffective. The deadliest weapon of the delivery driver was a truck. Mohammed, who was no genius, used it to kill more people than Stephen Paddock would with all his meticulous planning in Vegas.
Do we need truck control?
Deadlier than the truck is the jet plane. Nearly 3,000 people were killed on September 11 by terrorists with a plan and some box cutters. And then there are always the bombs.
The Boston Marathon bomber wounded 264, a suicide bomber at the Manchester Arena last year wounded 250 and the Oklahoma City Bombing (the only non-Islamic terror attack on the list) killed 168 and wounded 680.
Guns are not uniquely lethal. We live in a world filled with extremely lethal objects from chemical compounds to big trucks. We can license and regulate some things. But we can’t regulate everything.
“This is the only country where this happens.”
America is not the only country where rampage killers operate. South Korea’s rampage killer Woo Bum-kon murdered 56 people. Seung-Hui Cho, one of this country’s worst rampage killers who murdered 32 people at Virginia Tech, was South Korean.
But the worst rampage killer in South Korea didn’t use a gun. He set a train on fire.
Kim Dae-han, a paralyzed middle aged man, started a subway fire that killed 192 people and wounded 150 others.
Guns aren’t uniquely lethal. Neither is America. Or South Korea. Or anywhere.
“A mass shooting happens in this country every few days.”
The myth conflates drug violence in Chicago, which is nearly constant, with rampage killers like Stephen Paddock or Adam Lanza, who are far rarer, and Islamic terrorists like Omar Mateen.
Mass shootings and rampage killers are not the same thing.
Do we really have a “mass shooting” every few days? Most gun violence in this country is really gang violence. The mass shooting trackers list gang violence incidents in urban areas. And gang violence doesn’t depend on guns. It sharply rose in the UK despite gun control.
And it’s the left that has crippled the laws meant to fight gangs and drug dealers. Obama initiated a drug dealer pardon amnesty even while calling for more gun control. But the only way to control gang violence is by cracking down on gangs, not on guns. The pro-crime left deems such measures a “school-to-prison pipeline” that’s little more than “modern slavery”.
And so the gang violence goes on.
Most gun violence takes place in Democrat territory. And it’s caused by leftist pro-crime policies.
By conflating an Adam Lanza with a gang member shooting up a street corner in Chicago, the media hides what is really going on. Rampage killers are rare. Gang violence is commonplace. By making rampage killers into the face of gun violence, the left gets to blame its own policies on the NRA.
“If only we had gun control.”
Gun control works as well as any prohibitionist policy. It works as long as you follow the law. If you don’t follow the law, then getting the prohibited item is a matter of money and connections.
And it’s those people who shouldn’t have guns that are most likely to be able to get them.
The left will lecture on the failure of drug prohibition, but is sure that gun prohibition would work. Why? Because they usually have some personal experience buying drugs, but little experience buying guns. And so they’re sure that a ban that they would ridicule in any other area will somehow work with guns.
There’s always some country that’s a shining example of how gun control works.
The Europeans, who are progressive, suave and sophisticated, have no doubt figured out gun prohibition, along with socialized medicine. But Muslim terrorists armed with assault rifles and grenades have repeatedly carried out attacks in Paris. French gun control was working wonderfully.
The Bataclan attackers and other members of their cell had no trouble getting their hands on Kalashnikovs either. The Charlie Hebdo attackers used an AK knockoff.
Muslim terrorists were able to repeatedly strike in France despite its gun control laws. And they used the weapons that the media refers to with ominous dread as “assault rifles”.
“We have so many weapons in Paris,” the spokesman for France’s police union had complained.
The French authorities seize some 1,200 “assault rifles” every year. Meanwhile in the capital of the European Union, you can get a “military weapon” for $500 in half an hour.
Gun control works as well at keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists as enforcement does at keeping drugs out of the hands of criminals.
Legal firearms make it easier for people to defend themselves and for the authorities to track criminals. Criminalizing firearms just creates a massive black market in which anything goes.
The Charlie Hebdo terrorists brought a rocket-propelled grenade launcher to the party. That’s what happens when you let the black market take over. You don’t control guns. Instead you feed a black market and lose all control over the sorts of weapons being sold in your country.
After every attack, the clamor for “common sense” gun control begins by political hacks, talk show hosts and celebrities who don’t set foot outside their homes without an armed guard. None of these “common sense folks” seem to know the first thing about guns. And none of them care.
Gun control isn’t a policy. It’s a moral panic. Like prohibition, it’s a xenophobic reaction to a different culture that shares the same country with them. Guns have come to embody a rural conservative culture in the minds of urban leftists the way that alcohol once embodied foreign immigrants to prohibition activists and the way that drugs represented urban decadence to rural America.
It’s why the “common sense solution” talk quickly gives way to broad denunciations of a “national gun culture”, of “white privilege”, of rural folk “clinging to their bibles and guns”, of American militarism and toxic masculinity, and of all the things for which guns are merely a symbol to the leftists who hate them.
A cultural critique is very different than a common sense solution. It isn’t guns that the left wants to ban. It’s people. It was never really about banning guns. It was always about the culture war.
Over the past year, facts have emerged that suggest there was a plot by high-ranking FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials in the Obama administration, acting under color of law, to exonerate Hillary Clinton of federal crimes and then, if she lost the election, to frame Donald Trump and his campaign for colluding with Russia to steal the presidency. This conduct was not based on mere bias, as has been widely claimed, but rather on deeply felt animus toward Trump and his agenda.
In the course of this plot, FBI Director James Comey, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, FBI Deputy Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok, Strzok’s paramour and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, FBI General Counsel James Baker, and DOJ senior official Bruce Ohr—perhaps among others—compromised federal law enforcement to such an extent that the American public is losing trust. A recent CBS News poll finds 48 percent of Americans believe that Special Counsel James Mueller’s Trump-Russia collusion probe is “politically motivated,” a stunning conclusion. And 63 percent of polled voters in a Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll believe that the FBI withheld vital information from Congress about the Clinton and Russia collusion investigations.
I spent my early legal career as a federal prosecutor. I later supervised hundreds of prosecutors and prosecutions as a U.S. Attorney and as an Independent Counsel. I have never witnessed investigations so fraught with failure to fulfill the basic elements of a criminal probe as those conducted under James Comey. Not since former Acting FBI Director L. Patrick Gray deep-sixed evidence during Watergate has the head of the FBI been so discredited as Comey is now.
The Case of the Clinton Emails
Thousands of emails that the House at first requested, then subpoenaed, conveniently disappeared—remember those reports about BleachBit and the smashing of Clinton’s numerous phones with hammers? Clinton and her aides were, to say the least, not forthcoming. It was clearly time for the FBI and DOJ to act, using the legal tools at their disposal to secure the emails and other materials the House had subpoenaed. But that didn’t happen.
One tool at their disposal was the grand jury—the sine qua non of a criminal investigation. Grand juries are comprised of 16 to 23 citizens who hear a prosecutor’s case against an alleged criminal. The subject of the investigation is not present during the entire proceeding, which can last up to a year. A grand jury provides investigators with the authority to collect evidence by issuing subpoenas for documents and witnesses. FBI agents and prosecutors cannot themselves demand evidence. Only a grand jury can—or a court, in cases where a subpoena recipient refuses a grand jury’s command to provide documents or to testify.
Incredibly, FBI Director Comey and Attorney General Lynch refused to convene a grand jury during the Clinton investigation. Thus investigators had no authority to subpoena evidence or witnesses. Lacking leverage, Comey then injudiciously granted immunity to five Clinton aides in return for evidence that could have been obtained with a subpoena. Even when Clinton claimed 39 times during a July 2, 2016, interview—an interview led by disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok—that she could not recall certain facts because of a head injury, Comey refused the case agents’ request to subpoena her medical records.
Comey claims he negotiated the immunity deals because of his concern about time. Yet the investigation was opened in the summer of 2015, nearly a year before he cut these deals. Compare this to the DOJ’s handling of four-star Marine General James E. Cartwright, who pleaded guilty in October 2016 to a false statement about leaking classified information to The New York Times. In that case, the DOJ bragged about its use of subpoenas and search warrants.
Not only was there no grand jury, the FBI never issued a search warrant—something it does when there is concern a person will destroy evidence. Clinton deleted half her emails and then claimed, under penalty of perjury, that she had turned over to the government all emails that “were or potentially were” work-related. The FBI later found email chains classified as “secret” or “confidential” that she had not turned over. Still no search warrant was issued.
Comey’s dereliction did not stop at the failure to utilize essential prosecutorial tools. He violated several rules that prosecutors consider sacrosanct:
- Comey allowed one lawyer to represent four material witnesses, an arrangement ripe for the four to coordinate testimony.
- After needlessly giving immunity to two lawyers representing Clinton, Comey permitted both to sit in on her July 2, 2016, FBI interview—a patent conflict. He claimed he could not control who sat in on the “voluntary” interview. That’s nonsense. He could have convened a grand jury, subpoenaed Clinton, and compelled her to appear and be questioned without a lawyer or else plead the Fifth Amendment.
- Comey authorized the destruction of laptop computers that belonged to Clinton’s aides and were under congressional subpoena.
- Comey ignored blatant evidence of culpability. It is ridiculous to the general public and risible to those who have security clearances for Clinton to claim she thought that “(c)” placed after paragraphs in her emails meant the material was in alphabetical order rather than meaning it was classified. If she thought (c) indicated alphabetical order, where were (a) and (b) on the documents? Clinton and her supporters touted her vast experience as a U.S. Senator and Secretary of State, positions requiring frequent use of classified information and presumably common sense. Yet neither experience nor common sense informed her decisions when handling classified materials.
- Comey and the FBI never questioned Clinton about her public statements, which changed over time and were blatantly false. “I did not email classified information to anyone” morphed into “I did not email anything marked ‘classified,’” which morphed into the claim that (c) did not mean what it clearly meant. False and changing statements are presented to juries routinely by prosecutors as evidence of guilt.
- Breaking DOJ protocols, violating the chain of command, and assuming an authority he never had, Comey usurped the role of the U.S. attorney general on July 5, 2016, when he announced that the case against Clinton was closed. He justified his actions saying that he no longer trusted Attorney General Lynch after her June 27, 2016, meeting with Bill Clinton on the tarmac at the Phoenix airport. This meeting took place at the height of the so-called investigation—just days before Peter Strzok interviewed Clinton on July 2. Thanks to the efforts of Judicial Watch to secure documents through the Freedom of Information Act, we now know that Comey was already drafting a letter exonerating Clinton in May 2016—prior to interviewing more than a dozen major witnesses. We also know that the FBI’s reaction to the impropriety of the tarmac meeting was not disgust, but rather anger at the person who leaked the fact of the meeting. “We need to find that guy” and bring him before a supervisor, stated one (name redacted) FBI agent. Another argued that the source should be banned from working security details. Not one email expressed concern over the meeting. An FBI director who truly had his trust shaken would have questioned the members of Lynch’s FBI security detail for the Arizona trip about how the meeting came to be. Comey didn’t bother.
Comey described Clinton’s handling of classified information as “extremely careless,” a clumsy attempt to avoid the legal language of “gross negligence” for criminal mishandling of classified information—and we later learned that Peter Strzok, again, was responsible for editing this language in Comey’s statement. But practically speaking, the terms are synonymous. Any judge would instruct a jury to consider “gross negligence” as “extremely careless” conduct.
Comey claimed that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring the case against Clinton. I have spent many years investigating federal crimes, and I can tell you that a reasonable prosecutor would have utilized a grand jury, issued subpoenas and search warrants, and followed standard DOJ procedures for federal prosecutions. In short, Comey threw the case. He should have been fired long before he was.
In late spring 2016, just weeks prior to Comey’s July 5 press conference clearing Clinton of any crime, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe ordered FBI agents in New York to shut down their investigation into the Clinton Foundation. Their objections were overruled. Sources have told me that McCabe also shut down an additional Clinton investigation. This is the McCabe who, while he was overseeing the Clinton email investigation, had a wife running for the Virginia State Senate and receiving more than $460,000 in campaign contributions from a longtime Clinton loyalist, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. Moreover, it was only after the news of Clinton’s private server became public in The New York Times that McAuliffe recruited McCabe’s wife to run for office. McCabe eventually recused himself from the Clinton probe, but that was one week before the 2016 election, after the decisions to clear Clinton and to pursue the Trump-Russia collusion investigation had already been made. So his recusal was meaningless.
In clearing legal impediments from Clinton’s path to the Democratic nomination, Comey and his senior staff thought they had helped Clinton clinch the presidency. Their actions put an end to a decades-long tradition of non-political federal law enforcement.
The Case of Trump-Russia Collusion
Rumors of collusion with Russia by Trump or the Trump campaign surfaced during the primaries in 2015, but gained in strength soon after Trump secured the Republican nomination in July 2016. Thanks to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, we now know that high-level FBI officials were involved in promoting these rumors. Among Horowitz’s discoveries were text messages between FBI Deputy Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page that suggest an illegal plan to utilize law enforcement to frame Trump. The most revealing exchange we know of took place on August 15, 2016. Concerned about the outcome of the election, Strzok wrote:
I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in [Andrew McCabe’s] office—that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected—but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.
No amount of sugar coating or post hoc explanation of this and other texts can conceal the couple’s animus against Trump and support for Clinton. Strzok’s messages illustrate his commitment to Clinton’s victory and Trump’s defeat or, if Trump won, to an “insurance policy.”
The term “insurance policy” obviously refers to the Trump-Russia collusion investigation, which to this day remains a probe with no underlying crime. This is not the talk of professional investigators, but of corrupt agents who have created two standards of justice based on their political leanings. It looks like a reprise of the schemes undertaken during an earlier era, under FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, that led to the creation of the Church Committee—a committee on which I served, and which tried to reform the FBI to prevent it from meddling in domestic politics.
At the heart of the Russia collusion scheme is the FBI’s utilization of a document paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Called the Steele Dossier because it was written by former British MI6 officer Christopher Steele, this document contains unsubstantiated information designed to taint Trump and his presidency. While Clinton partisans point out that candidate Clinton never referred to the Steele Dossier in her speeches, the fact is that she did not have to—the FBI hierarchy was doing it for her! Indeed, FBI General Counsel James Baker was recently reassigned because of his having leaked information about the Steele Dossier to the magazine Mother Jones.
Not one claim concerning Trump in the Steele Dossier has ever been verified by the FBI, according to Andrew McCabe himself in recent testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. The only confirmed fact is unsurprising: former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page traveled to Moscow on his own dime and met with various Russians—all perfectly legal.
Comey and then-CIA Director John Brennan laundered the Steele Dossier through the U.S. intelligence community to give it an aura of credibility and get it to the press. It was also used by the FBI and senior DOJ officials to secure wiretap warrants from a secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. Then its contents, via court-authorized FISA warrants, were used to justify the illegal unmasking of the identities of wiretapped Trump officials. The contents of these National Security Agency intercepts were put on spreadsheets and presented to members of President Obama’s National Security Council (NSC)—specifically Susan Rice and Ben Rhodes—and subsequently leaked to the press. According to former NSC staff, President Obama himself read the FISA intercepts of Trump campaign personnel. Unsurprisingly, there was no request for a leak investigation from either the FBI or the DOJ.
In sum, the FBI and DOJ employed unverified salacious allegations contained in a political opposition research document to obtain court-sanctioned wiretaps, and then leaked the contents of the wiretaps and the identities of political opponents. This was a complex criminal plot worthy of Jason Bourne.
The Pall Over the Special Counsel and the FBI
Layered over this debacle is a special counsel investigation unfettered by rules or law. Not surprisingly, James Comey triggered the special counsel’s appointment—and he did so by design. According to Comey’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, having been fired on May 9, 2017, he leaked official documents to his friend, Columbia Law School professor Daniel Richman, with the specific intent that Richman would leak them to the press. Reportage on that leak is what led Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint Robert Mueller—a former FBI director and Comey’s good friend—as special counsel to investigate allegations of Trump-Russia collusion.
Mueller’s reputation has been damaged by a series of decisions that violate the ethical rules of appearances. For instance, he hired Democratic partisans as lawyers for the probe: Andrew Weissmann, who donated to Clinton and praised Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for disobeying Trump’s lawful Presidential Order regarding a travel ban for residents of certain nations that harbor terrorists; Jeannie Rhee, who donated to Clinton and represented Ben Rhodes in the email probe and the Clinton Foundation investigation; and Aaron Zebley, who represented Clinton IT staffer Justin Cooper in the email server probe.
Mueller also staged a pre-dawn raid with weapons drawn on the home of Paul Manafort, rousing Manafort and his wife from their bed—a tactic customarily reserved for terrorists and drug dealers. Manafort has subsequently been indicted for financial crimes that antedate his campaign work for Trump and that have nothing to do with Russia collusion.
Then there’s the fact that when Mueller removed Strzok from the investigation in July 2017, he didn’t tell anyone. The removal and its causes were uncovered by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Why was such vital information concealed from the public? It is not, as is often claimed now, that Strzok was a minor figure. All the major decisions regarding both the Clinton and the Trump-Russia collusion investigations had been made under Strzok.
Significantly, Strzok also led the interview of General Michael Flynn that ended in Flynn pleading guilty to making false statements to the FBI. It is important to recall that Flynn’s FBI interview was not conducted under the authority of the special counsel, but under that of Comey and McCabe. It took place during Inauguration week in January 2017. Flynn had met with the same agents the day before regarding security clearances. McCabe called Flynn and asked if agents could come to the White House. Flynn agreed, assuming it was about personnel. It was not.
Flynn had been overheard on a FISA wiretap talking to Russia’s Ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. There was nothing criminal or even unusual about the fact of such discussion. Flynn was on the Trump transition team and was a federal employee as the President-Elect’s national security advisor. It was his job to be talking to foreign leaders. Flynn was not charged with regard to anything said during his conversation with Kislyak. So why was the FBI interrogating Flynn about legal conduct? What more did the FBI need to know? I am told by sources that when Flynn’s indictment was announced, McCabe was on a video conference call—cheering!
Compare the FBI’s treatment of Flynn to its treatment of Paul Combetta, the technician who used a program called BleachBit to destroy thousands of emails on Hillary Clinton’s computer. This destruction of evidence took place after a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives issued letters directing that all emails be preserved and subpoenaing them. Combetta first lied to the FBI, claiming he did not recall deleting anything. After being rewarded with immunity, Combetta recalled destroying the emails—but he could not recall anyone directing him to do so.
The word in Washington is that Flynn pleaded guilty to take pressure off his son, who was also a subject of Mueller’s investigation. Always the soldier. But those who questioned Flynn that day did not cover themselves with law enforcement glory. Led by Strzok, they grilled Flynn about facts that they already knew and that they knew did not constitute a crime. They besmirched the reputation of federal law enforcement by their role in a scheme to destroy a duly elected president and his appointees.
A pall hangs over Mueller, and a pall hangs over the DOJ. But the darkest pall hangs over the FBI, America’s premier federal law enforcement agency, which since the demise of J. Edgar Hoover has been steadfast in steering clear of politics. Even during L. Patrick Gray’s brief tenure as acting director during Watergate, it was not the FBI but Gray personally who was implicated. The current scandal pervades the Bureau. It spans from Director Comey to Deputy Director McCabe to General Counsel Baker. It spread to counterintelligence via Peter Strzok. When line agents complained about the misconduct, McCabe retaliated by placing them under investigation for leaking information.
From the outset of this scandal, I have considered Comey a dirty cop. His unfailing commitment to himself above all else is of a pattern. Throughout his career, Comey has continually portrayed himself as Thomas Becket, fighting against institutional corruption—even where none exists. Stories abound of his routine retort to anyone who disagreed with him (not an unusual happening when lawyers gather) during his tenure as deputy attorney general under President George W. Bush. “Your moral compass is askew,” he would say. This self-righteousness led agents to refer to him as “The Cardinal.” Comey is no Thomas Becket—he is Henry II.
now. We need our FBI back.
Tony Perkins, FRC
January 25, 2018
If there’s one thing I’ve always said, it’s that Christians should never check their faith at the door when they enter the public square. So, let me start by practicing what I preach. Like you, I’ve heard all of the allegations about Donald Trump’s past, his years of baggage and personal failings. I don’t pretend to know what’s true and what isn’t — certainly not now, in an environment as toxic as ours. But there is a truth I do know: faith in Jesus Christ that calls us to live with moral clarity in everything we do. And that means calling sin — sin.
Earlier this week, in a lengthy interview published by Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere, I was asked about an accusation of infidelity that’s resurfaced against Donald Trump from 2006. I explained to Dovere what I’ve said before: if this were happening today, his evangelical support would not exist. Adultery was wrong then, and it’s wrong now. If the rumors turn out to be true, then that behavior is unconscionable. No question. Where wrongdoing is brought to light, it is exactly that: wrongdoing.
Donald Trump has denied this latest allegation through his attorney, and we can find some comfort in his openness about his past mistakes. “I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not,” he told Americans before the election when a vulgar tape surfaced. “I’ve said and done things I regret. And the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them. Anyone who knows me, know these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, it was wrong, and I apologize.”
As I said when that footage was released in October of 2016, his actions were inappropriate and disturbing. I did not then, and I will not now, try to rationalize or excuse this type of behavior. But let’s also be realistic: Americans can only hold President Donald Trump accountable for what he does in office. We can’t do anything about the past. Americans may not like it, find it distasteful, and wish it hadn’t happened — but it did. Like any of us, he needs to own his failings and take responsibility for his actions. And in some of these cases, I believe he did.
That’s why, in explaining how evangelicals could come to the point of supporting Mr. Trump, I told the reporter that we — of all people — understand new beginnings. So, our attitude toward Trump politically was, “You get a mulligan. You get a do-over here.” Some people interpreted that statement — incorrectly — as excusing, or worse, condoning Donald Trump’s past behaviors. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
As I said again on CNN Tuesday night, I was not an early supporter of Mr. Trump because of his past personal conduct. But, after the candidate I was supporting dropped out of the race, it became a choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. So, I began communicating what I thought it would take for Mr. Trump to gain evangelical support. You may recall that we said he would: 1) need to commit to appointing pro-life judges, 2) choose a conservative pro-life, pro-family running-mate with a solid record, and 3) agree not to undermine or dilute the conservative GOP platform. To my amazement (and several others’), he not only met — but exceeded — the high bar we had set. No other Republican nominee had ever pledged to nominate “pro-life” judges. Mr. Trump put it in writing and released it to the nation.
This is all the more remarkable because I’ve worked on the GOP platform since 2004. And every election, we’ve had to battle the Republican presidential campaign on many conservative planks. The Trump campaign not only didn’t fight us, they worked with us. As the GOP nominee, Donald Trump embraced the platform, which helped turn the election from a contrast of personalities into an election about policies. And what has he done since he earned our support? A lot of what he pledged to do. In fact, he’s done more than any recent president to advance the values and policies that are critical to making America a good and prosperous nation.
On CNN, I restated that our support of the president is conditional. If Donald Trump were to stop keeping his promises or revert to the behavior of his past, evangelicals would quickly exit his base of support — and I would lead the way. But the reality is, he has kept his promises, so why would we stop supporting him based on allegations of repugnant behavior from more than a decade ago? What’s changed since the election?
Does that mean we don’t wrestle with the president’s tone or cringe at some of his inartful tweets? Not at all. Character matters. Personal conduct matters. It’s up to us to use our influence to ensure that the president does his very best to live in a way that doesn’t dishonor his office or the American people. But let’s also be clear: evangelicals have never looked at Donald Trump as a role model. They’re looking at his record as president.
As Rev. Franklin Graham pointed out, “We certainly don’t hold him up as the pastor of this country, and he’s not. But I appreciate the fact that the president does have a concern for Christian values, he does have a concern to protect Christians — whether it’s here at home or around the world — and I appreciate the fact that he protects religious liberty and freedom.”
When Dovere asked me if I vouched for Trump as a moral leader, I made it clear that I vouched for his leadership in delivering his promises. To this point, he’s making positive change in our country that evangelicals can support and all Americans benefit from. I’m not saying his performance as president can buy him grace — only Christ can do that. And while evangelicals can give him a mulligan regarding their political support, only through repentance and God’s forgiveness can he have a totally new start.
I respect that there are some very frustrated conservatives out there, who the Left is seeking to distract and divide. But if we care about the future of our nation, we have to deal in the present. This isn’t blind allegiance on the part of evangelicals. This is reasoned support for a political leader who has made and kept his campaign promises.
[Years ago], “Dr. Paul McHugh thought he had convinced the vast majority of medical professionals not to go along with bold claims about sex and gender being proffered by some of his colleagues. And as chair of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School and psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, McHugh put a stop to sex-reassignment surgery at Hopkins.Once the elite Johns Hopkins did this, many medical centers across the nation followed suit.But in recent years we have seen a resurgence of these drastic procedures — not in light of new scientific evidence, mind you, but as a result of a growing ideological movement. Such is our transgender movement.According to the best studies — the ones that even transgender activists themselves cite — 80 to 95 percent of children with gender dysphoria will come to identify with and embrace their bodily sex.Never mind that 41 percent of people who identify as transgender will attempt suicide at some point in their lives, compared to 4.6 percent of the general population. Never mind that people who have had transition surgery are 19 times more likely than average to die by suicide.These statistics should stop us in our tracks. Clearly, we must work to find ways to effectively prevent these suicides and address the underlying causes. We certainly shouldn’t be encouraging children to “transition.”Many psychologists and psychiatrists think of gender dysphoria as similar to other dysphorias, or forms of discomfort with one’s body, such as anorexia. The feelings of discomfort can lead to mistaken beliefs about oneself or about reality, and then to actions in accordance with those false beliefs.The most helpful therapies focus not on achieving the impossible — changing bodies to conform to thoughts and feelings — but on helping people accept and even embrace the truth about their bodies and reality.Operating in the background is a sound understanding of physical and mental health — proper function of one’s body and mind — and a sound understanding of medicine as a practice aimed at restoring health, not simply satisfying the desires of patients.For human beings to flourish, they need to feel comfortable in their own bodies, readily identify with their sex, and believe that they are who they actually are.”
A Figure Mired in Controversy
Dr. Sims then moved to New York City, where he helped establish the Woman’s Hospital, which was located in East Harlem. Shortly after his death, colleagues began collecting funds in the hopes of erecting a statue to honor a man they considered a pioneer in women’s health care. The New York Times reported in 1887 that those colleagues had collected some $7500 and had begun soliciting artists to create a bronze statue to be placed in Central Park. It was unveiled in 1894 — with crowdfunding from about 12,000 individuals — in Bryant Park, not Central Park.
According to the Times‘ account of the unveiling, Dr. Sims was lauded for, among other qualities, his perseverance. “His first operation was on a female slave and was unsuccessful. He operated again and again on the same subject, and finally, in his thirtieth trial, he was successful,” wrote the reporter. Indeed, records show that he operated on one slave, Anarcha, 30 times.
When Bryant Park underwent renovation decades later, the statue of Dr. Sims was put into storage. Dr. Sims’ admirers took the opportunity to lobby to move the statue to Central Park, where it would theoretically get more notice and be closer to the original and new locations of the Woman’s Hospital. They successfully had the statue moved to the park at Fifth Avenue and 103rd in 1934, where it has stood ever since.
In August 2017, the activist group Black Youth Project 100 protested in front of the statue, according to media reports, with a group of women wearing hospital gowns splattered with red paint on the abdominal area. A Facebook post of that photo was shared more than 200,000 times. Later that month, according to the New York Daily News, a vandal spray-painted the statue with red paint and the word “racist.”
A Medscape survey that same month found clinicians overwhelmingly against removal of monuments. Sixty-three percent of the 8200 physicians who responded said the statue of Dr. Sims should not be removed. If the statue were to be removed, survey respondents said, it should be placed in a museum or donated to a medical institution.
When asked what type of behavior would warrant removing a monument or commemoration of a healthcare provider, about half of those surveyed cited all of these actions: conducting research without consent; knowingly harming subjects; withholding vital medical treatment during or after a study; and refusing to care for a patient based on ethnicity, gender, race, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation.
Other Removals in the Works?
Statues of Dr. Sims were also erected in Columbia, South Carolina, and on the Capitol grounds in Montgomery, Alabama. In December, the mayor of Columbia called for the removal of the statue, according to the Post and Courier.
No further plans have been revealed, and nothing has been said about the fate of the Alabama statue.
In 2006, the painting “Medical Giants of Alabama,” which depicted Dr. Sims and other white men standing over a partially clothed black patient, was removed from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Center for Advanced Medical Studies in the wake of complaints that it was offensive, the Montgomery Advertiser reported at the time.
Hillary Clinton blamed the Electoral College for her stunning defeat in the 2016 presidential election in her latest memoirs, “What Happened.”
Some have claimed that the Electoral College is one of the most dangerous institutions in American politics.
Why? They say the Electoral College system, as opposed to a simple majority vote, distorts the one-person, one-vote principle of democracy because electoral votes are not distributed according to population.
To back up their claim, they point out that the Electoral College gives, for example, Wyoming citizens disproportionate weight in a presidential election.
Put another way, Wyoming, a state with a population of about 600,000, has one member in the House of Representatives and two members in the U.S. Senate, which gives the citizens of Wyoming three electoral votes, or one electoral vote per 200,000 people.
California, our most populous state, has more than 39 million people and 55 electoral votes, or approximately one vote per 715,000 people.
Comparatively, individuals in Wyoming have nearly four times the power in the Electoral College as Californians.
Many people whine that using the Electoral College instead of the popular vote and majority rule is undemocratic. I’d say that they are absolutely right. Not deciding who will be the president by majority rule is not democracy.
But the Founding Fathers went to great lengths to ensure that we were a republic and not a democracy. In fact, the word democracy does not appear in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or any other of our founding documents. How about a few quotations expressed by the Founders about democracy?
In Federalist Paper No. 10, James Madison wanted to prevent rule by majority faction, saying, “Measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.”
John Adams warned in a letter, “Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet, that did not commit suicide.”
Edmund Randolph said, “That in tracing these evils to their origin, every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy.”
Then-Chief Justice John Marshall observed, “Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos.”
The Founders expressed contempt for the tyranny of majority rule, and throughout our Constitution, they placed impediments to that tyranny. Two houses of Congress pose one obstacle to majority rule. That is, 51 senators can block the wishes of 435 representatives and 49 senators.
The president can veto the wishes of 535 members of Congress. It takes two-thirds of both houses of Congress to override a presidential veto.
To change the Constitution requires not a majority but a two-thirds vote of both houses, and if an amendment is approved, it requires ratification by three-fourths of state legislatures.
Finally, the Electoral College is yet another measure that thwarts majority rule. It makes sure that the highly populated states—today, mainly 12 on the east and west coasts, cannot run roughshod over the rest of the nation. That forces a presidential candidate to take into consideration the wishes of the other 38 states.
Those Americans obsessed with rule by popular majorities might want to get rid of the Senate, where states, regardless of population, have two senators.
Should we change representation in the House of Representatives to a system of proportional representation and eliminate the guarantee that each state gets at least one representative?
Currently, seven states with populations of 1 million or fewer have one representative, thus giving them disproportionate influence in Congress.
While we’re at it, should we make all congressional acts by majority rule? When we’re finished with establishing majority rule in Congress, should we then move to change our court system, which requires unanimity in jury decisions, to a simple majority rule?
My question is: Is it ignorance of or contempt for our Constitution that fuels the movement to abolish the Electoral College?
The answer. – Why We Use Electoral College, Not Popular Vote