Posted tagged ‘Deep state’

The Washington Post Swings and Misses at Jeff Sessions

July 22, 2017

The Washington Post Swings and Misses at Jeff Sessions, Power LinePaul Mirengoff, July 21, 2017

The Post’s sources clearly are out to get Sessions. It’s anyone’s guess whether they are accurately characterizing what the ambassador told his government and the reliability of what he told it.

In any event, the Post and its sources have failed to identify any contradiction between Sessions’s statements about his interaction with the ambassador and what the ambassador supposedly told the Russians about the interaction.

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The Washington Post claims that Attorney General Sessions’ statements about what he discussed with the Russian ambassador are at odds with reports by the ambassador to his government about what he and Sessions discussed. The Post relies on, you guessed it, “current and former U.S. officials.”

But the Post fails to describe a contradiction between what Sessions has said and what the Russian ambassador supposedly reported. Here are the only statements by Sessions cited by the Post and its sources as problematic:

I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign.

I don’t recall any discussion of the campaign in any significant way.

I never met with or had any conversation with any Russians or foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election in the United States.

Here is the Post’s description of what the Russian ambassador told the government:

A former official said that the intelligence indicates that Sessions and Kislyak had “substantive” discussions on matters including Trump’s positions on Russia-related issues and prospects for U.S.-Russia relations in a Trump administration.

Maybe. But even someone with average skill in reading and logic would understand that this description is not inconsistent with Sessions’ denial that he did not discuss the campaign with the ambassador.

It stands to reason that Sessions might discuss Russia-related issues with the Russian ambassador. And Russia-related issues are also campaign-related issues in the sense that Russia was an issue in the campaign.

But what Sessions denied was that he discussed the campaign and any interference by Russia with it. The denial was important because, at the time Sessions made it, the issue Washington fixated on was whether Team Trump sought or knew about Russian help for the candidate, or coordinated with Russia regarding the campaign.

The Post’s piece, by Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima, and Greg Miller, is dishonest. It finds a contradiction where none exists by glossing over the distinction between discussing a “campaign-related issue” — which is any substantive issue raised by any candidate during the campaign season — and discussing the campaign.

Discussing hacking or “opposition research” research with the Russian ambassador would constitute discussing the campaign. Telling the ambassador how the campaign is going or what its strategy is would constituted discussing the campaign. Telling the ambassador — as President Obama told the Russian president — that the candidate would be more flexible with Russia after the campaign would probably be a borderline case.

Simply discussing Russia policy — past, present, or future — is not discussing the campaign.

There is also the question of whether the Russian ambassador was telling his government the truth. The Post admits that “the Russian ambassador could have mischaracterized or exaggerated the nature of his interactions” with Sessions. It notes: “Russian and other foreign diplomats in Washington and elsewhere have been known, at times, to report false or misleading information to bolster their standing with their superiors or to confuse U.S. intelligence agencies.”

The Post adds, however, that the Russian ambassador “has a reputation for accurately relaying details about his interactions with officials in Washington.” Maybe. But I’m not inclined to take the word of the “deep state” on this. I suspect there are “current and former officials” who would grant the Russian ambassador sainthood if it meant embarrassing the Trump administration.

The Post’s sources clearly are out to get Sessions. It’s anyone’s guess whether they are accurately characterizing what the ambassador told his government and the reliability of what he told it.

In any event, the Post and its sources have failed to identify any contradiction between Sessions’s statements about his interaction with the ambassador and what the ambassador supposedly told the Russians about the interaction.

U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Slams American Fight Against Terror During July 4th Celebration

July 10, 2017

U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Slams American Fight Against Terror During July 4th Celebration, Washington Free Beacon  July 10, 2017

US Ambassador to Turkey John Bass delivers a statement to journalists in Ankara on April 7, 2016. / AFP / ADEM ALTAN (Photo credit should read ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

“If we have learned anything from last year and the violence of this year, it is that the only answer to terrorism and violence is justice and tolerance,” he said.

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U.S. Ambassador to Turkey John Bass criticized the American fight against terrorism during a July Fourth celebration hosted by the U.S. consulate in Ankara, claiming that an “overly broad” definition of terrorism has hampered U.S. efforts to combat extremists and eroded international confidence in America.

Bass, a career foreign service officer who was appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2014, urged Turkey to “avoid making the mistakes the U.S. made” in its fight against radical terrorists, telling those in attendance at an Independence Day reception “that rushing to justice or making an overly broad definition of terrorism can erode fundamental freedoms and undermine public confidence in government.”

Bass’s comments have come under scrutiny by Trump administration insiders and regional experts, who told the Washington Free Beacon that Turkey’s recent crackdown on scores of political dissidents in no way reflects America’s own battles in the region.

Insiders are viewing Bass’s criticism of U.S. policy on terrorism as a veiled rejection of President Donald Trump, who has come under fire from multiple U.S. officials who rose to prominence under Obama and are still serving in government.

For example, Dana Shell Smith, who served as the U.S. ambassador to Qatar until she resigned in June, came under scrutiny earlier this year when she signaled distain for representing the Trump administration while still serving as a U.S. official abroad.

“We support the Turkish government’s ongoing efforts to bring to justice those who were responsible for the terrible events of a year ago,” Bass said in comments recorded by the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News, referring to a recent coup attempt in Turkey that resulted in the imprisonment and detention of more than 100,000 political opponents.

“In our own experience dealing with terrorism in recent years, in the U.S., we have learned some painful lessons,” Bass said, drawing parallels between Turkey’s crackdown and U.S. efforts to fight terrorists. “Among those lessons, we have learned that rushing to justice or making an overly broad definition of terrorism can erode fundamental freedoms and undermine public confidence in government. We learned those lessons the hard way.”

“It is our hope that our friends in Turkey will avoid making some of the same mistakes that we have made,” Bass was quoted as saying.

Bass’s public criticism of the U.S. fight against terrorism has raised eyebrows among Trump administration insiders and foreign policy experts, who noted a recent trend in which senior State Department stalwarts, many of whom served under Obama, have been willing to criticize U.S. policy and the Trump administration both on record and anonymously in the press.

Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser and Middle East expert, chided Bass for comparing the U.S. fight against terrorism to Turkey’s recent coup attempt, in which thousands were jailed for taking up arms against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Let me get this straight: a democratic debate about the Patriot Act is the moral equivalent of jailing tens of thousands of people, and firing a hundred thousand more?” Rubin asked. “At the very least, the ambassador’s remarks reflect a culture problem within the State Department where criticizing U.S. policy is a virtue rather than a liability. Such moral equivalence insults all those in prison without evidence or real charges and hemorrhages both credibility and leverage.”

Bass also maintained in his remarks that the only way to combat terrorism is to promote “justice and tolerance.”

“If we have learned anything from last year and the violence of this year, it is that the only answer to terrorism and violence is justice and tolerance,” he said.

Sources close to the Trump administration’s foreign policy team told the Free Beacon that Bass’s remarks reflect an attitude of opposition to Trump among senior U.S. foreign service officers who served under Obama.

“Like many other officials who rose to prominence during the Obama administration, Ambassador Bass still hasn’t adjusted to the last election and what it means,” said one veteran Middle East analyst who works with the White House on these regional issues.

“We haven’t been too tough on terrorism,” the source said. “President Trump was elected in part because he was clear that, if anything, we’ve been way too weak. In any case July Fourth is an occasion for emphasizing America as the world’s beacon of freedom, not apologizing for real and imagined faults.”

State Department spokesmen did not respond to a Free Beacon request for comment on Bass’s remarks by press time.

FULL MEASURE: June 25, 2017 – Fast and Furious

June 26, 2017

FULL MEASURE: June 25, 2017 – Fast and Furious via YouTube, June 26, 2017

(The Department of Justice continues to resist efforts to obtain information on the Obama administration’s Fast and Furious gunrunning program. The Trump administration presumably has no interest in concealing that information. Is this another example of the deep state in action? — DM)

 

Analyst: Qatar corrupting US’ national security ‘Deep State’

June 25, 2017

Analyst: Qatar corrupting US’ national security ‘Deep State’, Al Arabiya, June 25, 2017

Angelo Codevilla lists the ways that Qatar has been peddling its influence in the West and especially in the US, even corrupting many institutions of the US national security “Deep State”. (Shutterstock)

After President Trump praised Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies’ cutting of diplomatic and commercial contact with Qatar to force it to end its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, among other terrorists, an adviser to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told The New York Times that, while “The president is focused on ending terrorism; the secretary is focused on diplomacy that will return GCC focus to fighting terrorism.”

The US government – the President notwithstanding – far from helping to isolate Qatar, will focus on ending that isolation and hope that this will have a beneficial effect on fighting terrorism.

Tillerson himself, while admitting that Qatar was supporting terrorism, made clear that this support was less important than the relationship itself.

“Qatar is one of the many entities that have capitalized on the US foreign policy establishment’s predispositions to Progressive ideology and to meddling. Let us abstract from such crude influence-buying as the Qatari government’s gift of one million dollars to the Clinton Foundation on the occasion of Bill Clinton’s 65th birthday or the lucrative business connections,” the author says.

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In a detailed analysis published recently by Security Studies Group, author and expert Angelo Codevilla, who is Professor Emeritus of International Relations at Boston University and a fellow of the Claremont Institute, goes into the historic role of American institutions, including the State Department and the CIA, to forge relationships with terror groups in the mistaken belief that they can be weaned away from violence.

He traces this flawed thinking by these state institutions and other actors to the Arab Gulf states rift with Qatar.

Codevilla writes: “As he applauds Saudi Arabia’s and its Gulf allies’ attempt to force Qatar to stop supporting terrorists, even his secretary of State not so subtly echoes the Establishment’s chorus that this is a bad idea. No one denies that whoever supports terrorism should stop doing so, that the state of Qatar in fact does support terrorists with billions of dollars, facilities, and a television network, and that the Muslim Brotherhood carries out terrorist acts directly and through affiliates. Hence the question imposes itself: how do opinions so contrary to reality and to the common sense of ordinary people acquire such power in high places?”

The author then lists the ways that Qatar has been peddling its influence in the West and especially in the US, even corrupting many institutions of the US national security “Deep State”.

“The counterintuitive influence of Muslim Brotherhood/Qatar is yet another example of what Herman Kahn used to call ”educated incapacity” – the inability of a few, acquired only by sustained effort, to understand or even to perceive realities obvious to the unschooled many,” writes Codevilla.

He then exmines how that influence has taken hold. “It is a story of how the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideas and the Qatari state’s money have encouraged the professors, think-tankers and bureaucrats of America’s National Security State to foist upon America a peculiar set of values and priorities by indulging their own prejudices.”

Indentical articles

The author points out that as President Trump was about to command the State Department “to list the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates had already done so), Foreign Policy magazine and the Brookings Institution published nearly identical articles.”

After President Trump praised Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies’ cutting of diplomatic and commercial contact with Qatar to force it to end its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, among other terrorists, an adviser to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told The New York Times that, while “The president is focused on ending terrorism; the secretary is focused on diplomacy that will return GCC focus to fighting terrorism.”

In other words: The US government – the President notwithstanding – far from helping to isolate Qatar, will focus on ending that isolation and hope that this will have a beneficial effect on fighting terrorism.

Tillerson himself, while admitting that Qatar was supporting terrorism, made clear that this support was less important than the relationship itself.

Codevilla says that this was tantamount to saying: “We would rather support a Qatar that does not support terrorism. But we’ll support it even though it does.”

The answer also lies in the confluence between the Progressive prejudices of the American foreign policy establishment and the material reinforcement thereof by Muslim regimes, particularly that of Qatar.

The author painstakingly goes back to the post-World War II American security establishment and its moral compass, viewing view themselves on the side of the world’s emerging peoples, as “the true revolutionaries.”

Crude influence-buying

“Qatar is one of the many entities that have capitalized on the US foreign policy establishment’s predispositions to Progressive ideology and to meddling. Let us abstract from such crude influence-buying as the Qatari government’s gift of one million dollars to the Clinton Foundation on the occasion of Bill Clinton’s 65th birthday or the lucrative business connections,” the author says.

“Qatari operatives rightly regard these contributions, many deployed by their National Research Foundation, as having produced the political equivalent of strategically located military units,” says Codevilla.

There are American academic institutions in Qatar, and there are as well dozens of Qatari-supported foundations and countless scholars.

Codevilla concludes:“The al Thani family, which has ruled it for decades, has used the country’s great wealth to pursue influence abroad in ways that are inherently incompatible. Tamim, the current emir, has taken that foreign policy to a point where the incompatibilities may no longer coexist.”

Trump’s State Department slaps down Hungarian PM, supports George Soros

June 23, 2017

Trump’s State Department slaps down Hungarian PM, supports George Soros, Refugee Resettlement Watch, Ann Corcoran, June 22, 2017

(About halfway into the article, we learn that one of Secretary Tillerson’s spokespersons delivered the message. Did Tillerson know or approve of the message? — DM)

In one more example of the US State Department being run by the ‘Deep State,’ we learned on Monday that Sec. of State Tillerson has basically told Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to stand down in his efforts to expose Soros’ subversive influence in that country.

Big smooch from Sec. of State Tillerson to George Soros. Why is USDOS involved in Hungarian internal affairs?

Readers should know that Orban has become a leading champion for some in Europe for speaking forcefully and taking action to close his country’s borders to the invaders*** from the Middle East and Africa.

(Poland and the Czech Republic are doing the same in order to save their culture and economy.)

So, George Soros knows that Orban must be taken down.  (As many of you know Soros (aka György Schwartz ) was born to a Hungarian Jewish family in Budapest.)

Now, using his billions earned as a ruthless investor, he works to open borders worldwide and he hates Donald Trump, so one wonders why Trump’s State Department would even get involved in this Hungarian internal issue? Does it all boil down to the globalists’ desire for open borders that Soros champions?

Frankly, this news is stunning! But, it fits what we already believe—that the ‘Deep State’ is still running the show at the DOS. See here when they pulled a trick on Trump’s White House while Trump was on his world tour last month.

Here is some of the story at the Washington Examiner (emphasis is mine):

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s spokesperson urged Hungarian leaders to scrap legislation mandating that Hungarian nonprofits supported by foreign contributors identify their donors. The bill is the latest development in nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s ongoing campaign against Soros, but his domestic and international critics regard it also as a step toward Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Hungary joined NATO in 1999, when Orban was in the midst of a four-year run as prime minister. Since returning to the post in 2010 the midst of an economic crisis that required an international bailout, Orban has had a fraught relationship with the European Union. The 2015 refugee crisis created additional strain, and human rights groups criticized his efforts to constrict the flow of asylum-seekers into Hungary.

President Trump should be inviting Viktor Orban to the White House for a state dinner, not using his DOS to slap him down in his battle with George Soros!

Orban responded by attacking Soros, a campaign that hasn’t ended. “There is an important element in public life in Hungary which is not transparent and not open — and that is the Soros network, with its mafia-style operation and its agentlike organizations,” he said in June.

[….]

The Hungarian leader’s skepticism of the EU and “globalist” refugee policies, perhaps aided by Soros’ status as a prominent progressive donor, has endeared him to some American conservatives who see a likeness to Trump.

[….]

Hungary also passed legislation designed to shutter Central European University, one of the most prominent institutions in the country, due to funding from Soros. But, though Orban has praised Trump, the new president’s administration opposed that bill and continued to criticize his hostility to the nonprofits.

Continue reading here.

We already know that Soros has given millions to one US refugee contractor. https://refugeeresettlementwatch.wordpress.com/2017/02/26/hungarian-prime-minister-calls-out-george-soros-in-state-of-the-nation-speech/

“Hostility” toward nonprofits!  Is it hostile to demand to know who is funding the non-profits?

I want to know how much funding George Soros is giving to US refugee contractors and other Open borders agitation groups!

And, Hungarians have a right to know how Soros, an American, is secretly influencing their politics.

Come on Congress! How about a transparency law here in the US—call it the George Soros Transparency Act of 2017.

Afterthought!  While they are at it let’s have transparency about which Republicans in Congress are taking payola from Soros!

Go here for my complete archive on the ‘Invasion of Europe.’ It extends back many years.

John Bolton: Trump ‘in the Right Place’ on North Korea, but State Dept. Continues 25 Years of Failed Policy

June 23, 2017

John Bolton: Trump ‘in the Right Place’ on North Korea, but State Dept. Continues 25 Years of Failed Policy, BreitbartJohn Hayward, June 23, 2017

(Reunification of North and South Korea would be very expensive for South Korea and may not be as appealing to South Korea as it once was. China is very much opposed because it perceives — wrongly in my view — a unified Korea on its border as a threat. How about unification of North Korea and China instead? — DM)

“We’ve tried that for 25 years with respect to the nuclear program. It has had no effect. I don’t think you can change the behavior of the North Korean regime because I don’t think you can change its character,” he said.

“That, to me, is why the only real solution to eliminate the nuclear threat, to stop this treatment of both foreigners and their own citizens, to give the people of North Korea a chance for a decent life, you have to end the regime. My own view is you reunite North and South Korea. The U.S. has to persuade China it’s in their interests to do it. It’s a heavy lift. I acknowledge that. But otherwise, we just keep doing what we’ve done ever since this regime was formed shortly after World War II. It only respects force, and nobody wants to see use of force on the Korean peninsula today, with its potentially tragic consequences,” said Bolton.

“The State Department can keep doing what it’s done unsuccessfully for 25 years. Year 26 is going to be exactly the same. I think we’ve got to try something very, very different. If we don’t, we’re going to get the same result,” he cautioned.

Bolton said he thinks President Trump himself is “in the right place on this.”

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On Friday’s Breitbart News Daily, former U.N. ambassador John Bolton talked about the death of American student Otto Warmbier, recently released from more than a year of captivity in North Korea, most of which he spent in a coma. He also discussed what Warmbier’s death means for America’s North Korea policy moving forward. Bolton then looked at the one-year anniversary of the Brexit vote and U.S. policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“It’s obviously a personal tragedy,” Bolton told SiriusXM host Alex Marlow. “Here’s a perfectly healthy young man, goes to North Korea, and comes back and dies a few days later. Obviously, we are all feeling for his family and his friends.”

“But I think for the United States as a whole, the lesson here is about the character of the North Korean regime: that they’re so barbaric, that even if you take everything they say as true, that Otto Warmbier stole a political poster – you know, that’s what college kids do. Slap him on the wrist, put him in jail for a day, kick him out of the country. That’s what civilized countries do, but not North Korea,” he said.

“Not only did they brutalize him; they lied about it consistently for a year-and-a-half,” he noted. “They’re still holding three other Americans. They have a long history of kidnapping South Korean and Japanese citizens over the past several decades. This is the way they treat foreigners. They run a 25-million-person prison camp in their own country, under just horribly primitive conditions for most citizens. And they’re pursuing deliverable nuclear weapons and appear to be pretty close to achieving that.”

“This is not a regime that you can reason with in the same sense Americans think of that term,” Bolton contended. “They may be rational in terms of the regime in North Korea, but it’s not rational in our terms. That’s why I’m somewhat distressed with the Trump administration reaction, or at least the State Department reaction of saying, ‘Well, we’re just going to apply more pressure on North Korea to get them to change their behavior.’”

“We’ve tried that for 25 years with respect to the nuclear program. It has had no effect. I don’t think you can change the behavior of the North Korean regime because I don’t think you can change its character,” he said.

“That, to me, is why the only real solution to eliminate the nuclear threat, to stop this treatment of both foreigners and their own citizens, to give the people of North Korea a chance for a decent life, you have to end the regime. My own view is you reunite North and South Korea. The U.S. has to persuade China it’s in their interests to do it. It’s a heavy lift. I acknowledge that. But otherwise, we just keep doing what we’ve done ever since this regime was formed shortly after World War II. It only respects force, and nobody wants to see use of force on the Korean peninsula today, with its potentially tragic consequences,” said Bolton.

“The State Department can keep doing what it’s done unsuccessfully for 25 years. Year 26 is going to be exactly the same. I think we’ve got to try something very, very different. If we don’t, we’re going to get the same result,” he cautioned.

Bolton said he thinks President Trump himself is “in the right place on this.”

“I think he, as much as anybody – maybe more than anybody in his administration – understands the danger of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program,” Bolton added. I think he understands and said publicly what a terrible treatment Otto Warmbier received. It should never happen to anybody and shouldn’t happen again.”

“He’s just tweeted a few days ago he doesn’t think China has delivered on the commitments Xi Jinping made when he was here in the United States at the Mar-a-Lago summit. What Trump said then, what he’s implied in the tweet, is that China’s jiving us again – as they have been on North Korea for 25 years, and the United States will have to solve this on its own,” he said.

“The question is whether the bureaucracy responds to the president. At this point, I don’t see it, unfortunately. I don’t rule it out. Obviously, things could be happening that are not public yet. But I think the president’s in one place, and the bureaucracy is in another. The bureaucracy’s in the same place on North Korea it has been for 25 years. It just doesn’t change,” he lamented.

Bolton’s policy recommendations for North Korea included restoring “all of the sanctions previously imposed on North Korea.”

“I would correct the Bush administration’s…one of Condi Rice’s worst mistakes is taking North Korea off our list of state sponsors of terrorism. I would put them right back on that list. They’re not only state sponsors, they are terrorists themselves, given this treatment of Otto Warmbier and many others, American and non-American alike,” he declared.

“I’d put the pressure on, no doubt about it, but I think we’ve got to be realistic: it’s not going to work. It’s not going to change their behavior. They’ll find ways to evade it. Sanctions have been evaded by the North Koreans successfully with the help of China and Russia for decades. We’ve got to have a very straight talk with China about reunification, and if that doesn’t work, then our options are limited and unattractive,” Bolton warned.

Marlow turned to Britain’s exit from the European Union, which reached its one-year anniversary on Friday. He noted that very little progress has been made during the past year.

“It’s disappointing, I must say,” Bolton agreed. “It’s due to several factors. It’s due to the fact that, obviously, David Cameron had to be replaced as prime minister. I think the supporters of leaving the European Union in the Conservative Party hoped to get a champion of the Leave position in as prime minister. That didn’t happen, although Theresa May seemed to be prepared to negotiate for a hard Brexit if necessary. But then she called this snap election, and it seemed like a brilliant move at the time, but it’s resulted in the Conservative Party actually losing seats in the House of Commons, so they’re in disarray.”

“I think it’s going to be hard for Theresa May to survive politically, so you’ve had this turmoil in domestic politics that’s gotten in the way of negotiations,” he said. “I think that those who advocated Leave just need to grit their teeth and continue on because the decision to leave was then, and is today, the right decision for Britain.”

“The elites, the high-minded in Europe and in Britain and in America, all think that they should reverse their decision. That’s not going to happen. People need to get used to that,” he said.

“I think President Trump said some time ago he wanted to step up and establish a bilateral trade relationship between the U.S. and a U.K. no longer in the E.U. I think we should be moving ahead on that,” Bolton advised. “There are certain constraints the Brits face, but we can lay out the big principles so that businesses and financial services institutions on both sides of the Atlantic know what’s coming. I think it’s a win-win for the U.S. and the U.K., and I hope we pay more attention to that.”

“As hard and as unproductive as the past year has been, the fundamental decision remains correct. They just need to fight through it,” he said.

Marlow observed that the hard British left has been working out an alliance with Islamists. “It seems like the encroaching Islamist philosophies of Islamism are becoming much more prevalent and more accepted, and it seems like the priorities of the folks in the Jeremy Corbyn wing of British politics seem to be getting a much more powerful voice than I was anticipating,” he said.

“I must say, within the Labor party in Britain, the only religion that seems to be favored is Islam,” Bolton replied. “Christianity, Judaism are old-fashioned. The levels of anti-Semitism in the Labor party are at historically high levels. I think it has to do with their ideology. I think that this self-segregation, this unwillingness to join the broader U.K. culture, is a huge potential problem.”

“You know, none of the European countries have the concept of the melting pot the way we do in the United States, where people come from all over the world and get into the melting pot and emerge as Americans,” he pointed out. “It’s a huge strength of the United States. It’s why we’ve been a draw for people from all over the world forever. They understand that when they come here, they’re going to do something very different in their lives. They’re going to join a nation that is unique in the world, founded on an idea, and they change.”

“When we’ve seen in recent years people coming to this country who don’t want to get into the melting pot, who don’t want to be Americanized – they don’t even like that word; I think it’s a word we should use more often – it’s a problem for us,” he added.

“The Brits are the closest of the European countries to having that ability, but it’s been failing them for a number of years. It doesn’t work at all on the continent of Europe itself. I think this split within society, this view that some can live under sharia law, everybody else will live under the regular English legal system, is the beginning of the end of the democratic society. I don’t want to be apocalyptic about it, but I think that’s the direction it’s moving in,” Bolton said.

“The Europeans are in the midst of a decision whether they understand it or not, given the hundreds of thousands – indeed, millions – of refugees and migrants that are coming from North Africa and the Middle East,” he contended. “This is a process that’s been in play for a long time. Maybe they don’t care so much about their cultural identity. That’s their choice to make, if they want to lose it. But there are demographic trends at play here that could foreshadow a very different Europe by the end of this century. If they don’t insist on integration into the broader society, then it won’t happen.”

“In the United States, people have come here historically because they want to become Americans. They want to shed some of the baggage of the countries they’re leaving from. To the extent we suffer from that same European problem, we will have the same issues here – maybe a little bit later than the Europeans, but inevitably, we will face the same problems,” he predicted.

“I think it’s emblematic of this unwillingness to deal with this issue that you’re seeing almost daily acts of terrorism across Europe. It hasn’t happened here yet, but we’re beginning to see that pattern, and I think it’s only going to get worse,” said Bolton.

Marlow asked for Bolton’s view of the visit by President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner to the Middle East and the persistent issue of Palestinian payments to the families of suicide bombers, blatantly encouraging violence in a way that makes talk of a “peace process” farcical.

Bolton agreed these payments to the families of terrorists are “a very significant issue.”

“Secretary of State Tillerson testified – I think it’s about two weeks ago now – that the Palestinian Authority said it wasn’t going to make such payments anymore,” he recalled. “The next day, the government of Israel said that’s not true; it’s still going on.”

“You’ve got a fundamentally different perspective on many, many things in that region,” he said. “I think Jared Kushner, I think the president himself, are approaching this in good faith with a good heart. They want to see what they can do. I’ve believed for some time, however, that the two-state solution has run into a dead end. It’s not going to work. It’s not doable. The Palestinian Authority doesn’t have the legitimacy or the capability of making commitments and then carrying them out. I think you’ve got to look at something radically different.”

“I just have to say, as my honest diplomatic and political assessment, repeating the Middle East peace process as we’ve known it this past forty or fifty years, the idea of a two-state solution, isn’t going to go anywhere,” Bolton concluded.

Putin Wins Big

June 23, 2017

Putin Wins Big, Jewish Media Resources, Jonathan Rosenblum, June 23, 2017

(Putin is winning because the national focus is on non-events. Hence, our faith in the electoral system has been damaged and the ability of the Trump administration to focus on the agenda Trump was elected to pursue has been limited. The Congress, rather than focus on legislating, is preoccupied with investigations of non-events. That’s good for America’s enemies and bad for America. President Trump’s successes in focusing on his agenda despite the many distractions speak well of him. — DM)

Smith makes an insightful distinction between “consolations, vicious self-sung lullabies” and “conspiracy theories.” Examples of the former would be: Hillary lost because the Russians hacked the election; our children died because the Jews poisoned the wells.

But such “consolations,” as vicious as they may be, only become full-blown conspiracy theories when weaponized through the mass media for political use. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion would be the classic example of such a conspiracy theory. And, Smith points out, Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” do not have the platforms “to proliferate weaponized narratives capable of doing real damage to our polity – the elites do.” And those elites — the press, the intelligence community, political parties – have been used to legitimize a conspiracy theory.

James Kirchik, another anti-Trump pundit (as well as a brilliant analyst on many issues) laments the way the “confirmation bias” has resulted in well-meaning, liberal anti-Trump journalists reporting stories that they want to be true and are emotionally true for them – e.g., stories of threatened or actual violence against minorities – but are factually false.

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It is certain that Russia launched a massive hacking campaign to undermine the U.S. electoral process in 2016. That is a major issue that needs to be thoroughly investigated, and steps taken so that it does not recur.

Though the Russian involvement in the 2016 election targeted both presidential candidates at various times, it likely damaged Hillary Clinton’s campaign more. Confirmation in the emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee that the DNC had actively favored Clinton over her chief rival for the Democratic nomination, Senator Bernie Sanders, infuriated Sanders supporters. Conceivably enough of those supporters could have decided not to vote for Clinton based on those emails to have made a difference in the three crucial battleground states – Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Thus far, however, the primary focus on the Russian hacking has been with respect to the far-fetched claim that the Russians colluded with the Trump campaign fashion in some fashion The obsessive focus on that issue has turned the hacking into a major victory for Vladimir Putin by introducing an unparalleled degree of rancor and paralysis into the American political system.

James Kirchik writing in the May 3 American Interest (“Who Killed the Liberal World Order”), describes how at last September’s G-20 summit in Hangzhou, China, then President Obama confronted Russian President Vladimir Putin about the Russian hacking of the DNC, and told him to “cut it out” or “face serious consequences.” In October, according to Bloomberg News, the White House used a cyber version of the “red phone” to convey to the Kremlin detailed evidence of Russian hacking of voter data banks in numerous states. On both occasions, Putin, who had long since taken Obama’s measure, did nothing in response.

WHATEVER THE REASON Putin decided to interfere with the 2016 election, it was not because he feared Obama or Obama’s legacy-bearer, former Secretary of State Clinton. Starting with Clinton’s declared “reset” of relations with Russia, shortly after the Obama administration entered office in 2009, until Obama issued his warning at Hangzhou, the United States had repeatedly stood down in every possible confrontation with Russia.

The 2009 reset itself took place in the wake of the assassinations by Russian intelligence agents of Alexander Livinenko in London, where the former Russian intelligence operative he had been granted political asylum, and of Russia’s leading investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Russia was also busy hardening control of areas of Georgia occupied by Russian troops. As part of the reset, the Obama administration abandoned plans to provide Poland and Czechoslovakia with anti-missile defenses.

During the 2012 presidential debates, Obama mocked his Republican opponent Mitt Romney for listing Russia as the United States’ primary international foe. “The 80s called. They want their foreign policy back,” teased Obama. And even prior to the 2012 campaign, Obama told Putin’s sidekick Dmitry Medvedev that he’d be able to be “more flexible” after the campaign, and asked for a little breathing room from Russia.

All Obama’s shows of good will, however, went unreciprocated by Putin. In 2013, Putin granted asylum to Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee who had exposed the U.S. National Security Agency’s surveillance methods. The same year Putin cracked down on foreign-funded NGO’s, and invaded the Ukraine. Obama refused to supply the Ukrainians with defensive weapons, as the United States had committed to do in the Budapest Memorandum, drafted when the former Soviet republics gave up their nuclear stockpiles.

In 2015, Soviet forces entered Syria in force to shore up the Assad regime, fairly daring the United States to challenge them. Previously, Putin had humiliated Obama by offering him a lifeline, when the latter refused to enforce his own redline against Assad’s deployment of chemical weapons.

PUTIN HAD reasons to prefer Trump to Clinton. He harbors a paranoid belief that Hillary orchestrated protests against him in 2011. And, writes Kirchik in the Los Angeles Times, he appreciated that Trump’s ignorant outbursts made “American politics – and by extension America – look like a foolish country.”

Putin may also have thought that Trump’s neo-Jacksonian, quasi-isolationist campaign talk would serve Russia’s interest in carving out a sphere of interest in its near abroad. But, as Kirchik notes in his American Interest piece, Obama’s “interconnected world,” without American power to back it up, had already resulted in a reduction of American influence and allowed Putin free rein in Russia’s near abroad.

The Russians were as shocked as everyone else, however, by Trump’s victory. Their goal was not so much to defeat Clinton, as to render it difficult for her (or Trump) to govern and to thereby “weaken the world’s last superpower,” writes Professor Mark Galeotti of the Institute of International Relations Prague in Tablet. And their means for doing so was to reduce America’s democratic legitimacy by calling the election results into question and reducing the scope for compromise and consensus in the American political system.

Or as veteran Moscow correspondent David Satter argued in the June 12 Wall Street Journal, Putin did not so much support Donald Trump, as he sought American political paralysis. The differences between Trump and Clinton were simply not that significant in his view.

Putin’s method is to sow chaos, to light a hundred brushfires and see which ones turn into full-fledged forest fires. “Putin is not a chess player,” writes Galeotti. “He and his people are improvisers and opportunists. They try to create multiple potential points of leverage, never knowing which will prove useful or not.”

One of those prongs was the so-called “Trump dossier, compiled by former British intelligence official Christopher Steele based on information “sold” to him by Russian intelligence officials. The document bears all the marks of a classic Russian disinformation campaign. “The kind of gossip that fills the Trump Dossier, writes Galeotti, is common currency in Moscow, “even if very little of it has any authority behind it aside from the speaker’s own imagination.”

One thing is almost certain: The Trump campaign did not collude with the Russians. Both Senator Diane Feinstein and Congressman Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrats on the Senate and House intelligence committees investigating Russia’s electoral involvement, respectively, have confirmed that they have seen nothing to implicate Trump or his aides in collusion with Russia.

The absence of collusion is, moreover, logically demonstrable. If there were collusion, the Russians would undoubtedly possess evidence of it. Since coming to office, the Trump administration has taken a much more aggressive anti-Russian stance than Obama ever did – targeting with cruise missiles an airfield and planes of Russian ally Bashir Assad and just this week shooting down a Syrian plane in a dogfight; allowing Montenegro’s entry into the NATO alliance; denying Exxon-Mobil a waiver for energy exploration in Russia; and sharply criticizing Russian support for the Taliban in Afghanistan. If Putin possessed incriminating evidence on Trump, he would have already revealed it in order to destroy President Trump. Elementary, my dear Watson.

DESPITE THE LACK OF ANY PLAUSIBLE EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION, Russian interference in the 2016 election has set in motion a “self-sustaining process,” in Galeotti’s words, in which “America is tearing itself apart with little need for Russian help.”

It is hard to know for sure whether those most actively promoting the Trump-Russian collusion narrative really believe it themselves or just see it as the best way of bringing down the president. About the latter they might be right. Already the anti-Trump forces have succeeded in gaining the appointment of a special prosecutor, and the scope of the special prosecutor’s investigation has expanded to legally flimsy charges of obstruction of justice against Trump. Once a special prosecutor is in the saddle there is no way of knowing where things will go. The longer the investigation continues the greater the chance of a prosecution for something entirely tangential to the original investigation.

Patrick Fitzgerald, for instance, was appointed special prosecutor to investigate the outing of CIA employee Valerie Flame. From the very outset of the investigation, he knew the source of that information; Undersecretary of State Richard Armitage was the one who told it to columnist Robert Novak. Armitage, however, was never prosecuted. But Fitzgerald carried on for years, until he claimed the scalp of Vice-President Richard Cheney’s top aide, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, on perjury charges, over statements given to investigators about which there were conflicting memories.

Putin has succeeded in driving a wedge between President and the intelligence agencies upon which he must rely for crucial decisions. Every week, a new leak emerges from some anonymous intelligence official – leaks which, if true, would subject the leaker to up to ten years in prison. Yet the source of these leaks has received little attention from the FBI or other investigative bodies.

Lee Smith bemoans in Tablet that the president’s very real flaws, which are “plain to every sentient being on the planet,” have been supplanted as a topic of discussion by a “toxic fabulism typical of Third World and Muslim societies.” “A vulgar conspiratorial mind-set [has become] the norm among the country’s educated elite . . . and is being legitimized daily by a truth-telling bureaucrats who make evidence-free and even deliberately false accusations behind a cloak of anonymity.”

Smith makes an insightful distinction between “consolations, vicious self-sung lullabies” and “conspiracy theories.” Examples of the former would be: Hillary lost because the Russians hacked the election; our children died because the Jews poisoned the wells.

But such “consolations,” as vicious as they may be, only become full-blown conspiracy theories when weaponized through the mass media for political use. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion would be the classic example of such a conspiracy theory. And, Smith points out, Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” do not have the platforms “to proliferate weaponized narratives capable of doing real damage to our polity – the elites do.” And those elites — the press, the intelligence community, political parties – have been used to legitimize a conspiracy theory.

James Kirchik, another anti-Trump pundit (as well as a brilliant analyst on many issues) laments the way the “confirmation bias” has resulted in well-meaning, liberal anti-Trump journalists reporting stories that they want to be true and are emotionally true for them – e.g., stories of threatened or actual violence against minorities – but are factually false.

He points to the non-stop anti-Trump vitriol from the Twitter feed of the New York Times assistant Washington D.C. editor, Jonathan Weissmann – anti-Trump vitriol that matches his own – as an example of the mainstream press having lost any claim to the public’s trust about the news stories it publishes.

In the short-run the beneficiary of the mainstream media’s reporting of baseless stories, such as that the Russians successfully hacked voting machines in key states, is Donald Trump. By refuting the wilder accusations, he can evade the more substantive ones and, at the same time, stoke the anger that brought him to the presidency in the first place.

But in the long-run, the current state of political toxicity, manifested last week in an assassination attempt against GOP congressman, and the loss of credibility of our major media organizations weakens America and its place in the world. And the big winner from that is Vladimir Putin.