Posted tagged ‘President Elect Trump’

Articles In Arab Press Warn About Possible Assassination Of U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump

January 19, 2017

Articles In Arab Press Warn About Possible Assassination Of U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump, MEMRI, January 18, 2017

[Egyptian writer] Trump’s opponents, Democratic and other, remind us of the people who filled the squares during our [Arab] Spring. It’s the same strategy, the same wickedness and the same methods of protest. They see only themselves, and anyone who disagrees with them is a criminal. Democracy, elections and referendums do not impress them. [For them,] whoever shouts loudest, makes the biggest commotion and the most noise and is the biggest thug is the winner. We see them everywhere, clapping their hands and shouting, and the media glorifies them.

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Several articles recently published in the Arab press speculated that American elements might attempt to assassinate U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump. They noted that Trump has many enemies in U.S. political circles and among various sectors of American society, who are inciting the public against him and thwarting a smooth transition of power, and that these circles and sectors may yield a potential assassin.

The following are excerpts from some of these articles.

Al-Ahram Columnist: I Predict Trump Will Soon Be Assassinated

In a January 18, 2017 article titled “Trump Assassinated – A Report We Will Soon See,” Hani ‘Asl, a columnist for the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram, predicted that Trump would be killed. He wrote: “I predict that Trump will be assassinated, if not immediately then soon, and the reasons for this are many. Trump’s opponents, Democratic and other, remind us of the people who filled the squares during our [Arab] Spring. It’s the same strategy, the same wickedness and the same methods of protest. They see only themselves, and anyone who disagrees with them is a criminal. Democracy, elections and referendums do not impress them. [For them,] whoever shouts loudest, makes the biggest commotion and the most noise and is the biggest thug is the winner. We see them everywhere, clapping their hands and shouting, and the media glorifies them.

“The American ‘rebels’ began by leaking embarrassing videos and false news and rumors about the Republican presidential nominee. After he surprised them and won, they undermined the most basic values of democracy, refused to recognize his victory and threatened to not cooperate with him. In fact, some radicals threatened that California would announce its secession [from the Union]…

“As the day of his inauguration drew near, they began placing more and more obstacles in his path. On one occasion, the failing [president] Obama issued some advice to the new Trump administration on how to run the country, as though Obama had a recipe for success. On another occasion they refrained from vetoing the famous UN Security Council resolution [condemning] the [Israeli] settlements, in order to embroil Trump in a crisis with Israel and the Jewish lobby [in the U.S.]. On a third occasion, [U.S. State Secretary John] Kerry delivered a strange statement on the strategy for achieving peace in the Middle East, [which sounded] as though brother [Kerry] had slept through the last two Democratic terms in the White House… On a fourth occasion [they] sparked unnecessary conflicts with Russia in order to escalate the hostility between the Kremlin and the new Trump administration… They are even trying to sabotage the inauguration, as evidenced by [the fact that] boycotting it has become a plague… while another group [of Trump opponents] chose to organize some processions and protests on the street, which they referred to as ‘activities,’ some of which turned violent, in an attempt to spark riots in the streets. [They did this] especially by inciting the ethnic and religious minorities such as the blacks, the Muslims and the Hispanics, trying to cause them to rebel against the new administration. [Exactly] the same methods [used by the rebels in Egypt]!

“Moreover, large and sensitive U.S. institutions plan to confront Trump or have already confronted him… such as the four intelligence agencies… We must not forget that the decisions Trump is expected to make immediately upon entering office – such as his intention to declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terror organization, cancel the deal with Iran and build the fence on the Mexican [border] – will make him additional enemies. But the really scary confrontation will come after Trump launches a campaign to purge the U.S. government ministries, including the Department of Defense, [i.e.,] the Pentagon, [and to eliminate] the gangs that hide within the intelligence and security agencies that are the hub of global conspiracies, in order to remove Democrats and replace them with Republicans he trusts… In these [circles] there may be someone who will try to eliminate the problem [called Trump] with a single bullet in order to protect their interests and gladden Obama and Hillary, [perhaps] even under the slogan of defending democracy and the U.S.”[1]

Egyptian Columnist: Resistance To Trump And Protests Against Him Could Lead To Attempts To Harm Him

Also in November 2016, immediately after Trump’s election victory, Ahmad ‘Abd Al-Tawwab, a columnist for the official Egyptian daily Al-Ahram, warned of the possibility that the president-elect would be assassinated. In a November 14 article titled “Will [Things Escalate] To A Trump Assassination?!”, he wrote: “There are some important questions that do not have convincing answers regarding the daily proliferation and expansion of furious anti-Trump protests, which have now spread [even] to states where [Trump] just won, such as Florida… The questions build up in light of massive TV networks and global newspapers that, contrary to every professional norm, continue criticizing Trump and questioning his ability to perform the duties as president now that the results [of the election] are in.

“Some will explain this by saying that Trump opened up many fronts and incurred the fierce hostility of many elements, and that the immigrants, Muslims, blacks, and all other oppressed groups that he offended with his rash statements are not the strongest among [those elements]. There are some elements in regime and influential and interested circles in society, who understood ahead of time the danger of standing by and allowing [Trump] to enter the White House. For these people, Hillary [Clinton] was the desired successor [to Obama] since she supports many of their policies and there is no risk that she will pounce without discretion and open up their still-hot cases, such as those pertaining to the disasters they cause in our region. These [elements] include weapons manufacturers and dealers, and the influential sectors that grow rich off of global wars. This, in addition to large groups of investors who exploit laws enabling them to liquidate their U.S. businesses without considering the [negative] consequences [of this]…

“It is politically unwise to reject the possibility that these elements are somehow involved in the protests. Who knows, perhaps the violence that has now reared its head could develop into terrorist actions that will personally harm Trump!”[2]

Article On Hizbullah Website: There May Be A U.S. Plot To Assassinate Trump And Replace Him With Pence

Speculations about a possible assassination of Trump also appeared on the Hizbullah-owned website Al-Ahed News. In a November 10 article, ‘Ali ‘Abadi wrote that political elements in the U.S. might have him assassinated so that his vice president, Mike Pence, would take his place: “Trump’s presidency may be plagued by problems between him and the politicians and media outlets that form the mainstays of the traditional [political] system. [Trump] believes that these elements are conspiring [against him] and want to eliminate him and his voters, so we may soon witness a surprise or surprises in America.

“We must remember that during the [presidential] primaries, Trump managed to impose himself as the nominee of the Republican party, which was initially unsure [he was fit to serve as president], due to his strange personality and his irresponsible speeches, and because he does not belong to the traditional political club. [But] when it saw [the Republican] voters flocking to him, the party leadership decided to give this ‘wild horse’ a chance to run against its other nominees. After he beat them, it decided, given the circumstances, to endorse him as its candidate. But there is a theory that this old party, with its cunning members, means to control the situation by means of [Trump’s] vice president, Mike Pence. According to this scenario, Trump will [only] serve as the rocket that carries the satellite. Once in orbit, [the rocket] will explode in space and the satellite will strt moving on its designated path!

“Hence, the first conflict that takes place between Trump and politicians in Washington may be the first step in an effort to isolate him by [publicizing] some scandal or by eliminating him, physically or politically, and then Pence can be president in his place. American history is full of plots against presidents who did not follow the path set out for them, and Trump may be no exception…”[3]

 

[1] Al-Ahram (Egypt), January 18, 2017.

[2] Al-Ahram (Egypt), November 14, 2016.

[3] Alahednews.com.lb, November 10, 2016.

Democrats wasting time hating Donald Trump

January 17, 2017

Democrats wasting time hating Donald Trump, Washington TimesWesley Pruden, January 16, 2017

keithellisonpicRep. Keith Ellison (Associated Press

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Democrats who confuse hating Donald Trump with Mom and apple pie as the all-American recipe to win elections are blowing their chances, such as they are, for the 2018 midterm elections. If you’re a Democrat it’s never too soon to fret and stew about the prospects.

But Democrats are having so much fun despising the Donald they’re forgetting duty to party and responsibility to exploit opportunity. The party on the outs nearly always picks up a few seats in the midterms. But sore losers forget the ancient bipartisan admonition that “now is the time for every man to come to the aid of the party.” And that includes the women.

Even if the diehard losers can get their act together soon, the job of making a dent in the Donald’s Republican prospects will be daunting. Thirty-three seats in the Senate will be up for election in 2018, and 25 of those are now held by Democrats. Additionally, two independents who caucus and usually vote with Democratic senators will be completing their six-year terms.

Republicans, who had to defend a host of incumbents last year, survived with a slightly reduced majority intact, and will have to defend only eight seats two years hence. Other seats may become open, due to appointment to higher office (particularly among Republicans), resignations or deaths. It just doesn’t look like 2018 will be a year for Democrats to write books about. The arithmetic just isn’t there. The chances of taking over the Senate are roughly nil, zero and none. The party is likely to win a few Republican seats in the House, but not nearly enough to flip control.

The action will be in the Senate. Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, the campaign chairman for the Senate Republicans, is already at work and the Democrats still have no party chairman. The favorite to be the face of the party is Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, a Muslim. Mr. Ellison is no doubt the paragon of virtue, tolerance and forbearance that Democrats, pundits and Muslim enthusiasts say he is, but any marketing man in America will tell you that Islam is not a hot brand in America just now, and isn’t likely to be one soon. Worse, Mr. Ellison is a onetime protege of Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, the particularly harsh strain of the Mohammedan faith who won’t win any popularity contests, either.

But it’s the continuing inability of the Democrats to get beyond the first stage of grief and mourning that threatens to push the party to the edge, where it would fall into a very deep ditch. The party’s in the position of the widow who can’t stop crying, even though her man was a scoundrel, knave and wastrel, and was not very nice besides.

The gathering thousands are arriving hourly in the nation’s capital to celebrate — and to repudiate — Donald Trump, some with high hopes eager to raise a toast to the nation and the new president with champagne, others with low hopes for a disaster eager to raise a toast with wormwood, bile and gall. The cops, reinforced by the National Guard, are prepared for jerks to do their worst.

One blogger describes the demonstrations and the threat of boycotts, counterdemonstrations and rotten eggs as “a big circus organized by entitled smug celebrities who think they’re in charge of the culture.” The Democratic women, with a few men riding shotgun (so to speak), marching on the day after the Donald is sworn in, will put finis at last on the Obama years. Their goals are not quite clear, but they say they won’t rest until women have something called “parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society.” That sounds fine and good, like something written for a feminist website, but nobody knows quite what it means. Sisterhood may be more fun than powerful.

The sorehead losers who tried everything they could think of to upset the upset — attempting to subvert the Electoral College and then trying to prevent Congress from affirming the vote of the Electoral College — organized a claque around Rep. John Lewis to declare the Donald the illegitimate president. When that didn’t impress anyone, the Democrats went to work to organize a “boycott” of the Inaugural, something like standing in the street to protest not being invited to a neighbor’s dinner party. Some of the LGBQTs are even doing that, too, with a dance and kiss-in at Mike Pence’s home in suburban Maryland.

This is energy that could be spent to do something positive for the party, which will need all the energy it can muster to get through the next four years. America needs two parties to make the system work — but it doesn’t need this one.

Kerry Attacks Trump for Stepping into “Politics of Other Countries”

January 17, 2017

Kerry Attacks Trump for Stepping into “Politics of Other Countries”, Front Page Magazine (The Point), Daniel Greenfield, January 16, 2017

spacemankerry

And now, a lesson in diplomacy from America’s Worst Living Diplomat.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday it was “inappropriate” for Donald Trump to brand German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s refugee policy “a catastrophic mistake”.

“I thought frankly it was inappropriate for a president-elect of the United States to be stepping into the politics of other countries in a quite direct manner,” Kerry told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour during a one-day visit to London in the last week of the Obama administration.

You don’t say.

Kerry just came off blasting Israel’s government and blaming it for anything and everything. The British government had lectured Kerry for being undiplomatic by stepping into Israeli politics in a quite direct manner.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman criticised John Kerry, the outgoing US Secretary of State, after he described the Israeli government as the “most Right-wing in history”.

Mrs May does “not believe that it is appropriate” for Mr Kerry to attack the make-up of the democratically elected Israeli government, the spokesman said.

But the State Department claimed in its defense that the Saudis still supported them.

Now a tone deaf Kerry is attacking Trump for stepping into another country’s politics. Kerry claims that’s inappropriate, when he was just guilty of it.

“I think we have to be very careful about suggesting that one’s strongest leaders in Europe, and most important players with respect to where we are heading, made one mistake or another. I don’t think it’s appropriate for us to be commenting on that,” Kerry said.

But his regime had no problem commenting on Brexit and threatening the UK. And his boss had no problem blaming the UK for his illegal Libyan War and assorted policy failures in the region.

He rejected Trump’s description of Merkel’s refugee policy as “catastrophic”.

“I think she was extremely courageous. I don’t think it amounts to that characterization,” Kerry said.

Kerry agrees with Merkel. That’s why he’s putting on this show. He opposes the UK and Israel. That’s the source of this double standard.

The Trump Dossier Puts the Deep State in Deep Doo-Doo

January 15, 2017

The Trump Dossier Puts the Deep State in Deep Doo-Doo, American ThinkerClarice Feldman, January 15, 2017

Mr. Garfinkle of Garfinkle’s New Method Hebrew School in Milwaukee used to frequently echo King Solomon’s admonition; “There’s nothing new under the sun.” I was reminded of that this week when the rapidly unfolding “scandal” of Trump’s purported dealings with Russia hit the news. It has more than a few similarities with the Dan Rather faked-up story of GW Bush’s National Guard service where an anonymous, never-found source supposedly gave Bill Burkett a demonstrably fake report and Dan Rather ran with it. This time a Bush (Jeb) is involved but as an instigator of the story, not a victim. John McCain acts as the intermediary passing the junk on to the Intelligence Community, which makes sure it is published.

If you’re confused about it, let me put it in the context of the most reliable information I’ve been able to put together, noting that I think the story is likely to become even more clear over the next few days. As you will see, the dossier is so ridiculous, if anyone in the Intelligence Community fell for it, he’s too stupid to allow in place, and if no one did but they still played a role in publicizing it, everyone involved needs to be fired

A. Digging Up Dirt on Opponents

In September of 2015 someone — now revealed as a Jeb Bush Super PAC donor — paid  Fusion GPS, a Washington, D.C. outfit, to compile a dossier of dirt on Donald Trump. Fusion engaged Christopher Steele, a former MI-6 agent in London, to do the job. While early accounts of the story refer to him as a “respected source”, he has a history of dumpster diving for Democrats.

Kimberley Strassel at the Wall Street Journal has been reporting on his work for some time and explains why he keeps getting hired: “to gin up the ugliest, most scurrilous claims, and then trust the click-hungry media to disseminate them. No matter how false the allegations, the subject of the attack is required to respond, wasting precious time and losing credibility.”

Steele hadn’t been in Russia for decades and as a former British spy could not have done the work himself. So, as the account in the New York Times continues, “he hired native Russian speakers to call informants inside Russia and made surreptitious contact with his own connections in the country as well.”

Beginning in June and until December Steele delivered his findings — a series of short memos — to GPS. Although post-election no one was paying, Steele continued on this muckraking operation,

The memos suggested that the Russians were trying to influence Trump and stated that one of Trump’s lawyers, Michael Cohen, had met with a Russian official in Prague. (A claim Cohen has credibly rebutted.)

Word of the dossier made it to the FBI via Senator John McCain, a man with an apparently insatiable desire to betray.  McCain, who heard about the dossier from a former diplomatic colleague of Tony Blair (Sir Andrew Wood), dispatched someone (apparently former State Department official David J. Kramer) to London to pick it up, then handed it off to the FBI.

From sources as yet unknown, news of the Steele report made it to journalists who investigated and finding no verification after investigating refused to print it.

The FBI, tried to get permission to tap into a server in the Trump Tower, which was denied, then in a strangely odd act tried twice to get a warrant from FISA to tap into it. Whether this was in response to the dossier, I do not know.  Andrew McCarthy writes in National Review Online:

To summarize, it appears there were no grounds for a criminal investigation of banking violations against Trump. Presumably based on the fact that the bank or banks at issue were Russian, the Justice Department and the FBI decided to continue investigating on national-security grounds. A FISA application in which Trump was “named” was rejected by the FISA court as overbroad, notwithstanding that the FISA court usually looks kindly on government surveillance requests. A second, more narrow application, apparently not naming Trump, may have been granted five months later; the best the media can say about it, however, is that the server on which the application centers is “possibly” related to the Trump campaign’s “alleged” links to two Russian banks — under circumstances in which the FBI has previously found no “nefarious purpose” in some (undescribed) connection between Trump Tower and at least one Russian bank (whose connection to Putin’s regime is not described). That is tissue-thin indeed. It’s a good example of why investigations properly proceed in secret and are not publicly announced unless and until the government is ready to put its money where its mouth is by charging someone. It’s a good example of why FISA surveillance is done in secret and its results are virtually never publicized — the problem is not just the possibility of tipping off the hostile foreign power; there is also the potential of tainting U.S. persons who may have done nothing wrong. While it’s too early to say for sure, it may also be an example of what I thought would never actually happen: the government pretextually using its national-security authority to continue a criminal investigation after determining it lacked evidence of crimes.

The second thrust of the Steele “investigative” report suggested Trump had engaged in some scatological conduct while in Russia, hiring prostitutes to urinate on the bed the Obamas had used there.

These claims were not only unverifiable, they were ludicrous as well, as was the Intelligence Community’s justification for giving them one second’s worth of credence.

As Iowahawk tweeted: “Unconfirmed Denial of Unsourced Blockbuster Allegations Raises Questions, According To Insiders Who Requested Anonymity.”

At American Digest, Gerard Vanderleun explains precisely why:

1) An international business man who has spent decades in the rough and tumble world of real estate development and skyscraper construction and may be presumed to have some sophistication when it comes to wheeling and dealing with governments of all sorts throughout the world travels to

2) Moscow. Not Moscow, Idaho, but Moscow in Russia. That would be Moscow the capital of one of the most paranoid and intrusive governments in the world (Both now and for the 19th and 20th centuries). It is a society and a government with a long history of…

3) Secret police and the clandestine surveillance of its own citizens and visitors to the extent that the US was digging bugs out of the walls of its own embassy in Moscow for decades. When he gets to Moscow he stays at…

4) The Moscow Ritz-Carlton in the “Presidential Suite.” Since such accommodations are typically only taken by the filthy rich and/or representatives of foreign governments such as, say, presidents. And then this sophisticated and reasonably intelligent billionaire real estate developer…

5) Assumes that such a suite in such a capitol city of such a government has no surveillance equipment at all installed in its rooms, bathrooms, closets, and — most importantly — bedrooms. He then asks the hotel staff to show him…

6) The bed in which Barack Obama and his wife slept in when they were in this same “Presidential Suite.” Upon being shown the bed our businessman then…

7) Contacts two high-dollar Russian hookers (who would never, ever, have anything to do with the KGB or other intelligence organs of Russia) and instructs them to…. Wait for it….

8) Urinate on said bed in order to give said businessman some odd sort of thrill and…

9) Said businessman remains utterly positive no agency of the Russian state is running cameras and microphones from every possible angle in the master bedroom in a “Presidential Suite” in a top hotel in the capital of Russia and…

10) The two damp hookers will never, ever, reveal a word about their golden shower in the Ritz Carleton’s “Presidential Suite.”

While I know that millions of morons are nodding like the drinking bird over the glass in their deep and abiding belief in this overflowing crock, I still find it hard to believe that there are smart people out there that really are this stupid. But of course they are not that stupid, not the smart ones. Instead they know this is a crock and yet they find they must drink from it lest their #NeverTrump fantasy world dissolve.

Sad. Their repetitive manic desperation now has foam flecking their lips and jowls as they dive down deep, and not for the last time, into this fuming septic tank of their own political sewage. Without even a snorkel. If they ever get out of the tank they will need a long, long golden shower

B. The Intelligence Community Peddles the Dirt (then feigns dismay that it makes its way into the press).

Among the morons apparently “drinking this up” besides John McCain were high officials in the Intelligence Community, which passed the rumors on to the president and key congressional staff, although — despite conflicting reports about this — apparently never shared it with president-elect Trump. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper claimed to have been “dismayed” that this leaked out after having passed it on. He claimed as well that the Intelligence Community “hadn’t made any judgment on whether the claims within the document were reliable”

As my online friend Cecil Turner observes:  “Former U.S. intelligence officials described the inclusion of the summary — drawn from ‘opposition research’ done by a political research firm — as highly unusual.

“Assuming, of course, that it is. The problem with this sort of thing is that it’s on the borderline between unknown and unknowable. Every character involved is either anonymous or has a name that sounds pseudonymous, and the sources are professional liars.

“Roll eyes, wait for actual evidence. The fact that it leaked strongly suggests there is none.”

CNN, however, lapped it up, informed its readers of the existence of scandalous reports on Trump, and BuzzFeed, a clickbait site owned in part by NBC, then published the dossier, a portion of which, it seems, was provided by infonerd bulletin board 4 Chan.

Asked why it had published an account of this nonsense which other news agencies had refused to print because it was completely unverifiable, CNN blamed BuzzFeed, noting it had not released the details, presumably on the assumption that readers whose curiosity had been piqued by the news wouldn’t want details.

Steele has gone to ground ostensibly because he fears Russian reprisals, but I think it’s because he wants to avoid answering questions about what are obviously fabrications to satisfy political interests who paid for this shoddy product.

As John Bolton commented:

Kassam asked if Bolton had ever heard of the man revealed as the creator of the dossier, former British MI6 officer Christopher Steele. “Could it be the case that somebody has just paid this guy to write these things, so this leak came out?” Kassam asked.

“Well, actually, that thought occurred to me because it’s so bad. I haven’t found anybody, including friends who are experienced in both diplomacy and military and intelligence affairs, who haven’t just laughed at most of it,” Bolton replied.

“It’s filled with anonymous sources, single-source information and whatnot. If I were a corporate customer, and I wanted, in effect, a private investigator — I think that’s what this firm basically is — and I got something back like this, I would refuse to pay. You or I could sit down at a computer right now and type out these 35 pages, just let our imaginations run wild, and if somebody would pay for it, I suppose it’s nice work if you can get it,” he said.

c. Is it Just IC Incompetence or is the Deep State Deliberately Undermining Faith in Trump and Aiding a Russian Disinformation Campaign?

Glenn Greenwald (hardly a Trump fan) thinks it’s more, and on examination of the Intelligence Community’s handling of this tripe, it’s hard to disagree with him. He points out the unprecedented support for Hillary Clinton in this “deep state,” and takes issue with their advancing the Steele memos

…the Deep State unleashed its tawdriest and most aggressive assault yet on Trump: vesting credibility in and then causing the public disclosure of a completely unvetted and unverified document, compiled by a paid, anonymous operative while he was working for both GOP and Democratic opponents of Trump, accusing Trump of a wide range of crimes, corrupt acts, and salacious private conduct. The reaction to all of this illustrates that while the Trump presidency poses grave dangers, so, too, do those who are increasingly unhinged in their flailing, slapdash, and destructive attempts to undermine it.

[snip]

Once CNN strongly hinted at these allegations, it left it to the public imagination to conjure up the dirt Russia allegedly had to blackmail and control Trump. By publishing these accusations, BuzzFeed ended that speculation. More importantly, it allowed everyone to see how dubious this document is, one the CIA and CNN had elevated into some sort of grave national security threat.

ALMOST IMMEDIATELY AFTER it was published, the farcical nature of the “dossier” manifested. Not only was its author anonymous, but he was paid by Democrats (and, before that, by Trump’s GOP adversaries) to dig up dirt on Trump. Worse, he himself cited no evidence of any kind but instead relied on a string of other anonymous people in Russia he claims told him these things. Worse still, the document was filled with amateur errors.

David Goldman, who did support Trump, was more succinct: “Warning the intelligence communities about salacious and politically motivated leaks: the president-elect threatened to drag their shenanigans into the daylight. No one has ever done that to the spooks before. I’m lovin’ it.”

In any event, McCain’s much-touted hearings on Russian interference with the election should prove to be a million laughs.  He obviously believed this nonsense was credible enough to seek it out and pass it on, so I hardly imagine he’s in a position to make credible calls on what the hearings involving these now discredited documents reveal or on  the wisdom and good faith  of the officials involved in leaking them.

 

 

The AP Spins Lewis vs. Trump

January 15, 2017

The AP Spins Lewis vs. Trump, Power Line, John Hinderaker, January 14, 2017

The biggest news story of the day, apparently, is the dustup between Rep. John Lewis and Donald Trump, about which I wrote this morning. Although the story has little real significance, the Associated Press, the most influential news source in the U.S., spins it furiously to drive its anti-Trump narrative.

Start with the headline: “Trump unleashes Twitter attack against civil rights legend.” Most people only read headlines, and this one gives no clue that it was Lewis, not Trump, who started the fight by saying on Meet the Press that Trump will be an illegitimate president. And Lewis is identified as a “civil rights legend,” not as a hyper-partisan Democratic politician, which is what he is. Now to the article:

Donald Trump tore into civil rights legend John Lewis for questioning the legitimacy of the Republican billionaire’s White House victory, intensifying a feud with the black congressman days before the national holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and as the first African-American president prepares to leave office.

Enough with the “civil rights legend”! That was 50 years ago, and has nothing to do with Lewis’s claim that Trump is an illegitimate president-elect, or Trump’s Twitter riposte to the effect that Lewis is an ineffective Congressman. Nor does the impending Martin Luther King day, or the departure of Barack Obama from office, have any relevance. These references are just thrown in so you know whose side you are supposed to be on.

And oh, by the way, did you know that Donald Trump is a billionaire? Is that going to be injected into the first paragraph of every story about Trump for the next four years?

Lewis, among the most revered leaders of the civil rights movement, suffered a skull fracture during the march in Selma, Alabama, more than a half-century ago and has devoted his life to promoting equal rights for African-Americans.

Oh, please. Lewis has devoted his life to being a hack Democratic Party politician. John McCain was a hero 50 years ago, too, but has that ever stopped the Democrats from criticizing him? No.

It also demonstrated that no one is untouchable for scorn from a president-elect with little tolerance for public criticism. Trump has found political success even while attacking widely lauded figures before and after the campaign — a prisoner of war, parents of a slain U.S. soldier, a beauty queen and now a civil rights icon.

The AP doesn’t mention that all of these people attacked Trump first, like John Lewis. And it doesn’t occur to the AP that Trump’s success might be in part because of, not in spite of, the fact that he defends himself against scurrilous attacks.

By the way, here is a drinking game: take a shot for every article you can find about John Lewis that does not include the phrase “civil rights icon.” You will go to bed sober.

The AP takes the opportunity to rehash its “Russians hacked the election” theme, and adds more irrelevant, anti-Trump spin:

Democrat Clinton received 2.9 million more votes than Trump but lost the Electoral College vote.

Translation: she lost the election.

This is the kind of nonsense we are going to see for the next four years. It is all-out war between Donald Trump and the Democratic Party press, and so far, Trump is winning.

Shootout at U.S. Consulate in Nuevo Laredo Part of Cartel-Terrorist Attack Plan for Trump Inauguration

January 15, 2017

Shootout at U.S. Consulate in Nuevo Laredo Part of Cartel-Terrorist Attack Plan for Trump Inauguration, Judicial Watch, January 12, 2017

(Please see also Jihadists Train, Plan U.S. Attack from Mexican Border State. — DM)

A deadly shootout at the construction site of the new American Consulate occurred this week in a Mexican border town where Islamic terrorists and drug cartels plan to launch attacks against the U.S. during the period surrounding the presidential inauguration, high-level government sources tell Judicial Watch. An unknown number of gunmen fired multiple rounds adjacent to the new U.S. Consulate compound in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, a crime-infested city in the state of Tamaulipas that lies directly across from Laredo, Texas.

The Mexican military responded to the attack, law enforcement sources on both sides of the border confirm insisting that their identities be kept confidential for security reasons, and at least three soldiers were either killed or critically wounded in the ambush. A local newspaper in Tamaulipas reported that 13 people died during a shootout in Nuevo Laredo, referring to the deceased as heavily armed “delinquents” with an arsenal that includes 12 automatic weapons, a rocket launcher, grenade, loads of ammunition and drugs in three vehicles, one of them armored. The deceased have not been identified and Mexican authorities will continue to investigate, the article states, attributing the information to a press release issued by Mexico’s Defense Secretary.

Judicial Watch’s law enforcement and intelligence sources say the barrage outside what’s soon to be the new U.S. Consulate is connected to a broad operation between Islamic terrorists and Mexican drug cartels to send President-elect Donald Trump a message by engaging in attacks at border ports. “Cartels usually don’t work with jihadists for fear of having the border shut down,” a veteran federal law enforcement official told Judicial Watch. “But Trump is causing so much disruption in Mexico that they are partnering to send a message as to who is in control. This is as outrageous as a small group of guys crashing planes into U.S. buildings.” Another official who has worked in the region for years said “Trump is causing a huge amount of fear in Mexico throughout all sectors; private, government, business, criminal, police….”

Nuevo Laredo is among the border towns that the terrorists and narcotraffickers plan to launch attacks in, according to intelligence gathered by law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and Mexico. Others include Matamoros, Reynosa and Ciudad Juárez. In 2015 Judicial Watch reported that ISIS is operating a camp just west of Ciudad Juárez, around eight miles from El Paso. Sources that include a Mexican Army field grade officer and Mexican Federal Police inspector revealed that, during a joint operation, they discovered documents in Arabic and Urdu, as well as “plans” of Fort Bliss – the sprawling military installation in El Paso that houses the US Army’s 1st Armored Division. Muslim prayer rugs were recovered with the documents during the operation.

Just last week Judicial Watch reported that a Jihadi-cartel alliance in the Mexican state of Nuevo León is collaborating to carry out attacks in American cities and ports of entry along the southern border. Confidential U.S. and Mexican law enforcement sources said that, as part of the plan, militant Islamists have arrived recently at the Monterrey International Airport situated in Apodaca, Nuevo León, about 130 miles south of the Texas border. An internal Mexican law enforcement report obtained by Judicial Watch confirms that Islamic terrorists have “people along the border, principally in Tijuana, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas.” Cartel informants tell law enforcement contacts that “they are only waiting for the order and the times to carry out a simultaneous attack in the different ports of entry or cities of the United States of America.”

The area where this week’s shootout originated is a 5.6-acre parcel just south of downtown Nuevo Laredo on Paseo Colon. The State Department predicts that by September the new U.S. Consulate compound, which broke ground in mid-2015 and will cost $155 million, should be completed. It will have multiple buildings, including an office structure, U.S. Marine Security Guard residence, support annex and other facilities for the consulate community. The primary function of consulates is helping and protecting Americans abroad.

Trump and the American Divide

January 15, 2017

Trump and the American Divide, City JournalVictor Davis Hanson, Winter 2017

In sum, Donald Trump captured the twenty-first-century malaise of a rural America left behind by globalized coastal elites and largely ignored by the establishments of both political parties. Central to Trump’s electoral success, too, were age-old rural habits and values that tend to make the interior broadly conservative. That a New York billionaire almost alone grasped how red-state America truly thought, talked, and acted, and adjusted his message and style accordingly, will remain one of the astonishing ironies of American political history.

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At 7 AM in California’s rural Central Valley, not long before the recent presidential election, I stopped to talk with an elderly irrigator on the shared border alleyway of my farm. His face was a wrinkled latticework, his false teeth yellow. His truck smelled of cigarettes, its cab overflowing with flotsam and jetsam: butts, scribbled notes, drip-irrigation parts, and empty soda cans. He rolled down the window and muttered something about the plunging water-table level and whether a weak front would bring any rain. And then, this dinosaur put one finger up on the wheel as a salutation and drove off in a dust cloud.

Five hours later, and just 180 miles distant, I bought a coffee at a Starbucks on University Avenue in Palo Alto, the heart of Silicon Valley, the spawn of Stanford University. Two young men sat at the table next to me, tight “high-water” pants rising above their ankles, coat cuffs drawn up their forearms, and shirts buttoned all the way to the top, in retro-nerd style. Their voices were nasal, their conversation rapid-fire— politics, cars, houses, vacations, fashion, and restaurants all came up. They were speaking English, but of a very different kind from the irrigator’s, accentuating a sense of being on the move and upbeat about the booming reality surrounding them.

I hadn’t just left one part of America to visit another, it seemed, but instead blasted off from one solar system to enter another cosmos, light-years distant. And to make the contrast even more radical, the man in the truck in Fresno County was Mexican-American and said that he was voting for Trump, while the two in Palo Alto were white, clearly affluent—and seemed enthused about Hillary Clinton’s sure win to come.

The postelection map of Republican and Democratic counties mirrored my geographical disconnect. The Donald Trump nation of conservative red spanned the country, to within a few miles of the two coasts, covering 85 percent of the nation’s land area. Yet Clinton won the popular vote, drawing most of her support in razor-thin, densely populated blue ribbons up and down the East and West Coast corridors and in the Great Lakes nexus. As disgruntled liberal commentator Henry Grabar summed up the election result: “We now have a rural party and an urban party. The rural party won.” This time around, anyway.

The urban party has been getting beat up a lot, even before Trump’s surprising victory. Not only have the Democrats surrendered Congress; they now control just 13 state legislatures and 15 governorships—far below where they were pre–Barack Obama. Over the past decade, more than 1,000 elected Democratic state lawmakers have lost their jobs, with most of the hemorrhaging taking place outside the cities. As political analyst Ron Brownstein puts it, “Of all the overlapping generational, racial, and educational divides that explained Trump’s stunning upset over Hillary Clinton . . . none proved more powerful than the distance between the Democrats’ continued dominance of the largest metropolitan areas, and the stampede toward the GOP almost everywhere else.”

“Everywhere else” basically means anywhere but the two coasts. After the election, in liberal, urban America, one often heard Trump’s win described as the revenge of the yahoos in flyover country, fueled by their angry “isms” and “ias”: racism, anti-Semitism, nativism, homophobia, Islamophobia, and so on. Many liberals consoled themselves that Trump’s victory was the last hurrah of bigoted, Republican white America, soon to be swept away by vast forces beyond its control, such as global migration and the cultural transformation of America into something far from the Founders’ vision.

As insurance, though, furious progressives also renewed calls to abolish the Electoral College, advocating for a constitutional amendment that would turn presidential elections into national plebiscites. Direct presidential voting would shift power to heavily urbanized areas—why waste time trying to reach more dispersed voters in less populated rural states?—and thus institutionalize the greater economic and cultural clout of the metropolitan blue-chip universities, the big banks, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, New York–Washington media, and Hollywood, Democrat-voting all.

Barack Obama’s two electoral victories deluded the Democrats into thinking that it was politically wise to jettison their old blue-collar appeal to the working classes, mostly living outside the cities these days, in favor of an identity politics of a new multicultural, urban America. Yet Trump’s success represented more than simply a triumph of rural whites over multiracial urbanites. More ominously for liberals, it also suggested that a growing minority of blacks and Hispanics might be sympathetic with a “country” mind-set that rejects urban progressive elitism. For some minorities, sincerity and directness might be preferable to sloganeering by wealthy white urban progressives, who often seem more worried about assuaging their own guilt than about genuinely understanding people of different colors.

Trump’s election underscored two other liberal miscalculations. First, Obama’s progressive agenda and cultural elitism prevailed not because of their ideological merits, as liberals believed, but because of his great appeal to urban minorities in 2008 and 2012, who voted in solidarity for the youthful first African-American president in numbers never seen before. That fealty wasn’t automatically transferable to liberal white candidates, including the multimillionaire 69-year-old Hillary Clinton. Obama had previously lost most of America’s red counties, but not by enough to keep him from winning two presidential elections, with sizable urban populations in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania turning out to vote for the most left-wing presidential candidate since George McGovern.

Second, rural America hadn’t fully raised its electoral head in anger in 2008 and 2012 because it didn’t see the Republican antidotes to Obama’s progressive internationalism as much better than the original malady. Socially moderate establishmentarians like the open-borders-supporting John McCain or wealthy businessman Mitt Romney didn’t resonate with the spirit of rural America—at least not enough to persuade millions to come to the polls instead of sitting the elections out. Trump connected with these rural voters with far greater success than liberals anticipated. Urban minorities failed in 2016 to vote en bloc, in their Obama-level numbers; and rural Americans, enthused by Trump, increased their turnout, so that even a shrinking American countryside still had enough clout to win.

What is insufficiently understood is why a hurting rural America favored the urban, superrich Trump in 2016 and, more generally, tends to vote more conservative than liberal. Ostensibly, the answer is clear: an embittered red-state America has found itself left behind by elite-driven globalization, battered by unfettered trade and high-tech dislocations in the economy. In some of the most despairing counties, rural life has become a mirror image of the inner city, ravaged by drug use, criminality, and hopelessness.

Yet if muscular work has seen a decline in its relative monetary worth, it has not necessarily lost its importance. After all, the elite in Washington and Menlo Park appreciate the fresh grapes and arugula that they purchase at Whole Foods. Someone mined the granite used in their expensive kitchen counters and cut the timber for their hardwood floors. The fuel in their hybrid cars continues to come from refined oil. The city remains as dependent on this elemental stuff—typically produced outside the suburbs and cities—as it always was. The two Palo Altoans at Starbucks might have forgotten that their overpriced homes included two-by-fours, circuit breakers, and four-inch sewer pipes, but somebody somewhere made those things and brought them into their world.

In the twenty-first century, though, the exploitation of natural resources and the manufacturing of products are more easily outsourced than are the arts of finance, insurance, investments, higher education, entertainment, popular culture, and high technology, immaterial sectors typically pursued within metropolitan contexts and supercharged by the demands of increasingly affluent global consumers. A vast government sector, mostly urban, is likewise largely impervious to the leveling effects of a globalized economy, even as its exorbitant cost and extended regulatory reach make the outsourcing of material production more likely. Asian steel may have devastated Youngstown, but Chinese dumping had no immediate effect on the flourishing government enclaves in Washington, Maryland, and Virginia, filled with well-paid knowledge workers. Globalization, big government, and metastasizing regulations have enriched the American coasts, in other words, while damaging much of the nation’s interior.

Few major political leaders before Trump seemed to care. He hammered home the point that elites rarely experienced the negative consequences of their own ideologies. New York Times columnists celebrating a “flat” world have yet to find themselves flattened by Chinese writers willing to write for a fraction of their per-word rate. Tenured Harvard professors hymning praise to global progressive culture don’t suddenly discover their positions drawn and quartered into four part-time lecturer positions. And senators and bureaucrats in Washington face no risk of having their roles usurped by low-wage Vietnamese politicians. Trump quickly discovered that millions of Americans were irate that the costs and benefits of our new economic reality were so unevenly distributed.

As the nation became more urban and its wealth soared, the old Democratic commitment from the Roosevelt era to much of rural America—construction of water projects, rail, highways, land banks, and universities; deference to traditional values; and Grapes of Wrath–like empathy—has largely been forgotten. A confident, upbeat urban America promoted its ever more radical culture without worrying much about its effects on a mostly distant and silent small-town other. In 2008, gay marriage and women in combat were opposed, at least rhetorically, by both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in their respective presidential campaigns. By 2016, mere skepticism on these issues was viewed by urban elites as reactionary ignorance. In other words, it was bad enough that rural America was getting left behind economically; adding insult to injury, elite America (which is Democrat America) openly caricatured rural citizens’ traditional views and tried to force its own values on them. Lena Dunham’s loud sexual politics and Beyoncé’s uncritical evocation of the Black Panthers resonated in blue cities and on the coasts, not in the heartland. Only in today’s bifurcated America could billion-dollar sports conglomerates fail to sense that second-string San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protests of the national anthem would turn off a sizable percentage of the National Football League’s viewing audience, which is disproportionately conservative and middle American. These cultural themes, too, Trump addressed forcefully.

Is there something about the land itself that promotes conservatism? The answer is as old as Western civilization. For the classical Greeks, the asteios(“astute”; astu: city) was the sophisticated “city-like” man, while the agroikos(“agrarian”; agros: farm/field) was synonymous with roughness. And yet there was ambiguity as well in the Greek city/country dichotomy: city folk were also laughed at in the comedies of Aristophanes as too impractical and too clever for their own good, while the unpolished often displayed a more grounded sensibility. In the Roman world, the urbanus (“urbane”; urbs: city) was sometimes too sophisticated, while the rusticus (“rustic”; rus: countryside) was often balanced and pragmatic.

Country people in the Western tradition lived in a shame culture. Family reputation hinged on close-knit assessments of personal behavior only possible in small communities of the like-minded and tribal. The rural ethos could not afford radical changes in lifestyles when the narrow margins of farming safety rested on what had worked in the past. By contrast, self-reinvention and social experimentation were possible only in large cities of anonymous souls and varieties of income and enrichment. Rural people, that is, don’t honor tradition and habit because they’re somehow better human beings than their urban counterparts; a face-to-face, rooted society offers practical reinforcement for doing so.

In classical literature, patriotism and civic militarism were always closely linked with farming and country life. In the twenty-first century, this is still true. The incubator of the U.S. officer corps is red-state America. “Make America Great Again” reverberated in the pro-military countryside because it emphasized an exceptionalism at odds with the Left’s embrace of global values. Residents in Indiana and Wisconsin were unimpressed with the Democrats’ growing embrace of European-style “soft power,” socialism, and statism—all the more so in an age of European constitutional, financial, and immigration sclerosis. Trump’s slogan unabashedly expressed American individualism; Clinton’s “Stronger Together” gave off a whiff of European socialist solidarity.

Farming, animal husbandry, mining, logging—these traditional bodily tasks were often praised in the past as epitomes of the proper balance between physical and mental, nature and culture, fact and theory. In classical pastoral and Georgic poetry, the city-bound often romanticized the countryside, even if, on arrival, they found the flies and dirt of Arcadia bothersome. Theocritus and Virgil reflected that, in the trade-offs imposed by transforming classical societies, the earthiness lost by city dwellers was more grievous to their souls than the absence of erudition and sophistication was to the souls of simpler farmers and shepherds.

Trump, the billionaire Manhattanite wheeler-dealer, made an unlikely agrarian, true; but he came across during his presidential run as a clear advocate of old-style material jobs, praising vocational training and clearly enjoying his encounters with middle-American homemakers, welders, and carpenters. Trump talked more on the campaign about those who built his hotels than those who financed them. He could point to the fact that he made stuff, unlike Clinton, who got rich without any obvious profession other than leveraging her office.

Give the thrice-married, orange-tanned, and dyed-haired Trump credit for his political savvy in promising to restore to the dispossessed of the Rust Belt their old jobs and to give back to farmers their diverted irrigation water, and for assuring small towns that arriving new Americans henceforth would be legal—and that, over time, they would become similar to their hosts in language, custom, and behavior.

27_1-vdh2Hillary Clinton, speaking here at a Silicon Valley conference, drew strong support from technocratic elites. (JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES)

Changes come more slowly to rural interior areas, given that the sea, the historical importer of strange people and weird ideas, is far away. Maritime Athens was liberal, democratic, and cosmopolitan; its antithesis, landlocked Sparta, was oligarchic, provincial, and tradition-bound. In the same way, rural upstate New York isn’t Manhattan, and Provo isn’t Portland. Rural people rarely meet—and tend not to wish to meet—the traders, foreigners, and importers who arrive at ports with their foreign money and exotic customs.

The “Old Oligarch”—a name given to the author of a treatise by an anonymous right-wing grouch of fifth-century BC Athens—described the subversive hustle and the cornucopia of imported goods evident every day at the port of Piraeus. If one wished to destroy the purity of rural, conservative society, his odd rant went, then the Athens of Pericles would be just about the best model to follow. Ironically, part of Trump’s attraction for red-state America was his posture as a coastal-elite insider—but now enlisted on the side of the rustics. A guy who had built hotels all over the world, and understood how much money was made and lost through foreign investment, offered to put such expertise in the service of the heartland—against the supposed currency devaluers, trade cheats, and freeloaders of Europe, China, and Japan.

Language is also different in the countryside. Rural speech serves, by its very brevity and directness, as an enhancement to action. Verbosity and rhetoric, associated with urbanites, were always rural targets in classical literature, precisely because they were seen as ways to disguise reality so as to advance impractical or subversive political agendas. Thucydides, nearly 2,500 years before George Orwell’s warnings about linguistic distortion, feared how, in times of strife, words changed their meanings, with the more polished and urbane subverting the truth by masking it in rhetoric that didn’t reflect reality. In the countryside, by contrast, crops either grow or wither; olive trees either yield or remain barren; rain either arrives or is scarce. Words can’t change these existential facts, upon which living even one more day often depends. For the rural mind, language must convey what is seen and heard; it is less likely to indulge adornment.

Today’s rural-minded Americans are little different. Trump’s appeal to the interior had partly to do with his politically incorrect forthrightness. Each time Trump supposedly blundered in attacking a sacred cow—sloppily deprecating national hero John McCain’s wartime captivity or nastily attacking Fox superstar Megyn Kelly for her supposed unfairness—the coastal media wrote him off as a vulgar loser. Not Trump’s base. Seventy-five percent of his supporters polled that his crude pronouncements didn’t bother them. As one grape farmer told me after the Access Hollywood hot-mike recordings of Trump making sexually vulgar remarks had come to light, “Who cares? I’d take Trump on his worst day better than Hillary on her best.” Apparently red-state America was so sick of empty word-mongering that it appreciated Trump’s candor, even when it was sometimes inaccurate, crude, or cruel. Outside California and New York City and other elite blue areas, for example, foreigners who sneak into the country and reside here illegally are still “illegal aliens,” not “undocumented migrants,” a blue-state term that masks the truth of their actions. Trump’s Queens accent and frequent use of superlatives—“tremendous,” “fantastic,” “awesome”—weren’t viewed by red-state America as a sign of an impoverished vocabulary but proof that a few blunt words can capture reality.

To the rural mind, verbal gymnastics reveal dishonest politicians, biased journalists, and conniving bureaucrats, who must hide what they really do and who they really are. Think of the arrogant condescension of Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of the disastrous Obamacare law, who admitted that the bill was written deliberately in a “tortured way” to mislead the “stupid” American voter. To paraphrase Cicero on his preference for the direct Plato over the obscure Pythagoreans, rural Americans would have preferred to be wrong with the blunt-talking Trump than to be right with the mush-mouthed Hillary Clinton. One reason that Trump may have outperformed both McCain and Romney with minority voters was that they appreciated how much the way he spoke rankled condescending white urban liberals.

Poorer, less cosmopolitan, rural people can also experience a sense of inferiority when they venture into the city, unlike smug urbanites visiting red-state America. The rural folk expect to be seen as deplorables, irredeemables, and clingers by city folk. My countryside neighbors do not wish to hear anything about Stanford University, where I work—except if by chance I note that Stanford people tend to be condescending and pompous, confirming my neighbors’ suspicions about city dwellers. And just as the urban poor have always had their tribunes, so, too, have rural residents flocked to an Andrew Jackson or a William Jennings Bryan, politicians who enjoyed getting back at the urban classes for perceived slights. The more Trump drew the hatred of PBS, NPR, ABC, NBC, CBS, the elite press, the universities, the foundations, and Hollywood, the more he triumphed in red-state America.

Indeed, one irony of the 2016 election is that identity politics became a lethal boomerang for progressives. After years of seeing America reduced to a binary universe, with culpable white Christian males encircled by ascendant noble minorities, gays, feminists, and atheists—usually led by courageous white-male progressive crusaders—red-state America decided that two could play the identity-politics game. In 2016, rural folk did silently in the voting booth what urban America had done to them so publicly in countless sitcoms, movies, and political campaigns.

In sum, Donald Trump captured the twenty-first-century malaise of a rural America left behind by globalized coastal elites and largely ignored by the establishments of both political parties. Central to Trump’s electoral success, too, were age-old rural habits and values that tend to make the interior broadly conservative. That a New York billionaire almost alone grasped how red-state America truly thought, talked, and acted, and adjusted his message and style accordingly, will remain one of the astonishing ironies of American political history.