Friday, April 5, 2019

The Mueller Waiting Game - Alan M. Dershowitz


by Alan M. Dershowitz

An investigation by a special counsel is not a search for objective truth. It is a search for incriminating evidence sufficient to charge.

  • We can reasonably expect that those investigators who favored accusing the President with obstruction will lay out their case against Trump. This raises the legal and ethical question of whether it is proper for prosecutors publicly to disclose the evidence and arguments against the subject of a criminal investigation who is not being charged.
  • The law cannot be ignored. The law requires the Attorney General not to disclose grand jury evidence without a court order. It also requires the non-disclosure of privileged material, including executive privilege, and of legitimately classified material. The public, and even Congress, will therefore have to wait until the Attorney General completes his legal review. The courts should not shortcut that review by enforcing subpoenas from partisan Congressional committees.
  • Remember that the report, however redacted, will be a one-sided document, based on uncrossexamined witnesses selected by prosecutors. No witnesses favorable to the subjects of the investigation will have testified before the grand jury. An investigation by a special counsel is not a search for objective truth. It is a search for incriminating evidence sufficient to charge.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller in Washington, DC, on March 24, 2019. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

The waiting game is on as politicians and pundits try to read the tea leaves regarding the soon-to-be-released Mueller Report. We know the major conclusions: no criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia; and no charges of obstruction by President Trump, based on a division of opinion among the investigators and a decision by the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General. What we do not know is how critical the report will be, especially with regard to obstruction. We can reasonably expect that those investigators who favored accusing the President with obstruction will lay out their case against Trump. This raises the legal and ethical question of whether it is proper for prosecutors publicly to disclose the evidence and arguments against the subject of a criminal investigation who is not being charged.

Let us subject that question to the "shoe on the other foot test." To do so, we must go back to the statement made by then-Director of the FBI James Comey after he completed his investigation of Hillary Clinton and her private email server. Assume, for purposes of this test, that Comey had simply announced the decision not to charge Clinton with any crime, but the Republicans had learned that he had submitted a report to the Attorney General giving the reasons for not charging her. There were rumors that the report was critical of Clinton's handling of her private server as careless, maybe even extremely careless. Assume further that the Republicans demanded the public release of that critical report.

Democrats would be outraged, insisting that all the public had the right to know was that a decision had been made not to charge her. The public did not have the right, nor did prosecutors have the authority, to disclose any other conclusions they may have reached about her non-criminal carelessness during their criminal investigation. The public certainly did not have the right to see grand jury testimony critical of Clinton.

So, what is different now that the shoe is on the other foot — now that it is the Democrats who want the public to see the same type of information against Trump they would not have wanted them to see against Clinton? The answer is that both sides of the political aisle repeatedly fail the "shoe test" in our hyper-partisan age of "anything is fair in gotcha politics." What is good for the goose is not good for the gander if they are with different political parties.

To be sure, both sides of the aisle want the Mueller Report released, and it will be released because the American people want to know what is in it. We are all understandably curious. Trump is our President and Mueller is our Special Counsel. So consistency goes out the window.

But the law cannot be ignored. The law requires the Attorney General not to disclose grand jury evidence without a court order. It also requires the non-disclosure of privileged material, including executive privilege, and of legitimately classified material. The public, and even Congress, will therefore have to wait until the Attorney General completes his legal review. The courts should not shortcut that review by enforcing subpoenas from partisan Congressional committees.

Even if the Attorney General refuses to release any part of the report, there would be no legitimate legal recourse because there is nothing in the law that mandates its public release. This is, of course, a moot issue because Attorney General William Barr will release a redacted version of the report relatively soon.

Patience, everyone. You will get to read the nearly 400-page report before long. It is unlikely to contain major bombshells or really new evidence of a dramatic nature. More likely, it will construct negative narratives based largely on what we already know. Remember that the report, however redacted, will be a one-sided document, based on uncrossexamined witnesses selected by prosecutors. No witnesses favorable to the subjects of the investigation will have testified before the grand jury. An investigation by a special counsel is not a search for objective truth. It is a search for incriminating evidence sufficient to charge. It should be read with that in mind.

When it is released, I will be writing an introduction to it that will accompany the Report that will be published by Skyhorse. So stay tuned for my take.

Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School and author of The Case against the Democratic House Impeaching Trump (Hot Books, January 2, 2019), and a Distinguished Senior Fellow of Gatestone Institute.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/14005/mueller-report-waiting

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Texas Teacher Assigns Anti-Trump Essay as Class Homework - Sara Dogan


by Sara Dogan

Seventh grade assignment characterized the president as “racist” and questioned whether he should be impeached.




A middle school teacher in the public Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District near Houston assigned 12 and 13 year old seventh grade students to read and answer questions on an essay blasting President Donald Trump as “racist,” “insensitive,” and counter to American values as part of a lesson on inferring information from written text.
Even for seventh grade students who are not overly familiar with politics, it is easy to parse the message of the piece which essentially translates as ‘Dump Trump.’  Titled, “Trump Against American Values,” the essay begins, “Throughout Donald Trump’s time in the American spotlight, we have come to see his true colors. From the beginning of his presidency, we have witnessed insensitive remarks toward other racial and cultural groups.”

The assignment goes on to say that “Some of Trump’s policies have gone against what Americans value most, like the freedom of opportunity” and labels the president as “insensitive” for his focus on building a wall on the border with Mexico.

The piece concludes with remarks that could well have been lifted from a campaign commercial for one of Trump’s 2020 Democratic challengers:

“With all of these racist remarks by our president, I think that we as a people need to take a stand and show that we will not accept this kind of leadership in our country.” 

Multiple choice questions follow this political diatribe. One asks, "Which of the following conclusions would the author most likely agree with?" The possible answers include, “Donald Trump should not be president” and “America’s future is in grave danger.”

A second question asks the middle schoolers to complete the sentence, "The reader can infer that ..." The available options include, “Mexican Americans are the major group upset with President Trump” and “The United States will impeach Donald Trump.”

The politically charged assignment was made public by Texas state representative Briscoe Cain, a Republican, who was made aware of it by a parent in his district.

Cain minced no words in calling out the school district and teacher (whose name has not been released) in a post on Facebook:

"This individual has violated the sacred trust that every parent has with the State of Texas when they send their child into a public school," Cain stated of the teacher who assigned the anti-Trump essay. "They have lost the privilege of being in a classroom with Texas children, and forfeit the title of teacher. No teacher should attempt to indoctrinate a child to their ideology, no matter who is in the White House."

The parent who brought the assignment to Cain’s attention is Chris Felder, whose daughter showed him the assignment. Felder also had some choice words about the anti-Trump lesson:

 “This was an assignment my 7th grade daughter received that I found to be very out of place to say the least. This type of non-factual rhetoric has no place in our schools regardless of who the president is,” Felder commented. "My children have experienced great teachers in the classroom, but I have also had to put up with those who see their roles as indoctrinators, not educators."

A statement released by the school district acknowledged that the assignment was inappropriate but did not reveal any disciplinary consequences for the teacher.

“The passage was part of series of 10 passages designed to help students practice inference and point of view…,” explains the statement. “Clearly the teacher did not use good judgment or did not review the materials that she received from an outside source thoroughly. The matter was addressed with the teacher and the materials will no longer be used. The matter has been settled at the campus level, as appropriate.”

While the district may consider the matter “settled,” the anti-Trump lesson was taken from an online database of lessons for schoolchildren. One has to wonder how many other public school educators are using this and similar propaganda materials while parents remain unaware. 


To learn more about the Freedom Center's campaign to halt indoctrination in K-12 schools, please visit  www.stopk12indoctrination.org.  To read the K-12 Code of Ethics CLICK HERE. To order the Freedom Center’s new pamphlet, “Leftist Indoctrination in Our K-12 Public Schools,” CLICK HERE. To donate to the Stop K-12 Indoctrination campaign, CLICK HERE.


Sara Dogan

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/273374/texas-teacher-assigns-anti-trump-essay-class-sara-dogan

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Handing Gaza to Abbas Will Solve Nothing - Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen


by Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen

The solution to the Gaza problem does not lie in Ramallah but rather in the Strip’s historic hinterland – the Sinai Peninsula.





BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,132, April 4, 2019

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Overthrowing Hamas and handing rule in Gaza to Mahmoud Abbas will not bring about a solution to the Gaza problem. It was, after all, Yasser Arafat, Abbas’s predecessor as PLO leader, who transformed Gaza into an ineradicable terrorist hotbed by flouting the Oslo Accords that he had signed. The solution to the Gaza problem does not lie in Ramallah but rather in the Strip’s historic hinterland – the Sinai Peninsula. 

When a single rocket launched from Gaza into central Israel forces the Israeli PM to cancel an important slate of meetings in Washington and return post haste to Jerusalem, it is clear that the Strip has become a major strategic threat rather than a containable terror problem. Yet while public discourse on the latest conflagration revolved around the desirable IDF response to Hamas’s growing brazenness, with the customary recommendations ranging from dealing a harsh blow that would “restore lost deterrence” to a campaign to vanquish Hamas, it is worth taking a broader look at how the Gaza problem came to pass in the first place.

A city in a cul-de-sac

The current tendency is to see the Gaza problem as originating in the refugee population that burgeoned there after the 1948 War of Independence. It would make more sense, though, to go back a few steps further and consider the city’s millenarian geographic location as an intermediate station on the ancient highway between Asia and Africa, between Mesopotamia and Egypt.

Without that main route as its wellspring, Gaza cannot go back to being what it was. Even after the 1906 drawing of the international border by Britain (which had controlled Egypt since 1882) and the Ottoman Empire, traffic through Gaza did not stop. It was the establishment of the State of Israel that blocked this ancient route, severed Egypt from the Arab east (mashriq), and turned Gaza into a cul-de-sac at the edge of Egyptian territory.

The March 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty considerably exacerbated the Gaza problem. In a shrewd move, President Anwar Sadat shifted the Gaza problem exclusively to Israel’s purview. After the Israeli town of Yamit and neighboring villages had been razed and the Sinai in its entirety had been restored to Egyptian sovereignty all the way to the 1906 international border, Gaza could no longer develop westward into the potential open space between Rafah and El-Arish. The Strip was thus closed in the Egyptian direction and deposited on Israel’s doorstep as an urban pressure cooker on the verge of explosion.

Sadat thus set in train the transformation of Gaza and the West Bank into a single entity and made Israel solely responsible for solving the Palestinian problem in the territories it held. As Ezer Weizmann, defense minister at the time of the Egyptian-Israeli peace negotiations, put it on the tenth anniversary of the peace treaty: “I have a feeling that [PM Menachem] Begin is sitting at home not because of the commonly assumed reasons [i.e., 1982 Lebanon war] but because he has realized that with the signing of the 1978 Camp David Accords he put the future of ‘Greater Israel’ in a delicate situation, if not in jeopardy.”

The 1993 Oslo Accords and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority further marginalized Gaza in comparison to the governmental and economic center in Ramallah. Discussion of a strategic solution to the Gaza problem must, therefore, begin with the geographic background that spawned the Strip’s distress as a territory with no egress. Even if the IDF removes Hamas from power, Gaza’s plight will continue, and it will require a solution that cannot be found solely in the domain of Israel’s responsibility.

And what happens after the takeover?

Over the years, the issue of the objective of a ground operation in Gaza has become a complex dilemma. One can see how much things have changed simply by reading the IDF’s definition of the offensive’s goal in its basic combat doctrine: “An offensive seeks to impose a change in the existing political-strategic reality by applying the conquering state’s sovereignty to the conquered territory.”

Therein lies the basic unanswered question: Is it desirable for Israel to conquer Gaza and reimpose its rule, as in pre-Oslo days? If not, then Hamas’s military defeat requires an answer to the question of who should be given control of the Strip. Should Israel sacrifice its sons to serve Gaza on a silver platter to Mahmoud Abbas? It was, after all, Yasser Arafat, Abbas’s predecessor as PLO leader, who transformed Gaza into an ineradicable terrorist hotbed in flagrant violation of the Oslo Accords that he had signed.

This kind of predicament is not unique to Israel. A few weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks, the US army responded by pounding Taliban forces in Afghanistan. Ever since then, along with NATO troops, US forces have been bogged down in a futile attempt to create a stable government in the country. The IDF undoubtedly has the capacity to defeat Hamas, but this could well turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory.

It is ironic that those pushing for a victory in Gaza are the same people advocating total withdrawal from the West Bank, basing their readiness to assume the security risks of such a withdrawal on these four key premises:
  • Territorial separation, including a massive evacuation of Jewish neighborhoods, will define the borders, reduce the points of friction, and foster stability.
  • If stability is undermined to the point of an intolerable security threat, the IDF will launch a preemptive strike that will quash the threat from the prospective Palestinian state.
  • The IDF, with its perennial superiority, will be able to eliminate such a security threat in a few days.
  • A West Bank withdrawal and the end of the “occupation” will ensure widespread international support for Israeli military operations of that kind.
The security situation since the 2005 unilateral disengagement from Gaza in general, and last year’s violence in particular (ranging from riots along the border fence, to incendiary balloons, to exchanges of fire between Israel and Hamas) underscores the hollowness of those assumptions and the existential threat attending their adoption.

No less importantly, this has far-reaching implications for devising Israel’s Gaza strategy: namely, that the solution to the Strip’s problem will not come from Ramallah. The center of gravity for dealing with the Palestinian problem should instead be shifted from Ramallah to Gaza, with the aim of creating economic and infrastructure linkages between Gaza and its historic hinterland – the Sinai Peninsula.


A Hebrew version of this article was published in Israel Hayom on March 29, 2019.


Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen is a senior research fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. He served in the IDF for forty-two years. He commanded troops in battles with Egypt and Syria. He was formerly a corps commander and commander of the IDF Military Colleges.

Source: https://besacenter.org/perspectives-papers/gaza-mahmoud-abbas/

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Russia's Military Must Leave Venezuela Immediately - Jiri Valenta


by Jiri Valenta

It is urgent for Washington to act before Russia and Venezuela reach their imminent formal military agreement.

  • Russia was considering deploying strategic bombers full-time in Venezuela, according to the Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta, as reported by Moscow Times. The Russian media outlet also reported that an agreement had been reached between Moscow and Caracas to allow the deployment of Russian aircraft at a military base Venezuela's Caribbean island of La Orchila, where Russian advisers were dispatched in December.
  • It is urgent for Washington to act before Russia and Venezuela reach their imminent formal military agreement. At the same time, NATO membership should be offered to Brazil, a major ally, and economic aid should be provided to Columbia.
  • "[China and Russia] back Maduro to the hilt because they have much to lose if his leftist government falls. Both maintain crucial military facilities in the country... In recent months, China, the regime's largest creditor, has been digging itself in deeper. In September, Beijing extended Venezuela another $5 billion in credit. Russia has also loaned the country billions." — Gordon G. Chang, Gatestone Institute.

Pictured: Venezuelan and Russian military personnel at a ceremony for the arrival of two Russian Air Force Tu-160 strategic bombers in Venezuela, on December 10, 2018. (Image source: RT video screenshot)

After the landing of two Russian aircraft in Caracas on March 23 -- one an Ilyushin Il-62 passenger plane transporting 100 ground forces and the other an Antonov An-124 military cargo plane carrying 35 tons of materiel – U.S. President Donald J. Trump said that "Russia has to get out" of Venezuela.

In January, two months before this arrival of Russian military personnel and equipment in Venezuela, two Russian Air Force Tu-160 strategic bombers flying over the Arctic region near the North American coastline were detected and escorted out of the area by Canadian and U.S. Air Force jets.

Although it was not clear where these Russian bombers were headed, a similar incident had occurred a few weeks before, when two of the same type of Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers landed outside Caracas -- sorties indicating that these, too, were headed to Venezuela.

According to the Moscow Times, the Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported earlier in December that Russia was considering deploying strategic bombers full-time in Venezuela. The Russian media outlet also reported that an agreement had been reached between Moscow and Caracas to allow the deployment of Russian aircraft at a military base on Venezuela's Caribbean island of La Orchila, where Russian advisers were dispatched in December.

The above moves are all part of Russia's open support for the beleaguered government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, which the U.S. and dozens of other nations have declared illegitimate. These countries support the popular young chairman of Venezuela's National Assembly, opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has claimed an interim presidency.

Most 21st century Russian invasions have been launched in order to bring about or prevent regime change. Putin invaded Georgia in 2008 to undermine President Mikheil Saakashvili, who had pushed aggressively for Georgia's entry into NATO and the EU.

Putin's 2014 invasions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine were a response to what viewed as an illegal and unconstitutional coup in Kiev, which removed Ukraine from the Kremlin's orbit. While intervening in the Syrian civil war, which began in 2011, ostensibly to save Syrian President Bashar Assad's rule, Putin also aimed at projecting Russian power into the eastern Mediterranean.

By late 2018, Putin had achieved both goals. Meanwhile, Trump -- heir to a covert war started by his predecessor, President Barack Obama -- decided to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria.

Putin's response was to defrost the conflict with Ukraine in the Azov Sea. Instead of attacking the port city of Mariupol, however -- as some had expected -- he turned his attention to the more timely crisis in Venezuela.

As it did for Syria's Assad, Russia has been providing the Maduro regime with economic and military aid. While Syria is an important energy-transfer state, Venezuela is an energy jewel: in fact, it harbors one of the world's largest oil reserves. Maduro's Venezuela is also part of what U.S. National Security Adviser John R. Bolton has termed the "troika of tyranny," the others being Cuba and Nicaragua.

The recent landing of the two Russian planes in Venezuela came a mere a few days after the Trump administration's special envoy to Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryakbov in Rome. At that meeting, the two negotiators agreed to disagree over who was the real leader of Venezuela, Maduro or Guaidó. Ryakbov failed to mention, however, that Russia was about to dispatch military aircraft and manpower to Caracas.

Although this and other recent Russian moves in Venezuela are relatively minor at the moment, Moscow's intervention, if kept unchecked, obviously will grow as it did in Syria.

The same also applies to moves by Beijing. As Gordon G. Chang recently wrote:
"[China and Russia] back Maduro to the hilt because they have much to lose if his leftist government falls. Both maintain crucial military facilities in the country... In recent months, China, the regime's largest creditor, has been digging itself in deeper. In September, Beijing extended Venezuela another $5 billion in credit. Russia has also loaned the country billions."
Meanwhile, two Leninist-turned-narcotics traffickers – the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and the National Liberation Army (ELN) -- have been coordinating their activities with the Maduro regime, which is also backed by Iran.

It is therefore not sufficient for Trump to tell Russia to leave Venezuela. It is imperative for the U.S. to liberate the people of Venezuela -- in the throes of a major humanitarian catastrophe -- from Maduro's stranglehold. It is urgent for Washington to act before Russia and Venezuela reach their imminent formal military agreement.

President Trump should declare that no additional Russian and Chinese military planes and ships will be allowed to enter Venezuela, and, if legally possible, back up this announcement with an air and sea blockade. At the same time, NATO membership should be offered to Brazil, a major ally, and economic aid should be provided to Colombia.

Only a speedy, tough response can salvage what is left of the Monroe Doctrine, the basic premise of which is to keep extra-hemispheric hostile forces out of the U.S.'s strategic backyard.

A few weeks ago, when Maduro denied food and medical assistance to his starving people, the U.S. had a compelling enough reason, political considerations permitting, to invade Venezuela, even before the Russians got militarily involved. Delay, as Moscow's move constitutes a dangerous encroachment on U.S. national security, has made things both more complicated and more necessary.

While the Trump administration contemplates how to proceed further to prevent Venezuela from falling to Russia, it might recall the words of the late American diplomat George Kennan, best known for advocating the policy of "containment" to oppose Soviet expansionism after World War II.

Kennan, in a 1950 memorandum, summed up his view of how the U.S. should approach and keep Latin America from falling to the Soviets.

He wrote to the countries south of the border an "imaginary statement" that read, in part:
"We hold out to you what perhaps no great power—no power of our relative importance in world affairs — has ever held out to neighboring smaller powers: the most scrupulous respect for your sovereignty and independence, the willing renunciation of the use of force in our relations with you, the readiness to join with you at any time in a large variety of forms of collaboration which can be of benefit to us both. But you will appreciate that the payoff for this unprecedentedly favorable and tolerant attitude is that you do not make your countries the sources or the seats of dangerous intrigue against us..."

Dr. Jiri Valenta is a member of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations in New York, and formerly served at the Brookings Institution and the Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C. A former tenured associate professor at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, he is presently a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. The author of Soviet Intervention in Czechoslovakia, 1968, and other books, his publications include the BESA monograph, "Washington and Moscow: Conflict or Cooperation?"

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/13994/russia-venezuela

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Mueller's Chevauchée: Burn Everyone and Everything Trump Loves - James V. DeLong


by James V. DeLong

Anything, anything at all, to Get Trump.


Medieval English kings were not nice people. Edward III (1312–1377), in particular, used his son the Black Prince to wage a form of warfare called chevauchée, which consisted of killing and burning everyone and everything that could be reached by fast-moving raiders.

The object was twofold. One was to destroy an opponent's logistics base and discourage supporters. The other was to bait the opponent into leaving a good defensive position and coming out into the open, where he could be attacked; a noble needed strong nerves and a stony heart to stay behind walls while his subjects were slaughtered and his lands destroyed.

As many have noted during the past week, Robert Mueller and his legal sell-swords must have been aware for nigh onto two years, at least, that the accusation that Trump's campaign colluded with the Russians had no evidentiary support. Nonetheless, per the attorney general's summary letter to Congress, the investigation spent tens of millions of dollars, employed 19 lawyers and 40 other professional staff, issued 2,800 subpoenas, executed 500 search warrants, obtained more than 230 orders for communications records, authorized almost 50 pen registers, made 13 document requests to foreign governments, and interviewed 500 witnesses.

Barr and Mueller seem to regard this recounting as cause for satisfaction, as evidence of great diligence by the Department of Justice. But each of these actions inflicted substantial expense and career damage on those unlucky enough to be caught up in it. Every one of those witnesses should have lawyered up, knowing the ruthlessness of prosecutors on the scent of a big-time case. The game is to find something on a lower-level person and threaten him with heavy penalties unless he gives the prosecutor a more tempting target. If no extortionary material can be found, the witness can be accused of lying to the FBI, with the proof consisting of notes taken by the interviewing FBI agents themselves, since the agency refuses to make recordings. Family members can be threatened.

Most of these witnesses have kept quiet about the experience, content to have escaped. Some are speaking out, such as Michael Caputo, who has written eloquently and repeatedly about the costs imposed on him and others.

Sundance, at Conservative Treehouse, concludes that none of this investigating was really directed at the collusion charge. It was all an effort to entrap Trump himself or at least some of his supporters into actions that could be branded as "obstruction of justice," with that term broadly interpreted to encompass almost any action he took.

When Trump said Michael Flynn was a "good guy," this was spun as "obstruction." When he wanted to release FISA memos, he was warned that this would be "obstruction." Any reaching out to witnesses would have been branded "obstruction." Any statement of sympathy for Paul Manafort or Roger Stone would have been obstruction gold.

In this view, which is persuasive, the collateral damage inflicted on those on the fringes of the investigation was not in fact collateral — it was the point. Mueller was running a chevauchée designed to inflict pain and, in Sundance's words, "to goad President Trump into something Mueller could then color/construe as obstruction and then open House impeachment [proceedings]." Sundance thinks Mueller's staff may have been ready to escalate by indicting Trump family members (for nothing to do with Russia) and were stopped only by new A.G. William Barr's calling a halt.

Logically, the chevauchée should have worked. Given Trump's aggressive nature and tendency to wield Twitter like an axe, one would have expected him to come out from behind his walls of lawyers and engage, and it is to the credit of those lawyers that they prevented this. Had Mueller's team gone after his family...

Unfortunately, the tactic worked in other ways. Competent people will hesitate before coming to work for this or any other conservative administration, knowing they can be financially ruined at the whim of political potentates or prosecutors and that they must navigate a world in which the well connected can violate laws at a whim while the disfavored are accused of lying to the FBI if they assert their innocence.

At a recent speech, Trump said repeatedly that this must never happen to another president, but the president is only a part of it. If we want competent government, his servants must be protected as well.

Specific suggestions for reform are harder to come by. Three possibilities come to mind:
First, it not time to let bygones be bygones. After the 2016 election, Trump seemed willing to do this, but instead of reciprocity, he got a vicious attack. If he fails to get to the bottom of the Steele dossier, the FISA warrants, and the other perversions, he will receive contempt rather than gratitude or truce, and future Deep State operatives will draw the lesson that they can pervert the system without fear of accountability.

Second, somebody, perhaps in the DOJ, needs to examine the collateral damage from this probe and set compensation for it, including compensation for someone such as Flynn, who has gone broke while pleading guilty to a nonsensical process crime. (Flynn is accused of lying to the FBI about his conversation with the Russian ambassador when Flynn knew that the FBI had a recording of it. At a trial, it should take a jury five minutes to find a lack of both intent and materiality, but Flynn is broke, and Mueller may have threatened his son.)

Third, on reading accounts of the Black Prince, one wonders, "Where were England's religious leaders? Were they okay with chevauchée?" Now one would like to put the same question to the high priests of the U.S. legal system, such as the chief justice and the deans of the major law schools: "are you okay with this perverse use of the legal system, in which the process is both a severe punishment and a way of entrapping people who are not guilty of other crimes?" Answers may not be easy, but one would like to see the legal grandees at least take ownership of the problem.

Long ago, in a universe far away, James V DeLong was book review editor of the Harvard Law Review.

James V. DeLong

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/04/muellers_chevauche_burn_everyone_and_everything_trump_loves.html

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NATO Is Rife with Contradictions and Absurdities - Peter Skurkiss


by Peter Skurkiss

Turkey, Germany, Italy — none of these purported allies is acting like an ally, given what they are up to.


Even since Donald Trump won the presidency, the foreign service community has almost unanimously circled its wagons to protect and prop up their prized project, the 70-year old North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Yet the reality is, NATO is hardly a prize. It has been an ongoing complaint by U.S. presidents dating well before President Trump that NATO members aren't pulling their weight. However, it took President Trump to bring to issue to the public's attention. Up until now, NATO members paid lip service to living up to their treaty obligations to spend their agreed-upon commitments for defense. But they didn't. And those who did pay -- namely, the U.S., did little, if anything, about it. In the past, this was enough to let things go on as usual. 

But the task to justify America's inordinate commitment to NATO gets harder by the day. Alliance members are not just continuing to shuck their responsibilities they now they actually thumbing their noses at the U.S. upon being called out about it. The latest such insult comes from German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Her German cabinet just decided to keep its defense spending at 1.25 percent of Gross National Product for the next five years. This is well below the 2 percent that Germany committed to.

And Germany of all countries in Europe can't claim poverty. It is the powerhouse of the European Union. Germany is expected to have a balanced budget this year, and last year it ran an 11.2 billion-euro surplus, its fifth annual surplus in a row. 

Germany's refusal to abide by its defense commitments amounts to giving the middle finger not just to Trump, but to America in general. Merkel is essentially saying: "Keep paying, suckers." Here, the chancellor's timing couldn't be worse for Germany. The likelihood of Trump's reelection went up considerably with the release of the Muller report, and the president is someone who doesn't forget slights.

This comes on top of Germany' push for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Europe. This pipeline will increase Germany's dependency on Russia for natural gas. Ironically, Russia is the country that America is spending many billions of dollars each year to defend Europe from. How does this make sense?

And Germany is far from the only country tearing NATO asunder. Turkey has defied Washington and is going ahead with the purchase of Russian S-400 missiles defense system. The Military Times reports that in speaking to the Munich Security Conference in February, Vice President Mike Pence told attendees:
... we will not stand idly by while NATO allies purchase weapons from our adversaries. We cannot assure the defense of the West if our allies grow dependent on the East.
Indeed.

Turkey's purchase of the Russian S-400 system not only feeds an enemy desperate for cash, it makes Turkey itself more dependent on Russia. It also renders much of Turkey's missile defense system incompatible with the rest of NATO's. 

How's that for solidarity? And how long has it been since Turkey, a Muslim country, has showed solidarity with the West? 

And then there's Italy, the third largest economy in the European Union. Italy has an unstable government, its economy is stagnant with chronic double-digit unemployment, and it's drowning in debt. Whether it is out of desperation or rank stupidity, the Italian government is signing on to China's One Belt One Road project. This act exposes cracks in the unity of Europe and the G-7 and if played out, will make Italy dependent on communist China. This, too, severely undermines the NATO alliance.

Why is Italy's embrace with communist China stupid? It's not just because such an act means Italy will face anger from both Brussels and Washington. It's also because China is a greedy, grasping country. It is not merely amoral, it is immoral .... as was the USSR. Look at the facts. China lies and cheats on every agreement it signs. China has active re-education (concentration) camps for up to a million Muslims which makes it incompatible as a partner to Europe. China actively harvests body parts from political prisoners in a further signal of its inhumane value. Politically, China is authoritarian and spies on its people with a vigor equal to Stalin's. It's not a natural partner for a purportedly freedom loving region with a tradition of humanism, as are any of the nations of NATO Europe.

Italy might think that none of that affects them. Not so. The old adage applies: "He who sups with the devil should have a long spoon." 

By putting itself in bed with communist China, Italy is making NATO more of joke than it already is. NATO is dead man walking. By their deeds, the leaders in Western Europe don't believe Russia is a threat. In this, they are correct. France and Germany have jointly stated that they want to see the creation of a European army. But one doesn't have to be a think tank guru to see that such a military would not be designed to meet external foes on the battlefield but rather to address the unruly Eastern European countries within the EU. Until then, Europe would like to keep U.S. money flowing into the alliance. And NATO serves U.S. national interest only in the minds of the foreign service establishment and the neocons who see its bureaucracy as job haven. 

The more the contractions and absurdities of NATO are discussed, the sooner the U.S. will unburden itself of it.


Peter Skurkiss

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/04/nato_is_rife_with_contradictions_and_absurdities.html

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A good night for socialists as Chicago elects first black female mayor - Rick Moran


by Rick Moran

Reform politician Lori Lightfoot breezes to victory as euphoric progressives promise change.


It was a good night for socialists in Chicago as city voters, sickened by corruption, turned out much of the old guard to elect a bunch of new faces - most of them from the far left.

Every decade or so, city voters become so disgusted with the machine that they elect a slew of "reformers." In due time the "reformers" are absorbed by the machine as well meaning and naive politicians figure out how things really work in Chicago.

But for now, there is euphoria on the left.

Chicago Tribune:
Two progressive newcomers who won and regard themselves as Democratic socialists are Andre Vasquez, who beat longtime incumbent machine mainstay Patrick O’Connor (40th), and Byron Sigcho-Lopez, who takes the 25th Ward seat vacated by the outgoing Danny Solis.


Progressives have campaigned on an agenda that includes chipping away at the gap between the city’s haves and have-nots. That means striking a better balance between resources devoted to downtown and the North Side vs. South Side and West Side neighborhoods.
But progressives also will have to pragmatically tackle urgent city-wide problems. There’s the pension crisis that presents to the next City Council a $270 million budget shortfall in 2020. That figure will grow to $1 billion by 2023.
They’ll also have an opportunity to institute lasting reforms that address City Hall’s culture of corruption. Limits on aldermanic privilege could be on the table. So could expanding the role of one of the best checks on city council ethics abuse — the city’s inspector general. If they need inspiration, they can take it from the ongoing federal criminal case against Ald. Ed Burke, 14th, who could be indicted as soon as early May.
It was not a good night for the machine, starting at the top. Cook County Board Commissioner Toni Preckwinkle tried to run as an outsider while holding down a job that was the very definition of machine politics. She had the misfortune of being connected to the Alderman Ed Burke bribery scandal, which made her claims of being independent ring hollow.

Her opponent, Lori Lightfoot, didn't have much experience, but neither was she tainted by corruption. She breezed to victory with 71% of the vote.

Lightfoot, an African American lesbian, promised big tax hikes for the rich, claims to have a plan to deal with violence, wants housing reforms, and promises to reform education. In truth, even with progressive allies on the city council, there won't be any money to do anything. That's because there's a pension bomb about to go off in the city to the tune of $130 billion. If left unattended, it will be $1 billion by 2023. 

So all the talk about "reform" is a sideshow. The crisis in Chicago has to do with the deep rot infecting the city's major institutions, not just city hall. At a time when gang violence is making the city unlivable, "activists" have castrated the police. And their plan to address the killings is silly - more gun control. 

The answer to extreme poverty is to raise taxes on "the rich." Education "reform" involves bullying downstate school systems to pay tribute to the Chicago public schools. Ideas to fix the crumbling infrastructure center on making sure the unions and favored contractors get the work. If you're connected, you prosper.

At best, Lightfoot might be able to slow the decline. But Chicago's future is already written unless politicians are able to bite the bullet and give the city the bitter medicine it so desperately needs to get out from under the crushing burdens placed on it by greedy politicians and crooked businessmen who continue to enrich themselves at the expense of the public good.


Rick Moran

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/04/a_good_night_for_socialists_as_chicago_elects_first_black_female_mayor.html

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Timing of Chinese spy arrested at Mar-a-Lago - Chriss Street


by Chriss Street

China's spies are getting bold.


The arrest of a Chinese woman at Mar-A-Logo carrying four cellphones, external drive and malware-infected USB drive comes as the U.S. and China negotiate a final trade deal. 

With President Trump at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday morning, Yujing Zhang talked her way past a Secret Service agent at the checkpoint outside the president’s Palm Beach resort by using a member name and showing a passport that the club manager assumed meant she was a member’s daughter.

Zhang (32) pretended to be from Taiwan, have limited English skills, and indicated she came to her event early to take a few pictures and familiarize herself with the venue. But once inside the gate, she used perfect English to pass by three roving Secret Service agents and clear another security checkpoint before entering the main clubhouse.

Her story fell apart inside the clubhouse when she gave conflicting statements to staff and Secret Service agents about attending a nonexistent United Nations Chinese American Association meeting and produced a fake invitation written in Chinese. After becoming argumentative when confronted, Zhang was taken in for questioning.

Zhang then changed her story to coming from Shanghai to meet an online acquaintance named “Charles” that she instant messaged with through China’s ‘WeChat’ app. Zhang was arrested on a criminal charge of lying to a Secret Service agent and signing a false affidavit; plus both passports were from the communist People's Republic of China.

The potential Chinese penetration attempt came just before a big move higher for world stock markets this week that the Financial Times attributed to the U.S. and China hammering out final enforcement rules that would lead to China’s Pres. Xi Jinping and Pres. Trump signing a very high-visibility trade agreement at Mar-a-Lago by June. 

The malware was not identified in the criminal complaint, but Geopolitical Futures reported that China's intelligence apparatus, the Ministry of State Security (MSS), in 2017 recruited an employee of a French aerospace company that supplies NATO and gave him a USB drive containing the Sakula “backdoor” malware.

The Sakula “trojan” has exclusively been used by China’s Shanghai cyberespionage unit named Deep Panda (also known as APT19) for nation-state cyber-espionage campaigns. Its most famous hack is the 2014 and 2015 theft of over 21 million government employees records from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Once Sakula is plugged into a government or company laptop, it will install malware across the target’s network. Cyberpenetration includes not only database information, but Sakula can access other devices for clandestine live or recorded audio or video.

Given that venues for important meetings are vulnerable to surveillance bugs, the Secret Service undoubtedly used technical security countermeasure (TSCM) sweeps ahead of President Trump’s morning meetings at Mar-a-Lago. But Zhang was able to freely enter the resort and roam the grounds for hours without being searched.

President Trump’s most effective trade negotiations tool has been the unpredictability of his next move. Having real time cyberaccess to U.S. computers and other electronic devices at Mar-a-Lago would allow China to understand if Trump is bluffing or how much pushback the administration is receiving from domestic lobbying groups.

Chriss Street

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/04/timing_of_chines_spy_being_arrested_at_maralago.html

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Grandmother Enraged 1,000 Google Lefties - Daniel Greenfield


by Daniel Greenfield

Fighting for diversity by driving the highest-profile African-American woman out of Google.




As the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, Kay Coles James oversaw a federal civilian workforce of 1.8 million responsible for $650 billion. James chairs the Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission and OPM recently celebrated her tenure as part of Women’s History Month.

She had also been Virginia’s Secretary of Health and Human Resources, she sits on three corporate boards, and is a member of the NASA Advisory Council.  

She’s also an African-American conservative woman.

It’s hard to know which of these three elements of her identity attracted the most fury from leftists after Google appointed her to its external advisory council on AI. But the combination triggered a new level of rage. Gizmodo described one of the most successful African-American women in public life as a “ghoul”.

The insult came from Bryan Menegus, a white millennial hipster and aspiring internet comedian, toward an African-American woman who triumphed over segregation and challenges he couldn’t even imagine. 

There’s no better contrast between conservatives and the social justice crybullies going after them.

Last year, Kay Coles James became the first African-American woman to head the Heritage Foundation. This year, Google picked James as one of eight figures to serve on its AI Advisory Council. James was likely meant to balance out William J. Burns, the head of the Carnegie Endowment Peace, an Obama crony. But almost as soon as the choices were announced, Google’s overactive lefties came after her.

The controversy, as was often the case, raged in internal Google forums where its social justice crybullies seek out new ways to purge conservatives and push the monopolistic dot com leftward. And then it was passed along to lefty digital media outlets which transformed it into a pressure campaign.

One public petition by Googlers Against Transphobia and Hate claims that James, a 69-year-old grandmother, threatens “trans people, other LGBTQ people, and immigrants”. The petition insists that Google should "place representatives from vulnerable communities at the center of decision-making".

The petition to fight for diversity by driving the highest profile African-American woman out of Google has allegedly been signed by over 1,000 Googlers. Most of the named signatories are white academics.

It’s hard to imagine how your average privileged Googler exploring alternative lifestyles while dyeing their hair orange is more a member of a vulnerable community than Kay Coles James, who grew up in a housing project as the fifth of six children with a struggling mother and an abusive alcoholic father.

In 1961, she became one of the first African-American students to integrate a public school in Virginia where she faced bullying and physical violence. Despite all that, she graduated from college, and began a lifelong journey that took her to Virginia state government and even to the White House.

Kay Coles James is everything lefties claim to want. But it’s also what they hate when confronted with it.

The Google employees are still busy running a slimy whispering campaign aided and abetted by slimy digital media sites like Gizmodo. The non-Googlers who have signed their name to a campaign against the most prominent African-American woman currently associated with Google, include Cory Doctorow, a leftist internet cretin who boasts of having gone to four universities without ever graduating because they didn’t interest him, and Naomi Klein, the privileged daughter of successful Marxist parents, currently the Gloria Steinem Chair in Media, Culture, and Feminist Studies at Rutgers University.

The Gloria Steinem Chair was partly funded by Harvey Weinstein to support “female equality”.

Googlers don’t find the Steinem Chair, once backed by a serial rapist, offensive. But an African-American grandmother sends them scurrying with shrieks of outrage that they are the true oppressed minority.

If you believe them, James does not represent a “vulnerable community”, but a bunch of academics and activists specializing in social justice, who have never experienced the challenges that she did, are.

A woman born under segregation doesn’t know oppression. But activists who think Burning Man is roughing it, who couldn’t go two days without a $12 mocha latte, are the true wretched of the earth.

And James, who has never been anything but soft-spoken and kind, is terrorizing them.

Do the leftists calling for her head because they suddenly care about ‘trans’ people really believe, as the mostly anonymous petition claims, that James poses a threat to Google’s “trans employees”?

Is this hate campaign really a desperate effort to save Google employees (average salary $112,643) from a terrifying 69-year-old grandmother who still speaks with a slow, measured southern accent?

Or is it about power?

"They gleefully throw around words like 'racist' and 'bigot' without pausing to truly, honestly consider the plight of the minority community they purport to defend," James wrote a few years ago.


Leftists don’t defend minorities. They exploit, abuse and weaponize them in their bids for power.

“Google elevates and endorses her views, implying that hers is a valid perspective worthy of inclusion in its decision making. This is unacceptable,” the petition rants.

What that really means is that conservative views cannot be allowed at Google. Beginning with the firing of James Damore to the targeting of Kay Coles James, this is a battle over control of the internet. Google commands a monopoly over search. And that means that it controls what people see on the internet.

AI is at the nexus of how lefties intend to curate, gatekeep and shape opinion on the internet. Machine learning is already being used by Google and other dot coms in projects to shadowban and censor. Having a conservative leader at the table would make it more challenging to implement such programs.

Kay Coles James, like James Damore, is the canary in the Silicon Valley data mining operation.

If Google can’t tolerate a soft-spoken and mild-mannered African-American conservative, does anyone imagine that it will tolerate any conservatives, except for the controlled opposition at Bulwark and the Washington Post? When one company wields as much power as Google does, corporate culture questions are also existential questions for everyone whose opinions don’t fit in the echo chamber.

The same lefties who claim that they want diversity in Silicon Valley have rallied to drive an African-American woman out of Google. What they want isn’t diversity. It’s ideological conformity.  

And they don’t just want it at Google. They want it in America and around the world.

There’s a term for the progressive vision of the internet. It’s a term that lefties often like to throw around. But it’s a term that they carefully avoid accurately applying to their own tactics and goals.

Segregation.

Once upon a time, their control of the media allowed them to segregate conservative views. They controlled the press. They ran the television networks. Only radio gave them a few problems.

Then the internet came along and desegregated the infrastructure of political ideas. Ever since then they have been trying to segregate it back again by leveraging the monopolistic power of the dot coms.

Digital segregation now. Digital segregation tomorrow. Digital segregation forever.

The purge of conservatives from dot com companies mirrors the purge of conservative from their platforms. The goal of the progressive segregationists is to kill intellectual diversity by consolidating control over the system, and to use that system to censor and suppress opposing viewpoints.

The battle is over whether the internet will be free and open. Or whether it will be a platform controlled by media leftists for the distributions of their latest manifestos, smears, screeds and hit pieces.

Of the varying digital media hit pieces aimed at James, none mentioned that she is African-American.

That inconvenient fact was buried because it didn’t align with the overall message that James is a dangerous bigot who cannot be allowed to sit at the table when discussing Google’s AI plans.

The media spends a lot of time burying inconvenient facts while propping up ideological narratives.

Google has played a major role in propping up and promoting those narratives, including those defaming James, as it continues to fund and privilege leftist media while censoring conservatives.

Its inclusion of James was a fig leaf for a dot com facing fire from conservative elected officials. But the leftist segregationists driving the dot com won’t even allow a fig leaf. The very presence, real or virtual, of an African-American conservative woman infuriates leftist segregationists. Their rants, in Gizmodo, Verge, and BoingBoing, hurl at her the same spite and rage as their Democrat segregationist forebears.

In 1961, Kay Cole James faced down Democrat bullies to integrate a school in Richmond. In 2019, she’s facing down Democrats to integrate Google and its sneering social justice activists in Mountain View.

* * *
Photo by Gage Skidmore


Daniel Greenfield

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/273360/how-african-american-grandmother-enraged-1000-daniel-greenfield

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