The SNC-Lavalin affair is overblown, but the Liberals still bungled it
By accepting her change of positions, Wilson-Raybould has largely disqualified herself from complaining now about the motives for her so-called demotion
by Conrad Black
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
The SNC-Lavalin matter has become a showcase for a panoply of media and political attitudes of widely varying levels of justification. To review some of the elements, there was nothing wrong, practically or ethically, in the government providing prosecutorial flexibility in certain commercial cases, permitting the possible payment of a voluntary fine rather than a criminal prosecution. And there was nothing wrong with putting this in a budget bill, which effectively assured that it would be passed without serious specific debate. In cases where a business, especially an international business, engages in practices which would be illegal in Canada, but where there is a plausible argument that such measures were necessary to assure a sale and profit the shareholders and secure the employees at no direct benefit to the executives involved nor any cost to the Canadian taxpayer, there certainly should not be a criminal prosecution, and even fines should be assessed with moderation.
Thirty years ago, during my brief tenure as chairman of Massey-Ferguson, which was then the world’s third-largest manufacturer of agricultural equipment, it came to light that with some African countries, the company had been asked to overbill in respect of some sales, on the understanding that we would discount the sale price in terms of what we actually collected, back to what we in fact desired to be paid for our product. It did not require the imagination of Jules Verne to guess where the additional money went and to whose benefit, but no one in our company profited a cent, sales were not over-reported, nothing improper was represented as a tax-deductible expense in any jurisdiction and it was just how business was done in those countries. Yet a considerable controversy arose and my friends at the Toronto Star (and some of them are still my friends), became, in Shakespearean terms, perplexed in the extreme.
They even confused my predecessor as Massey chairman, Major General Bruce Matthews, with the equivalently distinguished and eminent lawyer, Beverley Matthews (an old Toronto masculine Christian name), and gave Bev Matthews, who had never had anything to do with Massey-Ferguson, a severe wigging for his sleazy business ethics. The political aspect of the discussion settled down quickly when we opened the kimono completely to officials of the provincial treasury and ministry of National Revenue, and I stopped by to see Premier Bill Davis and mentioned that if these sales were seriously discouraged, layoffs in a Massey-Ferguson plant in his constituency would eventually result, and International Harvester, a Chicago corporation, would be the beneficiary.
I don’t know the details of the controversial acts at SNC-Lavalin, but no one should be criticized for distinguishing recourse to unsavoury local practices, as in Libya, at no cost to the shareholders or taxpayers and no benefit to executives, from corrupt acts of skimming sales and embezzlement. It is easy for politicians and journalists to take cheap shots at honest businessmen doing what’s necessary to push goods and services in less scrupulous jurisdictions than Canada. We should wait for the facts, and if necessary, the adjudication, before condemning anyone.
This does not excuse the government from responsibility for what looks like a very sloppy performance. If the former minister of justice, Jody Wilson-Raybould, was moved to the considerable position (not a free-fall demotion as has been widely claimed) of associate minister of National Defence and minister of Veterans’ Affairs, for resisting efforts by the prime minister or his office to avoid a justified prosecution of SNC-Lavalin officials, the appropriate response would have been for her to quit rather than accept the transfer. By accepting her change of positions, Wilson-Raybould has largely disqualified herself from complaining now about the motives for her so-called demotion (and the Defence ministry desperately needs someone to clean it up and run it properly and secure appropriate funding). If interference with her independence as attorney general or the slightest element of politicization of the administration of justice was the issue, Wilson-Raybould did savage violence to her credibility by accepting to be given the toss out of Justice.
It is equally true that the prime minister must have been mad to say to the press that the best proof of the falsity of opposition claims and Globe and Mail questions (that newspaper has not, as far as I can detect, accused anyone of anything in this case), was Wilson-Raybould’s continuation in office. My old friend Craig Oliver of CTV News called it clearly when he said on Wednesday that Wilson-Raybould had to resign, which she shortly did. (The last time I was on air with him, 18 months ago, Craig said that “The noose is tightening around President Trump’s neck,” and “We have to stop this guy.” I am delighted at this uptick in his political acuity.) But this still isn’t much of a scandal. If the former justice minister now claims attempted political interference in running her department, why didn’t she quit when it happened? If she does not make that claim, there is no scandal. All the media bunk about corrupt companies too big to fail is hot air; if there was wrong-doing, it was by executives, not by the company itself, and the executives can be prosecuted and replaced, and the company drives on.
The star of the controversy so far is Wilson-Raybould’s father, the chief of a B.C. Indigenous tribe. He is happy to call himself and his people using the term “Indians” and makes the point that all the money squandered on “Indian Affairs” is wasted on lawyers and bureaucrats and that 68 per cent of Indians in traditional areas “do not have potable water, and I have no confidence in the white man’s justice.” This is in spite of the mindless and relentless truckling of the Canadian judiciary to the native people for over 30 years. This white man doesn’t have much confidence in it either, but for other reasons. The prime minister should name the ex-justice minister’s father the minister of whatever is the current name of the Indian Affairs department (which Pierre Trudeau promised to shut down 40 years ago).
Note: As has been widely recognized, Michael Wilson, the former minister of finance and ambassador to the United States who died last week aged 81, was a capable, honest, dedicated, likeable and talented man. He is one of the very few people who entered public life for the sole purpose of being of help to the country, and who had a successful career there but never, in four parliamentary terms, including nine years as a prominent cabinet minister, attracted a nasty or even a disparaging word from his opponents or the media. He did great honour to all of the high positions he held through almost all of the 42 years of our thoroughly cordial acquaintance.
It may be true that the world today lacks individuals who voice the kind of grand theories familiar in the past. But in many countries there are individuals engaged in critical thinking and reflection on political and social problems in the public sphere, often committed to particular causes or points of view. Among them are public intellectuals, thinkers and philosophers known to the general public as a result of their commentaries on public affairs. High in this regard is France, a country with intellectuals appreciated, either admired or loathed, for their views and guidance on public issues.
The disease of antisemitism is not new to France, and has been increasing, but a new threshold in response to it was set by the displays of outrage as a result of the verbal assault on Alain Finkielkraut, a well known intellectual who was walking on the Boulevard du Montparnasse in Paris on February 16, 2019. The perpetrators were a small group, members of the gilets jaunes,Yellow Vest movement. The main suspect is a salesman from Mulhouse in eastern Alsace. The group shouted at Finkielkraut in non-academic terms, "dirty Zionist shxt," and "Go back to Tel Aviv," and "France belongs to us.," among other choice expressions.
Alain Finkielkraut is a 69 year old Jewish philosopher, eminent man of letters, and public intellectual, distingished academic, since 2014 a member of the Academie Francaise, the prestigious Council of 40 concerned with matters related to the French language. Contrary to the fabrications of the Yellow Vest, YV, attackers, he was born in Paris though his father was a Polish Holocaust survivor of Auschwitz. Ironically, Finkielkraut initially supported the YV movement when it started two months ago, but then criticized its members for destruction without regard for anyone or anything.
Finkielkraut emerged in public in the May 1968 student revolt, and in 1987 with his book, The Defeat of the Mind, that was critical of postmodern philosophy, and of cultural relativism. He is a controversial figure, appearing on TV, writing articles for prominient newspapers, and giving interviews, known as an opponent of mass migration into France, a critic of multiculturalism, and defender of the West. He is a concerned with Jewish identity in postwar Europe, and a strong advocate of Israel. Since he was addresed by the YV attackers as a "dirty Jew," the Paris prosecutor is inquiring whether this is a crime, a public insult related to origin, ethnicity, race, or religion.
Finkielkraut is not the only prominent Jewish figure to be assaulted. Another was Simone Weil, survivor of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, French Minister of Health, proponent of women's legal rights, advocate of legislation for abortion in 1975, and for a ban on smoking, president of the European Parliament, appointed to Academie Francaise in 2008,. She is the fifth woman in history to be given, in July 2018, a burial in the Pantheon in Paris. Swastikas were painted on public postboxes which had her face on them.
On February 18, 2019 a group of French members of the National Assembly introduced a bill to make anti-Zionism a criminal offence in the same way that antisemitism is illegal in France. This touches on a controversal issue. For many years, critics of the State of Israel or its actions or political figures have argued that such criticism is appropriate, and that conflating this with antisemitism is misguided. Others have responded that though criticism of Isrseli actions or policies is legitimate, calls for the destruction of the State, or espouser of BDS can be regarded as a manifestation of antisemitism.
Central to the issue is the accurate and acceptable definition of the disease of antisemitism. A valuable, if still controversial, working definition has been provided by the IHRA, International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, a group of 31 countries. It started in October 2013 as a statement on Holocaust denial and discrimination, followed at a meeting in Bucharest on May 26, 2016 by a fuller definition of antisemitism. All parties an agree that antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews which may be expressed as hatred towards them. All can also agree that criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitism.
The basic problem is not all parties agree that a double standard exists for many countries and organizations by requiring of Israel a pattern of behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation. The significant, though controversial, contribution of IHRA to the definition is that antisemitism includes targeting the State of israel conceived as a Jewish collectivity. Because of the international incessant condemnation of Israel, anti-Zionism is one of the modern forms of antisemitisn. The IHRA declaration is not legally binding, but it is a guideline, and one that was accepted by Britain and Germany in 2016.
It was also accepted by President Macron on February 20 2019. "We must name the evil: antisemitism is hiding behind the mask of anti-Zionism. The time has come for action." Macron acted immediately by declaring no toleration of antisemism, ordering the French Interior ministry to dismantle three neo-Nazi groups. He visited the Holocaust memorial in Paris. Macron responded immediately to the attack on Finkielkraut, asserting that the antisemitic insults are the complete negation of "who we are" and what makes France a great nation. Antisemitism is a repudiation of the Republic. Other prominent public figures followed his example: Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy joined the demonstration of thousands of people in Place de la Republique in Paris who displayed banners with Ca Suffit, that's enough.
Macron denounced the unacceptable increase in acts and hate speech which he linked to the recent wave of demonstrations against his government, by the Yellow Vest rallies. Antisemitism is not a slogan of the YV movement, but there are extremists among its members responsible for racist and antisemitic remarks, as well as attacks on legislators. It is sad that some in YV believe in a Zionist plot or conspiracy. In a sense, their behavior resembles that of the African-American actor Jussie Smollett charged in Chicago on February 21, 2019 for filing a false report that he was attacked for racial reasons. In both cases the perpetrators took advanatage of justifable anger at expressions of racism and existing discrimination to spread their message of hate.
More attention is now being paid in France to antisemitism that Christophe Castaner, Minister of the Interior, says is spreading like a poison. In 2018 there were 641 antisemitic acts and threats, an increase of 74% from 311 in 2017.
A few can be mentioned. Graves, more than 90, of Jews were vandalized wih swastikas in the cemetery in the small village of Quatzenheim, a village near Strasbourg. Macron, wearing a skullcap, attended the ceremony at the gravesite.
Among the more egregious previous antisemitic attacks in 2012 were: the killing of four people, a rabbi and three children, in the Jewish school in Toulouse in southwest France; the murder of Ilan Halimi, a 23 year old phone salesman, of Jewish Moroccan ancestry, who was kidnapped and tortured for three weeks in 2006 and died from burning injuries on the way to the hospital. A tree planted in his memory in the Paris suburb of Sainte-Genevieve-du-Bois was chopped down. On February 19, 2019 two teen agers were arrested after firing, by air rifle, at a synagogue in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles. The next day, February 20, two swastikas accampanied by a phrase denying the Holocaust were painted on a monument in a Jewish cemetery in Champagne-au-Mont-d'Or, near Lyon.
You don't have to be Jewish to like bagels, but a bagel factory, of the Bagelstein chain, in the east of Paris, in the Ile Saint-Louis district, was defaced with the word "Juden" in German painted in yellow across the window. It is unclear whether the color referred to the YV movement, or to the Star of David armbands Jews were fotced to wear by Nazi Grmany.
French politicians have asserted that antisemitism is deeply rooted in French society. The country is famiiar with attacks on Jews or Jewish institutions by political extemists and Islamists, but the link to Yellow Vests came as a surprise. The disease of antisemitism may be turning into a plague. Radical surgery is essential to correct the severe cancerous threat to society in France as elsewhere. We must recognize , as Albert Camus, wrote in The Plague, that the next plague will "rouse up its rats again." The political surgeons are vital to save society.
The rally has started in Salford outside BBC North in Media City. I have a live feed from a facebook page - if you have FB you can find it via Panodrama - Unity News Network video. Avi Yemeni has come from Australia.
Currently Richard Ingham of veterans against terrorism is speaking. The film will be shown later; people are still arriving by tram from central Manchester.
Tommy has arrived and is about to speak
The camera has swung round to show the crowd; it looks like a good turn out and more on the way. Trouble with the trams apparently.
Gerard Batten leader of UKIP is now speaking. He spoke very well, in my opinion, about Brexit and related matters.
Estimates of the crowd have gone from 5000 to 10,000. There are now video and musical interludes until the Video is ready.
There was a break in transmission, but now I have found the new stream I can see that Tommy's documentary has begun.
The programme has been shown, thanks and tributes now being heard.
The crowd is dispersing to the sound of Sweet Caroline; no trouble, good natured policing.
Unity News Network did an excellent job. I gather other streams failed or were taken down during the afternoon. As soon as I have a link to Panodrama first hand, not videoed from a public access screen I will link to it and can watch it myself with proper concentration. I could see tha BBC misuse of expenses was tackled, and underhand tactics in trying to induce friends and colleagues of Tommy to spill (or make up) dirt.
Stephen Yaxley-Lennon launched a ludicrous attack on HOPE not hate at his demonstration in Salford earlier today. Here's our response:
Nick Lowles? @lowles_nick
HOPE not hate totally refutes these bizarre and idiotic allegations. This is just a desperate attempt by Stephen Lennon to derail a programme that will unmask his criminality, threatening and bullying behaviour and racism.
The UAF/SUTR/Momentum/Trade Union counter protest dispute the figures of the size of the crowd to see Panodrama, (the BBC, which will be a conservative estimate, say 3000) while simutaneously declaring that their crowd of 700 was 'a good turn out' but demanding that more people turn out 'if we're going to defeat 'Tommy' and his lot,'
Dr. Ali Al-Siba’i: Why Do the Descendants of Apes and Pigs Rule Over Us?
by Hugh Fitzgerald
During an interview on the Turkey-based MB-affiliated Channel 9 TV, Libyan researcher Dr. Ali Al-Siba’i said that the Jihad that terrifies the world today was sanctioned by shari’a law in order to establish justice, and that humanity was relieved of oppression, exploitation, and plundering when Islam “spread its wings throughout the world.” He said that the Europeans and the Americans inherited their imperialist-colonialist mentality from the Romans, and that they can only be stopped by Muslims through the use of offensive Jihad. He also said: “Look who [Allah] has sent to rule over us – the Jews, whom the Quran called ‘most despicable creatures of Allah.’ The descendants of apes and pigs rule over us and inflict upon us all kinds of torment.” The interview aired on October 27, 2018.
“Justice, fairness, impartiality, honesty”? The violent Jihad that has lasted for 1,400 years, conducted now in this part of the world and now in that, had little to do with justice, fairness, impartiality, honesty. The Shari’a promoted the Muslim impulse to conquer as many non-Muslim lands and subjugate as many non-Muslim peoples as possible, plundering their riches, seizing women to be used as sex slaves, and reducing those who survived — men, women, and children — to the status of dhimmis, subject to a host of onerous conditions, including the required payment of the Jizyah, a tax that guaranteed they would not be attacked by Muslims themselves. The impulse to “establish justice, fairness, impartiality, and honesty among people” had nothing to do with their conquests, except insofar as they believed that only with the imposition of the Sharia, the Islamic law, could ”justice, fairness, impartiality, and honesty” — as Muslims understand those words — be guaranteed. How could there be “fairness” if non-Muslims had the same rights as Muslims? Or how could “justice” be achieved if the testimony of non-Muslim witnesses was given the same evidentiary value as that of a non-Muslim? Impossible! To be “impartial” — to measure Muslim and non-Muslim by the same standard, according them the same rights — would be to ignore the most basic division of humanity, between the Muslims who are the ”best of peoples” (3:110) and the non-Muslims (98:6) who are the “most vile of creatures,” both judgements found in the immutable Qur’an.
Humanity was relieved of oppression and exploitation, and of the plundering of resources and the denial of rights only when Islam spread its wings throughout the world. Before that – what did the Romans do in Egypt? What did they do in Libya? What did they do in Syria and in Palestine? What did they do throughout the world? The imperialist-colonialist mentality of the Romans was inherited by Europe in the Middle Ages, as well as today. I’m talking about Europe in general, about Europe and America. Today, it is [America] that spreads its influence. America wants to oppress and grab each and every region. This mentality can only be smashed by Jihad – not defensive Jihad, but offensive Jihad.
The author fails to recognize that the most successful imperialism and colonialism in history has been that of the Muslim Arabs themselves, who not only conquered vast regions and moved in great numbers into non-Arab and non-Muslim lands (as in North Africa, which originally was Christian and pagan in religion, and ethnically Berber, before large numbers of Muslim Arabs moved in), but managed to convince those they conquered not to reject being arabized, but to participate in it, by converting to Islam and then giving themselves Arab names and lineages. In some cases, they even called themselves “Sayyid” to suggest a factitious lineage back to the Al-Quraysh tribe of Muhammad himself.
The Indians did not come to our country and colonize us, and neither did the South Americans. Only the Europeans did, because they inherited this from the Romans. Nobody will stop them except for the Muslims.
The Europeans did very little colonizing of Arab and Muslim lands. The British left the entire Arabian peninsula alone, save for a single entrepôt in Aden, where ships going to or from India could stop for supplies. The British never entered the Arabian interior itself. On the high seas, the Royal Navy did seek to interdict, and succeeded in shutting down, the Arab trade in African slaves. The British did enter Egypt under Lord Cromer in 1882, but not as colonists. They came with a limited mission — to make the Egyptian civil service more efficient and less corrupt — and having achieved that, they left in1922. The real imperial power in the Middle East for hundred of years was Ottoman Turkey, and it was the British who drove out the Turks during World War I, freeing the Muslim Arabs from the Turkish masters who had ruled them for centuries.
Look who [Allah] has sent to rule over us – the Jews, whom the Quran called “the most despicable creatures of Allah.” The descendants of apes and pigs rule over us, and inflict upon us all kinds of torment.
Classic Islamic antisemitism preached hatred and contempt for the Jews, but never saw the despised Jews as “ruling over us.” That comes from the narrative in European antisemitism, where Jews are regarded as possessing great financial and other, almost occult, powers, with rich and powerful Jews gathering in meetings where they decide the fate of the rest of humanity, always to the advantage of themselves and their fellow Jews. This Libyan researcher combines the antisemitism found in the Qur’an — where Jews are shown as guilty of a multitude of sins, including being “the strongest in opposition to Muhammad,” but never depicted as secret rulers of the world, as they were in European antisemitism, that endowed them with great and sinister powers. Thus he laments that “the descendants of apes and pigs [the Jews] rule over us, and inflict upon us all kinds of torment.” After all, how can Arabs and Muslims explain the ability of the Jews of Israel to repeatedly throw back the Arab invaders, except through a narrative that endows the Jews with malign and almost supernatural powers, like those that European antisemitism attributes to them?
They are then, these Jews, in modern Islamic antisemitism, both despised, for being the descendants of apes and pigs, for being liars, untrustworthy, disobedient, grasping, strongest in opposition to Muhammad, and much more, while at the same time they are also feared, as in European antisemitism, for their seeming powers to control so many others behind the scenes. Logically, of course, the Israeli Jews should not be despised, for their ability to defend themselves against overwhelming odds, is impressive. Nor should they be seen as possessing unusual powers over others. After all, if they did have such power over many countries, wouldn’t they have been able to win more votes at the U.N., where Israel is repeatedly denounced, voted against, always by a gigantically lopsided margin, for its attempts to defend itself in Gaza, or to fight preemptively against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, or even to expand those Jewish villages in the West Bank that it has a perfect right to do, according to U.N. Resolution 242, but that so many call, quite inaccurately, “settlements” in “occupied Arab land.”
Dr. Ali Al-Siba’i claims that the Jews are those whom the Qur’an called the “most despicable creatures of Allah. The descendants of apes and pigs rule over us and inflict upon us all kinds of torment.” In the same breath, he claims that Allah “has sent the Jews” to “rule over us.” So I have one question: Why? Why would Allah, the merciful, give the Jews the power to “rule over Muslims”? Wouldn’t it make better sense to have the Jews permanently subject to Muslim rule and forced to endure life as dhimmis? It is clear that because the Jews are not now in thrall to Muslims, and certainly not behaving like dhimmis, that the other antisemitic narrative, the one with its roots in Europe, where all-powerful Jews plot to control the world — see, e.g., the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” — has to be brought into service. Now any Israeli victory in war can be explained as due not to Israeli bravery, but rather to the malign forces of international Jewry working behind the scenes. For the Arabs, it is both face-saving and comforting to think that it is not the superior soldiership of the IDF, nor the courage of the recruits, nor the superiority of Israel’s strategists, nor the country’s advanced weaponry, including some, such as Iron Dome, that have been developed and manufactured by Israel itself. The Arabs need only point to all the help (carefully unspecified) given to Israel by “international Jewry” — the “malefactors of great wealth” who must explain Israel’s ability to withstand its enemies.
But this leaves the original question still unanswered. Why would Allah set the despised Jews to “rule over” Muslims? Perhaps He means this as a test of Muslim fortitude, the ability to endure such an unjust situation, having to be ruled by the descendants of apes and pigs. And if the Muslim Arabs continue to lose battles, that can be attributed not to their insufficiencies, but to Allah’s desire to test their faith still further. Inshallah-fatalism can explain their losses — Allah willed it — and then, once they have given sufficient proof of their ability not to lose heart, but to keep their faith in Allah, He will at long last reward them by giving them a great victory over the Jews, who will, of course, then be slaughtered or reduced to hopeless dhimmitude. And Allah Knows Best.
Tommy Robinson will be in Salford this afternoon at Media City which is the northern HQ of the BBC and a few other TV stations.
He will be showing Panodrama, exposing the BBC, fake news and the lies of Hope not Hate. The BBC was intending a Panorama episode called "Tommy Takedown" (for non UK readers this is a long-running politics programme, often goes undercover, once had a great reputation) to 'expose' him; but with the help of trusted friends he has turned the tables.
What we know so far about what will be exposed includes the comments of journalist John Sweeney that he once met a white working class man called Danny in the BBC green room (pre broadcast refreshment and waiting area).
"...it was unusual to meet a white working class male in the Newsnight green room. It was so unusual that me and one of my mates went down there to have a drink with him in the way that you would do with somebody, from the, you know a cannibal from the Amazonian, erm, from Amazonia or maybe a creature from outer space,”
The broadcast will begin at 2pm on a screen brought in for the purpose. I can't be there but I know some who will be in attendance, and a live stream is expected.
Picture - Tommy inspecting the rally site earlier this morning.
The Greatest Constitutional Crisis Since the Civil War
by Conrad Black
The most immense and dangerous public scandal in American history is finally cracking open like a ripe pomegranate. The broad swath of the Trump-hating media that has participated in what has amounted to an unconstitutional attempt to overthrow the government are reduced to reporting the events and revelations of the scandal in which they have been complicit, in a po-faced ho-hum manner to impart to the misinformed public that this is as routine as stock market fluctuations or the burning of an American flag in Tehran.
For more than two years, the United States and the world have had two competing narratives: that an elected president of the United States was a Russian agent whom the Kremlin helped elect; and its rival narrative that senior officials of the Justice Department, FBI, CIA, and other national intelligence organizations had repeatedly lied under oath, misinformed federal officials, and meddled in partisan political matters illegally and unconstitutionally and had effectively tried to influence the outcome of a presidential election, and then undo its result by falsely propagating the first narrative. It is now obvious and indisputable that the second narrative is the correct one.
The authors, accomplices, and dupes of this attempted overthrow of constitutional government are now well along in reciting their misconduct without embarrassment or remorse because—in fired FBI Director James Comey’s formulation—a “higher duty” than the oath they swore to uphold the Constitution compelled them. Or—in fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s words—“the threat” was too great. Nevermind that the nature of “the threat” was that the people might elect someone he and Comey disapproved of as president, and that that person might actually serve his term, as elected.
A Long List of Offenders—and Offenses
The extent of the criminal misconduct of the former law enforcement and intelligence chiefs is now notorious, but to make the right point here, it has to be summarized. The fact that the officially preferred candidate lied to federal officials about her emails and acted in outright contempt of Congress and the legal process in the destruction of evidence, was simply ignored by the FBI director, who announced that she would not be prosecuted, though he had no authority to make that determination.
The dossier of salacious gossip and defamatory falsehoods amassed by a retired British spy from the lowest grade of intelligence sources in Russia, commissioned and paid for by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee, was circulated to the media by high public officials and cited in illegal and dishonest applications to authorize surveillance of the campaign of the other presidential candidate. A special counsel was empowered on the false pretext of the necessity to get to the bottom of Trump-Russian collusion in the election, of which there was and remains no evidence, because it did not occur and was a complete partisan fabrication.
The special counsel then packed his staff with militant Clinton partisans, and acted very late and only when his hand was forced by the media to remove two officials who referred in texts to each other to the Bureau’s ability to smear and provoke the impeachment of the winning candidate as “an insurance policy” against his filling the office to which he was elected.
Large sections of the media colluded with the Democratic campaign and produced the doctrine that anything was justifiable, no matter how dishonest, to destroy the incoming president’s reputation and damage him in public opinion polls to legitimize attempts to remove him from office. Large sections of the media deliberately deluged the public with stories they knew to be false about the new president and referred to him in terms of unprecedented vituperation in what purported to be reportage and not comment.
This unorganized but widespread campaign of defamation was taken up by a great number of ordinarily newsworthy celebrities and was accompanied by false, unresearched stories denigrating President Trump’s supporters, such as the false claims about Catholic school students’ treatment of an elderly native American and the false claim that actor Jussie Smollett had been beaten up and reviled by Trump supporters. The former intelligence chiefs of the nation under President Obama repeatedly have accused this president of treason, the most heinous of all crimes, and have asserted with the authority of their former positions that the Russians determined the result of the 2016 presidential election. They knew this to be entirely false.
Distracting Public Attention
The special counsel has failed to find any evidence of the collusion and electoral interference that was the justification for establishing his inquiry, and the Democrats are already expressing disappointment in his failure to produce such evidence when the leading Democratic members of congressional investigative committees still robotically claim to have at least prima facie evidence of such collusion.
The dishonest attempt of much of the opposition and what even left-leaning media-monitoring organizations record as 90 percent of the national media, continued for more than two years to try to condition the country to believe that the president had committed the “high crimes and misdemeanors” required by the Constitution for impeachment and removal from office.
The special counsel, apart from smearing the president, distracted public attention from or tended to justify the ever more evident misconduct of the president’s enemies. And we now know that Comey, despite his “higher duty,” lied to the president about his not being a target of an FBI investigation, illegally leaked to the New York Times the contents of a self-serving memo he purloined from the government, and lied to Congress by claiming 245 times in one sitting to be ignorant of recent matters that no one of sound mind could have forgotten.
And now we have Andrew McCabe’s proud confirmation that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein not only continued the illegal counterintelligence investigation of President Trump, but actively discussed methods of securing his removal from office by deliberate misuse of a variety of laws, including the Emoluments Clause, the 25th Amendment to deal with mental incompetence, and the Logan Act of 1799, which has never been used successfully and has not been tested in 150 years.
Make Those Responsible Pay at the Polls
This entire monstrous travesty is finally coming apart without even waiting for the horrible disappointment of the special counsel’s inability to adduce a scrap of evidence to justify his replication of Torquemada as an inquisitor and of the Gestapo and KGB at rounding up and accusing unarmed individuals who were not flight risks. The collapse of this grotesque putsch, under the irresistible pressure of a functioning attorney general and Senate committees that are not hamstrung by NeverTrumpers, will cause a revulsion against the Democratic Party that will be seismic and prolonged.
The disgrace of their misconduct is profound and shocking. Richard Nixon, against whom there is no conclusive evidence that he broke any laws (although a number of people in his entourage did) never did anything like this. J. Edgar Hoover in 47 years at the head of the FBI and its predecessor organization, never tried to meddle in a presidential election. Those responsible will pay for this, including at the polls.
Without realizing the proportions of the emergency, America has survived the greatest constitutional crisis since the Civil War. All those who legitimately oppose or dislike the president, including traditional high-brow Republicans who find him distasteful, should join in the condemnation of this largely criminal assault on democracy, and then, if they wish, go out and try to beat him fair and square, the good old-fashioned way, in a free election. But they must abide by the election’s result.
What Does the Pope Know About His “Friend and Dear Brother” El-Tayyeb?
by Hugh Fitzgerald
Just before he left for to the U.A.E. earlier this month, Pope Francis sent a video message to the Emirati people: “I thank the friend and dear brother the Grand Imam Sheikh el-Tayyeb and those who have organised this meeting for the will and courage to affirm that faith in God unites and does not divide us.”
What does the Pope know about his “friend and dear brother,” Sheikh al-Tayyeb? In 2011, El-Tayyeb, who was then the President of Al-Azhar University, railed at Pope Benedict for his “interference” in Egypt’s affairs, a reference to Benedict’s denunciation — how dare he? — of attacks on Copts, and warned of a “negative political reaction” to Pope Benedict’s remarks about Islam. The threatening tone was unmistakable. In a statement, Al-Azhar denounced the Pope’s “repeated negative references to Islam and his claims that Muslims persecute those living among them in the Middle East.” This statement was issued as Muslims were not just persecuting but murdering Copts in Egypt, and killing other Christians in Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Nigeria, Pakistan.
Pope Francis wanted to repair any harm that his predecessor, as he saw it, had caused to Muslim-Christian relations, and he soon extended an invitation to El-Tayyeb to visit him in the Vatican. “I want to meet him. I know that he would like it,” the Pope said during a February 18, 2016 in-flight press conference.
In May of that year, El-Tayyeb visited the Vatican. There was satisfaction all around. El-Tayyeb knew that the visit would help validate Islam in the eyes of 1.3 billion Catholics, and even to disarm critics, while Pope Francis allowed himself to believe that the visit by his new friend had contributed to “understanding” between the two faiths.
A few months after his visit to the Vatican, El-Tayyeb declared on June 16, 2016, in an interview that appeared on several Egyptian television channels and on the official YouTube channel of Al-Azhar, that apostates from Islam should be killed. He further said that “the concepts of human rights are full of ticking time-bombs” and that homosexuality is a disease. Apparently those remarks did nothing to dampen the Pope’s enthusiasm for El-Tayyeb. Francis’ mind was already made up. Killing apostates? Dismissing human rights as positively dangerous, full of “ticking time-bombs”? Who cares what El-Tayyeb said — we’re friends!
In 2017, the Pope, visiting Egypt, again met with Ahmad El-Tayyeb, and their friendship no doubt deepened. He did not ask then, nor has he raised the matter since, about the free book that Al-Azhar offers readers of its magazine, a book which, according to the well-known Egyptian political writer and thinker, Dr. Khalid al-Montaser, in an article for El-Watan News, continues to encourage enmity for Christians, and even incites their murder.
Montaser began his article by asking, “Is it possible at this sensitive time — when murderous terrorists rest on texts and understandings of takfir, murder, slaughter, and beheading — that Al Azhar magazine is offering free of charge a book whose latter half and every page — indeed every few lines — ends with “whoever disbelieves [infidels], strike off his head?”
Does Pope Francis know about this book that El-Tayyeb’s Al-Azhar sends out free to all who request it, with its repeated command to “strike off the head” of “whoever disbelieves”? Surely in the Vatican there are Arabic speakers who monitor the doings at Al-Azhar, as well as the major Arabic-language press, including El-Watan. Did no one send this information to the Pope? Were those around him in the Vatican perhaps leery of sending him anything critical of the Grand Imam, given that the Pope had made such a public investment in his “friendship” with El-Tayyeb?
Then there is the disturbing matter of El-Tayyeb’s antisemitism, which Pope Francis appears either to be ignorant of, or not to care very much about. The Grand Imam made his most revealing remarks on Jews in an interview aired on Channel 1, Egyptian TV on October 25, 2013:
Ahmad Al-Tayeb: A verse in the Koran explains the Muslims’ relations with the Jews and the polytheists. The second part of the verse describes the Muslims’ relations with the Christians, and the third part of the verse explains why the Christians are the closest and most friendly to the Muslims.
This is an historical perspective, which has not changed to this day. See how we suffer today from global Zionism and Judaism, whereas our peaceful coexistence with the Christians has withstood the test of history. Since the inception of Islam 1,400 years ago, we have been suffering from Jewish and Zionist interference in Muslim affairs. This is a cause of great distress for the Muslims.
The Koran said it and history has proven it: “You shall find the strongest among men in enmity to the believers to be the Jews and the polytheists.”
Does Pope Francis believe, with El-Tayyeb that 1.5 Muslims “suffer today from global Zionism and Judaism”? If he does, that would be intolerable. If he does not, shouldn’t he say something to make clear where he stands on the subject of Jews and of the Jewish state? Visiting the Western Wall and the Hall of Remembrance at Yad Vashem in 2014 was welcome, but he needs to recognize, and not by his continued silence deny, the antisemitism that is everywhere in Islam. Is this a subject he’s fearful of bringing up? Or does he really not recognize the problem?
Further, does the Pope agree with El-Tayyeb that Islam has shared 1,400 years of “peaceful coexistence with the Christians”? In no land that Muslims conquered has there been “peaceful coexistence” with Christians (or with any other subjugated non-Muslims), including Islamic Spain, which is so often held up as an inspiring example of “convivencia,” even though Christians, apparently unconvinced of how happy they were under Islamic rule, spent 770 years fighting for the Reconquista of their own land. Is the Pope afraid to say anything that might anger El-Tayyeb? If so, what kind of “friendship” do they have, when one side is terrified of angering the other?
Then there is what El-Tayyeb did in response to the transfer of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in January 2018. He went into a rage, refused to meet the visiting Vice President Pence and, still more disturbing, he called the recognition [of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital] an “aggression toward people, countries, cultures and civilizations,” and claimed it would “feed terrorism in the region. Decisions like this one nurture terrorism, create it and propel it forward to act and express itself in methods we all reject. When terrorism rises again, the East and West will drown in seas of blood.” That sounds like a threat: Undo the Embassy Move, Or Suffer The Consequences. “Seas of blood.”
So here is what we know about Grand Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayyeb. First, he despises Jews, for they have always been the “greatest in enmity” toward Muslims. They are greedy, aggressive, favor their own, work to undermine all others. Second, he believes that apostates from Islam should be killed. Third, he dismisses “human rights,” which, he claims, are a “minefield” of unwelcome consequences. Fourth, he is happy to have Al-Azhar University distribute free copies of a book that every few lines denounces Christians, even inciting — by quoting the Qur’an — their murder. Fifth, El-Tayyeb himself misrepresents the history of Muslim-Christian relations as having always been models of “peaceful coexistence.”
Pope Francis is a strange man. He knows that there is no such thing as “Islamic terrorism.” He either doesn’t know (which at this late date is unacceptable), or doesn’t care (which would be intolerable), about those Qur’anic verses that tell Believers “to strike terror” in the hearts of Unbelievers. Nor does he appear to know the famous hadith in which Muhammad declares that “I have been made victorious through terror.’’ He is convinced that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.” Neither the more than 100 Qur’anic verses that command Believers to “fight” and “smite at the necks of” the Unbelievers, nor the 1,400 years of Muslim violence directed at non-Muslims and at fellow Muslims alike, have made much of an impression on this Defender of the Faith — that Faith being Islam.
If the Pope demonstrates an insufficient understanding of Islam, his appreciation of his own civilization is also lacking. In an interview with the French Catholic newspaper La Croix, Pope Francis took a conciliatory line toward Islam, saying “I sometimes dread the tone” when people refer to Europe’s “Christian” roots. Why shouldn’t Europeans mention the “Christian” roots of their civilization? Does the Pope wish to deny those roots? Why does Pope Francis “dread the tone” of those who recognize, and take pride in, those Christian roots? Is he embarrassed by Europe’s success as a civilization? Does he want credit to be given as well, in a spirit of multicultural madness, to those nonexistent “Islamic roots” of Europe? Of all people, shouldn’t the Pope be in the front rank of those forthrightly reminding Europeans of their “Christian [or more accurately, Judeo-Christian] roots,” at a time of cultural confusion, and insist that they must hold onto them, remain true to them, and resist all attempts to make us believe that in Europe, Islam has been a fructifying and positive influence, rather than the destructive one that, not so many decades ago, everyone of sense recognized?
Grand Imam Sheikh El-Tayyeb of Al-Azhar, the man Pope Francis calls his “friend and dear brother,” is delighted with his Papal interlocutor, and with good reason. But you, and I, with even better reason, must deplore this smiling accommodationist in the Vatican. It would take one of the papal assistants at most five minutes of searching the Internet to find out everything Francis needs to know about El-Tayyeb: his antisemitism, his death sentence for apostates, his oblique threats of terrorism should the American Embassy not be moved out of Jerusalem, the anti-Christian literature distributed for free by Al-Azhar. Search away, papal assistant, please do, and make the Pope take notice of what you find. He’s got to understand the meaning and menace of Islam, as the hour is late, and if he can’t, then he must step aside for someone who can.
Pope Francis has said many false things about Islam. He has said that “there is no such thing as Islamic terrorism” and that ‘“authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Quran are opposed to every form of violence.” He has, in turn, been praised by the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayeb, who thanked him for his “defense of Islam against the accusation of violence and terrorism.”
He has even obliquely justified the murders of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists who had drawn Muhammad, saying that “it is true that you must not react violently, but although we are good friends if [an aide] says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch, it’s normal. You can’t make a toy out of the religions of others. These people provoke and then (something can happen).” So the murder of a dozen helpless cartoonists is compared to a punch. There is something out of whack in the Pope’s moral calculus.
The Pope seems to think that the more he defends Islam, the more likely it is that Muslims will reciprocate, will display more favorable attitudes toward Christianity. He doesn’t allow for the possibility that Muslims will gladly pocket his praise, but far from offering something meaningful in return, will continue relentlessly in their efforts to defend and spread Islam until it everywhere dominates.
Before he visited the United Arab Emirates on Feb. 3-5, Pope Francis delivered a video message to the people of the U.A.E.:
“I am happy that in a few days I will be able to visit your country, a land that strives to be a model of coexistence, human brotherhood and encounter among different civilizations and cultures, where many find a secure place to work and live freely in respect for diversity.”
What “model of coexistence” and “respect for diversity” is to be found in the U.A.E.? U.A.E. subjects constitute 20 percent of the population, while foreign workers and other expatriates account for the other 80 percent. At least one million of those foreign workers are Catholics. Fewer than two dozen churches have been allowed in the U.A.E., to serve between one and two million Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christians. There is one tiny temple for half-a-million Hindus. Is that “respect for diversity”? Non-Muslims are forbidden from trying to proselytize; Muslims, however, are free to try to convert non-Muslims. Non-Muslims must not pray, or make any other display of their faith, in public. Still, compared to Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E. is an oasis of religious freedom. Non-Muslims have houses of worship, albeit very few, where they can conduct services undisturbed. In Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, a handful of Korean nurses softly singing Christmas carols in their shared living quarters, behind closed doors, led to their immediate expulsion from the Kingdom.
The U.A.E. is not, in Islamic terms, particularly unwelcoming to non-Muslims. It does not fully enforce the Sharia, as do Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Sudan. But neither is it, pace Pope Francis, a “model of coexistence” and “human brotherhood.” Millions of non-Muslims must make do with that at handful of churches, and one Hindu temple. Foreign workers, especially non-Muslims, are relentlessly exploited, though not quite as badly as in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Non-Muslims have to watch what they post, or say. A Christian singer made a video in which she innocently pointed toward a mosque with her left hand, having no idea of the significance of the left hand in Arab culture; she was charged with disrespect for Islam. Others have been similarly hauled into court for derogatory remarks they supposedly made about Islam and Muhammad on Facebook; even getting into an argument about foreign policy can lead to such charges, and when it’s a non-Muslim’s word, against that of a Muslim, in a Muslim country, we know who wins.
There is one place in the Middle East where there is full freedom for adherents of all religions, a model of coexistence.” That country is Israel. Pope Francis visited there in May 2014. He was greeted warmly by the Israelis at Ben Gurion Airport, just before going off to visit — even before Israel proper — the “Palestinian” Authority. In between scheduled engagements, the Pope ordered his motorcade to make an unexpected stop in Bethlehem. He got out of his popemobile and made his way to a particular section of Israel’s security wall. This is an often-photographed section of the wall covered with graffiti that compare Palestinian Bethlehem to the Jewish Warsaw ghetto. Near a spot where someone had very recently sprayed “Free Palestine,” the Pope touched the wall and began to pray. Of course, a dozen video and still cameras were capturing that moment. He must have known that the videos and still photographs taken of him there would go all over the world, helping to promote the Palestinian cause.
Just a few days before making his visit to the U.A.E., the Pope effusively described that country as “a model of coexistence, human brotherhood and encounter among different civilizations and cultures where many find a secure place to work and live freely in respect for diversity.” That’s a curious way to describe a country where fewer than 10% of the population, a pampered elite of Muslim Arabs, are waited on by the other 90%, made up of foreigners, whose working conditions are harrowing, whose job security is nonexistent, and whose religious observances are constrained by the paucity of churches and Hindu temples.
Next on the Pope’s travel plans is Morocco, another Muslim Arab despotism that he apparently finds appealing. Perhaps after that visit, the Pope will consider making a second visit to Israel, to see for himself, more informed this time, what the only real “model of coexistence” in the Middle East, where people live freely “in respect for diversity,” looks like. Let him see the Arabs in Israel who serve at every level, on the Supreme Court, in the Knesset, in the army (including at least one Druze general), in the civil service, in the diplomatic corps. Let him see the Arabs working side-by-side with Jews in Israel’s start-up and high-tech companies, where they receive training and job opportunities not available in any Arab country. And let the Pope not just see these things, but also mention what he has seen in remarks delivered urbi et orbi. The Pope owes at least that to the Israelis, after having his photograph deliberately taken at the “Warsaw Ghetto…Free Palestine” wall in Bethlehem in May 2014.
And before he next decides to praise to the skies such people as Egyptian Sheik Ahmad el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, whom he has met on several occasions, the last time during this February 3-5 visit to the U.A.E., let the Pope find out more about him. Calling El-Tayeb a “friend and dear brother,” Francis thanked the sheik for having “the courage and desire to affirm that faith in God unites and does not divide, draws together even in differences (and) moves away from hostility and aversion.” Francis needs to know how many terrorists have studied at Al-Azhar and were deeply affected by the Islamic education they received there. He also needs to know El-Tayeb’s own history of hair-raising antisemitic remarks, which hardly “moves away from hostility and evasion.” That should curb his enthusiasm for the Grand Imam. One wonders, for example, if the Pope knows of this brief exchange, on the subject of Jews, in an interview with El-Tayeb on Egyptian television in 2013:
Interviewer: They [the Jews] consider everybody else to be inferior to them…
Ahmad Al-Tayeb: Extremely inferior. They even have very peculiar laws. For instance, they are allowed to practice usury with non-Jews. Some things are not allowed among Jews, but are allowed between Jews and non-Jews. They practice a terrible hierarchy, and they are not ashamed to admit it, because it is written in the Torah – with regard to killing, enslavement, and so on [of non-Jews].
Therefore, they have generated a problem not only in their relations with the Muslims, but in their relations with all other people as well, and history has been clear on this.
Interviewer: There is even great enmity between them and the Christians.
Ahmad Al-Tayeb: Of course. These practices and beliefs have made people, even non-Muslims, hate them.
And he can find much more in that vein, simply by googling “Ahmed el-Tayeb” and “Jews.” What he discovers should make him reconsider his fulsome endorsements of El-Tayeb.
As for the U.A.E., if the Pope had kept his eyes wide open on his “historic” trip, he would have discovered that that country is not quite the “model of co-existence” and “diversity” that he has allowed himself to believe. Granted, it is better than Saudi Arabia. Faint praise, alas. The “model of coexistence” he should be praising to the skies lies to the northwest of the U.A.E., as the nuclear-headed missile flies, and extends from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean. It’s a very tiny state, scarcely visible on a world map, but with a very big civilizational footprint, in science, medicine, technology, literature, art, music, economic and political thought. It’s an important part of the advanced world, the world of mental freedom and human rights, the very world that Pope Francis ought always to be defending, instead of defending that world’s most implacable enemies..
The Pope’s heedlessness has done a lot of damage, but he still has time to recognize, and to express, what should be obvious truths about the menace of Islam for the West. We’ll see in his coming statements how much unpleasant reality this Pope will allow himself to bear.
Libertarianism vs. Postmodernism and "Social Justice" Ideology
Michael Rectenwald is interviewed on the Tom Woods Show
Professor Michael Rectenwald, the former Marxist who will deliver the Ludwig von Mises Memorial Lecture at the Mises Institute's Austrian Economics Research Conference this year, returns for a sneak preview of what he plans to say there about postmodernism, authoritarianism, and "social justice." We also discuss media gullibility, why corporations seem to be jumping on board the SJW bandwagon, and a lot more.
A few days ago, I wrote a reaction to the trailers I was seeing of CBS's 60 Minutes interview with Andrew McCabe. I stated then that I wanted to see the full program, which aired Sunday before making a final judgment. After seeing the interview Sunday, there isn't much of anything to change my initial reaction. There is a bit to add, however.
First of all, Scott Pelley, the interviewer, hardly challenged McCabe on anything. It was, as might be predicted, a sympathetic interview. The only "hardball" question Pelley threw out was in asking McCabe to explain his firing by the FBI for lying to investigators about a news leak he made. McCabe's answer was somewhat lame. He basically said he was stressed at the time and may have misstated something, but there was no incentive for him to lie about it since the "leak" was made through the FBI's public affairs office. C'mon, Andrew. You were a senior FBI agent. You were being questioned about something that you were intimately involved in. You also were in the habit of keeping notes, which you have turned over to Robert Mueller.
So McCabe, who "hit it out of the ballpark" as they say in politics, came across as a man honestly driven to protect the Republic from this dangerous madman in the White House (aided by info-bits from CBS, which buttressed his story).
Pelley never asked McCabe how he ever got the idea that he and Rod Rosenstein and others in the FBI ever thought they could launch the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. Pelley could have pointed out to McCabe for the benefit of the viewers that the 25th Amendment was reserved for the vice president and the cabinet-not the FBI, DOJ, or anybody else in federal law enforcement. Pelley also could have pointed out that Trump had every legal right to fire Director James Comey, a man who admitted leaking his own notes of a meeting with Trump to a professor friend who passed them on to the media. Purpose? Per Comey's own admission, to have a special prosecutor named to investigate Trump. Mission accomplished.
And how is it that McCabe and Rosenstein were talking about removing Trump from office for obstruction of justice (for firing Comey) when Rosenstein himself wrote the memo recommending that Comey be fired? Rosenstein makes Machiavelli look like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.
McCabe said he and his cohorts launched an obstruction of justice investigation into Trump after the Comey firing allegedly to cover up the Russian probe which the FBI began around the same time they were whitewashing the Hillary Clinton email investigation, run by the same circle of people, McCabe, Peter Strzok, et al. That was the investigation in which the FBI used that bogus Steele Dossier as a basis to obtain a FISA wiretap on Carter Page, then a Trump campaign operative.
If McCabe can be believed, and I'm not saying he can, Rod Rosenstein came out of the interview looking very bad. According to McCabe, Rosenstein was not only four square into looking into the 25th Amendment angle, but was deadly serious when he broached the subject of wearing a wire to the Oval Office.
Pelley then introduced the DOJ rebuttal to McCabe's allegations about Rosenstein. Pelley pointed out that the letter was carefully-worded. I agree. Here's what it said:
“The Deputy Attorney General again rejects Mr. McCabe’s recitation of events as inaccurate and factually incorrect. The Deputy Attorney General never authorized any recording that Mr. McCabe references… There is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment, nor was the DAG in a position to consider invoking the 25th Amendment. Finally, the Deputy Attorney General never spoke to Mr. Comey about appointing a Special Counsel. The Deputy Attorney General in fact appointed Special Counsel Mueller, and directed that Mr. McCabe be removed from any participation in that investigation.”
Of course he never authorized any recording. That was not the charge. The allegation is that he seriously brought up the idea. As to the 25th Amendment, of course the Deputy Attorney General was not in a position to invoke the amendment-as pointed out above. He should not have even been discussing it.
Here's what we had hoped the statement would say.
It could have said that Rosenstein never discussed wearing a wire and never discussed the possibility of invoking (or getting anyone else to invoke) the 25th amendment.
It should be pretty clear at this point that there was a discussion among higher-ups at the FBI and DOJ to remove a democratically-elected president from office (a silent coup). The relevant questions now are: Was there an agreement to proceed? Secondly, subsequent to the agreement, did any of these conspirators commit an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy? Said overt act need not be a crime in and of itself; it could be any action in furtherance of an unlawful conspiracy.
If the answer to both questions is yes, that is a violation of the federal conspiracy law. 18 USC 371.
He sits and day dreams, he’s got day dreams galore. He may look like he’s obsessed and talk like he’s obsessed, but don’t let that fool you, he really is obsessed. Now that Bernie Sanders announced on February 19, 2019 that he is a candidate for president of the U.S. it is appropriate to examine the unacknowledged ideology propelling him as well as his own practical impact. In 2016 Sanders did gain more than 13 million votes in the Democratic primaries, to Hillary Clinton’s 17 million, and won 22 states. The self-described Democratic Socialist now informs the country that “we began the political revolution in the 2016 campaign and now it’s time to move that revolution forward, to implement the vision for which we fought.”
Sanders differs from the great Marxist, Groucho, whose revolutionary program was, “These are my principles and if you don’t like them, well I have others.” Sanders’ call for revolution is consistent, but it comes at a time when the memory of another Marxist, Karl Marx, the 19thcentury founder of revolutionary action to end capitalism, and founder of the communist movement, is less esteemed A few years this was different. In September 1999 the BBC News Online Poll on the question, “Who was the greatest thinker of the millenium,” reported that Marx was in first place, way ahead of ten others led by Einstein and Newton. How have the mighty fallen! It is unlikely a Marx victory would be the outcome of a present poll as the desecration of his grave in London in February 2019 suggested.
The memorial to Karl Marx who was born in Trier, Germany, on May 5, 1818, who lived in London from 1849 until his death aged 64 on March 14, 1883, is located in a grave in Highgate cemetery in North London. His tomb was unveiled in 1956 by a group led by the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Great Britain. It has a tombstone that contains a large bust of Marx set on a marble pedestal. On it are two quotations from Marx: "Workers of all lands unite," the final words of The Communist Manifesto, he co-wrote with Friedrich Engels in 1848, and "The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways: the point is to change it," the final line from Marx’s Theses on Feuerbach, written in 1845.
The Marx resting place, listed as a Grade-I monument, as are Kensington Palace and St. Paul’s Cathedral and thus one of the most important buildings in the country, is visited by thousands of people every year, and fresh flowers are always at the grave.
However, the lack of unanimous regard was shown twice in February, 4 and 16, 2019, when the monument in Highgate was attacked with a hammer, by a person or individuals trying to scrape or chip Marx's name off the marble plaque on the tombstone which was defaced by red paint. Among the uncomplimentary words painted on the marble plaque were slogans such as "doctrine of hatred," "architect of genocide- terror plus oppression, mass murder," " memorial to Bolshevik Holocaust, 66,000,000 killed," "ideology of starvation."
No one has yet been arrested or even accused of the atrocities which seem to imply seriously that Marx’s ideas are a threat to society, or less seriously that Brexit demands that Marx, born German, should be removed from the country as should all foreigners. Should Marx be praised or condemned? By coincidence, relevant remarks were uttered by Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg politician, President of the European Commission, speaking in 2018 in Trier, Germany, at the 200th anniversary commemoration of Marx's birth.
Juncker said Marx was a figure who shaped history in one way or another. He should not be judged for the atrocities that have taken place in his name long after his death, for things for which he was not responsible and which he didn't cause. Curiously, at time of this particular meeting there was an unveiling of a 5.5 meter statue of Marx donated by the government of China. Trier, which politically has been dominated by Christian Democracy not Socialism, and is now a free market town, claims that 150,000 Chinese tourists visit the city every year. Marx after all is said to have inspired the Chinese Revolution, and creation of the People's Republic of China in 1949.
After the Russian Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 many states adopted variants of ideas of Marx, whether as revolutionary, economist, or philosopher, as their official ideology, as did some Latin American leaders, Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, Rafael Correa, and Daniel Ortega. But after the end of the Soviet Union in December 1991 only four countries, China, Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam, consider themselves Marxist. Even North Korea rarely, if ever, uses the word "communism" in reference to itself, nor do its leaders use Marxist rhetoric.
Yet the memory of Marx remains in many other countries, including Germany where he can be viewed in various places, including Berlin, Chemnitz (formerly Karl-M-Stadt until 1990) and Trier. In Trier there is now not only the large statue but also Marx-like figures in red and green lights for pedestrian crossings.
A dispute typical of difference points of view took place in 2018 in town of Neubrandenburg, a town in the former East Germany, a Marxist bastion during the Cold War when Marx's face was on classroom walls and on monetary bills. With the fall of the Soviet Union the large bronze statue of Marx was dismantled and slept on the pavement for 16 years. The town's Karl Marx Square has been renamed Market Square, now a shopping center glorying in free market capitalism. The town finally decided to get Marx erect again, but not in the central part of the city, or outside the public library, or outside the former Communist, Stasi prison. The ceremony was attended by 80 people.
Differences over whether Marx should be honored, disregarded, or minimized, are apparent in the leaders in contemporary China and Russia.
In China the memory of Marx, whose giant portrait dominated the stage, was honored on May 5, 2018 in the Great Hall of the People in Central Beijing. President Xi Jinping hailed Marx as the father of communism and the “greatest thinker of modern times.” History and the Chinese people choosing Marx was totally correct. Marxism, Xi said, was a tool to win the future, to analyze and solve practical problems. The scientific truth of Marxism, he continued, made it the theoretical base for modern international communist ideology. In terms that Bernie Sanders might admire, Xi praised Marx as the teacher of revolution for the proletariat and working people all over the world.
Yet doubts arise. Peking University, the most prestigious in China, on September 18, 2018 threatened to close its student Marxist society after its members supported protesting workers. This was surprising not only because it made known student and worker unrest in the country, but also because the University was a central player in the May 4, 1919 movement that opposed imperialism. The main protest leader later founded the Chinese Communist Party.
In apparent contrast to the Chinese leader, Russian President Vladimir Putin, once a believer in Marxism, appeared in 1991 to have renounced it, saying it was “nothing more than a beautiful and harmful fairytale” Without mentioning Lenin or Stalin, Putin remarked that action to put Marxism into practice caused “great danger to our country.” Washington. D.C. understands that Putin is a great Russian nationalist, not a Marxist.
But few in Washington perhaps not even Sanders, believe the capitalist system produces its own grave-diggers, the proletariat and that the victory of the proletariat is inevitable. Yet the Trump administration, dealing the complex problem of trade wars, might consider the Marxist quasi-anticipation, the advent of globalization: “In place of the old wants satisfied by the production of the country, we find new wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes.” Trump faces the irony that the world’s main Marxist country ,China, has cheap labor and so can engage in trade war with the United States.
The Justice Department abuses its power before conviction, and the Bureau of Prisons does the same afterwards.
by Conrad Black
In the president’s well-crafted and well-delivered address to Congress last week, the most affecting section of his remarks was the reference to two African-American ladies who had served very lengthy time in prison, on life sentences, and whom the president had released. There was some question about the guilt of at least one of them, and both had, by any reasonable reckoning, been oversentenced. The principal point of this section of the president’s remarks was the severity of the criminal-justice system, not specifically the egregious fact that American prosecutors win almost 99 percent of their cases, 97 percent without a trial, so one-sided is the ability of prosecutors to extort confected inculpatory evidence from witnesses who have invented their stories in exchange for non-prosecution and with immunity for prosecution for perjury.
This is, as Mr. Trump has said on other occasions, an outrage, and a current example of its operation is the ludicrous rollover of Michael Cohen on charges having nothing to do with the president, while improvising some tawdry tales at the expense of the president for whom he formerly said he “would take a bullet.” Mr. Cohen is no more contemptible or credible than hundreds of thousands of other people who do essentially the same thing every year in the United States. The Supreme Court, unlike some commendable lower courts, has sat inert while the Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendment rights to a grand jury as assurance against capricious prosecution, to due process, to absence of seizure of property without due compensation, and to prompt justice, an impartial jury, counsel of choice, and reasonable bail, were systematically denied the nearly one million Americans accused of crimes every year.
On this occasion, the president was addressing the even more fundamental subject of the purpose of the criminal law being to punish wrongdoing and protect the population from felons, not to destroy all hope and grind the lives of those who have made a mistake to eternal misery and social damnation; and to accept and encourage the right of sincere people to redemption and the right of those who have paid the reasonable legal penalty for their offenses to start again with a fair chance to make something of their lives. This was not an instance of Congress, or the president’s fellow Republicans, applauding a universally sympathetic figure, such as the inspiring case of the man who was in a railway cattle car bound for a Nazi death camp when it was stopped by the U.S. Army and its passengers liberated. In the case of these two women, the entire Congress warmly applauded two ostensible felons who had been undaunted by their experience and had become members of the clergy and vital helpers to other inmates.
I know something directly about the U.S. criminal-justice system because, as many readers are aware, this column began on NRO as I was reporting to prison for having been convicted on three counts of fraud and one of obstruction of justice (nine other equally spurious counts were acquittals, and four had been abandoned by the prosecutors). In due course, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously vacated my surviving counts and I ultimately collected the largest libel settlement in Canadian history ($5 million) from my original accusers. I had plenty of opportunity to appreciate the unevenness of the system, the dishonesty of the prosecutors, and the limitations of the nominally correctional system. And I developed a vivid appreciation of the lawlessness of former deputy attorney general James Comey’s Justice Department, Robert Mueller’s FBI, and the techniques of the U.S. attorney in Chicago, Patrick Fitzgerald, now Comey’s lawyer. In any other serious jurisdiction, their acolytes would have been disbarred. If I had not been able to pay legal bills totaling over $30 million, I might not have resurfaced at all. It is a fundamentally evil system.
While my presence in prison was and remains an outrage, I found it interesting and got on well with everyone except the chaplain, who was belligerent, bigoted, and by his behavior, a recruiting sergeant for fervent belief in atheism. I became a tutor, dealing with all those who did not succeed in the Bureau of Prisons’ obligatory secondary-school-leaving examinations. With my two fellow tutors, we assisted all 204 of the students I dealt with to matriculate. Among the most gratifying experiences of my life were the graduation ceremonies of my students with their families and the invitations I received to be the only white person to address Black History Month at the low-security facility where I spent two years, in Coleman, Fla. I made many friends there and have maintained relations with a number of them. It was an honor to live out Thoreau’s famous dictum that in a society that routinely incarcerates the innocent, just people belong in prison.
It was accordingly with great distress, but not great surprise, that I learned recently of the fate of my friend Pedro Rivera, who accompanied me to the gate when I came under a release order as a result of the Supreme Court’s vacation of my convictions. Pete was diagnosed, from an out-of-facility CT scan, with carcinoma Fuhrman Nuclear Grade 2, a renal tumor, in November 2017, but was only advised of this, almost inadvertently, in March 2018. The scan had been administered and the result known four months before, but Pete was told that it was a hernia. The BOP plan of action was to stick with the anatomical fairy tale about the hernia, in a place where hernias do not occur, until it ceased to be its problem, by either the death of Pete or his release in November of this year, two years after diagnosis. Despite a year of importunity, this remains the BOP’s plan. We are dealing with a non-violent first offender, not on a sex charge, who is a father and has been an ideal inmate and is scheduled to be released later this year. Pete has appealed through all available channels. The former counselor in my residential unit, a slightly erratic but generally fair-minded and often entertaining man, Tom Nowicki, sympathized entirely with Pete but said that all he could do was write URGENT on the application for treatment.
Continued failure by the Bureau of Prisons to act will constitute complicity in attempted manslaughter and malicious negligence with criminal consequences. A man’s life is at grave risk needlessly, a good man who, if treated, will return to the world in less than nine months with a clean record, a family, the means to make an income, and fine prospects. This is typical of the Bureau of Prisons, I knew a number of other men who suffered similar fates. And it is in stark contrast to the spirit of the president’s remarks on carceral matters in his State of the Union address last week, which was generously applauded by all the legislators of both parties. If Pete Rivera’s life ends decades before it should, those responsible deserve to take his place in the prison whose warders will have killed him. This is not a correctional service; it is a disgrace heading toward tragedy. It is an unfolding crime.
For most reform-minded urbanists today, the complicity of architectural Modernism in the urban fiascoes of the last century is not in dispute. A representative (and seminal) criticism was Jane Jacobs' withering 1961 attack, in The Death and Life of Great American Cities, in which she described Le Corbusier's “wonderful mechanical toy” that “said everything in a flash, like a good advertisement”—but as to how a city actually works, it told “nothing but lies.” Jacobs’s work was of course a major inspiration in forming the Congress for the New Urbanism, along with the work of other reformists like Leon Krier, Christopher Alexander and Vincent Scully.
In fact, the 1996 Charter of the New Urbanism almost precisely inverts Le Corbusier’s 1933 Athens Charter: in place of the Modernists’ functional segregation, we would have mixed use; in place of their dominance of fast-moving vehicles (especially cars), we would have walkability and multi-modal streets; in place of wholesale demolition of historic districts and prohibition of historic styles, we would have preservation and renewal, and buildings that “grow from local climate, topography, history, and building practice.”
Yet in the last few decades, architectural Modernism has enjoyed a resurgence among some New Urbanists, as it has in the wider profession of architecture. For them, it’s reasonable to separate the urban mistakes of Modernism from its alleged architectural genius, which, as they see it, continues to offer inspiring building design ideas that can take their place happily within great new cities.
Of course, many critics would not agree—including many of the profession’s most prominent insiders. For them, the building-scale and urban-scale failures of Modernism have been of a piece, borne of a totalizing but defective theory of habitat, and even a dubious theory of architectural form itself. As the Post-Modernist Rem Koolhaas observed (in his 1995 book S,M,L,XL), “Modernism's alchemistic promise, to transform quantity into quality through abstraction and repetition, has been a failure, a hoax: magic that didn't work.” Nor was Koolhaas the first to attack the ideological foundations of Modernism. Similar criticisms came from earlier insiders like Sibyl Moholy-Nagy, wife of Bauhaus pioneer Lazslo, whose stinging 1968 essay on the Bauhaus labeled it “Hitler's Revenge.” Its built works in the US carried, for her, “the browbeating symbolism of a negative ideology that was already bankrupt when the dying German Republic unloaded it on America.”
Yet for a movement that has been so frequently discredited, Modernism still has a curious grip on the profession even today. That's because from the beginning, according to historian James Stevens Curl, the movement has been populated by “architectural bullies” who would stop at nothing to seize power, extinguish its competitors, re-write history, forbid all other styles (especially those with any ornament), and otherwise enforce a radical agenda—one that only seemed to offer all things alluring, progressive and historically inevitable. Beneath that marketable cover story, he says, the real agenda was an exhilarating quest for power and dominance, and especially later, for the wealth generated by a profitable industrialization of the human environment. Modernism sold, and no matter if it also sold out—cities, people, history, the future. For Curl, that approach was (and is) nothing less than “architectural barbarism.”
It would be reasonable here to ask whether Curl is just a quixotic crank mounting unfair ad hominem attacks on a successful Modernist architectural establishment. In fact his credentials as a scholar are impeccable: an eminent architectural historian and teacher with former chairs at two UK universities, former visiting fellow at the University of Cambridge, and author of an impressive list of scholarly books on architectural history including The Oxford Dictionary of Architecture.
In Making Dystopia, his latest work, Professor Curl applies the same patient scholarship to document what actually happened in the movement that so profoundly shaped our modern built environment: the players, their interactions, their paths to seminal, even totalizing, influence. What he finds is not a flattering picture, and he is willing to say so bluntly. He documents what was far from an inexorable path to progress, but rather, a rather ordinary seizure of power, terminating a remarkably rich and diverse age of architectural eclecticism (not the simple florid Victorianism imagined in the revisionist narrative). In this architectural coup, curricula were jettisoned, professors fired, students flunked. His descriptions of the players and their strategies, principles and ethics are not irrelevant ad hominem attacks, but go to the heart of how Modernism became dominant—and how the same hold on power is sustained today, in spite of the mounting (and for some glaring) evidence of its inadequacies. The book concludes with a grim assessment of“an inhumane cult that has informed far too much non-architecture.”
"Please find enclosed papers that relate to a decision taken by the Home Secretary, to deprive your daughter, Shamima Begum, of her British citizenship," the letter read. "In light of the circumstances of your daughter, the notice of the Home Secretary's decision has been served of file today (19th February), and the order removing her British citizenship has subsequently been made."
The letter went on to urge Ms Begum's family to make her aware of the decision, and added that she had a right to appeal.
It is understood the teenager, who grew up in Bethnal Green east London, has dual Bangladeshi nationality, meaning the move will not render her stateless.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the family's lawyer, Tasnime Akunjee, said: "Family are very disappointed with the Home Office's intention to have an order made depriving Shamima of her citizenship. We are considering all legal avenues to challenge this decision."