Monday, September 24, 2018

How Government Leakers, Media Have Waged War On Trump

For two years, top-level officials within our nation’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies and their allies in Congress have systematically targeted President Trump and his associates for destruction.

They have done so by colluding with the media to selectively and illegally leak classified and sensitive information from numerous investigations into Trump-Russia. Their motive seems pretty clear: overturn the results of an election via impeachment as if we lived in some “Banana Republic.” And having visited over 110 countries and six continents as a retired Naval Officer, I know a Banana Republic when I see one.

Some unelected bureaucrats collaborated with former British Intelligence agent Christopher Steele as he compiled political opposition research for Fusion GPS on behalf of the Clinton Campaign and DNC, via Perkins Coie law firm.

Others launched FBI surveillance of Trump Campaign members based on rumor and innuendo from foreign sources like Steele and former Australian Ambassador to the U.K., Alexander Downer.

The #Resistance went to the very top.

    Peter Strzok was the No. 2 official in the FBI’s Counter-Intelligence Division and a key player in both investigations of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server and the Trump Campaign’s alleged ties to Russia. His FBI lover Lisa Page was the legal counsel to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. The most recently revealed Strzok-Page text discusses a “media leak strategy with DOJ.”  And how their sister intelligence agencies were “leaking like mad.” Despite denials from Strzok’s lawyer that he was trying to prevent leaks, his actual texts and timeline from April 2017 belie that claim.

    Former FBI Director James Comey admittedly passed sensitive memos about meetings with President Trump to a friend to leak to the New York Times in order to help generate a Special Counsel appointment. He was successful.

    Former CIA Director John Brennan reportedly leaked sensitive information from the Steele Dossier to then-Sen. Harry Reid, who promptly disclosed it to the public.

    Former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, the No. 4 official at the DOJ, continued to feed information to FBI leaders from his longtime friend Steele, even after the FBI officially cut ties with him  Ohr’s wife Nellie, a Russian expert, even worked for Fusion GPS to probe Trump.

Most of the leaks targeted Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, two members of the National Security Advisory Committee. And most of those breaking news scoops appeared in either the Washington Post or New York Times. But it didn’t stop there.

As the former Trump campaign director of national security and the person who supervised the committee to which Page and Papadopoulos were assigned, I have also been the victim of leaks.

For example, in late Summer 2017, the very next day after my Special Counsel four-hour closed testimony, Rosalind Helderman from the Washington Post telephoned out of the blue saying she heard the special counsel was interested in a specific topic that had come up. Coincidence?

I immediately called the FBI Agents who conducted my interview warning of severe consequences if there were any more leaks — if that’s what had happened. They swore it was not them personally, and they’d relay my concerns to their supervisor.

Also in Summer 2017, when the House Intelligence Committee postponed my allegedly private testimony, two reporters from CNN and ABC called asking if it was true that I had canceled for unknown reasons. Pure character assassination attempt designed to make a national news story out of nothing.

Reporters who have repeatedly received and published leaks stemming from the Trump-Russia investigations, like The New York Times’ Ali Watkins, and Roz Helderman, both of whom regularly targeted Page and Papadopoulos, should be compelled to testify before Congress, or any other criminal or civil trials, and reveal the identity of their sources.

Leaking information from Trump-Russia investigations is not a victimless act. Aside from fueling impeachment calls against President Trump and damaging the lives of innocent people who have been swept up in investigations and lost their jobs (and who have yet to be accused of any wrongdoing whatsoever), they have cost millions of dollars in personal legal bills to defend ourselves and reputations.

The DOJ inspector general and Congress must hold the leakers and complicit co-conspirators in the media accountable. Failure to act swiftly and decisively guarantees the further erosion of the rule of law and democratic principles as defined by the Constitution. America must never truly become a Banana Republic.



FY 2018 Refugee Admissions: 70.8 Percent Christians; 15.4 Percent Muslims

The difference between a Muslim president and a Christian one

The proportion of Christians to Muslims among refugees from around the world admitted to the United States has changed significantly in FY 2018, with Christians comprising seven in ten new arrivals, and Muslims fewer than two in ten.

With ten days of the fiscal year to go, a total of 21,561 refugees have been resettled since October 1 last year, of whom 15,278 (70.8 percent) are Christians and 3,333 (15.4 percent) are Muslims, according to State Department Refugee Processing Center data.

In FY 2017 by contrast, 47.2 percent of the 53,716 refugees admitted to the U.S. by both the Obama administration (during roughly the first one-third of the year) and the Trump administrations (during roughly the remaining two-thirds of the year) were Christians, and 42.1 percent were Muslims.

(Of the 53,716 refugees resettled in FY 2017, 56 percent arrived during the Obama administration and 44 percent during the Trump administration.)

And in FY 2016, 44.5 percent of the 84,994 refugees resettled in the U.S. by the Obama administration were Christians and 45.7 percent were Muslims. That was the first time in a decade that the total refugee intake from around the world included more Muslims than Christians.

The Christian refugees include large contingents of Catholics, Protestants and Pentecostalists from the Democratic Republic of Congo – which alone accounts for almost 39 percent of the total number of refugees resettled in the U.S.

There are also sizeable numbers of Baptists from Ukraine, Orthodox Christians from Eritrea, and Christians (no denomination specified) from Burma.

Muslim refugees comprise 2,016 individuals identified simply as Muslim, with Burma (857) and the DRC (324) accounting for the largest groups; 655 Shi’ites, including 504 from Afghanistan; and 486 Sunnis, with Afghans again making up the largest number (226).

The U.S. has also admitted 173 Ahmadiyya – all from Pakistan, a country whose constitution does not recognize Ahmadis as Muslims, and whose penal code criminalizes Ahmadi worship.


In recent years the makeup of Syrian refugees in particular became a sensitive issue, both because of overall security concerns but also because so few of those admitted were Christians.

That was the case despite the Obama administration’s determination in 2016 that ISIS’ atrocities against Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities in areas under its control amounted to genocide.

The disparity was especially stark in FY 2016, when of a total of 12,587 Syrian refugees admitted – accounting for 1.8 percent of all refugees admitted that year – 12,486 (99.2 percent) were Muslims and 68 (0.5 percent) were Christians, including Orthodox, Greek Orthodox and Catholic.

Although Muslims do significantly outnumber Christians in Syria, the Christian minority nonetheless made up around 10 percent of the total population when the civil war began in 2011.

In FY 2017, the U.S. resettled 6,549 Syrian refugees, or 12.2 percent of all refugees admitted that year. Of those Syrians, 6,405 (97.8 percent) were Muslims and 113 (1.7 percent) were Christians.

In FY 2018, however, of 60 Syrian refugees admitted – just 0.27 percent of all refugees admitted this year – 40 (66.6 percent) are Sunni Muslims and 20 (33.3 percent) are Christians.

The skewed figures during the Obama administration prompted some Republican lawmakers to call for non-Muslim minorities to be prioritized but the administration rejected the appeals, with President Obama saying prioritizing non-Muslims would amount to a “religious test.”

President Trump came into office vowing to prioritize Christian refugees.

Although his policies have seen a sharp drop in the overall number of refugees admitted to the U.S., the shift in the Christian-Muslim ratio has been marked.



How George Washington Warned Us About Tribalism and Disunity

Sept. 19 is the 222nd anniversary of the publication of President George Washington’s Farewell Address. Appearing in newspapers nationwide, it announced Washington’s intention to retire from public life after his second term.

For most of American history, the Farewell Address was required reading in grade schools across the nation and was continually invoked in the public discourse.

Yet in recent decades, the address has faded into obscurity. That’s a shame, as it is a treasure trove of wisdom from the man who did the most to create our country—who knew, as well as anyone else, what it took to create a modern, large-scale republic.

After all, it was Washington who led the nation through the War of Independence, oversaw the drafting of the Constitution, and served as its first president. Washington addressed the document specifically to the American people—not just to policymakers—and recommended that they give his advice their “frequent review.”

The Farewell Address is mostly known for its warnings against political parties and entangling alliances during the nation’s youth. Certainly, Washington made those points, and offered practical advice on a wide array of other subjects. They include making permanent the powers of the federal government, obeying the Constitution, being sensible in public spending, accepting the necessity of taxes, and cultivating peace with other nations insofar as this was possible.

Wise though these recommendations may be, they underscore deeper philosophical arguments. To reduce the document to mere policy prescriptions misses the point. Besides, not all of them were meant to last forever.

Washington published his address when the United States was an infant nation, surrounded by European superpowers. His recommendations were intended “to gain time to our country … to progress … to that degree of strength … to give it … command of its own fortunes.”

Although Washington advised cultivating peace for a time, he envisioned an America that one day could “choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.” America would have greater freedom in due time. Policies would change as circumstances change.

If that’s the case, what can we today gain from reading his valedictory message? The answer lies in something Washington knew very well—something that hasn’t changed since 1796: human nature.

Washington strongly believed in the depravity of mankind. He identified a “love of power … which predominates in the human heart.” In his eyes, man could be “ambitious and unprincipled,” but even worse, he is “designing”—in other words, deceitful and scheming. Man often hides his depravity under the veneer of virtue and love of country. Washington described men as “cunning” and called for the American people to “guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”

If man is corrupt, it only follows that nations are as well. Washington believed nations not only seek their own interests, but often trample over the rights of other nations. This is why he warned us about “the insidious wiles of foreign influence” and counseled that “there can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation.”

In other words, Washington warned that America’s opponents, both foreign and domestic, would pose as its advocates—they would use deception in their efforts to promote an alternative agenda. Specifically, he called Americans to suspect the motives and patriotism of their fellow citizens who:

Reject the national government. “Distrust the patriotism of those who in any quarter may endeavor to weaken [the union’s] bands.”
Promote narrow interests at the expense of the nation’s interest as a whole: “[Parties are] often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community.”
Undermine religion and morality: “In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars [religion and morality].”
These were the hallmarks of America’s domestic adversaries: a rejection of the authority of the national government and the role of religion in society, and an obsession with narrow interests.

During Washington’s time, narrow interests often centered on geographical affiliations. Today, they often center on one’s racial or ethnic background or income level. Division along these lines has led to a toxic identity politics that demotes national identity while elevating lesser sub-identities—to the detriment of national unity. Washington likely could not have fathomed this sort of identity-based division, yet he warned that narrowly defined views in general would negate the national interest if pursued without compromise.

Not only was man corrupt, but he was also frail and prone to error. Washington argued that some citizens might believe they are serving America’s best interest while actually undermining it. He described these citizens as “deluded … tools and dupes” under “infatuation”—the very victims of those who practiced deception.

These two observations—the depravity and frailty of man—form Washington’s first core message: that America has real enemies, both foreign and domestic, some of whom are unaware of their pernicious effects on the country.

While Washington founded a nation based on humanity’s highest ideals—liberty and equality—he believed that America must reject naïve idealism about human nature, and not put too much faith in the good will of other countries.

Washington’s second core message focused on how America might survive in a world full of treachery. He unabashedly promoted America’s interest above that of other nations, referring to it 21 times in his address. Observers today will often critique this emphasis on the national interest as being devoid of morality—as if virtue and patriotism were mutually exclusive. After all, didn’t Washington decry the tendency of nations to pursue their own interests at the expense of the rights other nations?

While it is true that interest is often derived from selfish motives, Washington argued this need not always be the case. It is possible to promote one’s interest with respect for other nations’ interests and in support of a greater moral cause. After all, he advised the American people to “observe good faith and justice toward all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all.” He hoped America would conduct itself “as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.”

Washington believed a nation could pursue its interest legitimately, under the restraint of justice and morality, while also being prepared for war. In addition, promoting American strength and prosperity, he believed, would ultimately prove the viability of republican government to the world and give America “the glory of recommending it to … every nation which is yet a stranger to it.” It would increase liberty’s appeal to a global audience and, therefore, benefit mankind.

This message serves as an antidote to those who dispute the morality of national self-interest or believe America is obligated to pursue the well-being of other lands and peoples over its own.

The father of our country envisioned an America that was prosperous, generous, and in command of its own destiny. He foresaw “a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation” giving “to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence.” He hoped that America would one day live up to its highest ideals and conduct its affairs in an exceptionally just way.

To secure this future, however, Washington counseled Americans to reject the dreamy idealism about foreign nations and their intentions—an idealism that those dedicated to liberty and equality can find enticing.

He also warned us to be vigilant against both overt and covert enemies in our midst, and he trusted the American people—not just their representatives or bureaucrats—with this vigilance. His message speaks not only to us, but to all men and women who desire to establish and perpetuate a republic: Do not be naïve about human nature, for your adversaries (whether foreign or domestic, intentional or unintentional) will often appear as your friends.

Only with this in mind can an aspiring republic do what it has every right to do and ought to do: advance its own interests and, therefore, those of men and women everywhere who desire liberty.

In this era of uncertainty and division, we may do well to set apart Washington’s advice, as he hoped, for our “frequent review.”



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


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