Monday, October 02, 2017

Russian Collusion?

We keep being told that President Trump is not normal. This much has been blindingly obvious. He had never run for office or otherwise served in a public capacity. He has been accused, not without reason, of breaking all manner of political norms. America’s most nontraditional president was never going to conduct business as usual from the West Wing. Less than a year into his first term, he has already caused much anguish in Washington. This should be no surprise—while running for office Trump repeatedly promised to “drain the swamp” and shake things up. Americans knew who they were voting for, and history will judge the results.

That said, Trump’s nascent presidency has coincided with perhaps the greatest violation of political norms this country has ever seen—a violation that has nothing to do with Trump’s behavior. Since the election last November, there has been a sustained, coordinated attack on Trump’s legitimacy as president following his victory in a free and fair election. This has the potential to cause far more lasting damage to America than Trump’s controversial style.

Democratic operatives and their media allies attempted to explain Trump’s victory with a claim they had failed to make stick during the general election: Trump had nefarious ties to Russia. This was a fertile area for allegations, if for no other reason than that Trump had been reluctant to express criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin. By contrast, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeatedly condemned Russia’s 2011 elections, saying they were “neither free nor fair” and expressing “serious concerns” about them. She publicly called for a full investigation while meeting with top Russian officials. This made Putin livid. “Mr. Putin said that hundreds of millions of dollars in ‘foreign money’ was being used to influence Russian politics, and that Mrs. Clinton had personally spurred protesters to action,” The New York Times reported.

Trump’s relationship with Putin was decidedly different. In December 2015, Putin called Trump “a really brilliant and talented person.” Trump replied: “It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond.” He added, “I have always felt that Russia and the United States should be able to work well with each other towards defeating terrorism and restoring world peace, not to mention trade and all of the other benefits derived from mutual respect.”

Then rumors surfaced in the summer of 2016 that Russia probably had something to do with the alleged hack of the Democratic National Committee email system, as well as the successful “phishing” of Democratic insider John Podesta’s inbox. Russia was also alleged to have tried to hack the Republican National Committee, but without success. It remained an open question whether the Russians were trying to help Trump or were simply trying to create chaos in the election. Regardless, these Democratic Party emails were published by WikiLeaks, and they confirmed what many critics had said about Clinton and the DNC—the DNC had engineered the primary to ensure a Clinton victory; the Clinton campaign had cozy, borderline unethical relations with members of the mainstream media; Clinton expressed private positions to Wall Street banks that were at odds with her public positions; and various other embarrassing details indicating her campaign was in disarray.

According to Shattered, a well-sourced book about the Clinton campaign written by sympathetic reporters, Clinton settled on a Russia excuse within twenty-four hours of her concession speech. [Campaign manager Robby] Mook and Podesta assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up. For a couple of hours, with Shake Shack containers littering the room, they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.

The Russian collusion story involves a lot of details, but there are two basic tactics that Trump’s enemies have used to push the narrative: they have put seemingly innocuous contacts with Russians under a microscope, and they have selectively touted details supplied by a politicized intelligence apparatus. And this has all been amplified by a media that has lost perspective and refuses to be impartial, much less accurate.

Meetings with Russians
If most of us can now agree that Putin’s Russia is a potential threat to the United States, we shouldn’t forget that the Washington establishment regarded this as a radical opinion not so long ago. Shortly after President Obama was elected in 2008, Time magazine ran a cover with him asking a Russian bear, “Can we be friends?” The media generally celebrated Secretary of State Clinton’s attempt at a Russian “reset” in 2009. Obama was later caught on a hot mic promising Putin more “flexibility” once he was reelected. And during Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012, when his opponent Mitt Romney characterized Russia as our greatest geopolitical foe, Obama mocked him by saying, “The 1980s called. They want their foreign policy back.” The New York Times editorial page said of Romney’s Russia comments that they “display either a shocking lack of knowledge about international affairs or just craven politics. Either way, they are reckless and unworthy of a major presidential contender.”

Trump’s election changed all that. Not since the heyday of McCarthyism in the 1950s have so many in Washington been accused of consorting with Russians who wish to undermine American democracy.

More HERE 


Challenging the Racist Cops Myth

The real controversy should not be over those protesting the national anthem but the perpetuation of the racism myth.

NFL players kneeling in protest during the national anthem was a movement steadily gaining momentum. It suddenly exploded last weekend after Donald Trump called out the protesting players for disrespecting the American flag. Now the Leftmedia elite are blaming Trump for causing “division.” But the truth is Trump hit upon an issue that has become deeply offensive to many Americans: Multi-millionaires are protesting supposed injustice and racism in America that is simply not backed up by the facts. Those protesting are demanding that Americans concede to accepting a reality that amounts to a lie. And what is that lie? That police across the nation are systemically racist against blacks. It’s the Democrat war on cops.

Any time an issue like racism is raised, it evokes high degrees of emotion and passion, because it hits at two fundamental truths. First, an individual has absolutely no control over their ethnicity; quite literally they are “born that way.” Second, people naturally gravitate toward and relate to those with whom they share the most in common. And neither of these truths are inherently wrong or evil. When these realities are raised as ultimate delimiters and primary identifiers between people, that’s when the ugly problem of racism emerges. In other words, friction happens when people are taught to attribute everything about themselves and others primarily to the lowest common denominator of race. For example, the reason you got in trouble was because you’re black, or the reason you got into a good school is because you are Asian, etc.

It is precisely this flawed race-based mindset that has been behind the current NFL anthem protests. When objectively looking at the actual data, an honest individual can easily see the flaw in these protesters’ objections. The truth is that police are not a bunch of racists running around seeking black men to kill or imprison.

In 2015, the number of individuals killed by police was 995. That’s out of a total population of 318 million people. Obviously, the bare fact that an individual was killed doesn’t tell the whole story, but of those killed only 90 were determined to be unarmed. Of those unarmed individuals killed only 4% were black men killed by white cops. In the vast majority of all police killings (three-quarters), law enforcement officers were confronted by individuals who were armed. One statistic often left out of the conversation is the number of police killed. In 2015, 124 out of an estimated 900,000 full-time federal, state and local officers lost their lives in the line of duty.

The objective data simply does not support the protesters’ message of a pandemic of racist cops. It is merely a popular myth perpetuated by those who ply their trade by convincing people that they are helpless victims and targets of some massively unjust society, especially the police.

Why is it that none of these NFL players or owners has the courage to actually stand up and challenge the lie that is being perpetuated? The greater problem is not players kneeling during the national anthem, it’s that no one is willing to step up and challenge the lie of systemic racism.



3 Proofs That the Conservative Movement Is Alive and Well

For those who think the conservative movement is in disarray and may be even close to cracking up, I call attention to three anniversaries being celebrated this week.

These three anniversaries reflect organizations that have made a significant difference in our politics and our culture for half a century: the Media Research Center, The American Spectator, and the Fund for American Studies.

Led by the irrepressible Brent Bozell, the Media Research Center is marking its 30th anniversary of exposing the left-wing bias of the mass media by the simplest of methods—using their own words to hoist them high.

At its annual Dishonors Awards dinner, the Media Research Center presented the hysterical reactions of the networks’ finest to Donald Trump’s presidential victory. In their apocalyptic analysis, anchors and reporters alike did everything but urge their viewers to renounce their citizenship and move to Canada or the Cayman Islands without delay.

Rush Limbaugh, the King of Talk Radio with a weekly listening audience of 20 million, revealed that he first heard of Bozell while reading him in National Review, which was all the accreditation he needed. About the mainstream media, Limbaugh was to the point: “They’re dead wrong. They’re dead stupid.”

Radio talk show host Mark Levin summed up the evening by describing MRC and Brent Bozell as “national treasures.”

For half a century, The American Spectator under the editorship of R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. has been slicing and dicing liberals and progressives like Bill and Hillary Clinton at the hands of accomplished polemicists like P. J. O’Rourke, Ben Stein, Patrick Buchanan, and Malcolm Muggeridge.

When others on the right hesitated, the Spectator welcomed neoconservatives like Irving Kristol to its pages. When the conservative movement waxed lackadaisical and split into factions following the Reagan years, Bob Tyrrell delivered a kick to its pants with his book, “The Conservative Crack-Up.”

A special favorite of the Spectator was The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page editor Robert Bartley, an adviser to the magazine at the time of his death in 2003. At this year’s anniversary gala, the Spectator honored Bartley and featured remarks by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., chairman of the House Freedom Caucus; Stein; and humorist Greg Gutfeld, host of “The Greg Gutfeld Show” on Fox News.

The American Spectator has weathered financial storms and revolutionary changes in journalism, but is still publishing its Menckenesque insights into American politics—although now in digital rather than print form.

The academic empire of the 50-year-old Fund for American Studies, with its 11 institutes that span the globe from Washington, D.C., to Hong Kong, attest to the old saw that a good idea can have exceedingly good consequences.

In 1967, former New Jersey Gov. Charles Edison—the son of the famed inventor Thomas Alva Edison—recruited Dr. Walter H. Judd, youth leader David R. Jones, political consultant Marvin Liebman, and editor/author William F. Buckley Jr. to build a program that would educate college students in American government, politics, and economics.

The group approached Georgetown University professor Lev E. Dobriansky about sponsoring a summer institute on comparative and political and economic systems at his university. In 1970, 57 students attended the first institute.

Today, more than 1,000 students annually attend course credit programs at George Mason University in Washington, D.C., the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, and Chile. The programs cover economics and politics, political journalism, business and government affairs, philanthropy, and legal studies.

In addition, the fund sponsors other educational programs and conferences for students and professors throughout the year, including a 15-week academic and internship program each fall and spring in Washington, D.C., as well as the Walter H. Judd Freedom Award, presented annually to individuals who have advanced the cause of freedom in the United States and abroad.

Russian dissident and chess grand master Garry Kasparov will receive the 2017 Judd Award. The fund will also honor at its 50th anniversary banquet this year former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Stephen Hayes, editor-in-chief of The Weekly Standard.

When we consider the manifold contributions of the Fund for American Studies, The American Spectator, and the Media Research Center over the years and reflect that they are but a part of the conservative movement, we can rest assured that the movement is alive and well and resolute in its goal to preserve ordered liberty in America, both for this generation and generations to come.



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