Monday, September 25, 2017

It Was the Deep State that Colluded with the Russians, not Trump - Clarice Feldman




by Clarice Feldman

Greenfield’s conclusion is apt: “The left is sitting on the biggest crime committed by a sitting president. The only way to cover it up is to destroy his Republican successor.

As more and more leaks about the ongoing “Russian collusion” witch hunt by Robert Mueller appear in print, it seems to me that if Russia had been trying to erode our faith in our institutions, the Deep State is accomplishing what Russia failed to do.

The Obama claque’s efforts were initially intended to help Clinton when they thought she would win and no one would know about their crimes. Then they continued the unlawful spying to cover up their role in the worst case of misuse of federal power in our history, to effect the removal or emasculation of the President, and now they are desperate to cover up their illegal actions when all that failed.


A. Where we are today on “Russian collusion”?

 
Instapundit tweeted the answer succinctly: “The election was hacked!” turns out to mean, “Russia bought some ads on Facebook.”


Facebook is turning over ads presumably purchased by Russians during the campaign. Good -- let’s see them. As the article notes:

The announcement that Facebook would share the ads with the Senate and House intelligence committees came after the social network spent two weeks on the defensive. The company faced calls for greater transparency about 470 Russia-linked accounts -- in which fictional people posed as American activists -- which were taken down after they had promoted inflammatory messages on divisive issues. Facebook had previously angered congressional staff by showing only a sample of the ads, some of which attacked Hillary Clinton or praised Donald J. Trump.
As Tom Maguire reminds us, it would be unwise to assume this was a one-sided campaign: “Let's see all the ads and find out whether Russia was winding up both sides. Back in the day it was believed Russia backed anti-fracking groups in Europe. Why not also in the US?”

Best of the Web’s James Freeman thinks that, in any case, the notion that these ads swung the election is ridiculous on its face:

So the spending on fake Russian political ads identified by Facebook amounted to around 1/7,000th of what Mrs. Clinton spent on advertising. And of course these fake ad buys were not material in the context of Facebook’s total advertising revenues, which amounted to nearly $27 billion last year.

Is a $150,000 ad buy even big enough to require sign-off from Mr. Putin? If as some believe, Russian meddling was simply intended to discredit the likely winner, some poor Russian agent may now be headed to Siberia for engineering the election of a U.S. President who seems determined to drive down the price of oil.
Let’s hope Congress gets to the bottom of this. If $150,000 amounts to the entire iceberg, and it still managed to sink the S.S. Clinton, marketing majors will be studying these ads for years to come. B. Using the Full Force of FISA to spy on a political opponent
Obama has a long history of spying on his opponents and releasing information damaging to them. It’s a lifelong pattern. He got two opponents’ sealed divorce records unsealed in order to use unsubstantiated claims in pleadings by estranged spouses against them. As President, he continued this practice. By way of example, the Obama Administration did that with IRS, collecting information about the activities and donors of conservative and pro-Israel citizen groups while it refused to grant them the tax-exempt status to which they were entitled. The EPA collected private information from farmers and ranchers and released it to environmental groups to help them in their battles against those farmers and ranchers. There’s no reason to suppose that this pattern didn’t carry over to the 2016 election, and plenty of evidence that it did. As Sharyl Attkisson points out, they did it with reporters and Congressmen.

Nobody wants our intel agencies to be used like the Stasi in East Germany; the secret police spying on its own citizens for political purposes. The prospect of our own NSA, CIA and FBI becoming politically weaponized has been shrouded by untruths, accusations and justifications.

You’ll recall DNI Clapper falsely assured Congress in 2013 that the NSA was not collecting “any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.”
Intel agencies secretly monitored conversations of members of Congress while the Obama administration negotiated the Iran nuclear deal.
In 2014, the CIA got caught spying on Senate Intelligence Committee staffers, though CIA Director John Brennan had explicitly denied that.
There were also wiretaps on then-Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) in 2011 under Obama. The same happened under President George W. Bush to former Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-Calif.).
Journalists have been targeted, too. [snip]
The government subsequently got caught monitoring journalists at Fox News, The Associated Press, and, as I allege in a federal lawsuit, my computers while I worked as an investigative correspondent at CBS News. As Attkisson reminds us, other Trump associates General Michael Flynn and Carter Page were also under government surveillance. As bad as that was, it was ”discovered [that] multiple Trump “transition officials” were “incidentally” captured during government surveillance of a foreign official. We know this because former Obama adviser Susan Rice reportedly admitted “unmasking,” or asking to know the identities of, the officials. Spying on U.S. citizens is considered so sensitive their names are supposed to be hidden or “masked,” even inside the government, to protect their privacy.”

She also specifically unmasked Steve Bannon, who met in the transition period with a UAE official so it’s altogether possible they were spying on him generally as well. 

If so, that would mean that four Trump associates had been spied on, multiplying the number of conversations with the President these people were listening in on.

Even more “unmasking”-- revealing the names of those innocents scooped up in this broad surveillance -- about 300 people had their privacy violated when the dyspeptic-looking UN Ambassador Samantha Power was revealed to have made almost one unmasking request a day, rapidly adding to the list as the inauguration approached.

Samantha Power, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was 'unmasking' at such a rapid pace in the final months of the Obama administration that she averaged more than one request for every working day in 2016 -- and even sought information in the days leading up to President Trump’s inauguration, multiple sources close to the matter told Fox News.

Two sources, who were not authorized to speak on the record, said the requests to identify Americans whose names surfaced in foreign intelligence reporting, known as unmasking, exceeded 260 last year. One source indicated this occurred in the final days of the Obama White House. C. The FISA Court surely was misled in order to get information to surveil and to continue surveilling Trump and his associates.
 
FISA (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) permits blunderbuss intelligence gathering. It’s not designed to gather information on crimes in general, but only to act as a tool of counterintelligence or counterterrorism. And it certainly would be suspicious if efforts were made to misuse it to conduct domestic political spying. There’s only one legitimate reason to conduct surveillance on a U.S. citizen under FISA -- to find out more about the activities of a foreign power or terrorist organization. Since in the process of scooping up so much information, other matters might be revealed, “minimization” procedures are used to mask the identities of those caught up in the sweep who are not involved in such activities.

CNN reported -- with some obvious omissions and errors of law -- that former FBI director James Comey secured secret FISA orders to wiretap Paul Manafort, who briefly served as Trump’s campaign manager, and that having received nothing from that order, then secured another FISA warrant in 2016 (after Manafort joined the Trump campaign) and continued that surveillance into 2017, after the election.

Further, CNN reported that two attempts were made in the summer of 2016 to obtain a FISA order, both of which were rejected, and an order was issued only after the third try. FISA rarely rejects such requests, so I think it fair to assume the court was suspicious of these requests, which smelled like political, not national security matters. I think it almost a certainty that the final request received the personal imprimatur of Comey (as Director of the FBI) and Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

And what, you may ask, was different about the third and ultimately successful third attempt? I suggest it was the phony Steele dossier, which credible reports indicate was partially financed by Comey’s own FBI.

The House Intelligence Committee’s investigation took a sharp and notable turn on Tuesday, as news broke that it had subpoenaed the FBI and the Justice Department for information relating to the infamous Trump “Dossier.” That Dossier, whose allegations appear to have been fabricated, was commissioned by the opposition-research firm Fusion GPS and then developed by a former British spook named Christopher Steele. [Ed: Sources for the most scurrilous allegations in it were from unnamed sources in Russia, most likely Russian government intelligence agents or liars working on a pay for dirt basis.]

The Washington Post in February reported that Mr. Steele “was familiar” to the FBI, since he’d worked for the bureau before. The newspaper said Mr. Steele had reached out to a “friend” at the FBI about his Trump work as far back as July 2016. The Post even reported that Mr. Steele “reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the bureau to pay him to continue his work.”
Who was Mr. Steele’s friend at the FBI? Did the bureau influence the direction of the Trump dossier? Did it give Mr. Steele material support from the start? The timing matters because it could answer the vital question of why the FBI wanted the dossier. Here’s one thought: warrants.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees spying activities, is usually generous in approving warrants, on the presumption law-enforcement agencies are acting in good faith. When a warrant is rejected, though, law enforcement isn’t pleased.
Perhaps the FBI wanted to conduct surveillance on someone connected to a presidential campaign (Carter Page?) but couldn’t hit what was -- and ought to be -- a supremely high bar for getting such a potentially explosive warrant. A dossier of nefarious allegations might well prove handy in finally convincing the FISA court to sign off. The FBI might have had a real motive to support Mr. Steele’s effort. It might have even justified the unjustifiable: working with a partisan oppo-research firm and a former spook to engineer a Kremlin-planted dossier that has roiled Mr. Trump’s entire presidency. True Pundit claims that FBI connivance with GPS Fusion to create the dossier was not all it did to secure the final 2016 FISA warrant -- it also set up a meeting in Trump Tower and used information gleaned from Britain’s GCHQ in NSA headquarters to unlawfully gather information on U.S. citizens.

From the beginning it was a set up to find dirt on Trump campaign insiders and if possible to topple Donald Trump’s presidential aspirations.

Before and after the 2016 election. And while this operation had many moving parts and alternating players, the mission to unseat Trump never changed. And it remains ongoing.
And none of it was very legal.
[snip]
Six U.S. agencies [the FBI, NSA, CIA, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Treasury financial crimes division under DHS, Justice Department]created a stealth task force, spearhead by CIA’s Brennan, to run domestic surveillance on Trump associates and possibly Trump himself.
To feign ignorance and to seemingly operate within U.S. laws, the agencies freelanced the wiretapping of Trump associates to the British spy agency GCHQ.
The decision to insert GCHQ as a back door to eavesdrop was sparked by the denial of two FISA Court warrant applications filed by the FBI to seek wiretaps of Trump associates.
GCHQ did not work from London or the UK. In fact the spy agency worked from NSA’s headquarters in Fort Meade, MD with direct NSA supervision and guidance to conduct sweeping surveillance on Trump associates.
[snip]
The Justice Department and FBI set up the meeting at Trump Tower between Trump Jr., Manafort and Kushner with controversial Russian officials to make Trump’s associates appear compromised.
Following the Trump Tower sit down, GCHQ began digitally wiretapping Manafort, Trump Jr., and Kushner.
After the concocted meeting by the Deep State, the British spy agency could officially justify wiretapping Trump associates as an intelligence front for NSA because the Russian lawyer at the meeting, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was considered an international security risk and prior to the June sit down was not even allowed entry into the United States or the UK, federal sources said.
By using GCHQ, the NSA and its intelligence partners had carved out a loophole to wiretap Trump without a warrant. While it is illegal for U.S. agencies to monitor phones and emails of U.S. citizens inside the United States absent a warrant, it is not illegal for British intelligence to do so. Even if the GCHQ was tapping Trump on U.S. soil at Fort Meade.
The wiretaps, secured through illicit scheming, have been used by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of alleged Russian collusion in the 2016 election, even though the evidence is considered “poisoned fruit.”
Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who spearheaded the Trump Tower meeting with the Trump campaign trio, was previously barred from entering the United Sates due to her alleged connections to the Russian FSB (the modern replacement of the cold-war-era KGB).
Yet mere days before the June meeting, Veselnitskaya was granted a rare visa to enter the United States from Preet Bharara, the then U.S. Attorney for the southern district of New York. Bharara could not be reached for comment and did not respond the a Twitter inquiry on the Russian’s visa by True Pundit. (More on the unusual visa granted to Veselnitskaya here. More on GCHQ operating from NSA headquarters here.)

In July, Bharara was added to Mueller’s army of largely Clinton backers and contributors to the special counsel’s enormous team.

In sum, the contention by True Pundit is that the government first spied on Trump and then concocted a national security ruse and desperately sought a FISA warrant to cover up the political spying which occurred before the FISA warrant was ever issued.

The editors of the Wall Street Journal also suspect that the dossier was used to obtain the FISA warrant, and, if so, that requires a congressional investigation:

The FISA court sets a high bar for warrants on U.S. citizens, and presumably even higher for wiretapping a presidential campaign. Did Mr. Comey’s FBI marshal the Steele dossier to persuade the court?

All of this is reason for House and Senate investigators to keep exploring how Mr. Comey’s FBI was investigating both presidential campaigns. Russian meddling is a threat to democracy but so was the FBI if it relied on Russian disinformation to eavesdrop on a presidential campaign. The Justice Department and FBI have stonewalled Congressional requests for documents and interviews, citing the “integrity” of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
But Mr. Mueller is not investigating the FBI, and in any event his ties to the bureau and Mr. Comey make him too conflicted for such a job. Congress is charged with providing oversight of law enforcement and the FISA courts, and it has an obligation to investigate their role in 2016. The intelligence committees have subpoena authority and the ability to hold those who don’t cooperate in contempt. I agree with Daniel Greenfield. Based on what I’ve read and observed, while the initial surveillance was to stop Trump and help Clinton, Obama used FISA to provide a “national security” cover for politically spying on Trump right up to the inauguration. As he notes, the first 2016 application was made the month after Trump obtained the nomination and the second in October, the month before the election.

As the unmasking picked up pace after the election, the reasonable assumption is that its purpose was to undo the results of the election or hamstring the incoming President.

Now Obama and his allies are or should be terrified that the scope of the illegal surveillance is revealing their criminal acts.

This is why I believe Mueller is growing increasingly desperate to find one crime by one person he can force by threat of jail to provide any shred of anything that might be used to justify their illegal espionage. 
Greenfield’s conclusion is apt: “The left is sitting on the biggest crime committed by a sitting president. The only way to cover it up is to destroy his Republican successor. A turning point in history is here. If Obama goes down, the left will go down with him. If his coup succeeds, then America ends.”

Why do I say that Mueller seems increasingly desperate? How else does one explain a middle-of-the-night pick-lock armed entry (and the search of his bedclothes-garbed wife) into the home of a man who by all accounts had been fully cooperating and turning over all requested documents? How else to explain requesting a court grant such a necessary special warrant on the ground that otherwise documents evincing a purported eleven-year-old crime would suddenly be destroyed? How else to explain the effort by Mueller to find out client information from the Skadden Arps and Akin Gump law firms, materials probably covered by attorney-client privilege? With each leak of his conduct – designed, I suppose, by his team to terrify honest men into lying to redeem the special counsel’s misbegotten efforts -- Mueller looks more and more like a petrified enlistee in the secretive repressive state force -- the Stasi -- as the wall is coming down and their conduct made public.

Clarice Feldman

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/09/it_was_the_deep_state_that_colluded_with_the_russians_not_trump.html

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Iran too “shoots rockets all over the place” with no US action - debkaFile




by debkaFile

The nuclear twinning of North Korea and Iran is a long established fact. Shortly after Iran’s ballistic missile test Saturday, Sept. 23, North Korea was suspected of conducting another nuclear

Iran too “shoots rockets all over the place” with no US action


The nuclear twinning of North Korea and Iran is a long established fact. Shortly after Iran’s ballistic missile test Saturday, Sept. 23, North Korea was suspected of conducting another nuclear test. A magnitude-3.4 zero-depth quake was detected in North Korea, at roughly the same site as the shallow quake on Sept. 3 that was caused by nuclear test. China’s seismic service, says the quake is likely caused by an explosion. The service later found that it was an earthquake after all.

Two dictators, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Kim Jong-il, followed by his son, Kim Jong-un, have for years used their nuclear and missile collaboration to fertilize their programs while taunting the world.

As recently as Aug. 3, a delegation from Pyongyang, led by parliament speaker Kim Yong Nam, who ranks as number 2 in the North Korean hierarchy, spent 10 days in Tehran as guests of the government. 

DEBKAfile reported at the time that the visitors sat down with the heads of Iran’s army, security authorities and military industry, to explore ways of expanding their military cooperation in general and their nuclear and ballistic missile programs, in particular.

The interplay between Pyongyang and Tehran came to the fore in the last 48 hours. While the Kim regime indicated on Friday, Sept. 22, that it was considering a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific Ocean, the Islamic regime went forward the next day to conduct a test of a 2,000km range ballistic missile, which is capable of carrying multiple warheads and dropping them at any point in the Middle East, including Israel. 

Airspace chief, Gen. Amir Ahajizadeh of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, which runs the program, is quoted as saying that the new Khoramshahr missile “can carry several warheads for various uses.”

Translated into military terms, this means that even if American or Israeli anti-air missiles posted in the region can intercept one or two of those warheads, the rest will hit their target.

The in-flight video implanted in the Khoramshahr’s nose cone was stressed by the Iranian general because it was Tehran’s answer to Israel’s Chief of Staff, Lt. General Gady Eisenkott. He stated in his New Year message on Wednesday that the IDF is focusing on preventing Hizballah from obtaining high-precision Iranian missiles.

However, a missile carrying a video in its nose cone can be steered precisely by ground stations to hit within a few meters of target.  Therefore, even if Israel can prevent their delivery to Hizballah, those missiles can be guided to target from stations in Iran.

President Donald Trump said in Alabama Friday: “We can’t have mad men out there shooting rockets all over the place. He should have been handled long ago.”

He was referring to the North Korean dictator, but the rejoinder came the next day from Tehran: the test of the missile showcased in a military parade in Tehran Friday.

As of Saturday, the US president finds that the twin perils he faces from the two rogue regimes, dumped in his lap by his predecessors, have reached a point which can’t be addressed by trading playground insults. Threats of “total destruction” and assurances that they will be handled are beginning to sound like pretexts for Trump’s failure to confront the provocative threats posed by Kim Jong-in and Ayatollah Khamenei.

Trump has the option of trashing the nuclear deal with Iran – for better or for worse.

But Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu can no longer get away with strong speeches against Iran taking up an established position in Syria, or with threats that the imported pro-Iran Shiite militias fighting there “will never go home.”

Israel is too close to the line of fire to be able to passively follow the Trump administration’s lead on whether or not to react to a peril which has already reached its threshold. Jerusalem can’t continue to rely on Washington for solving its most immediate security threats without serious loss to its deterrence capacity and military credibility.


debkaFile

Source: https://www.debka.com/iran-shoots-rockets-place-no-us-action-another-nkorean-nuclear-test/

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The Pope of Islam - Robert Spencer




by Robert Spencer


Pope Francis welcomes to the Vatican the head of a Muslim group tied to the financing of jihad terror.




As if he weren’t already committed enough to foolish false charity and willful ignorance regarding the jihad threat, Pope Francis on Wednesday met in the Vatican with Dr. Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, the secretary general of the Muslim World League (MWL), a group that has been linked to the financing of jihad terror.

During the meeting, al-Issa thanked the Pope for his “fair positions” on what he called the “false claims that link extremism and violence to Islam.” In other words, he thanked the Pope for dissembling about the motivating ideology of jihad terror, which his group has been accused of financing, and for defaming other religions in an effort to whitewash Islam.

I don’t object to the Pope’s meeting this man. After all, Jesus was a friend of tax collectors and sinners. But the meeting appears to have been a pointless feelgood session, probably featuring some sly dawah from al-Issa. According to Breitbart News, “the two men reportedly exchanged views on a number of ‘issues of common interest’ including peace and global harmony, and discussed cooperation on issues of peaceful coexistence and the spread of love.”

The spread of love. Yes, that’s what the Muslim World League is all about.

Nor is this the first time a Muslim leader has thanked the Pope for being so very useful. Last July, Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Cairo’s al-Azhar, thanked him for his “defense of Islam against the accusation of violence and terrorism.”

Has any other Pope of Rome in the history of Christianity ever been heralded as a “defender of Islam”?
Of course not. But the Catholic Church has come a long way since the days of Pope Callixtus III, who vowed in 1455 to “exalt the true Faith, and to extirpate the diabolical sect of the reprobate and faithless Mahomet in the East.”

If time travel could be arranged and Pope Francis could run into Callixtus III, Callixtus could “expect a punch,” for Francis is not just a defender of Islam, but a defender of the Sharia death penalty for blasphemy: after Islamic jihadists murdered the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists who had drawn Muhammad, Francis obliquely justified the murders by 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). In freedom of expression there are limits.”

So for the Pope, murdering people for violating Sharia blasphemy laws is “normal,” and it isn’t terrorism for “Christian terrorism does not exist, Jewish terrorism does not exist, and Muslim terrorism does not exist. They do not exist,” he said in a speech last February. “There are fundamentalist and violent individuals in all peoples and religions—and with intolerant generalizations they become stronger because they feed on hate and xenophobia.”

So there is no Islamic terrorism, but if you engage in “intolerant generalizations,” you can “expect a punch.” The Pope, like the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, apparently thinks that the problem is not jihad terror, but non-Muslims talking about jihad terror; Muslims would be peaceful if non-Muslims would simply censor themselves and self-impose Sharia blasphemy restrictions regarding criticism of Islam.

For Pope Francis has no patience with those who discuss such matters: “I don’t like to talk about Islamic violence, because every day, when I read the newspaper, I see violence.” He said, according to Crux, that “when he reads the newspaper, he reads about an Italian who kills his fiancé or his mother in law.” The pontiff added: “They are baptized Catholics. They are violent Catholics.” He said that if he spoke about “Islamic violence,” then he would have to speak about “Catholic violence” as well.

That comparison made no sense, for Italian Catholics who killed their fiancés or mothers in law were not acting in accord with the teachings of their religion, while the Qur’an and Islamic teaching contain numerous exhortations to violence.

But Pope Francis, defender of Islam, cannot concern himself with such minutiae. Nor does he appear to be particularly concerned about the fact that all his false statements about the motivating ideology behind the massive Muslim persecution of Christians over the last few years only enables and abets that persecution, for if that ideology is not identified and confronted, it will continue to flourish.

The Pope of Rome, whom Catholics consider to be the earthly head of the Church, should be a defender of Christianity, not a defender of Islam, the religion that has been at war with Christianity and Judeo-Christian civilization since its earliest days. That any Christian leader would be called a “defender of Islam” by anyone only casts into vivid relief the absurdity of our age and the weakness of the free world. The creeping idolatry of the papacy that is rampant in today’s Catholic Church, with all too many Catholics treating every word of the Pontiff as if it were a divine oracle, only makes matters worse.

Can you imagine any Muslim leader ever being called a “defender of Christianity”? Of course not: Muslim leaders are more aware than their fond defender in the Vatican that Islam mandates warfare against unbelievers, not defense of their theological views.

Pope Francis is not only disastrously wrongheaded about an obvious fact that is reinforced by every day’s headlines; he is also deceiving and misleading his people about a matter of utmost importance, and keeping them ignorant and complacent about a growing and advancing threat.

“Leave them; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14)

Robert Spencer

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/267938/pope-islam-robert-spencer

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How Obama funded opposition to Trump via money that belongs to taxpayers - Thomas Lifson




by Thomas Lifson

We are talking hundreds of millions of dollars that ought to have gone to the federal treasury, but instead became a slush fund for the left.

One of the most outrageous abuses of the Obama presidency was a scheme by which fines for corporate misbehavior by the biggest Wall Street banks were channeled into the hands of radical leftist groups that are now vehemently opposing the policies of President Trump. We are talking hundreds of millions of dollars that ought to have gone to the federal treasury, but instead became a slush fund for the left.

Paul Sperry explains in the New York Post:
Wall Street might be shocked to learn it is helping bankroll the anti-Trump “resistance” movement that’s aggressively fighting policies it favors — including corporate tax cuts and the repeal of Obama-era banking and health-care regulations.
The Obama administration’s massive shakedown of Big Banks over the mortgage crisis included unprecedented back-door funding for dozens of Democratic activist groups who were not even victims of the crisis.
At least three liberal nonprofit organizations the Justice Department approved to receive funds from multibillion-dollar mortgage settlements were instrumental in killing the ObamaCare repeal bill and are now lobbying against GOP tax reform, as well as efforts to rein in illegal immigration.
An estimated $640 million has been diverted into what critics say is an improper, if not unconstitutional, “slush fund” fed from government settlements with JPMorgan Chase and Co., Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp., according to congressional sources.
The payola is potentially earmarked for third-party interest groups approved by the Justice Department and HUD without requiring any proof of how the funds will be spent. Many of the recipients so far are radical leftist organizations who solicited the settlement cash from the administration even though they were not parties to the lawsuits, records show.
This should never have happened, and conservatives (including AT) were aghast at the time. Imagine if President Trump were to try to funnel fines for corporate misbehavior to the NRA or the Family Research Council. The din of complaints from every MSM outlet in the country would endanger our national hearing. Sperry lists three radical left groups that are conducting anti-Trump activities that are funded by money belonging to taxpayers.

THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF LA RAZA

The Hispanic-rights group strenuously protested the Republican-led “skinny” repeal of the Affordable Care Act after receiving at least $1.5 million from the Obama regime’s bank settlement funds, congressional researchers say.
The notoriously radical organization, which advocates on behalf of illegal immigrants, argued the Trump proposal would have a “harmful impact” on the Hispanic community, including stripping potentially “8 million Latinos” of medical coverage.
Note that this group, originally funded by the Ford Foundation, has recently rebranded itself, because people started realizing that an explicitly race-based advocacy organization looks bad in a race-obsessed leftist universe. Now, they are transitioning to the brand of Unidos.


And
NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE
After receiving at least $1.2 million from the bank-settlement slush fund, the African-American advocacy group solicited its supporters to oppose efforts to repeal ObamaCare by signing a letter to senators arguing “African-Americans stand to be disproportionately impacted.” It claimed more than 5 million black people would lose coverage under repeal legislation.
And:
NATIONAL COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT COALITION
Since hauling in at least $2.6 million in funds under settlement in the Obama-era mortgage suits, the liberal housing-rights group has slammed tax-reform proposals by the Trump administration as unfair, while trying to block efforts to privatize mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, claiming doing so would “deepen the racial wealth gap.”
NCRC is also actively lobbying against regulatory repeal of many provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
I presume that since the fines were converted into donations, they were mad tax-deductible. Id that is so, then taxpayers were doubly hosed: loss of the $640 million dollars that belonged to the Treasury, and then the corporate income taxes that were not paid on the taxable income, thanks to deductions. If this was at the corporate rate of 35%, it amounts to another $224 million, or a total of 864 million dollar given away by the executive branch, with no authorization from Congress.

I don’t know who might have standing to sue on behalf of taxpayers over the unjust enrichment of left wing political groups, but in my dreams the courts would use the legal mechanisms to “claw back” the funds misappropriated.

Hat tip: Clarice Feldman 


Thomas Lifson

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/09/how_obama_funded_opposition_to_trump_via_money_that_belongs_to_taxpayers.html

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The Truth About Police Violence Against Black Men - Mark Tapson




by Mark Tapson


Facts are stubborn things.




In the wake of violent protests in St. Louis following the acquittal of white former police officer Jason Stockley for the murder of black suspect Anthony Lamar Smith, a Cornell University doctoral candidate in philosophy has put forth an argument you’re unlikely to hear in the mainstream media. Writing at National Review Online, Philippe Lemoine marshals actual facts and logic to demonstrate that, contrary to received wisdom, black males in the United States do not suffer a disproportionate degree of police brutality.

The largely undisputed narrative about cops and black men goes like this: black males are victimized daily all over America by police harassment and brutality, even when innocent, and there is an epidemic of police shootings of unarmed black men. This narrative is false, says Lemoine, and “distracts from far more serious problems that black Americans face.” Furthermore, the news media acceptance of it “poisons the relations between law enforcement and black communities throughout the country and results in violent protests that destroy property and sometimes even claim lives.”

The reality, Lemoine declares, is that a random black male is “overwhelmingly unlikely” to be the victim of police violence, and any disparity that does exist between the violence blacks and whites experience in their encounter with cops “is consistent with the racial gap in violent crime, suggesting that the role of racial bias is small.”

According to the Washington Post, just 16 unarmed black men out of a population of more than 20 million were killed by the police in 2016 – down from 36 the year before. These figures are numerically comparable to the number of black men that could be struck by lightning in any given year, Lemoine calculates, and they include cases in which the shooting was justified, even if the person killed was unarmed.

“Police killings of black unarmed males are incredibly rare, and it’s completely misleading to talk about an ‘epidemic of them,” he writes, pointing out that the left makes a similar comparison “when they argue that it’s completely irrational to fear that you might become a victim of terrorism.”

It’s not even true that black men are beaten on a regular basis by the police, or even pulled over constantly without reason. Using data from the Police-Public Contact Survey, based on a nationally representative sample of more than 70,000 U.S. residents age 16 or older, Lemoine notes that “black men are less likely than white men to have contact with the police in any given year.” Only 1.5 percent of black men have more than three contacts with the police in any given year, he points out – only marginally more than the 1.2 percent of white men who do.

Actual injuries by the police are so rare that they cannot even be estimated precisely, says Lemoine. “The data suggest that only 0.08 percent of black men are injured by the police each year, approximately the same rate as for white men. A black man is about 44 times as likely to suffer a traffic-related injury.” Again, these figures include instances in which violence is legally justified.

There does exist a racial disparity in the police use of physical force, but this experience is rare for men of all races. Only 0.6 percent of black men experience physical force by the police in any given year, states Lemoine, compared to approximately 0.2 percent of white men. Granted, that is three times as often; however, this disparity is less likely to be the result of racial bias, as people commonly assume, than the fact that black men commit violent crimes at much higher rates than white men do.

Citing data from the National Crime Victimization Survey, Lemoine notes,

that black men are three times as likely to commit violent crimes as white men. To the extent that cops are more likely to use force against people who commit violent crimes, which they surely are, this could easily explain the disparities we have observed in the rates at which the police use force. That’s not to say that bias plays no role; I’m sure it does play one. But it’s unlikely to explain a very large part of the discrepancy.
As for black Americans’ own perceptions of how they are mistreated by the police, Lemoine points out that individuals can be trusted about their own personal experiences, but “when it comes to larger social phenomena,” other factors come into play besides just their personal experience – the media, for example, which is very influential in terms of perpetuating the false narrative about police brutality against blacks. For example, most Americans believe that crime in the U.S. has increased since the 1990s, despite an abundance of information that crime has actually fallen dramatically. “[I]f people of any color can be wrong about this,” reasons Lemoine, “there is no reason to think black people can’t be wrong about the prevalence of police violence against minorities.”

His clear-eyed argument echoes the similarly fact-based presentation of Heather Mac Donald’s recent, essential read, The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe. That sobering book warns that an “academic victimology industry” and a complicit media have stoked Black Lives Matter hatred of the police and propelled the current “anti-cop narrative to powerful mainstream status.”

Facts may be stubborn things, as John Adams said, but facts alone are not especially effective against a deeply entrenched, cultural narrative protected and promoted by forces such as the media. Smashing that false perception of an epidemic of police violence against black men will take a combination of the facts with an emotionally powerful counter-narrative – and enough minds that are receptive to truth.


Mark Tapson is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the editor of TruthRevolt.org.

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/267943/truth-about-police-violence-against-black-men-mark-tapson

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Europe: The Great White Death? - Drieu Godefridi




by Drieu Godefridi

That uttering this truth causes such mayhem and furious condemnations in the media reveals that in Europe, not only is the "native" population dying, but free speech as well.

  • It will take only 30 to 40 years for the Muslim population to become the majority in Europe. — Charles Gave, French financier, website of the Institut des Libertés.
  • What is of concern, is that there is a sub-group of the European population which is in the process of very efficiently wiping itself out of existence.
  • That uttering this truth causes such mayhem and furious condemnations in the media reveals that in Europe, not only is the "native" population dying, but free speech as well.
A riveting -- thanks to its subject -- paper was posted the September 4, 2017 on the website of "Institut des Libertés," the think tank of the great French financier Charles Gave. In it, he asks: Does the native population -- by which he means the white population -- of Europe face extinction?

His answer is "yes": "It is not good or bad. IT IS", Gave writes. His basic argument is that with a "native" rate of fertility of 1.4, a "migrant" -- by which he means Muslim -- rate of 3.4 to 4 children per woman, and taking the initial Muslim population to be 10% of the total, it will take only 30 to 40 years for the Muslim population to become the majority. Indeed, writes Gave, with a "native" rate of 1.4 for a population of 100, after only two generations you merely see 42 "native" children born.

As expected, Gave was almost immediately scorned as a far-right lunatic for having adopted the theory known in France as "le grand remplacement" ("the great replacement") -- of the native population by a new, migrant population. The theory was earlier disseminated by the writer Renaud Camus, who was close to the Front National political party of Marine Le Pen.

In a furious and venomous article about the "foolish calculations" of Gave, the newspaper Libération -- compared to which the New York Times or the Washington Post look honest and balanced -- wrote that the Muslim population is not 10% of the French population, but less; that the fertility rate of the native population is 1.8, not 1.4; that the fertility rate of the migrants from the Maghreb is 3.53, not 4 and that the concept of "Muslim origin" is nonsensical.

Who then is right, Gave or his critics?

Let us begin by noting that the observation from Libération is fundamentally weak. Gave writes that the fertility rate of the Muslim migrants is between 3.4 and 4 -- not 4, as Libération falsely claims (Gave: between 3.4 and 4, Libération: 3.53, exactly the same). Moreover, nobody knows the exact proportion of Muslims in France -- the French State explicitly forbids any kind of religious or racial census -- but 10% seems a reasonable and moderate estimate. In addition, Libération misses the only real mistake in Gave's calculation: with a fertility rate of 1.4 and considering an initial population of 100, no other factors being taken into account, after two generations you do not have 42 children (Gave), but 49 (100 x 0.7= 70 x 0.7= 49, not 42).[1]

That being said, Gave's paper made a few assumptions with which I would disagree, for instance:
  1. "Those who are born today will be there in thirty years and those who are not born will not be there. This is CERTAIN", writes Gave. One imagines that the same certainty was just as true in 1913, 1937 or just before the Black Death;
  2. "Thinking that real estate will go up when there are only 42 buyers for 100 sellers is an interesting idea but I have a hard time understanding the logic", writes Gave; but he had just mentioned that the migrant population was replacing the native one -- in fact, France has never been as populous as it is today;
  3. Gave concludes that the European native population is going to disappear in 40 years: "The immense news of the next thirty or forty years will thus be the disappearance of the European populations, whose ancestors created the modern world." Bearing in mind a fertility rate of 1.4 for the "natives", it would take more than 40 years for them to vanish from the surface of Earth; to say nothing of "mixed" marriages, and so on.
  4. Most importantly, Islam is not a race. Islam is a religion and, in fact, much more than that; it is a doctrine, a political movement, an ideology, and a complete set of norms (Islamic jurisprudence in the form of Quran, Sunnah, Fiqh) intended to rule each and every aspect of human activity. Being a doctrine, one can join it and convert to Islam. One can also leave Islam; however, the punishment for leaving, called "apostasy," is death.
There are, nevertheless, people who define themselves as "former Muslims", even if they may not be a majority. It does not make much sense, however, to pretend to know 40 years in advance what will be the future of a belief, creed, ideology or cult, especially in Europe and the Western world. As the saying goes, "It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future."

Only two or three generations ago, tens of millions of Europeans knelt several times a week in churches to show their adoration of Jesus Christ. Forty years after this religious fervor, almost nothing remains. What we have instead is the well-known phenomenon of "dechristianization", which has engulfed the whole of Europe.

Yet, despite a few differences, there is truth in Gave's paper. Bluntly put, Europeans are not making babies anymore. And this has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam; this "malady" is entirely self-inflicted.

In his book, The Population Bomb, published in 1968, the American biologist Paul Ehrlich wrote that the best method to reduce population is the legalization of abortion. And that was without even considering the effect of birth control.

When Europeans began to legalize both birth control and abortion 40 years ago, a few years after Roe vs. Wade (1973), the Catholic Church warned of the risk of Europe entering into a "morbid civilization". When the Belgian Parliament decided to depenalize abortion in 1990, the King -- a fervent Catholic -- refused to sign the law, there was a "crise de régime" and the Prime Minister at the time had to devise some kind of constitutional patch to sanction the law despite the King. Although this was said only a few short years ago, the mentality of the king now seems archaic.

Forty years later, we now know that Paul Ehrlich as well as the Catholic Church were right: Europeans evidently feel they have better things to do than look after babies.

Abortion has recently assumed epic proportions in countries such as Sweden or France. In France, there are 200,000 abortions a year. To put things in perspective, there are in France around 750,000 births a year. France, therefore, is aborting 20% of its babies/fetuses/embryos/cell clusters -- choose according to your personal convictions -- each year.

The French Parliament recently made abortion an absolute right (the Vallaud-Belkacem law of 2014). Before that, the mother had to be in a condition of distress for an abortion to be legal. This "condition" -- which was never verified nor controlled -- has now been done away with and abortion is now an everyday right, such as the right to drive a car or buy a sandwich.

The French Parliament also recently approved one of those laws -- outlawing "digital obstruction to abortion" -- for which France has a penchant. This new law states that it is a criminal offense to disseminate "false information" concerning abortion in order to deter women from having one. But what is "false"? Is it false to state that the psychological consequences of abortion are often devastating? Is it "false" to illustrate the clinical steps of an abortion? Is it "false" to put the value of human life above anything else? By the way, if "free speech" shall not entail the right to say "false" or even abhorrent things, the speech is free no more. This law means that probably around 99.9% of American pro-life websites are now set against the French criminal law: Americans, beware! In France, the right to have an abortion is now a dogma.

Some of these abortions are from "native" Westerners who have lived in France for generations, and some from people who have come as migrants. After a while, however, the "migrant" rate of abortion tends to converge with the "native" one.

But this is not of concern to us here. What is of concern, is that there is a sub-group of the European population which is in the process of very efficiently wiping itself out of existence. Indeed, with a fecundity of 1.4 the initial, "native Western" group of 100 becomes fewer and fewer -- 70, 49, 34, 24, 17, 12, 8, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1 -- in thirteen generations. The result is mathematical.

Of course, even if abortions were not permitted, there could be a demographic decline -- from war, disease, the "one-child" policy of the Chinese government (which sometimes involves forced abortions), and the like (see John Bongaarts' aggregate model of the proximate determinants, "Demographic Research," 33, 19: 535–560, 2015). One can think theoretically of a population where abortion is legal, yet the fertility rate in the long run is 3. But in real terms, there is not to my knowledge, in the vast literature on the subject[2], a single example of a population that has not declined after abortion has been made widely available -- especially, as in France, as a "right".

The point here is not whether or not abortion is "bad" or immoral, or if the policy should be reversed. The point is to show that the "white death" of Europe is a mathematical reality; and that this plague is not only self-inflicted, but that it began with the legalization of "birth control" and abortion even before the massive influx of Muslim migrants.

That uttering such a truth -- routinely predicted by such respected figures as the philosopher Raymond Aron (author of In Defense of Decadent Europe), the former Prime Ministers Michel Rocard and Alain Juppé, or even former President François Mitterrand ("demographic suicide") -- causes such mayhem and furious condemnations in the media, reveals that in Europe, not only is the "native" population dying, but free speech as well.


(Image source: Eric Chan/Wikimedia Commons)
Drieu Godefridi, a classical-liberal Belgian author, is the founder of the l'Institut Hayek in Brussels. He has a PhD in Philosophy from the Sorbonne in Paris and also heads investments in European companies.

[1] Actually it's probably around 45, if you take into account the fact that for a population of 100 you have 48 women able to procreate. See the book of the demographer Jacques Dupâquier, "Ces migrants qui changent la face de l'Europe" (with Yves-Marie Laulan), Paris: L'Harmattan, 2004.
[2] See e.g. Kapótsy, B., "The demographic effects of legal abortion on the Hungarian labor force," European Demographic Information Bulletin, September 1973, 4:136; Potts, M. Diggory, P., Peel, J., Abortion, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977; Berelson, B., "Romania's 1966 Anti-Abortion Decree: The Demographic Experience of the First Decade," Popu. Studies, 33, 2: 209s. ; Tomas Frejka, "Induced Abortion and Fertility: A Quarter Century of Experience in Eastern Europe", Population and Development Review, Vol. 9, No. 3 (Sep., 1983), pp. 494-520; Senderowitz J., Paxman JM., "Adolescent fertility: worldwide concerns," Popul Bull., 1985 Apr. 40(2): 1-51 ; Susan Gross Solomon, "The demographic argument in Soviet debates over the legalization of abortion in the 1920's", Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique,1992, 33, 1: pp. 59-81; Carroll, P. "Ireland's Gain -- The demographic Impact and Consequences for the Health of women of the Abortion Laws in Ireland and Northern Ireland since 1968," London: Papri (Pension and Population research Institute), 2011; Potrykus, H., Higgins, A., "Abortion: Decrease of the U.S. Population & Effects on Society," MARRI Research (Marriage and Religion Research Institute), January 2014; Mueller, JD, Redeeming Economics: Rediscovering the Missing Element, Intercollegiate Studies Institute: 2014; John Bongaarts, "Modeling the fertility impact of the proximate determinants: Time for a tune-up," op. cit.


Drieu Godefridi, a classical-liberal Belgian author, is the founder of the l'Institut Hayek in Brussels. He has a PhD in Philosophy from the Sorbonne in Paris and also heads investments in European companies.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/11044/europe-white-death

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The Kurdish Referendum Imbroglio - Amir Taheri




by Amir Taheri

In a sense, some Kurds have dreamt of an independent state since over 2000 years ago, when the Greek historian Xenophon ran into them in the mountains of Western Asia.

What is the first thing you should do when you have dug yourself into a hole? The obvious answer is: stop digging. This is the advice that those involved in the imbroglio over the so-called independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan, due to be held on September 25. But still in the suspense of writing this column, would do well to heed.

The idea of holding a referendum on so contentious an issue at this time is bizarre, to say the least. There was no popular demand for it. Nor could those who proposed it show which one of Iraq's problems such a move might solve at this moment. In other words, the move was unnecessary, in the sense that Talleyrand meant when he said that, in politics, doing what is not necessary is worse than making a mistake.

If by independence one means the paraphernalia of statehood, the three provinces that form Iraqi Kurdistan lack nothing: They have their president, prime minister, cabinet, parliament, army, police, and, even, virtual embassies in key foreign capitals. They are also well-furnished with symbols of statehood, including a flag and national anthem.

Having said all that, one could hardly deny the Kurds a desire for independence.

In a sense, some Kurds have dreamt of an independent state since over 2000 years ago, when the Greek historian Xenophon ran into them in the mountains of Western Asia. (See his account in his masterpiece Anabasis).

Right now, however, all indications are that any attempt at a unilateral declaration of independence by the Kurds could trigger a tsunami of conflicts that the region, already mired in crisis, might not be able to handle. In other words, the hole dug by Erbil may become an ever-deepening black hole, sucking a bigger chunk of the Middle East into the unknown; hence the need to stop digging.

Yet, almost everyone is doing the opposite.

Massoud Barzani, the president of the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government, has lashed out against Turkey and Iran while threatening military action to seize disputed areas in Iraq. Barzani's tough talk may please his base but could strengthen chauvinist elements in Baghdad, Ankara and Tehran who have always regarded Kurds as the enemy.


Massoud Barzani, president of the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government. (Image source: U.S. Department of Defense)
For his part, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has come close to threatening the use of force to stop a process that remains unclear.

Threats have also come from Tehran, where National Security Adviser Ali Shamkhani says the Islamic Republic would cancel all security accords concerning the Kurdish region and might intervene there militarily to deal with anti-Iran groups.

For its part, Ankara has branded the referendum a "red line", using a discredited term made fashionable by former US President Barack Obama in 2014 over Syria.

Just days before the referendum, the Turkish army staged a highly publicized military demonstration on the border with the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan, presumably as a warning to Erbil.

As for Russia, the sotto voce support given to the referendum is more motivated by hopes of juicy oil contracts than sober geostrategic considerations. Such a stance might win President Vladimir Putin more support from the oligarchs, but risks dragging Russia into a risky process over which it won't have any control.

Washington's mealy-mouthed comments on the issue are equally problematic.

Iraqi Kurds have been the United States' best allies in dismantling the Saddamite system in post-liberation Iraq and in the current fight against ISIS. The US would gain nothing by casting itself as an opponent of Kurdish self-determination.

Tackling the problem from a legal angle, Iraq's Supreme Court has declared the proposed referendum in violation of the Iraqi constitution. For its part, Iraq's national parliament has invited the Erbil leadership to postpone the referendum, echoing a message from the United States and the European Union.

It is not clear where all this talk of canceling the referendum at the 11th hour may lead. However, I think cancellation at this time could do more harm than good.

First, it could discredit the Erbil leadership at a time it needs to prop up its authority, indeed its legitimacy. Whether one likes the Erbil leadership or not, sapping its authority is neither in the interest of Iraqi Kurds nor, indeed, of Iraq as a whole. Encouraging splits in the Kurdish ranks and promoting a political vacuum in the autonomous region is the last thing Iraq needs.

Secondly, a last-minute cancellation could strengthen elements who still believe that force and threat of force are the most efficient means of dealing with political problems. Almost 14 years after the demise of Saddam Hussein, Iraq isn't yet free of past demons who dream of a monochrome Iraq dominated by a clique.

Thirdly, a last-minute cancellation could be seen as a legitimization of the right of Ankara and Tehran to intervene in Iraqi domestic affairs through a mixture of military pressure and thinly disguised blackmail.

So, what is the best way to stop deepening the hole?

A possible answer may be built around the position taken by Iraqi President Fouad Maasoum, himself an ethnic Kurd but, apparently at least, genuinely committed to building a pluralist system in Iraq. Maasoum has not offered an elaborate scheme. But his suggestion that the imbroglio be tackled through talks between Baghdad and Erbil could be used as the basis for a compromise.

In such a compromise, the referendum would go ahead unhindered while it is made clear that its outcome would in no way be legally binding on anyone. In other words, the referendum, whatever its result, would be accepted as a political fact that could and should be taken into consideration in designing the road-map Iraq would need once it has wiped out ISIS.

Iraqi Kurds cannot impose their wishes by force, especially when they are far from united over national strategy. On the other hand, Iraq cannot revert to methods of dealing with its "Kurdish problem" that led to so many tragedies for the Kurds and derailed Iraqi national life for decades.

The September 25th referendum was unnecessary. The best one could do at the 11th hour is to help morph it into a mistake. Politics cannot deal with the unnecessary, but it can deal with mistakes.
This article first appeared in Asharq Al Awsat

Amir Taheri, formerly editor of Iran's premier newspaper, Kayhan, before the Iranian revolution of 1979, is a prominent author based on Europe. He is the Chairman of Gatestone Europe.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/11043/kurdish-referendum-imbroglio

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