“Fake News” is now part of the national lexicon. The more liberal MSM try to deny it, the more they implicate themselves.

President Trump Rewrites the Media Playbook

By Steve Feinstein

Irrespective of any policy controversies in his nascent administration, one thing is clear: President Trump’s fearless, effective handling of the liberal media redounds to his benefit in a manner never seen before in Republican politics.

He’s the first Republican president who responds immediately to biased reporting and doesn’t let a single charge go by unrefuted. He is totally unafraid of being combative and confrontational. He has empowered and emboldened his advisors and spokespeople, like Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway and Reince Priebus — to act likewise, with effective results. For the first time, conservatives are not shouting at the TV out of frustration, “You should have said….” Now, the Trump administration says it.

President Trump makes liberal reporters with their all-too-obvious gotcha agendas look ridiculous. He shines the light of illegitimacy and bias on them for the entire world to see. “Fake News” is now part of the national lexicon. The more the liberal MSM try to deny it, the more they implicate themselves. As he calls out Jake Tapper or Jim Acosta or any other reporter or network by name, he usually starts with a joke — “You know, there are a lot of reporters here with higher-rated shows than yours. I shouldn’t even be calling on you.”

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Everyone laughs. The audience gets it, completely.

Even casually attentive voters have become aware of liberal media bias. In only a few short months, Trump has exposed the MSM as Democratic shills. “Failing New York Times,” “The dishonest media,” and everything else he says rings true with Conservatives and casual attentives of any affiliation — because they can see it’s true.

“Look at all the people here tonight at this rally. Unbelievable. There are 15, 20, 25 thousand of you. This place is filled. Will the dishonest media swing their cameras around and show the crowd? I bet they won’t!” And of course, they don’t.

Never before has a Republican candidate or president countered and neutered the liberal media so effectively.

  • Certainly not George W. Bush, who let them hammer him into a dismal 28% approval rating over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the weapons of mass destruction, Abu Ghraib, the banking crisis, etc.
  • Certainly not John McCain, who let the liberal media cast him as an old, out-of-touch, nervous candidate with a nutcase for his VP running mate.
  • And certainly not Mitt Romney, who let Candy Crowley and Obama roll him like a street drunk over Benghazi and the “terrorism” word in their second Presidential debate, on foreign policy.

Media losers, all of them. As Trump would say, “Big league.”

But Trump is a media winner. “Big Time.” He speaks directly to the people. His tweets get completely around the liberal MSM filter and the MSM hates it. His rallies speak directly to his supporters and his statements on policy are clear and unarguable: “We’re going to round up violent convicted illegal immigrant felons and kick them out of the country.” Who would disagree with that? The liberal MSM is furious about not being able to twist it into “We’re going to kick immigrants out of the country.” They would ‘accidentally’ leave out the convicted illegal felons part. Now, they can’t.

The liberal press is actually becoming somewhat gun-shy with him now, prefacing questions and remarks by saying, “We don’t hate you,” and “This is a fair question, really, not a ‘gotcha’ question. May I ask it?”

The viewership/listenership waits to see how President Trump will respond. If Trump shows any displeasure or irritation, the audience dismisses the questioner and his/her organization as “another one of those.”

Rasmussen had him at 52% approval last week, a very good mark for any president, and one that’s particularly astonishing in light of the unprecedented, unrelenting liberal attacks on him. He’s doing more, sooner, than any president in recent memory. He speaks directly to the issues that matter to the people and he says what he’ll do without equivocation, doubletalk or dancing. His cabinet picks are not political payback or “gifts” for past support; instead, they’re unfailingly who he thinks will do the best job.

All of which drives the liberal media nuts, because he’s not smooth-talking and vague like Obama and he’s not given to praying at the altar of political correctness. Instead, his policies are based on what he feels will be the best for the country, regardless of how it does or doesn’t affect the special interest groupdu jour. Another plus: he doesn’t have any patience for the usual “talk about it for eight months/convene a Gov’t-funded study/put it off until after the next elections” timeframe.

Trump’s efforts against liberal media bias can be likened to a U.S. naval bombardment against Japanese shore fortifications on a Pacific island in WWII before the Marines went ashore, or our Air Force’s nonstop bombing of Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard positions in 1991 before we initiated our ground assault. We “softened them up” before we attacked directly. Trump has “softened them up.”

Nothing will ever be the same from this point on. Trump has shown everyone how to do it, and any good future Republican candidate has the blueprint of how to build that house. The liberal media can dig their heels in all they want and continue to attack, but voters now know and see the truth. Trump has lessened the liberal MSM’s impact to the point where it’s no longer the critical, defining element it once was.

READ THE AMERICAN THINKER

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Harry S. Truman on the press .. “I never did give them hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell.”

Credit: AP photo
WAITING FOR NEWS: Members of the White House press corps stand in line to attend an informal briefing Friday in Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s office. Some news outlets were barred from the briefing. 

Keep giving the fakers hell

Frauds’ outrage more bogus news

by Howie Carr

  • Sunday, February 26, 2017

 Keep blasting the fake news media, Mr. President!

It’s great stuff. We love it. There’s nothing wrong with calling out these lying alt-left frauds. On the question of calling out one’s enemies, Harry S. Truman once summed it up well .. “I never did give them hell,” he said. “I just told the truth and they thought it was hell.”

If you were watching the also-ran cable news channels Friday afternoon, you would have thought a disaster on the magnitude of a combined 9/11 and Pearl Harbor had just occurred at the Trump White House.

“Appalling!” said the fake news Washington Post.

“Unprecedented!” hissed the very fake news Clinton News Network.

What had happened was, several of the alt-left media outlets had been turned away from an informal White House press briefing.

One of those banned was the failing New York Times. Earlier this month, a New York Times reporter slurred the immigrant First Lady of the United States as a “hooker.” Last week an equally deranged Times columnist called the president a “cancer.”

So, the fair-and-balanced Times was turned away from an off-the-record get-together. Obviously, it’s the end of the Republic.

Hours earlier, at the CPAC convention, Trump had again expressed his unequivocal support of the Bill of Rights.

“I love the First Amendment,” he told the crowd. “Nobody loves it better than me. Nobody. I mean, who uses it more than I do? … It gives you the right, and me the right, to criticize fake news, and criticize it strongly.”

Exactly. It’s astonishing that he, or anyone else, has to endure the slings and arrows of the forked-tongue alt-left media, always more than a little shady, but now totally out-of-the-closet corrupt.

Another Democrat agitprop outlet banned from Friday’s press briefing was very fake CNN. This is the CNN of Jake Tapper, a politician with a press pass, to use the late New York mayor Ed Koch’s description of an earlier bought-and-paid-for partisan.

Tapper used to flack for a Democrat Congresswoman named Mezvinsky. Her husband, another hack solon, went to prison for massive bank fraud. Their son is married to Chelsea Clinton, whose parents used to employ George Stephanopoulos, now a $13-million-a-year “journalist” for ABC “News.”

ABC also employs Martha Raddatz, who was once married to the son of JFK’s bootlicking sycophant Ben Bradlee, and whose second marriage was attended by none other than Barack Obama. Remember on election night how Martha was losing it, her voice cracking, as she reported on the loss of her idol, St. Hillary?

In the satchel, much?

Among those blasting Trump for his anti-fake news tirades is Chuck Todd of NBC, who is yet another Democrat hack masquerading as a reporter. Todd used to work for ex-Sen. Tom Harkin, another stolen-valor Democrat senator. (Harkin bragged about having been a combat pilot in Vietnam — a total lie.)

As moderator of “Meet the Press,” Todd succeeded David Gregory, now at very-fake-news CNN. Gregory’s wife is a lawyer who last year represented four of Hillary’s aides in the FBI investigation that was bagged after Bill Clinton met on the tarmac of the Phoenix airport with Obama’s attorney general. (That story was broken by a local TV reporter in Arizona, because the pajama boys in the White House press corps never, ever break stories about Democrat corruption.)

The head of that alleged FBI “probe,” by the way, was a G-man named Andrew McCabe, whose wife ran in 2015 as a Democrat candidate for the Virginia state senate. During her bust-out run, Mrs. G-man took $467,000 from Gov. Terry McAuliffe, an ex-Clinton, uh, bundler, who in 1999 put up $1.35 million for the purchase of their fabulous mansion in Chappaqua, N.Y.

Just remember, these are the paragons of ethics and morality who say Donald Trump is corrupt.

On Friday, when some of the alt-left hacks were banned from the White House press “gaggle,” other fake news media outlets refused to attend the briefing as a show of solidarity for their comrades. Among them, Time magazine, which recently tweeted out the fake news that a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. had been removed from the Oval Office.

Also boycotting in sympathy for their fellow travelers: the AP, which last week reported the fake news that Trump was planning to mobilize 100,000 National Guardsmen to deport mass numbers of illegal aliens. (Would that it were, as John Kerry would say, would that it were … .)

Reporting on the whole brouhaha yesterday for the Times was a “reporter” who has at least admitted that he is a partisan hack, Glenn Thrush. In at least one case, as we know from Wikileaks, this crack reporter obsequiously allowed Clinton sleaze John Podesta to approve his copy for fake-news Politico, with the groveling caveat, “Please don’t share or tell anyone I did this.”

Fake news, fake reporters, fake outrage. But the alt-left frauds promoting this BS — they’re real. Too real.

Give ’em hell Donald!

(Order Howie’s new book, “Kennedy Babylon,” at his website, howiecarrshow.com.)

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Stephen K. Bannon has President Trump’s confidence.

What Does Steve Bannon Want?

President Trump presents a problem to those who look at politics in terms of systematic ideologies. He is either disinclined or unable to lay out his agenda in that way. So perhaps it was inevitable that Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, who does have a gift for thinking systematically, would be so often invoked by Mr. Trump’s opponents. They need him not just as a hate object but as a heuristic, too. There may never be a “Trumpism,” and unless one emerges, the closest we may come to understanding this administration is as an expression of “Bannonism.”

Mr. Bannon, 63, has won a reputation for abrasive brilliance at almost every stop in his unorthodox career — as a naval officer, Goldman Sachs mergers specialist, entertainment-industry financier, documentary screenwriter and director, Breitbart News cyber-agitprop impresario and chief executive of Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.

One Harvard Business School classmate described him to The Boston Globe as “top three in intellectual horsepower in our class — perhaps the smartest.” Benjamin Harnwell of the Institute for Human Dignity, a Catholic organization in Rome, calls him a “walking bibliography.”

Perhaps because Mr. Bannon came late to conservatism, turning his full-time energy to political matters only after the Sept. 11 attacks, he radiates an excitement about it that most of his conservative contemporaries long ago lost.

One month into the Trump administration, Mr. Bannon has already made his influence felt. He helped draft the president’s Inaugural Address, acquired a seat on the National Security Council and reportedly was the main force behind the president’s stalled ban on travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Reports that the administration has considered designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization echo Mr. Bannon’s own longtime preoccupation with the group, as both a screenwriter and a talk-radio host.

Many accounts of Mr. Bannon paint him as a cartoon villain or internet troll come to life, as a bigot, an anti-Semite, a misogynist, a crypto-fascist. The former House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, have even called him a “white nationalist.” While he is certainly a hard-line conservative of some kind, the evidence that he is an extremist of a more troubling sort has generally been either massaged, misread or hyped up.

There may be good reasons to worry about Mr. Bannon, but they are not the ones everyone is giving. It does not make Mr. Bannon a fascist that he happens to know who the 20th-century Italian extremist Julius Evola is. It does not make Mr. Bannon a racist that he described Breitbart as “the platform for the alt-right” — a broad and imprecise term that applies to a wide array of radicals, not just certain white supremacist groups.

Nor does it make Mr. Bannon a fringe character that during the meetings of the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2013 and 2014, he hosted rival panel discussions called the Uninvited — although it did show a relish for the role of ideological bad boy. Mr. Bannon’s panels included such mainstream figures as the former House speaker Newt Gingrich and the former Bush administration attorney general Michael Mukasey, and discussed such familiar Republican preoccupations as military preparedness and the 2012 attacks on the United States mission in Benghazi, Libya. It wasn’t much different from watching Fox News.

Where Mr. Bannon does veer sharply from recent mainstream Republicanism is in his all-embracing nationalism. He speaks of sovereignty, economic nationalism, opposition to globalization and finding common ground with Brexit supporters and other groups hostile to the transnational European Union. On Thursday, at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, he described the “center core” of Trump administration philosophy as the belief that the United States is more than an economic unit in a borderless word. It is “a nation with a culture anda reason for being.”

Stephen K. Bannon heading to the Oval Office. Credit Al Drago/The New York Times

So some of the roots of Mr. Bannon’s ideology, like the roots of Mr. Trump’s popularity, are to be found in the disappointed hopes of the global economy. But Mr. Bannon, unlike Mr. Trump, has a detailed idea, an explanation, of how American sovereignty was lost, and of what to do about it. It is the same idea that Tea Party activists have: A class of regulators in the government has robbed Americans of their democratic prerogatives. That class now constitutes an “administrative state” that operates to empower itself and enrich its crony-capitalist allies.

When Mr. Bannon spoke on Thursday of “deconstructing the administrative state,” it may have sounded like gobbledygook outside the hall, but it was an electrifying profession of faith for the attendees. It is through Mr. Bannon that Trumpism can be converted from a set of nostalgic laments and complaints into a program for overhauling the government.

Mr. Bannon adds something personal and idiosyncratic to this Tea Party mix. He has a theory of historical cycles that can be considered elegantly simple or dangerously simplistic. It is a model laid out by William Strauss and Neil Howe in two books from the 1990s. Their argument assumes an 80- to 100-year cycle divided into roughly 20-year “highs,” “awakenings,” “unravelings” and “crises.” The American Revolution, the Civil War, the New Deal, World War II — Mr. Bannon has said for years that we’re due for another crisis about now. His documentary about the 2008 financial collapse, “Generation Zero,” released in 2010, uses the Strauss-Howe model to explain what happened, and concludes with Mr. Howe himself saying, “History is seasonal, and winter is coming.”

Mr. Bannon’s views reflect a transformation of conservatism over the past decade or so. You can trace this transformation in the films he has made. His 2004 documentary, “In the Face of Evil,” is an orthodox tribute to the Republican Party hero Ronald Reagan. But “Generation Zero,” half a decade later, is a strange hybrid. The financial crash has intervened. Mr. Bannon’s film features predictable interviews with think-tank supply siders and free marketers fretting about big government. But new, less orthodox voices creep in, too, from the protectionist newscaster Lou Dobbs to the investment manager Barry Ritholtz. They question whether the free market is altogether free. Mr. Ritholtz says that the outcome of the financial crisis has been “socialism for the wealthy but capitalism for everybody else.”

By 2014, Mr. Bannon’s own ideology had become centered on this distrust. He was saying such things about capitalism himself. “Think about it,” he said in a talk hosted by the Institute for Human Dignity. “Not one criminal charge has ever been brought to any bank executive associated with 2008 crisis.” He warned against “the Ayn Rand or the Objectivist School of libertarian capitalism,” by which he meant “a capitalism that really looks to make people commodities, and to objectify people.” Capitalism, he said, ought to rest on a “Judeo-Christian” foundation.

If so, this was bad news for the Republican Party. By the time Mr. Bannon spoke, Ayn Rand-style capitalism was all that remained of its Reagan-era agenda. Free-market thinking had swallowed the party whole, and its Judeo-Christian preoccupations — “a nation with a culture” and “a reason for being” — along with it. A business orientation was what donors wanted.

But voters never more than tolerated it. It was Pat Buchanan who in his 1992 run for president first called on Republicans to value jobs and communities over profits. An argument consumed the party over whether this was a better-rounded vision of society or just the grousing of a reactionary. After a generation, Mr. Buchanan has won that argument. By 2016 his views on trade and migration, once dismissed as crackpot, were spreading so fast that everyone in the party had embraced them — except its elected officials and its establishment presidential candidates.

Mr. Bannon does not often go into detail about what Judeo-Christian culture is, but he knows one thing it is not: Islam. Like most Americans, he believes that Islamism — the extremist political movement — is a dangerous adversary. More controversially he holds that, since this political movement is generated within the sphere of Islam, the growth of Islam — the religion — is itself a problem with which American authorities should occupy themselves. This is a view that was emphatically repudiated by Presidents Obama and George W. Bush.

Mr. Bannon has apparently drawn his own views on the subject from intensive, if not necessarily varied, reading. The thinkers he has engaged with in this area tend to be hot and polemical rather than cool and detached. They include the provocateur Pamela Geller, a campaigner against the “Ground Zero Mosque” who once suggested the State Department was “essentially being run by Islamic supremacists”; her sometime collaborator Robert Spencer, the director of the website Jihad Watch, with whom she heads an organization called Stop Islamization of America; and the former Department of Homeland Security official Philip Haney, who has argued that officials in the Obama administration had compromised “the security of citizens for the ideological rigidity of political correctness.”

President Trump being unpopular among intellectuals, any thinker in his cabinet will be, at some level, a nonconformist, a rebel or an individualist. That may yet make things interesting for the country. It will certainly make Washington a hostile environment for Mr. Bannon. Many policy intellectuals in the capital have paid a steep price in swallowed misgivings and trimmed convictions to get to the place that Mr. Bannon has somehow blown into town and usurped. He never had to compromise or even modify his principles. His boss didn’t even get a majority of the popular vote. Establishment conservatives may be prone to mistake their jealousy for a principled conviction that Mr. Bannon is unsocialized and dangerous.

Is he? Last summer the historian Ronald Radosh contributed to this image with his (later contested) recollection that, years ago, Mr. Bannon, in the only conversation the two ever had, described himself as a “Leninist” who wanted to “bring everything crashing down.”

But Mr. Bannon’s ideology, whatever it may be, does not wholly capture what drives him, says the screenwriter Julia Jones. Starting in the early 1990s, Ms. Jones and Mr. Bannon began writing screenplays together, and did so for a decade and a half. She is one of the few longtime collaborators in his otherwise peripatetic career. As Ms. Jones sees it, a more reliable key to his worldview lies in his military service. “He has a respect for duty,” she said in early February. “The word he has used a lot is ‘dharma.’ ” Mr. Bannon found the concept of dharma in the Bhagavad Gita, she recalls. It can describe one’s path in life or one’s place in the universe.

When Mr. Bannon came to Hollywood, Ms. Jones says, he was less political. For two years, according to Ms. Jones, the two of them worked on the outline of a 26-part television series about seekers after the secrets of the human self, from Arthur Conan Doyle to Nietzsche to Madame Blavatsky to Ramakrishna to the Baal Shem Tov to Geronimo. “It was his idea,” she said. “He assembled all the people.”

But the Sept. 11 attacks, Ms. Jones says, changed him, and their collaboration did not survive his growing engagement with politics. Speaking of his films, she says, “He developed a kind of propaganda-type tone of voice that I found offensive.” Ms. Jones is a literary person, left-liberal in politics. She regrets that Mr. Bannon “has found a home in nationalism.” But she does not believe he is any kind of anarchist, let alone a racist.

Those focused on Mr. Bannon’s ideology are probably barking up the wrong tree. There are plenty of reasons for concern about Mr. Bannon, but they have less to do with where he stands on the issues than with who he is as a person. He is a newcomer to political power and, in fact, relatively new to an interest in politics. He is willing to break with authority. While he does not embrace any of the discredited ideologies of the last century, he is attached to a theory of history’s cycles that is, to put it politely, untested. Most ominously, he is an intellectual in politics excited by grand theories — a combination that has produced unpredictable results before.

We’ll see how it works out. Barack Obama, in a similar way, used to allude to the direction and the “arc” of history. Some may find the two theories of history equally naïve and unrealistic. Others may see a mitigating element in the cyclical nature of Mr. Bannon’s view. A progressive who believes history is more or less linear is fighting for immortality when he enters the political arena. A conservative who believes history is cyclical is fighting only for a role in managing, say, the next 20 or 80 years. Then his work will be undone, as everyone’s is eventually.

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Nigel Farage to the globalists: You are losing, The People are winning.

12:55 min

Nigel Farage AT CPAC 2017 FULL Speech. Nigel Farage speaks about Brexit, ‘global revolution’ ‘We are for the
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“We have to talk to find out what’s going on, because the press is out of control. The level of dishonesty is out of control.”

The media doesn’t call the shots — Trump does

By Michael Goodwin

The media smart set fixates on creating a narrative that explains the big picture of events and offers gripping examples. In that spirit, then, here’s a narrative to help them understand President Trump’s recent burst of activity:

He’s serving notice that he, and not the media, sets the nation’s agenda. And that when journalists behave like opponents, he will treat them like opponents, punching back harder than they punch him.

That’s the meaning of the president’s epic press conference Thursday and his tour of the Boeing plant in South Carolina and Saturday’s rally in Florida. As Milton Friedman said in another context, everything else is detail.

trump-melania-speech-melbourne-620x300

The catalyst for Trump’s campaign-like barnstorming was that, after a rough week in which Democrats in Congress picked up the loony left’s impeachment mantle, the president’s team looked outgunned and outmaneuvered. The emerging media narrative was that the White House was in chaos, riven by infighting, leaks, an unhappy president and an unhappier first lady.

Trump knows better than most that perception, even if it’s wrong, can quickly harden into accepted fact. He sensed danger and decided to take matters into his own hands.

Nobody speaks for Trump better than Trump, which is not always a virtue. But Thursday, he made a wise game-day decision to do his solo version of a reset.

The official business was to announce his new nominee for secretary of labor, a choice that was well-received by the few outlets where it wasn’t ignored because of the media punch-palooza that followed. (A good trivia question: name the new guy!)

The president was deliberate in making his points, talking for more than 20 minutes about what he’s done to keep his campaign promises and how he’s unfairly depicted.

His impressive litany of action includes canceling the Asian-Pacific trade deal, green-lighting two pipeline projects and jawboning firms like General Motors and Walmart to spend and hire. He boasted of his 55 percent approval rating in a poll and of the booming stock market.

He talked about rebuilding the military, hosting leaders from Japan, Israel, Canada and Great Britain, strengthening borders and immigrant vetting, targeting the Islamic State and nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch for the ­Supreme Court, calling him a “true defender of our laws and our Constitution.”

Even as he complained about courts blocking his travel ban and Democrats delaying his Cabinet picks, Trump hailed “a tremendous surge of optimism” about the changes he’s making.

That was Trump the agenda setter. Then came Trump the media basher.

He contrasted public optimism with relentless press criticism, saying big outlets on both coasts don’t speak “for the people, but for the special interests and for those
profiting off a very, very ­obviously broken system. The press has become so dishonest that if we don’t talk about [it], we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people.”

He added: “We have to talk to find out what’s going on, because the press honestly is out of control. The level of dishonesty is out of control.”

trupre

That was the start of a sustained media attack like nothing America has ever seen. If this were football, it would be described as smash-mouth because the president plowed straight into the ­establishment powers.

He called much coverage “dishonest” and “fake news.” He accused some of “hate” and “venom” and singled out individual reporters, anchors and outlets, especially CNN, saying it now peddles “very fake news.”

It was an extraordinary use of the bully pulpit, yet accounts calling it a nonstop rant don’t do it justice. Some of it was playful and teasing, and Trump wasn’t alone in finding humor on several occasions. Many journalists clearly enjoyed the raucous informality, which included back-and-forth exchanges where some freely talked over the president.

Contrast that with the previous eight years of news conferences, where President Barack Obama generally delivered long lectures to an amen chorus.

There was contrast, too, in Trump spending 50 minutes taking more than 40 questions, all spontaneous and none arranged in advance. It was a scrum to be called on, and no topic was off-topic — he answered them all.

He also made errors, repeated himself frequently and some answers raised more questions. But the overall performance was incredibly effective at creating a very different narrative about his tenure for the TV audience — the people he cares about most.

Expect those two themes — he is putting America First and much of the media is dishonest — to be the pillars of his presidency, as they were the pillars of his campaign. That’s why he’s taking his show on the road, and likely will do so regularly.

Predictably, his prime media targets reacted with feverish claims that Trump was “unhinged” and his ­attacks were “un-American.” Some said he is a threat to the First Amendment.

On the contrary, he’s embracing it. As legendary New Yorker Ed Koch often said about his own criticisms of the press and judges, he didn’t lose his First Amendment rights when he became mayor.

So it is with Trump. He’s free, like all Americans, to speak his mind. His words carry more weight as president, but attempts to silence him are truly un-American. The White House is not a coddled college safe space.

Something else Koch said also is relevant. He once called a journalist who was a partisan critic a “politician with a press pass.”

That’s how Trump sees much of the media, and he’s more right than wrong. Many tried to block his election, and now are trying to destroy his presidency.

They have a choice: get back to being journalists, or get used to being a piñata.

READ THE NEW YORK POST

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“The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned”

 

yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

————————–

“The Second Coming” is a poem composed by Irish poet William Butler Yeats in 1919 The poem uses Christian imagery regarding the Apocalypse and second coming as allegory to describe the atmosphere in post-war Europe.

History

The poem was written in 1919 in the aftermath of the First World War. While the various manuscript revisions of the poem refer to the renaissance, French Revolutions, the Irish rebellion, and those of Germany and of Russia, Richard Ellman and Harold Bloom suggest the text refers to the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Bloom argues that Yeats takes the side of the counter-revolutionaries and the poem suggests that reaction to the revolution would come too late.

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UPDATE 2/17 — President Trump’s goal is to knock the Ayatollahs off their pedestal as the leading Middle East power

Su-24 warplanes buzzed the USS Porter destroyer in the Black Sea.

Overlaying US President Donald Trump’s extraordinary, hour-long skirmish with reporters Thursday, Feb. 16, was bitter frustration over the domestic obstacles locking him out from his top security and foreign policy goals. Even before his inauguration four weeks ago, he had arranged to reach those goals by means of an understanding with President Vladimir Putin for military and intelligence cooperation in Syria, both for the war on the Islamic State and for the removal of Iran and its Lebanese surrogate Hizballah from that country.

But his antagonists, including elements of the US intelligence community, were turning his strategy into a blunderbuss for hitting him on the head, with the help of hostile media. Thursday, in a highly unconventional meeting with the world media, he tried to hit back, and possibly save his strategy.

That won’t be easy. The exit of National Security Adviser Mike Flynn, the prime mover in the US-Russian détente, sent the Kremlin a negative signal. The Russians began unsheathing their claws when they began to suspect that the US president was being forced back from their understanding. The SSV 175 Viktor Leonov spy ship was ordered to move into position opposite Delaware on the East Coast of America; Su-24 warplanes buzzed the USS Porter destroyer in the Black Sea.

Before these events, Washington and Moscow wre moving briskly towards an understanding. DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources disclose that the Kremlin had sent positive messages to the White House on their joint strategy in Syria, clarifying that Moscow was not locked in on Bashar Assad staying on as president.
They also promised to table at the Geneva conference on Syria taking place later this month a demand for the all “foreign forces” to leave Syria. This would apply first and foremost to the pro-Iranian Iraqi, Pakistani and Afghan militias brought in by Tehran to fight for Assad under the command of Revolutionary Guards officers, as well as Hizballah.

Deeply troubled by this prospect, Tehran sent Iran’s supreme commander in the Middle East, the Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani, to Moscow this week to find out what was going on.

Flynn’s departure put the lid on this progress. Then came the damaging leak to the Wall Street Journal, that quoted an “intelligence official” as saying that his agencies hesitated to reveal to the president the “sources and methods” they use to collect information, due to “possible links between Trump associates and Russia.. Those links, he said “could potentially compromise the security of such classified information.”

A first-year student knows that this claim is nonsense, since no agency ever share its sources and methods with any outsider, however high-placed.

What the leak did reveal was that some Washington insiders were determined at all costs to torpedo the evolving understanding between the American and Russian presidents. The first scapegoat was the strategy the two were developing for working together in Syria.

Defending his policy of warming relations with Moscow, Trump protested that “getting along with Russia is not a bad thing.” He even warned there would be a “nuclear holocaust like no other” if relations between the two superpowers were allowed to deteriorate further.

It is too soon to say whether his Russian policy is finally in shreds or can still be repaired. Trump indicated more than once in his press briefing that he would try and get the relations back on track.

Asked how he would react to Russia’s latest provocative moves, he said: “I’m not going to tell you anything about what responses I do. I don’t talk about military responses. I don’t have to tell you what I’m going to do in North Korea,” he stressed.

At all events, his administration seems to be at a crossroads between whether to try and salvage the partnership with Russia for Syria, or treat it as a write-off. If the latter, then Trump must decide whether to send American troops to the war-torn country to achieve his goals, or revert to Barack Obama’s policy of military non-intervention in the conflict.

Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis treated relations with Moscow with kid gloves in his debut appearance before the Munich Security Conference on Thursday, Feb. 16. “We are not in a position right now to collaborate on a military level,” he said, then added: “But our political leaders will engage and try to find common ground.”

Later that day, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in another first diplomatic encounter by a Trump appointee, met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Bonn on the sidelines of the G20 ministerial meeting. He too laid stress on finding common ground between Washington and Moscow.

DEBKAfile’s sources report that the relations will quickly roll downhill without a strong hand to haul them back. It is up to Donald Trump to show whether or not he is capable of breaking through the siege clamped down on him by his enemies and save his key foreign policy goals. His next moves are being watched very intently in many parts of the world, especially in Middle East capitals. Governments in Tehran, Riyadh, Ankara, Damascus, Beirut, Abu Dhabi, Cairo and Jerusalem are bracing to jump either way.

READ DEBKA

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Coming Trump-Putin-Erdogan deal rumbles thru ME

DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis February 11, 2017


The NBC report that Russian President Vladimir Putin may be considering making President Donald Trump the “gift” of turning over former NSA analyst Edward Snowden is part of a much broader scheme that is already sending tremors through the Middle East. Snowden won asylum in Moscow after leaking secrets to journalists four years ago. The Trump administration appears to have leaked the rumor about the US leaker, seen by some Americans as a whistleblower, as a trial balloon in the secret give-and-take maneuvers afoot between the two presidents and a third, Turkey’s Reccep Tayyip Erdogan, over a trilateral pact for leading the war to eradicate ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

When Trump talked on the phone to Erdogan last Tuesday, Feb. 7, he was told that America’s extradition of Turkish opposition leader Fatullah Gulen was a sine qua non for any deal. Erdogan has accused Gulen, who lives in exile in America, of orchestrating the failed military coup against him last July and the plot for his assassination. Gulen denies he had any hand in the coup.

Erdogan made it clear to the US president that if he wants Turkey as a partner for fighting terror, Gulen’s party, whose FETO party he insists is a terror organization, must be included in that heading

  • Trump promised to examine Turkey’s Gulen dossier, which would have to stand up in a US court as sufficient grounds for extradition. Four days later, on Friday, Feb. 10, the new CIA Director Mike Pompeo arrived in Ankara on his first foreign trip, to discuss plans for cooperation in Syria. He was also handed the Gulen dossier.

The Trump administration then extendied this trade-off by a bid to gain the extradition from Moscow of Edward Snowden, whom the president has called a “spy” and a “traitor.” This would count as a gesture by Putin for promoting the three-way pact for their joint Middle East ventures.

From Ankara, the CIA director continued to Riyadh to see about harnessing the Saudis to those ventures.

Trump was deadly serious when he vowed that “The United States will swiftly and completely destroy the Islamic State – ISIS.” He is proposing to embark on a herculean task that calls for a coalition of several armies and whose consequences are unforeseen. When George W. Bush set out to destroy Al Qaeda in Iraq 11 years ago, he never imagined he was creating fertile soil for the rise of the equally menacing Islamic State. Therefore, the mission to destroy ISIS can’t stop there. The combatants must be ready to sustain a massive long-term military presence in the Middle East to make sure that a new bane does not raise its head.

  • Trump has also set his would-be partners a stiff price for their pact. It was signaled by the news report that his administration is contemplating branding Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps and its intelligence and operational arm, Al Qods, a terrorist organization. In addition to their combined war on ISIS, the US president is adamantly demanding that his designated allies come together to rid Syria, Iraq and Yemen of Iran’s military presence. This would require the overwhelming military presence in the Middle East of the combined might of the US, Russia, Turkish, Saudi and Egyptian armies.

His goal is to knock the Islamic Republic off its pedestal as the leading Middle East power set up by Barack Obama and his secretaries of state, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, in eight years of strenuous diplomacy and the outlay of hundreds of billions of dollars.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will therefore be bursting through an open door if he tries delivering a lengthy harangue to Trump on the threats posed by Iran and Hizballah when he begins a visit to Washington on Wednesday, Feb. 15. He would do better to ignore the counsels of the pundits and advisers at home who have not yet caught up with the new president in the White House, or grasped the scale of the earthquake Trump and Putin are preparing for the entire region.

Netanyahu will find the US president fully conversant with the Iranian threat to Israel. But he will also need to understand that there is a new way of doing business in Washington:

1. Trump sets his own order of priorities and will not be swayed by Israel.

2. He will always demand a quid pro quo for his cooperation.

3. He will get straight down to brass tacks, namely, a direct question: What are Israel and the IDF prepared to contribute to his prime objective of destroying the Islamic State?
The prime minister will no doubt reply that Israel already contributes intelligence and other forms of assistance to the international war on Islamist terror. However, he will almost certainly find that this does not satisfy his host, who will ask for more direct Israeli military involvement in the campaign against ISIS.  Trump will point to the precedent of 2006, when Israeli special operations officers and soldiers took part in the fighting in Iraq.

Since the president intendeds for Saudi, Emirates and Egyptian troops to join his campaign against ISIS, he envisages their armies fighting shoulder to shoulder with the IDFand so providing an opening for diplomacy towards am Israeli-Arab peace accord.
Trump is holding in abeyance for a number of weeks his decision about transferring the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Meanwhile, he will expect to come to terms with Netanyahu on a US-Israel formula for the future of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, just as the late Ariel Sharon struck a deal with Bush.

READ DEBKA

*******

Russia Considers Returning Snowden to U.S. to ‘Curry Favor’ With Trump: Official

READ NBC NEWS

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Feb. 16, 2017: President Tiger eats herd of deer.

  • RUSH: I just want to characterize this press conference. It started off with the acknowledgment of the new labor secretary, whose name is Acosta. And then the president literally spelled out what he was doing. Let’s grab audio sound bite number 24. Here is his opening and explaining what he’s doing, what the purpose of the press conference was.
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THE PRESIDENT: I’m making this presentation directly to the American people with the media present, which is an honor to have you this morning because many of our nation’s reporters and folks will not tell you the truth and will not treat the wonderful people of our country with the respect that they deserve.

Unfortunately, much of the media in Washington, DC, along with New York, Los Angeles, in particular, speaks not for the people, but for the special interests and for those profiting off a very, very obviously broken system. The press has become so dishonest that if we don’t talk about it, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people, tremendous disservice. We have to talk about it to find out what’s going on because the press honestly is out of control.

RUSH: And he continued on that theme, and people that were watching this were no doubt cheering because it’s absolutely true. And he gave an example. And it turned out to be the example that I opened the program with. I’m at home last night, and I get this news alert from the Wall Street Journal. And it says that intelligence officials have considered Donald Trump to be so out of touch and so dangerous, they’re gonna stop sharing intelligence with him! And I looked, I said, “Well, this is a coup! This is a silent coup if this is true.” And I believed this. It’s the Wall Street Journal, for crying out loud.

I’m a student of the Drive-Bys, and I thought, “Man, this is… This is…” I started… You know, a couple of people that I respect, I fired off notes. “Did you see this? What do you think about this?” I had some discussions. And I get in here this morning and I find out that the whole thing was bogus, that there are intelligence people throughout the history of our country who do not share intel with the president because it’s bad, because it’s not worth anything! The Wall Street Journal took something that happens all the time and shaped it and made it look like it’s brand-new, unprecedented, because Trump is so dangerous and unhinged and bad that they can’t afford to share the intel with him.

And the underlying theme was, “We can’t let Trump see the intel because this guy is working with Russia, and he and Russia worked together to undermine our election.” They continue to have that narrative as what’s driving all of their approach to Trump. Everything they’re doing is rooted in that. Trump’s illegitimacy is rooted in a fake narrative that does not exist and did not happen, that the Russians affected the outcome of the election with the assistance of Donald Trump.

And that’s the rubric under which that news alert happened last night so Trump addressed it today and mentions how it’s just totally wrong and fake news and a disservice to the American people who read it. And he gave a couple of other examples, citing the New York Times. He did all of this, however, with good cheer. He wasn’t nearly as animated and quasi-angry as I am about it. He was, in fact, soft-spoken and measured. He came across as nonpartisan as you can in a political sense. But it was classic, and he just called them out. He called CNN out throughout this press conference as hate-filled and strangers to the truth, unable to report the truth, focused on not just disagreeing with him but hating him, and how this is a disservice to the American people.

One of the reporters from CNN, a guy named Jim Acosta — this was classic — stood up.The whole thing was classic ’cause Trump’s on one stage and they’re in another. And they’re in that room… Folks, you have to understand: They’re in that room to destroy him today. He announced a press conference. They’re in that room to destroy him, whether they want to admit it or not. And there were three or four questions today that I heard that left no doubt that’s what the purpose was.

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Despite everything he had said today, they asked these insolent questions, “Did you ever talk to Russia during the campaign?” Trump said (paraphrased), “How many times do I have to tell you? I don’t know anybody in Russia! I didn’t talk to anybody in Russia! We didn’t talk about…” He was just going on and on, but they kept asking the questions, because that’s all they’ve got. And they’ve got nothing there. The stories I have in the Stack today clearly state that there is no evidence.

These intel people trying to undermine Trump have had to admit that there is no evidence that, A, the Russians had anything to do with the outcome of our election or, B, Trump was working with them on it to undermine Hillary Clinton. And yet that continues to be the narrative that is fueling the press in their pursuit of Donald Trump. So the CNN guy stands up and effectively asks — I’m paraphrasing Jim Acosta — “Don’t you think…? Don’t you think that these routine attacks of yours on the press and on the media undermining the First Amendment by calling what we’re doing ‘fake news’?

“Aren’t you doing a terrible disservice to the Constitution and to the American people by criticizing the media?” And there it was. Sure as I’m sitting here watching, there it was. They can sit here all day and not just criticize. They can try to destroy people. They can — using whatever power they think they have been granted by the First Amendment — go out and literally destroy people. Let Trump criticize the way they do their jobs, and all of a sudden it’s a constitutional crisis. Well, how about Obama trashing me all the time?

How about Obama trashing Fox News all the time? Was that not a threat to the First Amendment? No, they applauded that. They still do applaud that. They join in the attacks on Fox News — and, more often than not, they join in attacks on me, too. But they want you to believe that they are this watchdog and that they’re holding truth to power, that they’re holding powerful people accountable. They’re not doing anything of the sort. The press has gotten to the point where they need a watchdog, and it turns out that Trump is the watchdog!

Trump is the guy holding them accountable.

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Trump is the guy calling them out. I’ve never seen anything like this today. I have never seen it. We have wanted Republican presidents all of my life to deal with these people this way, and the only thing we ever got was Spiro Agnew. We’ve not seen anything like this, and Trump did it with an air of confidence and self-assuredness. He was not nervous at all. He was having fun with them. He was toying with them. It’s like if you got a cat. You know how you get these little laser pointers and you have a little kitten or a cat and the cat goes nuts chasing the light? It will run into a wall. That’s what I was watching here today. It was just… It was fantastic, and the American people are gonna eat this up.

Now, I said yesterday on this program that what I thought Trump could do to recapture and regain control of the narrative here, if you will — of the agenda — is simply focus on the domestic agenda. Just get in gear and very publicly start talking about repealing Obamacare, tax reform, building the wall, immigration reform. All of it. Just go full speed at it, and in the process keep people who voted for him on his side and they won’t care about whatever these efforts are that the press is engaging in with the intel community to undermining him.

And make no mistake. And he called this out. He accused Obama of running the shadow government. He accused Hillary Clinton and George Soros of being the people paying for people to show up and protest things. He held nothing back! He ridiculed Hillary Clinton for being in part of a deal that gave up 20% of our uranium supply and for having that cheap little red reset button when she became secretary of state. And each time he mentions Obama. He mentions… He didn’t say “shadow government” but he said, “Our opponents are doing what they can.”

He called all of this fake news. He was on spot with all this. You know, it’s hard to say. You get caught up in the moment. But this was one of the most effective press conferences I’ve ever seen. The press is gonna hate him even more after this, don’t misunderstand. When I say “effective,” I’m talking about rallying people who voted for him to stay with him. He made a point (paraphrased), “What chaos? You people are reporting chaos here. We’re not in chaos! We’re a well-oiled machine. We got one of the smoothest running machines in the history of machines.

We got one of the best administrations in the history of administrations,” and he rattled off the achievements they’ve had here that the media’s not reporting ’cause they’re so focused on whether or not Trump worked with Russia to screw Hillary out of the presidency. He’s reassuring his people he’s on top ever and nothing’s changed, and everything that he campaigned on he is doing. All he’s doing is fulfilling campaign promises. And of course the Democrats don’t like it, and of course the media doesn’t like it, but it isn’t gonna stop him.

RUSH

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Sorry media — this press conference played very different with Trump’s supporters

Maybe it’s not a coincidence that Barnum & Bailey is folding its tents this year. After all, how could the circus possibly compete with Donald Trump?

The president proved once again that he is the greatest show on earth. Lions and tigers and elephants are kids’ stuff next to his high wire act.

Next time, the White House ought to sell popcorn.

Amid feverish reports of chaos on his team and with Democrats fantasizing that Russia-gate is another Watergate, Trump took center stage to declare that reports of his demise are just more fake news.

Far from dead, he was positively exuberant. His performance at a marathon press conference was a must-see-tv spectacle as he mixed serious policy talk with stand-up comedy and took repeated pleasure in whacking his favorite pinata, the “dishonest media.”

“Russia is a ruse,” he insisted, before finally saying under questioning he was not aware of anyone on his campaign having contact with Russian officials.

Trump’s detractors immediately panned the show as madness, but they missed the method behind it and proved they still don’t understand his appeal. Facing his first crisis in the Oval Office, he was unbowed in demonstrating his bare-knuckled intention to fight back.

He did it his way. Certainly no other president, and few politicians at any level in any time, would dare put on a show like that.

In front of cameras, and using the assembled press corps as props, he conducted a televised revival meeting to remind his supporters that he is still the man they elected. Ticking off a lengthy list of executive orders and other actions he has taken, he displayed serious fealty to his campaign promises.

Sure, sentences didn’t always end on the same topic they started with, and his claim to have won the election by the largest electoral college margin since Ronald Reagan wasn’t close to true.

Fair points, but so what? Fact-checkers didn’t elect him, nor did voters who were happy with the status quo.

Trump, first, last and always, matches the mood of the discontented. Like them, he is a bull looking for a china shop. That’s his ace in the hole and he played it almost to perfection.

The immediate impact of his performance is likely to calm some of the jitters among Republicans in congress and supporters elsewhere, especially after the beating he took in the last few days.

On Monday night, Trump suddenly removed Gen. Michael Flynn, his national security adviser, over circumstances that still are not entirely clear. And on Wednesday, his nominee for Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder, withdrew after Republicans said he didn’t have the votes to be confirmed.

Combined with courts blocking his immigration and refugee order, unflattering leaks of confidential material from intelligence agencies and numerous demands for investigations into any Russian connections, Trump’s fast start suddenly hit a wall.

Just three weeks into his term, Democrats, in and out of the media, smelled blood. Many already were going for the kill.

They won’t get it, at least now. Trump bought himself time yesterday.

Yet those determined to bring him down won’t give up, and the insidious leaks of secret material suggest some opponents are members of the permanent government who are willing to use their position and the media to undermine him.

Indeed, the most serious leaks seem to vindicate a warning that Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer made in early January after Trump criticized leaders of the spook agencies.

“Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer told an interviewer. “So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.”

That incredible statement reflects what a dangerous game rogue agents are playing. The world is on fire yet the president is the target of partisan revenge in his own government. It’s a scandal and it’s outrageous, but it’s a fact that Trump must confront.

Finding the leakers and prosecuting them, which he promises to do, is part of the solution.

Another part comes Saturday, when Trump takes his solo act to Florida for a massive public rally. It’s smart for him to get out of Washington and soak in the enthusiasm of the populist movement he leads.

He should do it regularly, and also hold smaller, town-hall style forums where ordinary citizens can ask him questions in more intimate settings. Any way he can speak directly to the American people and hear from them democratizes his presidency and reduces the power of big biased media and the Washington establishment.

Yet the only sure and lasting way to keep ahead of the lynch mob is by producing results. Success will be Trump’s savior.

And nothing says success like jobs, jobs, jobs. Getting the economy to reach lift-off speed is essential so it can deliver the good-paying jobs and prosperity that he promised and the nation needs.

While Republican honchos in congress say they’re getting ready to move on tax cuts and replacing ObamaCare, nothing will happen without presidential leadership. That means Trump’s fate is in his own hands and he must keep himself and his White House team focused on delivering an economic revival.

If he does that, the lynch mob will be left holding an empty rope.

READ THE NEW YORK POST

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The decision by all Senate Democrats to reject Betsy DeVos marked a new low for the flailing party.

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The Democratic Party has lost its mind — and its soul

History was made Tuesday when Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate to confirm Betsy DeVos as secretary of education.

But the necessity of Pence’s vote reflected another kind of history, too: The decision by all Senate Democrats to reject DeVos marked a new low for the flailing party.

Democrats claim to stand for the poor, immigrants and nonwhites. Yet given a chance to actually support someone who is dedicated to improving education for all America’s children, especially those trapped in failing urban schools, the Dems said no, hell no.

Joined by two Republicans, they stood in the schoolhouse door to block vital change, casting their lot with teachers unions that fear reform the way a vampire fears garlic.

Throw away all the subtexts and subterfuge, a defense of the rotten status quo is the only explanation for the bid to block DeVos. The teachers unions pulled the strings, and the political puppets danced to their masters’ tune.

DeVos survived because President Trump is determined to deliver a government that shatters the insiders’ perks and privilege and opens the door to new ways of doing things. In education, that means giving more parents the power of school choice and taking power away from the union establishment.

Millions of children, most poor and many black and Latino, are forced to attend failure factories that rob them of America’s promise. While family breakdown is a prime culprit, the social contract requires society to do its best to compensate.

And there is no question that charter schools, vouchers and other experiments offer the best hope for bringing fresh ideas and progress to educational deserts.

DeVos, a passionate crusader for excellence in the classroom, is just one of the Trump nominees Democrats tried to block in their insane attempts to destroy his presidency before it gets started.

No president has ever had so few cabinet members confirmed at this late date, just as no president has been confronted with such open talk of assassination and impeachment.

Speaking of which, have you heard a single Democrat decry the talk of assassination? Have you heard a single Democrat denounce the violence carried out by so-called protesters?

The answers are no and no because Dems see the riots and threats of violence as legitimate expressions of disapproval — and convenient for their purposes. Their contribution to the “resistance” started when 70 Democrats boycotted Trump’s inauguration and many senators boycotted confirmation hearings and votes. Maybe they’ll soon throw rocks through windows.

The madness was on full display Monday night when Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer boasted in a tweet from outside the Capitol that “While the GOP is pushing a vote on Betsy DeVos, the people are rallying outside. We’re with them.”

Think of that: The Democrats’ leader walks out on his job to play the role of a man of the people in a staged demonstration. This is a party that has lost its mind, as well as its soul.

Read it all @ THE NEW YORK POST

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President Trump warmly welcomes PM Netanyahu to the White House

Trump & Netanyahu agree: Israel-Gulf peace first

DEBKAfile Special Report
February 15, 2017, 9:30 PM (IDT)
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“One state, two states, I like this state,” Donald Trump joked, turning to visiting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when they addressed a wide-ranging, friendly news conference Wednesday, Feb.15, at the White House, ahead of their face-to-face talks.

Trump reacted positively to Netanyahu’s proposal to broaden the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to a regional effort as a “very important” new idea “on a broader canvas” which he believed could succeed. Netanyahu said that the regional fears of Iran also presented an opportunity for cooperation against the Islamic State and radical Islamic terror.

DEBKAfile reports that these sentiments reflected agreement in principle between Trump and Netanyahu to seek an Israeli peace accord with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates as the lead-in to negotiations for an accord with the Palestinians. Egypt, Jordan and Turkey with whom Israel already has normal relations would jump in later. This deal fits in with the US plan reported more than once on these pages for a regional peace between the Sunni Arab nations and the Jewish State.

Some of the spadework may have been performed by CIA Director Mike Pompeo who paid a secret visit to Ramallah Wednesday morning for talks with Mahmoud Abbas, after trips to Ankara and Riyadh, following which Turkey upgraded its diplomatic mission in Israel

This plan was the fulcrum for the president to push back against the two-state solution advocated by the Obama administration as the cure for the conflict. It remains to be seen if this plan takes on life outside the White House and in the region’s capitals.

Trump realistically called on Israel to “hold back settlements,” show flexibility and make compromises for a peace deal. He urged the Palestinians to “get rid of hate starting in the schoolroom.” Whatever the Israelis and Palestinians agree to in direct talks – one state or two – “I will accept,.” he said, adding “I believe we will have a deal that is better than many Israelis think.”

In answer to a question on settlements, Netanyahu replied that he did not believe they were the core of the conflict and the issue could be addressed in peace negotiations. With regard to a two-state formula, the prime minister said this was a label and he preferred to deal in substance. An independent state was contingent on the Palestinians recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, giving up incitement to violence and Israel remaining responsible for security up to the Jordan River. “Do we want another failed state, another terrorist state?” he asked.

Netanyahu commended the US President for pledging that Iran must never, ever obtain a nuclear weapon and stressed that its missile program was a threat – not only to Israel and the region, but to America due to the ICBMs under development and Iran’s plans for a nuclear arsenal.

President Trump greeted the Israeli leader with stress on the “unbreakable bond with our cherished ally, Israel” their cooperation against violence and terror and shared values in respect of human life. He said that his first sit-down with Netanyahu as president would be the first of “many productive meetings.”

The president made the exceptional gestures of welcoming Netanyahu and his wife Sarah at the door of the White House, with the First Lady at his side. The couples exchanged warm embraces.

Melania Trump took a seat beside Sarah Netanyahu in the front row of the news conference. They were joined by Ivanka and Jared Kushner, who holds the post of special adviser to the president.

Netanyahu ends his Washington visit Thursday after meeting Vice President Mike Pence and leaders of Congress.

READ DEBKA

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“Flynn’s ouster was a soft coup (or political assassination) engineered by anonymous intelligence community bureaucrats”

America’s spies anonymously took down Michael Flynn. That is deeply worrying.

by Damon Linker

The United States is much better off without Michael Flynn serving as national security adviser. But no one should be cheering the way he was brought down.

The whole episode is evidence of the precipitous and ongoing collapse of America’s democratic institutions — not a sign of their resiliency. Flynn’s ouster was a soft coup (or political assassination) engineered by anonymous intelligence community bureaucrats. The results might be salutary, but this isn’t the way a liberal democracy is supposed to function.

Unelected intelligence analysts work for the president, not the other way around. Far too many Trump critics appear not to care that these intelligence agents leaked highly sensitive information to the press — mostly because Trump critics are pleased with the result.

“Finally,” they say, “someone took a stand to expose collusion between the Russians and a senior aide to the president!”  It is indeed important that someone took such a stand. But it matters greatly who that someone is and how they take their stand.

Members of the unelected, unaccountable intelligence community are not the right someone, especially when they target a senior aide to the president by leaking anonymously to newspapers the content of classified phone intercepts, where the unverified, unsubstantiated information can inflict politically fatal damage almost instantaneously.

The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?

President Trump was roundly mocked among liberals for that tweet. But he is, in many ways, correct. These leaks are an enormous problem. And in a less polarized context, they would be recognized immediately for what they clearly are: an effort to manipulate public opinion for the sake of achieving a desired political outcome. It’s weaponized spin.

This doesn’t mean the outcome was wrong. I have no interest in defending Flynn, who appears to be an atrocious manager prone to favoring absurd conspiracy theories over more traditional forms of intelligence. He is just about the last person who should be giving the president advice about foreign policy. And for all I know, Flynn did exactly what the anonymous intelligence community leakers allege — promised the Russian ambassador during the transition that the incoming Trump administration would back off on sanctions proposed by the outgoing Obama administration.

But no matter what Flynn did, it is simply not the role of the deep state to target a man working in one of the political branches of the government by dishing to reporters about information it has gathered clandestinely. It is the role of elected members of Congress to conduct public investigations of alleged wrongdoing by public officials.

What if Congress won’t act? What if both the Senate and the House of Representatives are held by the same party as the president and members of both chambers are reluctant to cross a newly elected head of the executive branch who enjoys overwhelming approval of his party’s voters? In such a situation — our situation — shouldn’t we hope the deep state will rise up to act responsibly to take down a member of the administration who may have broken the law?

The answer is an unequivocal no.

In a liberal democracy, how things happen is often as important as what happens. Procedures matter. So do rules and public accountability. The chaotic, dysfunctional Trump White House is placing the entire system under enormous strain. That’s bad. But the answer isn’t to counter it with equally irregular acts of sabotage — or with a disinformation campaign waged by nameless civil servants toiling away in the surveillance state.

As Eli Lake of Bloomberg News put it in an important article following Flynn’s resignation,

Normally intercepts of U.S. officials and citizens are some of the most tightly held government secrets. This is for good reason. Selectively disclosing details of private conversations monitored by the FBI or NSA gives the permanent state the power to destroy reputations from the cloak of anonymity. This is what police states do. [Bloomberg]

Those cheering the deep state torpedoing of Flynn are saying, in effect, that a police state is perfectly fine so long as it helps to bring down Trump.

It is the role of Congress to investigate the president and those who work for him. If Congress resists doing its duty, out of a mixture of self-interest and cowardice, the American people have no choice but to try and hold the government’s feet to the fire, demanding action with phone calls, protests, and, ultimately, votes. That is a democratic response to the failure of democracy.

Sitting back and letting shadowy, unaccountable agents of espionage do the job for us simply isn’t an acceptable alternative.

Down that path lies the end of democracy in America.

READ “THE WEEK”

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UPDATE 2/17 — President Trump’s goal is to knock the Ayatollahs off their pedestal as the leading Middle East power

Su-24 warplanes buzzed the USS Porter destroyer in the Black Sea.

Overlaying US President Donald Trump’s extraordinary, hour-long skirmish with reporters Thursday, Feb. 16, was bitter frustration over the domestic obstacles locking him out from his top security and foreign policy goals. Even before his inauguration four weeks ago, he had arranged to reach those goals by means of an understanding with President Vladimir Putin for military and intelligence cooperation in Syria, both for the war on the Islamic State and for the removal of Iran and its Lebanese surrogate Hizballah from that country.

But his antagonists, including elements of the US intelligence community, were turning his strategy into a blunderbuss for hitting him on the head, with the help of hostile media. Thursday, in a highly unconventional meeting with the world media, he tried to hit back, and possibly save his strategy.

That won’t be easy. The exit of National Security Adviser Mike Flynn, the prime mover in the US-Russian détente, sent the Kremlin a negative signal. The Russians began unsheathing their claws when they began to suspect that the US president was being forced back from their understanding. The SSV 175 Viktor Leonov spy ship was ordered to move into position opposite Delaware on the East Coast of America; Su-24 warplanes buzzed the USS Porter destroyer in the Black Sea.

Before these events, Washington and Moscow wre moving briskly towards an understanding. DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources disclose that the Kremlin had sent positive messages to the White House on their joint strategy in Syria, clarifying that Moscow was not locked in on Bashar Assad staying on as president.
They also promised to table at the Geneva conference on Syria taking place later this month a demand for the all “foreign forces” to leave Syria. This would apply first and foremost to the pro-Iranian Iraqi, Pakistani and Afghan militias brought in by Tehran to fight for Assad under the command of Revolutionary Guards officers, as well as Hizballah.

Deeply troubled by this prospect, Tehran sent Iran’s supreme commander in the Middle East, the Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani, to Moscow this week to find out what was going on.

Flynn’s departure put the lid on this progress. Then came the damaging leak to the Wall Street Journal, that quoted an “intelligence official” as saying that his agencies hesitated to reveal to the president the “sources and methods” they use to collect information, due to “possible links between Trump associates and Russia.. Those links, he said “could potentially compromise the security of such classified information.”

A first-year student knows that this claim is nonsense, since no agency ever share its sources and methods with any outsider, however high-placed.

What the leak did reveal was that some Washington insiders were determined at all costs to torpedo the evolving understanding between the American and Russian presidents. The first scapegoat was the strategy the two were developing for working together in Syria.

Defending his policy of warming relations with Moscow, Trump protested that “getting along with Russia is not a bad thing.” He even warned there would be a “nuclear holocaust like no other” if relations between the two superpowers were allowed to deteriorate further.

It is too soon to say whether his Russian policy is finally in shreds or can still be repaired. Trump indicated more than once in his press briefing that he would try and get the relations back on track.

Asked how he would react to Russia’s latest provocative moves, he said: “I’m not going to tell you anything about what responses I do. I don’t talk about military responses. I don’t have to tell you what I’m going to do in North Korea,” he stressed.

At all events, his administration seems to be at a crossroads between whether to try and salvage the partnership with Russia for Syria, or treat it as a write-off. If the latter, then Trump must decide whether to send American troops to the war-torn country to achieve his goals, or revert to Barack Obama’s policy of military non-intervention in the conflict.

Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis treated relations with Moscow with kid gloves in his debut appearance before the Munich Security Conference on Thursday, Feb. 16. “We are not in a position right now to collaborate on a military level,” he said, then added: “But our political leaders will engage and try to find common ground.”

Later that day, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in another first diplomatic encounter by a Trump appointee, met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Bonn on the sidelines of the G20 ministerial meeting. He too laid stress on finding common ground between Washington and Moscow.

DEBKAfile’s sources report that the relations will quickly roll downhill without a strong hand to haul them back. It is up to Donald Trump to show whether or not he is capable of breaking through the siege clamped down on him by his enemies and save his key foreign policy goals. His next moves are being watched very intently in many parts of the world, especially in Middle East capitals. Governments in Tehran, Riyadh, Ankara, Damascus, Beirut, Abu Dhabi, Cairo and Jerusalem are bracing to jump either way.

READ DEBKA

*****

Coming Trump-Putin-Erdogan deal rumbles thru ME

DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis February 11, 2017


The NBC report that Russian President Vladimir Putin may be considering making President Donald Trump the “gift” of turning over former NSA analyst Edward Snowden is part of a much broader scheme that is already sending tremors through the Middle East. Snowden won asylum in Moscow after leaking secrets to journalists four years ago. The Trump administration appears to have leaked the rumor about the US leaker, seen by some Americans as a whistleblower, as a trial balloon in the secret give-and-take maneuvers afoot between the two presidents and a third, Turkey’s Reccep Tayyip Erdogan, over a trilateral pact for leading the war to eradicate ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

When Trump talked on the phone to Erdogan last Tuesday, Feb. 7, he was told that America’s extradition of Turkish opposition leader Fatullah Gulen was a sine qua non for any deal. Erdogan has accused Gulen, who lives in exile in America, of orchestrating the failed military coup against him last July and the plot for his assassination. Gulen denies he had any hand in the coup.

Erdogan made it clear to the US president that if he wants Turkey as a partner for fighting terror, Gulen’s party, whose FETO party he insists is a terror organization, must be included in that heading

  • Trump promised to examine Turkey’s Gulen dossier, which would have to stand up in a US court as sufficient grounds for extradition. Four days later, on Friday, Feb. 10, the new CIA Director Mike Pompeo arrived in Ankara on his first foreign trip, to discuss plans for cooperation in Syria. He was also handed the Gulen dossier.

The Trump administration then extendied this trade-off by a bid to gain the extradition from Moscow of Edward Snowden, whom the president has called a “spy” and a “traitor.” This would count as a gesture by Putin for promoting the three-way pact for their joint Middle East ventures.

From Ankara, the CIA director continued to Riyadh to see about harnessing the Saudis to those ventures.

Trump was deadly serious when he vowed that “The United States will swiftly and completely destroy the Islamic State – ISIS.” He is proposing to embark on a herculean task that calls for a coalition of several armies and whose consequences are unforeseen. When George W. Bush set out to destroy Al Qaeda in Iraq 11 years ago, he never imagined he was creating fertile soil for the rise of the equally menacing Islamic State. Therefore, the mission to destroy ISIS can’t stop there. The combatants must be ready to sustain a massive long-term military presence in the Middle East to make sure that a new bane does not raise its head.

  • Trump has also set his would-be partners a stiff price for their pact. It was signaled by the news report that his administration is contemplating branding Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps and its intelligence and operational arm, Al Qods, a terrorist organization. In addition to their combined war on ISIS, the US president is adamantly demanding that his designated allies come together to rid Syria, Iraq and Yemen of Iran’s military presence. This would require the overwhelming military presence in the Middle East of the combined might of the US, Russia, Turkish, Saudi and Egyptian armies.

His goal is to knock the Islamic Republic off its pedestal as the leading Middle East power set up by Barack Obama and his secretaries of state, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, in eight years of strenuous diplomacy and the outlay of hundreds of billions of dollars.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will therefore be bursting through an open door if he tries delivering a lengthy harangue to Trump on the threats posed by Iran and Hizballah when he begins a visit to Washington on Wednesday, Feb. 15. He would do better to ignore the counsels of the pundits and advisers at home who have not yet caught up with the new president in the White House, or grasped the scale of the earthquake Trump and Putin are preparing for the entire region.

Netanyahu will find the US president fully conversant with the Iranian threat to Israel. But he will also need to understand that there is a new way of doing business in Washington:

1. Trump sets his own order of priorities and will not be swayed by Israel.

2. He will always demand a quid pro quo for his cooperation.

3. He will get straight down to brass tacks, namely, a direct question: What are Israel and the IDF prepared to contribute to his prime objective of destroying the Islamic State?
The prime minister will no doubt reply that Israel already contributes intelligence and other forms of assistance to the international war on Islamist terror. However, he will almost certainly find that this does not satisfy his host, who will ask for more direct Israeli military involvement in the campaign against ISIS.  Trump will point to the precedent of 2006, when Israeli special operations officers and soldiers took part in the fighting in Iraq.

Since the president intendeds for Saudi, Emirates and Egyptian troops to join his campaign against ISIS, he envisages their armies fighting shoulder to shoulder with the IDFand so providing an opening for diplomacy towards am Israeli-Arab peace accord.
Trump is holding in abeyance for a number of weeks his decision about transferring the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Meanwhile, he will expect to come to terms with Netanyahu on a US-Israel formula for the future of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, just as the late Ariel Sharon struck a deal with Bush.

READ DEBKA

*******

Russia Considers Returning Snowden to U.S. to ‘Curry Favor’ With Trump: Official

READ NBC NEWS

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President Trump’s sharp warning on Friday, Feb. 3 – Iran “playing with fire”

trusod

Yemen shapes up for US-Iran military clash

DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis February 5, 2017

US special operations forces in Yemen

US special operations forces in Yemen

Eight armies are fighting for dominance in Yemen, a country of 25 million inhabitants: The Iranian-backed Houthi insurgents, together with a breakaway force, are battling the army loyal to President Abdulrabbuh Mansur Hadi, which is supported by Saudi, Egyptian and UAE military forces and their hired legion of Colombian mercenaries.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) elements, most acting as advisers to the Houthi rebels, intervene actively from time to time. Last October, they conducted missile attacks on US vessels on the Red Sea from shore batteries. In response, the US Navy on October 9 and 12 knocked out those batteries and the radar stations that were manned by IRGC teams.

Tehran countered by deploying to Yemen long-range Shahed 129 drones carrying Sadid-1 rockets and sowing sea mines around the international Bab Al-Mandeb Straits.

US President Donald Trump’s sharp warning on Friday, Feb. 3, after just two weeks in office, that Iran was “playing with fire” and the fresh round of sanctions he clamped down were galvanized by Iranian aggression in Yemen and the Red Sea as much as by its ballistic missile test.

And indeed, the deployment of the USS Cole destroyer to the strategic Red Sea Straits of Bab Al-Mandeb on the same day turned the compass needle toward the potential arena, should the escalating tension between the US and Yemen explode into a military encounter, such as a US special operations force going into Yemen to strike IRGC targets.

DEBKAfile’s sources report that the Trump administration would find this battleground expedient out of six considerations:

1. It would enable the US to keep the confrontation within controlled limits, by claiming it was acting against the Houthi insurgents in Yemen – not a directly attack Iran.

2. If Iranian Revolutionary Guards “happened” to be caught in the fire, Washington would ask what they were doing in Yemen, when Tehran denied its intervention in the Yemeni civil war.

3. Iran would not necessarily be compelled to hit back directly so long as the US avoids direct attacks on its soil.

4. It would provide serious support for the Saudi and UAE armies, whose armies’ entanglement in the Yemen conflict is deepening without their making real headway against the Houthis. President Trump would show Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Cairo, that he is on their side in the fight against Iran.

5. Iran is capable of coping with the regional armies ranged against the Houthi rebels, but any substantial US military intervention might force Iran to reconsider its support for the Yemeni insurgency.

6. The Russians are not involved in Yemen and any US intervention can be kept quite separate from the Trump administration’s evolving political and military partnership with Moscow in Syria.

By the same token, Washington is keeping its hands off Libya, where last week, the Russians began sending military advisers to assist the American-Libyan Gen. Khalifa Haftar, who controls large parts of the eastern oil-rich region. The planes which fly the advises in are carrying Hafter’s wounded men out to hospitals I Russia.

READ DEBKA

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The election of 2016 was a test — the final test. We The People were ready.

prezt

The Flight 93 Election

flight 93 election decius journal of american greatness

Reposted with permission from the Claremont Review of Books.

2016 is the Flight 93 election: charge the cockpit or you die. You may die anyway. You—or the leader of your party—may make it into the cockpit and not know how to fly or land the plane. There are no guarantees.

Except one: if you don’t try, death is certain. To compound the metaphor: a Hillary Clinton presidency is Russian Roulette with a semi-auto. With Trump, at least you can spin the cylinder and take your chances.

To ordinary conservative ears, this sounds histrionic. The stakes can’t be that high because they are never that high—except perhaps in the pages of Gibbon. Conservative intellectuals will insist that there has been no “end of history” and that all human outcomes are still possible. They will even—as Charles Kesler does—admit that America is in “crisis.” But how great is the crisis? Can things really be so bad if eight years of Obama can be followed by eight more of Hillary, and yet Constitutionalist conservatives can still reasonably hope for a restoration of our cherished ideals? Cruz in 2024!

Not to pick (too much) on Kesler, who is less unwarrantedly optimistic than most conservatives. And who, at least, poses the right question: Trump or Hillary? Though his answer—“even if [Trump] had chosen his policies at random, they would be sounder than Hillary’s”—is unwarrantedly ungenerous. The truth is that Trump articulated, if incompletely and inconsistently, the right stances on the right issues—immigration, trade, and war—right from the beginning.

But let us back up. One of the paradoxes—there are so many—of conservative thought over the last decade at least is the unwillingness even to entertain the possibility that America and the West are on a trajectory toward something very bad. On the one hand, conservatives routinely present a litany of ills plaguing the body politic. Illegitimacy. Crime. Massive, expensive, intrusive, out-of-control government. Politically correct McCarthyism. Ever-higher taxes and ever-deteriorating services and infrastructure. Inability to win wars against tribal, sub-Third-World foes. A disastrously awful educational system that churns out kids who don’t know anything and, at the primary and secondary levels, can’t (or won’t) discipline disruptive punks, and at the higher levels saddles students with six figure debts for the privilege. And so on and drearily on. Like that portion of the mass where the priest asks for your private intentions, fill in any dismal fact about American decline that you want and I’ll stipulate it.

Conservatives spend at least several hundred million dollars a year on think-tanks, magazines, conferences, fellowships, and such, complaining about this, that, the other, and everything. And yet these same conservatives are, at root, keepers of the status quo. Oh, sure, they want some things to change. They want their pet ideas adopted—tax deductions for having more babies and the like. Many of them are even good ideas. But are any of them truly fundamental? Do they get to the heart of our problems?

If conservatives are right about the importance of virtue, morality, religious faith, stability, character and so on in the individual; if they are right about sexual morality or what came to be termed “family values”; if they are right about the importance of education to inculcate good character and to teach the fundamentals that have defined knowledge in the West for millennia; if they are right about societal norms and public order; if they are right about the centrality of initiative, enterprise, industry, and thrift to a sound economy and a healthy society; if they are right about the soul-sapping effects of paternalistic Big Government and its cannibalization of civil society and religious institutions; if they are right about the necessity of a strong defense and prudent statesmanship in the international sphere—if they are right about the importance of all this to national health and even survival, then they must believe—mustn’t they?—that we are headed off a cliff.

But it’s quite obvious that conservatives don’t believe any such thing, that they feel no such sense of urgency, of an immediate necessity to change course and avoid the cliff. A recent article by Matthew Continetti may be taken as representative—indeed, almost written for the purpose of illustrating the point. Continetti inquires into the “condition of America” and finds it wanting. What does Continetti propose to do about it? The usual litany of “conservative” “solutions,” with the obligatory references to decentralization, federalization, “civic renewal,” and—of course!—Burke. Which is to say, conservatism’s typical combination of the useless and inapt with the utopian and unrealizable. Decentralization and federalism are all well and good, and as a conservative, I endorse them both without reservation. But how are they going to save, or even meaningfully improve, the America that Continetti describes? What can they do against a tidal wave of dysfunction, immorality, and corruption? “Civic renewal” would do a lot of course, but that’s like saying health will save a cancer patient. A step has been skipped in there somewhere. How are we going to achieve “civic renewal”? Wishing for a tautology to enact itself is not a strategy.

Continetti trips over a more promising approach when he writes of “stress[ing] the ‘national interest abroad and national solidarity at home’ through foreign-policy retrenchment, ‘support to workers buffeted by globalization,’ and setting ‘tax rates and immigration levels’ to foster social cohesion.” That sounds a lot like Trumpism. But the phrases that Continetti quotes are taken from Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam, both of whom, like Continetti, are vociferously—one might even say fanatically—anti-Trump. At least they, unlike Kesler, give Trump credit for having identified the right stance on today’s most salient issues. Yet, paradoxically, they won’t vote for Trump whereas Kesler hints that he will. It’s reasonable, then, to read into Kesler’s esoteric endorsement of Trump an implicit acknowledgment that the crisis is, indeed, pretty dire. I expect a Claremont scholar to be wiser than most other conservative intellectuals, and I am relieved not to be disappointed in this instance.

Yet we may also reasonably ask: What explains the Pollyanna-ish declinism of so many others? That is, the stance that Things-Are-Really-Bad—But-Not-So-Bad-that-We-Have-to-Consider-Anything-Really-Different! The obvious answer is that they don’t really believe the first half of that formulation. If so, like Chicken Little, they should stick a sock in it. Pecuniary reasons also suggest themselves, but let us foreswear recourse to this explanation until we have disproved all the others.

Whatever the reason for the contradiction, there can be no doubt that there is a contradiction. To simultaneously hold conservative cultural, economic, and political beliefs—to insist that our liberal-left present reality and future direction is incompatible with human nature and must undermine society—and yet also believe that things can go on more or less the way they are going, ideally but not necessarily with some conservative tinkering here and there, is logically impossible.

Let’s be very blunt here: if you genuinely think things can go on with no fundamental change needed, then you have implicitly admitted that conservatism is wrong. Wrong philosophically, wrong on human nature, wrong on the nature of politics, and wrong in its policy prescriptions. Because, first, few of those prescriptions are in force today. Second, of the ones that are, the left is busy undoing them, often with conservative assistance. And, third, the whole trend of the West is ever-leftward, ever further away from what we all understand as conservatism.

If your answer—Continetti’s, Douthat’s, Salam’s, and so many others’—is for conservatism to keep doing what it’s been doing—another policy journal, another article about welfare reform, another half-day seminar on limited government, another tax credit proposal—even though we’ve been losing ground for at least a century, then you’ve implicitly accepted that your supposed political philosophy doesn’t matter and that civilization will carry on just fine under leftist tenets. Indeed, that leftism is truer than conservatism and superior to it.

They will say, in words reminiscent of dorm-room Marxism—but our proposals have not been tried! Here our ideas sit, waiting to be implemented! To which I reply: eh, not really. Many conservative solutions—above all welfare reform and crime control—have been tried, and proved effective, but have nonetheless failed to stem the tide. Crime, for instance, is down from its mid-’70s and early ’90s peak—but way, way up from the historic American norm that ended when liberals took over criminal justice in the mid-’60s. And it’s rising fast today, in the teeth of ineffectual conservative complaints. And what has this temporary crime (or welfare, for that matter) decline done to stem the greater tide? The tsunami of leftism that still engulfs our every—literal and figurative—shore has receded not a bit but indeed has grown. All your (our) victories are short-lived.

More to the point, what has conservatism achieved lately? In the last 20 years? The answer—which appears to be “nothing”—might seem to lend credence to the plea that “our ideas haven’t been tried.” Except that the same conservatives who generate those ideas are in charge of selling them to the broader public. If their ideas “haven’t been tried,” who is ultimately at fault? The whole enterprise of Conservatism, Inc., reeks of failure. Its sole recent and ongoing success is its own self-preservation. Conservative intellectuals never tire of praising “entrepreneurs” and “creative destruction.” Dare to fail! they exhort businessmen. Let the market decide! Except, um, not with respect to us. Or is their true market not the political arena, but the fundraising circuit?

Only three questions matter. First, how bad are things really? Second, what do we do right now? Third, what should we do for the long term?

Conservatism, Inc.’s, “answer” to the first may, at this point, simply be dismissed. If the conservatives wish to have a serious debate, I for one am game—more than game; eager. The problem of “subjective certainty” can only be overcome by going into the agora. But my attempt to do so—the blog that Kesler mentions—was met largely with incredulity. How can they say that?! How can anyone apparently of our caste (conservative intellectuals) not merely support Trump (however lukewarmly) but offer reasons for doing do?

One of the Journal of American Greatness’s deeper arguments was that only in a corrupt republic, in corrupt times, could a Trump rise. It is therefore puzzling that those most horrified by Trump are the least willing to consider the possibility that the republic is dying. That possibility, apparently, seems to them so preposterous that no refutation is necessary.

As does, presumably, the argument that the stakes in 2016 are—everything. I should here note that I am a good deal gloomier than my (former) JAG colleagues, and that while we frequently used the royal “we” when discussing things on which we all agreed, I here speak only for myself.

How have the last two decades worked out for you, personally? If you’re a member or fellow-traveler of the Davos class, chances are: pretty well. If you’re among the subspecies conservative intellectual or politician, you’ve accepted—perhaps not consciously, but unmistakably—your status on the roster of the Washington Generals of American politics. Your job is to show up and lose, but you are a necessary part of the show and you do get paid. To the extent that you are ever on the winning side of anything, it’s as sophists who help the Davoisie oligarchy rationalize open borders, lower wages, outsourcing, de-industrialization, trade giveaways, and endless, pointless, winless war.

All of Trump’s 16 Republican competitors would have ensured more of the same—as will the election of Hillary Clinton. That would be bad enough. But at least Republicans are merely reactive when it comes to wholesale cultural and political change. Their “opposition” may be in all cases ineffectual and often indistinguishable from support. But they don’t dream up inanities like 32 “genders,” elective bathrooms, single-payer, Iran sycophancy, “Islamophobia,” and Black Lives Matter. They merely help ratify them.

A Hillary presidency will be pedal-to-the-metal on the entire Progressive-left agenda, plus items few of us have yet imagined in our darkest moments. Nor is even that the worst. It will be coupled with a level of vindictive persecution against resistance and dissent hitherto seen in the supposedly liberal West only in the most “advanced” Scandinavian countries and the most leftist corners of Germany and England. We see this already in the censorship practiced by the Davoisie’s social media enablers; in the shameless propaganda tidal wave of the mainstream media; and in the personal destruction campaigns—operated through the former and aided by the latter—of the Social Justice Warriors. We see it in Obama’s flagrant use of the IRS to torment political opponents, the gaslighting denial by the media, and the collective shrug by everyone else.

It’s absurd to assume that any of this would stop or slow—would do anything other than massively intensify—in a Hillary administration. It’s even more ridiculous to expect that hitherto useless conservative opposition would suddenly become effective. For two generations at least, the Left has been calling everyone to their right Nazis. This trend has accelerated exponentially in the last few years, helped along by some on the Right who really do seem to merit—and even relish—the label. There is nothing the modern conservative fears more than being called “racist,” so alt-right pocket Nazis are manna from heaven for the Left. But also wholly unnecessary: sauce for the goose. The Left was calling us Nazis long before any pro-Trumpers tweeted Holocaust denial memes. And how does one deal with a Nazi—that is, with an enemy one is convinced intends your destruction? You don’t compromise with him or leave him alone. You crush him.

So what do we have to lose by fighting back? Only our Washington Generals jerseys—and paychecks. But those are going away anyway. Among the many things the “Right” still doesn’t understand is that the Left has concluded that this particular show need no longer go on. They don’t think they need a foil anymore and would rather dispense with the whole bother of staging these phony contests in which each side ostensibly has a shot.

If you haven’t noticed, our side has been losing consistently since 1988. We can win midterms, but we do nothing with them. Call ours Hannibalic victories. After the Carthaginian’s famous slaughter of a Roman army at Cannae, he failed to march on an undefended Rome, prompting his cavalry commander to complain: “you know how to win a victory, but not how to use one.” And, aside from 2004’s lackluster 50.7%, we can’t win the big ones at all.

Because the deck is stacked overwhelmingly against us. I will mention but three ways. First, the opinion-making elements—the universities and the media above all—are wholly corrupt and wholly opposed to everything we want, and increasingly even to our existence. (What else are the wars on “cis-genderism”—formerly known as “nature”—and on the supposed “white privilege” of broke hillbillies really about?) If it hadn’t been abundantly clear for the last 50 years, the campaign of 2015-2016 must surely have made it evident to even the meanest capacities that the intelligentsia—including all the organs through which it broadcasts its propaganda—is overwhelmingly partisan and biased. Against this onslaught, “conservative” media is a nullity, barely a whisper. It cannot be heard above the blaring of what has been aptly called “The Megaphone.”

Second, our Washington Generals self-handicap and self-censor to an absurd degree. Lenin is supposed to have said that “the best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.” But with an opposition like ours, why bother? Our “leaders” and “dissenters” bend over backward to play by the self-sabotaging rules the Left sets for them. Fearful, beaten dogs have more thymos.

Third and most important, the ceaseless importation of Third World foreigners with no tradition of, taste for, or experience in liberty means that the electorate grows more left, more Democratic, less Republican, less republican, and less traditionally American with every cycle. As does, of course, the U.S. population, which only serves to reinforce the two other causes outlined above. This is the core reason why the Left, the Democrats, and the bipartisan junta (categories distinct but very much overlapping) think they are on the cusp of a permanent victory that will forever obviate the need to pretend to respect democratic and constitutional niceties. Because they are.

It’s also why they treat open borders as the “absolute value,” the one “principle” that—when their “principles” collide—they prioritize above all the others. If that fact is insufficiently clear, consider this. Trump is the most liberal Republican nominee since Thomas Dewey. He departs from conservative orthodoxy in so many ways that National Review still hasn’t stopped counting. But let’s stick to just the core issues animating his campaign. On trade, globalization, and war, Trump is to the left (conventionally understood) not only of his own party, but of his Democratic opponent. And yet the Left and the junta are at one with the house-broken conservatives in their determination—desperation—not merely to defeat Trump but to destroy him. What gives?

Oh, right—there’s that other issue. The sacredness of mass immigration is the mystic chord that unites America’s ruling and intellectual classes. Their reasons vary somewhat. The Left and the Democrats seek ringers to form a permanent electoral majority. They, or many of them, also believe the academic-intellectual lie that America’s inherently racist and evil nature can be expiated only through ever greater “diversity.” The junta of course craves cheaper and more docile labor. It also seeks to legitimize, and deflect unwanted attention from, its wealth and power by pretending that its open borders stance is a form of noblesse oblige. The Republicans and the “conservatives”? Both of course desperately want absolution from the charge of “racism.” For the latter, this at least makes some sense. No Washington General can take the court—much less cash his check—with that epithet dancing over his head like some Satanic Spirit. But for the former, this priestly grace comes at the direct expense of their worldly interests. Do they honestly believe that the right enterprise zone or charter school policy will arouse 50.01% of our newer voters to finally reveal their “natural conservatism” at the ballot box? It hasn’t happened anywhere yet and shows no signs that it ever will. But that doesn’t stop the Republican refrain: more, more, more! No matter how many elections they lose, how many districts tip forever blue, how rarely (if ever) their immigrant vote cracks 40%, the answer is always the same. Just like Angela Merkel after yet another rape, shooting, bombing, or machete attack. More, more, more!

This is insane. This is the mark of a party, a society, a country, a people, a civilization that wants to die. Trump, alone among candidates for high office in this or in the last seven (at least) cycles, has stood up to say: I want to live. I want my party to live. I want my country to live. I want my people to live. I want to end the insanity.

Yes, Trump is worse than imperfect. So what? We can lament until we choke the lack of a great statesman to address the fundamental issues of our time—or, more importantly, to connect them. Since Pat Buchanan’s three failures, occasionally a candidate arose who saw one piece: Dick Gephardt on trade, Ron Paul on war, Tom Tancredo on immigration. Yet, among recent political figures—great statesmen, dangerous demagogues, and mewling gnats alike—only Trump-the-alleged-buffoon not merely saw all three and their essential connectivity,but was able to win on them. The alleged buffoon is thus more prudent—more practically wise—than all of our wise-and-good who so bitterly oppose him. This should embarrass them. That their failures instead embolden them is only further proof of their foolishness and hubris.

Which they self-laud as “consistency”—adherence to “conservative principle,” defined by the 1980 campaign and the household gods of reigning conservative think-tanks. A higher consistency in the service of the national interest apparently eludes them. When America possessed a vast, empty continent and explosively growing industry, high immigration was arguably good policy. (Arguably: Ben Franklin would disagree.) It hasn’t made sense since World War I. Free trade was unquestionably a great boon to the American worker in the decades after World War II. We long ago passed the point of diminishing returns. The Gulf War of 1991 was a strategic victory for American interests. No conflict since then has been. Conservatives either can’t see this—or, worse, those who can nonetheless treat the only political leader to mount a serious challenge to the status quo (more immigration, more trade, more war) as a unique evil.

Trump’s vulgarity is in fact a godsend to the conservatives. It allows them to hang their public opposition on his obvious shortcomings and to ignore or downplay his far greater strengths, which should be even more obvious but in corrupt times can be deliberately obscured by constant references to his faults. That the Left would make the campaign all about the latter is to be expected. Why would the Right? Some—a few—are no doubt sincere in their belief that the man is simply unfit for high office. David Frum, who has always been an immigration skeptic and is a convert to the less-war position, is sincere when he says that, even though he agrees with much of Trump’s agenda, he cannot stomach Trump. But for most of the other #NeverTrumpers, is it just a coincidence that they also happen to favor Invade the World, Invite the World?

Another question JAG raised without provoking any serious attempt at refutation was whether, in corrupt times, it took a … let’s say … “loudmouth” to rise above the din of The Megaphone. We, or I, speculated: “yes.” Suppose there had arisen some statesman of high character—dignified, articulate, experienced, knowledgeable—the exact opposite of everything the conservatives claim to hate about Trump. Could this hypothetical paragon have won on Trump’s same issues? Would the conservatives have supported him? I would have—even had he been a Democrat.

Back on planet earth, that flight of fancy at least addresses what to do now. The answer to the subsidiary question—will it work?—is much less clear. By “it” I mean Trumpism, broadly defined as secure borders, economic nationalism, and America-first foreign policy. We Americans have chosen, in our foolishness, to disunite the country through stupid immigration, economic, and foreign policies. The level of unity America enjoyed before the bipartisan junta took over can never be restored.

But we can probably do better than we are doing now. First, stop digging. No more importing poverty, crime, and alien cultures. We have made institutions, by leftist design, not merely abysmal at assimilation but abhorrent of the concept. We should try to fix that, but given the Left’s iron grip on every school and cultural center, that’s like trying to bring democracy to Russia. A worthy goal, perhaps, but temper your hopes—and don’t invest time and resources unrealistically.

By contrast, simply building a wall and enforcing immigration law will help enormously, by cutting off the flood of newcomers that perpetuates ethnic separatism and by incentivizing the English language and American norms in the workplace. These policies will have the added benefit of aligning the economic interests of, and (we may hope) fostering solidarity among, the working, lower middle, and middle classes of all races and ethnicities. The same can be said for Trumpian trade policies and anti-globalization instincts. Who cares if productivity numbers tick down, or if our already somnambulant GDP sinks a bit further into its pillow? Nearly all the gains of the last 20 years have accrued to the junta anyway. It would, at this point, be better for the nation to divide up more equitably a slightly smaller pie than to add one extra slice—only to ensure that it and eight of the other nine go first to the government and its rentiers, and the rest to the same four industries and 200 families.

Will this work? Ask a pessimist, get a pessimistic answer. So don’t ask. Ask instead: is it worth trying? Is it better than the alternative? If you can’t say, forthrightly, “yes,” you are either part of the junta, a fool, or a conservative intellectual.

And if it doesn’t work, what then? We’ve established that most “conservative” anti-Trumpites are in the Orwellian sense objectively pro-Hillary. What about the rest of you? If you recognize the threat she poses, but somehow can’t stomach him, have you thought about the longer term? The possibilities would seem to be: Caesarism, secession/crack-up, collapse, or managerial Davoisie liberalism as far as the eye can see … which, since nothing human lasts forever, at some point will give way to one of the other three. Oh, and, I suppose, for those who like to pour a tall one and dream big, a second American Revolution that restores Constitutionalism, limited government, and a 28% top marginal rate.

But for those of you who are sober: can you sketch a more plausible long-term future than the prior four following a Trump defeat? I can’t either.

The election of 2016 is a test—in my view, the final test—of whether there is any virtù left in what used to be the core of the American nation.

If they cannot rouse themselves simply to vote for the first candidate in a generation who pledges to advance their interests, and to vote against the one who openly boasts that she will do the opposite (a million more Syrians, anyone?), then they are doomed.

They may not deserve the fate that will befall them, but they will suffer it regardless.

 

READ MICHAEL ANTON

Michael Anton is now President Trump’s senior director of strategic communications at the National Security Council.

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Democrats and state media … “a calculated plan to wreck the presidency, whatever the cost to the country”

Can we say the media will now correct its excess of bile and cover Trump as a legitimate president and not as an invasive species?

No, no, no. On the contrary, we must say that Trump aide Steve Bannon was on target when he called the Washington media “the opposition party.”

libsidi

(Excerpt)

Stick a toe into the toxic sludge that passes for straight-news coverage in the Washington Post, the New York Times and others. Look for the use of tell words like “Muslim ban” to describe an executive order that is no such thing.

Look for hero worship of protesters, immigrants, refugees, lawyers rushing to the barricades and congressional critics. Look, too, at the Twitter feeds of editors and reporters from those papers and the major networks.

You’ll see their embrace of everything anti-Trump, further evidence they are part of a movement to obstruct the president, not cover him.

Consider, too, their rediscovered love for Republican Sen. John McCain, a man they ignored during the eight-year reign of their savior, Barack Obama. McCain is again the good maverick because he is bucking the media’s permanent enemy, Republicans.

Yet if the media is the opposition party, what is the Democratic Party? It’s supposed to be the loyal opposition, using checks and balances to restrain the president and the excess of one-party rule.

Protesters gather at JFK Airport

Unfortunately, the Dems are following a dangerously different path. Starting with a wide boycott of the inauguration and including their boycott of committee votes on Trump’s cabinet and their pledge to filibuster any Supreme Court nominee, Democrats resemble a party fomenting a secession movement.

Some call it Trump Derangement Syndrome, but that’s too kind. It’s not a temporarily insane reaction, it’s a calculated plan to wreck the presidency, whatever the cost to the country.

Things never seen in the modern era are now rapidly becoming common. Impeachment talk already is rumbling in the party’s hothouses, and Trump was met with a lawsuit the minute he took the oath.

Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, the top Dems in Congress, led a raucous demonstration Monday night, as if they are community organizers. And Obama couldn’t bear the irrelevance after eight days out of office and felt compelled to encourage disruptions.

This is Third World behavior and it’s now the M.O. of one of America’s two political parties.

Then there’s California, the epicenter of Dem strength. Radicals there, spurred on by pro-Mexico immigrants, are ginning up an effort to split from the United States and they might get a proposal on the ballot. I say we take their wine and let them go.

If California secedes and its 55 electoral votes come off the board, Dems will never win another American election. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton could become president of the breakaway state and the rest of us would be free of the Clinton stain.

Secession is one way the swamp could drain itself. Sally Yates’ way is another. 

yates

The acting attorney general was rightfully sacked the instant after she climbed a soapbox and refused to defend Trump’s executive order in court. It would have been a more admirable gesture if she had the decency to resign. Instead, she thought she could defy the president and keep the job.

Her choice was not a minor act of insubordination. It was a public challenge to the constitutional authority of the president, a power left to Congress and the judiciary.

As a result, she was shunned and hid in disgrace. Oh, wait, that’s what would happen in a better world. In this one, Democrats hailed her as a “patriot” amid predictions a political star is born.

My prediction is that Dems are digging their own grave and their revolt against his legitimacy will, in the short term at least, boost Trump’s popularity. Most Americans will conclude he is honestly trying to fulfill the mandate he won and that the fevered rush to destroy him is neither principled nor patriotic.

READ THE NEW YORK POST

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UPDATED: U.S. – Russia – Turkey to secure Syria. Iran forced out.

DEBKAfile:  Jan.31, 2017 – UPDATE:  “Iran can no longer doubt that the two powers, America and Russia, have ganged up to push the Islamic Republic out of their way. Trepidation in Tehran was articulated on Monday, Jan. 30, at a convention staged in the Iranian capital to celebrate 515 years of Iranian-Russian relations, an anniversary that would not normally be marked by a special event.

In his opening remarks, Foreign Minster Mohammed Zarif Javad said: that Iran and Russia “need to have far more extensive relations,” and “few countries in the world have relations as deep and historical as Iran and Russia.” 

This sounded like an appeal to Moscow for protection against the new US president. It most likely fell on deaf ears. Putin is fully engaged in promoting his new relations with Donald Trump.”

An order to remain stationary was issued Thursday night, Jan. 26, by the Russian Commander in Syria Lt. Gen. Alexander Zhuravlev to the high commands of the Syrian army and of Iranian and Shiite forces positioned in Aleppo, as well as Hizballah units in all parts of Syria. This order has so far been obeyed. It followed the Trump-Putin deal for joint action in Syria, which has caused alarm in Tehran.

« Breaking News »

Russian heavy bombers again strike Deir ez-Zour to break ISIS offensive 

DEBKAfile January 31, 2017

Six Tu-22M3 long-range Russian bombers went into action again over the eastern Syrian town of Deir ez-Zour Monday, to break the back of the fresh offensive ISIS launched last week (first revealed by DEBKAfile on Jan. 28) to seize parts of the key town and air field still in Syrian government hands. The Russian defense ministry reported that the “precision strikes targeted and destroyed two ISIS command centers, weapons and ammunitions depots and jihadist manpower”

Sukhoi-30SM and Sukhoi-35S fighter jets from the Khmeimim air base provided protection for the Russian bombers.

The first Russian Tupelev bomber strike last week at Deir ez-Zour, an important Syrian oil center and ISIS link to Iraq, was escorted by US Hornets, also the first Russian-US joint operation of the Trump administration.

*******

 

syria_safezones

DEBKAfile – January 26, 2017 – Syria stands on the threshold of dramatic changes that will directly impact on the strategic and military situation along the Syrian borders with Israel and Jordan, DEBKAfile reports exclusively.

They derive from a deal struck this week by US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin to establish US, Russian and Turkish security zones in Syria. This scheme will transfer military control of the country to those three powers. Each of them will be responsible for a zone whose borders will be defined and agreed upon by Washington, Moscow and Ankara.

As part of this arrangement, all forces from the Iranian military, the pro-Iranian Shiite militias and Hizballah will be required to leave Syria.

The US military is to have two security zones – one covering the entire area east of the Euphrates River up to the Iraqi border including Kurdish areas (see attached map). This arrangement will partly resurrect the accord reached in late 2015 by US President Barack Obama and Putin, for the division of Syria into areas of influence. All territory east of the Euphrates was allocated to the US, with Russia taking responsibility for all areas west of the river until the Mediterranean coast. .

Under the new deal, the Turkish area is to stretch about 650 kilometers along the entire Syria-Turkey border and extend between 35 and 50 kilometers into Syrian territory up to Al-Bab, the town where the Turkish military is engaged in its third straight month of fighting for its capture from ISIS.

DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report that the overriding change on the ground will be the establishment of a second US security zone adjacent to Syria’s borders with Israel and Jordan. It means that the approximately 7,500 US special operations forces troops currently in Jordan will be shifted northward into southern Syria.

Russia had originally planned to deploy Syrian military, pro-Iranian Shiite militia and Hizballah forces in battles for the capture of land around the cities of Derra and Quneitra on the Syrian side of the Golan. That plan has been dropped and will be superseded by the deployment in southern Syria of US troops accompanied by Jordanian special forces and Syrian rebels, trained by American instructors in Jordanian military camps.

READ DEBKA

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President Trump: “We will never, ever stop fighting on behalf of the American People.”

Dear Democrats, 

Elections have consequences

pet3

Trump: ‘We Are Fulfilling the Promise We Made’

President reaffirms commitment to ‘fighting on behalf’ of the people in first weekly address

President Trump reaffirmed his commitment to “fighting on behalf of the American people” and summarized the actions he took during his first week in office during his first weekly White House address Saturday.

After acknowledging the “enormous responsibilities” that the people placed upon him and his administration, Trump was pleased to report back to Americans the steps he took to protect the country’s citizens, dismantle disastrous trade deals and boost the economy to benefit American workers. Following an eventful week of meetings and signing executive orders, Trump promised that better days were ahead as the country charts its new course.

“Every day, we are fulfilling the promise we made to the American People,” Trump said.

Trump recounted how he met with the leaders of several of the country’s top manufacturing companies and labor unions to discuss how to boost the economy and make the nation more business-friendly and worker-friendly.

“My message was clear: we want to make things in America, and we want to use American workers,” Trump said. “Since my election, many companies have announced they are no longer moving jobs out of our country but are instead keeping and creating jobs right here in America.”

 

Trump signed an executive order withdrawing the U.S. from the “disastrous” Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal with the goal of negotiating “one-on-one deals that protect American workers.” The president also signed an executive order that prepared the country for the upcoming repealing and replacing of Obamacare. Trump also ordered that construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines be resumed following months of heated controversy. His one stipulation was that the pipelines be built with “American steel and manufactured here” to boost the economy and create jobs.

Another executive order involved speeding up the process for manufacturing plants and new infrastructure to acquire permits, and perhaps one of Trump’s biggest moves toward fulfilling his campaign promises involved ordering the construction of a border wall to commence. The president also cracked down on cities with “sanctuary city” policies by denying them federal funding if they refuse to comply with federal laws and officials.

“[Sanctuary cities] are not safe. We have to take care of that horrible situation,” the president said.

Above all, the president sought to assure Americans that both he and his administration have the country’s best interests in mind.

“This administration has hit the ground running at a record pace, everybody is talking about it,” Trump said. “We are doing it with speed and we are doing it with intelligence and we will never, ever stop fighting on behalf of the American People.”

Read PoliZette

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UPDATED: “Obama deliberately blinded us to security threats, in the name of political correctness and left-wing ideology”

UPDATE: Americans want immigrants from unstable nations vetted … support Trump 57% – 33%

Monday, January 30, 2017

Most voters approve of President Trump’s temporary halt to refugees and visitors from several Middle Eastern and African countries until the government can do a better job of keeping out individuals who are terrorist threats.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 57% of Likely U.S. Voters favor a temporary ban on refugees from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen until the federal government approves its ability to screen out potential terrorists from coming here. Thirty-three percent (33%) are opposed, while 10% are undecided.

READ RASMUSSEN REPORTS

********

We’re being effectively told by the theatrical class to tolerate a certain amount of Islamic terrorism because their feelings would be hurt by the tough measures we need protest ourselves from a tough enemy.”

 Seven Inconvenient Facts About Trump’s Refugee Actions

by JOHN HAYWARD 

The sober and logical reasons for President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees and visitors are rising above the noise after an evening of hysterical over-reactions and emotional meltdowns on the nation’s TV networks.

Advocates of sane, secure immigration policy have long noted that it’s almost impossible to have a reasonable discussion of the refugee and immigration issues, because it’s been sentimentalized and politicized beyond the realm of rational thought.

This weekend brings them another superb example of media-magnified shrieking about fascism, bleating about “white nationalists,” howling about “religious persecution,” false invocations of the Constitution, and theatrical sobbing on behalf of the Statue of Liberty.

For readers who want to wallow in the emotion, examples can be found in this handy dossier of hysteria compiled by the Washington Post. But clear-eyed adults prefer to examine plain facts about Trump’s executive order:

1. It is NOT a “Muslim ban.” You will search the Executive Order in vain for mentions of Islam, or any other religion. By Sunday morning, the media began suffering acute attacks of honesty and writing headlines such as “Trump’s Latest Executive Order: Banning People From 7 Countries and More” (CNN) and printing the full text of the order.

Granted, CNN still slips the phrase “Muslim-majority countries” into every article about the order, including the post in which they reprinted its text in full, but CNN used the word “Muslim,” not Trump. The order applies to all citizens of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. It does not specify Muslims. The indefinite hold on Syrian refugees will affect Christians and Muslims alike.

As Tim Carney at the Washington Examiner points out, the largest Muslim-majority countries in the world are not named in the Executive Order.

More countries may be added to the moratorium in the days to come, as the Secretary of Homeland Security has been instructed to complete a 30-day review of nations that don’t provide adequate information for vetting visa applicants.

It’s also noteworthy that the ban is not absolute. Exceptions for “foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas” are expressly made in the order. The Departments of State and Homeland Security can also grant exceptions on a “case-by-case basis,” and “when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked.”

There is a provision in the Executive Order that says applications based on religious persecution will be prioritized “provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.”

This has been denounced as a “stealth Muslim ban” by some of the very same people who were conspicuously silent when the Obama administration pushed Christians – who the most savagely persecuted minority in the Middle East, with only the Yazidis offering real competition — to the back of the migration line.

2. The order is based on security reviews conducted by President Barack Obama’s deputies. As White House counselor Kellyanne Conway pointed out on “Fox News Sunday,” the seven nations named in Trump’s executive order are drawn from the Terrorist Prevention Act of 2015. The 2015 “Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015” named Iraq, Iran, Sudan, and Syria, while its 2016 update added Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.

“These are countries that have a history of training, harboring, exporting terrorists. We can’t keep pretending and looking the other way,” said Conway.

3. The moratorium is largely temporary. Citizens of the seven countries named as security risks are banned from entering the United States for the next 90 days. Refugee processing is halted for 120 days. The longest-lived aspect of the ban may prove to be the halt on Syrian refugees, but that isn’t given a time frame at all. It will last “until such time as I have determined that sufficient changes have been made to the USRAP to ensure that admission of Syrian refugees is consistent with the national interest,” as President Trump wrote.

4. Obama banned immigration from Iraq, and Carter banned it from Iran.
“Fact-checking” website PolitiFact twists itself into knots to avoid giving a “true” rating to the absolutely true fact that Jimmy Carter banned Iranian immigration in 1980, unless applicants could prove they were enemies of the Khomenei theocracy.

One of Politifact’s phony talking points states that Carter “acted against Iranian nationals, not an entire religion.” As noted above, Trump’s Executive Order is precisely the same – it does not act against an “entire religion,” it names seven countries.

As for Barack Obama, he did indeed ban immigration from Iraq, for much longer than Trump’s order bans it from the seven listed nations, and none of the people melting down today uttered a peep of protest. Richard Grenell summed it up perfectly in a Tweet:

Obama took 6 months to review screening for 1 country. Trump will take 3 months for 7 countries. @realDonaldTrump

 

5. Trump’s refugee caps are comparable to Obama’s pre-2016 practices: David French, who was touted as a spoiler candidate to keep Donald Trump out of the White House during the presidential campaign – in other words, not a big Trump fan – wrote a lengthy and clear-headed analysis of the Executive Order for National ReviewHe noted that after the moratorium ends in 120 days, Trump caps refugee admissions at 50,000 per year… which is roughly the same as President Obama’s admissions in 2011 and 2012, and not far below the 70,000 per year cap in place from 2013 to 2015.

Obama had fairly low caps on refugees during the worst years of the Syrian civil war. He didn’t throw open the doors to mass refugee admissions until his final year in office. Depending on how Trump’s review of Syrian refugee policy turns out, he’s doing little more than returning admissions to normal levels after a four-month pause for security reviews.

6. The Executive Order is legal: Those invoking the Constitution to attack Trump’s order are simply embarrassing themselves. The President has clear statutory authority to take these actions. As noted, his predecessors did so, without much controversy.

Most of the legal arguments against Trump’s order summarized by USA Today are entirely specious, such as attacking him for “banning an entire religion,” which the order manifestly does not do. Critics of the order have a political opinion that it will in effect “ban Muslims,” but that’s not what it says. Designating specific nations as trouble spots and ordering a pause is entirely within the President’s authority, and there is ample precedent to prove it.

It should be possible to argue with the reasoning behind the order, or argue that it will have negative unintended consequences, without advancing hollow legal arguments. Of course, this is America 2017, so a wave of lawsuits will soon be sloshing through the courts.

7. This Executive Order is a security measure, not an arbitrary expression of supposed xenophobia. Conway stressed the need to enhance immigration security from trouble spots in her “Fox News Sunday” interview. French also addressed the subject in his post:

When we know our enemy is seeking to strike America and its allies through the refugee population, when we know they’ve succeeded in Europe, and when the administration has doubts about our ability to adequately vet the refugees we admit into this nation, a pause is again not just prudent but arguably necessary. It is important that we provide sufficient aid and protection to keep refugees safe and healthy in place, but it is not necessary to bring Syrians to the United States to fulfill our vital moral obligations.

French’s major objection to the Executive Order is that applying it to green-card holders is “madness,” but unfortunately many of the terrorists who attacked Americans during the Obama years were green-card holders. Daniel Horowitz and Chris Pandolfo addressed that subject at Conservative Review:

Both liberals and conservatives expressed concern over hundreds of individuals going over to fight for ISIS. We are already limited in how we can combat this growing threat among U.S. citizens. Given that it is completely legal to exclude non-citizens upon re-entry, Trump extended the ban to legal permanent residents as well.

If a Somali refugee is travelling back to Somalia (so much for credible fear of persecution!), government officials should have the ability to prevent that person from coming back when necessary. Obviously, there are some individuals from these seven countries who already have green cards and we might not want to exclude. That is why the order grants discretion to the State Department to issue case-by-case exemptions for “religious persecution, “or when the person is already in transit and denying admission would cause undue hardship.” A CBP agent is always stationed at any international airport from which these individuals would board a direct flight to the United States (Paris and Dubai, for example). That individual would not allow anyone covered by this ban onto a U.S.-bound flight unless he grants them a hardship exemption.

Indeed, it appears that green card holders returning yesterday from those seven countries were all granted entry.

Because he is a progressive globalist, Obama deliberately blinded us to security threats, in the name of political correctness and left-wing ideology. Ninety or 120 days isn’t much time for Trump to turn all that around, especially because it is unlikely much will change in the seven countries Trump named.

The hysterical reaction to Trump’s order illustrates the very thing that worries advocates of strong immigration security: Americans’ security is the lowest priority, far below progressive ideology, crass political opportunism, and emotional theater.

We’re being effectively told by the theatrical class to tolerate a certain amount of Islamic terrorism because their feelings would be hurt by the tough measures we need protest ourselves from a tough enemy. But this time, President Trump is proving tough enough to push our security up into the top priority.

READ BREITBART

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UPDATED: U.S. – Russia – Turkey to secure Syria. Iran forced out.

1-31-2017 – UPDATE:  “Iran can no longer doubt that the two powers, America and Russia, have ganged up to push the Islamic Republic out of their way. Trepidation in Tehran was articulated on Monday, Jan. 30, at a convention staged in the Iranian capital to celebrate 515 years of Iranian-Russian relations, an anniversary that would not normally be marked by a special event.

In his opening remarks, Foreign Minster Mohammed Zarif Javad said: that Iran and Russia “need to have far more extensive relations,” and “few countries in the world have relations as deep and historical as Iran and Russia.” This sounded like an appeal to Moscow for protection against the new US president. It most likely fell on deaf ears. Putin is fully engaged in promoting his new relations with Donald Trump.”

An order to remain stationary was issued Thursday night, Jan. 26, by the Russian Commander in Syria Lt. Gen. Alexander Zhuravlev to the high commands of the Syrian army and of Iranian and Shiite forces positioned in Aleppo, as well as Hizballah units in all parts of Syria. This order has so far been obeyed. It followed the Trump-Putin deal for joint action in Syria, which has caused alarm in Tehran.

« Breaking News »

Russian heavy bombers again strike Deir ez-Zour to break ISIS offensive 

DEBKAfile January 31, 2017

Six Tu-22M3 long-range Russian bombers went into action again over the eastern Syrian town of Deir ez-Zour Monday, to break the back of the fresh offensive ISIS launched last week (first revealed by DEBKAfile on Jan. 28) to seize parts of the key town and air field still in Syrian government hands. The Russian defense ministry reported that the “precision strikes targeted and destroyed two ISIS command centers, weapons and ammunitions depots and jihadist manpower”

Sukhoi-30SM and Sukhoi-35S fighter jets from the Khmeimim air base provided protection for the Russian bombers.

The first Russian Tupelev bomber strike last week at Deir ez-Zour, an important Syrian oil center and ISIS link to Iraq, was escorted by US Hornets, also the first Russian-US joint operation of the Trump administration.

*******

 

syria_safezones

Syria stands on the threshold of dramatic changes that will directly impact on the strategic and military situation along the Syrian borders with Israel and Jordan, DEBKAfile reports exclusively.

They derive from a deal struck this week by US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin to establish US, Russian and Turkish security zones in Syria. This scheme will transfer military control of the country to those three powers. Each of them will be responsible for a zone whose borders will be defined and agreed upon by Washington, Moscow and Ankara.

As part of this arrangement, all forces from the Iranian military, the pro-Iranian Shiite militias and Hizballah will be required to leave Syria.

The US military is to have two security zones – one covering the entire area east of the Euphrates River up to the Iraqi border including Kurdish areas (see attached map). This arrangement will partly resurrect the accord reached in late 2015 by US President Barack Obama and Putin, for the division of Syria into areas of influence. All territory east of the Euphrates was allocated to the US, with Russia taking responsibility for all areas west of the river until the Mediterranean coast. .

Under the new deal, the Turkish area is to stretch about 650 kilometers along the entire Syria-Turkey border and extend between 35 and 50 kilometers into Syrian territory up to Al-Bab, the town where the Turkish military is engaged in its third straight month of fighting for its capture from ISIS.

DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report that the overriding change on the ground will be the establishment of a second US security zone adjacent to Syria’s borders with Israel and Jordan. It means that the approximately 7,500 US special operations forces troops currently in Jordan will be shifted northward into southern Syria.

Russia had originally planned to deploy Syrian military, pro-Iranian Shiite militia and Hizballah forces in battles for the capture of land around the cities of Derra and Quneitra on the Syrian side of the Golan. That plan has been dropped and will be superseded by the deployment in southern Syria of US troops accompanied by Jordanian special forces and Syrian rebels, trained by American instructors in Jordanian military camps.

READ DEBKA

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The Natural: “He’s taking every opportunity to forge strong bonds with congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle”

Trump’s White House Charm Offensive a Contrast to Solitary Obama

Spokesman: New president wants ‘strong bonds with congressional leaders’

By John T. Bennett – Posted Jan 25, 2017 

GettyImages-632479752.jpg

President Donald Trump delivers opening remarks during a meeting with, from left to right, Wendell Weeks of Corning, Alex Gorsky of Johnson & Johnson, Michael Dell of Dell Technologies and other other business leaders in the Roosevelt Room at the White House January 23, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Eric Schultz, a senior aide to then-President Barack Obama, delivered the line with a perfect deadpan. The delivery, including the glance toward reporters, summed up the Obama administration’s view about hobnobbing with Congress.

“On Thursday, the president and first lady will attend the Congressional Ball at the White House,” Schultz said on Dec. 2, pausing for a second before delivering the punchline — “one of our favorites.” Reporters gathered in the White House briefing room responded with a combination of knowing chuckles, groans and hoots.

It conjured up a scene from the 2013 White House Correspondents’ Dinner when Obama revealed his feelings about socializing with lawmakers.

“Some folks still think I don’t spend enough time with Congress,” Obama joked at the annual gala. “‘Why don’t you have a drink with Mitch McConnell?’ they ask. Really? Why don’t ‘you’ get a drink with Mitch McConnell?”

Fast forward nearly two months from Schultz’s telling remark. The new president, Donald Trump, spent his first two full days of work doing what his predecessor rarely did. Trump used the White House, its many ornate rooms and the power of the Oval Office, to chat up senior lawmakers from both parties, and to impress corporate executives and union workers.

Obama clung to his senior staff and thick briefing books. But Trump kicked off his tenure with what amounts to a charm offensive, bringing in CEOs and congressional leaders on Monday and Tuesday.

Playing the room

He used the showy State Dining Room to chat with House and Senate brass on Monday as rain fell outside. On a credenza, an assortment of finger foods were available, including meatballs, shrimp cocktail and sliders.

Journalists who were allowed into the room captured pictures of Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer chatting with Trump. Off to the side, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell leaned over and said something quietly to White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

On Monday evening, McConnell returned to the Capitol and told reporters he enjoyed the president and Schumer trading notes on everyone they knew in New York, their shared home state.

The State Dining Room was all laughs when a press pool entered to find Trump and the senior Republicans and Democrats seated around a massive table. “We’re about to make a deal,” the new president joked.

“He’s taking every … opportunity to forge strong bonds with congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Monday.

On Tuesday morning, the president used the stately Roosevelt Room to host U.S. auto industry executives — just a day earlier, he had done the same with other private-sector honchos.

As the meeting got started, the president, whom House Speaker Paul D. Ryan says wants to push “an ambitious agenda,” employed chivalry and humor.

As his high-powered breakfast guests took their seats, Trump played the role of gentleman, holding General Motors CEO Mary Barra’s chair.

“Let me help you with that,” said the victorious presidential candidate, whose campaign trail comments and a leaked “Access Hollywood” video caused millions of women around the globe to protest last Saturday.

Then came more humor that got a big laugh from the car executives, when the president suggested they go around the table for introductions: “I’ll start. I’m Donald Trump.”

Over the last eight years, Obama and his aides hosted private-sector officials and stakeholders from the nonprofit world regularly. But the 44th president was often criticized for not socializing more with lawmakers, though his top aides near the end essentially argued a president should not have to — and expressed their belief that Republicans poisoned the relationship from the start.

George Mason University public policy professor James Pfiffner wrote in his book “The Modern Presidency” that “presidents are … well-advised to ‘court’ Congress, that is, build up a reservoir of goodwill that can be called upon when it is needed in a close vote.”

Former presidents have invited members to the executive mansion for dinner, cocktail hours, movie-viewing in its theater — Harry Truman even hosted poker games, Pfiffner noted. “These were not occasions for arm-twisting or lobbying for specific votes, but rather for low-key socializing and building up the rapport that might help in later situations,” he wrote.

The 45th chief executive seems to realize that all jokes are funnier — and more memorable — coming from POTUS inside the walls of the executive mansion. (Consider Obama’s highlight reel of “dad jokes” for instance.)

On a mission

But the meetings with lawmakers and the titans of industry haven’t been merely social occasions. During the Monday evening session, the president “made it clear” to congressional leaders that “he expects no delays in getting his agenda through Congress and out of Washington,” Spicer said Tuesday.

Trump and his team clearly believe the meetings are a strong suit of the new president. Spicer told reporters Tuesday he wants to expand them by bringing in governors and other factions from Capitol Hill.

Though he delivered that stern message about the agenda to congressional leaders this week, Spicer described Trump as largely treating the meetings like a listening tour.

The new president enjoys “hearing the feedback” of corporate bosses, lawmakers and union workers, Spicer said, noting that Trump wants their ideas on easing regulations, creating jobs and bolstering the U.S. manufacturing sector.

Contact Bennett at johnbennett@cqrollcall.com. Follow him on Twitter @BennettJohnT.

See more at: ROLL CALL

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Remember the Trump shaming ad “Our Children Are Watching”? .. WATCH the updated version.

Hillary’s campaign had it on TV for months. Praised by Democrats/ Media, it was considered by them a brilliant political ad. But now their disgraceful chickens have come home to roost.

 

THE WASHINGTON FREE BEACON

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“To tell the story of how Donald Trump’s campaign won this election is to tell the story of how he won Pennsylvania”

 

How Trump made small-town America matter again

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The first time Donald J. Trump stepped onstage in Pennsylvania in April 2016 at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, it was clear something very different was going on in this state, with this candidate.

It was not because the rally was massive, or because it was boisterous, or that it was poorly organized, though all those things were true. Having already attended 18 of his rallies throughout primary states across the country, I found, in fact, that it looked very familiar.

It was different because it was in Pennsylvania.

It was a campaign that was designed to fail from the very beginning. Trump had no grass-roots organization in the first caucus state of Iowa, while former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush had locked up the best operative in the Hawkeye State. Trump didn’t have any street cred with evangelical voters, while Texas Sen. Cruz not only had that, he had an app to get them out to vote.

Trump lost Iowa to Cruz, but not by much. Bush was dealt a devastating blow, finishing in sixth place, a bruising indictment of all things establishment.

By the time Trump arrived in New Hampshire, then South Carolina and Florida, he still had no staff, he still had no money, he still hadn’t built any relationships with the stakeholders who typically brought folks out to vote.

Everywhere Trump went, he was fighting with the establishment, he was fighting with the Democrats — even fighting his own campaign staffers.

Yet he won all three states, handily ending the candidacies of Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, proving he didn’t need the establishment, he didn’t need the stakeholders and he didn’t need the money.

All he needed was that connection that he had with the people and that simple but brilliant tangible benefit he was offering to take them toward, the cry of “Make America great again.”

All he needed were the rallies. It was the secret sauce that reporters, pollsters, academics and critics almost all missed.

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Trump’s plan was a genius gamble; use the press to get his message out, which he did, doing sometimes 10 to 12 media hits a day across the cable and network news shows. They were sometimes long-winded, rambling streams of consciousness, they were oftentimes controversial — and they never failed to get everyone’s attention.

In those moments, he tapped into a populist sentiment of enough with all things big: big banks, big government, big bureaucracies. Voters were tired of adapting to every new elite, politically correct edict, tired of being scolded by their betters and, most of all, tired of being left behind.

In primary after primary, they voted against their ideologies and, sometimes, their best interests. They crossed party lines when they could in open primaries and switched parties in closed primaries.

By the time he arrived in Pennsylvania in April, a state that had not seen a contentious Republican primary since the 1980 Ronald Reagan-George H.W. Bush contest, Trump had already annihilated 15 of his 17 Republican rivals.

And while no one was looking, 90,000 registered Democrats switched their affiliation to vote for him in the primary.

The only two left to battle against him in the Keystone State were Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who was born there, and Cruz, who had built up an army of pledged delegates in the state. Pennsylvania has a quirky delegate system: The winner is not who has the most votes, but who has the most pledged delegates, a process that requires a candidate to have deep establishment connections to the delegates and the willingness to win them over.

Cruz had plenty of that and Kasich was trying, but Trump was about to show everyone he knew how to connect when needed.

The drive from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg on old US Route 22 to see Trump’s first rally took an hour longer than on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, but the trip began to tell the story of how this candidate would most definitely be the Republican nominee, and possibly the president.

Town after town was worn down by neglect. Main Street shopping districts were half boarded up, sometimes with only a Dollar General store serving as an anchor. Voters were angry with Washington, DC, disappointed in President Obama, and were tired that every time they sent DC a message with their votes, elected officials misread it.

At the Farm Complex, the event center was bursting at the seams. Inside, about 6,000 people patiently waited, and outside, an additional 6,000 who could not get in and were being harassed by anti-Trump protesters.

His supporters chanted, “Build that wall” and “Get a job” at the protesters who volleyed a with a singsong, profanity-laced version of the chants. When the protesters shouted, “Black lives matter” over and over, Trump’s crowd responded with, “Blue lives matter.”

Voters were angry with Washington, DC, disappointed in President Obama, and were tired that every time they sent DC a message with their votes, elected officials misread it

Inside, Trump walked onstage to a deafening greeting and said, “Oh, we’re gonna build the wall.”

Six days later, he won the state in historical numbers over Cruz and Kasich, capturing all 67 counties, a feat no one had ever achieved. He won the delegates as well, securing the nomination — perhaps not officially, but certainly emotionally.

The numbers showed he won the support of the majority of men and women, voters with incomes over $100,000 and under $50,000, and Republicans in cities, suburbs and rural areas. He also won among voters under 45 and those 45 and older, as well as moderates and conservatives.

In short, his victory was the result of a growing coalition that no one understood. To tell the story of how Donald Trump’s campaign won this election is to tell the story of how he won Pennsylvania in the general election.

As with the primary contests, his state operation was lean on staff, and its mailing effort was the least resourced of all the battleground states.

What he did have was David Urban, a longtime Pennsylvania operative who knew the state and its people inside and out.

Urban also know his best campaign strategy was to have Trump there once a week between the convention and Election Day, and he did just that, with Scranton serving as the bookend appearances.

Urban placed him not only in Scranton, where a Republican presidential candidate hadn’t won in a generation, but he also shuttled Trump to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Hershey and Gettysburg. The crowds were historic. The enthusiasm was not only palpable at the events, but it created a trickle-down impact — yard signs.

truyd

Experts will tell you yard signs do not matter, but they were so symbolic of Trump’s unorthodox campaign style: If he was not in your face on television, he sure was in your face with his yard signs in your neighborhood, large ones, small ones, homemade signs with colorful anecdotes, and even an entire house painted red, white and blue with a 15-foot-tall steel cutout figure of Trump guarding it. So many visitors came from around the country to see the roadside spectacle (they averaged 1,400 a day), an around-the-clock security guard had to be on duty.

Every poll told you Trump was losing; every conversation you had with someone told you otherwise.

When I interviewed Trump in September, right before he was to speak at the shale conference to hundreds of oil and gas small-business men and women in Pittsburgh, he was centered and gracious.

“Two things people don’t know about me,” he said as the interview was wrapping up. “I am humbled by the people who do support me, because most of them are the ones who are almost to the point of giving up hope, and we can’t have that in America.

“And the other thing is people don’t know that I am nice, that I am a nice person.” 

By the time Election Day came around, Trump had visited Pennsylvania 15 times in 13 weeks, with his children and vice-presidential nominee, Mike Pence, making dozens of visits in between.

As with Trump’s visits to Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin, experts chuckled at the waste of time and effort in states they believed he would never win. But the campaign believed there were plenty of Trump-Pence voters hiding in plain sight.

In the end, he pulled off a stunning win in Pennsylvania, turning out voters in counties like Luzerne, Erie, Cambria, Washington and Westmoreland at a rate that eventually would offset Hillary Clinton’s solid numbers in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

The key was picking off Obama Democrats in the suburbs and rural areas, and getting regular Republican midterm voters, but squeamish presidential voters, energized. It worked. Just as it worked in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Florida and North Carolina.

Trump’s win was threefold. It occurred during populist unrest; he was unlike anyone whom voters had ever seen before; and the experts misjudged how disliked Obama’s policies were, because the focus was too much on his personal popularity. Data was never able to track that type of emotional push against government.

In a republic that is 240 years old, it isn’t often that a political occurrence can surprise. The 2016 presidential race was one that will go down in the history books, marking a rare occasion when a true populist was able to transfer that energy into votes.

READ THE NEW YORK POST

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Commentariat July 2016 : Trump’s speech was dark, angry. Commentariat Jan 2017: Trump’s speech was dark, weird.

“Where journalists and pundits saw darkness, the people who came to the inauguration saw promise”

pet13

The President’s Speech

“It was a Trump speech,” said Beth Lesser, a Donald Trump supporter from Greenville, S.C., after listening to the president’s inaugural address on the Mall.

“He hasn’t changed at all — and I don’t want him to.”

Lesser was one of the thousands who traveled a long way to come to the inauguration, and who loved what they heard. They didn’t come to hear soaring rhetoric from Donald Trump. They didn’t come to hear Trump try to sound like Marco Rubio or, God forbid, Barack Obama. They came to hear Trump sound like himself.

That’s what they got. And to them, Inauguration Day was a day of hope.

“It brings some hope that we’re going to have a new direction for the country, that we’re going to create a real economic recovery,” said Rick Fischer, who organized for Trump in Fairfax County, Virginia.

“I think this really restores our country to its place in the world as far as a leader is concerned,” said Patrick O’Neal, of Atlanta.

“To me, it means the future of America,” said Emily Ovecka, who volunteered for Trump in Philadelphia.

“It means the return of optimism,” said Phil Bell, of Vienna, Virginia. “We’ve had years and years where I personally, and I think a lot of people, have felt simply like we didn’t have an opportunity.”

Talking to people on the Mall was like entering a universe entirely apart from that of the political commentariat. In the pundits’ world, Trump delivered a pessimistic and foreboding address, one sure to further divide the nation. The adjective of choice was “dark.”

“Unusually dark,” wrote The Atlantic.

“Short, dark, and defiant,” wrote USA Today.

“A dark vision,” wrote the Los Angeles Times. There were many, many more.

Where journalists and pundits saw darkness, the people who came to the inauguration saw promise. For example — and this should shock no one who has spent even a minute paying attention to politics — they really liked it when Trump talked about jobs.

Indeed, the biggest applause line in the area where I was standing was when Trump said, “We will get our people off of welfare and back to work — rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.”

Where the pundits heard a “dark, weird” speech (New York magazine) or a “dark, raw” speech (Vanity Fair), or a “dark, hard-line” speech (the New York Times), the audience heard the possibility that jobs — not just low-paying service jobs, but better, higher-paying jobs — would come back to their communities.

“It’s the first time we’ve been excited and looking forward to a government,” said Jay Leone, of Long Island, New York. “I think it marks the beginning of a new era, hopefully, for prosperity and jobs and security.”

Trump’s speech was remarkable in that he spent a significant amount of time bashing the political establishment arrayed behind him on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol. That was just fine with the people standing in front of him.

“For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost,” Trump said. “Washington flourished — but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered — but the jobs left, and the factories closed.”

“The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country,” Trump continued. “Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.”

The people who come to inaugurations are a new president’s biggest supporters. Out where I was standing — the podium was far, far away — there were no bigwigs, no people who would have reservations Friday night at Washington’s priciest restaurants. Some had traveled a long way, but a lot were from neighboring Eastern Seaboard states. And many said they believed in Donald Trump from nearly the first day.

prezt7.jpg

Patrick O’Neal, a Trump supporter from the get-go, said he booked tickets on Amtrak and made hotel reservations for January 20, 2017 in Washington back in January 2016. He felt that strongly that Trump would win.

For Diane and Fran Ventura, from Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, Trump was a cause and a business. When I told them I was talking to people who were wearing MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN hats, Diane pulled out a bag of them. “We’ve sold about 4,000,” she said. “We started supporting Mr. Trump the day he announced he was running, 586 days ago.”

It turns out the Venturas run a marketing firm and were the source not only of a zillion hats, but the thousands of Trump yard signs that popped up during the campaign in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.

“We worked hard for this, we prayed hard for this, and God heard our prayers,” Diane said. “America’s been given a second chance.”

From the moment Trump finished speaking, many analysts compared the inaugural address to Trump’s Republican convention acceptance speech last summer. And indeed, much of the punditocracy’s reaction to that speech was the same as its reaction to this one: it was “dark.”

Immediately after the convention speech, I asked 20 people in Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena, in quick succession, what they thought of it. They all thought it was great. Of course, those were the type of Republican loyalists who actually attended a GOP convention. On the Mall Friday, there were the type of Republican loyalists who attend a Republican presidential nomination.

The bigger question last summer — and now — was how the vastly larger TV audience would see the speech. As it turned out, Trump actually got a bounce from the convention. (It was short-lived, given that Trump created enormous problems for himself the very next week with the Khizr Khan affair.) At the very least, it’s fair to say that Trump’s convention speech did not keep him from winning the general election.

Now, Trump has given another speech with worlds-apart reactions from the commentators and the people who came to see him. Dark? On the Mall, people saw Trump’s speech as a ray of sunshine.

“It means we have a chance,” said Liz Rawlings, of Annapolis, Maryland. “We have a chance to move our country forward.”

READ BYRON YORK

*******

UPDATE: The People do not agree with State Media’s takeaway from Trump’s convention. (imagine that)

Polling Data

LA Times/USC 7/20 – 7/26 2112 LV 47 40 Trump +7
Poll Date Sample MoE Trump (R) Clinton (D) Spread
RCP Average 7/11 – 7/24 44.1 43.9 Trump +0.2
CBS News 7/22 – 7/24 1118 RV 4.0 44 43 Trump +1
CNN/ORC 7/22 – 7/24 882 RV 3.5 48 45 Trump +3
LA Times/USC 7/18 – 7/24 2083 LV 45 41 Trump +4
Gravis 7/21 – 7/22 3462 RV 1.7 51 49 Trump +2
Select one or more years, states and race types, then click “Apply Filter” to see results.

 *******

 In Cleveland, the GOP’s ‘come-to-Trump moment’

 

CLEVELAND — There’s always been a disconnect between what pundits and political insiders hear when Donald Trump speaks and what rank-and-file Republicans hear. But when Trump gave his acceptance address on the last night of the GOP convention here in Cleveland Thursday night, the opinion gap was absolutely vast.

To the critics offering first opinions on Twitter, Trump’s 75-minute speech was dark, angry, bigoted, fear-mongering, deceitful and more. And to the thousands of Republicans in the room at the Quicken Loans Arena, it was … great.

Immediately after Trump finished, as the halls filled with delegates and activists on their way to after-convention parties, I asked people for quick reactions to the speech. These are the first 20 reactions I got:

“Awesome.”

“He rocked it.”

“I loved it — it was fabulous.”

“Wonderful — everything about law and order and the military — it was huge.”

“Oh my gosh, I was blown away.”

“Great — very presidential, actually.”

“A grand slam.”

“Fabulous — will go down in history as a great speech.”

“LGBTQ — I was so happy. He nailed that one.”

“A phenomenal job. I get how he speaks to people.”

“It was a total out-of-body experience. I’ve never been so filled with hope and gratitude and excitement for our kids. He was John Wayne — the cavalry is on the way.”

“Ronald Reagan on steroids.”

“A home run, full of red meat for Republicans and conservatives.”

“Incredible — touched all the bases.”

“Superb — he hit every point. Just great.”

“He’s going to make American great again, and I believe him.”

“He’s so articulate about his vision and his plan, and he gives us confidence he can do it.”

“Entertaining and uplifting, with substance too.”

“Absolutely pitch perfect, full of details. There’s so much we have to fix.”

“I loved it. Four years ago it was one-man-one-woman, and this year we actually heard ‘LGBTQ.’ I teared up. It made me so happy.”

Of course, those were the people in the hall, committed Republicans all. They weren’t the millions of general-election voters watching on TV. But their reactions, along with a lot of other signs, suggested at the least that whatever Republican disunity existed going into the convention had disappeared going out.

“Everybody has a come-to-Trump moment,” a Southern politico who originally did not support Trump explained not long after Trump formally won the Republican nomination Tuesday night. The GOP’s get-on-board moment came later this year than in recent presidential elections, but it finally arrived at Quicken Loans on Thursday.

In a backhanded way, the previous night’s Ted Cruz debacle helped make it happen. What the widely negative reaction to Cruz showed was that the delegates and Republican activists gathered here no longer have any appetite for the conflicts of the GOP primary season.

Those conflicts officially ended when the 1,237th delegate cast a vote for Trump, making him the party’s nominee. Cruz tried to extend the fight. It didn’t work.

In conversation after conversation over four days, delegates and other attendees said something like this: “Donald Trump wasn’t my first choice. But he’s the nominee. The primaries are over. It’s time to get behind him.”

Some added this: “I wasn’t all that happy about supporting John McCain, but they told me to support the party’s nominee. I wasn’t all that happy about supporting Mitt Romney, but they told me to support the party’s nominee. Now it’s time to support the party’s nominee.”

Trump’s speech generally followed the themes his campaign mapped out for each night of the convention — make America safe again, make America work again, make America first again and make America one again. But Trump’s strongest moments — and by far the passages that won the most enthusiastic response from the audience — focused on safety and security.

Pointing to Dallas, Baton Rouge, Orlando, San Bernardino and more, Trump said, “The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities threaten our very way of life. Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country.”

The response was strong from an overwhelmingly pro-police crowd. And later, when a Code Pink demonstrator staged what has become a traditional disruption of the GOP gathering and was taken out by authorities, Trump ad-libbed, “How great are our police?” The ovation was thunderous.

If the applause meter were the only guide, Trump should probably talk about police all the time.

It was just one part of Trump’s appeal to voters who believe something has gone terribly wrong in the United States. “This is a speech trying to speak to the seven out of 10 Americans who say we are on the wrong track and the half who say we are less safe today,” tweeted the Republican pollster and Washington Examiner columnist Kristen Soltis Anderson.

There’s no doubt that for the Republicans who came to Cleveland, the convention, occasionally troubled, ended on a high note. (As such things go, the balloon drop at the end was epic.)

This is impressionistic, but there seemed to be an unmistakable enthusiasm deficit in the convention’s first three days. Of course there were moments, like Rudy Giuliani’s amped-up address on Monday night. But in general, the excitement level seemed lower and significant numbers of seats remained empty, even during the prime-time parts of the program.

That changed with Trump’s appearance on Thursday. At the very least, the RNC finally had a lot of happy customers. The (vastly) bigger question, of course, is what those millions watching on TV thought.

Did they see darkness and anger, as the commentariat did? Or did they see an extraordinary political performer with the potential to actually fix the nation’s problems? Now the campaign begins in earnest.

********************************

MORE –

Donald Trump’s RNC address could mark the start of an American revival

Not surprisingly, from start to finish, it is muscular and bold, leavened only by appeals to racial harmony and pledges of compassion for all. It offers a prominent nod to Bernie Sanders’ supporters in a bid to get some to jump the Democratic ship.

Most important, it keeps faith with his campaign themes of putting forgotten Americans first. In contrasting his view with his opponent’s, the Republican nominee put it this way: “Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo.”

And “I am your voice.”

And then this: “There can be no prosperity without law and order.”

On paper, the speech is powerful, and it was delivered with all the might Trump could muster. Passionate and occasionally strident, then mellow and playful, he revealed a full Trump Doctrine that weaves together what has often seemed random threads and instincts into a more coherent vision.

He would unleash America’s energy production, use trade deals to help blue-collar workers and fix the broken immigration system so that cheap labor doesn’t undercut wages and overwhelm our social safety net.

He would ensure public safety, rebuild the military and destroy global terrorism. And he forcefully and repeatedly cemented the image of the GOP as the pro-police party, a strong contrast with Democrats, who are recklessly becoming the anti-police party.

Trump laid out such a huge undertaking, sweeping in its goals and potential impacts, that achieving even half of it would lead to an economic revival and end the nation’s crisis of confidence. If he focused on just what he outlined last night, and he should, Trump would be a very busy man every minute for the next four years.

In that context, he addressed the inevitable sense that little change can come in a nation so polarized and gridlocked by reminding the raucous convention that he wasn’t even supposed to be standing before them. And in a line that captured his remarkable attack on the political status quo, he said, “The politicians have talked about this for years, but I’m going to do it.”

There is, at this point, no reason to believe he doesn’t mean every word of it. Whatever his past habits and lifestyle, whatever caricature he has been reduced to, the seriousness of his purpose is no longer in doubt. He is a man on a mission.

As befits an acceptance speech, the promises flowed like water, yet the important things stand out. This one, from his prepared remarks, was especially powerful: “On January 20th of 2017, the day after I take the oath of office, Americans will finally wake up in a country where the laws of the United States are enforced.”

He was blistering on Hillary Clinton, saying her legacy as secretary of state was “death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.” Nor did he spare President Obama, accusing him of using “the pulpit of the presidency to divide us by race and color” and saying he “has made America a more dangerous environment for everyone.”

Trump then added: “This administration has failed America’s inner cities. It’s failed them on education. It’s failed them on jobs. It’s failed them on crime. It’s failed them at every level.”

The stirring speech saved what had been a mediocre convention, with sloppy mistakes leading to distracting controversies and fueling fears that Trump and his team still are not ready for prime time. Delegates were not so much divided as dispirited over the prospect that the party would once again lose a very winnable race.

Especially with the well-oiled and well-funded Clinton machine revving up its engines with attack ads and with her message amplified by the left-wing media echo chamber, Trumpsters suddenly faced an enthusiasm gap. Rows of empty seats in the Quicken Loans Arena seemed symbolic of sagging hopes.

A turning point might have come Wednesday night, during the booing of rival Ted Cruz for refusing to endorse Trump. What started with restlessness from the New York delegation quickly spread, and by the time he slinked off the stage, Cruz suffered a stunning and unanimous rebuke.

That rare moment of genuine unity, followed by Mike Pence’s workmanlike acceptance speech as the VP nominee, set the stage for the finale. Indeed, no matter what had come before, it was always going to be up to Trump himself. He’s the nominee and the whole venture rises or falls on his performance.

It now rises. He delivered a stemwinder for the ages.

If he wins, and can deliver on his vision, remember this speech. Like Ronald Reagan’s in 1976, Trump’s 2016 address could mark the start of a desperately needed American revival. As he said near the end, “America is back.”

Imagine that — and pray he is right.

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President Trump faces an immediate test on the Serbia / Kosovo border.

From the Inaugural Address: “We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own. And spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas .. We are assembled here today issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power, from this day forward, a new vision will govern our land, from this day forward, it’s going to be only America first. America first.”

serbia

First Trump era war? Serbia versus Muslim Kosovo

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report

January 20, 2017

Just six days before Donald Trump’s inauguration as US President, a Serbian train took up position on the Kosovo border. It was painted ostentatiously with the slogan “Kosovo is Serbian” in several languages along with national Serbian and Orthodox Christian emblems.

The train has been stationary since Friday, Jan. 14. Kosovan security authorities are blocking its advance along the new 213km long rail link from Belgrade to Mitrovica, a town in Muslim Kosovo which has a large Serbian population.

This is more than a symbolic reminder of the brutal Balkan wars of the 1990s. Two armies are already poised for battle: 60,000 Serbian troops, including armored, artillery and air force units, are on war preparedness, facing a much smaller Kosovo security force which, after calling up reserves, numbers around 6,000 combatants.

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic beat a war drum this week when he declared: “If Serbians are killed, we’ll send our army to Kosovo.”

It was 19 years ago that Serbia signed an agreement for ending its war with Kosovo after NATO forces intervened and US warplanes bombed the Serbian capital of Belgrade into capitulation. The West recognized Kosovan independence, but Russia and China still view the country as an integral part of Serbia.

The Kosovo war was the sequel to the 1992-1995 conflict between Christian Serbia and Croatia, on one side, and Muslim Bosnia, on the other. This war was brought to a close after President Bill Clinton’s intervention forced Serbia to sign the Dayton Accords and cede broad areas of Bosnia to Muslim rule. (More here)

In sum, the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s saw many horrors, but also ended in American support for the establishment of independent Muslim enclaves in southern Europe. Orthodox Christian rule and territory, which were under Russian military, religious and national influence, were substantially downsized.

This policy was pursued systematically for 15 years by Presidents Clinton and Obama with the support of Chancellor Angela Merkel. It is widely seen today as the key which in recent years unlocked continental Europe to the influx of millions of Muslim migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa.

Four south European nations, Turkey, Bosnia, Kosovo and Albania, provided the arrivals with their gateway into West Europe.

The Serbian train parked on the Kosovo border marked the end of the Obama era and underlined Belgrade’s non-acceptance of the borderline imposed in the last century on Serbia. The train is expected to cross that border after the Trump inauguration Friday, Jan. 20. If it is attacked by Kosovan security forces, the Serbian army will march in. And even if it is not attacked, the Serbian army plans to march behind the train across the border in a bid to eradicate one of President Clinton’s proudest achievements.

Indeed, a statue of Bill Clinton stands at the center of Pristina’s main square, in appreciation of his gift of Muslim independence and liberation from Serbian rule.

When it starts moving, the Serbian train will pose the new US president with his first test in dealing with an international crisis involving the Muslim issue before he has a chance to settle in at the Oval Office.

He will find on his desk an urgent note to the US and members of the European Union from Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj asking for assistance against Serbian aggression. A similar SOS in 1998 brought a NATO elite force, consisting mainly of British units, rushing to Kosovo. In 2017, Kosovo can forget about help from any European government, even sympathetic Germany and France.

This is not just about the presidential transition in Washington. A harsh relic remains from the old wars: On June 12, 1999, Russian President Boris Yeltsin landed an army contingent at Pristinia airfield to put the brakes on Kosovo’s takeover by the West. That contingent was never withdrawn. It is still available in case his successor, Vladimir Putin, chooses to back the Serbian train as it rolls into Kosovo.

His response will offer an important insight into the secret understandings reached between Trump and Putin for collaboration in the war on Islamist terror and the prevention of further Muslim expansion in Europe.

READ DEBKA

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January 20, 2017: “The old order is passing away”

New president, new world.

“Given the strength of ethnonationalism in Europe, neither the eurozone nor the EU is likely to survive the decade.”

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By Patrick J. Buchanan

“Don’t make any sudden moves” is the advice offered to the new president by Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations, which has not traditionally been known as a beer hall of populist beliefs.

Haass meant the president should bring his National Security Council together to anticipate the consequences before tearing up the Iran nuclear deal, moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem or shooting down a missile being tested by Kim Jong-Un.

In arguing against rash action, Haass is correct.

Where the CFR and the establishment are wrong, and Donald Trump is right, however, is in recognizing the new world we have entered.

The old order is passing away. Treaties and alliances dating from the Cold War are ceasing to be relevant and cannot long be sustained.

Economic patriotism and ethnonationalism, personified by Trump, seem everywhere ascendant. Transnationalism is yielding to tribalism.

The greater danger for President Trump is that the movement he led will be abandoned, its hopes dashed, and the agenda that Trump rejected and routed will be reimposed by a Republican Establishment and its collaborators in politics and the press.

Again, it was Trump who read the nation right, which is why he is taking the oath today.

The existential threat to the West no longer comes from the East, from a Russian army crashing through Poland and Germany and driving for the Elbe and Fulda Gap.

The existential threat to the West comes, instead, from the South.

The billion-plus peoples of the Maghreb, Middle East and sub-Sahara, whose numbers are exploding, are moving inexorably toward the Med, coming to occupy the empty places left by an aging and dying Europe, all of whose native-born populations steadily shrink.

American’s bleeding border is what concerns Americans, not the borders of Estonia, South Korea, Kuwait or the South China Sea.

When Trump calls NATO “obsolete,” he is saying that the great threat to the West is not Putin’s recapture of a Crimea that belonged to Russia for 150 years. And if the price of peace is getting out of Russia’s face and Russia’s space, maybe we should pay it.

George Kennan himself, the architect of Cold War containment of Stalin’s Russia, admonished us not to move NATO to Russia’s border.

Of Brexit, the British decision to leave the EU, Trump said this week, “People, countries want their own identity, and the U.K. wanted its own identity … so if you ask me, I believe others will leave.”

Is he not right? Is it so shocking to hear a transparent truth?

How could Europe’s elites not see the populist forces rising? The European peoples wished to regain their lost sovereignty and national identity, and they were willing to pay a price to achieve it.

Apparently, the Davos crowd cannot comprehend people who believe there are more important things than wealth.

Yet while President Trump should avoid rash actions, if he is to become a transformational president, he will spurn an establishment desperately seeking to hold onto the world that is passing away.

Article V of the NATO treaty may require us to treat a Russian move in the Baltic as an attack on the United States. But no sane president will start a war with a nuclear-armed Russia over Estonia.

No Cold War president would have dreamed of so rash an action.

Rather than risk such a war, Ike refused to send a rifle or bullet to the heroic Hungarian rebels in 1956. Painful, but Ike put America first, just as Trump pledged to do.

And given the strength of ethnonationalism in Europe, neither the eurozone nor the EU is likely to survive the decade. We should prepare for that day, not pretend that what is taking place across Europe, and indeed worldwide, is some passing fever of nationalism.

Notwithstanding Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson’s diktat, the United States is not going to force China to vacate the fortified reefs in a South China Sea she claims as her national territory.

Stick to that demand, and we best prepare for war.

As for the Taiwan card, it was played in 1972 by Richard Nixon as the price of his opening to China. Four decades ago, Jimmy Carter cut diplomatic ties to Taiwan and terminated our security pact.

For Xi Jinping to accept that Taiwan might be negotiable would mean an end of him and the overthrow of his Communist Party of China.

The Chinese will fight to prevent a permanent loss of Taiwan.

The imperative of the new era is that the great nuclear powers – China, Russia, the United States – not do to each other what Britain, France and Germany did to each other a century ago over a dead archduke.

President Trump should build the wall, secure the border, impose tariffs, cut taxes, free up the American economy, bring the factories home, create millions of jobs and keep us out of any new wars.

With rare exceptions, wars tend to be fatal to presidencies.

READ PAT BUCHANAN

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Jan 20, 2017 – We The People are re-inaugurating the original things .. as The Founders envisioned.

A More American Conservatism

Larry P. Arnn
President, Hillsdale College

founding

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on December 2, 2016, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C.

The astonishing political campaign of 2016 involved much debate about whether Donald Trump is a conservative. He was not always facile with the lingo of conservatism, and he pointed out once that he was seeking the nomination of the Republican, not the conservative party. Yet there is a lot we can learn from him about conservatism.

What is conservatism? It is a derivative term: it refers to something outside itself. We cannot conserve the present or the future, and the past being full of contradiction, we cannot conserve it entire. In the past one finds heroism and villainy; justice and injustice; freedom and slavery. Things in the past are like things in the present: they must be judged. Conservative people know this if they have any sense.

What then makes them conservative? It is the additional knowledge that things that have had a good reputation for a long time are more trustworthy than new things. This is especially true of original things. The very term principle refers to something that comes first; to change the principle of a thing is to change it into something else. Without the principle, the thing is lost.

If American conservatism means anything, then, it means the things found at the beginning of America, when it became a nation. The classics teach us that forming political bonds is natural to people, written in their nature, stemming from the divine gift they have of speech and reason.

This means in turn that the Declaration of Independence, where the final causes of our nation are stated, and the Constitution of the United States, where the form of government is established, are the original things.

These documents were written by people who were friends and who understood the documents to pursue the same ends. Taken together they are the longest surviving things of their kind, and under their domain our country spread across a continent and became the strongest nation on earth, the bastion of freedom.

These documents do not appeal to all conservatives, but I argue that they should, both for their age and for their worthiness. It follows then that if Donald Trump helps to conserve these things, he is a conservative in the sense that matters most to the republic of the Americans. Will he? He will have a hard road.

Today the authority of these two documents is in obvious decline for obvious reasons. In the academy they are rejected as obsolete or evil, and this opinion spreads throughout the talking classes, most everywhere in education, journalism, and entertainment. It has spread widely and deeply into the law. As a result our government has swollen beyond recognition, and it is centralized to a degree unimagined in the Constitution. Laws are made now chiefly by regulatory agencies that combine in themselves all three powers of government. The popular or elected branches may overturn these regulations only when they unite to do so, and this is increasingly rare.

So every institution in society is in principle subject to comprehensive regulation. Every employer, every school, many clubs, and family life itself are now the subject of rules too complex for the lay person to grasp. These rules are not always enforced, nor can they be, but Americans sense that they better be looking over their shoulders, careful of what they say.

This has changed the way we live. Compliance increasingly replaces law-abidingness as the public goal. Laws, the Founders held, must be simple, few, and constant. Then we may all know what they are, live under them, and help to enforce them. This makes us equal, ruler and ruled. It means that we do not quail before the forces of the law. We are the forces of the law. Compliance, by contrast, means adapting constantly to changing and complex instructions from central authorities, and it means the employment of specialists to interpret the regulations and make sure others conform. In addition to this, whole populations, and not only in the inner city, live in long-term dependence on the government (read Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance). It means that the government is separate from the people, and it means that the government grows.

These new features of American government present a danger implicit in the manner of our Constitution. Ours, wrote Madison, is the first nation to adopt purely representative forms. This means that all sovereignty or authority to rule is located in the governed or in the people. But at the same time, the people do not occupy the offices of government—as they did, for instance, in Athenian democracy. America’s pure or simple “republicanism,” as Madison called it, makes possible the separation of powers both between the governed and their government and also inside the parts of the government.

The sovereign people delegate their authority to government, separately to separate places. This separation is both horizontal, among the branches of the federal government, and vertical, between the states and the federal government. The people themselves are outside the government, and they may intervene only at election time. Between elections, they watch, judge, and argue—in other words, they think before they act. Over time, but only over time, they may replace the whole lot. This system limits both their power and the power of those in government.

Today, however, the government has grown so large that it is a major factor in everything, including elections, and is in the position of taking on a will of its own. It is on the verge of being too big for private people to manage. This is the political crisis of our time. No policy question, with the exception of imminent major war, which we do not have right now, can matter so much.

Trump has addressed this problem more directly than anyone since Ronald Reagan—in some ways, more than anyone including Reagan.

He would drain the swamp. He would abolish the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education. He has rallied the people in direct opposition to their governing elite. He has appealed to the people directly in opposition to their government. And what has he achieved?—from nothing, a constitutional majority that controls all the popular branches at the federal level, soon to have a profound effect on the judiciary. In addition, his party advanced from a strong position in state legislatures and governorships.

The party of Trump, if the Republican Party is that party, is in a position to make changes, as good or better a position as it has enjoyed since the Great Society.

Moreover, Trump ran in utter defiance of the political correctness that enforces this new system of government. He did not bend his knee to identity groups. He claimed to represent all “citizens,” a favorite term, by which he means citizens who hold that status under the law. He said he would represent their interest and their country, which he will make great again, and not the interest of any others.

He did not care that this intention was conflated with racism. He saw that conflation as another sign of corruption, which it certainly is. Unless he is insensate, which he does not seem, Trump is possessed of moral courage as much as assertiveness, and his assertiveness is a sight to behold.

But can he do anything? Many conservatives have been doubtful of Trump and many others opposed. There are reasons for this. He is the first man elected president as his first significant public service. He is sometimes vulgar. He is a celebrity, star of his own show, which is playing wherever he goes. His is not the understated sort of elitism. Consistent with this, he is a populist: he likes ordinary folk, and they like him.

This has made some conservative and libertarian people fear mobs with pitchforks. I fear them myself because I see them on so many college campuses, but not on my own, and not among the Trump supporters. I think these mobs are the product of modern liberalism and the bureaucratic state, not the product of Trump.

I prefer to be hopeful about the future, and I am hopeful about the Trump administration. His campaign and his appointments at this early stage give us some information upon which to speculate. Take one example about which I know something: education.

Trump has called for the abolition of the Department of Education, as did Reagan. By contrast, both Presidents Bush sought to strengthen that Department. Trump has nominated the splendid Betsy DeVos to be secretary of the Department, and she is a fighter for every kind of school choice. The federal government spends seven or eight percent of its money on education, and its method is typical of the federal intrusion into local matters: it gives money from the federal treasury to states and localities on condition. The conditions are myriad, confusing, and usually ugly when they can be understood.

Title IV of the Higher Education Act governs federal student aid, and it numbers around 500 pages. A lawyer for our college told me once that I would be unable to read it, because he himself cannot read it, for which reason his firm keeps a specialist who is the only person he knows who understands what it says. For this reason alone, it would be a grand thing to get rid of the Department of Education.

There are also some excellent intermediate steps. If one changed the conditions of the federal education money that goes to states, localities, and schools, there could be an immediate influence. Education is one of those things that is easy enough to understand, but hard to do. The first thing to understand is that human beings are made to learn, and they desire to do it naturally. This means the job of teachers, like the job of parents, is to help children learn, not to make them or cause them to learn. Good schools are built around this fact. It also means that authority over the schools can best be exercised by those who are closest to the students.

What if the federal government required states to pass charter laws that delegated wide latitude and real authority to schools, not to the Department of Education or to state departments of education or to school districts? What if it relied, not upon high-stakes centralized testing as in Common Core, but in the simple fact that parents and teachers are much more likely to care for students than strangers, even if those strangers are highly trained federal bureaucrats?

The chairman of our education program at Hillsdale College has written a series of standards that states might adopt for K-12 education. For each grade, they take up about half a page. But if a child can do the things on that half a page, the child has learned a lot.

Here is a way for higher levels of government to be sure that any money they give to lower levels is well spent in education. It involves hardly any management of details. That is the constitutional model, the model that comes from our Founding.

To follow this practice would liberalize the system. It would mean that there would be plenty of bad charter schools, just as there are plenty of bad schools now. But it would also mean that there would be a proliferation of good ones. Hillsdale College has helped to found 16 charter schools, with more coming, and they are all doing well. Everybody wears a uniform and signs an honor code. Everybody—indeed everybody in kindergarten—learns to read. Everybody studies mathematics at least through pre-calculus. Everybody learns Latin, history, literature, philosophy, physics, biology, and chemistry. Everybody is admitted by a lottery system.

For the inner-city schools, care is taken to advertise only in the immediate area, to make the opportunity available to the children who live in poor areas. The students in these schools make on the average excellent scores on the ubiquitous state standardized tests, and they do this without class time or curriculum set aside to prepare for those tests. They do very well even in relation to the legions of public schools that now take months to cram only for those tests, which means the students know little more than what is on those tests, and all the adults get raises and promotions if the students do well. That’s why there have been spectacular instances of cheating—by teachers and school administrators!—on those tests.

The kind of education going on in Hillsdale’s charter schools is not something that could be advanced nationally by a federal mandate. Key to the success of these schools is that the school leaders, the parents, and the teachers are all glad to be there and all help willingly to make it work. In other words, they are all volunteers. It is a partnership. Partnerships are cooperative, not imperative. If you force people who are unwilling to do something, they will not do it very well, which is the encapsulation of human freedom.

Nowhere is this freedom more evident than in the process of learning. At Hillsdale College the curriculum is rigorous and the standards of behavior are high. But they are not imperative. The ultimate penalty is simply this question: are you sure you want to be here, when there are so many other options, options generally not quite so difficult or strict? The student who responds yes to that question is self-governing, which is the aim. That is why we at Hillsdale would not support a national law that everyone had to do what we do. We know too much about human beings to think that would work.

Let us say that the Department of Education began to reform itself along these lines. It is in a real position to lead if it will do so, because it would be setting a profound example: it would be teaching the governments below not to give people orders all the time. It would be teaching them that parents do after all love their children in the great majority of cases, and that the strongest institutions are built on love. It would be teaching them that schools can do better without a national engineering project to take over their work, to set their tests, to prescribe their behavior. And this would lay the ground for the Department’s abolition. If this is possible in education, it might work in other places too.

Since the Founding, twelve cabinet offices have been added to the federal establishment.

In the original federal government there was a Secretary of State to handle the relations of the American people with other countries. There must be such relations. There was a Secretary of War (now Defense) to manage the defense of our nation from enemies. We have such enemies, and we must defend ourselves. There was a Secretary of the Treasury to manage the budget and the money of the federal government. To operate, the federal government must collect taxes and spend money. And there was an Attorney General (not originally overseeing a department) to enforce the laws of the federal government. One can see that these functions are necessary to the federal government in a way that the functions of other departments are not.

The Department of Education was founded in 1979, whereas Hillsdale College was founded in 1844. Educa­tion was a thing to behold in the United States long before there was a Depart­ment. Likewise people had houses before we had a Department of Housing and Urban Development; they traveled before we had a Department of Transportation; they traded before we had a Department of Commerce. You can see the line of thought. A federal government with four cabinet officers would be a federal government doing what it was built to do. That is why it is breathtaking that Trump would call for the elimination of departments, and breathtaking that he would appoint some and interview others who at least want to restrict the activities of those departments so people can be free.

We do not know what this election means. That is in the future. If it means that we will return to constitutional government, it means the most important thing that it can mean.

Some say it will mean the denigration of immigrants based on race or religion. Trump has not said that: he has said that our country belongs to its citizens. Think of consent of the governed, the principle of the relationship between the people and the government in America. That cannot mean just the will of the people, that they can do whatever they want. Otherwise they would be giving consent to governments that would immediately take away their right to consent. It must mean, if it means anything, that consent is rightly given only to governments that protect their right to consent.

Moreover it cannot mean that anyone has a right to be a citizen of the United States, even if it is truly said that the principles of the nation are universal. It means rather that the United States, alone among the nations of the earth, is a set of practices and beliefs, available in principle to every people to believe those beliefs and adopt those practices. It means also that citizens have the right to determine who becomes a citizen. In the Declaration of Independence, one of the complaints against the King is that he expanded the borders of Quebec down into the American colonies, having given that province a government by his fiat alone. The King was attempting to choose the people, whereas the people have the right to choose the government. Trump and the American people seem to favor the latter, and in that vital respect they are on the side of the Founders.

Some say that Trump will turn us toward “isolationism” and away from “internationalism.” These are not principles to which one can assign any meaning. The purpose of the government of the United States is to protect the rights of the people of the United States. If we mean by internationalism the practices and institutions that Winston Churchill helped to build, including NATO, I revere them. Also I know that Churchill helped build those according to his best judgment how to protect the actual life of freedom, responsibility, and prosperity of the British people, first and foremost, because he worked for them.

Russia may be a problem today, but not the problem that the Soviet Union was. Western Europe may be an ally today, but is it so good an ally as it was before it built an unaccountable Europe-wide government, in defiance of the popular votes of several countries still subject to it?

The United States can be the leader of the world only if it is strong, and it now for the first time is deeply in debt. Lincoln said, “As our case is new, so we must think anew.” The case is new today. I for one would stay close to Britain and Israel, old friends who have the art of self-government. But everything including that must be thought through. We seem to have a chance to do that now.

The polls tell us that the American people today live in fear of the government. Now they have elected someone new, and we will soon know if he is good. It is a simple fact that he has never done anything like this before, and very great people have found such things difficult. But I would be hopeful for many reasons. One of the main ones is that he wrote this, on January 16, 2016:

“The United States of America is a land of laws, and Americans value the rule of law above all. Why, then, has our Congress allowed the president and the executive branch to take on near-dictatorial power? 

What is needed in Washington is a president who will rein in the executive branch and work with Congress to make sure the legislative branch does its job.”

Trump has said that these are his purposes. Pray that he achieves them.

trt

*******

Larry P. ArnnLarry P. Arnn is the twelfth president of Hillsdale College. He received his B.A. from Arkansas State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School. From 1977 to 1980, he also studied at the London School of Economics and at Worcester College, Oxford University, where he served as director of research for Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill. From 1985 until his appointment as president of Hillsdale College in 2000, he was president of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy. He is the author of Liberty and Learning: The Evolution of American EducationThe Founders’ Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution; and Churchill’s Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government.

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TRUMP TO CNN: “YOU ARE FAKE NEWS”

 

 

The Deep State Goes to War with President-Elect, Using Unverified Claims, as Democrats Cheer

January 11 2017, 9:35 a.m.

(EXCERPT)

IN JANUARY, 1961, Dwight Eisenhower delivered his farewell address after serving two terms as U.S. president; the five-star general chose to warn Americans of this specific threat to democracy: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” That warning was issued prior to the decadelong escalation of the Vietnam War, three more decades of Cold War mania, and the post-9/11 era, all of which radically expanded that unelected faction’s power even further.

This is the faction that is now engaged in open warfare against the duly elected and already widely disliked president-elect, Donald Trump. They are using classic Cold War dirty tactics and the defining ingredients of what has until recently been denounced as “Fake News.”

Their most valuable instrument is the U.S. media, much of which reflexively reveres, serves, believes, and sides with hidden intelligence officials. And Democrats, still reeling from their unexpected and traumatic election loss as well as a systemic collapse of their party, seemingly divorced further and further from reason with each passing day, are willing — eager — to embrace any claim, cheer any tactic, align with any villain, regardless of how unsupported, tawdry and damaging those behaviors might be.

All of these toxic ingredients were on full display yesterday as the Deep State unleashed its tawdriest and most aggressive assault yet on Trump: vesting credibility in and then causing the public disclosure of a completely unvetted and unverified document, compiled by a paid, anonymous operative while he was working for both GOP and Democratic opponents of Trump, accusing Trump of a wide range of crimes, corrupt acts and salacious private conduct.

BACK IN OCTOBER, a political operative and former employee of the British intelligence agency MI6 was being paid by Democrats to dig up dirt on Trump (before that, he was paid by anti-Trump Republicans). He tried to convince countless media outlets to publish a long memo he had written filled with explosive accusations about Trump’s treason, business corruption and sexual escapades, with the overarching theme that Trump was in servitude to Moscow because they were blackmailing and bribing him.

Despite how many had it, no media outlets published it. That was because these were anonymous claims unaccompanied by any evidence at all, and even in this more permissive new media environment, nobody was willing to be journalistically associated with it. As the New York Times’ Executive Editor Dean Baquet put it last night, he would not publish these “totally unsubstantiated” allegations because “we, like others, investigated the allegations and haven’t corroborated them, and we felt we’re not in the business of publishing things we can’t stand by.”

The closest this operative got to success was convincing Mother Jones’s David Corn to publish an October 31 article reporting that “a former senior intelligence officer for a Western country” claims that “he provided the [FBI] with memos, based on his recent interactions with Russian sources, contending the Russian government has for years tried to co-opt and assist Trump.”

But because this was just an anonymous claim unaccompanied by any evidence or any specifics (which Corn withheld), it made very little impact. All of that changed yesterday. Why?

What changed was the intelligence community’s resolution to cause this all to become public and to be viewed as credible. In December, John McCain provided a copy of this report to the FBI and demanded they take it seriously.

At some point last week, the chiefs of the intelligence agencies decided to declare that this ex-British intelligence operative was “credible” enough that his allegations warranted briefing both Trump and Obama about them, thus stamping some sort of vague, indirect, and deniable official approval on these accusations. Someone — by all appearances, numerous officials — then went to CNN to tell them they had done this, causing CNN to go on-air and, in the gravest of tones, announce the “Breaking News” that “the nation’s top intelligence officials” briefed Obama and Trump that Russia had compiled information that “compromised President-elect Trump.”

 CNN refused to specify what these allegations were on the ground that they could not “verify” them. But with this document in the hands of multiple media outlets, it was only a matter of time — a small amount of time — before someone would step up and publish the whole thing. Buzzfeed quickly obliged, airing all of the unvetted, anonymous claims about Trump.

Its editor-in-chief Ben Smith published a memo explaining that decision, saying that—- although there “is serious reason to doubt the allegations” — Buzzfeed in general “errs on the side of publication” and “Americans can make up their own minds about the allegations.” Publishing this document predictably produced massive traffic (and thus profit) for the site, with millions of people viewing the article and presumably reading the “dossier.”

ALMOST IMMEDIATELY after it was published, the farcical nature of the “dossier” manifested. Not only was its author anonymous, but he was paid by Democrats (and, before that, by Trump’s GOP adversaries) to dig up dirt on Trump.

Worse, he himself cited no evidence of any kind, but instead relied on a string of other anonymous people in Russia he claims told him these things. Worse still, the document was filled with amateur errors.

All of the claims about Russia’s interference in U.S. elections and ties to Trump should be fully investigated by a credible body, and the evidence publicly disclosed to the fullest extent possible. As my colleague Sam Biddle argued last week after disclosure of the farcical intelligence community report on Russia hacking — one which even Putin’s foes mocked as a bad joke — the utter lack of evidence for these allegations means “we need an independent, resolute inquiry.” But until then, assertions that are unaccompanied by evidence and disseminated anonymously should be treated with the utmost skepticism — not lavished with convenience-driven gullibility.

Most important of all, the legitimate and effective tactics for opposing Trump are being utterly drowned by these irrational, desperate, ad hoc crusades that have no cogent strategy and make his opponents appear increasingly devoid of reason and gravity. Right now, Trump’s opponents are behaving as media critic Adam Johnson described: as ideological jelly fish, floating around aimlessly and lost, desperately latching on to whatever barge randomly passes by.

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“There are no modern precedents to the scandalous attempts to smear and undermine the president-elect”

“Nearly nine weeks after his victory and less than two weeks before he takes the oath, the voter-nullification plot is growing more vile.”

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BY MICHAEL GOODWIN

This is a first: Donald Trump is guilty of an understatement, of making a molehill out of a mountain. He called the Washington furor over Russian hacking a “witch hunt” when it is actually far more sinister and dangerous.

Witch hunts end. The Washington mob aims to make sure the election never ends and that Trump can never govern.

There are no modern precedents to the scandalous attempts to smear and undermine the president-elect. Nearly nine weeks after his victory and less than two weeks before he takes the oath, the voter-nullification plot is growing more vile.

It began when the Clinton campaign and her donors tried to overturn results in key states, then tried to steal the election outright by intimidating electors of the Electoral College.

When all that failed, the establishment forces that opposed Trump all along — the Obama White House, members of both parties, the Democratic media and Big Government activists — switched their goal to thwarting his presidency. One example: They aim to deny confirmation to as many as eight Cabinet picks.

This is not mere politics. This is half the country going rogue in a fit of madness.

Most alarming is the newest recruit to the confederacy. The intelligence community, including leaders of the FBI and CIA, is pushing the Russian hacking narrative in unscrupulous ways.

Consider that the same media organizations that led the campaign assault on Trump were leaked details of the hacking report before Trump saw it.

The leaks came after Trump expressed doubts about Russia’s role and any election impact. Lest the rookie miss the message, Chuck Schumer, the Dems’ man in the Senate, made like a Soprano in a TV interview: “Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community — they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”

Is Schumer suggesting CIA analysts would stay silent about a terrorist plot? Would they feed Trump misinformation to get back at him?

Going public with classified information, which the leakers did, is a crime, but these days it’s acceptable if it serves the left’s political purpose.

As for the report itself, there’s not much there there, at least in the version made public. It is full of assertions that Vladimir Putin wanted to hurt Clinton and help Trump, but zero evidence is offered. I repeat: zero evidence.

Instead, the 25-page document serves up a dog’s stew of innuendo and anecdotes. Examples include that Russian television operating in America said nice things about Occupy Wall Street.

Well, so did President Obama and half the Democratic Party. Is Obama a Russian agent?

Another silly example is that Russian TV runs lots of anti-fracking reports. Well, Gov. Cuomo also opposes fracking. The report cites the fact that Russian TV anchors are required to have social-media accounts as proof of Putin’s evil intent.

Here’s a fact that really matters and it’s not in the report: The FBI concluded that Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee without ever inspecting its computers. The gumshoes say the DNC balked, but party leaders say the FBI never asked. In the end, it let a private firm search the computers for evidence.

None of this is normal. And it’s no excuse that Trump himself often veers outside the lines. He won the election fair and square, period.

Then again, some Democrats can’t bring themselves to admit that. Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, was spitting fire after she was briefed on the classified report.

Asked if she believed hacking cost Clinton the election, Pelosi declared to reporters: “You were accomplices in this. Every single day you reported there was an e-mail that was embarrassing to the Clinton operation, without saying we know this because of a disruption by a foreign power of our election system. You knew that.”

hilrig

Wow, so journalists are “accomplices” when they report embarrassing news. Nothing could be more Putin-like than her view of the media’s job.

To be clear, it may be true that Putin ordered that the e-mails of John Podesta and the DNC be stolen and given to WikiLeaks. But officials also admit that Russia hacked our government and industries for years and always pushes negative propaganda about America, including during the 2012 campaign.

So why the sudden DefCon outrage, especially when the intelligence report concludes there was no attempt to change vote tallies?

The furor amounts to sounding five alarms for a dumpster fire. It’s a dumb overreaction, or part of the effort to thwart a president the establishment doesn’t want. Either way, intelligence leaders are proving they are part of the swamp that must be drained.

By all means, America needs better cybersecurity and a retaliation policy to act as a deterrent. The current president has no interest in the issue, so perhaps we’ll get better policies when we get a new president. Assuming, of course, the man who won the election actually makes it to the Oval Office.

READ THE NEW YORK POST

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Obamacare: “It was steam-rolled through Congress by Democrats with ZERO bi-partisan support. It was crammed full of bailouts, obscure rules, penalties and taxes”

January 7, 2017

Our Founders knew that complicated and bloated legislation would be undemocratic and dangerous:

It is time to repeal this horrible law

Read more: http://www.thepoliticalinsider.com/obamacare-meme-whats-in-it/#ixzz4V7i4dsM6

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Democrats are pushing a false narrative: Eight Facts on the alleged Russian hacks

“The huge effort to put the allegations on the front pages only after a Donald Trump victory, the rush to act and retaliate in the final weeks of the Obama administration when there’s been years of inaction regarding comparable or more egregious hostile acts, and the attempts to portray the DNC hacks as something that changed the election outcome, certainly raise reasonable questions. 

It should be noted that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and at least one official familiar with publication of the DNC emails deny that the Russians were the source. There has been no allegation or evidence that the published emails weren’t true and accurate.

In fact, the overall track record for accuracy when it comes to WikiLeaks documents appears to be better than that of U.S. intel officials.

WATCH:  Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lies to Congress, denying existence of a National Security Agency (NSA) secret, massive data collection program.

claplie.png

It’s easy to understand why figures like Snowden and Assange evoke such disdain among powers-that-be, whether liberal or conservative. Instead of addressing the revelations revealed, these powers direct public sentiment against the whistleblowers or conveyors of the apparently truthful information. 

Instead of demonizing those who are skeptical of information and narratives emerging in a highly-politicized setting, it’s helpful to understand the genesis of the widespread distrust that’s fueling the skepticism.”

Eight Facts on the Hacks

1. The claim that the “election was hacked” is a bit of a misnomer. There’s no standing allegation by U.S. officials that the Russians (or anyone else) “hacked” into our elections system or altered vote counts. Instead, U.S. officials allege hackers connected to the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin, under his direction, stole internal emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary campaign chairman John Podesta and provided them to WikiLeaks. (However, the U.S. joint report issued Thursday doesn’t mention the DNC, Podesta or WikiLeaks by name.)

2.  U.S. officials have not alleged that anyone falsified the emails provided to WikiLeaks.

3.  U.S. intel officials have named the Russian hacking campaign “Grizzly Steppe.”

4.  It seems a difficult task to prove the hacks somehow “affected the election” or “helped Donald Trump win.” For example:

  • One would have to show that tens of thousands of Trump voters were planning to vote for Clinton but changed their mind based solely on the WikiLeaks emails.
  • One would have to believe the emails somehow managed to only affect the electoral vote but not the popular vote (which Clinton won).
  • One would have to believe the emails somehow selectively swayed voters in key swing states, but not voters in states where Clinton won.

5. WikiLeaks disputes the U.S. assessment blaming Russia for the DNC leaks. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says: “Our source is not the Russian government… We have U.S. intelligence saying that say they know how we got our stuff and when we got it, and us saying we didn’t get it from a state.” Former British ambassador Craig Murray backs up Assange’s version: “I know who leaked them. I’ve met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it’s an insider. It’s a leak, not a hack; the two are different things.”

6. The private cyber firm Crowd Strike had already determined last June that Russian agencies were behind the DNC cyberattacks.

7.  There have been many serious cyberattacks reported against U.S. government institutions, but no comparable news coverage or announced U.S. retaliatory measures. For example:

  • In 2015, Russian hackers attacked the State Department email system in what was called the “worst ever” cyberattack against a federal agency.
  • Also in 2015, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management reported 5.6 million Americans’ fingerprints were stolen in a malicious cyberattack.
  • The GAO reports that between 2006 and 2015, the number of cyberattacks climbed 1,300 percent — from 5,500 to over 77,000 a year at 24 federal agencies.
  • Last March, China government hackers continued a malicious pattern of cyber attacks on U.S. government and private networks, according to U.S. Cyber Command chief Mike Rogers. China has been linked by U.S. intelligence agencies to wide-ranging cyber attacks aimed at stealing information and mapping critical computer networks for future attacks in a crisis or conflict.

    Despite the Chinese hacking activity, the Obama administration has taken no action against China for years of large-scale cyber attacks that officials say have cost the nation billions of dollars in stolen intellectual property and compromised networks.

Additionally, there have been no publicly-known retaliatory actions taken by the U.S. for hostile, non-cyber foreign threats such as Chinese fighter jets buzzing U.S. warships and spy planes, and Iran detaining 10 U.S. sailors. (However, the U.S. punished the sailors.)

8. The New York Times recently quoted anonymous U.S. officials who said they concluded Russians hacked the Republican National Committee (RNC), but did not release the information to WikiLeaks, proving that the intent was to help Trump. However, the RNC states that its network systems were not successfully hacked. The Times also anonymously quoted a senior government official who said attempts to penetrate the RNC were not successful.

READ SHARYL ATTKISSON

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WHAT’S GOING ON? .. The alleged Russian hacking scandal is being orchestrated by Obama and his intelligence chiefs.

Why Trump and US intel clash over Russia

DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis

January 6, 2017

Intelligence briefing to US Senate Committee

Intelligence briefing to US Senate Committee

 

America’s intelligence chiefs may have been singing their swan’s song Thursday and Friday (Jan. 5-6) when they hurled allegations of election-meddling “ordered at the highest Kremlin level” against Russia at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington.

The committee’s chair John McCain picked up the ball and declared that Russian hacking was “an act of war,” after hearing grim testimony from the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and the National Security Agency head Adm. Michael Rogers.

They disclosed that they had compiled a confidential intelligence report that demonstrated how President Vladimir Putin interfered in the US election campaign in favor of the winner, Donald Trump. They declined to divulge its contents but promised to release a shorter, censored version to the public next Monday, Jan. 9.
CIA chief John Brennan and Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson then proceeded to the White House to present the confidential report to President Barack Obama.

It will be put before President-elect Trump Friday.

The furious clamor keeping the alleged Russian hacking scandal on the boil is being orchestrated by the outgoing president and his intelligence chiefs to ramp up US-Russian friction to an eve-of-cold war pitch.

DEBKAfile’s Washington and intelligence sources find that the campaign is prompted by five motives:

1. The president-elect not only proposes to put relations with Moscow on a new and different footing, his transition teams are already at work with Putin’s advisers to chart areas of cooperation between the two powers, ready for the Trump administration to go forward when he moves into the White House on Jan. 20.

The most prominent area is the war on the Islamic State; another – the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. They are also exploring a joint US-Russian effort to resolve the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

2. Obama, who has decided to retain a team for monitoring Trump’s policies, has plunged into a dogged fight against his successor’s decision to reset US-Russian ties.

Battling to salvage a part of his “legacy” is, Obama, exceptionally for departing American presidents, is determined to cast a long shadow over his successors’ actions and policies.

In the next four years, Barack Obama will keep hammering at the Russian hacking affair in order to keep the flames high against Trump’s “Russian steps.”

3. It is important to note that Trump and his advisers, including designated Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, don’t propose rushing into détente with Moscow or any sort of honeymoon. They are acting to restore relations to an even keel and end the disequilibrium of the past eight years, during which Obama just talked and Putin did what he wanted, especially in East Europe and the Middle East.

If the effort to restore balance to the relationship works, cooperation in common areas of concern might follow. But if not, the rivalry will continue, except that henceforth America will operate from a position of strength.

4. Working together in the war on Islamic terror will call for a large measure of cooperation between US intelligence agencies and the Russian secret services. Sixteen years ago, after 9/11, Putin proposed this kind of cooperation to President George W. Bush in the fight against Al Qaeda.In 2011, he stepped in again with an offer of assistance to Obama in the Libyan war. Putin was rebuffed by both presidents.

Donald Trump is the first US leader ready to seriously explore Putin’s intentions. The US intelligence community is up on arms at this prospect, mainly because its clandestine branches were purpose-built to confront Russia, America’s historic Cold War enemy. It is hard for them to wrench the wheel round and head in the opposite direction at the bidding of the Trump administration.

5. Notwithstanding denials by administration officers, the president elect has every intention of overhauling the character and operational methods of America’s intelligence services. His overarching goal is to cut down the vast numbers off officers, analysts and computer operations, which turn out mountains of intelligence reports most of which he claims no one reads.

Trump plans to focus more on the product of secret agents in the field, and so save the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on desk staff and high-tech computer systems. His administration will prefer to rely more on human intelligence and less on technology-based input.

Trump encapsulated his approach to intelligence and computers in a remark to reporters on New Year’s day: “No computer is safe. You want something to really go without detection, write it out and have it sent by courier.”

READ DEBKA

************

President Trump has chosen men who know the Russians, know the Pentagon, know how the CIA operates and know that our Homeland needs real security.

No more leading from behind.

 

Rex W. Tillerson

Secretary of State

The president and chief executive of Exxon Mobil has decades of experience negotiating with foreign companies, but he is expected to face close scrutiny in Senate confirmation hearings over his close relations with Russia. Mr. Tillerson is a longtime friend of President Vladimir V. Putin, and in 2012, the Russian government awarded him the country’s Order of Friendship decoration.

Mike Pompeo

C.I.A. Director

Mr. Pompeo, a Republican congressman from Kansas, supports returning to the bulk collection of Americans’ domestic calling records and opposes President Obama’s decisions to close C.I.A. black-site prisons and to require government interrogators to strictly adhere to the rules of the Army Field Manual.

Jeff Sessions

Attorney General

The four-term senator from Alabama, who previously served as a Justice Department prosecutor for almost 15 years, shares Mr. Trump’s preferences for strict immigration enforcement and tough-on-crime measures.

Michael T. Flynn

National Security Adviser

General Flynn has gone from a highly respected military officer to an openly partisan outsider, outspoken about the threat posed by “radical Islamic terrorism.” He criticized the Obama administration’s failure to deal with Islamist militancy, as well Republican neoconservatives for leading the nation into conflicts like in Iraq. He has been selected for one of the few cabinet-level positions that does not require Senate confirmation.

John F. Kelly

Homeland Security Secretary

The retired four-star Marine general has also disagreed with certain Obama administration policies, including plans to close the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and to open all combat jobs to women. Mr. Trump has not yet formally offered General Kelly the post.

James N. Mattis

Defense Secretary

The retired general most recently led the United States Central Command in the Middle East and Southwest Asia from 2010 to 2013 and has been an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s policies. He would be the first former ranking general to become defense secretary since George Marshall in the 1950s and needs a special congressional waiver, because federal law requires the Pentagon chief to have been out of the military for seven years.

Ryan Zinke

Interior Secretary

The former Navy SEAL commander spent most of his life in the military, having served in Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo and the Pacific. He ran for his current seat as a representative from Montana on a national security platform.

 

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The moving van is at our White House. Pour yourself a libation.

Our long national nightmare is almost over.

January 4, 2017

obmoves

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UPDATED: What is a DDoS attack? .. Who hit the Drudge Report? .. Will DDoS attacks get worse? .. What can I do?

UPDATE 

The popular Drudge Report website was hit last night in an apparent Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS) for the second time in a week, knocking it temporarily off the internet. 

Readers were unable to log onto the site last night amid fears it had been targeted by cyber criminals. 

On December 30, the news aggregation website went down for 90 minutes.

Read more: DAILY MAIL

cyberwar2

Hack Attack on Drudge Report a Sign of Chaos to Come

By

 The popular right-leaning web portal, The Drudge Report, was briefly knocked offline last week. Incidents like this will only become more common until policymakers or tech companies get serious about fixing connected gadgets, also known as the internet of things (IoT).

In a since deleted post, the site’s verified @DRUDGE account on Twitter posted last week, “Is the US government attacking DRUDGE REPORT? Biggest DDoS since site’s inception. VERY suspicious routing [and timing],” as the International Business Times reported.

The Drudge Report did not respond to a request Friday for more details about the suspicious timing and routing.

Traffic from the Drudge Report is gigantic. Similar Web estimated it saw 178 million visits in November and that almost 80 percent of that traffic was direct. In other words, rather than clicking over from Facebook or finding it in search, visitors typed the URL directly into their browser or they have it set as the page their browser opens upon launch.

The importance of Drudge to other publishers cannot be overstated. In addition to its ability to point a firehose of traffic toward other sites, the careful curation of its founder, Matt Drudge, acts as something of a seal of approval for sites seeking the approbation of one of the very few people in American media capable of single-handedly driving the national conversation.

For those who haven’t visited, the site is overwhelmingly devoted to links to other sites. Web analytics platform Parse.ly currently estimates that 0.7 percent of all referral traffic to sites it monitors come from Drudge. That’s three times more than Reddit, just 0.1 percent behind Google News.

What is a DDoS attack?

The term has been thrown around so much lately that people may be reading it without knowing what it is. Often referred to as a “hack,” that’s somewhat debatable. Some might argue that a DDoS attack is no more a hack than kicking a door down is picking a lock.

DDoS refers to “distributed denial of service.” It overwhelms a site (or network node) with traffic from multiple sources. So much traffic that the site becomes unavailable to legitimate visitors, but a DDoS attack does nothing to the site itself (besides potentially running through its hosting budget). Once a DDoS attack is over, the site is there, same as ever, undamaged.

Bruce Schneier described a DDoS attack in real world terms this way: imagine a bunch of people called every delivery service in town at once and asked them all to deliver something to your house. Your house is fine, but no one can get to it because the roads around it are clogged.

In that sense, DDoS attacks don’t really “hack” the target site. There’s a lot of ways to construct a DDoS system, though, and that’s where the cleverness comes into play.

These days, DDoS systems do rely on hacking their weapons, which are compromised devices connected to the internet (such as routers, printers, TVs and etc). Ironically, security cameras are probably the most dangerous. Consumers buy smart home gadgets, never change the factory username and password and that leaves them vulnerable to remote access by criminal software.

The software finds these devices, puts some code on them and then directs them to send requests to specific IP addresses when an attack is on. The user of the device probably won’t notice. A request from any one device wouldn’t be enough to impact a site, either, but when it gets multiplied into the hundreds of thousands it can be enough to shut a site down.

This method is called a “botnet.” Your baby monitor or smart refrigerator could be contributing to botnet attacks and you would have no idea.

We previously reported on three strategies for beating botnets.

Who hit the Drudge Report?

This is basically an impossible question to answer, such is the aggravating nature of a distributed attack. Hackers make attributing the attacker more difficult by open sourcing their software. The Mirai botnet, for example, which took the internet infrastructure service Dyn offline in October, is open source. Setting up a botnet is not trivial, but the code’s availability means there is more than a few adversaries out there who can use the software.

The attack on the site appears to have been short based on the reporting. IB Times wrote that it started around 7 PM. The Washington Times checked at 8:30 PM and it was back up, so it couldn’t have been longer than 90 minutes.

“There are DDoS for hire sites that will launch hundreds of gigabits of attack traffic at a site and charge on a per-minute basis,” Matthew Prince, the CEO of Cloudflare, a company that helps sites mitigate against DDoS attacks, wrote in an email. “The cost of these services is relatively low, likely well less than $1,000 for a 90-minute attack.” The Drudge Report is not a Cloudflare customer.

If we did know more about the nature of the attack, the sophistication of the adversary could indicate something about its identity.

“The number of actors who can perpetrate the most advanced attacks are still fairly limited,” Andy Yen, co-founder of Protonmail, told the Observer in an email. “Generally, the sophistication of the attack is a good indicator, for example, what are the attack vectors, how many networking points are being hit simultaneously, and how quickly the attackers are able to counteract defensive measures.”

Protonmail provides encrypted email services. It’s unspyable communication system has put a target on its back. In 2015, it got hit by a two-for-one DDoS attack, as the Observer reported. Yen explained that the company knew the larger of the two hits was bad when it became clear that its attackers were hitting multiple European nodes in order to make it more difficult for the service to route traffic around it. That kind of sophistication indicated that it was attributable to something more sophisticated than a cyber gang, perhaps even a nation-state.

Will DDoS attacks get worse?

It looks that way, but not everyone agrees.

Verisign just released a report that said that the number of attacks have been going down, even as their size had increased. Verisign customers saw vastly larger attacks this year over last, but the attacks have also shrunk as the year went on. The report only goes through the third quarter of last year, falling just short of the time period that included the epic attacks on Krebs and Dyn; however, Verisign did observe a record setting attack on one of its customers during that time period.

There’s little market incentive to fix the problem, as Schneier explained on his blog. A consumer buys a connected nanny cam. He checks it on his phone every now and then. It seems to work. He’s happy. Its manufacturer has already been paid. It’s happy. Meanwhile, it’s sending out one of millions of pings to some site under attack. The victim of the attack was not involved in this transaction at all.

More cybercriminals get into the DDoS as a Service business every day, while governments and hardware makers dawdle. The Merkle reports that the line of business is only becoming more profitable. In fact, veterans are making money not by running attacks but by getting paid by other attackers to help them get started, as The Merkle reported.

With the Mirai source code open sourced and its effectiveness proven, more people looking for a quick buck are getting into it. With more players in the market, the price will go down. Pros will start modifying the Mirai and other code bases and it will evolve. In fact, Imperva has already detected a new 650Gbps botnet cannonwhose signature differs from Mirai.

As Brian Krebs (whose site got hit by its own giant attack last year) has reported, many IoT devices have started requiring changing the default password upon setup. That’s all well and good, but people are bad at choosing passwords. Look for the next iteration of Mirai try the top 1000 most commonly used passwords. Eventually, they could use AI to guess passwords.

Also, new products don’t address old devices that users may not even remember are connected to the internet. How many thousands of small businesses have routers and printers that they haven’t really thought about for years and definitely don’t have time to think about today?

What can I do? 

Not much, but this wouldn’t hurt: figure out how to get into the administrative side of every device you have connected to the internet. Turn it off. Unplug it. Turn it back on, log into the back end and change the password to something weird.

Letting your elected leaders know that you’d like to see laws and regulations that require makers of connected devices to protect the internet wouldn’t hurt, either.

OBSERVER

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What it means when State Media takes control over U.S.

American media today is neither free nor “watchdog”. They are State Media. All nations have this in one form or another. The old Soviets infamously had Pravda.

In China today, it goes like this:

BEIJING —” The Chinese news media covered President Xi Jinping’s most recent public appearances with adulation befitting a demigod.

Front-page headlines across the nation trumpeted Mr. Xi’s visits to the headquarters of the three main Communist Party and state news organizations on Friday. Photographs showed fawning journalists crowding around Mr. Xi, who sat at an anchor’s desk at the state television network. One media official wrote the president an adoring poem.

The blanket coverage reflected the brazen and far-reaching media policy announced by Mr. Xi on his choreographed tour: The Chinese news media exists to serve as a propaganda tool for the Communist Party, and it must pledge its fealty to Mr. Xi.

Though the party has been tightening its control over the media since Mr. Xi became the top leader in late 2012, the new policy removes any doubt that in the view of the president and party chief, the media should be first and foremost a party mouthpiece. Mr. Xi wants to push the party’s message domestically — and internationally — across all media platforms, including advertising and entertainment, scholars say. That is a shift from his predecessor, Hu Jintao, who stressed the need for the state-run media to become more responsive to the modern digital environment and shape or channel public opinion.

“All news media run by the party must work to speak for the party’s will and its propositions, and protect the party’s authority and unity,” Mr. Xi told the gathered media officials on Friday, according to Xinhua, the state news agency.

Mr. Xi also wants to curb the presence of foreign media companies. Last week, government agencies announced a regulation that would prevent foreign companies from publishing and distributing content online in China.”

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The politics of Nullification: Democrat Party returns to its roots

  • What is “Nullification”?  It was a political tactic used by 19th century Democrats to deny the authority of federal law.
en.wikipedia.org
The Nullification Crisis was a United States sectional political crisis in 1832–33, during the presidency of Andrew Jackson, which involved a confrontation between …
  • We are witnessing today an updated version of nullification, proselytized by the anti-American globalist camarilla in D.C. and peddled by their state media propagandists. Their new word is “normalizing” .. the actionable tactic summed up as; “Do not normalize President Trump“.
  • To that end, all things attempted by the new Administration are to be portrayed as outside the norm, not consistent with “established” thought, unethical and most likely illegal. In practice, this makes “normalizing” synonymous with “marginalizing”
  • This is nullification without explicitly saying so. It’s deliberate and coordinated messaging meant to undermine the validity of the Nov 8 election and by extension, the basis of our constitutional republic.
Just as Democrats did it in the antebellum years.
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Memo to President Petulant: You lost.

“Obama’s failure to follow tradition and respect voters is par for the course. He spent much of his tenure pushing the bounds and overstepping his constitutional authority — through regulatory edicts and executive actions. So his latest power grab should come as no surprise.”

Obama’s ugly bid to snub voters and tie Trump’s hands

Untitled

In his waning days in the White House, President Obama is desperately trying to make his policies as permanent as possible by tying the hands of his successor — and far more than other presidents have done on their way out.

From his dramatic and disastrous change of US policy on Israel to his executive order restricting 1.65 million acres of land from development despite local objections, Obama is trying to make it impossible for Donald Trump and a GOP-controlled Congress to govern.

Even Thursday’s announcement of wide-ranging sanctions against Russia presents Trump with a foreign-policy crisis immediately upon taking office.

By contrast, many of Obama’s predecessors have stood back in their final days in office and refrained from any dramatic shifts, in deference to the agenda of the man voters sent to succeed them.

But Obama won’t accept the election results. As he suggested the other day, Trump’s election was a fluke — and he himself would have easily been re-elected if allowed to stand for a third term.

He believes this not just because he’s an effective campaigner, but because he thinks his “vision” and policies continue to be backed by “a majority of the American people.”

But Obama, like many Democrats, fails to understand what happened in the election: Voters were calling for real change from the status quo — from his policies. Indeed, before the vote, he himself said it was a referendum on him and his policies.

“Memo to the president: You lost.”

Whether it was the lackluster economy, ObamaCare, trade, the sweeping failure of his foreign policy or illegal immigration, voters sought something very different.

Trump, on the other hand, did more than just energize his base: He flipped six states that voted for Obama in 2012.

The results, as many have since come to realize, is that the Democratic Party now caters to a hard-left, elite core located on the two coasts — and has abandoned the working-class Americans in the heartland it so loudly claims to champion.

Which is why Democrats have also been losing seats, especially at the state level. Voters are fed up with Democratic failures — to the point where they were willing to take a chance on an untested novice like Trump.

Obama’s failure to follow tradition and respect voters is par for the course. He spent much of his tenure pushing the bounds and overstepping his constitutional authority — through regulatory edicts and executive actions. So his latest power grab should come as no surprise.

But it’s one thing for Obama to have delusions about the popularity of his agenda. It’s quite another to try to preserve a discredited legacy by handcuffing America’s next democratically elected president.

READ THE NEW YORK POST

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“Obama took the measure of Israel’s back and slid a knife into it”

Obama’s final, most shameful, legacy moment

 December 29 
“When the chips are down, I have Israel’s back.”

Barack Obama, AIPAC
conference, March 4, 2012

The audience — overwhelmingly Jewish, passionately pro-Israel and supremely gullible — applauded wildly. Four years later — his last election behind him, with a month to go in office and with no need to fool Jew or gentile again — Obama took the measure of Israel’s back and slid a knife into it.

People don’t quite understand the damage done to Israel by the U.S. abstention that permitted passage of a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel over settlements. The administration pretends this is nothing but a restatement of long-standing U.S. opposition to settlements.

Nonsense. For the past 35 years, every administration, including a reelection-seeking Obama himself in 2011, has protected Israel with the U.S. veto because such a Security Council resolution gives immense legal ammunition to every boycotter, anti-Semite and zealous European prosecutor to penalize and punish Israelis.

An ordinary Israeli who lives or works in the Old City of Jerusalem becomes an international pariah, a potential outlaw. To say nothing of the soldiers of Israel’s citizen army. “Every pilot and every officer and every soldier,” said a confidant of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, “we are waiting for him at The Hague,” i.e. the International Criminal Court.

Moreover, the resolution undermines the very foundation of a half-century of American Middle East policy. What becomes of “land for peace” if the territories that Israel was to have traded for peace are, in advance, declared to be Palestinian land to which Israel has no claim?

The peace parameters enunciated so ostentatiously by Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday are nearly identical to the Clinton parameters that Yasser Arafat was offered and rejected in 2000 and that Abbas was offered by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008. Abbas, too, walked away.

Kerry mentioned none of this because it undermines his blame-Israel narrative. Yet Palestinian rejectionism works. The Security Council just declared the territories legally Palestinian — without the Palestinians having to concede anything, let alone peace. What incentive do the Palestinians have to negotiate when they can get the terms — and territory — they seek handed to them for free if they hold out long enough?

The administration claims a kind of passive innocence on the text of the resolution, as if it had come upon it at the last moment. We are to believe that the ostensible sponsors — New Zealand, Senegal, Malaysia and a Venezuela that cannot provide its own people with toilet paper, let alone food— had for months been sweating the details of Jewish housing in East Jerusalem.

Nothing new here, protests deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes: “When we see the facts on the ground, again, deep into the West Bank beyond the separation barrier, we feel compelled to speak up against those actions.”

This is a deception. Everyone knows that remote outposts are not the issue. Under any peace, they will be swept away. Even right-wing Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who lives in one of these West Bank settlements, has stated publicly that “I even agree to vacate my settlement if there really will be a two-state solution.” Where’s the obstacle to peace?

A second category of settlement is the close-in blocs that border 1967 Israel. Here, too, we know in advance how these will be disposed of: They’ll become Israeli territory and, in exchange, Israel will swap over some of its land to a Palestinian state. Where’s the obstacle to peace here?

It’s the third category of “settlement” that is the most contentious and that Security Council Resolution 2334 explicitly condemns: East Jerusalem. This is not just scandalous; it’s absurd. America acquiesces to a declaration that, as a matter of international law, the Jewish state has no claim on the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, indeed the entire Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. They belong to Palestine.

old-city

The Temple Mount is the most sacred site in all of Judaism. That it should be declared foreign to the Jewish people is as if the Security Council declared Mecca and Medina to be territory to which Islam has no claim. Such is the Orwellian universe Israel inhabits.

At the very least, Obama should have insisted that any reference to East Jerusalem be dropped from the resolution or face a U.S. veto. Why did he not? It’s incomprehensible — except as a parting shot of personal revenge on Benjamin Netanyahu. Or perhaps as a revelation of a deep-seated antipathy to Israel that simply awaited a safe political interval for public expression.

Another legacy moment for Barack Obama. And his most shameful.

Read more from Charles Krauthammer’s archive, follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

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Making Federal Courts Great Again – President Trump will be able to fill an uncommon number of vacancies.

Trump to inherit more than 100 court vacancies, plans to reshape judiciary

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Donald Trump is set to inherit an uncommon number of vacancies in the federal courts in addition to the open Supreme Court seat, giving the president-elect a monumental opportunity to reshape the judiciary after taking office.The estimated 103 judicial vacancies that President Obama is expected to hand over to Trump in the Jan. 20 transition of power is nearly double the 54 openings Obama found eight years ago following George W. Bush’s presidency.

Confirmation of Obama’s judicial nominees slowed to a crawl after Republicans took control of the Senate in 2015. Obama White House officials blame Senate Republicans for what they characterize as an unprecedented level of obstruction in blocking the Democratic president’s court picks.

The result is a multitude of openings throughout the federal circuit and district courts that will allow the new Republican president to quickly make a wide array of lifetime appointments.

State gun control laws, abortion restrictions, voter laws, anti-discrimination measures and immigrant issues are all matters that are increasingly heard by federal judges and will be influenced by the new composition of the courts. Trump has vowed to choose ideologues in the mold of the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative icon — a prospect that has activists on the right giddy.

“I’m optimistic he’ll come at this right out of the gate,” said Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director of the Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative group that has opposed many of Obama’s court choices.

“Every president can expect to make a huge impact,” Severino added. “Trump] is unique in having campaigned really hard on this issue — the significance of the courts, and of the Supreme Court in particular.”

The Supreme Court vacancy created by Scalia’s death in February was a motivating issue for many conservative voters, especially evangelical Christians, to turn out for Trump. Senate Republicans refused to hold even a hearing on Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, for the Scalia seat.

Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court pose for formal group photo in the East Conference Room in Washington

Seated from left to right in front row are: Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Standing from left to right in back row are: Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr., and Associate Justice Elena Kagan.

Democrats accuse Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, of intentionally denying Obama’s nominees a fair hearing and running out the clock in hopes that a Republican would succeed him, as Trump has.

Twenty-five of Obama’s court nominees were pending on the Senate floor, after having been approved out of the committee with bipartisan support, but did not get a vote before the Senate ended its two-year term before the holidays, according to White House spokesman Eric Schultz.

“Republican tactics have been shameful and will forever leave a stain on the United States Senate,” Schultz said. “Republican congressional dysfunction has now metastasized to the third branch of government, and that is not a legacy to be proud of.”

Trump spoke frequently about his intentions to put forward a more conservative Supreme Court nominee as a way to galvanize the right.

“The replacement of our beloved Justice Scalia will be a person of similar views, principles and judicial philosophies,” Trump said in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. “Very important. This will be one of the most important issues decided by this election.”

Although Trump spoke little on the campaign trail about the many vacancies on lower courts, remaking the federal judiciary overall has been a priority of his and of Vice President-elect Mike Pence, aides said.

Trump’s older sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, is a senior judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit. First appointed to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan, Barry was later elevated to the circuit court by President Bill Clinton and is known for her relative moderation. She has spoken out against women’s claims of sexual harassment yet also struck down a New Jersey law banning late-term abortions as unconstitutional.

Trump transition officials declined to comment on the process of selecting nominees, but incoming White House Counsel Don McGahn is expected to play a key role. Such groups as the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation have been working with the Trump team to suggest possible candidates.

The judiciary also is a top priority for McConnell, who stands ready to help the Trump White House identify candidates and grease the sometimes-laborious Senate confirmation process.

The Trump administration and the Senate will be under pressure to quickly install judges in courts around the country where cases are severely backlogged because of long-vacant seats.

There are 38 so-called judicial emergencies, according to the nonpartisan Judicial Conference, including in Texas, where seven seats have sat empty for more than one year. The Obama administration and the state’s two conservative Republican senators could not come to an agreement on nominees for the many openings.

“There is a real impact on real people,” said W. Neil Eggleston, Obama’s White House counsel. “There are people and companies who are not having their cases heard because there are no judges around.”

The politics surrounding judicial vacancies are more poisonous than at any time in recent memory, as the Garland episode has shown, with Democrats and Republicans at loggerheads for much of the two years since McConnell took leadership of the Senate.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, issued a 4,200-word statement this month saying that by blocking Garland, Republicans had committed “the most outrageous act of obstruction and irresponsibility” that he had seen in his 42 years in the Senate.

Speaking more generally about circuit and district court vacancies, Leahy added: “Despite the fact that there are dozens of qualified, consensus nominees pending on the Senate floor right now, we will finish this Congress having confirmed just 22 judicial nominees in two years. That is the lowest number since Harry Truman was president.”

As with many subjects, judicial nomination data can be subject to interpretation. Judicial vacancies ebb and flow somewhat randomly, considering judges serve lifetime appointments until they choose to retire or die.

“It is a challenge to make apples-to-apples comparisons at the end of a term because vacancies don’t happen in the same regular basis as they do in the Senate or the White House,” said Don Stewart, a spokesman for McConnell. “To make an apples-to-apples comparison on a snapshot in time doesn’t work.”

Despite Obama’s difficulty winning confirmation for his nominees, the Senate has confirmed more of his nominees during his eight years as president, 329, than it did Bush’s during his eight years in office, 326.

Beth Levine, a spokeswoman for Grassley, said, “The White House has very little to complain about because no matter how they spin it, the fact is that President Obama had more judicial nominees confirmed than President Bush.”

Obama has used his nominations to systematically diversify the federal courts to look more like the fast-changing country. He appointed far more female and minority judges than any other president in history, and he has paid particular attention to sexual orientation. When Obama took office, there was only one openly gay or lesbian judge, and he appointed 11 more.

“The president, my predecessors and I spent a significant amount of time looking for all different kinds of diversity — racial, sexual orientation, gender and professional background,” Eggleston said.

When Obama took office, only one of the 13 regional circuit courts had a majority of Democratic-nominated judges, and as he leaves, nine do. While the Supreme Court hears roughly 75 cases a year, tens of thousands are decided at the circuit court level, affecting all who live in the states within those circuits.

Russell Wheeler, an expert on judicial nominations at the Brookings Institution, said Trump has a great opportunity to change the partisan split in the federal courts. He predicted that by mid-2020, Republican appointees would hold about half of the 673 district judgeships, as opposed to the current 34 percent. And among the 179 circuit court judgeships, Democratic appointees now hold a slim majority, 51 percent, but that could fall to about 43 percent.

Washington Post

 

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UPDATE: TRUMP 2016 – Meet Stephen Miller

UPDATED: DEC. 26,2016

PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION

Trump taps aide Stephen Miller to write inaugural address

By

Donald Trump and his top advisers have begun mapping out the themes for his inaugural address next month, as the president-elect has tapped Stephen Miller, his incoming senior White House adviser for policy, to write the historic speech.

Read Stephen Miller

*******

The Believer

How Stephen Miller went from obscure Capitol Hill staffer to Donald Trump’s warm-up act—and resident ideologue.

June 27, 2016

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“How’s everybody in Texas doing today?” Miller said, grinning and flashing a peace sign as men in the crowd bellowed “Steeeeeve!” Miller has been warming up the crowd at pretty much every Trump rally since March, with fiery speeches full of conspiratorial populism delivered with a nearly immobile face.

This time, he began with Hillary Clinton. “In recent days, I’m sure you’ve seen Hillary Clinton step up her attacks on Donald Trump,” he intoned, and then closed his eyes and nodded, savoring the crowd’s boos. “And you’ve seen all the usual special interests, all the special interests step up their attacks on Donald Trump, too. And the one thing, the one thing that aaalllll these groups have in common is that they run the show now, and they want to make sure they run the show forever.”

The point, as Miller would lay it out in Dallas and has laid out countless times before, is that there is a vast conspiracy that blurs together all wings of the American political spectrum in its quest to keep the American masses down. “That’s what this all comes down to,” Miller said, picking up steam and poking the air with his index finger. “Everybody who stands against Donald Trump are the people who have been running the country into the ground, who have been controlling the levers of power. They’re the people who are responsible for our open borders, for our shrinking middle class, for our terrible trade deals.” His voice stiffly added decibels. “Everything that is wrong with this country today, the people who are opposed to Donald Trump are responsible for!”

Trump had been coming under fire for his response to the Orlando shooting, and that night in Dallas Miller pivoted from whipping up fear and loathing to whipping up fear and loathing and then calling it love. As the crowd began to chant “Build the wall!” a grinning Miller explained. “We’re going build that wall high and we’re going to build it tall,” he said. “We’re going to build that wall, and we’re going to build it out of love. We’re going to build it out of love for every family who wants to raise their kids in safety and peace…. We’re building it out of love for America and Americans of all backgrounds.”

Miller is 30 years old, and in some ways a quintessential member of the Trump 2016 menagerie: an obscure character suddenly elevated to a national role by dint of hard work, loyalty, and the boss’s favor. He’s often overshadowed by the campaign’s more flamboyant figures, even as he’s begun appearing on CNN and Fox to defend Trump and explain his policies in strikingly complete and adamant sentences. But among this roster of political outsiders, Miller stands out, especially for people who understand the new forces afoot in Republican politics.

He’s deeply connected to some of the most powerful insurgent threads in the Washington GOP, most notably Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions and the Breitbart media machine. As an aide on Capitol Hill, he was a behind-the-scenes architect of the successful effort to kill comprehensive immigration reform in 2014. And while it’s hard to gauge how much Trump is amenable to influence by anyone—at least, by anyone that he didn’t beget—there is no question that Miller is deep, and serious, on the one question that most drives Donald Trump’s unlikely campaign.

Miller’s talent for combining operational zeal with the ability to effectively frame an idea into one devastating laser beam made him a prized Sessions lieutenant in Washington. “When it comes to issues and messaging and policy, there isn’t anybody else that I’ve known that would be as valuable to a presidential campaign as he,” Sessions told me. “Maybe other than Karl Rove.”

But Miller also cuts a deeply unsettling figure, even to many in his own party. His nine-year career working for some of the most politically fringe figures on the Hill—he also worked for Michele Bachmann and helped David Brat in his primary defeat of Eric Cantor—was preceded by a trail of writings and provocations that go all the way back to high school, one that has raised the eyebrows of even conservative Republicans.

There is something eerily vintage about Miller’s stump speeches. The combination of their substance—vilifying immigrants as killers, the promise of nativist glory days ahead—and their delivery with a calm face around a loud, droning mouth, slicked-back hair and sharp suit, floridly invoking powerful cabals against the people: All of it harks back to an earlier time. It’s as if the video should be in black and white, and the microphone in front of Miller an antique, metallic affair. This is an image Miller assiduously cultivates, smoking like a chimney and dressing in suits that earned him the nickname “Mad Men” on the Hill. “You almost want to put him in a previous era,” says Marcus Peacock, who worked with Miller on the Senate Budget Committee.

Miller had always existed at the political margins, but Trump’s rise has allowed him to advance to the vanguard, and he clearly enjoys it. He grins at the podium, he savors the crowd’s reactions, even if they periodically boo him for not turning the stage over to Trump fast enough. “All the anger right underneath the surface just waiting to come through, about what I don’t know,” says a former staffer with the Republican leadership on the Hill. “I’ve seen the videos of him getting the crowd fired up. People that knew him when he was on the Hill, I don’t know how to describe the reactions people had to the videos of him. Maybe creeped out a little bit? Like, what’s going to happen when this guy gets the power?” He pauses as a thought dawns on him. “Oh my God,” he says. “He’s going to find out that I spoke with you and I’m going to end up in a camp somewhere.”

***

When I spoke to Miller, he was in New York, helping coordinate policy for the Republican convention and had just gotten off a call with Trump as he took off from Scotland. On the phone, he speaks with only slightly less bombast than on the stump. “I’m really, really cognizant of how blessed I am to even have the opportunity, and the burden of that never ceases to weigh on me,” he said when I asked him about his warm-up speeches. “I take the responsibility of it with the utmost seriousness. It is an extraordinary privilege. Getting a chance to see good, decent, patriotic people who just want to have self-determination is something for which I will be grateful for the rest of my life.” (He also made sure to stipulate, unprompted, that, “If anybody said anything really, really heinous about me, it’s not true.” When I laughed, he explained that he was serious. “I like to think of myself as a genuinely good person,” he explained.)

Like a lot of things on the Trump campaign, it’s not really clear how this happened. One day ahead of the Florida primary, Miller was telling Trump all about his experience fighting Marco Rubio on immigration reform, Trump told him to take it to the media and the stage, and that was that. Miller was now the warm-up act, and spokeswoman Hope Hicks and erstwhile campaign manager Corey Lewandowski just had to deal with it.

Before that, Miller was a senior policy advisor, an indeterminate title that sat him somewhere in the background with Sam Clovis, the walrus of a man who came up with the Trump economic program that the conservative Tax Foundation said would add $10 trillion to the U.S. deficit. Clovis and Miller churn out white papers for a boss that doesn’t seem to ever read them. Clovis occasionally goes on TV—“Either they want to get behind the presumptive nominee,” Clovis said of the GOP establishment on CNN, “if they can’t do that, then just shut the hell up”—but most of the time he’s back in his home state of Iowa.

As senior policy advisor, Miller’s role is a series of paradoxes. But he shrewdly never made it clear where his loyalties lay, making sure to curry favor with both Lewandowski and campaign chair Paul Manafort, meaning neither knew what to do with him. He is often the face of the Trump campaign, warming up the crowds and throwing bombs in his name on television. He recently accused Neera Tanden, an outside advisor for the Clinton campaign, of being a fake feminist for not opposing Muslim immigration into the U.S. even though Muslims, according to Miller, bring with them female genital mutilation. “You want to talk about women’s issues?” he hectored. “Here’s something we should be talking about!”

But Miller is not always on the Trump jet, and for a while Trump didn’t seem to know who he was. Sometimes he attends key policy meetings, like a recent meeting of top Trump lieutenants and a representative of the Koch brothers, and sometimes he is missing, like he was from a rare June meeting with Speaker Paul Ryan’s staff. And sometimes he is simply tasked with making sure the Uber gets where it needs to go.

At first, the Trump campaign declined to make Miller available for the story, but when news broke that Lewandowski was fired, I texted Miller to ask whether this would change the campaign’s calculus of not letting me talk to him. Within a minute my phone rang. It was Miller.

“What’s the news?” he asked.

I told him Lewandowski had just been let go. There was silence on the other end of the line.

“Interesting that you would be the one to tell me that,” he finally said, recovering the gravitas of his Serious Adult Voice. “Let me call you back. I have a lot to learn and discover in the next couple hours.”

***

Miller was hired by Lewandowski from the office of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, one of the most conservative and nativist members of the U.S. Senate. Sessions, who famously donned a Make America Great Again hat at Trump rally in Mobile back in August 2015, is still the only sitting senator to endorse Trump—which he did in February, a couple weeks after Miller jumped ship.

In the Senate, Sessions was often Trump before Trump was Trump. He was an early advocate of a bigger, better, taller border fence. He has spoken for years about “Islamic extremism.” In 2009, as the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, he went after Sonya Sotomayor during her Supreme Court nomination hearings with a line of attack that now sounds familiar. “You have evidenced, I think it’s quite clear, a philosophy of the law that suggests that the judge’s background and experiences can and should—even should and naturally will impact their decision,” Sessions said, adding that it was antithetical “to the American ideal.”

In 2014, in Sessions’ single most influential act, he helped kill the bipartisan Senate deal on comprehensive immigration reform in the House. His office distributed a handbook full of figures, suggested responses to dissenters and the press, and roof-raising rhetoric. (“Donors don’t win elections; voters win elections. And the voters need our help.”) The handbook was written by Stephen Miller.

“We had been working on the ideas in it for months, and Stephen put it in the handbook in a very quick time in a very cogent fashion,” Sessions told me. “It was very timely and it impacted the outcome of the vote.” Miller was also at Sessions’ side as his communications guru through some of his most notable battles, including the Sotomayor hearing. “I just routinely never went to the microphone outside the hearing before talking to him about what the issue was,” Sessions says.

Miller quickly rose through the ranks of the Senate office to become the Senator’s chief of communications. Those who worked with them say Sessions and Miller had a “mind meld.” Within a short period of time, Miller mastered Sessions’ voice. “It’s very rare that you’ll find a Senate staffer that can capture their member’s voice,” says Rick Dearborn, who is still Sessions’ chief of staff. “But Stephen listened and was able to capture his voice. He was able to anticipate what he needed for an interview or a speech.” The Senator and Miller were often in different buildings, but Peacock, who worked in Sessions’ office with Miller, says that being around Miller was “like having the Senator right there.” “The two of them just really connect, in their worldview especially,” says Garrett Murch, who still works for Sessions.

Outside of the Sessions office, Miller became infamous. He spammed reporters’ inboxes with what they called “stream-of-consciousness press releases” at all hours. He called them up to deliver long and winding rants, though he was obsequiously gracious with the female reporters. “He was notorious for late Friday night diatribes,” says the former Senate leadership staffer.

After Miller would send one out to his entire press list, the former staffer says, “I would get like half a dozen forwards with ‘FYI’ written on them. Like, just in case you wanted to read 10,000 words about the budget at six o’clock on a Friday.” Miller also seemed to come with a strange paper trail. “There were rumors that spread around that he wrote these columns at Duke that really walked a fine line on racial issues, to put it mildly,” the former staffer says. “I’ve stood in a lot of hallway huddles where the talk was, ‘My God, if you look at what he wrote in college…’”

When Miller became communications chief in Sessions’ office at 28, he had a staff of three working for him and he was known as nurturing but exacting boss. “He was a tough person to work for, but fair,” says Peacock. “He expected a lot out of his staff.” There was yelling and the occasional expletive when he deemed the “work product” not up to snuff, and others have noted a paranoid volatility about Miller. “He goes from 0 to 100 with a snap of the fingers,” says the former leadership staffer. “He’s constantly seeing these conspiracies against him when someone’s probably just asking him a question.”

“He’s tenacious,” says Dearborn. “He’s like a dog with a bone.” Quickly correcting himself, Dearborn adds, “But not crazed, there’s always purpose to it … His manner is a little different.”

As soon as Miller left for the Trump campaign, the Sessions office mysteriously stopped sending out stream-of-consciousness press alerts. “I left the office so quickly,” Miller laments. “I wanted to put to put together a little book of the best emails I ever sent. I spent hours and hours of research on those.”

Miller was crucial to Sessions on many controversial issues—the debt ceiling, the budget—but the thing he was most passionate about was immigration. “Stephen was very instrumental in helping [Sessions] articulate his beliefs on immigration,” says Peacock. “He’s not a hired gun. He has a good amount of this in his bones.” Miller was a true believer. “You don’t stay with someone for a long period of time on the Hill if you don’t share your world view,” says Dearborn. And Miller stayed on for nearly seven years.

The resonance among Sessions, Miller, and Trump on immigration began in the Senator’s office. “I see some of the things he’s saying now are very similar to the proposals that members like Sessions, Vitter, and others made,” says Luke Bolar, who was communications director for Louisiana Senator David Vitter and worked with Miller on scuttling comprehensive immigration reform.

“For instance, sanctuary cities, remittances.” Miller made contact with the family of Kate Steinle, the young woman who was gunned down in 2015 by an illegal immigrant in San Francisco, a sanctuary city. He brought her father Jim to testify in the Senate as it considered a bill on ending the sanctuary city designation. Miller constantly invokes Steinle in his stump speeches and his television appearances as evidence of the clear and present danger posed by unchecked immigration. (Steinle’s brother, however, recently slammed the Trump campaign for using Kate’s death to score political points.) Miller was also instrumental in forming relationships with the National Border Patrol Council and Leo Perrero, a laid-off Disney worker who was forced to train his foreign replacement and who has since become an advocate against corporate H1B visa abuse. Both the Council and Perrero were invited by the Sessions office to testify in the Senate. And after Miller joined the campaign, both of them endorsed Trump.

***

“I’M IN HEAVEN!” Ann Coulter tweeted when it was announced in late January that Trump had hired Miller, whom Coulter called “Sessions’ brain trust.” The hire, Coulter felt, offered a sign that Trump was “not backing down on immigration.”

How did Stephen Miller come to occupy such an extreme position on immigration? Strangely, it was his experience coming of age in a liberal Jewish family in liberal Santa Monica, the Berkeley of southern California. “I think it was growing up in California, he saw the role that mass migration played turning a red state blue,” says one former Senate colleague. “He was fearful that that would happen to the rest of the country.”

Miller was born into a family of lawyers and salesmen, two professions he never pursued but clearly has in him. His parents were Democrats, but Miller was pulled in a different direction early, converted to the conservative cause by a copy of NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre’s 1994 book, Guns, Crime, and Freedom, a blistering takedown of the arguments for gun control.

Miller was an ardent, dewy-eyed patriot, which often led him to surprising conclusions. Shortly after graduating high school, Miller penned a column for a Christian publication called “My Dream for the End of Racism.” “The U.S. abolished slavery in 90 years, a time span far shorter than that of other nations, and indeed we acquired emancipation through our bloodiest, most gruesome war,” he wrote. “This no doubt due to the unique status of our beloved nation as being one founded on the principle of equality.”

The 9/11 attacks hit when Miller was a junior at Santa Monica High School. The event shocked him to his core and left him feeling isolated in his patriotism, lost in a sea of peacenik liberalism. “During that dreadful time of national tragedy, anti-Americanism had spread all over the school like a rash,” he reminisced in a column called “How I Changed My Left-Wing High School.”

“The co-principal broadcasted his doubts about the morality of the air strikes against the Taliban to the entire school via the PA system. One teacher even dragged the American flag across the floor as we were sending off brave young men to risk their lives for it.”

Miller describes contacting conservative talk radio personality Larry Elder, and going on his show to complain about this school. Thus began a cycle that would repeat itself over and over in high school and college: Miller would clash with school administrators over a perceived leftist conspiracy—the school not saying the Pledge of Allegiance, say—then escalate the conflict by taking it to a conservative talk show, infuriating the administrators but yielding a compromise in Miller’s favor. After his appeal to Elder, for instance, the Pledge of Allegiance would now be said twice a week, though that was still not enough for Miller. “Policy dictates it should be said every day,” he wrote in a local paper.

The pattern repeated itself often enough that Miller wore it as a badge of honor. “Stephen Miller, 17 years old, just graduated from Santa Monica High School,” the bio under his column read. “Since his Junior year in High School, he has been a guest on local and national radio over thirty times, primarily as an advocate for freedom in education.”

These columns and complaints to conservative talk radio were his first foray into political activism, voicing and defending opinions that strongly resemble those he advocates today. In a column called “Political Correctness Out of Control,” he laid out a litany of complaints against his high school’s “liberal indoctrination.”

“I noticed a number of students lacked basic English skills,” he wrote, and complained that the school making announcements in Spanish and English holds the Hispanic students back. He took issue with the school making condoms available—“Legally speaking, sex between minors is statutory rape. Not to mention 14-year olds are a little young to be having sex regardless of the law.”

Worse, the school encouraged students to embrace their homosexuality. “And just in case your son or daughter decides at their tender age that they are gay, we have a club on campus that will gladly help foster their homosexuality,” he wrote. “Do they notify parents if their teenagers have chosen an alternate lifestyle? Of course not.”

The way the school taught American history, focusing too much on the bad and not enough on the heroic, also insulted Miller’s patriotism. Should American soldiers have not killed Indians or anyone else? Miller asked, rhetorically. “Or, better yet, we could have lived with the Indians, learning how to finger paint and make tepees, excusing their scalping of frontiersmen as part of their culture,” Miller griped.

Combine that with the pacifist response of the school to 9/11 and teachers’ critiques of the war in Afghanistan, and, Miller concluded, “Osama Bin Laden would feel very welcome at Santa Monica High School.”

***

At Duke, Miller’s provocations found a new and bigger audience. He got so involved in planning an elaborate 9/11 memorial—a sea of 2,997 flags, one for each victim, lit up by a lamp and guarded by a hired police officer; a choir singing the anthem; a screening of “Flight 93”; a speech from the Veterans of Foreign Wars—that he skipped his LSAT exam.

He wrote a column for a conservative outlet in which he detailed his fight with the university for funding, which he admits he later received. He also invited David Horowitz, the Southern Californian arch-conservative and founder of Students for Academic Freedom, to speak on campus. Miller considers Horowitz a mentor; the older man veered from a radically leftist upbringing into radical conservatism, and over the years has used campus newspapers as a forum for his button-pushing crusades on racial issues and Islamic terrorism. Miller first met Horowitz as a teenager. He invited him to speak at Santa Monica High School, then claimed the school did not want authorize the event, then documented the injustice in Horowitz’s publication, FrontPage Magazine.

When Miller felt Duke was not providing enough support for a Horowitz speaking engagement on campus, Miller told people Horowitz had been banned from speaking at Duke. The ban appalled conservatives, many of whom complained to university administrators—even though Horowitz had not been banned: Horowitz did speak and the event was carried live on CSPAN. Miller warmed up the crowd for him, wryly announcing the name of each department that didn’t contribute funds to the event.

“The reality was that I was attending college on a campus where many professors had radical beliefs and engaged in outrageous behavior,” Miller says of his college years. His goal then was to be “a voice of justice and reason.” His microphone was a biweekly column in the Duke newspaper called “Miller Time,” one that would be whispered about in Senate hallways years later. He used the column and his position as the president of the Duke chapter of Horowitz’s Students for Academic Freedom to endorse students running for student government. He railed against Duke’s smoking ban and the “unrelenting health fascists” behind it. (Smoking, heconcluded, has not been proven to be unhealthy. “Indeed, it is safer for college kids to smoke than to drive.”)

But mostly he used the column as a lightning rod, a way to court angry reaction and put himself at the center of major campus controversies. He wrote that interacting with the population outside the campus was overrated. “Durham isn’t a petting zoo,” he chided. “The residents won’t get lonely or irritable if we don’t play with them.”

He was a strong supporter of the war in Iraq and called Ted Kennedy a “traitor” for criticizing American use of torture. He went after professors for being registered Democrats. He blamed 9/11 on “politically correct domestic security” and unenforced immigration laws. He wrote about black students’ racial “paranoia” and their mistaken understanding of where true racism resides. The problem is not rich, conservative white people, he wrote. It’s “Democrats [who] continue to fuel the destructive vision of a powerful, racist white oppressor from which they need to protect black voters in order to keep their lock on that vote.”

He wrote that “worshipping at the altar of multiculturalism” undermines American culture and ignores the fact “we have shared with the world the cultural value of individualism and liberty, a value rooted in our unique and glorious history of settlers, pioneers and frontiersman [sic].”

Although he identified himself as “a practicing Jew,” he lamented the “War on Christmas,” saying “you’d probably find more Christmas decorations at your local mosque.”

Maya Angelou, in Miller’s mind, was “a leftist” full of “racial paranoia” who shouldn’t be allowed to give the opening address at the start of the school year. In a column called “Sorry, Feminists,” he wrote that the gender pay gap was actually due to women working fewer hours and choosing lower-paying professions. “Women already have equal rights in this country,” he wrote. “Sorry, feminists. Hate to break this good news to you.” (“It’s not chauvinism,” he signed off. “It’s chivalry.”)

It wasn’t just controversy for controversy’s sake; Miller was building his personal brand. “He very much knew the impact of his work, and he planned and plotted,” says an alum of the Duke Chronicle who worked with Miller. “He was very businesslike about it.”

The paper was constantly running angry rebuttals to Miller’s column, like after he defended former Bush education secretary William Bennett, who said that the crime rate would go down if more black babies were aborted. (“The [Black Student Alliance] should be ashamed of its public evisceration of William Bennett,” wrote Miller.) “People read him, everyone knew who he was,” the alum says. “When he broke china, he went to the so-and-so alliance and apologized. He was always in a scrape like that. It smacked of architecture, like he intentionally provoked people, and it worked for him because he was making a name for himself.” Added the alum, “He very much felt like he was contributing to the Collected Writings of Stephen Miller. I think in his own mind, this would be anthologized one day.”

Miller studied political science, but the apogee of his college career was not academic. It was a PR coup: his public defense, in the pages of the Duke Chronicle and on national television, of the Duke Lacrosse players accused of rape by a black stripper. He penned several columns in their defense under titles like “Prejudice,” “Persecution,” and “Crawl to Justice.” He alleged there was indeed a racial motivation for the case: that of the radical left in going after white lacrosse players. “Being a white, male lacrosse player was all it took,” he wrote in one column.

In another, titled “Racial Hypocrisy,” he wrote, “But when a black man was recently accused of raping a white Duke student at a party hosted by members of a black Duke fraternity, suddenly these great defenders of virtue fell silent.” He went on the O’Reilly Factor and the Nancy Grace Show to defend the lacrosse players, wearing a suit, a smirk, and a gold pinky ring. Even then, he was already a polished, florid speaker.

The Duke lacrosse players were vindicated, and to this day Miller is still bursting with pride. “The thing that I’m proudest of is that I spoke out early and often on behalf of American legal principles in the Duke lacrosse case when it was not popular,” he told me. “I take great pride that, under enormous social and political pressure, I remained steadfast in my support for due process.” He showed his early television appearances to his Senate colleagues, and believes that he did as much as the lacrosse players’ lawyers in exonerating them.

The name he made for himself in fighting the University establishment, through his column and in inviting Horowitz to speak, would later reap benefits. It was Horowitz who, in 2009, would recommend Miller to his old friend, Jeff Sessions.

***

In 2014, during the height of the immigration debate, Tucker Carlson was having some bad thoughts. “I was having all kinds of heretical thoughts,” Carlson, who founded the conservative news site The Daily Caller, recalls. “I was upset about the war in Iraq and income inequality. I don’t know how Miller knew I had those thoughts, they were just thoughts I had in the shower.” And yet, Miller sensed an ally and reached out to Carlson. “He called me up and said, ‘Why don’t you have breakfast with Sessions? I think you’d like him,’” Carlson says.

He did, and Miller sat in on the meeting. But unlike most young staffers, Carlson recalls, “Miller felt totally free to pipe up and add his thoughts, in a notably self-confident way. I was impressed.” He came away liking both the men and convinced by their ideology, which Carlson described as “nationalist.” (When I asked him if today he too identifies as a nationalist, Carlson said, “of course.”) The Daily Caller quickly became one of Miller’s favorite outlets. He constantly called in tips and made himself available, and the Daily Caller ran stories on immigration and trade that showed Sessions and his agenda in a positive light.

Miller was also spreading Sessions’ gospel on immigration and trade by courting other influential conservative voices—Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Lou Dobbs, and Andrew Breitbart before his sudden death in 2012. When Breitbart launched his website, Miller organized a meeting for him with Congressional staffers. (Breitbart told Miller he’d first heard of him during the Duke lacrosse scandal.)

To the people who worked with him then, it’s no surprise that Miller ended up on the Trump campaign. “Whether the issue was trade or immigration or radical Islam, for many years before Donald Trump came on the scene, Senator Sessions was the leader of the movement and Stephen was his right-hand man,” says Steve Bannon, who is now CEO of Breitbart.

To Bannon and advocates of slowing down both legal and illegal immigration, Sessions’ work to kill immigration reform in 2014 was akin “to the civil rights movement in the 1960s,” Bannon told me. “It’s only happened a few times in American politics, and Sessions did it with a cadre of talented staff.”

Sessions and Miller were the radical vanguard of a cause that, in the year of Trump, has grown into something bigger. “When I was in Sessions’ office, this movement for nation-state populism, the intellectual framework for that was being formed,” Miller told me. A big part of my day was being in touch with the people who were the key players in that.He would send information blasts to a list of a couple hundred Hill staffers with data on the negative impact on immigration on wages, national security, and on what Miller refers to as “criminal aliens.” “We saw ourselves as a kind of think tank for immigration issues and linking that to the larger questions of globalism and populism,” Miller says of that time.

“You could not get where we are today with this movement if it didn’t have a center of gravity that was intellectually coherent,” says Bannon. “And I think a ton of that was done by Senator Sessions’ staff, and Stephen Miller was at the cutting edge of that.” Says Carlson: “Miller is providing the intellectual architecture for an insurgency against the Republican party.”

Even before Miller left Sessions’ office to work for Trump, and before Sessions endorsed him, there was a lot of overlap between the office and the campaign. “In my own personal time, I first got involved in forming relationships in June after they announced,” Miller says. “I was in touch with people inside campaign as early as then. Publicly, this played out as Senator Sessions’ early support for the campaign.”

Miller talked a lot to his friend, conservative political operative Sam Nunberg, who was then an advisor to Trump. “On his free time, not in any official capacity,” Nunberg clarifies. “They were a resource for us.” Though Miller and Sessions helped the Trump campaign formulate its immigration and trade policies, and despite Sessions’ now-frequent phone calls with Trump, Nunberg took pains to explain that it wasn’t a question of one influencing the other. “This is where Mr. Trump’s head was at,” Nunberg says. “The premise that you can influence him, good luck with that.”

But the synergy is unmistakable. Sessions first reached out to Trump more than a decade ago, in 2005, when he heard him criticize the $1.2 billion renovation of the U.N. headquarters. Trump said he could have done it more cheaply, and Sessions had him come down to Washington to testify on the Hill.

Since he became the first Senator to endorse Trump, there have been rumors that he is a contender for Trump’s vice president. He has become the chairman of Trump’s national security advisory committee, and helped craft Trump’s foreign policy speech—with Miller’s aid.

When, in the wake of the Orlando shooting, Trump was roundly criticized for his proposal to ban immigration “from areas of the world when there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States,” Sessions did the rounds of the Sunday morning talk shows to explain. “The public data that we have indicate there are quite a number of countries in that region that have sent a large number of people that have become terrorists,” Sessions told Jake Tapper. He said Trump simply wanted to “slow down” the flow from places with “a toxic ideology.” (“I have tremendous respect for Senator Sessions. He is a terrific person, a great leader, and I am so grateful for his support,” Trump told Newsweek.)

Miller is also in frequent touch with Sessions, and Rick Dearborn, Sessions’ chief of staff, moonlights as an advisor to the Trump campaign, helping it smooth out relationships with K Street and the Washington establishment. Dearborn is one of a couple point men whom Speaker Ryan’s staff contacts when they have questions about Trump policy. “I do a lot of interesting things when I’m on vacation,” Dearborn explains. “When I’m vacation, I do help when I can. But I don’t want that to be in the paper.”

Miller is no different. While he was still in Sessions’ office, he wasn’t just talking to Nunberg regularly; he was pursuing other Trump-related goals. He hectored people in the campaign to not only go after Jeb Bush, but to attack Rubio as well.

“Marco Rubio is, like, his biggest enemy,” says one Republican operative. “He just has this really vehement opposition to him. Marco encompassed everything that’s wrong with Washington. It came from dealing with him in the Gang of 8 [immigration proposal].” (His first warm-up speech, ahead of the Florida primary, was all about the evils of Rubio.) Miller also used his Senate email to go after reporters who he felt were going easy on Rubio at Trump’s expense. He would then leak those stories of purported journalistic malfeasance to Breitbart.com, which would reliably launch them into the conservative mediasphere. Miller does not dispute this, saying, “It’s for facts against falsity.”

Breitbart is Miller’s preferred media ally. “Every movement needs a dialogue,” Miller says. “Breitbart was a big part of that.” Miller worked tirelessly to make sure the dialogue kept going, and in the right direction. “When I first joined the staff, the first email I got was from him,” says one former Breitbart reporter. “It said something like, ‘Congratulations from everyone at Sessions’ office, we look forward to working with you.’

From that day on, the day’s first email would come from Miller, highlighting inaccuracies in other media outlets’ work or suggesting avenues for investigation. He worked primarily with two reporters at Breitbart, Caroline May and Julia Hahn, constantly feeding them scoops about the Disney workers’ plight, immigration numbers, and welfare fraud. He used to organize a weekly Friday happy hour for Sessions and Breitbart staffers at Union Pub, across the street from the Heritage Foundation. “They’re all really good friends,” says the former Breitbart reporter.

Breitbart was also Sessions country long before it was Trump country. “Anything that Sessions sends out, Breitbart writes up immediately,” says the former Breitbart reporter. “There was no question whatsoever. They’d send out an email saying, ‘Anyone who has five minutes, can you write this up?’ I would do it sometimes because people were overloaded and it was just regurgitating a press release into a blog post.” The reporter added, “It was their way of repaying them” for the scoops. Now that Breitbart has also thrown in for Trump, the same happens for his press releases. “They’re all in the same boat together, Sessions, Trump, and Breitbart,” the reporter said. “There’s no other politician that Breitbart does that for. They go above and beyond.”

The outlet also faithfully reports nearly everything Miller says on television. Each appearance merits a separate article, with headlines like “Stephen Miller Exposes Faux-Feminism of CNN Panel with Facts About Muslim Migration and Open Borders.” “We track this very, very closely,” Bannon explained when I asked why Miller’s television appearances get written up. “Stephen Miller is a jewel. We try to get as many of his TV things as we can. Some of them have been epic.”

The truth is, the influence goes both ways. As part of his warm-up act, Miller has taken to reading from Clinton Cash, the book on Clinton family corruption by Breitbart editor-at-large Peter Schweitzer. He holds up the book and reads passages from it, like a teacher reading to his really rambunctious kindergarten class. Other times he references it as proof that “Hillary Clinton is a career criminal, folks.” “All you have to do is read Clinton Cash,” he said at a recent rally. “Man, it’ll turn your hair white.”

Sections of the book also found their way into Trump’s June speech attacking Clinton for her crookedness. “The book Clinton Cash, by Peter Schweitzer, documents how Bill and Hillary used the State Department to enrich their family at America’s expense,” Trump said in his June 22 speech. “She gets rich making you poor.” He then proceeded to quote directly from the book, just like Miller.

“He talks to Bannon a lot,” the Republican operative says of Miller. “It’s no surprise that Stephen is reading from Clinton Cash. It’s no surprise that so many of Trump’s speeches are about Clinton Cash.”

Horowitz, Miller’s old mentor, also continues to be a player in this universe. In a recent column for Breitbart, he called Bill Kristol a “renegade Jew.” He too has adamant views on immigration—because of new arrivals, “there are now epidemic diseases that we didn’t have before,” he told me—and he used to organize conservative retreats at which Sessions was a frequent attendee. One of Horowitz’s pet issues, inner-city poverty as an outgrowth of Democratic political control, made it into Sessions’ Senate agenda, and, more recently, into a Trump speech.

“The Democrat Party has run the school boards and the police departments and the city councils and the mayor’s offices in most of our inner cities, almost all of our inner cities,” Trump said at the Faith and Freedom Conference in June. “They have horribly failed in almost every single community.”

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to [RNC Chairman] Reince [Preibus] about this, to Republicans, till I’m blue in the face. It’s like banging my head against a wall,” Horowitz told me. “Trump is the first Republican politician that put it into his speeches.”

Trump has become the candidate of the nationalist right, the people who had previously orbited around Sessions and his hardcore views on immigration. “A lot of people are transposing their views onto Trump, hoping that he’ll be a vessel for those views,” says Carlson.

Miller, though, avers that he’s a true believer in the campaign. “I want it recorded for posterity,” he told me, “that I wake up in the morning certain in the knowledge that this is an opportunity that is not going to come again.”

***

A few days before Trump gave his Clinton Cash speech, Miller warmed up the crowd for him in Las Vegas. Standing at the podium with a bottle of Fiji water, Miller explained to the audience that this was a historic time. “Very rarely in history do people get the opportunity to vote for true, real, profound change,” he began, spinning the same themes he had used in our conversation. “I would venture to say this is an opportunity is not just a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This is the kind of opportunity that comes once in many hundreds of years. And it’s important, it’s crucially important, that every morning we wake up, we’re cognizant of just how historic and how rare this opportunity is. ‘Cause folks, it’s not gonna come again.”

Unlike Trump’s stump speeches, Miller’s speeches are actually speeches. Though he too speaks extemporaneously, Miller gives his warm-up routine a recognizable rhetorical and thematic skeleton: he alliterates, he alludes, he uses parallel structure. His warm-ups have an arc, but it’s one that stops at its apogee, leaving the crowd just hungry enough for the dénouement, for “the one man who can help us” to ride in and spitball.

With time, Miller has grown more confident on the stump. His speeches have grown more elaborate. “We have been betrayed and let down by politicians year after year after year after year after year after year,” he went on, before launching into a call-and-response. “They say, oh, well, we’re going to secure the border. Do they ever get it secure, folks?”

“No!” shouts the crowd. Miller closes his eyes and shakes his head.

“They say, oh, well, we’re going to bring back our manufacturing jobs, but do those jobs ever come back?”

“No!”

“They say they’re going to clean up D.C. and kick out the special interests. Do the special interests ever go?”

“No!”

Miller’s speeches have also gathered quite a following. Videos of them get tens of thousands of views, and Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller sometimes adds transcripts of them along with the video.

Miller is loquacious, well-spoken, intelligent, say his friends and colleagues. He is convincing. He even has two converts under his belt: his parents are now conservative Republicans, active donors in California GOP circles.

I asked Miller what it feels like to give one of these speeches, to feel the energy of the crowd. “Donald Trump has said that he’s leading a movement, and that’s what I feel, that movement, that incredible energy that comes from being part of that movement,” he said. “I’m feeling the same sense of excitement as the people in the audience are about this movement. And frankly, what makes a warm-up speech work is that my enthusiasm and their enthusiasm are equal. So all of us feel at this juncture in history the potential of a fundamental change. It’s a feeling of excitement that comes from knowing that you’re part of something really special.”

In Las Vegas that June night, Miller ended the speech at a fever pitch. “And to the question I have for all of you,” he began his crescendo, “I want you to shout so loud, so that everyone who betrayed you, everyone who let you down, everybody who betrayed families like the Kate Steinle family…everybody who ignored your cries and pleas for help. I want you to shout so loud that it quivers the conference tables in Washington, D.C.”

A dramatic pause. A wag of the finger.

“Are you prepared, folks, to elect as president a man who will put America first, last, and always!” He too is shouting now, jabbing with his finger, bouncing in his knees, his face beatific with righteous anger. His eyes are finally smiling. “Are you prepared to elect Donald J. Trump as president of these United States! Are you prepared to take back your country!” The crowd is whistling, screaming. “Are you prepared for real change on behalf of America! God bless all of you, god bless this state, and God Bless The United States of America! Thank you!”

And with that, Miller spins around on his heels, turning his back to the ecstatic crowd. He flashes a peace sign, and disappears into the darkness.


Read more: POLITICO MAGAZINE

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DEMOCRAT PARTY NIGHTMARE: Obama to stay in Washington .. “comment on current events and counsel his party”

Obama’s legacy is a devastated Democratic Party

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As President Obama concludes his reign of error, his party is smaller, weaker and ricketier than it has been since at least the 1940s. Behold the tremendous power that Democrats have frittered away — from January 2009 through the aftermath of Election Day — thanks to Obama and his ideas:

  • Democrats surrendered the White House to political neophyte Donald J. Trump.
  • US Senate seats slipped from 55 to 46, down 16 percent.
  • US House seats fell from 256 to 194, down 24 percent.
  • Democrats ran the Senate and House in 2009. Next year, they will control neither.
  • Governorships slid from 28 to 16, down 43 percent.
  • State legislatures (both chambers) plunged from 27 to 14, down 48 percent
  • Trifectas (states with Democrat governors and both legislative chambers) cratered from 17 to 6, down 65 percent.

Since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, eight presidents have served at least two terms or bowed to their vice presidents due to death or resignation. Among them, Obama ranks eighth in total state legislative seats that his party preserved during his tenure.

Obama has supervised the net loss of 959 such Democrat positions, down 23.5 percent, according to Ballotpedia, which generated most of the data cited here. This far outpaces the 843 net seats that Republicans yielded under President Dwight Eisenhower.

By this measure, Ronald Reagan is No. 1. While he was president, Republicans gained six statehouse seats.

In terms of boosting his party’s state-level strength, Obama is the worst president since World War II. Reagan is the best.

Democrats can chant the soothing lie that this wholesale, multi-level rejection of their party stems from “structural racism,” the legacy of Jim Crow, the immortal tentacles of slavery, or whatever other analgesic excuse they can scrounge up. The same nation that they claim cannot outgrow its bigotry somehow elected and then re-elected Obama, quite comfortably.

This deep-rooted repudiation is not of Obama himself, but of Obamaism, today’s Democratic gospel.

At home, Obamaism features economic stagnation, morbidly obese and equally dysfunctional government, racial and identity fetishism, and rampant political correctness.

Overseas: Shame at American pre-eminence fuels flaccid “leadership from behind.”

All told, 1,043 federal and state-level Democrats lost or were denied power under Obama, largely because Americans grew disgusted by such outrages as a non-stimulating $831 billion “stimulus,” eight consecutive years of economic growth below 3 percent, an 88 percent increase in the national debt, the revocation of America’s triple-A bond rating and ObamaCare’s epic flop ($2.3 trillion to finance widespread insurance-policy cancellations, 20 bankruptcies among 24 state co-ops, early retirements for experienced but exasperated doctors and more). Also nauseating: federal nano-management of everything from dishwashers to third-grade lunches to national school-shower policy.

Abroad, Obamaism spawned the rise of ISIS, the fall of US personnel in Benghazi, and Iran’s relentless humiliation — before, during and after Obama’s delivery of some $100 billion in unfrozen assets, including at least $1.7 billion in laundered cash, literally flown in on private jets.

“My legacy’s on the ballot,” Obama said last September, just as he had said before the 2014 midterms.

And Democrats have paid the ultimate price. The political cadavers of more than 1,000 Democratic incumbents and nominees, from Hillary Clinton on down, confirm that Obama is poison at the polls.

Rather than enjoy a traditional, low-key post-presidency in Chicago, Obama plans to hunker down in Washington, DC, comment on current events and counsel his party’s candidates and officeholders. Democrats should find this as appetizing as dinner cooked by Typhoid Mary.

Deroy Murdock is a contributing editor with National Review Online. William de Wolff, who holds a master’s in international relations from NYU, contributed research.

 

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President Trump – Making U.S. Trusted Friends Again

Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump

As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th.

3:14 PM – 23 Dec 2016

 

trusa

Making U.S. Trusted Friends Again

Best Christmas since forever

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“Trump hate – Lunatic men badgering women on planes in front of their kids apparently is fair play”

Everyone should be treated with respect — unless you’re a Republican

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’Tis the season to spread joy and cheer — unless you’re a liberal still bitter about the election.

Thursday, Ivanka Trump and her family were accosted by Dan Goldstein, a lawyer from Brooklyn, who yelled at her that her father, who has yet to take office, was “ruining the country.” It wasn’t a spontaneous outburst. Goldstein’s husband had tweeted from the JetBlue terminal at JFK Airport that Goldstein was “chasing” Ivanka and her family to “harass” them.

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“Why is she on our flight? She should be flying private,” Goldstein reportedly shouted when he saw them on the plane and allegedly engaged with her children as well. Goldstein and his husband were removed from the plane, with Goldstein complaining that he was merely “expressing his opinion.”

The last few years, we’ve seen the creation of safe spaces, though they’re usually for protecting fragile leftists from disagreeable thoughts and arguments. Lunatic men badgering women on planes in front of their kids apparently is fair play — if that mother is related to a Republican you don’t like.

The irony, of course, is that Ivanka Trump is someone liberals should be thankful to have in the incoming president’s inner circle. She’s certainly no partisan right-winger, and in fact has thus far during the transition been taking point on issues like climate change (she even met with Al Gore) and paid family leave. Why the rage at her?

The Trump hate has gone around the bend when the family of the president-elect is gleefully harassed.

This disassociation isn’t convincing the millions of Americans who voted for Trump that he’s any less legitimate. It hasn’t taken away any of the president’s power, or changed one of his policies. It’s just made liberals look more rude and out of touch.The buzzword following Trump’s victory has been “normalization” — as if simply by pretending he isn’t president, then he won’t be.

Katy Waldman had a piece in Slate on Wednesday noting that media, charged with covering the incoming administration, is doing its best on that front: “Wary of ‘normalizing’ the president-elect, yet condemned to document the perturbingly normal processes by which he is coming into power, journalists seem to have gone into full dissociative mode.”

The left is trying to turn the whole country into a liberal safe space — safe for them, dangerous for anyone who disagrees with them. They’ve lost their minds.

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Meet Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase – “I gotta get the whole mosaic right”

Jamie Dimon on Trump, Taxes, and a U.S. Renaissance

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Merry Christmas – and beware of Radical Islamic Terrorists who want you dead.

UPDATE December 21, 2016

« Breaking News »

The Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace to be closed off

DEBKAfile December 21, 2016

A favorite attraction of visitors to London is the ceremonial Changing of the Guards by the bearskin-topped, red-unformed sentries at the gates of Buckingham palace. However, in response to the truck attack in Berlin, the British police announced Wednesday that the roads around the palace will be temporarily closed.

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Britain is on its second highest threat level, meaning a terrorist attack is considered highly likely. Earlier this month, Britain’s foreign intelligence chief said Islamic State militants were using turmoil in Syria to plot attacks against the United Kingdom and her allies.

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UK Police Set Up Concrete Barriers at Mall So Peaceful Muslims Won’t Bomb Christmas Shoppers

by Jim Hoft

Police in Great Britain set up concrete barriers around the German Market in Birmingham to prevent Muslims from bombing Christmas shoppers.

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Police arrested six Muslim terror suspects this week. They were reportedly plotting a Christmas bombing attack.

The Birmingham German Market is very popular with up to 5.5 million visitors a year.

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War on ISIS … is not going well

UPDATE December 21, 2016

ISIS strikes in Berlin, Jordan – and Mosul too

DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis

  • The city of Berlin and the Jordanian Crusader town of Karaka are 3,000km apart, but the distance did not stop Islamic State killers from taking 26 lives, inuring 18 others, some very seriously,in the two countries, and causing the Israeli Dalia Elkayam to disappear.
  • In Berlin, German security is out in force to hunt the terrorist who rammed a hijacked Polish truck into a throng of Christmas gift seekers. They are trying to find a needle in a haystack with no clue as whether he operated alone or was part of a gang ready to strike again, a method of operation that recalls the multiple Paris atrocity which claimed 132 lives before it was over.

In Jordan, the terrorists followed up on their first shooting attack on police and the taking of tourists hostage by three days of gun battles with security forces in the alleys of Karak. Four soldiers were killed by ISIS terrorists barricaded in a building.

These episodes are not over and done with in Germany and the war against ISIS in southern Jordan has only just begun.

In both countries, they are seriously shaking the ruling establishments, however diverse their systems and geography: Chancellor Angela Merkel is standing for a fourth term in the coming election in the face of an outcry against her open-door immigration policy, while the throne of King Abdullah II is at risk if he fails to crush the Islamists.
Merkel’s policy has brought a million refugees to Germany, whereas Abdullah has given refuge to 650,000 distressed Syrians. Unlike the chancellor, the king has finally sealed his kingdom’s borders to further entry, with American and Israeli military and intelligence assistance.

The European and Middle East rulers find themselves in the same boat. They are exposed to an organized Islamic terror offensive with no notion of when and how the deadly strike will come.

This is nothing but a colossal failure of the global war on ISIS.

With no bars on its momentum, the Islamic State on Tuesday, Dec. 12, the same day as its outrages in Germany and Jordan, also hit two fronts in the Mosul region of Iraq – one to punish the pro-Iranian Iraqi Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi militia near Tal Afar and the other, Iraqi army forces holding some of the southern and eastern outskirts of Mosul.

The US-backed army offered little or no resistance.

Nonetheless, the Obama administration stuck to its standard refrain, refusing to credit ISIS with the attack in Berlin without corroboration, even after its claim of responsibility – meaning that US intelligence’s failure to identity the perpetrators exculpates ISIS. So Washington can continue to bury its head in the sand.

In Jerusalem, too, the government ignored the fighting against rampant Islamic terrorists raging for three days in southern Jordan, just 20km away from the Israeli border – as though it happened on another planet.. 

Indeed, Israel suddenly finds itself with a new strategic dilemma. Threatened with ISIS and other terrorist groups from its Golan border in the north and its Sinai border in the southwest, Israel is now beset from its southeastern border in Jordan.

UPDATE: December 12, 2016

Islamic State forces pushed their assault forward to retake the central Syrian town of Palmyra Monday, Dec. 12. By evening, they had entered the big Russian-Syrian T-4 air base outside the town, carrying off substantial quantities of Russian armaments. Reporting this, DEBKAfile’s military sources add that the booty they snatched included different types of ground-to-ground missiles as well as anti-tank and anti-air rockets.

Russian forces manning the base were hurriedly evacuated from Palmyra and the T-4 base, after the worst defeat Russian armed forces had ever experienced at ISIS hands in Syria. Military circles in Moscow commented grimly that the Russian army had suffered “a major disgrace” in Palmyra.
According to our sources, long convoys of ISIS fighters backed by tanks taken booty from the Syrian army, first forced the Syrian 11th Tank Division to abandon the strategic Jhar Crossroad. After that, the way was clear for the jihadis’ column to reach the T-4 base.

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ISIS bombs Cairo, retakes Palmyra in fresh impetus

DEBKAfile Special Report December 11, 2016, 7:00 PM (IDT)


Judging from the rash of reports claiming US-Iraqi military progress in the Mosul offensive against ISIS and the extra American special operations forces personnel posted to Syria for an impending US-Kurdish operation to capture the ISIS Syrian stronghold of Raqqa, the Islamic State ought to be cowering under siege, finally defeated – or at least on the run.

But the facts tell another story. ISIS is on the offensive – so far in the Middle East. Over the weekend, Islamist terrorists accounted for dozens of deaths and injured hundreds more.

Sunday, Dec. 11, at least 25 people worshipping at the Coptic St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s church adjacent to St, Mark’s cathedral in Cairo were killed and scores injured. The Coptic pope often leads the prayers there.

DEBKAfile’s counterterrorism sources reveal that the attack was carried out by Islamist terrorists from Raqqa who bided their time until they struck in the Egyptian capital. Saturday, six Egyptian troops were killed by another Islamist bomb near the Giza pyramids.

On the same day, ISIS fighters pushed back into the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra, nine months after their expulsion.

The Raqqa terrorist stronghold is clearly alive and kicking on more than one front. A number of contributing factors enable the Islamic State to unleash a fresh spate of terror.

  • 1. The US-Iraqi-Kurdish drive has stalled without driving ISIS out of Mosul or choking off the terrorist fighters’ freedom to move between Mosul and Raqqa, their Syrian bastion.

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who arrived in Baghdad Sunday, Dec. 11, was assigned by the Obama administration to make a last effort to reactivate the Mosul campaign. His chances of success are slim. The military coalition which launched the campaign two months ago has lost a vital component, the Kurdish Peshmerga, which backed out three weeks ago. The Iraqi military units which captured some of the city’s outskirts stopped short when they reached the strongest defense lines set up by the Islamic State and have been unable to break through, even with US air support.

The pro-Iranian Iraqi Shiite front which undertook to seize Tal Afar in order to sever the ISIS connecting link between Iraq and Syria are parked outside, having been warned by Turkey not to set foot in the town.

Added to these setbacks, the US CENTCOM which is running the aerial war in Iraq is at loggerheads with the Iraqi Air Force command and has practically grounded all Iraqi warplanes.

Even if Carter can wave a magic wand and resolve all these issues, the momentum and high hopes that actuated the Mosul campaign when it started have been lost and can hardly be recovered before Barack Obama leaves the White House.

At least two of the incoming president Donald Trump’s designated security advisers – Defense Secretary Gen, James Mattis and National security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn – have criticized the operation in is current form.

  • 2. What is happening in Raqqa doesn’t fit the designation of an offensive. At most, small Kurdish and Syrian rebel groups are mounting sporadic raids against ISIS fighters on the town’s outskirts, with the support of the Obama administration. Our military experts say that Raqqa can’t be captured from the Islamist terrorists by conventional means – mainly because it is spread over a large area of mostly empty desert. ISIS has taken advantage of this terrain to distribute knots of defenders across a vast area ranging hundreds of kilometers from northern to eastern Syria up to the winding, heavily overgrown banks of the Euphrates River.

So when Ash Carter announced Saturday that he would be sending another 200 Special Operations Forces into Syria to join the battle for Raqqa, he had no idea that he, the Russians and the Syrians were about to be caught off guard by a fresh ISIS initiative to reoccupy Palmyra, the ancient Syrian two from which they are thrown out in March.
This was a poke in the eye for Russian President Vladimir Putin who proclaimed Palmyra’s capture from ISIS as a signal coup for the Russian army in its war on Islamist terror.

  • 3.  He might well commiserate with Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi. For two years, the Egyptian armed forces have been fighting an uphill battle to crush the ISIS groups infesting the Sinai Peninsula. The jihadists constantly elude punishment with the help of supportive Bedouin tribes.

Every few months, they pose a real threat to the stability of the El-Sisi regime by striking inside Cairo, the capital, with some terrorist atrocity, for which they are aided by the Muslim Brotherhood underground and Palestinian Hamas extremists in the Gaza Strip.

The bombing of the Coptic church Saturday was unusually the work of jihadists deployed from Raqqa, Syria.  Egypt has reacted by placing extra guards at Christian sites and declaring three days of national morning for the disastrous bombing attack on Egypt’s largest minority.

The new Islamist drive is looking ominously like the onset of the Christmas-New Year holiday terror onslaught the Islamic State has threatened to unleash in the Middle East and beyond. US and European security services have been placed on high alert in the belief that returning jihadis are programmed to strike at home.

 

READ DEBKA

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“They wanted any kind of brawler who would not play by the Marquess of Queensberry rules .. that had doomed Romney and McCain”

trupk

The Animal Cunning and Instinct of Donald Trump

He grasped that what voters cared about were the very issues politicos were disdainfully ignoring.

By Victor Davis Hanson

— December 20, 2016

Read Dr. Hanson @ http://www.nationalreview.com/article/443188/donald-trumps-cunning-animal-instinct

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“If you see Mr. Trump can you please tell him that the Murphys’ from Minnesota wish him good luck and that we pray for him?”

trcrowd

By SALENA ZITO

NEW YORK — The glass revolving doors of Trump Tower were doing what they have done every day since Donald Trump became the president-elect of the United States: briskly allowing a steady stream of mostly tourists from the interior of the country get a glimpse, sometimes longer, of the comings and goings of the man and his Cabinet members who will soon govern this country.

“The energy of the people who come just to stand behind the ropes is sort of unbelievable,” said one of two New York City fireman charged with keeping an eye on things in the lobby of the building where the president-elect has been going about the business of putting his government together for his January inauguration.

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“If you see Mr. Trump can you please tell him that the Murphys’ from Minnesota wish him good luck and that we pray for him?” a gentleman told one of the police officers as he and his wife strolled past the elevators where Trump, his children, future Cabinet members, U.S. senators, members of Congress, business leaders, a former vice president and a rapper have all taken the golden elevators to the 26thfloor.

Carlos, from Florida, a third-generation Hispanic American also wanted to pass on good wishes to the Trump family, as he lingered with his family in the lobby, “We saved up to come to New York for Christmas for the first time, I wanted my family to see the best city in America, first place we stop is here to maybe see the next president,” he told an officer standing off to the left of the gold elevators.

“It’s like that all day long,” the fire chief said, adding, “To be honest I didn’t know what to expect during the transition process, but honestly the well-wishers come from all over and really just want him to know they are behind him,” he said.

It’s not exactly the same reception that Trump is getting from those who opposed him, loathed him, still have not accepted that he has won the election and worse yet still have not understood why he won.

They have blamed Russian interference and James Comey’s letter for Hillary Clinton‘s loss; yes the Russians have appeared to interfere and yes Comey’s letter was damning to Clinton, but if we all had the ability to be honest with ourselves the DNC emails and the Comey hesitation only reinforced people’s view of Clinton’s character whether for or against her.

In short, if more journalists had spent time in Middle America, they would have understood that this election wasn’t decided at the last moment. The outcome was not a result of what was in those emails. People had already concluded they knew who Clinton was, and the revelations only cemented those sentiments.

Same with the Comey letter.

Here is a shocker: I’d estimate based on my reporting that this election was baked before the debates, before the “Access Hollywood” tapes, before the hacked emails and before anyone took the time to actually notice, listen and understand just how upended the American voter is.

Pollsters will likely become apoplectic over my conclusion. That’s OK, they deal with numbers and could likely argue with great big gobs of data that I’m wrong; while I am not in the business of predicting, I am in the business of listening to people.

It was there in plain sight for everyone to see if they wanted to; it is clear that they did not and that is a bias towards him and prejudice towards the people that needs to be corrected.

What is remarkable right now is that a large portion of the pundits and some reporters still don’t get it; they still aren’t listening, they still aren’t opening their minds to the concerns of the voters who placed him in office and they are still missing what is hiding in plain sight for all of them to see; this guy connects with a large portion of the United States.

Yes Hillary Clinton got more votes than Trump, the bulk of which are located in two states, but that is not how you win. In the 1960 World Series the New York Yankees scored 55 runs to the Pittsburgh Pirates 27; out-hit them as well .328 verses .256, but the Pirates won when it counted and all those superior numbers meant nothing.

In short, you win by the rules of the game, not by the rules of your bias.

The media miss the things that matter to voters like how Trump thanks his voters verses Clinton’s thank you; he holds rallies in the very regions that provided him with a win, while Hillary thanks the big dollar donors in Manhattan.

Absolutely no one knows if Donald Trump is going to be a good or bad president. That is on him, his decision and the people he surrounds himself with. Was it a good idea to go after the CIA when it came to the Russians? No. He should have drawn a clear line saying his win had nothing to do with Russian hacking and that as president he will make sure that this never happens again.

That is the part of him that he needs to curtail but certainly not a sign, as many have suggested, that he is in bed with the Russians, or that he is a demagogue, or a fascist, or a Nazi, or will take press freedoms away, or any of the other of the thousands of things he has been accused of in the past month.

And despite repeated efforts to delegitimize his candidacy with recounts and faithless electors and allegations that the Russians stole the election from Clinton, none of this doubt-casting is going to change anything. It is a reminder that many people in this country have no idea of basic U.S. civics.

Hillary Clinton lost because she ran arguably one of the worst campaigns in the history of campaigns; there was no message, their team ignored the pleas of longtime grassroots activists to be more engaged, and to stop hating on anyone who was not brown, black, gay or part of some specialized voting bloc.

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Bill Clinton understood that, you could see it in his speeches and his mannerisms at each event in Western Pennsylvania and Ohio that I covered; he understood that the politics was not reaching the very voters he embraced 20 years earlier, and you could see it pained him to see them dying young, left behind and without hope.

There is an argument to be made that had reporters and Clinton’s team done two things a year ago they would have understood what was happening this year; read Trump’s book, “The Art of the Deal,” and gone out and really listened to voters rather than make a spectacle of them.

There is also an argument to be made going forward that reporters should do the same thing today; we have four more years of this administration with a big midterm in between today and his potential reelection. It might be a good time to start to get to know both instead of spending the next four years continuously getting him and them wrong.

Salena Zito is a columnist for the Washington Examiner.

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Commentariat July 2016 : Trump’s speech was dark, angry. Commentariat Jan 2017: Trump’s speech was dark, weird.

“Where journalists and pundits saw darkness, the people who came to the inauguration saw promise”

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The President’s Speech

“It was a Trump speech,” said Beth Lesser, a Donald Trump supporter from Greenville, S.C., after listening to the president’s inaugural address on the Mall.

“He hasn’t changed at all — and I don’t want him to.”

Lesser was one of the thousands who traveled a long way to come to the inauguration, and who loved what they heard. They didn’t come to hear soaring rhetoric from Donald Trump. They didn’t come to hear Trump try to sound like Marco Rubio or, God forbid, Barack Obama. They came to hear Trump sound like himself.

That’s what they got. And to them, Inauguration Day was a day of hope.

“It brings some hope that we’re going to have a new direction for the country, that we’re going to create a real economic recovery,” said Rick Fischer, who organized for Trump in Fairfax County, Virginia.

“I think this really restores our country to its place in the world as far as a leader is concerned,” said Patrick O’Neal, of Atlanta.

“To me, it means the future of America,” said Emily Ovecka, who volunteered for Trump in Philadelphia.

“It means the return of optimism,” said Phil Bell, of Vienna, Virginia. “We’ve had years and years where I personally, and I think a lot of people, have felt simply like we didn’t have an opportunity.”

Talking to people on the Mall was like entering a universe entirely apart from that of the political commentariat. In the pundits’ world, Trump delivered a pessimistic and foreboding address, one sure to further divide the nation. The adjective of choice was “dark.”

“Unusually dark,” wrote The Atlantic.

“Short, dark, and defiant,” wrote USA Today.

“A dark vision,” wrote the Los Angeles Times. There were many, many more.

Where journalists and pundits saw darkness, the people who came to the inauguration saw promise. For example — and this should shock no one who has spent even a minute paying attention to politics — they really liked it when Trump talked about jobs.

Indeed, the biggest applause line in the area where I was standing was when Trump said, “We will get our people off of welfare and back to work — rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.”

Where the pundits heard a “dark, weird” speech (New York magazine) or a “dark, raw” speech (Vanity Fair), or a “dark, hard-line” speech (the New York Times), the audience heard the possibility that jobs — not just low-paying service jobs, but better, higher-paying jobs — would come back to their communities.

“It’s the first time we’ve been excited and looking forward to a government,” said Jay Leone, of Long Island, New York. “I think it marks the beginning of a new era, hopefully, for prosperity and jobs and security.”

Trump’s speech was remarkable in that he spent a significant amount of time bashing the political establishment arrayed behind him on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol. That was just fine with the people standing in front of him.

“For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost,” Trump said. “Washington flourished — but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered — but the jobs left, and the factories closed.”

“The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country,” Trump continued. “Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.”

The people who come to inaugurations are a new president’s biggest supporters. Out where I was standing — the podium was far, far away — there were no bigwigs, no people who would have reservations Friday night at Washington’s priciest restaurants. Some had traveled a long way, but a lot were from neighboring Eastern Seaboard states. And many said they believed in Donald Trump from nearly the first day.

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Patrick O’Neal, a Trump supporter from the get-go, said he booked tickets on Amtrak and made hotel reservations for January 20, 2017 in Washington back in January 2016. He felt that strongly that Trump would win.

For Diane and Fran Ventura, from Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, Trump was a cause and a business. When I told them I was talking to people who were wearing MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN hats, Diane pulled out a bag of them. “We’ve sold about 4,000,” she said. “We started supporting Mr. Trump the day he announced he was running, 586 days ago.”

It turns out the Venturas run a marketing firm and were the source not only of a zillion hats, but the thousands of Trump yard signs that popped up during the campaign in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.

“We worked hard for this, we prayed hard for this, and God heard our prayers,” Diane said. “America’s been given a second chance.”

From the moment Trump finished speaking, many analysts compared the inaugural address to Trump’s Republican convention acceptance speech last summer. And indeed, much of the punditocracy’s reaction to that speech was the same as its reaction to this one: it was “dark.”

Immediately after the convention speech, I asked 20 people in Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena, in quick succession, what they thought of it. They all thought it was great. Of course, those were the type of Republican loyalists who actually attended a GOP convention. On the Mall Friday, there were the type of Republican loyalists who attend a Republican presidential nomination.

The bigger question last summer — and now — was how the vastly larger TV audience would see the speech. As it turned out, Trump actually got a bounce from the convention. (It was short-lived, given that Trump created enormous problems for himself the very next week with the Khizr Khan affair.) At the very least, it’s fair to say that Trump’s convention speech did not keep him from winning the general election.

Now, Trump has given another speech with worlds-apart reactions from the commentators and the people who came to see him. Dark? On the Mall, people saw Trump’s speech as a ray of sunshine.

“It means we have a chance,” said Liz Rawlings, of Annapolis, Maryland. “We have a chance to move our country forward.”

READ BYRON YORK

*******

UPDATE: The People do not agree with State Media’s takeaway from Trump’s convention. (imagine that)

Polling Data

LA Times/USC 7/20 – 7/26 2112 LV 47 40 Trump +7
Poll Date Sample MoE Trump (R) Clinton (D) Spread
RCP Average 7/11 – 7/24 44.1 43.9 Trump +0.2
CBS News 7/22 – 7/24 1118 RV 4.0 44 43 Trump +1
CNN/ORC 7/22 – 7/24 882 RV 3.5 48 45 Trump +3
LA Times/USC 7/18 – 7/24 2083 LV 45 41 Trump +4
Gravis 7/21 – 7/22 3462 RV 1.7 51 49 Trump +2
Select one or more years, states and race types, then click “Apply Filter” to see results.

 *******

 In Cleveland, the GOP’s ‘come-to-Trump moment’

 

CLEVELAND — There’s always been a disconnect between what pundits and political insiders hear when Donald Trump speaks and what rank-and-file Republicans hear. But when Trump gave his acceptance address on the last night of the GOP convention here in Cleveland Thursday night, the opinion gap was absolutely vast.

To the critics offering first opinions on Twitter, Trump’s 75-minute speech was dark, angry, bigoted, fear-mongering, deceitful and more. And to the thousands of Republicans in the room at the Quicken Loans Arena, it was … great.

Immediately after Trump finished, as the halls filled with delegates and activists on their way to after-convention parties, I asked people for quick reactions to the speech. These are the first 20 reactions I got:

“Awesome.”

“He rocked it.”

“I loved it — it was fabulous.”

“Wonderful — everything about law and order and the military — it was huge.”

“Oh my gosh, I was blown away.”

“Great — very presidential, actually.”

“A grand slam.”

“Fabulous — will go down in history as a great speech.”

“LGBTQ — I was so happy. He nailed that one.”

“A phenomenal job. I get how he speaks to people.”

“It was a total out-of-body experience. I’ve never been so filled with hope and gratitude and excitement for our kids. He was John Wayne — the cavalry is on the way.”

“Ronald Reagan on steroids.”

“A home run, full of red meat for Republicans and conservatives.”

“Incredible — touched all the bases.”

“Superb — he hit every point. Just great.”

“He’s going to make American great again, and I believe him.”

“He’s so articulate about his vision and his plan, and he gives us confidence he can do it.”

“Entertaining and uplifting, with substance too.”

“Absolutely pitch perfect, full of details. There’s so much we have to fix.”

“I loved it. Four years ago it was one-man-one-woman, and this year we actually heard ‘LGBTQ.’ I teared up. It made me so happy.”

Of course, those were the people in the hall, committed Republicans all. They weren’t the millions of general-election voters watching on TV. But their reactions, along with a lot of other signs, suggested at the least that whatever Republican disunity existed going into the convention had disappeared going out.

“Everybody has a come-to-Trump moment,” a Southern politico who originally did not support Trump explained not long after Trump formally won the Republican nomination Tuesday night. The GOP’s get-on-board moment came later this year than in recent presidential elections, but it finally arrived at Quicken Loans on Thursday.

In a backhanded way, the previous night’s Ted Cruz debacle helped make it happen. What the widely negative reaction to Cruz showed was that the delegates and Republican activists gathered here no longer have any appetite for the conflicts of the GOP primary season.

Those conflicts officially ended when the 1,237th delegate cast a vote for Trump, making him the party’s nominee. Cruz tried to extend the fight. It didn’t work.

In conversation after conversation over four days, delegates and other attendees said something like this: “Donald Trump wasn’t my first choice. But he’s the nominee. The primaries are over. It’s time to get behind him.”

Some added this: “I wasn’t all that happy about supporting John McCain, but they told me to support the party’s nominee. I wasn’t all that happy about supporting Mitt Romney, but they told me to support the party’s nominee. Now it’s time to support the party’s nominee.”

Trump’s speech generally followed the themes his campaign mapped out for each night of the convention — make America safe again, make America work again, make America first again and make America one again. But Trump’s strongest moments — and by far the passages that won the most enthusiastic response from the audience — focused on safety and security.

Pointing to Dallas, Baton Rouge, Orlando, San Bernardino and more, Trump said, “The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities threaten our very way of life. Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country.”

The response was strong from an overwhelmingly pro-police crowd. And later, when a Code Pink demonstrator staged what has become a traditional disruption of the GOP gathering and was taken out by authorities, Trump ad-libbed, “How great are our police?” The ovation was thunderous.

If the applause meter were the only guide, Trump should probably talk about police all the time.

It was just one part of Trump’s appeal to voters who believe something has gone terribly wrong in the United States. “This is a speech trying to speak to the seven out of 10 Americans who say we are on the wrong track and the half who say we are less safe today,” tweeted the Republican pollster and Washington Examiner columnist Kristen Soltis Anderson.

There’s no doubt that for the Republicans who came to Cleveland, the convention, occasionally troubled, ended on a high note. (As such things go, the balloon drop at the end was epic.)

This is impressionistic, but there seemed to be an unmistakable enthusiasm deficit in the convention’s first three days. Of course there were moments, like Rudy Giuliani’s amped-up address on Monday night. But in general, the excitement level seemed lower and significant numbers of seats remained empty, even during the prime-time parts of the program.

That changed with Trump’s appearance on Thursday. At the very least, the RNC finally had a lot of happy customers. The (vastly) bigger question, of course, is what those millions watching on TV thought.

Did they see darkness and anger, as the commentariat did? Or did they see an extraordinary political performer with the potential to actually fix the nation’s problems? Now the campaign begins in earnest.

********************************

MORE –

Donald Trump’s RNC address could mark the start of an American revival

Not surprisingly, from start to finish, it is muscular and bold, leavened only by appeals to racial harmony and pledges of compassion for all. It offers a prominent nod to Bernie Sanders’ supporters in a bid to get some to jump the Democratic ship.

Most important, it keeps faith with his campaign themes of putting forgotten Americans first. In contrasting his view with his opponent’s, the Republican nominee put it this way: “Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo.”

And “I am your voice.”

And then this: “There can be no prosperity without law and order.”

On paper, the speech is powerful, and it was delivered with all the might Trump could muster. Passionate and occasionally strident, then mellow and playful, he revealed a full Trump Doctrine that weaves together what has often seemed random threads and instincts into a more coherent vision.

He would unleash America’s energy production, use trade deals to help blue-collar workers and fix the broken immigration system so that cheap labor doesn’t undercut wages and overwhelm our social safety net.

He would ensure public safety, rebuild the military and destroy global terrorism. And he forcefully and repeatedly cemented the image of the GOP as the pro-police party, a strong contrast with Democrats, who are recklessly becoming the anti-police party.

Trump laid out such a huge undertaking, sweeping in its goals and potential impacts, that achieving even half of it would lead to an economic revival and end the nation’s crisis of confidence. If he focused on just what he outlined last night, and he should, Trump would be a very busy man every minute for the next four years.

In that context, he addressed the inevitable sense that little change can come in a nation so polarized and gridlocked by reminding the raucous convention that he wasn’t even supposed to be standing before them. And in a line that captured his remarkable attack on the political status quo, he said, “The politicians have talked about this for years, but I’m going to do it.”

There is, at this point, no reason to believe he doesn’t mean every word of it. Whatever his past habits and lifestyle, whatever caricature he has been reduced to, the seriousness of his purpose is no longer in doubt. He is a man on a mission.

As befits an acceptance speech, the promises flowed like water, yet the important things stand out. This one, from his prepared remarks, was especially powerful: “On January 20th of 2017, the day after I take the oath of office, Americans will finally wake up in a country where the laws of the United States are enforced.”

He was blistering on Hillary Clinton, saying her legacy as secretary of state was “death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.” Nor did he spare President Obama, accusing him of using “the pulpit of the presidency to divide us by race and color” and saying he “has made America a more dangerous environment for everyone.”

Trump then added: “This administration has failed America’s inner cities. It’s failed them on education. It’s failed them on jobs. It’s failed them on crime. It’s failed them at every level.”

The stirring speech saved what had been a mediocre convention, with sloppy mistakes leading to distracting controversies and fueling fears that Trump and his team still are not ready for prime time. Delegates were not so much divided as dispirited over the prospect that the party would once again lose a very winnable race.

Especially with the well-oiled and well-funded Clinton machine revving up its engines with attack ads and with her message amplified by the left-wing media echo chamber, Trumpsters suddenly faced an enthusiasm gap. Rows of empty seats in the Quicken Loans Arena seemed symbolic of sagging hopes.

A turning point might have come Wednesday night, during the booing of rival Ted Cruz for refusing to endorse Trump. What started with restlessness from the New York delegation quickly spread, and by the time he slinked off the stage, Cruz suffered a stunning and unanimous rebuke.

That rare moment of genuine unity, followed by Mike Pence’s workmanlike acceptance speech as the VP nominee, set the stage for the finale. Indeed, no matter what had come before, it was always going to be up to Trump himself. He’s the nominee and the whole venture rises or falls on his performance.

It now rises. He delivered a stemwinder for the ages.

If he wins, and can deliver on his vision, remember this speech. Like Ronald Reagan’s in 1976, Trump’s 2016 address could mark the start of a desperately needed American revival. As he said near the end, “America is back.”

Imagine that — and pray he is right.

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UPDATE: TRUMP 2016 – Meet Stephen Miller

UPDATED: DEC. 26,2016

PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION

Trump taps aide Stephen Miller to write inaugural address

By

Donald Trump and his top advisers have begun mapping out the themes for his inaugural address next month, as the president-elect has tapped Stephen Miller, his incoming senior White House adviser for policy, to write the historic speech.

Read Stephen Miller

*******

The Believer

How Stephen Miller went from obscure Capitol Hill staffer to Donald Trump’s warm-up act—and resident ideologue.

June 27, 2016

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“How’s everybody in Texas doing today?” Miller said, grinning and flashing a peace sign as men in the crowd bellowed “Steeeeeve!” Miller has been warming up the crowd at pretty much every Trump rally since March, with fiery speeches full of conspiratorial populism delivered with a nearly immobile face.

This time, he began with Hillary Clinton. “In recent days, I’m sure you’ve seen Hillary Clinton step up her attacks on Donald Trump,” he intoned, and then closed his eyes and nodded, savoring the crowd’s boos. “And you’ve seen all the usual special interests, all the special interests step up their attacks on Donald Trump, too. And the one thing, the one thing that aaalllll these groups have in common is that they run the show now, and they want to make sure they run the show forever.”

The point, as Miller would lay it out in Dallas and has laid out countless times before, is that there is a vast conspiracy that blurs together all wings of the American political spectrum in its quest to keep the American masses down. “That’s what this all comes down to,” Miller said, picking up steam and poking the air with his index finger. “Everybody who stands against Donald Trump are the people who have been running the country into the ground, who have been controlling the levers of power. They’re the people who are responsible for our open borders, for our shrinking middle class, for our terrible trade deals.” His voice stiffly added decibels. “Everything that is wrong with this country today, the people who are opposed to Donald Trump are responsible for!”

Trump had been coming under fire for his response to the Orlando shooting, and that night in Dallas Miller pivoted from whipping up fear and loathing to whipping up fear and loathing and then calling it love. As the crowd began to chant “Build the wall!” a grinning Miller explained. “We’re going build that wall high and we’re going to build it tall,” he said. “We’re going to build that wall, and we’re going to build it out of love. We’re going to build it out of love for every family who wants to raise their kids in safety and peace…. We’re building it out of love for America and Americans of all backgrounds.”

Miller is 30 years old, and in some ways a quintessential member of the Trump 2016 menagerie: an obscure character suddenly elevated to a national role by dint of hard work, loyalty, and the boss’s favor. He’s often overshadowed by the campaign’s more flamboyant figures, even as he’s begun appearing on CNN and Fox to defend Trump and explain his policies in strikingly complete and adamant sentences. But among this roster of political outsiders, Miller stands out, especially for people who understand the new forces afoot in Republican politics.

He’s deeply connected to some of the most powerful insurgent threads in the Washington GOP, most notably Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions and the Breitbart media machine. As an aide on Capitol Hill, he was a behind-the-scenes architect of the successful effort to kill comprehensive immigration reform in 2014. And while it’s hard to gauge how much Trump is amenable to influence by anyone—at least, by anyone that he didn’t beget—there is no question that Miller is deep, and serious, on the one question that most drives Donald Trump’s unlikely campaign.

Miller’s talent for combining operational zeal with the ability to effectively frame an idea into one devastating laser beam made him a prized Sessions lieutenant in Washington. “When it comes to issues and messaging and policy, there isn’t anybody else that I’ve known that would be as valuable to a presidential campaign as he,” Sessions told me. “Maybe other than Karl Rove.”

But Miller also cuts a deeply unsettling figure, even to many in his own party. His nine-year career working for some of the most politically fringe figures on the Hill—he also worked for Michele Bachmann and helped David Brat in his primary defeat of Eric Cantor—was preceded by a trail of writings and provocations that go all the way back to high school, one that has raised the eyebrows of even conservative Republicans.

There is something eerily vintage about Miller’s stump speeches. The combination of their substance—vilifying immigrants as killers, the promise of nativist glory days ahead—and their delivery with a calm face around a loud, droning mouth, slicked-back hair and sharp suit, floridly invoking powerful cabals against the people: All of it harks back to an earlier time. It’s as if the video should be in black and white, and the microphone in front of Miller an antique, metallic affair. This is an image Miller assiduously cultivates, smoking like a chimney and dressing in suits that earned him the nickname “Mad Men” on the Hill. “You almost want to put him in a previous era,” says Marcus Peacock, who worked with Miller on the Senate Budget Committee.

Miller had always existed at the political margins, but Trump’s rise has allowed him to advance to the vanguard, and he clearly enjoys it. He grins at the podium, he savors the crowd’s reactions, even if they periodically boo him for not turning the stage over to Trump fast enough. “All the anger right underneath the surface just waiting to come through, about what I don’t know,” says a former staffer with the Republican leadership on the Hill. “I’ve seen the videos of him getting the crowd fired up. People that knew him when he was on the Hill, I don’t know how to describe the reactions people had to the videos of him. Maybe creeped out a little bit? Like, what’s going to happen when this guy gets the power?” He pauses as a thought dawns on him. “Oh my God,” he says. “He’s going to find out that I spoke with you and I’m going to end up in a camp somewhere.”

***

When I spoke to Miller, he was in New York, helping coordinate policy for the Republican convention and had just gotten off a call with Trump as he took off from Scotland. On the phone, he speaks with only slightly less bombast than on the stump. “I’m really, really cognizant of how blessed I am to even have the opportunity, and the burden of that never ceases to weigh on me,” he said when I asked him about his warm-up speeches. “I take the responsibility of it with the utmost seriousness. It is an extraordinary privilege. Getting a chance to see good, decent, patriotic people who just want to have self-determination is something for which I will be grateful for the rest of my life.” (He also made sure to stipulate, unprompted, that, “If anybody said anything really, really heinous about me, it’s not true.” When I laughed, he explained that he was serious. “I like to think of myself as a genuinely good person,” he explained.)

Like a lot of things on the Trump campaign, it’s not really clear how this happened. One day ahead of the Florida primary, Miller was telling Trump all about his experience fighting Marco Rubio on immigration reform, Trump told him to take it to the media and the stage, and that was that. Miller was now the warm-up act, and spokeswoman Hope Hicks and erstwhile campaign manager Corey Lewandowski just had to deal with it.

Before that, Miller was a senior policy advisor, an indeterminate title that sat him somewhere in the background with Sam Clovis, the walrus of a man who came up with the Trump economic program that the conservative Tax Foundation said would add $10 trillion to the U.S. deficit. Clovis and Miller churn out white papers for a boss that doesn’t seem to ever read them. Clovis occasionally goes on TV—“Either they want to get behind the presumptive nominee,” Clovis said of the GOP establishment on CNN, “if they can’t do that, then just shut the hell up”—but most of the time he’s back in his home state of Iowa.

As senior policy advisor, Miller’s role is a series of paradoxes. But he shrewdly never made it clear where his loyalties lay, making sure to curry favor with both Lewandowski and campaign chair Paul Manafort, meaning neither knew what to do with him. He is often the face of the Trump campaign, warming up the crowds and throwing bombs in his name on television. He recently accused Neera Tanden, an outside advisor for the Clinton campaign, of being a fake feminist for not opposing Muslim immigration into the U.S. even though Muslims, according to Miller, bring with them female genital mutilation. “You want to talk about women’s issues?” he hectored. “Here’s something we should be talking about!”

But Miller is not always on the Trump jet, and for a while Trump didn’t seem to know who he was. Sometimes he attends key policy meetings, like a recent meeting of top Trump lieutenants and a representative of the Koch brothers, and sometimes he is missing, like he was from a rare June meeting with Speaker Paul Ryan’s staff. And sometimes he is simply tasked with making sure the Uber gets where it needs to go.

At first, the Trump campaign declined to make Miller available for the story, but when news broke that Lewandowski was fired, I texted Miller to ask whether this would change the campaign’s calculus of not letting me talk to him. Within a minute my phone rang. It was Miller.

“What’s the news?” he asked.

I told him Lewandowski had just been let go. There was silence on the other end of the line.

“Interesting that you would be the one to tell me that,” he finally said, recovering the gravitas of his Serious Adult Voice. “Let me call you back. I have a lot to learn and discover in the next couple hours.”

***

Miller was hired by Lewandowski from the office of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, one of the most conservative and nativist members of the U.S. Senate. Sessions, who famously donned a Make America Great Again hat at Trump rally in Mobile back in August 2015, is still the only sitting senator to endorse Trump—which he did in February, a couple weeks after Miller jumped ship.

In the Senate, Sessions was often Trump before Trump was Trump. He was an early advocate of a bigger, better, taller border fence. He has spoken for years about “Islamic extremism.” In 2009, as the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, he went after Sonya Sotomayor during her Supreme Court nomination hearings with a line of attack that now sounds familiar. “You have evidenced, I think it’s quite clear, a philosophy of the law that suggests that the judge’s background and experiences can and should—even should and naturally will impact their decision,” Sessions said, adding that it was antithetical “to the American ideal.”

In 2014, in Sessions’ single most influential act, he helped kill the bipartisan Senate deal on comprehensive immigration reform in the House. His office distributed a handbook full of figures, suggested responses to dissenters and the press, and roof-raising rhetoric. (“Donors don’t win elections; voters win elections. And the voters need our help.”) The handbook was written by Stephen Miller.

“We had been working on the ideas in it for months, and Stephen put it in the handbook in a very quick time in a very cogent fashion,” Sessions told me. “It was very timely and it impacted the outcome of the vote.” Miller was also at Sessions’ side as his communications guru through some of his most notable battles, including the Sotomayor hearing. “I just routinely never went to the microphone outside the hearing before talking to him about what the issue was,” Sessions says.

Miller quickly rose through the ranks of the Senate office to become the Senator’s chief of communications. Those who worked with them say Sessions and Miller had a “mind meld.” Within a short period of time, Miller mastered Sessions’ voice. “It’s very rare that you’ll find a Senate staffer that can capture their member’s voice,” says Rick Dearborn, who is still Sessions’ chief of staff. “But Stephen listened and was able to capture his voice. He was able to anticipate what he needed for an interview or a speech.” The Senator and Miller were often in different buildings, but Peacock, who worked in Sessions’ office with Miller, says that being around Miller was “like having the Senator right there.” “The two of them just really connect, in their worldview especially,” says Garrett Murch, who still works for Sessions.

Outside of the Sessions office, Miller became infamous. He spammed reporters’ inboxes with what they called “stream-of-consciousness press releases” at all hours. He called them up to deliver long and winding rants, though he was obsequiously gracious with the female reporters. “He was notorious for late Friday night diatribes,” says the former Senate leadership staffer.

After Miller would send one out to his entire press list, the former staffer says, “I would get like half a dozen forwards with ‘FYI’ written on them. Like, just in case you wanted to read 10,000 words about the budget at six o’clock on a Friday.” Miller also seemed to come with a strange paper trail. “There were rumors that spread around that he wrote these columns at Duke that really walked a fine line on racial issues, to put it mildly,” the former staffer says. “I’ve stood in a lot of hallway huddles where the talk was, ‘My God, if you look at what he wrote in college…’”

When Miller became communications chief in Sessions’ office at 28, he had a staff of three working for him and he was known as nurturing but exacting boss. “He was a tough person to work for, but fair,” says Peacock. “He expected a lot out of his staff.” There was yelling and the occasional expletive when he deemed the “work product” not up to snuff, and others have noted a paranoid volatility about Miller. “He goes from 0 to 100 with a snap of the fingers,” says the former leadership staffer. “He’s constantly seeing these conspiracies against him when someone’s probably just asking him a question.”

“He’s tenacious,” says Dearborn. “He’s like a dog with a bone.” Quickly correcting himself, Dearborn adds, “But not crazed, there’s always purpose to it … His manner is a little different.”

As soon as Miller left for the Trump campaign, the Sessions office mysteriously stopped sending out stream-of-consciousness press alerts. “I left the office so quickly,” Miller laments. “I wanted to put to put together a little book of the best emails I ever sent. I spent hours and hours of research on those.”

Miller was crucial to Sessions on many controversial issues—the debt ceiling, the budget—but the thing he was most passionate about was immigration. “Stephen was very instrumental in helping [Sessions] articulate his beliefs on immigration,” says Peacock. “He’s not a hired gun. He has a good amount of this in his bones.” Miller was a true believer. “You don’t stay with someone for a long period of time on the Hill if you don’t share your world view,” says Dearborn. And Miller stayed on for nearly seven years.

The resonance among Sessions, Miller, and Trump on immigration began in the Senator’s office. “I see some of the things he’s saying now are very similar to the proposals that members like Sessions, Vitter, and others made,” says Luke Bolar, who was communications director for Louisiana Senator David Vitter and worked with Miller on scuttling comprehensive immigration reform.

“For instance, sanctuary cities, remittances.” Miller made contact with the family of Kate Steinle, the young woman who was gunned down in 2015 by an illegal immigrant in San Francisco, a sanctuary city. He brought her father Jim to testify in the Senate as it considered a bill on ending the sanctuary city designation. Miller constantly invokes Steinle in his stump speeches and his television appearances as evidence of the clear and present danger posed by unchecked immigration. (Steinle’s brother, however, recently slammed the Trump campaign for using Kate’s death to score political points.) Miller was also instrumental in forming relationships with the National Border Patrol Council and Leo Perrero, a laid-off Disney worker who was forced to train his foreign replacement and who has since become an advocate against corporate H1B visa abuse. Both the Council and Perrero were invited by the Sessions office to testify in the Senate. And after Miller joined the campaign, both of them endorsed Trump.

***

“I’M IN HEAVEN!” Ann Coulter tweeted when it was announced in late January that Trump had hired Miller, whom Coulter called “Sessions’ brain trust.” The hire, Coulter felt, offered a sign that Trump was “not backing down on immigration.”

How did Stephen Miller come to occupy such an extreme position on immigration? Strangely, it was his experience coming of age in a liberal Jewish family in liberal Santa Monica, the Berkeley of southern California. “I think it was growing up in California, he saw the role that mass migration played turning a red state blue,” says one former Senate colleague. “He was fearful that that would happen to the rest of the country.”

Miller was born into a family of lawyers and salesmen, two professions he never pursued but clearly has in him. His parents were Democrats, but Miller was pulled in a different direction early, converted to the conservative cause by a copy of NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre’s 1994 book, Guns, Crime, and Freedom, a blistering takedown of the arguments for gun control.

Miller was an ardent, dewy-eyed patriot, which often led him to surprising conclusions. Shortly after graduating high school, Miller penned a column for a Christian publication called “My Dream for the End of Racism.” “The U.S. abolished slavery in 90 years, a time span far shorter than that of other nations, and indeed we acquired emancipation through our bloodiest, most gruesome war,” he wrote. “This no doubt due to the unique status of our beloved nation as being one founded on the principle of equality.”

The 9/11 attacks hit when Miller was a junior at Santa Monica High School. The event shocked him to his core and left him feeling isolated in his patriotism, lost in a sea of peacenik liberalism. “During that dreadful time of national tragedy, anti-Americanism had spread all over the school like a rash,” he reminisced in a column called “How I Changed My Left-Wing High School.”

“The co-principal broadcasted his doubts about the morality of the air strikes against the Taliban to the entire school via the PA system. One teacher even dragged the American flag across the floor as we were sending off brave young men to risk their lives for it.”

Miller describes contacting conservative talk radio personality Larry Elder, and going on his show to complain about this school. Thus began a cycle that would repeat itself over and over in high school and college: Miller would clash with school administrators over a perceived leftist conspiracy—the school not saying the Pledge of Allegiance, say—then escalate the conflict by taking it to a conservative talk show, infuriating the administrators but yielding a compromise in Miller’s favor. After his appeal to Elder, for instance, the Pledge of Allegiance would now be said twice a week, though that was still not enough for Miller. “Policy dictates it should be said every day,” he wrote in a local paper.

The pattern repeated itself often enough that Miller wore it as a badge of honor. “Stephen Miller, 17 years old, just graduated from Santa Monica High School,” the bio under his column read. “Since his Junior year in High School, he has been a guest on local and national radio over thirty times, primarily as an advocate for freedom in education.”

These columns and complaints to conservative talk radio were his first foray into political activism, voicing and defending opinions that strongly resemble those he advocates today. In a column called “Political Correctness Out of Control,” he laid out a litany of complaints against his high school’s “liberal indoctrination.”

“I noticed a number of students lacked basic English skills,” he wrote, and complained that the school making announcements in Spanish and English holds the Hispanic students back. He took issue with the school making condoms available—“Legally speaking, sex between minors is statutory rape. Not to mention 14-year olds are a little young to be having sex regardless of the law.”

Worse, the school encouraged students to embrace their homosexuality. “And just in case your son or daughter decides at their tender age that they are gay, we have a club on campus that will gladly help foster their homosexuality,” he wrote. “Do they notify parents if their teenagers have chosen an alternate lifestyle? Of course not.”

The way the school taught American history, focusing too much on the bad and not enough on the heroic, also insulted Miller’s patriotism. Should American soldiers have not killed Indians or anyone else? Miller asked, rhetorically. “Or, better yet, we could have lived with the Indians, learning how to finger paint and make tepees, excusing their scalping of frontiersmen as part of their culture,” Miller griped.

Combine that with the pacifist response of the school to 9/11 and teachers’ critiques of the war in Afghanistan, and, Miller concluded, “Osama Bin Laden would feel very welcome at Santa Monica High School.”

***

At Duke, Miller’s provocations found a new and bigger audience. He got so involved in planning an elaborate 9/11 memorial—a sea of 2,997 flags, one for each victim, lit up by a lamp and guarded by a hired police officer; a choir singing the anthem; a screening of “Flight 93”; a speech from the Veterans of Foreign Wars—that he skipped his LSAT exam.

He wrote a column for a conservative outlet in which he detailed his fight with the university for funding, which he admits he later received. He also invited David Horowitz, the Southern Californian arch-conservative and founder of Students for Academic Freedom, to speak on campus. Miller considers Horowitz a mentor; the older man veered from a radically leftist upbringing into radical conservatism, and over the years has used campus newspapers as a forum for his button-pushing crusades on racial issues and Islamic terrorism. Miller first met Horowitz as a teenager. He invited him to speak at Santa Monica High School, then claimed the school did not want authorize the event, then documented the injustice in Horowitz’s publication, FrontPage Magazine.

When Miller felt Duke was not providing enough support for a Horowitz speaking engagement on campus, Miller told people Horowitz had been banned from speaking at Duke. The ban appalled conservatives, many of whom complained to university administrators—even though Horowitz had not been banned: Horowitz did speak and the event was carried live on CSPAN. Miller warmed up the crowd for him, wryly announcing the name of each department that didn’t contribute funds to the event.

“The reality was that I was attending college on a campus where many professors had radical beliefs and engaged in outrageous behavior,” Miller says of his college years. His goal then was to be “a voice of justice and reason.” His microphone was a biweekly column in the Duke newspaper called “Miller Time,” one that would be whispered about in Senate hallways years later. He used the column and his position as the president of the Duke chapter of Horowitz’s Students for Academic Freedom to endorse students running for student government. He railed against Duke’s smoking ban and the “unrelenting health fascists” behind it. (Smoking, heconcluded, has not been proven to be unhealthy. “Indeed, it is safer for college kids to smoke than to drive.”)

But mostly he used the column as a lightning rod, a way to court angry reaction and put himself at the center of major campus controversies. He wrote that interacting with the population outside the campus was overrated. “Durham isn’t a petting zoo,” he chided. “The residents won’t get lonely or irritable if we don’t play with them.”

He was a strong supporter of the war in Iraq and called Ted Kennedy a “traitor” for criticizing American use of torture. He went after professors for being registered Democrats. He blamed 9/11 on “politically correct domestic security” and unenforced immigration laws. He wrote about black students’ racial “paranoia” and their mistaken understanding of where true racism resides. The problem is not rich, conservative white people, he wrote. It’s “Democrats [who] continue to fuel the destructive vision of a powerful, racist white oppressor from which they need to protect black voters in order to keep their lock on that vote.”

He wrote that “worshipping at the altar of multiculturalism” undermines American culture and ignores the fact “we have shared with the world the cultural value of individualism and liberty, a value rooted in our unique and glorious history of settlers, pioneers and frontiersman [sic].”

Although he identified himself as “a practicing Jew,” he lamented the “War on Christmas,” saying “you’d probably find more Christmas decorations at your local mosque.”

Maya Angelou, in Miller’s mind, was “a leftist” full of “racial paranoia” who shouldn’t be allowed to give the opening address at the start of the school year. In a column called “Sorry, Feminists,” he wrote that the gender pay gap was actually due to women working fewer hours and choosing lower-paying professions. “Women already have equal rights in this country,” he wrote. “Sorry, feminists. Hate to break this good news to you.” (“It’s not chauvinism,” he signed off. “It’s chivalry.”)

It wasn’t just controversy for controversy’s sake; Miller was building his personal brand. “He very much knew the impact of his work, and he planned and plotted,” says an alum of the Duke Chronicle who worked with Miller. “He was very businesslike about it.”

The paper was constantly running angry rebuttals to Miller’s column, like after he defended former Bush education secretary William Bennett, who said that the crime rate would go down if more black babies were aborted. (“The [Black Student Alliance] should be ashamed of its public evisceration of William Bennett,” wrote Miller.) “People read him, everyone knew who he was,” the alum says. “When he broke china, he went to the so-and-so alliance and apologized. He was always in a scrape like that. It smacked of architecture, like he intentionally provoked people, and it worked for him because he was making a name for himself.” Added the alum, “He very much felt like he was contributing to the Collected Writings of Stephen Miller. I think in his own mind, this would be anthologized one day.”

Miller studied political science, but the apogee of his college career was not academic. It was a PR coup: his public defense, in the pages of the Duke Chronicle and on national television, of the Duke Lacrosse players accused of rape by a black stripper. He penned several columns in their defense under titles like “Prejudice,” “Persecution,” and “Crawl to Justice.” He alleged there was indeed a racial motivation for the case: that of the radical left in going after white lacrosse players. “Being a white, male lacrosse player was all it took,” he wrote in one column.

In another, titled “Racial Hypocrisy,” he wrote, “But when a black man was recently accused of raping a white Duke student at a party hosted by members of a black Duke fraternity, suddenly these great defenders of virtue fell silent.” He went on the O’Reilly Factor and the Nancy Grace Show to defend the lacrosse players, wearing a suit, a smirk, and a gold pinky ring. Even then, he was already a polished, florid speaker.

The Duke lacrosse players were vindicated, and to this day Miller is still bursting with pride. “The thing that I’m proudest of is that I spoke out early and often on behalf of American legal principles in the Duke lacrosse case when it was not popular,” he told me. “I take great pride that, under enormous social and political pressure, I remained steadfast in my support for due process.” He showed his early television appearances to his Senate colleagues, and believes that he did as much as the lacrosse players’ lawyers in exonerating them.

The name he made for himself in fighting the University establishment, through his column and in inviting Horowitz to speak, would later reap benefits. It was Horowitz who, in 2009, would recommend Miller to his old friend, Jeff Sessions.

***

In 2014, during the height of the immigration debate, Tucker Carlson was having some bad thoughts. “I was having all kinds of heretical thoughts,” Carlson, who founded the conservative news site The Daily Caller, recalls. “I was upset about the war in Iraq and income inequality. I don’t know how Miller knew I had those thoughts, they were just thoughts I had in the shower.” And yet, Miller sensed an ally and reached out to Carlson. “He called me up and said, ‘Why don’t you have breakfast with Sessions? I think you’d like him,’” Carlson says.

He did, and Miller sat in on the meeting. But unlike most young staffers, Carlson recalls, “Miller felt totally free to pipe up and add his thoughts, in a notably self-confident way. I was impressed.” He came away liking both the men and convinced by their ideology, which Carlson described as “nationalist.” (When I asked him if today he too identifies as a nationalist, Carlson said, “of course.”) The Daily Caller quickly became one of Miller’s favorite outlets. He constantly called in tips and made himself available, and the Daily Caller ran stories on immigration and trade that showed Sessions and his agenda in a positive light.

Miller was also spreading Sessions’ gospel on immigration and trade by courting other influential conservative voices—Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Lou Dobbs, and Andrew Breitbart before his sudden death in 2012. When Breitbart launched his website, Miller organized a meeting for him with Congressional staffers. (Breitbart told Miller he’d first heard of him during the Duke lacrosse scandal.)

To the people who worked with him then, it’s no surprise that Miller ended up on the Trump campaign. “Whether the issue was trade or immigration or radical Islam, for many years before Donald Trump came on the scene, Senator Sessions was the leader of the movement and Stephen was his right-hand man,” says Steve Bannon, who is now CEO of Breitbart.

To Bannon and advocates of slowing down both legal and illegal immigration, Sessions’ work to kill immigration reform in 2014 was akin “to the civil rights movement in the 1960s,” Bannon told me. “It’s only happened a few times in American politics, and Sessions did it with a cadre of talented staff.”

Sessions and Miller were the radical vanguard of a cause that, in the year of Trump, has grown into something bigger. “When I was in Sessions’ office, this movement for nation-state populism, the intellectual framework for that was being formed,” Miller told me. A big part of my day was being in touch with the people who were the key players in that.He would send information blasts to a list of a couple hundred Hill staffers with data on the negative impact on immigration on wages, national security, and on what Miller refers to as “criminal aliens.” “We saw ourselves as a kind of think tank for immigration issues and linking that to the larger questions of globalism and populism,” Miller says of that time.

“You could not get where we are today with this movement if it didn’t have a center of gravity that was intellectually coherent,” says Bannon. “And I think a ton of that was done by Senator Sessions’ staff, and Stephen Miller was at the cutting edge of that.” Says Carlson: “Miller is providing the intellectual architecture for an insurgency against the Republican party.”

Even before Miller left Sessions’ office to work for Trump, and before Sessions endorsed him, there was a lot of overlap between the office and the campaign. “In my own personal time, I first got involved in forming relationships in June after they announced,” Miller says. “I was in touch with people inside campaign as early as then. Publicly, this played out as Senator Sessions’ early support for the campaign.”

Miller talked a lot to his friend, conservative political operative Sam Nunberg, who was then an advisor to Trump. “On his free time, not in any official capacity,” Nunberg clarifies. “They were a resource for us.” Though Miller and Sessions helped the Trump campaign formulate its immigration and trade policies, and despite Sessions’ now-frequent phone calls with Trump, Nunberg took pains to explain that it wasn’t a question of one influencing the other. “This is where Mr. Trump’s head was at,” Nunberg says. “The premise that you can influence him, good luck with that.”

But the synergy is unmistakable. Sessions first reached out to Trump more than a decade ago, in 2005, when he heard him criticize the $1.2 billion renovation of the U.N. headquarters. Trump said he could have done it more cheaply, and Sessions had him come down to Washington to testify on the Hill.

Since he became the first Senator to endorse Trump, there have been rumors that he is a contender for Trump’s vice president. He has become the chairman of Trump’s national security advisory committee, and helped craft Trump’s foreign policy speech—with Miller’s aid.

When, in the wake of the Orlando shooting, Trump was roundly criticized for his proposal to ban immigration “from areas of the world when there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States,” Sessions did the rounds of the Sunday morning talk shows to explain. “The public data that we have indicate there are quite a number of countries in that region that have sent a large number of people that have become terrorists,” Sessions told Jake Tapper. He said Trump simply wanted to “slow down” the flow from places with “a toxic ideology.” (“I have tremendous respect for Senator Sessions. He is a terrific person, a great leader, and I am so grateful for his support,” Trump told Newsweek.)

Miller is also in frequent touch with Sessions, and Rick Dearborn, Sessions’ chief of staff, moonlights as an advisor to the Trump campaign, helping it smooth out relationships with K Street and the Washington establishment. Dearborn is one of a couple point men whom Speaker Ryan’s staff contacts when they have questions about Trump policy. “I do a lot of interesting things when I’m on vacation,” Dearborn explains. “When I’m vacation, I do help when I can. But I don’t want that to be in the paper.”

Miller is no different. While he was still in Sessions’ office, he wasn’t just talking to Nunberg regularly; he was pursuing other Trump-related goals. He hectored people in the campaign to not only go after Jeb Bush, but to attack Rubio as well.

“Marco Rubio is, like, his biggest enemy,” says one Republican operative. “He just has this really vehement opposition to him. Marco encompassed everything that’s wrong with Washington. It came from dealing with him in the Gang of 8 [immigration proposal].” (His first warm-up speech, ahead of the Florida primary, was all about the evils of Rubio.) Miller also used his Senate email to go after reporters who he felt were going easy on Rubio at Trump’s expense. He would then leak those stories of purported journalistic malfeasance to Breitbart.com, which would reliably launch them into the conservative mediasphere. Miller does not dispute this, saying, “It’s for facts against falsity.”

Breitbart is Miller’s preferred media ally. “Every movement needs a dialogue,” Miller says. “Breitbart was a big part of that.” Miller worked tirelessly to make sure the dialogue kept going, and in the right direction. “When I first joined the staff, the first email I got was from him,” says one former Breitbart reporter. “It said something like, ‘Congratulations from everyone at Sessions’ office, we look forward to working with you.’

From that day on, the day’s first email would come from Miller, highlighting inaccuracies in other media outlets’ work or suggesting avenues for investigation. He worked primarily with two reporters at Breitbart, Caroline May and Julia Hahn, constantly feeding them scoops about the Disney workers’ plight, immigration numbers, and welfare fraud. He used to organize a weekly Friday happy hour for Sessions and Breitbart staffers at Union Pub, across the street from the Heritage Foundation. “They’re all really good friends,” says the former Breitbart reporter.

Breitbart was also Sessions country long before it was Trump country. “Anything that Sessions sends out, Breitbart writes up immediately,” says the former Breitbart reporter. “There was no question whatsoever. They’d send out an email saying, ‘Anyone who has five minutes, can you write this up?’ I would do it sometimes because people were overloaded and it was just regurgitating a press release into a blog post.” The reporter added, “It was their way of repaying them” for the scoops. Now that Breitbart has also thrown in for Trump, the same happens for his press releases. “They’re all in the same boat together, Sessions, Trump, and Breitbart,” the reporter said. “There’s no other politician that Breitbart does that for. They go above and beyond.”

The outlet also faithfully reports nearly everything Miller says on television. Each appearance merits a separate article, with headlines like “Stephen Miller Exposes Faux-Feminism of CNN Panel with Facts About Muslim Migration and Open Borders.” “We track this very, very closely,” Bannon explained when I asked why Miller’s television appearances get written up. “Stephen Miller is a jewel. We try to get as many of his TV things as we can. Some of them have been epic.”

The truth is, the influence goes both ways. As part of his warm-up act, Miller has taken to reading from Clinton Cash, the book on Clinton family corruption by Breitbart editor-at-large Peter Schweitzer. He holds up the book and reads passages from it, like a teacher reading to his really rambunctious kindergarten class. Other times he references it as proof that “Hillary Clinton is a career criminal, folks.” “All you have to do is read Clinton Cash,” he said at a recent rally. “Man, it’ll turn your hair white.”

Sections of the book also found their way into Trump’s June speech attacking Clinton for her crookedness. “The book Clinton Cash, by Peter Schweitzer, documents how Bill and Hillary used the State Department to enrich their family at America’s expense,” Trump said in his June 22 speech. “She gets rich making you poor.” He then proceeded to quote directly from the book, just like Miller.

“He talks to Bannon a lot,” the Republican operative says of Miller. “It’s no surprise that Stephen is reading from Clinton Cash. It’s no surprise that so many of Trump’s speeches are about Clinton Cash.”

Horowitz, Miller’s old mentor, also continues to be a player in this universe. In a recent column for Breitbart, he called Bill Kristol a “renegade Jew.” He too has adamant views on immigration—because of new arrivals, “there are now epidemic diseases that we didn’t have before,” he told me—and he used to organize conservative retreats at which Sessions was a frequent attendee. One of Horowitz’s pet issues, inner-city poverty as an outgrowth of Democratic political control, made it into Sessions’ Senate agenda, and, more recently, into a Trump speech.

“The Democrat Party has run the school boards and the police departments and the city councils and the mayor’s offices in most of our inner cities, almost all of our inner cities,” Trump said at the Faith and Freedom Conference in June. “They have horribly failed in almost every single community.”

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to [RNC Chairman] Reince [Preibus] about this, to Republicans, till I’m blue in the face. It’s like banging my head against a wall,” Horowitz told me. “Trump is the first Republican politician that put it into his speeches.”

Trump has become the candidate of the nationalist right, the people who had previously orbited around Sessions and his hardcore views on immigration. “A lot of people are transposing their views onto Trump, hoping that he’ll be a vessel for those views,” says Carlson.

Miller, though, avers that he’s a true believer in the campaign. “I want it recorded for posterity,” he told me, “that I wake up in the morning certain in the knowledge that this is an opportunity that is not going to come again.”

***

A few days before Trump gave his Clinton Cash speech, Miller warmed up the crowd for him in Las Vegas. Standing at the podium with a bottle of Fiji water, Miller explained to the audience that this was a historic time. “Very rarely in history do people get the opportunity to vote for true, real, profound change,” he began, spinning the same themes he had used in our conversation. “I would venture to say this is an opportunity is not just a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This is the kind of opportunity that comes once in many hundreds of years. And it’s important, it’s crucially important, that every morning we wake up, we’re cognizant of just how historic and how rare this opportunity is. ‘Cause folks, it’s not gonna come again.”

Unlike Trump’s stump speeches, Miller’s speeches are actually speeches. Though he too speaks extemporaneously, Miller gives his warm-up routine a recognizable rhetorical and thematic skeleton: he alliterates, he alludes, he uses parallel structure. His warm-ups have an arc, but it’s one that stops at its apogee, leaving the crowd just hungry enough for the dénouement, for “the one man who can help us” to ride in and spitball.

With time, Miller has grown more confident on the stump. His speeches have grown more elaborate. “We have been betrayed and let down by politicians year after year after year after year after year after year,” he went on, before launching into a call-and-response. “They say, oh, well, we’re going to secure the border. Do they ever get it secure, folks?”

“No!” shouts the crowd. Miller closes his eyes and shakes his head.

“They say, oh, well, we’re going to bring back our manufacturing jobs, but do those jobs ever come back?”

“No!”

“They say they’re going to clean up D.C. and kick out the special interests. Do the special interests ever go?”

“No!”

Miller’s speeches have also gathered quite a following. Videos of them get tens of thousands of views, and Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller sometimes adds transcripts of them along with the video.

Miller is loquacious, well-spoken, intelligent, say his friends and colleagues. He is convincing. He even has two converts under his belt: his parents are now conservative Republicans, active donors in California GOP circles.

I asked Miller what it feels like to give one of these speeches, to feel the energy of the crowd. “Donald Trump has said that he’s leading a movement, and that’s what I feel, that movement, that incredible energy that comes from being part of that movement,” he said. “I’m feeling the same sense of excitement as the people in the audience are about this movement. And frankly, what makes a warm-up speech work is that my enthusiasm and their enthusiasm are equal. So all of us feel at this juncture in history the potential of a fundamental change. It’s a feeling of excitement that comes from knowing that you’re part of something really special.”

In Las Vegas that June night, Miller ended the speech at a fever pitch. “And to the question I have for all of you,” he began his crescendo, “I want you to shout so loud, so that everyone who betrayed you, everyone who let you down, everybody who betrayed families like the Kate Steinle family…everybody who ignored your cries and pleas for help. I want you to shout so loud that it quivers the conference tables in Washington, D.C.”

A dramatic pause. A wag of the finger.

“Are you prepared, folks, to elect as president a man who will put America first, last, and always!” He too is shouting now, jabbing with his finger, bouncing in his knees, his face beatific with righteous anger. His eyes are finally smiling. “Are you prepared to elect Donald J. Trump as president of these United States! Are you prepared to take back your country!” The crowd is whistling, screaming. “Are you prepared for real change on behalf of America! God bless all of you, god bless this state, and God! Bless The United States of America! Thank you!”

And with that, Miller spins around on his heels, turning his back to the ecstatic crowd. He flashes a peace sign, and disappears into the darkness.


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“The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned”

 

yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

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“The Second Coming” is a poem composed by Irish poet William Butler Yeats in 1919 The poem uses Christian imagery regarding the Apocalypse and second coming as allegory to describe the atmosphere in post-war Europe.

History

The poem was written in 1919 in the aftermath of the First World War. While the various manuscript revisions of the poem refer to the renaissance, French Revolutions, the Irish rebellion, and those of Germany and of Russia, Richard Ellman and Harold Bloom suggest the text refers to the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Bloom argues that Yeats takes the side of the counter-revolutionaries and the poem suggests that reaction to the revolution would come too late.

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