Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh delivers opening statement before Senate Judiciary Committee.
Confirm Brett Kavanaugh – WSJ 9/29/18, 2(16 PM
OPINION | REVIEW & OUTLOOK
Confirm Brett Kavanaugh
The Judge rightly called out the politics of ‘search and destroy.’
By The Editorial Board Sept. 27, 2018 6:59 p.m. ET
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill, Washington, U.S., Sept. 27.
Thursday’s Senate hearing on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination was an embarrassment that should have never happened. Judge Kavanaugh was right to call the confirmation process a “disgrace” in his passionate self-defense, and whatever one thinks of Christine Blasey Ford’s assault accusation, she offered no corroboration or new supporting evidence.
Ms. Ford certainly was a sympathetic witness—by her own admission “terrified” at the start and appearing to be emotionally fragile. Her description of the assault and its impact on her was wrenching. She clearly believes what she says happened to her. Her allegation should have been vetted privately, in confidence, as she said she would have preferred. Instead ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein held it for six weeks and it was leaked—perhaps to cause precisely such a hearing circus.
Yet there is still no confirming evidence beyond her own testimony, and some of what she says has been contradicted. The female friend Ms. Ford says was at the home the night of the assault says she wasn’t there. The number of people she says were there has varied from four to five and perhaps more, but every potential witness she has cited by name says he or she doesn’t recall the party.
She still can’t recall the home where the assault took place, how she got there or how she got home that evening. She has no witnesses who say she told them about the alleged assault at the time—until she first spoke of it at a couples therapy session 30 years later in 2012. Mr. Kavanaugh’s name doesn’t appear in the notes of her therapist.
As for Judge Kavanaugh, his self-defense was as powerful and emotional as the moment demanded. If he was angry at times, imagine how you would feel if you were so accused and were innocent as he says he is. To deny the allegations as he did—invoking his children and parents and so many others who know him—and be lying would mean that he is a sociopath. If he were found to be lying, he would be impeached and probably prosecuted. Nothing in his long record in public life betrays the kind of behavior he is accused of against women.
Had he not been as forceful, his opponents would have said he looked guilty. Because he called the Democrats out for their character assassination, the critics now say he lacks the right temperament. The truth is that there is no answer, and no demeanor, that Brett Kavanaugh could offer that the left would credit. Their goal isn’t the truth. They want to destroy Judge Kavanaugh.
Republican Senators turned over their questioning of Ms. Ford to a trained prosecutor from Arizona, who attempted to clarify facts and fill holes in her testimony. Democrats showed zero interest in getting any facts from Ms. Ford. They spent their question time saying they believed Ms. Ford while badgering Republican Chairman Chuck Grassley to call other witnesses.
Yet those potential witnesses have all given sworn statements to Senate staff under penalty of felony that say they don’t recall the party or the alleged assault. Hauling them before the Senate wouldn’t illuminate the truth any more than Thursday’s hearing did.
Incredibly, Democrats spent their time with Judge Kavanaugh asking about drinking games and lines in his high school yearbook. Once Senator Lindsey Graham made that look foolish (see below), Democrats focused on their only other argument, which is that the FBI should investigate. But they well know the FBI would merely repeat the interviews they and the Senate Judiciary staff have already done.
The real Democratic goal is to push a confirmation vote past Election Day. They can then spare their incumbents running for re-election from taking a difficult vote. If they win the election, they will then try to block any confirmation until they take over the Senate in January. No nominee to the right of Merrick Garland would then be confirmed in the final two years of the Trump Presidency. The Supreme Court would be divided 4-4 until 2021 at least.
Senate Republicans should understand that these are the real political stakes. This nomination isn’t only about the fate of a single man whose reputation can be discarded like some tabloid celebrity. This is about the future of the Supreme Court and who will control the Senate. If Republicans reject Mr. Kavanaugh based on what we know now, millions of voters will rightly be furious.
But as important, a rejection will bring dishonor to the Senate. It will validate the ambush and smear politics that Democrats are using. And it will turn Supreme Court nominations over to the justice of the social-media mob and the politics of accusation. It’s time for Senators to stand up and confirm Brett Kavanaugh.
Appeared in the September 28, 2018, print edition.
Copyright ©2017 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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The Kavanaugh Stakes – WSJ 9/29/18, 2(19 PM
OPINION | POTOMAC WATCH
The Kavanaugh Stakes
A vote against the judge is a vote for ambush tactics and against due process.
By Kimberley A. Strassel
Sept. 27, 2018 6:47 p.m. ET
Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies on Capitol Hill, Sept. 5. PHOTO: SAUL LOEB/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
The Ford-Kavanaugh hearing consumed most of Thursday, and unsurprisingly we learned nothing from the spectacle. Christine Ford remains unable to marshal any evidence for her claim of a sexual assault. Brett Kavanaugh continues to deny the charge adamantly and categorically, and with persuasive emotion.
Something enormous nonetheless has shifted over the past weeks of political ambushes, ugly threats and gonzo gang-rape claims. In a Monday interview, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski noted: “We are now in a place where it’s not about whether or not Judge Kavanaugh is qualified.” Truer words were never spoken. Republicans are now voting on something very different and monumental—and they need to be clear on the stakes.
To vote against Judge Kavanaugh is to reject his certain, clear and unequivocal denial that this event ever happened. The logical implication of a “no” vote is that a man with a flawless record of public service lied not only to the public but to his wife, his children and his community. Any Republican who votes against Judge Kavanaugh is implying that he committed perjury in front of the Senate, and should resign or be impeached from his current judicial position, if not charged criminally. As Sen. Lindsey Graham said: “If you vote ‘no,’ you are legitimizing the most despicable thing I have seen in my time in politics.”
The stakes go beyond Judge Kavanaugh. A “no” vote now equals public approval of every underhanded tactic deployed by the left in recent weeks. It’s a green light to send coat hangers and rape threats to Sen. Susan Collins and her staff. It is a sanction to the mob that drove Sen. Ted Cruz and his wife out of a restaurant. It is an endorsement of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who kept the charge secret for weeks until she could use it to ambush the nominee with last-minute, unverified claims. It’s approval of the release of confidential committee material (hello, Spartacus), the overthrow of regular Senate order, and Twitter rule. It’s authorization for a now thoroughly unprofessional press corps to continue crafting stories that rest on anonymous accusers and that twist innuendo into gang rapes. A vote against Brett Kavanaugh is a vote for Michael Avenatti. No senator can hide from this reality. There is no muddy middle.
The stakes go even further, to the core of this country’s principles. To vote against Judge Kavanaugh now is to overthrow due process. Contrary to Democrats’ claims, due process is not constrained to courts of law; it is central to employee discipline, professional standards of conduct, even evictions of tenants. It is owed to any individual in a civilized body politic. Under due process, the accuser has the burden of proof. Ms. Ford has not met the evidentiary standard even of a civil proceeding, the preponderance of evidence—yet this case is more significant than any that has been dealt with in a court of law for ages. How the Senate votes now will reverberate to all levels of society. A “no” vote on Judge Kavanaugh is an authorization to renew calls for a Justice Clarence Thomas to step down. It is an authorization to derail the life of any white-collar manager or blue-collar crew boss who is ever subject to a single uncorroborated allegation.
And this is to say nothing of the federal judiciary. Democrats know that if Judge Kavanaugh goes down, Republicans will have no time to install a replacement before the midterm elections. The ultimate goal is to take over the Senate come November and keep the high court at a 4-4 deadlock until 2020, when they hope to regain the presidency, and then sway the balance of the court for a generation.
Extremely few cases come before the Supreme Court, and by definition each is monumentally important—on labor law, tort issues, environmental policy. A “no” vote on Judge Kavanaugh risks a three-year high-court impasse, which would put the circuit courts in disjointed control of national policy. If you are Lisa Murkowski or Jeff Flake, a “no” vote on Mr. Kavanaugh means putting the craziest of these circuits, the Ninth Circuit, in control of legal questions involving your state’s development and well-being.
Republican senators didn’t ask for this monumental choice—fair enough. Those demanding Ms. Ford be heard simply wanted a fair process. That has happened; she has been given every courtesy and then some. Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has worked with steadfast professionalism to investigate the claims of every other so- called accuser—despite crazy accusations, runarounds, delays, threats and obstruction. His committee majority has done its job.
It’s Democrats who have pushed the nation to the brink. This is no longer about one unvetted accusation, or who looks more “credible,” or discrete political calculations. Republicans need to understand that their voters know this goes beyond the question of one man and a Supreme Court seat. It goes to basic principles.
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Appeared in the September 28, 2018, print edition.
Copyright ©2017 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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The memo’s been released…
…and the shocking information we’ve learned in the past 24 hours shows the worst treason in living memory – perhaps ever – in the history of our Republic.
We now know with certainty that there’s a “state within a state” functioning inside our government with one destructive goal: to take down the Trump administration.
Disturbing doesn’t begin to cover it.
So I hope you’ll scroll down to read Daniel Greenfield’s FrontPage Magazine article explaining the impact of the Left’s efforts to destroy the Trump presidency.
The memo has been released, now it’s time to release everything.
February 2, 2018
The Democrats and the media spent a week lying to the American people about the “memo.”
The memo was full of “classified information” and releasing” it would expose “our spying methods.” By “our,” they didn’t mean American spying methods. They meant Obama’s spying methods.
A former White House Ethics Lawyer claimed that the Nunes memo would undermine “national security.” On MSNBC, Senator Chris Van Hollen threatened that if the memo is released, the FBI and DOJ “will refuse to share information with the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.”
Senator Cory Booker howled that releasing the memo was “treasonous” and might be “revealing sources and methods” and even “endangering fellow Americans in the intelligence community.”
The memo isn’t treasonous. It reveals a treasonous effort by the Democrats to use our intelligence agencies to rig an election and overturn the will of the voters.
The only two “sources” 18 are Christopher Steele, who was funded by the Clinton campaign, and a Yahoo News article, that were used to obtain a FISA warrant against a Trump associate. That Yahoo story came from Michael Isikoff, the reporter who knew about Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky but suppressed it. It was based on more leaks from Steele which the FBI and DOJ chose to ignore. Steele’s identity was already well known. The only new source revealed is Yahoo News.
No vital intelligence sources were compromised at Yahoo News. And no Yahoo News agents were killed.
The media spent a week lying to Americans about the dangers of the memo because it didn’t want them to find out what was inside. Today, the media and Dems switched from claiming that the memo was full of “classified information” that might get CIA agents killed to insisting that it was a dud and didn’t matter. Oh what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive.
On Thursday, the narrative was that the memo would devastate our national security and no one should ever be allowed to read it. By Friday, the new narrative was that the memo tells us nothing important and we shouldn’t even bother reading it. The lies change, but suppressing the memo remains the goal.
Rep. Nadler, infamous for securing pardons for Weather Underground bombers, got caught between narratives when he insisted that the memo was “overhyped,” but suggested that it “endangers national security.” “I don’t think anybody will be terribly shocked by what’s in the memo,” he told CNN.
And requested an emergency meeting of the House Judiciary Committee – a body he will head if Democrats win the mid-term elections.
Calling emergency meetings is not the response to an “overhyped” and non-shocking memo.
There is no legitimately classified information in the Nunes memo. But it does endanger a number of “Americans” in the “intelligence community” who colluded with the Clinton campaign against America.
It endangers former FBI Director Comey, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the current FBI General Counsel Dana Boente who had previously served as the Acting Attorney General. These men and women had allegedly signed FISA applications that were at best misleading and at worst badly tainted.
The Clinton campaign had enlisted figures in the FBI and the DOJ to manipulate an election. The coup against America operated as a “state within a state” inside the United States government.
“The political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials,” the memo informs us. But they did not reveal on the FISA application that their core evidence came from the Clinton campaign. Sources were certainly being protected. But they were Clinton sources.
The memo reveals that without the Steele dossier there would have been no eavesdropping on Carter Page, the Trump associate targeted in this particular case. “Deputy Director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information.” But the FISA application neglected to mention that its primary source had been paid by the Clinton campaign, was unverified and would continue to be unverified.
FBI Director Comey testified that he had told President Trump that the dossier was “unverified.” Yet the “unverified” piece of opposition research was used as the basis for a FISA application.
As Rep. Jim Jordan noted, “FBI takes ‘salacious and unverified’ dossier to secret court to get secret warrant to spy on a fellow American, and FBI doesn’t tell the court that the DNC/Clinton campaign paid for that dossier. And they did that FOUR times.”
“There’s been no evidence of a corrupt evidence to obtain warrants against people in the Trump campaign,” Rep. Adam Schiff insisted. That’s why he tried to block the release of the evidence.
The evidence was unverified opposition research. Its source had been paid by the Clinton campaign. Not only had Steele been indirectly working for the Clinton campaign (when he wasn’t being paid by the FBI), but he made no secret of his own political agenda to stop Trump.
“In September 2016, Steele admitted to Ohr his feelings against then-candidate Trump when Steele said he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president,” the memo informs us.
That’s former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr whose wife was being paid by an organization hired by the Clinton campaign to investigate Trump. Ohr then passed along his wife’s opposition research to the FBI. The evidence couldn’t be any more corrupt than that.
Steele was passionate about Trump “not being president.” So were his handlers who ignored his leaks to the media until he “was suspended and then terminated as an FBI source for what the FBI defines as the most serious of violations-an unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI.” His previous meetings, including the one that allegedly generated the Yahoo News article, were ignored.
Tainted investigations are nothing new. Law enforcement is as fallible as any other profession. But the memo reveals a snapshot of just how many top figures colluded in this corrupted and tainted effort.
What drove them to violate professional ethical norms and legal requirements in the FISA applications?
Top DOJ and FBI officials shared Steele’s “passion,” and that of his ultimate employer, Hillary Clinton, to stop Donald Trump at all costs. And they’re still trying to use the Mueller investigation to overturn the election results in a government coup that makes Watergate look like a children’s tea party,
Former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is already under investigation. He’s suspected of trying to sit on the Wiener emailsuntil the election was over. This alleged failed cover-up triggered the Comey letter which hurt Hillary worse than a timely revelation would have. McCabe’s wife had financial links to the Clintons.
Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates was an Obama holdover who had foolishly tried to use the DOJ to go to war with President Trump. Both Yates and Dana Boente were Obama and Holder choices. During the groundless prosecution of the former Republican governor of Virginia, Boente had declared, “No one is above the law.” We’ll see if that’s true with everyone who signed the FISA applications.
If Boente signed false or misleading FISA applications, he should be removed as FBI General Counsel.
The memo is only the first crack in the wall. But it’s grounds for an investigation that will expose the abuses that led to eavesdropping on Trump officials. And the motives of those who perpetuated them.
A Washington Post piece suggested that just releasing the memo alone would allow Mueller to charge President Trump with “obstruction of justice.” That’s how badly they want to get Trump.
A clear and simple fact emerges from the memo.
Top figures in the DOJ and the FBI, some loyal to Obama and Hillary, abused the FISA process in the hopes of influencing or reversing the results of an election by targeting their political opponents. The tool that they used for the job came from the Clinton campaign. Using America’s intelligence services to destroy and defeat a political opponent running for president is the worst possible abuse of power and an unprecedented threat to a democratic system of free open elections.
We have been treated to frequent lectures about the independence of the DOJ and the FBI. But our country isn’t based around government institutions that are independent of oversight by elected officials. When unelected officials have more power than elected officials, that’s tyranny.
A Justice Department that acts as the Praetorian Guard for a political campaign is committing a coup and engaging in treason. The complex ways that the Steele dossier was laundered from the Clinton campaign to a FISA application is evidence of a conspiracy by both the DOJ and the Clinton campaign.
It’s time for us to learn about all the FISA abuses, the list of NSA unmasking requests of Trump officials by Obama officials and the eavesdropping on members of Congress. We deserve to know the truth.
The memo has been released. Now it’s time to release everything.
Global Conflicts: Can We Keep Tabs On It All? – Jewish Policy Center 1/31/18, 1:30 PM
J. Michael Waller • Winter 2018
With global conflicts stretching the United States toward the breaking point, many feared that the world’s only superpower in 2017 was headed over a cliff.
Flailing policies in Afghanistan stole hard-fought American military gains and had made the Taliban enemy a player again. Things became even worse in Iraq, with ISIS jihadists forming their own caliphate in the north and into Syria, and the Islamic Republic of Iran conquering much of the rest of Iraq, including co-opting the U.S.-installed government in Baghdad. Iran not only built ballistic missiles and probably an atomic bomb, but received pallets of cash from Washington in the process – and now, as we are learning, a free pass for Hezbollah as part of the deal. North Korea proved its capacity with successful ballistic missile launches and underground nuclear tests.
Communist China built militarized reefs in international waters, hacked into the U.S. Office of Personnel Management records and stole the most personal details of every American who had applied for a security clearance, and embarked on an aggressive strategic nuclear weapons upgrade. Vladimir Putin’s Russia unveiled a new generation of strategic nuclear warheads and delivery systems without a peep of protest from Washington, indirectly had paid the husband and family foundation of a sitting secretary of state, shot down a Malaysian jetliner during its invasion and annexation of parts of Ukraine, and openly threatened NATO allies with subversion and destruction.
Chinese espionage and influence operations are so vast that nobody in the U.S. can seem to keep track. Russia’s aggressive intelligence collection and operations against the United States exceeded Cold War levels. Trans-national crime cartels, narcotics smuggling, human trafficking, child warriors, weapons proliferation, and other nightmares suddenly made Honduras and Peru, Uganda and Chad, Pacific Island microstates and other backwaters compelling national interests as illegal immigrants by the millions flooded the United States with impunity.
The Pentagon’s 388-page Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms didn’t even have a definition for “victory.”
Without defining victory, the United States operated almost 800 military facilities in 70 countries and territories in 2015. They ranged from giant bases like Okinawa to small “lily pads” in Burkina Faso, according to a study by American University Professor David Vine. The annual cost is estimated at between $245 and $300 billion. One of those bases, Al Udeid, Qatar, is a vital hub for the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), which leads most of the fight against the very terrorists that the Qatar regime is indoctrinating and funding.
Russian, Chinese, and other unfriendly interests infiltrated the leadership and bureaucracies of the great multilateral organizations created and mostly funded by the United States and its closest allies, including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, both based just blocks from the White House.
This was the background to outsider Donald Trump’s transition to the presidency. Trump arrived at the White House doubly handicapped: He had trouble building a cohesive national security team and remained dogged by allegations that he or members of his inner circle had “colluded” with the Kremlin to win the 2016 election, along with some KGB hacking of electronic voting records.
The allegations seemed serious, considering the source: leaks and later public statements from senior officials in the FBI, CIA, and Director of National Intelligence. The Trump team did a poor job addressing those allegations. It offered no guiding philosophy or strategy other than to “make America great again.”
In inheriting the mess left by his predecessor, president Trump offered little concrete assurance that he would really fix things.
To this day, dozens of senior presidential posts remain unfilled in the State Department, Justice Department, and Pentagon. Trump’s first team under National Security Adviser Michael Flynn blew apart before it could assemble, with a decidedly establishmentarian figure, active duty Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, firing most of the Trump loyalists and building a team of Obama holdovers. The strong personality of Defense Secretary James Mattis, a retired Marine four-star general, provided a steady hand that favored Clinton-Obama defense experts anathema to Trump. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appointed few to carry out his bureaucratic reform objectives, relying heavily on the professional (and very ideological) foreign service and a dumpsterful of Obama loyalists.
For those in the national security and diplomatic fields – even many of his sympathizers and supporters – Trump seemed an unlikely person to come up with a coherent and workable strategy for American world leadership.
Then, days before Congress passed his promised tax reform, Trump released his first annual National Security Strategy. Brash Trumpian rhetoric that espoused vague notions of American greatness coalesced December 18, 2017 into a thoughtful, purposeful roadmap. An “America First” strategy suddenly didn’t seem so extreme, even though it was unabashedly Trumpian.
Business Experience and Personal Leadership
Trump either didn’t bother, or more likely was not prepared, to reorganize his government and appoint MAGA people to senior posts before he grew his presidential worldview. He used the theatrical power of his strong personality as a blunt instrument, yet did so with surgical precision. It was almost as if he didn’t need his (overwhelmingly unsupportive) diplomats to nuance his statements with the wishy-washy “what the president meant to say was”-type comments.
The president had hybridized the bully pulpit. He merged fellow populist Theodore Roosevelt’s style, when “bully” meant “beautiful” or “wonderful” – two of Trump’s favorite adjectives – with the modern sense of using intimidation or psychological force.
The foreign policy establishment hated it. But key players around the world loved his personal power and rhetoric, and strong sense of purpose. Instead of rallying his own diplomats, message-shapers, and others, Trump empowered foreign leaders who shared his interests to do the work on their own.
He showed the same trait in empowering U.S. military commanders waging the war against ISIS. The president delegated authority to the commanders themselves, with a simple order: Destroy the enemy.
This sense of empowering underlings, plus allies, coalition partners, and other sovereign powers that shared specific interests with America, became a core of Trump’s national security strategy. It was as if he had borrowed from his come-from-behind presidential campaign in a crowded field and used his simple and personal forcefulness to throw his opponents off-track and empower those with shared interest. He let his own personality generate tens of millions of dollars of free media to keep his costs down and let others carry his message.
It was as if he already had the key to regaining America’s dominance around the world for pennies on the dollar.
Trump’s strategic worldview coalesced in two major speeches: his “drive them out” address in Riyadh last May; and his “defense of Western civilization” speech last July in Warsaw. In each speech, Trump singularly exercised brash but carefully calibrated leadership. He alienated friends, nominal friends, and allies on purpose in order to force them to deal on his terms, while empowering the people and countries he wanted to empower.
Standing in the Saudi capital before assembled world Muslim leaders, Trump ripped into individuals, governments, and regimes that directly or indirectly supported Islamist political indoctrination, subversion, and violence. He told Muslim leaders again and again to identify the Islamists and “drive them out.” That speech, and substantial behind-the-scenes politicking, sparked a remarkable transformation.
Suddenly, some of the worst challenges the U.S. faced in attacking jihadist ideology started to recede. The Wahhabi regime of Saudi Arabia took the lead in driving jihadist ideologues out of mosques, schools, political and administrative positions, and more. Allied with other Gulf states, the Saudis began a common purge, quickly isolating and squeezing the only Arab holdout – the rival Wahhabi regime of Qatar – which continued to support the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamists and jihadist terrorists of various stripes, and the Islamist Erdogan regime in Turkey and the Shi’ite Islamic Republic of Iran.
Ultimately, the Saudi response to Trump’s December announcement that the U.S. would move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem was muted. Ditto for Egypt, Kuwait, and the UAE. The embassy move to Jerusalem, taboo for decades, for fear of alienating important Arab countries, wasn’t such a big deal after all. This effort was,
no doubt, worked behind the scenes by adept diplomacy among the U.S., Israel, and Arab countries, but the expenditures were minimal and with great effect.
Trump’s Warsaw speech supported the efforts of Poland and a few other Central European countries to save their civilizations from foreign refugee invasions that would retard their demographics and ruin their national identities. No longer were Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic isolated under German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s satisfied thumb. Trump supported their courage more strongly than he endorsed Britain’s exit from the European Union. And he didn’t shrink from his critics. Indeed, he seemed to derive more energy from their opposition.
This was leadership. Many found it shocking, and branded the president a reckless rogue. Donald Trump, a new president who had never governed beyond his family business, virtually isolated from Congress and the federal bureaucracy and with an administration in disarray, was guiding the United States through countless crises and challenges that had seemed to be without end.
Empowerment and Leverage
Trump spelled out much of his approach in his national security strategy. He had a simple formula. He made a vision statement, based on American founding principles and placing the well-being of all American citizens first. He explained his approach or business model. He prioritized. He delegated. He expected others to share responsibility. He challenged and empowered others. He offered respect to all, rallying competition but demanding fair play. He would tolerate no nonsense. He set out a new kind of American leadership in the world. He wasn’t going to try to save every failed state. Countries that can’t or won’t lift themselves up with some help, he explained, would be left to fail. Or the private sector could do the work without burdening the American taxpayer.
Decentralization is one of the keys. Washington cannot – and will not – try to manage everything any more. Successive interventionist administrations, Democrat and Republican, had tried to lead the world through management, Trump reasoned. They became so complacent leading the world’s only superpower that they stopped seeing the subversive and military threats around them until too late. Then they would jump into a conflict or war for lack of foresight and integration of all elements of statecraft. Again and again and again. With no plan for victory.
Citing the American founders, Trump noted in his strategy that every human being has a God-given right to be a sovereign individual. Every person has a role to play if they wish. Governments answer to the people, not vice-versa. Nations, too, are sovereign. In Trump’s words, “peace, security, and prosperity depend on strong, sovereign nations that respect their citizens at home and cooperate to advance peace abroad.” There’s a mutuality, a reciprocity here, just as in business, but also a sense of fair play. Governments had to earn their place by how they respected their citizens and cooperated with the rest of the world.
This is not globalism. And it certainly is not isolationism.
Allies, in Trump’s view, don’t need to be a burden. They should be assets. “Allies and partners magnify our power,” the National Security Strategy says. “We expect them to shoulder a fair share of the burden of responsibility to protect against common threats.” Alliances and partnerships will be voluntary and mutually reinforcing: “We are not going to impose our values on others. Our alliances, partnerships, and coalitions are built on free will and shared interests. When the United States partners with other states, we develop policies that enable us to achieve our goals while our partners achieve theirs.”
This is businesslike statecraft. This is an economizing approach. It requires fewer diplomats, bureaucrats,
lawyers, troops, and tax dollars. It allows the United States to look after its interests by empowering and expecting others to do the same, and working with those who share our own interests.
Defeat and Destroy
To President Trump, winning is mandatory. It is not a matter of military power. It is a matter of mindset. His strategy repeatedly states that the United States and its allies and partners should “defeat” all enemies and “destroy” jihadist terrorists and ideologues. America’s diplomats must become less complacent and more outgoing: “We must upgrade our diplomatic capabilities to compete in the current environment and to embrace a competitive mindset.” As part of what he called “information statecraft,” Trump said “We will improve our understanding of how adversaries gain informational and psychological advantages across all policies. The United States must empower a true public diplomacy capability to compete effectively in this arena.”
“We need our allies to do the same,” Trump said, about modernizing and improving, “and affirm the political will to win.”
As laid out in the National Security Strategy, Trump understands asymmetric warfare better than previous American presidents. According to his strategic vision, the nation’s adversaries are strong because they study our institutions, processes, philosophy, and actions, to look for our weak points. Here is some of what he said:
• “Adversaries target sources of American strength, including our democratic system and our economy.”
• “Adversaries studied the American way of war and began investing in capabilities that targeted our strengths and sought to exploit perceived weaknesses.”
• “Russia aims to weaken U.S. influence in the world and divide us from our allies and partners.”
• “Through modernized forms of subversive tactics, Russia interferes in the domestic political affairs of countries around the world.”
• These approaches “enable adversaries to attempt strategic attacks against the United States – without resorting to nuclear weapons – in ways that could cripple our economy and our ability to deploy our military forces.”
• America’s “adversaries and competitors become adept at operating below the threshold of open military conflict and at the edges of international law. Repressive, closed states and organizations, although brittle in many ways, are often more agile and faster at integrating economic, military, and especially informational means to achieve their goals.”
• “Repressive leaders often collaborate to subvert free societies and corrupt multilateral organizations.” • “They employ sophisticated political, economic, and military campaigns that combine discrete actions.”
• “They are patient and content to accrue strategic gains over time – making it harder for the United States and our allies to respond.”
• “Such actions are calculated to achieve maximum effect without provoking a direct military response from the United States. And as these incremental gains are realized, over time, a new status quo emerges.”
• “The United States must prepare for this type of competition. China, Russia, and other state and non-state actors recognize that the United States often views the world in binary terms, with states being either ‘at peace’ or ‘at war,’ when it is actually an arena of continuous competition. Our adversaries will not fight us on these terms. We will raise our competitive game to meet that challenge, to protect American interests, and to advance our values.”
He didn’t say it plainly in his strategy, but Trump shows that he views world politics as constant political and psychological warfare. That type of conflict is cost-effective and can keep competition below the military tripwire. However, the best political and psychological warfare is backed with the threat of overwhelming destruction. In the words of the National Security Strategy, “We must convince adversaries that we can and will defeat them – not just punish them if they attack the United States.”
This is a real integrated approach to American national interests. American leaders should do what is best for the nation and the people. Not for other nations and people. That criterion alone slashes the U.S. global presence, while maximizing the economic benefit for American workers, businessmen, and investors. America finds allies and partners valuable, but only those with shared goals, a shared material burden, and the will to win. That cuts the burden even further.
Weak and emerging friends and partners who accept American help must earn their own place in the value chain so they can be sovereign and self-sufficient, or at least mutually beneficial to the United States, thus slashing the American burden even more. Those who will not implement sensible policies to prosper must fall by the wayside and accept charity from others. Re-vamping intelligence collection and analytical capabilities for long-term strategic purposes to anticipate events, cuts expenses by reducing the need for costly reactive policies. The same is true for those who would harm us.
Just when it seemed as if American global power was falling off the precipice, a brash and novice president found a way to prioritize national interests and economize the instruments of statecraft. Much of Donald Trump’s strategy recognizes and accepts the status quo. What’s revolutionary is his vision to regain American supremacy, build alliances, and defeat adversaries without bankrupting the country. If he starts appointing people fit for the job who share his views, he can make America great again.
J. Michael Waller, Ph.D., is Vice President for Government Affairs at the Center for Security Policy, and a founding editorial board member of Defence Strategic Communications, the scholarly journal of NATO’s Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence.
https://www.jewishpolicycenter.org/2018/01/22/global-conflicts-can-keep-tabs-2/ Page 6 of 6
Nothing scandalizes a leftist like the truth. Point out that women and
men are different, that black Americans commit a disproportionate amount
of violent crime, that most terrorist acts are committed by Muslims, and
the Left leaps to its collective feet in openmouthed shock, like
Margaret Dumont after a Groucho Marx wisecrack. This is racism! This is
sexism! This is some sort of phobia! I’m shocked, shocked to find facts
being spoken in polite company!
No one is really shocked, of course. This is simply a form of bullying.
The Left has co-opted our good manners and our good will in order to
silence our opposition to their bad policies. The idea is to make it
seem impolite and immoral to mention the obvious.
The bullying is highly effective and very dangerous. In England, in the
city of Rotherham, at least 1,400 non-Muslim girls, some as young as 11,
were brutally raped by Muslim immigrants over a period of years in the
2000s. Police and other officials worked to keep the facts hidden
because, according to multiple reports, they were afraid of being called
racist. Think about that: police officers did not want to seem racist,
so they stood by and let their city’s children be raped. The same thing
goes on in other cities in England and throughout Europe. And in fact,
some who have spoken out have had their careers curtailed by
manufactured scandal. The message is clear: it’s just not nice to tell
the truth. It’s just not done. Don’t do it.
Here in the states, the First Amendment has so far allowed old-fashioned
American loudmouths to fight the system whenever they could find ways
around our monolithic corporate media. But the Empire of Lies is quick
to strike back. Google/YouTube now stands charged by multiple accusers
of singling out conservative voices for censorship, “fact-checking,” and
demonetization. Hidden-camera videos released by Project Veritas this
week show Twitter employees conspiring to “shadow ban” conservatives on
their system. On campus, intelligent conservative speakers of good will
like Ben Shapiro, Charles Murray, and Christina Hoff-Sommers have faced
violent protests meant to shut them up.
No person of importance on the right seeks to silence anyone on the
left. The Left, on the other hand, is broadly committed to ostracizing,
blacklisting, and even criminalizing right-wing speech.
Enter President Donald Trump. He is a rude and crude person. He speaks
like a Queens real estate guy on a construction site. And because he
does not have good manners, he thoughtlessly breaks the rules with which
the Left has sought to muzzle those who disagree with them. In this
regard, I frequently compare Trump to Randle Patrick McMurphy, the
loudmouthed, ill-mannered roustabout from Ken Kesey’s brilliant novel
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. McMurphy comes into an insane asylum
controlled by a pleasant, smiling nightmare of a head nurse named
Ratched. Nurse Ratched, while pretending to be the soul of motherly
care, is actually a castrating, silencing tyrant. Her rules of good
manners, supposedly fashioned for the benefit of all, are really a
system of mental slavery. All of McMurphy’s salient character flaws
suddenly become heroic in the context of her oppression. Only his
belligerent ignorance of what constitutes good behavior can overturn the
velvet strangulation of her rule.
For Nurse Ratched, read Hillary Clinton, CNN, the New York Times, Yale
University, Twitter, and Google/YouTube—all the tender ministers of
polite silence and enforced dishonesty. If Donald Trump’s boorishness
crashes like a bull through the crystal madhouse of their leftism—well,
good. It’s about time.
I don’t know exactly what Trump said in a closed-door meeting with
senators at the White House this week. Unnamed sources say that he
referred to some African countries and Haiti as “shitholes.” Maybe so;
sounds like him. In any case, when it comes to a chance to attack Trump,
our journalists don’t waste time with fact-gathering or source-
identifying. Like Madonna, they just strike a pose. Various media
knuckleheads have reacted to the alleged comment by calling Trump
“racist,” “Nazi,” “Evil,” and a “terrorist sympathizer.”
(Personally, my first thought on hearing about the remark was: “What
squirrely little tattle-tale of a weasel went running to the press with
that?” But never mind. That’s just me.)
Let’s state the obvious. Some countries are shitholes. To claim that
this is racist is racist. They are not shitholes because of the color of
the populace but because of bad ideas, corrupt governance, false
religion, and broken culture. Further, most of the problems in these
countries are generated at the top. Plenty of rank-and-file immigrants
from such ruined venues ultimately make good Americans—witness those who
came from 1840s potato-famine Ireland, a shithole if ever there was one!
It takes caution and skill to separate the good from the bad.
For these very reasons, absurd immigration procedures like chain
migration, lotteries, and unvetted entries are deeply destructive. They
can lead to the sort of poor choices that create a Rotherham. Trump’s
suggestions—to vet immigrants for pro-American ideas and skills that
will help our country—are smart and reasonable and would clearly make
the system better if implemented.
So, when it comes to the Great Shithole Controversy of 2018, my feeling
is: I do not care, not even a little. I’m sorry that it takes someone
like Trump to break the spell of silence the Left is forever weaving
around us. I wish a man like Ronald Reagan would come along and
accomplish the same thing with more wit and grace. But that was another
culture. History deals the cards it deals; we just play them. Trump is
what we’ve got.
For all the bad language, for all the loose talk, I would rather hear a
man speak as a man without fear of the Nurse Ratcheds in the press and
the academy than have him neutered and gagged by a system of good
manners that has been misused as a form of oppression. Better
impoliteness than silence. Better crudeness than lies.
We have seen the effect of uncontrolled immigration on Europe. It is
very, very bad. The fact is: some countries are shitholes. I don’t want
this to become one of them.
Andrew Klavan is a novelist and City Journal contributing editor. His
podcast is featured Monday through Thursday at the DailyWire.com.
Photo by Pool/Getty Image
My column on the Trump National Security Strategy
From: Cliff May <cliff@Defenddemocracy.org>
Subject: FYI: My column on the Trump National Security Strategy
Date: December 27, 2017 at 10:25:17 AM EST
The dangerous world of Donald Trump
The president and his national security team address a “wide range” of national security threats
A National Security Strategy is less a plan of action than an attempt to prioritize. Who, in the president’s judgment, most threatens America? What means do we have and what capabilities must we develop to defend the homeland and protect our freedoms?
President Obama issued his last NSS in 2015. It struck me then as an odd document and, in retrospect, it seems odder still. Regarding the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, it offered such boilerplate as: “Our commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is rooted in the profound risks posed by North Korean weapons development and proliferation.” In the end, of course, Mr. Obama did nothing as the threat metastasized. North Korea may now have as many as 60 nuclear weapons.
The 2015 NSS also asserted: “We have made clear Iran must meet its international obligations and demonstrate its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.” Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei no doubt found that amusing.
Though well into his second term, Mr. Obama couldn’t resist the temptation to criticize his predecessor: “We must always resist the over-reach that comes when we make decisions based upon fear. Moreover, we must recognize that a smart national security strategy does not rely solely on military power.” There also were such platitudes as: “A strong consensus endures across our political spectrum that the question is not whether America will lead, but how we will lead into the future.”
Last week, President Trump delivered his National Security Strategy,” an attempt to “rethink the policies of the past two decades—policies based on the assumption that engagement with rivals and their inclusion in international institutions and global commerce would turn them into benign actors and trustworthy partners. For the most part, this premise turned out to be false.”
It begins to address “an extraordinarily dangerous world, filled with a wide range of threats that have intensified in recent years.” The phrase used to capsulize the new approach is “principled realism,” which is to be guided “by outcomes, not ideology.”
In my judgment, it’s a coherent, clear-eyed, and comprehensive document, one that falls well within the conservative tradition, recognizing the importance of maintaining an American-led liberal capitalist world order.
Yes, America’s national interest comes first but that does not preclude a global perspective as some feared based on the use of “America First,” a phrase harkening back to the isolationists of the late 1930s. The Trump NSS declares: “A strong America is in the vital interests of not only the American people, but also those around the world who want to partner with the United States in pursuit of shared interests, values, and aspirations.”
America’s sovereignty is not to be surrendered – not to the U.N. or other transnational organizations dominated by despotic regimes. “America’s values” – not “universal values,” because, truthfully, there’s no such thing – should be regarded as forces that “make the world more free, secure, and prosperous.”
Comforting as it might be to think we live in a global village, in reality we are surrounded by an encroaching global jungle where only the fittest survive. Our goal, therefore, must be to strengthen America, economically and militarily; to “overmatch” any adversary or combination of adversaries, “to ensure that America’s sons and daughters will never be in a fair fight.”
Military power and diplomacy are not in conflict but rather mutually reinforcing: “Overmatch strengthens our diplomacy and permits us to shape the international environment to protect our interests.”
Adversaries are not friends whose legitimate grievances we’ve failed to address. They need to be persuaded that “they cannot accomplish objectives through the use of force or other forms of aggression.” That requires substantial financial investments which, in turn, requires increased “economic prosperity” which should be seen “as a pillar of national security.”
A dynamic economy also provides us with more effective economic weapons. That, too, gives diplomats a better hand to play and, sometimes, may allow us to prevail without resorting to kinetic means.
President Trump’s NSS identifies North Korean and Iran as “rogue regimes.” The former “seeks the capability to kill millions of Americans with nuclear weapons.” The latter “supports terrorist groups and openly calls for our destruction.”
Russia and China are “revisionist powers” that intend “to shape a world antithetical to U.S. values and interests.” And then there is the “long war” we have to fight against transnational jihadi groups and the criminal syndicates with whom they’ve been making common cause.
A National Security Strategy, no matter how well thought-out, is only a blueprint. Policies and “priority actions” need to be implemented to be useful. “Peace through strength” doesn’t come cheap.
Almost a year into Mr. Trump’s first term, the military remains under-resourced and too many key national security positions remain unfilled. Others are occupied by bureaucrats who have no intention of furthering this White House’s agenda. Perhaps most astonishingly, there remain many holdovers from the previous administration who are undermining policies they disfavor.
All that and more should be dealt with early in the New Year. For now, it’s sufficient to get the new administration’s priorities and broad policy principles down on paper, to better understand the world according to President Trump and his national security advisors – a seasoned, pragmatic team led this year by H.R. McMaster, Nadia Schadlow and Dina Powell.
Unlike President Obama who believed the arc of history bends toward justice, the current occupant of the White House believes history’s arc will be bent toward tyranny by America’s enemies – unless we grab it firmly and bend it ourselves.
Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and a columnist for the Washington Times.
Zoomed out of item.
There are zero excuses to stand against the Trump tax cuts
Love Donald Trump or hate him, what is undeniable one year into his presidency is the new economic optimism of workers, investors, small business owners and major CEOs. An economy that was growing at 1.6 percent when he entered office and never achieved a 3 percent growth rate in the previous decade is now already up to near 3.5 percent growth.
And that’s without the Trump tax cut. I’m on record at CNN for predicting 3.5 percent and possibly 4 percent growth next year, which we haven’t seen in at least 15 years. Barack Obama kept predicting 4 percent growth year after year and he never came close. Maybe a change in strategy on regulation, taxes, energy policy and other strategic shifts makes sense after a decade of malaise.
There’s no sense in arguing about what the impact of the Trump tax cuts will be. It’s going to be signed into law by the end of the week, and now we will see a great experiment in economic policy carried out. Republicans have bet the farm, as Ronald Reagan and John Kennedy did, that a big tax cut oriented towards incentivizing investment, work and business startups through lower tax rates.There’s an old saying: When you tax something, you get less of it. When you tax something less, you get more of it. Why is it so hard to believe that taxing investment and labor less will mean more of it? Why is it so hard to conceive that by lowering America’s highest in the world business tax rate, firms will want to relocate to the United States? Trump has said from the start that this tax bill is about “making America more competitive” in a global economy.
One thing is for sure. China, Europe, Canada, Russia and Mexico don’t want the Trump tax cuts to pass. These nations are firmly on the side of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer on this one. Ireland, which has recruited dozens of major firms from America to places like Dublin with its 12.5 percent business tax rate, is terrified that Trump will succeed in lowering the American corporate tax rate to 21 percent. This is a tax bill that puts American business and American workers first. It’s about time we stop foreigners from eating our lunch and stealing our jobs.
Still the left’s refrain is this is a tax giveaway for big bad corporations and rich business owners. Actually, nearly everyone of the 26 million small business owners in America gets a tax cut, too. Many of them will plow billions of dollars back into the economy as firms like Apple and FedEx already have pledged to do. The anti-business rhetoric of the left during the debate is dispiriting in the extreme. Somehow being pro-business is seen as unpatriotic.
Trump is unapologetically pro-American business. It’s one of the reasons the stock market has nonstop rallied since last November and wealth has risen by at least $5.5 trillion since election day. Someone needs to remind the Democrats that being anti-business is no way to be pro-worker. As my old boss Dick Armey, the former House majority leader used to say, “Liberals love jobs, but they hate employers.” Trump loves jobs, and loves employers.
As for the middle class, they will benefit primarily through more prosperity from this corporate tax cut. But they also benefit from their taxes being cut, too. The big benefits to the middle class include doubling the standard deduction to more than $24,000 from about $12,000 today. This means your first $24,000 of income is tax free. Tax rates at every income level will get cut by about 10 percent. Moreover, the child credit will double from $1,000 per child to $2,000. For a family with three kids that’s an extra $3,000 right off the top on taxes.
So where did this lie come from that the middle class will pay more taxes under the Trump tax plan? The president announced last week that he has instructed the Treasury Department to change the withholding tables by Feb. 1 so that the tax cut appears in people’s paychecks right away. Then they will see the Trump tax cut in bigger paychecks will realize that the left has been less than truthful.
I asked a cab driver a few weeks ago what he thought of the Trump tax cut and he replied, “Show me the money!” That’s exactly what Trump is going to do starting early next year. Something tells me that will make millions of people very happy.
Stephen Moore is the distinguished visiting fellow for the Project for Economic Growth at The Heritage Foundation and a senior economic analyst at CNN. He served as an economic advisor to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. You can follow him on Twitter @StephenMoore.