Day: January 31, 2018

A Brief History of the Fake News Media


For far too long, I was convinced that the media were, on the whole, reliable purveyors of the news. For nearly three years I freelanced happily at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Music and Public Affairs, never suspecting that the Mothercorp was a hive of Liberal propaganda and an artesian fount of scandalously disingenuous broadcasting. It took 9/11 and the generally extenuating media reports over time, faulting the U.S. and exempting Islam, to shake up my thinking and turn me into a sceptical fact-finder.

The media are especially adept at creating villains out of whole cloth for public consumption to advance a particular and often dubious purpose. How else explain the transformation of significant political figures into synonyms for perfidy and opprobrium. I’m thinking in particular of Joe McCarthy, Barry Goldwater and Enoch Powell, all of whom considered themselves patriots and enunciated unpopular or anti-establishment truths, costing them their reputations both in their lifetimes and for posterity.

As Diana West writes of McCarthy, “after more than 60 years of ‘McCarthyism’—the perpetual slander of Joseph McCarthy as a ‘witch-hunter,’ as opposed to an honest accounting of this fearless investigator of deep and widespread infiltration of the US government by Stalin’s secret agents…Americans have been conditioned to…hate, loathe and revile McCarthy…The slander of ‘McCarthyism,’…has had the dire effect of bludgeoning our abilities to detect or even acknowledge the existence of any constitutional enemies, especially ‘domestic.’ ”

Favorable commentators will admit that McCarthy may have been guilty of exaggerations and errors, but as the Venona transcripts have verified, he was right overall. He may have manifested as vindictive, yet he was remorseless in his campaign to isolate Communist sympathizers in government circles who worked to subvert the country. This, of course, made him anathema to a treasonous press and a political establishment that had much to hide, whether their complicity or their negligence.

Barry Goldwater has fared no better. When asked in a July 9, 1964 interview in Der Spiegel about his advocating the use of nuclear weapons to defoliate the jungles in Vietnam, Goldwater replied “About a month‐and‐a­ half ago on a television show I was asked a technical ques­tion, how could you get at the trails through the rain forests of North Vietnam. Well, I served in the rain forests of Burma and I know that the only practical way to get at them is defoliation so an answer to a technical question like this—one pos­sible way of doing it even though I made clear this would never be done, would be the use of low‐yield nu­clear devices” (emphasis mine). As the Daily Mail History section pointed out, “Democrats painted Goldwater as a warmonger who was overly eager to use nuclear weapons in Vietnam.” And, of course, with few exceptions like the Daily Mail, the MSM was all over it, painting Goldwater as a nuclear warhawk, a kind of Dr. Strangelove. (The film appeared on January 29, 1964, 10 months before the Johnson-Goldwater election. The writing was already on the wall.)

I was young and shallow at the time and a knee-jerk leftist, so I took it as media gospel that Goldwater was about to launch a nuclear firestorm. Shortly afterward, I was all for LBJ’s Great Society—a socialist term coined by Fabian Society stalwart Graham Wallas—since the press assured me it was a good thing. How could a “War on Poverty” go wrong?  

It was only much later, when I developed some common sense, shook off the political amblyopia which afflicted me, and actually studied the issue, that I realized the Great Society was at best and only in part a qualified success, but ultimately and in many respects a dismal failure: grossly unaffordable, unleashing a pro-Third World immigration nightmare from which we are suffering today, and furnishing an incentive to welfare parasitism. As Ronald Reagan famously remarked, “In the 60s we waged a war on poverty, and poverty won.” But Johnson was elected by a landslide and Goldwater, who in my estimation would have made a much better president, relegated to the halls of infamy.

Then there was the infamous newspaper-generated case of Enoch Powell. As I wrote in a previous article, Powell warned in his 1968, so-called “rivers of blood” speech of the imminent and future perils of unchecked immigration. Powell was worried mainly about immigration from the West Indies, which was transforming traditional neighborhoods into violent ghettoes, whose first and second generation inhabitants were not interested in cultural integration.

Powell’s “river of blood” was an allusion to a passage from Book VI of Virgil’s Aeneid in which the Sibyl prophesizes that the “Tiber would flow with blood” as a metaphor for civil discord. As we observe the relentless Islamization of the U.K., can we say he was wrong? Naturally, Powell would today have received the same or worse misuse from the media, which would have tattooed him as a white supremacist, a bigot and an Islamophobe.

Indeed, similar, if somewhat less virulent, treatment has been meted out to London barrister Gavin Boby of “mosque buster” fame. Boby has been the target of media calumny for assisting British homeowners in preparing and filing legal actions to preserve their neighborhoods from the erection of mosques, which collapse property values and render local life increasingly distressing and in many case untenable. Boby has told me stories about severed cables and wires, broken windows, commandeered driveways, residential streets clogged with traffic, harassment of dog owners, pedestrian bullying, forced sales of depressed properties and more, which have driven longtime residents to despair. Boby works pro bono and is strikingly successful, a fact which makes him non grata to the media and the power elites.

Thus, when I think back, I’m appalled at my own naiveté. McCarthy was the devil’s spawn. Goldwater would initiate a nuclear firestorm. Powell  was an irremediable racist. And Islam, of course, is a noble and magnanimous faith. 9/11 changed everything for me and compelled me to embark on a scrupulous five-year program of what I call the indispensable three Rs, Reading, Research and Reflection, which cured me of my media fantasy and culminated in the publication of The Big Lie in 2007/8 and The Boxthorn Tree in 2012. 

The media lie has now acquired epic dimensions. Gary Demar puts it succinctly in an article for Godfather Politics: Obviously, much if not most of what we read in articles and screeds written by liberals “is designed to distort the truth. Some are willing to lie for what they perceive to be their idea of the greater good. Others just put the worst spin on out-of-context statements to elevate the blood pressure of their targeted ultra-liberal audience.”

The Fake News Syndrome, as I’ve stressed, is nothing new. It’s been approximately the case for as long as we can remember. The only discrimination between the MSM and the FNM is that the latter has become effectively coterminous with the former. Previously there were a few, if not many, reasonably impartial news venues; today these are practically non-existent.

Eventually, I realized that the Western media were even more insidious than the Soviet controlled news outfits. Many Russians knew that Pravda and Izvestia were propaganda arms of the Politburo and discounted their stories as rubbish; many Westerners, on the other hand, are readily deceived, believing the press is free from bias and generally principled and reliable. I know now, however belatedly, that our media constitute one of the gravest threats to our democratic traditions and wonder how I could ever have been so gullible.

For far too long, I was convinced that the media were, on the whole, reliable purveyors of the news. For nearly three years I freelanced happily at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Music and Public Affairs, never suspecting that the Mothercorp was a hive of Liberal propaganda and an artesian fount of scandalously disingenuous broadcasting. It took 9/11 and the generally extenuating media reports over time, faulting the U.S. and exempting Islam, to shake up my thinking and turn me into a sceptical fact-finder.

The media are especially adept at creating villains out of whole cloth for public consumption to advance a particular and often dubious purpose. How else explain the transformation of significant political figures into synonyms for perfidy and opprobrium. I’m thinking in particular of Joe McCarthy, Barry Goldwater and Enoch Powell, all of whom considered themselves patriots and enunciated unpopular or anti-establishment truths, costing them their reputations both in their lifetimes and for posterity.

As Diana West writes of McCarthy, “after more than 60 years of ‘McCarthyism’—the perpetual slander of Joseph McCarthy as a ‘witch-hunter,’ as opposed to an honest accounting of this fearless investigator of deep and widespread infiltration of the US government by Stalin’s secret agents…Americans have been conditioned to…hate, loathe and revile McCarthy…The slander of ‘McCarthyism,’…has had the dire effect of bludgeoning our abilities to detect or even acknowledge the existence of any constitutional enemies, especially ‘domestic.’ ”

Favorable commentators will admit that McCarthy may have been guilty of exaggerations and errors, but as the Venona transcripts have verified, he was right overall. He may have manifested as vindictive, yet he was remorseless in his campaign to isolate Communist sympathizers in government circles who worked to subvert the country. This, of course, made him anathema to a treasonous press and a political establishment that had much to hide, whether their complicity or their negligence.

Barry Goldwater has fared no better. When asked in a July 9, 1964 interview in Der Spiegel about his advocating the use of nuclear weapons to defoliate the jungles in Vietnam, Goldwater replied “About a month‐and‐a­ half ago on a television show I was asked a technical ques­tion, how could you get at the trails through the rain forests of North Vietnam. Well, I served in the rain forests of Burma and I know that the only practical way to get at them is defoliation so an answer to a technical question like this—one pos­sible way of doing it even though I made clear this would never be done, would be the use of low‐yield nu­clear devices” (emphasis mine). As the Daily Mail History section pointed out, “Democrats painted Goldwater as a warmonger who was overly eager to use nuclear weapons in Vietnam.” And, of course, with few exceptions like the Daily Mail, the MSM was all over it, painting Goldwater as a nuclear warhawk, a kind of Dr. Strangelove. (The film appeared on January 29, 1964, 10 months before the Johnson-Goldwater election. The writing was already on the wall.)

I was young and shallow at the time and a knee-jerk leftist, so I took it as media gospel that Goldwater was about to launch a nuclear firestorm. Shortly afterward, I was all for LBJ’s Great Society—a socialist term coined by Fabian Society stalwart Graham Wallas—since the press assured me it was a good thing. How could a “War on Poverty” go wrong?  

It was only much later, when I developed some common sense, shook off the political amblyopia which afflicted me, and actually studied the issue, that I realized the Great Society was at best and only in part a qualified success, but ultimately and in many respects a dismal failure: grossly unaffordable, unleashing a pro-Third World immigration nightmare from which we are suffering today, and furnishing an incentive to welfare parasitism. As Ronald Reagan famously remarked, “In the 60s we waged a war on poverty, and poverty won.” But Johnson was elected by a landslide and Goldwater, who in my estimation would have made a much better president, relegated to the halls of infamy.

Then there was the infamous newspaper-generated case of Enoch Powell. As I wrote in a previous article, Powell warned in his 1968, so-called “rivers of blood” speech of the imminent and future perils of unchecked immigration. Powell was worried mainly about immigration from the West Indies, which was transforming traditional neighborhoods into violent ghettoes, whose first and second generation inhabitants were not interested in cultural integration.

Powell’s “river of blood” was an allusion to a passage from Book VI of Virgil’s Aeneid in which the Sibyl prophesizes that the “Tiber would flow with blood” as a metaphor for civil discord. As we observe the relentless Islamization of the U.K., can we say he was wrong? Naturally, Powell would today have received the same or worse misuse from the media, which would have tattooed him as a white supremacist, a bigot and an Islamophobe.

Indeed, similar, if somewhat less virulent, treatment has been meted out to London barrister Gavin Boby of “mosque buster” fame. Boby has been the target of media calumny for assisting British homeowners in preparing and filing legal actions to preserve their neighborhoods from the erection of mosques, which collapse property values and render local life increasingly distressing and in many case untenable. Boby has told me stories about severed cables and wires, broken windows, commandeered driveways, residential streets clogged with traffic, harassment of dog owners, pedestrian bullying, forced sales of depressed properties and more, which have driven longtime residents to despair. Boby works pro bono and is strikingly successful, a fact which makes him non grata to the media and the power elites.

Thus, when I think back, I’m appalled at my own naiveté. McCarthy was the devil’s spawn. Goldwater would initiate a nuclear firestorm. Powell  was an irremediable racist. And Islam, of course, is a noble and magnanimous faith. 9/11 changed everything for me and compelled me to embark on a scrupulous five-year program of what I call the indispensable three Rs, Reading, Research and Reflection, which cured me of my media fantasy and culminated in the publication of The Big Lie in 2007/8 and The Boxthorn Tree in 2012. 

The media lie has now acquired epic dimensions. Gary Demar puts it succinctly in an article for Godfather Politics: Obviously, much if not most of what we read in articles and screeds written by liberals “is designed to distort the truth. Some are willing to lie for what they perceive to be their idea of the greater good. Others just put the worst spin on out-of-context statements to elevate the blood pressure of their targeted ultra-liberal audience.”

The Fake News Syndrome, as I’ve stressed, is nothing new. It’s been approximately the case for as long as we can remember. The only discrimination between the MSM and the FNM is that the latter has become effectively coterminous with the former. Previously there were a few, if not many, reasonably impartial news venues; today these are practically non-existent.

Eventually, I realized that the Western media were even more insidious than the Soviet controlled news outfits. Many Russians knew that Pravda and Izvestia were propaganda arms of the Politburo and discounted their stories as rubbish; many Westerners, on the other hand, are readily deceived, believing the press is free from bias and generally principled and reliable. I know now, however belatedly, that our media constitute one of the gravest threats to our democratic traditions and wonder how I could ever have been so gullible.



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Why Democrats should embrace Trump’s DACA framework


Last Thursday, Trump released his proposed framework for a compromise on DACA. The framework offers DACA-eligible illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship, in exchange for border security and a number of changes to U.S immigration law.

Democrats, along with the left more broadly, responded with hysterical denunciations of Trump. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi described the proposal as, “part of the Trump administration’s unmistakable campaign to make America white again.”

New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez called the bill, “compromise between the far right and the alt-right.”

Senate Minority leader Charles Schumer dismissed the proposal in more diplomatic terms, tweeting, “While @realDonaldTrump finally acknowledged that the Dreamers should be allowed to stay here and become citizens, he uses them as a tool to tear apart our legal immigration system and adopt the wish list that anti-immigration hardliners have advocated for for years.”

Trump’s framework contains four “pillars.” The first pillar increases spending on border security and immigration enforcement. The second pillar grants illegal immigrants who arrived as minors a limited amnesty and a pathway to citizenship. The third pillar eliminates the visa lottery, which awards 50,000 green cards at random to a pool of applicants from around the world. Finally, the fourth pillar phases out “family preference” visas.

It was Trump’s last two pillars that provoked the most outrage, particularly his last pillar. The bulk of legal immigrants to the United States arrive as relatives of U.S. citizens. U.S. law divides these immigrants into two groups, immediate relatives and family preferences. Immediate relatives includes the spouses and under-21 children of U.S. citizens, along with the parents of under-21 U.S. citizens. Family preferences includes siblings of U.S. citizens, over-21 children of U.S. citizens, and parents of over-21 U.S. citizens.

While U.S. law allows for an unlimited number of immediate relative visas each year, it sets strict numeric caps on the various “family preference” visas. Because of these limits, those applying for family preference visas often spend decades waiting on line, arriving as middle-aged adults.

Trump proposed that the U.S. phase out family preference visas, processing the existing applications but not accepting new ones. Because of this, the effect on legal immigration would not be felt for years. Currently, the expected wait time for the sibling of a Filipino immigrant is nineteen years.

Trump’s third pillar, elimination of the visa lottery, also sparked controversy. The Congressional Black Caucus wants to keep the lottery because 44% of lottery visas go to immigrants from African countries.

The core truth of American Immigration policy is that far more people want to come here than politicians in either party want to allow in. Numbers matter, and the American people have a definite limit on how many immigrants they will accept.

Given that upward limit, immigration really is a zero-sum game. The more family preference visas we issue, the fewer employment visas we issue (for example). Trump’s policy zeroes in on the immigrants who have the strongest claim to be here and devotes our resources to helping them. Specifically, those who came here illegally as children, and those who have waited patiently for family preference visas.

Opposition to Trump’s plan arises because his critics fail to realize that the American public has a limited appetite for immigration. Given this reality, aiding the DACA kids means cutting immigration elsewhere. Trump’s compromise accomplishes this in the most painless and fair way possible, avoiding draconian cuts later on.

Far from being a hardline restrictionist plan, Trump’s framework represents the best hope for a compromise on this issue. A hardline plan would be Ann Coulter’s total immigration moratorium. To impose a total ban on immigration we would have to eliminate the largest category of immigrants; spouses and children of U.S. citizens. Further, it would mean mass deportations of illegal immigrants.

Immigration is the most explosive political issue of the twenty-first century; opposition to immigration brought Trump to power and took the UK out of the EU. If Democrats and pro-immigration Republicans miss this opportunity for compromise, they may find themselves pining for the days of Donald Trump, Stephen Miller, and Tom Cotton.

Last Thursday, Trump released his proposed framework for a compromise on DACA. The framework offers DACA-eligible illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship, in exchange for border security and a number of changes to U.S immigration law.

Democrats, along with the left more broadly, responded with hysterical denunciations of Trump. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi described the proposal as, “part of the Trump administration’s unmistakable campaign to make America white again.”

New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez called the bill, “compromise between the far right and the alt-right.”

Senate Minority leader Charles Schumer dismissed the proposal in more diplomatic terms, tweeting, “While @realDonaldTrump finally acknowledged that the Dreamers should be allowed to stay here and become citizens, he uses them as a tool to tear apart our legal immigration system and adopt the wish list that anti-immigration hardliners have advocated for for years.”

Trump’s framework contains four “pillars.” The first pillar increases spending on border security and immigration enforcement. The second pillar grants illegal immigrants who arrived as minors a limited amnesty and a pathway to citizenship. The third pillar eliminates the visa lottery, which awards 50,000 green cards at random to a pool of applicants from around the world. Finally, the fourth pillar phases out “family preference” visas.

It was Trump’s last two pillars that provoked the most outrage, particularly his last pillar. The bulk of legal immigrants to the United States arrive as relatives of U.S. citizens. U.S. law divides these immigrants into two groups, immediate relatives and family preferences. Immediate relatives includes the spouses and under-21 children of U.S. citizens, along with the parents of under-21 U.S. citizens. Family preferences includes siblings of U.S. citizens, over-21 children of U.S. citizens, and parents of over-21 U.S. citizens.

While U.S. law allows for an unlimited number of immediate relative visas each year, it sets strict numeric caps on the various “family preference” visas. Because of these limits, those applying for family preference visas often spend decades waiting on line, arriving as middle-aged adults.

Trump proposed that the U.S. phase out family preference visas, processing the existing applications but not accepting new ones. Because of this, the effect on legal immigration would not be felt for years. Currently, the expected wait time for the sibling of a Filipino immigrant is nineteen years.

Trump’s third pillar, elimination of the visa lottery, also sparked controversy. The Congressional Black Caucus wants to keep the lottery because 44% of lottery visas go to immigrants from African countries.

The core truth of American Immigration policy is that far more people want to come here than politicians in either party want to allow in. Numbers matter, and the American people have a definite limit on how many immigrants they will accept.

Given that upward limit, immigration really is a zero-sum game. The more family preference visas we issue, the fewer employment visas we issue (for example). Trump’s policy zeroes in on the immigrants who have the strongest claim to be here and devotes our resources to helping them. Specifically, those who came here illegally as children, and those who have waited patiently for family preference visas.

Opposition to Trump’s plan arises because his critics fail to realize that the American public has a limited appetite for immigration. Given this reality, aiding the DACA kids means cutting immigration elsewhere. Trump’s compromise accomplishes this in the most painless and fair way possible, avoiding draconian cuts later on.

Far from being a hardline restrictionist plan, Trump’s framework represents the best hope for a compromise on this issue. A hardline plan would be Ann Coulter’s total immigration moratorium. To impose a total ban on immigration we would have to eliminate the largest category of immigrants; spouses and children of U.S. citizens. Further, it would mean mass deportations of illegal immigrants.

Immigration is the most explosive political issue of the twenty-first century; opposition to immigration brought Trump to power and took the UK out of the EU. If Democrats and pro-immigration Republicans miss this opportunity for compromise, they may find themselves pining for the days of Donald Trump, Stephen Miller, and Tom Cotton.



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Subverting the Electoral Process


In his Gettysburg Address, Lincoln reminded Americans that they were uniquely privileged to have a new birth of freedom that was contingent on “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” That was then. What about now?

Every week brings new revelations and details about a cabal in the federal government whose actions border on conspiracy. The evidence suggests that specific high-level officials in the Justice Department and the FBI colluded together to violate the law in unprecedented ways for the singular purpose of subverting the will of the people both before and after the 2016 election.

The United States is now at a defining moment. Will there be a restoration of the rule of law, or will Washington’s elite continue to give cover and a pass to fellow members of the Ruling Class (in the sense used by Angelo Codevilla)?

The question: Is there sufficient decency and courage in the midst of Washington’s swamp to compel the pursuit of justice wherever in the Ruling Class it leads and then to prosecute the lawbreakers — whoever they are?

First, it’s vital to understand that when you give a pass — or worse, you give multiple successive passes — to lawbreakers, you not only protect those who violated the law, but you empower and encourage would-be lawbreakers to do the same or worse. Second, when laws are not enforced, they cease to have meaning. And that’s when your nation finds itself on a slippery slope of arbitrary and subjective rule and cronyism, which ends in ruin… such as no borders, the hollowing out of protections in the Bill of Rights, and the politicization of government agencies, to name a few.

The importance of the rule of law for civil society can be traced back to Moses in the 13th Century B.C. and later the ancient philosopher Aristotle and the Roman political theorist Cicero. In the Middle Ages, the Magna Carta was drafted in England in 1215 A.D. to force the king and all future sovereigns and magistrates to live and rule under the law. Those foundational roots would be carried into the U.S. Constitution, which was given shape by the Bible and the greatest philosophic minds — both political and legal.

In 1644 Samuel Rutherford published the The Law and the Prince. Refuting the theory of the “Divine Right of Kings,” Rutherford argued that if the king violated the law of nature, he should be deposed and punished as a criminal. John Locke’s father was a close acquaintance of Rutherford and was a member of the Puritan forces that fought against King Charles I. The impression and inspiration provided by Rutherford no doubt influenced young John Locke, who would later write The Second Treatise of Government in 1690.

While Locke is generally considered to be the chief source in the drafting of the U.S. Constitution, the Founders actually cited Oxford legal scholar, William Blackstone, twice as often as they cited Locke. In fact, Blackstone’s four-volume Commentaries on the Laws of England, published in 1765, became more of a sensation in the American colonies than in England, ironically giving justification for the American colonists to revolt against King George. Prior to the Revolutionary War, more copies of Blackstone’s Commentaries were sold in America than in England, which had three times as many inhabitants.

America’s Founders were also deeply influenced by French political philosopher Baron Charles de Montesquieu, whose De l’esprit des lois (The Spirit of the Laws) made the unique contribution of the doctrine of separation of powers — which explained that liberty is best protected when government distributes executive, legislative, and judicial power among three branches of government so no one branch can exercise too much power and control of the other branches and so that corruption and abuse of power is checked.

The fact that the U.S. Constitution (less the Bill of Rights) was drafted in less than four months by 42 delegates to the Constitutional Convention in the heat of a Philadelphia summer in 1787 is a miracle in and of itself — a testimony to the hand of Providence on the debate between disparate contributors from 12 of the 13 original states and on guiding the drafting of the most profound blueprint for successful democracy the world has ever known.

The U.S. is unique in human history being the only nation founded solely on moral ideas and principles and a noble vision of man’s potential for good, but also a recognition of his sinful propensities for selfishness and abuse of power.

America was founded in revolution against oppression, and then tested, forged, and reaffirmed by bloody sacrifice in civil war and successive foreign wars right up to the present — fought to uphold the cause of freedom and its attendant rights and duties inexorably tied to natural and civil law. If we give a pass to a cabal of lawbreakers in today’s Ruling Class, we betray our heritage, our ideals and vision, and the blood of so many patriots.

This kind of lawbreaking — the attempt to subvert the will of the American people in the 2016 election and its aftermath — is the highest crime and misdemeanor, akin to treason. So what to do?

Boldness is needed and there is simply no more important or cathartic action to take to restore faith in our system, equality before the law and to rein in cronyism and double standards, than the indictment and prosecution of “high crime and misdemeanor lawbreakers” irrespective of position or party affiliation — from the previous administration or in government today.

It’s time to indict and prosecute key figures in the Clinton political crime syndicate and their protectors, which would include those involved in weaponizing U.S. Government agencies to conduct unmasking and surveillance operations against American citizens in violation of their sacred 4th Amendment right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects…”

Failing to hold Ruling Class lawbreakers accountable is not an option, for the next stage of ruin on that slippery slope we’ve been on looks more like a police state than a country club.

Scott Powell is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute in Seattle. Reach him at scottp@discovery.org

In his Gettysburg Address, Lincoln reminded Americans that they were uniquely privileged to have a new birth of freedom that was contingent on “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” That was then. What about now?

Every week brings new revelations and details about a cabal in the federal government whose actions border on conspiracy. The evidence suggests that specific high-level officials in the Justice Department and the FBI colluded together to violate the law in unprecedented ways for the singular purpose of subverting the will of the people both before and after the 2016 election.

The United States is now at a defining moment. Will there be a restoration of the rule of law, or will Washington’s elite continue to give cover and a pass to fellow members of the Ruling Class (in the sense used by Angelo Codevilla)?

The question: Is there sufficient decency and courage in the midst of Washington’s swamp to compel the pursuit of justice wherever in the Ruling Class it leads and then to prosecute the lawbreakers — whoever they are?

First, it’s vital to understand that when you give a pass — or worse, you give multiple successive passes — to lawbreakers, you not only protect those who violated the law, but you empower and encourage would-be lawbreakers to do the same or worse. Second, when laws are not enforced, they cease to have meaning. And that’s when your nation finds itself on a slippery slope of arbitrary and subjective rule and cronyism, which ends in ruin… such as no borders, the hollowing out of protections in the Bill of Rights, and the politicization of government agencies, to name a few.

The importance of the rule of law for civil society can be traced back to Moses in the 13th Century B.C. and later the ancient philosopher Aristotle and the Roman political theorist Cicero. In the Middle Ages, the Magna Carta was drafted in England in 1215 A.D. to force the king and all future sovereigns and magistrates to live and rule under the law. Those foundational roots would be carried into the U.S. Constitution, which was given shape by the Bible and the greatest philosophic minds — both political and legal.

In 1644 Samuel Rutherford published the The Law and the Prince. Refuting the theory of the “Divine Right of Kings,” Rutherford argued that if the king violated the law of nature, he should be deposed and punished as a criminal. John Locke’s father was a close acquaintance of Rutherford and was a member of the Puritan forces that fought against King Charles I. The impression and inspiration provided by Rutherford no doubt influenced young John Locke, who would later write The Second Treatise of Government in 1690.

While Locke is generally considered to be the chief source in the drafting of the U.S. Constitution, the Founders actually cited Oxford legal scholar, William Blackstone, twice as often as they cited Locke. In fact, Blackstone’s four-volume Commentaries on the Laws of England, published in 1765, became more of a sensation in the American colonies than in England, ironically giving justification for the American colonists to revolt against King George. Prior to the Revolutionary War, more copies of Blackstone’s Commentaries were sold in America than in England, which had three times as many inhabitants.

America’s Founders were also deeply influenced by French political philosopher Baron Charles de Montesquieu, whose De l’esprit des lois (The Spirit of the Laws) made the unique contribution of the doctrine of separation of powers — which explained that liberty is best protected when government distributes executive, legislative, and judicial power among three branches of government so no one branch can exercise too much power and control of the other branches and so that corruption and abuse of power is checked.

The fact that the U.S. Constitution (less the Bill of Rights) was drafted in less than four months by 42 delegates to the Constitutional Convention in the heat of a Philadelphia summer in 1787 is a miracle in and of itself — a testimony to the hand of Providence on the debate between disparate contributors from 12 of the 13 original states and on guiding the drafting of the most profound blueprint for successful democracy the world has ever known.

The U.S. is unique in human history being the only nation founded solely on moral ideas and principles and a noble vision of man’s potential for good, but also a recognition of his sinful propensities for selfishness and abuse of power.

America was founded in revolution against oppression, and then tested, forged, and reaffirmed by bloody sacrifice in civil war and successive foreign wars right up to the present — fought to uphold the cause of freedom and its attendant rights and duties inexorably tied to natural and civil law. If we give a pass to a cabal of lawbreakers in today’s Ruling Class, we betray our heritage, our ideals and vision, and the blood of so many patriots.

This kind of lawbreaking — the attempt to subvert the will of the American people in the 2016 election and its aftermath — is the highest crime and misdemeanor, akin to treason. So what to do?

Boldness is needed and there is simply no more important or cathartic action to take to restore faith in our system, equality before the law and to rein in cronyism and double standards, than the indictment and prosecution of “high crime and misdemeanor lawbreakers” irrespective of position or party affiliation — from the previous administration or in government today.

It’s time to indict and prosecute key figures in the Clinton political crime syndicate and their protectors, which would include those involved in weaponizing U.S. Government agencies to conduct unmasking and surveillance operations against American citizens in violation of their sacred 4th Amendment right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects…”

Failing to hold Ruling Class lawbreakers accountable is not an option, for the next stage of ruin on that slippery slope we’ve been on looks more like a police state than a country club.

Scott Powell is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute in Seattle. Reach him at scottp@discovery.org



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No Breaks for Israel


Israel’s red lines in Syria’s civil war have included returning fire against any entity that fires into Israel (whether Syrian, rebel, Hizb’allah, or Iranian); not permitting Iran or Hizb’allah or any of their Shiite proxies in Syria to establish permanent bases within a specific distance of the Israeli Golan border; and not permitting weapons beyond a certain level of lethality and sophistication to move from Syria to Hizb’allah. To enforce those lines, the Israeli Air Defense Force is suspected of carrying out attacks on a “scientific research center,” artillery positions, a “munitions factory,” and more. The Israeli government rarely confirms such strikes, but acknowledges that the Russians are informed of Israeli activity when necessary in an agreed-upon effort to limit the damage and not engage Russian forces themselves.

This has morphed into one of the most quietly effective relationships in the Middle East. Not an alliance, certainly, but the pragmatic leaders of both countries have concluded that each benefits by coordinating with the other.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a full agenda this week, as he went to Moscow for a five-hour meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin after their meeting in Davos. High on the list was Israel’s growing concern about the expansion of Hizb’allah missiles and missile production facilities in Lebanon – facilitated by Iran. “It’s no longer a transfer of arms, funds or consultation. Iran has de-facto opened a new branch, the ‘Lebanon branch.’ Iran is here,” wrote IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis. “In Lebanon, Hezbollah does not conceal its attempt to take control of the state.”

But on this and other issues, Russia, Syria’s longtime ally, is looking to reduce its exposure. As the shape of the Syrian war changes, Israel may find its working relations with Russia undermined by Moscow’s desire to exercise influence in Syria generally from afar, and by its shifting relations with Iran.

Since the start of the civil war in 2011, Moscow has enhanced its political position in Damascus and across the region. It has also strengthened its security position by upgrading its naval bases at Tartus and Latakia, while acquiring an airbase at Hmeimim. Russia is leery of committing troops to the war (Afghanistan looms large here), and there are, in fact, very few Russian soldiers on the ground. Now, as fighting on some fronts wanes, the Russians want to pull even those back. Visiting Syria last month, Putin said he would withdraw most of the troops while maintaining the bases. According to Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper, Putin told assembled Russian troops, “Friends, “the homeland awaits you.”

He had earlier said the military operation in Syria “is indeed in its final stages,” and the political process will begin to take precedence.

But while Russia makes plans to reduce its military presence in Syria, Iran is making plans to expand its influence — not in restricted air bases or naval bases on the coast, but in the Sunni heartland.

For Iran, Syria is part of the “Shiite Crescent,” the land bridge from Iran through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to the Mediterranean Sea. Not only is it crucial in terms of controlling and supplying Shiite revolution across the region, it serves as a “lid” stretching across the northern borders of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel — providing a means of harassing all three through proxies. But Syria is an awkward partner in the “Crescent,” being only 15-20% Shiite — and on top of that, Alawite, a heterodox branch of Shiism. In order to control Syria for the long term, Iran has to be on the ground in force.

As early as 2016, as the Syrian Armed Forces disintegrated, U.S. sources said there were more than 80,000 militia fighters controlled by Iran. Confirming the number last week, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, said there were 3,000 members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), 9,000 members of Hizb’allah, and 10,000 “violent Shia militias recruited from across the Mideast, including Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.” The rest are Syrian.

As for Lebanon, Mohammad Raad, a Hizb’allah leader poured gasoline on that fire, claiming Hizb’allah “has capabilities that can destroy the Israeli army,” and warning Israel against “doing something foolish… that will be destructive.” He called Israel “regionally and internationally isolated.” Other Hizb’allah leaders, seeking to cool the situation, denied Manelis’s assertion of Iranian control.

Israel is far from “regionally isolated.” In fact, Iran’s greatest concern at the moment is the burgeoning rapprochement between Israel and the Sunni Gulf States — especially Saudi Arabia. Israel is further bolstered by Vice President Mike Pence’s assertion that the U.S. won’t “let Iran dominate the region.” But movement by Russia out of Syria, leaving the ground game to Iran, could change the shape of Israel’s immediate neighborhood — to its detriment.

Israel’s red lines in Syria’s civil war have included returning fire against any entity that fires into Israel (whether Syrian, rebel, Hizb’allah, or Iranian); not permitting Iran or Hizb’allah or any of their Shiite proxies in Syria to establish permanent bases within a specific distance of the Israeli Golan border; and not permitting weapons beyond a certain level of lethality and sophistication to move from Syria to Hizb’allah. To enforce those lines, the Israeli Air Defense Force is suspected of carrying out attacks on a “scientific research center,” artillery positions, a “munitions factory,” and more. The Israeli government rarely confirms such strikes, but acknowledges that the Russians are informed of Israeli activity when necessary in an agreed-upon effort to limit the damage and not engage Russian forces themselves.

This has morphed into one of the most quietly effective relationships in the Middle East. Not an alliance, certainly, but the pragmatic leaders of both countries have concluded that each benefits by coordinating with the other.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a full agenda this week, as he went to Moscow for a five-hour meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin after their meeting in Davos. High on the list was Israel’s growing concern about the expansion of Hizb’allah missiles and missile production facilities in Lebanon – facilitated by Iran. “It’s no longer a transfer of arms, funds or consultation. Iran has de-facto opened a new branch, the ‘Lebanon branch.’ Iran is here,” wrote IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis. “In Lebanon, Hezbollah does not conceal its attempt to take control of the state.”

But on this and other issues, Russia, Syria’s longtime ally, is looking to reduce its exposure. As the shape of the Syrian war changes, Israel may find its working relations with Russia undermined by Moscow’s desire to exercise influence in Syria generally from afar, and by its shifting relations with Iran.

Since the start of the civil war in 2011, Moscow has enhanced its political position in Damascus and across the region. It has also strengthened its security position by upgrading its naval bases at Tartus and Latakia, while acquiring an airbase at Hmeimim. Russia is leery of committing troops to the war (Afghanistan looms large here), and there are, in fact, very few Russian soldiers on the ground. Now, as fighting on some fronts wanes, the Russians want to pull even those back. Visiting Syria last month, Putin said he would withdraw most of the troops while maintaining the bases. According to Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper, Putin told assembled Russian troops, “Friends, “the homeland awaits you.”

He had earlier said the military operation in Syria “is indeed in its final stages,” and the political process will begin to take precedence.

But while Russia makes plans to reduce its military presence in Syria, Iran is making plans to expand its influence — not in restricted air bases or naval bases on the coast, but in the Sunni heartland.

For Iran, Syria is part of the “Shiite Crescent,” the land bridge from Iran through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to the Mediterranean Sea. Not only is it crucial in terms of controlling and supplying Shiite revolution across the region, it serves as a “lid” stretching across the northern borders of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel — providing a means of harassing all three through proxies. But Syria is an awkward partner in the “Crescent,” being only 15-20% Shiite — and on top of that, Alawite, a heterodox branch of Shiism. In order to control Syria for the long term, Iran has to be on the ground in force.

As early as 2016, as the Syrian Armed Forces disintegrated, U.S. sources said there were more than 80,000 militia fighters controlled by Iran. Confirming the number last week, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, said there were 3,000 members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), 9,000 members of Hizb’allah, and 10,000 “violent Shia militias recruited from across the Mideast, including Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.” The rest are Syrian.

As for Lebanon, Mohammad Raad, a Hizb’allah leader poured gasoline on that fire, claiming Hizb’allah “has capabilities that can destroy the Israeli army,” and warning Israel against “doing something foolish… that will be destructive.” He called Israel “regionally and internationally isolated.” Other Hizb’allah leaders, seeking to cool the situation, denied Manelis’s assertion of Iranian control.

Israel is far from “regionally isolated.” In fact, Iran’s greatest concern at the moment is the burgeoning rapprochement between Israel and the Sunni Gulf States — especially Saudi Arabia. Israel is further bolstered by Vice President Mike Pence’s assertion that the U.S. won’t “let Iran dominate the region.” But movement by Russia out of Syria, leaving the ground game to Iran, could change the shape of Israel’s immediate neighborhood — to its detriment.



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