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July 2017

Adam “Pathfinder” Schiff: Stalking the Kremlin or the Chupacabra? By Thaddeus G. McCotter

My radio colleague John Batchelor has pegged U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-NY) as “the Pathfinder.” The reason being that, as ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Schiff has been most vocal and visible in trying to divine the truth behind the alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia—and, in a fortuitous confluence of circumstances for Schiff, find a path to taking Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat.

Whether the truth will out and the Pathfinder will oust Feinstein remains to be seen, as does any evidence the Pathfinder insinuates exists to prove the Trump-Putin collusion allegation.

Thanks to the tender mercies of his friends in the media elite, Schiff’s failure to produce any shred of evidence regarding collusion—let alone a crime—has not proven problematic for the Pathfinder. Obviously, the media elite dislikes the president and will brook no facts—or the absence thereof—from getting in the way of a good smearing. The Pathfinder facilitates this mutually advantageous, tawdry political theater by ascribing the “appearance” of the most insidious motivations and actions to President Trump and his campaign in relation to Putin’s Russia; then artfully dodging his lack of evidence with the limp two-step, “I’d love to tell you more, but it’s classified.”

And how the Left-wing applauds and approves! For the media elite, ratings, circulation and “clicks” soar; and the Pathfinder treks ever closer to his coveted senate seat. Yes, their off-Broadway/on-Beltway production of “Trump Done It (Whatever It Was)?” is the smash hit of the post-Obama season.

But what of the country’s sane center praying its president didn’t commit treason by colluding with a foreign power to attain his office? Yes, they realize that sometimes where there’s smoke there’s fire. But they also know that when dealing with the Left, oft times where there’s smoke there’s reefer.

Thus, fair minded citizens respectfully ask for evidence before impeaching a president for “high crimes and misdemeanors” and withhold their judgement of the Pathfinder and media elite’s anti-Trump production, despite the Pathfinder and the media elite’s self-bestowed rave reviews.

In sum, in terms of “Russia-gate”, the disconnect between the nonpartisan public and the Pathfinder and his media cohorts is this: the former don’t want to believe it; the latter need to believe it. Or as one character memorably put it in Werner Herzog’s “Incident at Loch Ness,” when asked if the monster was real: “They say show me the evidence. I say show me the non-evidence.”

Certain President Trump is a monster capable of monstrous deeds, for months Pathfinder Schiff has been parading across the media stage dolloping out his Russia-gate non-evidence to Democrats howling for more. Yet, one of the things nonpartisan Americans find off-putting about politics is how normal rules of reason are abrogated for political gain. Perhaps then, to accommodate their wish to find our own path the truth about Russia-gate, let us depoliticize the discourse in order to objectively assess the veracity of Pathfinder Schiff’s schtick.

But how? One can take a contested debate between two apolitical camps, such as scientists and cryptozoologists, and endeavor to settle it to one’s satisfaction. Thus, what if Pathfinder Schiff was alleging collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin but, instead, was alleging the existence of the chupacabra—the bloodsucking critter alleged to feast upon livestock in the Americas? Hmm…

On the March 5, 2017 episode of “Meet the Press” came this statement from…

Former National Security Advisor James “The” Clapper: “We did not include any evidence in our report, and I say ‘our,’ that’s NSA, FBI, and CIA, with my office, the Director of National Intelligence, that had any reflection of the chupacabra. There was no evidence of the chupacabra included in our report.”

Moderator: “I understand, but does it exist?”

“The” Clapper: “Not to my knowledge.”

A murder that France dares not name by Nidra Poller

Dismay, frustration, exasperation. Three months after Sarah Halimi was savagely murdered by Kobili Traoré, the suspect is still out of reach in a psychiatric hospital, leaving the criminal investigation at a standstill. An update and action plan were presented at a July 4th press conference organized by the Comité de soutien / Vérité et Justice pour Sarah Halimi, under the auspices of the CJFAI (Conféderation des Juifs de France et des Amis d’Israël) at a restaurant in the heart of the Invalides station. Mr. Gilles William Goldnadel, counsel for the victim’s brother William Attal, Samy Ghozlan former police commissioner and president of the BNVCA (Bureau National de vigilance contre l’antisémitisme), and MP Meyer Habib presented the facts as known to date.

Despite the horrors of the case, the presentation, moderated by Richard Abitbol and André Added, was respectful, dignified, and determined. No whining, no wild accusations. The support committee counts 7,000 members, including distinguished thinkers Georges Bensoussan, Pascal Bruckner, Luc Ferry, Alain Finkielkraut, Eric Marty and more.

I was in Israel on the 22nd of May when lawyers representing Sarah Halimi’s adult children – attorneys Jean-Alexandre Buchinger and David-Olivier Kaminski – presented their position at a press conference. Without stoking controversy, let it be understood that they favor a prudent “loyalist” approach, whereas Maître Goldnadel, a mince-no-words editorialist and former president of the France-Israel Association, is more forthrightly combative. At issue: the failure of law enforcement to intervene while Traoré was beating and torturing Sarah Halimi. The autopsy concludes that the victim was still alive when she was pushed off her 3rd floor balcony. At least six policemen were in the building, waiting for reinforcements before attempting to apprehend the assailant. Too late.

A brief review of the facts as corroborated by the police report

Twenty-seven-year-old Kobili Traoré, of Malian origin, a repeat offender with at least twenty convictions for theft, violence, and drugs, has no psychiatric history. As far as can be known at this stage of the investigation, no defense of mental instability has ever been presented in the various criminal proceedings and/or prison sentences. On the 3rd of April, after allegedly spending the afternoon smoking marijuana with friends, he came home in an agitated state and made so much trouble that his mother threw him out in the middle of the night. Apparently she did not seek medical help or police protection. No interviews with or statement by the family have been made public to date. Traoré sought refuge with Malian neighbors, the Diara family, that took him in unsuspectingly. But he was so aggressive that they barricaded themselves in a room and called the police. Three agents arrived within minutes and stood outside the door of the Diara apartment. Traoré was pacing around, loudly reciting koranic verses. Three more policemen arrived but did not enter the apartment because, according to the police report, they suspected they were dealing with a terrorist (the koranic verses).

While they waited for reinforcements, Traoré climbed from the Diara balcony to the next balcony, smashed the window, and fell upon his orthodox Jewish neighbor Sarah Halimi, a 65 year-old retired M.D. Shouting allahu akhbar, shietan (devil), he battered and tortured her, interjecting koranic verses with unspeakable barbaric acts. A neighbor across the courtyard called the police and recorded several minutes of the incident. But the police were already there and still did not intervene.

No matter how many times this fact is stated, repeated, corroborated, I cannot report it without a feeling of utter dismay. By the time the elite forces arrived, 50 minutes after the first response to the Diara’s call, Sarah Halimi lay dead in the courtyard and Kobili Traoré was back in the Diara apartment, calmly reciting koranic verses and boasting “I killed the neighborhood shietan.” He was arrested and placed in psychiatric confinement. To date, the court-appointed psychiatrist has not turned over his report to police or judicial authorities, and Traoré has not been questioned by police investigators. The anti-Semitic motive has not been included as an aggravating circumstance of the charges he faces.

Running Toward, When Others Run Away NYPD commissioner James O’Neill offers a stirring defense of police as defenders of everyone. Heather Mac Donald

The Left has been struggling to disassociate the anti-cop hatred spewed by the Black Lives Matter movement from the assassination of New York police officer Miosotis Familia during the Fourth of July holiday. Police Commissioner James O’Neill demolished those efforts in his blazing funeral oration for Officer Familia on Tuesday. Assassin Alexander Bonds “hated the police,” O’Neill said, because he had heard and read “countless times” in conversation, on television, and in the newspapers that the cops were the “‘bad guys.’” That hate “has consequences,” O’Neill warned. “When we demonize a whole group of people—whether that group is defined by race, by religion, or by occupation—this is the result.” Bonds had mental problems, but it’s no coincidence that they culminated in the deliberate slaying of a cop.

The Left denies that the Black Lives Movement is anything other than a reasonable movement for justice and insists that it has no connection with anti-cop violence. Never mind the “Fuck the Police” signs, the “Police = KKK” chants, the “Racist, Killer Cops” tee-shirts. Never mind the exclusive attention to a handful of officer-involved shootings and the refusal to acknowledge why officers focus on minority neighborhoods in the first place, or why they are more likely to encounter armed and resisting suspects there. Never mind the media stampede to justify riots as an understandable reaction to supposed police racism. While any given Black Lives Matter protest, however virulent its rhetoric, enjoys First Amendment protection, it is disingenuous to pretend that the all-consuming anti-police narrative is not making officers’ work more difficult and more dangerous. The anti-cop Left has no explanation for the 53 percent increase in gun murders of officers last year. It turns its eyes away from the growing animosity and resistance that officers now encounter when they try to investigate suspicious behavior on the street. And most important, the anti-cop Left ignores the truth: we are not living through an epidemic of racially biased police killings of black males. In fact, if there is a bias in police shootings, it favors blacks against whites, as four studies found last year. The widely held impression that blacks make up the majority of people killed by the police is entirely a media creation.

Most tellingly, the Left has nothing to say about the rise in black-on-black violence that the demonization of cops has produced. An additional 900 black males were killed in 2015 nationally compared with the previous year, the result of officers backing off of proactive policing. Commissioner O’Neill rightly asked where the demonstrations were in protest of Familia’s killing: “Why is there no outrage?” he wondered. But he could as well have asked where the Black Lives Matter demonstrations were in protest of the mindless and constant drive-by shootings of black civilians. A handful of grass-roots activists in Chicago and elsewhere have protested the slaying of children and the elderly, but not one Black Lives Matter leader has seen fit to organize against the rising street violence. Seven thousand blacks, overwhelmingly male, were killed in 2015—2,000 more deaths than all white and Hispanic homicide deaths combined, though black males are only 6 percent of the nation’s population. Not a peep of protest from Black Lives Matter agitators.

The people who are paying attention are the police, who analyze crime patterns on a minute-by-minute and corner-by-corner basis, seeking to break the grip of violence on a community. When no witnesses will cooperate in solving the latest drive-by shooting, the police work tirelessly to try to track down the shooter on their own.

Commissioner O’Neill celebrated what drove Familia and her colleagues to become police officers—the desire to improve people’s lives. “Cops are regular people who believe in the possibility of making this a safer world,” O’Neill said. “It’s why we run toward, when others run away.” But fewer and fewer individuals are choosing to take on what O’Neill called the “vast responsibility” of becoming a police officer, knowing that the first assumption that the media, the activists, and academia would make about them is that they are implicit, if not explicit, racists. Recruiting has dried up. And many police departments, pressured by the Obama Justice Department, are lowering hiring standards, including clean criminal-record requirements, in order to increase what is speciously referred to as “diversity.”

An ally of LGBT causes headlines a homophobic event.Pro-LGBT Muslim Group Kicked Out of Muslim Conference Where Linda Sarsour Spoke by Andy Ngo

A pro-LGBT and feminist Muslim organization says it was expelled from tabling at the annual Islamic Society of North America convention earlier this month where self-proclaimed LGBT ally Linda Sarsour headlined as a keynote speaker.https://spectator.org/pro-lgbt-muslim-group-says-it-was-kicked-out-of-muslim-conference-where-linda-sarsour-spoke/

“We’re really sick and tired of the hypocrisy of them (ISNA) claiming to be LGBT allies,” said Ani Zonneveld, founder and president of Muslims for Progressive Values, a faith-based human rights organization founded in 2007. “They’re only an ally when the camera is on.”

ISNA is the largest Muslim organization in North America and acts as an umbrella organization for numerous other Islamic groups and affiliated mosques. The organization was established in 1981 by the Muslim Student Association, and its founding members had connections with Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the Jamaat-i Islami, according to academic scholars on Islamism in America.

In 2015, President Barack Obama recorded a video message for the group’s convention, which annually draws tens of thousands of attendees. Women’s March board member Linda Sarsour spoke at the 54th ISNA convention held on June 30–July 3 in Chicago this year.

MPV partnered with the Human Rights Campaign to operate a tabling booth. There, MPV says their pamphlets advocating LGBT and women’s equality within Islam first drew the ire of an ultra-orthodox attendee. Soon after, they were asked to close shop and leave the venue by ISNA staff.

According to Frank Parmir, a convert to Islam and organizer with MPV-Columbus who staffed the booth with Michael Toumayan, HRC’s religion and faith program manager, a man in “Salafi garb” lectured them on homosexuality and sin. “To be a ‘real Muslim,’ one must assert that homosexuality is a sin,” Parmir recalled the man saying.

Parmir said within an hour after that encounter, a group of men in suits accosted them at the booth. Parmir identified one of the suited men as ISNA Conventions, Conferences, and Special Projects Director, Basharat Saleem. “He wasn’t sure that they could allow us to stay because of some of the literature and some of the positions we were advocating,” Parmir said. “They would have to think about it and get back to us.”

Saleem and ISNA did not respond to a request for comment.

Soon after, Parmir said another man “asked” MPV and HRC to vacate the premises. Parmir described the request as a veiled demand. Before leaving, Parmir and Toumayan met with Saleem and ISNA board director Farhan Syed to negotiate. Other men, including security, were also present, according to Parmir. “It finally became clear that HRC was not the problem,” Parmir said. “They were okay with HRC’s advocacy for gay rights. They were not okay with MPV’s advocacy that gays should find unrepentant inclusion with the Muslim community and that women should be given equality.”

Parmir said the men found MPV’s literature “stressful” and “upsetting” for convention attendees. According to Parmir, Syed attempted to be sensitive, citing his homosexual friends who “come to dinner,” but added the caveat that “they’re not Muslim.”

Harvard to delete ‘Puritans’ from alma mater song

Harvard University will delete the reference to Puritans from its alma mater song, saying the word is not inclusive.https://www.thecollegefix.com/post/34386/

Its Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging is now taking submissions for a new line to replace the one referencing Puritans.

The final verse of “Fair Harvard” currently reads:

Let not moss-covered Error moor thee at its side,
As the world on Truth’s current glides by;
Be the herald of Light, and the bearer of Love,
Till the stock of the Puritans die.

According to the task force, the alma mater as it stands “suggests that the commitment to truth, and to being the bearer of its light, is the special province of those of Puritan stock. This is false.”

The task force states it is looking for a more inclusive phrase that will appeal to all members of the community, “regardless of background, identity, religious affiliation, or viewpoint.”

Professor Carol Oja, one of the judges who will consider the submissions for replacement, told The College Fix that the goal is to find a line using “inclusive language, delivered with literary flair.”

The task force notes on their website that “contrary to media reports” they do not want to write the Puritans out of their history forever.

But in an email to The College Fix, Harvard government Professor Harvey Mansfield expressed disappointment in the change. In “a gross instance of political correctness,” Mansfield argues that the attempt at further inclusivity is in fact exclusive, “seeking as it does to deny Harvard’s origin.”

Calling Harvard “America’s trendiest university,” he said he sees the move as a surrender “to groups who want to use the university to gain their own political ends and who do not understand or care for the search for truth regardless of party.”

The “Purtians” line was not even a point of contention among students prior to the announcement that it will be rewritten, the Crimson reports.

A Harvard campus spokesman did not respond to The College Fix’s request for comment.

In addition to changing the lyrics, the task force would also like to see the whole alma mater in new musical variants, such as “choral, spoken word, electronic, hip-hop, etc.” Inspired by Hamilton, they say they have the goal of “re-inventing [their] past to meet and speak to the present moment.”

The deadline for the Harvard community to submit ideas is September, and the new alma mater is expected to be announced at the start of the spring 2018 term.

U. Wisconsin honors sycophant for Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez with lifetime achievement award

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Social Justice already had a crush on a Marxist activist who met Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and his successor, Nicolás Maduro, and lauded their dictatorship.https://www.thecollegefix.com/post/34400/

Now it has pledged its eternal devotion to Tariq Ali, who praised Chávez for distributing his favorite book rather than food to his starving people.

Ali is the recipient of the center’s 2017 Lifetime Contribution to Critical Scholarship Award, which recognizes his “distinguished and extensive record of scholarly achievement in the critical tradition of social thought.”

In an article for the free-market MacIver Institute, UW-Green Bay student Jessica Murphy highlights the vast expanse between Ali’s benevolent view of socialist Venezuela and the experience on the ground.

Venezuelan student activist Jorge A. Jraissati tells Murphy in an interview that more than 80 student activists have been killed, and another 3,000 incarcerated, in the past three months:

Venezuela is a country sunk in misery, a country in which our people don’t have access to food, medicines, and jobs. Venezuela is a country with no freedom of speech, no human rights, and no opportunities to provide for our families with minimum wage less than $50 per month. A country divided, collapsed, and injured thanks to Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro. …

The people Chávez promised to help are the most exposed to the violence and hunger my country is living at the moment.

Jraissati and Students for Liberty are running a fundraiser for his fellow activists.

Scholar Ali spoke at a Center for Social Justice event 10 years ago, and he’s returning in October, Murphy writes:

He was also invited to speak at the inaugural Hugo Chávez Memorial Lecture in 2014 hosted by the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, an organization that supports the tyrannical reigns of Chávez and Maduro. …

Ali often calls out western media for portraying the situation in Venezuela as a transition to a communist-style dictatorship, when it’s clear this is exactly what’s happening. …

Venezuela, with the world’s largest oil reserves, once had potential to be the richest country in Latin America. … The country is spiraling out of control – people are rationing toothpaste and imprisoned protesters say they are forced to eat raw pasta mixed with human excrement. Apparently this is a socialist’s paradise?

MORE: UW-Madison class teaches students to hate capitalism

Murphy (below) is incredulous that a research center at a public university is so enamored with a sycophant for a grossly illiberal government, but in fact Ali is only the latest scholar who worships Chávez to be honored by the center:

Maduro’s own administration is revolting. Venezuela’s attorney general Luisa Ortega Díaz, once loyal to the Maduro regime, is now one of his most outspoken critics. Speaking out in the name of justice and democracy has consequences in Venezuela – Díaz had her assets frozen and was banned from leaving the country last week.

Expect Murphy to draw a backlash for highlighting UW’s feting of a man who is willfully blind to the “egregious human rights violations, disintegration of democracy, and extreme poverty” caused by Venezuelan dictators.

After she exposed an explicitly anti-capitalist course at UW-Madison among others in her “Top Five Wasteful Classes in the UW System,” Murphy was hit with personal attacks that called her inherently racist for being born in South Africa. One commenter said it was OK for him to “punch her in the face” because he grew up in “the barrio.”


James Paterson, who’s not yet 30, has been since last year a Liberal member of the Australian Senate, representing Victoria. In his maiden speech he called on Australia to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

And in the latest issue of the Australian Jewish News Senator Paterson has a splendid article regarding the brouhaha over the casting of an Israeli actress in the movie Wonder Woman.

It’s replicated on his web page.http://senatorpaterson.com.au/2017/07/06/bds-feminism-and-gal-gadot/

‘Superhero movies have become a staple of Hollywood, but few have garnered as much political attention as Wonder Woman. It’s the latest target of the ugly anti-Israel Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

The film has already been banned in Lebanon and Tunisia, pulled from the Nuits du Cinéma film festival in Algeria, and temporarily banned in Jordan.

This pointless boycott neatly highlights the deep undercurrent of anti-Semitism within the BDS campaign, despite the protests to the contrary by its advocates.

Wonder Woman is not a movie about Israel, or the Israel-Palestine conflict. It’s silent on Israel’s right to exist, and its right to defend itself. It takes no view on the validity of the claims of Palestinians.

The only crime Wonder Woman is alleged to have committed is to feature an Israeli woman as the lead actress. This fact alone has been sufficient to justify and excuse boycotts, bans, and over the top criticism.

Like other Israeli women, Gal Gadot served in the Israeli Defence Force. Like most people, Gadot has condemned Hamas for its terrorism.

Her views on the right of Israelis to live free from the threat of violence, and her support for the IDF’s securing of this right, are no different to the support that the vast majority of Australians give to our troops fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere.

Gadot’s role in Wonder Woman has even been denounced in the pages of the Fairfax press, with columnist Ruby Hamad claiming it’s an example of the how Western feminism ignores the plight of Arab women.

Hamad claims that the praise the movie has received from her fellow feminists’, despite Gadot’s role, is “a frustrating reminder of what I call the Arab blindspot of Western feminism.”

She continues: “Hailing Wonder Woman as a hero for all women is an ironic assault given the huge gulf between the character’s anti-war idealism and the hawkish views of the actor who portrays her.”

Hamad is correct to call attention to the plight of Arab women. But it is wrong to blame this on Israel – the only country in the Middle East that provides women the same level of freedom and opportunity, regardless of their race or religion, that exists in the west.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report Israel is ranked as the 49th most gender-equal society in the world, slightly behind Australia at 46.

This is in stark contrast to the extensive legal and cultural oppression that exists throughout the rest of the middle east. After Israel, the next highest ranked country in the region is Qatar, at 119. And the majority of the middle east is even worse, filling 12 of the bottom 20 places.

This is because of systemic legal and cultural inequality, covering everything from laws enforcing strict Islamic dress codes, to woman’s testimony in court being worth half of that of a man’s – a policy that exists for at least some issues in 14 Middle Eastern countries. The horrific treatment of women under ISIS, with their widespread practice of capturing women to be kept as sex-slaves, is even worse.

There have recently been some small advances, with King Salman of Saudi Arabia issuing a decree that will allow women to study, work, and access government services without requiring permission from a male guardian. But these advances are long overdue, and sadly, few and far between.

Feminists who care about the plight of Arab women would do better to examine their own blindspots and focus on these real outrages, rather than a Hollywood movie with a Jewish actress’

On Facebook Senator Paterson doe not resile from proclaiming his staunch support for Israel:

Peter Smith A Little Credit, Please, Where It Is Due

You expect the Left’s scribblers to work themselves into a foot-stomping lather about Donald Trump — outrage is, after all, what the Left does best. But what of your normally more sensible commentators? If he doesn’t fit the presidential mould, so what! His policies are terrific.

Donald Trump’s magnificent Warsaw speech was discussed on CNN and MSNBC as being white nationalism in disguise for, among other things, citing symphonies as an achievement of Western civilisation. You couldn’t make it up. Except that leftist hacks can make up anything once a fall guy has been thoroughly demonised as human vermin. They are practised at the dark art.

I have heard Trump described by media commentators as a schmuck, buffoon, pig, crass, grotesque, mentally unstable, racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, vulgarian, narcissistic, coarse, egotistical, shallow, horrible, one-dimensional, an embarrassment, and much more beside; some much worse. How about this from our own Nikki Sava: “Ruts deep in mud.” Even the otherwise estimable Andrew Bolt agreed with Richard Alston[i] that Trump might not “pass the character test.”

No one, apparently, can resist virtue signalling. Just when did media commentators become self-righteous arbiters of good taste and character? And just when did manners trump policies? Pun intended. When Trump became president, that’s when. This brings me to Greg Sheridan

Recently Sheridan offered his opinion that “Trump is a poor president.”[ii] As you would appreciate, this is very mild-mannered when set against most of the personal barbs aimed at Trump. Why have I picked it out? I have picked it out because unlike the rest it is a serious charge. It can be construed as being policy-related, rather than fitting into the usual script of gratuitous insults.

Trump’s policies matter to over 300 million Americans and, in fact, to all of us. His supposed personality flaws not so much; particularly as none of us should cast the first stone. The question is simple. Is Trump a poor president; and, to boot, after only six months in office? Put it this way. What egregious things has he done? What egregious things does he intend doing?

First things first. If he is a poor president it must mean that he is poor compared with a number of others. Is he poor when compared with, say, Barrack [ISIS, Iran nukes] Obama, George [Iraq] Bush, Bill [North Korean nukes, Monica Lewinsky] Clinton, or with Jimmy [Iran hostages] Carter? It’s too early, you might say, to form any kind of judgement. You’re darn tootin’ it is. At the same time, it is possible to assess what he has done so far, and intends to do, and give him a provisional mark.

I don’t have a complete list of his actions. But try these for size. He has appointed an accomplished cabinet, including Rex Tillerson (State) and General Mattis (Defence). He has succeeded in getting a conservative constitutional judge (Neil Gorsuch) appointed to the Supreme Court.

He has visited Saudi Arabia and urged representatives of the fifty-four Muslim countries who were present to drive out Islamic extremism. He has given his military commanders freedom on the ground to take effective action against ISIS and the Taliban. He is trying (if so far unsuccessfully) to persuade China to do something about North Korea. He has leant on NATO countries to meet their defence obligations; with some success. He has stood up to al-Assad and Russia in Syria. He has improved the US relationship with Israel. He has begun the process to rebuild America’s armed forces. Contrast all of this with Obama’s appeasement and passivity.

He has reduced and removed a host of regulations hampering industry and mining. He is working valiantly with a motley and divided crew of congressional Republicans to get better health insurance, to markedly reduce taxes, and to renew America’s infrastructure. He is taking concrete steps to improve the delivery of health services to veterans. He has appointed talented and committed people to improve schooling (Betsy DeVos) and housing (Ben Carson) for those in depressed inner-city areas. He has tightened border security.

The Organic Industry Is in Turmoil As Amazon buys Whole Foods, the USDA investigates whether foods sold as “organic” in the U.S. really are. By Julie Kelly

Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, the grocer that brought pricey organic food to the masses, comes during a time of turmoil in the organic industry: The Department of Agriculture is continuing to investigate the importation of millions of pounds of phony organic grains. The move is in response to a lengthy Washington Post exposé published in May that tracked shipments of corn and soybeans from Turkey, Romania, and Ukraine that were labeled “organic” but were not (I wrote about it here).

The Post reported that the fraudulent imports were “large enough to constitute a meaningful proportion of the U.S. supply of those commodities,” a troubling development that should raise serious questions about the veracity of the organic label, since these grains are mostly being used as livestock feed to meet National Organic Program’s (NOP) standards. Organic meat and dairy products must be sourced from animals fed only organic grains; this has led to an enormous surge in imports over the past few years, since nearly all the corn and soybeans grown here are from genetically modified seeds, verboten in organic production. Organic soybean imports have jumped sixfold from 2011, and organic corn imports have quadrupled since 2013; Turkey is now the largest exporter of both crops to the U.S.

A USDA spokeswoman confirmed to me that an investigation is ongoing and said the agency has already revoked the license of one Turkish handler. (Organic verification is done by an outside party, not by the USDA directly; 82 certifiers oversee 31,000 organic farms and businesses in 111 countries and the U.S.) The spokeswoman also said the agency is “currently investigating other evidence related to shipments of soybeans and corn. These investigations will continue in the coming weeks, and NOP will issue additional notices and notifications if there is clear evidence of violations.” The USDA cannot suspend imports from these countries as the investigation proceeds, but it has notified importers about the fraudulent grains.

But this problem extends far beyond a few shady international grain dealers. Organic companies have used these non-organic grains in their products and either knowingly or unwittingly sold those goods as certified organic. The Organic Foods Production Act does not authorize recalls of organic products, but the USDA can revoke a company’s organic certification and levy a fine of up to $11,000 per violation. It will be interesting to see if the USDA penalizes any domestic producers for knowingly using phony grains.

While the Post exposed only three shipments of fake grains, it’s safe to assume this has been going on for some time, with perhaps a wink and a nod from folks throughout the organic supply chain. No one questioned how Turkey suddenly became our leading supplier of organic corn and soybeans when those imports were nonexistent just a few years ago? This is more than someone just being asleep at the switch; this is selective ignorance on a large scale.

All of this finally prompted the nation’s largest organic lobbying group, the Organic Trade Association (OTA), to take action. Last month, the group formed a Global Organic Supply Chain Integrity Task Force to “develop a best practices guide to use in managing and verifying global organic supply chain integrity to help brands and traders manage and mitigate the risk and occurrence of organic fraud.” This might be long overdue, since organic-goods imports are skyrocketing. According to OTA estimates, organic-corn imports more than quadrupled between 2013 and 2016, while organic-soybean imports more than doubled.

OTA spokeswoman Maggie McNeil told me that the group’s “top priority is to protect the integrity of organic. We support strong and robust oversight and enforcement of organic certification practices and standards both inside and outside of the U.S.” The group will ask for more money in the 2018 farm bill, including a 10 percent annual increase in the NOP’s budget and $5 million to upgrade technology systems for international trade-tracking systems and data collection.

But until the USDA concludes its investigation and all responsible parties are held accountable for this massive fraud in our food supply, no additional tax money should go to fund the NOP. Indeed, Congress should reconsider whether the NOP, which is designed as a marketing program, should be under the federal government’s purview at all. Meghan Cline, a spokeswoman for the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, told me that the committee “will be taking a close look at the NOP as part of the upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization process.”

Trump, Russia, and the Misconduct of Public Men Look to the Constitution, not the statute books. By Andrew C. McCarthy

‘Collusion is not a crime.”

“Are you kidding? It could be a campaign-finance-law violation. After all, opposition research is a ‘thing of value.’ There could be a conspiracy to defraud the United States by impeding the legitimate functions of the Federal Election Commission. Plus, Trump said his campaign had nothing to do with Russia. He lied to the public.”

“Lying to the public is not a crime.”

This is the sort of banter that went on all day Tuesday, following revelation of the devastating e-mail exchange between Donald Trump Jr. and Rob Goldstone. Plainly, both sides of the political aisle are badly misinformed about the Constitution’s take on executive misconduct. When the president’s behavior is at issue, it is the Constitution, not the criminal law, that is paramount.

On the Right and in Republican circles, there are staunch Trump supporters, as well as reluctant ones (including moi) who voted for Trump reasoning that the only practical alternative was Hillary (not an alternative). The former are all in, seemingly no matter what Trump does; the latter support him when he pushes conservative policies but are not invested in him, politically or personally. Trump-Russia brings the divide into sharp relief.

The tepid-on-Trump camp is aghast at revelations of the extent and nature of the Trump clan’s ties to a murderous anti-American regime — and, speaking only for myself, humbled by analysts who were more troubled by the circumstantial evidence in the absence of smoking guns. Trump fans, to the contrary, are doing the full Clinton: doubling down on the absurd insistence that Trump-Russia is a big ol’ “nothingburger.”

“Look at the U.S. penal code,” they scoff, defying outraged Americans to identify a single criminal-law violation that has been established. There is no crime, they maintain, in colluding with the Russian government to collect and broadcast damaging information about an opposition American candidate.

On the Left, meanwhile, are the legal beagles. They are busily squirreling through the law books and straining their creative brains to come up with an offense — some novel prosecution theory under which the Trump-Russia facts can be pigeonholed into a campaign-law violation, a computer-fraud crime, or maybe even misprision of a felony (i.e., a failure to report one).

One side is mulishly determined not to see outrageous misconduct. The other side is inadvertently trivializing it.

But the question is not whether collusion is a crime. It is whether collusion is a high crime or misdemeanor.

When I wrote Faithless Execution, my 2014 book about impeachment, I well understood that there was no prospect of impeaching President Obama. Indeed, I argued in the book that it would be not merely foolish but counterproductive to commence impeachment proceedings against a president as to whom there was no political prospect of removal from office. A failed impeachment effort would be like a license to mutilate. It would tell the president who escaped the noose that he was invulnerable — it would actually encourage more misconduct.

But there was still, I believed, a need for such a book. The wayward public debate after disclosure of the Trump Jr. e-mails proves the point. Not enough of us who are informing the public are informed ourselves about how our constitutional system is supposed to work.

Nothing caused the Framers greater anxiety than the new office they were creating, the presidency of the United States. They were rightly convinced of the need in a dangerous world for an energetic executive able to act swiftly and decisively in times of crisis. But, being close students of human nature, they were equally worried that the enormous powers attendant to the office could be abused, that they could fall into the hands of an unfit incumbent, or that they could come under the influence of foreign powers.

They thus gave Congress a dispositive check: the power of impeachment and removal. Impeachment, not criminal prosecution, is our Constitution’s response to egregious executive malfeasance.

Thus, the critical part: The standard for impeachment, the commission of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” is not concerned with criminal offenses found in the penal statute books and suitable for courtroom prosecution. It relates instead to the president’s high fiduciary duty to the American people and allegiance to our system of government.

Alexander Hamilton put it best in Federalist No. 65. Impeachable offenses are those

Which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or in other words from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated political, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.

The bickering over collusion “crimes” misses the point. If an unfit person holds the presidency, the danger to our society is that he will abuse the power that he wields. The imperative is to remove him from office. Whether, in addition to that, his misconduct also happens to violate penal statutes and be ripe for criminal prosecution is a side issue. It is a subordinate legal question, whereas fitness for the presidency is a core political issue. That is why it is rightly observed that impeachment is a political remedy, not a legal one.