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November 2017

The Trump Collusion Case Is Not Getting the Clinton Emails Treatment If the Justice Department is hell-bent on making a case, it plays an intimidating game of hardball. By Andrew C. McCarthy

In July 2016, the Obama administration announced its decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for felony mishandling of classified information and destruction of government files. In the aftermath, I observed that there is a very aggressive way that the Justice Department and the FBI go about their business when they are trying to make a case — one profoundly different from the way they went about the Clinton emails investigation. There, they tried not to make the case.

That observation bears repeating today, as we watch Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of any possible Trump-campaign collusion in Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. Mueller is a former FBI director and top Justice Department prosecutor. To say he is going about the collusion caper aggressively would be an understatement. The earth is being scorched by the stunningly large team he has assembled, which includes 16 other prosecutors (among them, Democratic party donors and activists) along with dozens of investigators (mostly from the FBI and IRS).

At the end of October, Mueller announced the first charges in the case. In the intensive commentary that followed, another investigative development attracted almost no attention. But in terms of Mueller’s seriousness of purpose, it speaks just as loudly as the George Papadopoulos guilty plea and the indictment of Paul Manafort and Richard Gates.

Mueller succeeded in convincing a federal judge to force an attorney for Manafort and Gates to provide grand-jury testimony against them. As Politico’s Josh Gerstein reports, just as the charges against these defendants were announced with great fanfare, the U.S. district court in Washington, D.C., quietly unsealed a ruling compelling the testimony of the lawyer — who, though not referred to by name in the decision, has been identified by CNN as Melissa Laurenza, a partner at the Akin Gump law firm.

Interestingly, the jurist who rendered the 37-page memorandum opinion is Beryl A. Howell, who served for years as a senior Judiciary Committee adviser to the fiercely partisan Democratic Senator Pat Leahy (of Vermont) before being appointed to the bench by President Obama. Howell is now the district court’s chief judge. Why do I think that, in choosing to set up shop in Washington, Mueller and his team noted the district court’s local rule that vests the chief judge with responsibility to “hear and determine all matters relating to proceedings before the grand jury”? (See here, Rule 57.14 at p. 168.)

And why do I think that the Trump collusion case is not getting the kid-glove Clinton emails treatment?

Name: “Sword of Islam”? Let Him In! by Douglas Murray

Even the craziest immigration systems dreamed up by European officials have not yet come up with something like America’s “diversity visa” lottery, by which someone named “Sword of Islam” is promptly let into the country — only then to mow people down in a New York bicycle lane.

Nearly 56,000 foreign nationals have disappeared from the radar of the British authorities after being told that they were required to leave the country.

Instead of looking warm and big-hearted, you begin to look as if you were just unforgivably lax with the security of your own citizens. So an entire political class has been.

It is only eight weeks since an 18-year old Iraqi-born man walked onto the London Underground and left a bomb on the District line. Fortunately for the rush-hour commuters and school children on that train, the detonating device went off without managing to set off the bomb itself. Had the device worked, the many passengers who suffered life-changing burns would instead have been among many other people taken away in body bags. Ahmed Hassan came to the UK illegally in 2015 and was subsequently provided with foster care by the British government. He has now been charged, and is awaiting trial, for causing an explosion and attempted murder.

As stories like that of Mr. Hassan emerge, there are varying reactions. Some people say that this act is not indicative of anything, and that we must accept that such things happen — like the weather. Others suggest that anyone might leave a bomb on the District line in the morning, and that there is no more reason to alter your border policy because of it than there is to alter your meteorological policy because of it.

As poll after poll shows, however, the majority of the public in Britain — as in every other European country — think something else. They think that a country that has lost a grip on its immigration policy is very likely to lose control of its security policy, and that one may indeed follow the other.

So the British public were not at all reassured by the news this month that the country’s Home Office has lost track of tens of thousands of foreign nationals who were due to be removed from the country. Nor that there is no evidence of any effort to find the people in question.

Figures revealed in two new reviews by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration showed that nearly 56,000 foreign nationals have disappeared from the radar of the British authorities after being told that they were required to leave the country. This figure includes over 700 foreign national offenders (FNOs) who went missing after being released into the community from prison. It also revealed that around 80,000 foreign nationals are required to check in on a regular basis at police stations and immigration centres while authorities prepare for them to leave the country. By the end of 2016, just under 56,000 of them had failed to keep appointments and had become persons “whose whereabouts are unknown and all mandatory procedures to re-establish contact with the migrant have failed.”

Nevertheless, with a straight face, Brandon Lewis, the immigration minister for the present Conservative government, declared that “People who have no right to live in this country should be in no doubt of our determination to remove them.” Yet he still admitted that “Elements of these reports make for difficult reading.”

Jim Campbell At the End of Our Rope see note please

This column is from and about Australia but applicable to all the nations of the Anglosphere -America, Canada and England…….rsk

Even the most cursory inspection reveals the integrity of institutions and mores is coming apart. From a failing yet ever more costly education system to defence policies crafted to achieve electoral advantage, rather than national security, the strands of what once held us together are rupturing.

A wire rope is made to support a load under tension and composed of many woven steel strands. But wire ropes sometimes break, the best policy being to conduct regular examinations and, just in case, never to place any part of your body near the rope in case it fails. When the first strand goes the load and strain on the remaining wires intensifies until, most likely sooner than later, the next-weakest wire fails, and so on. There is nothing that can be done to stop the deterioration or, eventually, the catastrophic failure that sees the severed rope become a whip-lashing peril to all unlucky enough to be nearby at the time. Many a tilt-truck driver has been grievously injured when his winch rope’s unnoticed deterioration became suddenly and catastrophically apparent.

You’ve probably guessed that I’m invoking a metaphor about society. In Australia right now even the most cursory inspection reveals strands whose integrity is either partially or wholly gone. Let me identify some of these strands; I am sure readers can add their own.

Discipline: Today, discipline appears to be absent or marginal in many areas: the schoolroom, the home, public behaviour, even our parliament. Don’t like a former prime minister? Well head-butt him because, well, why not! Arguing your case requires thought and effort and logic. It’s so much easier (and far more satisfying) to make your case with a forehead to the nose. Yes, you might end up in court, but it will be to the cheers of your Twitter admirers and urgers.

Respect: This seems to be regarded as one of yesterday’s virtues, as we see in almost all areas of public and private life: customer service, attitude to the elderly, simple gestures such as opening a door, road rage. Or think of it this way: you are Australia’s greatest tennis player but hold unfashionable views about re-defining the word “marriage”. Expect your center court achievements to count for nothing as activists push to remove your name from the stadium built to honour your sporting achievements. Why extend respect when a public burning is so much more fun?

Education: Where does one start? In no particular order: lack of emphasis on the three Rs; the inclusion in the syllabus — indeed, elevation – of lifestyle advocacy. Even as Australia slips ever further down the international rankings, the amount poured into “education” grows, yet teacher unions and bureaucrats insist it is still not enough. And it gets worse at the tertiary level. Universities now focus on generating revenue rather than promoting academic excellence. To be fair, this is all they can do, as the schools system delivers every year a fresh crop of minds either half-formed or so polluted by approved doctrine that the critical thought once seen as the essence of university life is beyond them. Ever wonder about the popularity of gay studies, womens studies and all the other make-it-up-as-you-go-along “studies”? The explanation is simple: useless courses are the perfect vehicles to keep the fees flowing and bums on lecture room seats. That a degree in, say, feminist film studies is unlikely to enhance job prospects is never mentioned.

Law and order: In Victoria almost one billion dollars every year is shaken out of motorists who travel just a whisker over the speed limit — respectable citizens for the most part whose only crime is to have money in the bank the government thinks should be better used underwriting its education system (see above) and other follies. Meanwhile teen gangs rampage through the late-night suburbs and police warn that any homeowner who defends home, life and property against push-in invaders risks being charged with vigilantism. Nevertheless, sporting goods stores sell out of baseball bats.

The Soldier Returns: The Veteran’s Odyssey By Mackubin Owens

What does America owe its veterans? Perhaps the best answer to this question came from my friend, Julie Ponzi, in response to a review I had written of Karl Marlantes’s Vietnam War novel, Matterhorn. She observed that by providing a real understanding of war and its sacrifices, memoirs and novels such as Matterhorn make it possible for “our fighting men to finally get some genuine gratitude. Not sympathy or pedestals; but real gratitude. .  .  . Every civilian should understand that the veteran has done nothing less, and also nothing more, than what is sometimes required to maintain liberty.”

Neither sympathy nor pedestals, but gratitude: How simple! But as Rosa Brooks has observed, there are three dominant images of veterans: the killer; the victim; and the hero. The first two date back to Vietnam. The third is an attempt to rectify the Vietnam view by overcompensation. Today, most Americans do not think of veterans as killers. But, alas, too many Americans see veterans as victims. Those Americans are wrong.

The view of veteran-as-victim was roundly rejected by our current secretary of defense, James Mattis, in a 2014 speech in San Francisco to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

During the question and answer portion of his speech at the Marine’s Memorial Club, Mattis said:

You’ve been told that you’re broken, that you’re damaged goods and should be labeled victims of two unjust and poorly executed wars. I don’t buy it. The truth, instead, is that you are the only folks with the skills, determination, and values to ensure American dominance in this chaotic world.

There is no room for military people, including our veterans, to see themselves as victims even if so many of our countrymen are prone to relish that role.While victimhood in America is exalted, I don’t think our veterans should join those ranks.

Mattis observed, how the veteran-as-victim narrative exerts a powerful influence over civilians. It can be seen in news stories that paint veterans as over-represented in rates of suicide, drug abuse, homelessness, and incarceration.

Rather than assuming all souls touched by combat must necessarily suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Mattis offered an alternative, which he calls “post-traumatic growth,” echoing Nietzsche’s aphorism from Twilight of the Idols: “From life’s school of war: what does not kill me makes me stronger.”

In Mattis’s view, PTG describes a reality that is far more common in veterans than PTSD, which is most veterans return from war with the potential to be stronger than before. The PTG orientation holds that what the returning veteran needs are time and support to realize that potential for growth.

‘The Band’s Visit’ Review: Musical, Magical Misunderstanding The charming screen-to-stage story of a police orchestra that finds itself lost comes to Broadway with Tony Shalhoub among its stars.By Terry Teachout

The best musical of the year has made it to Broadway. After a successful but far too short off-Broadway run at the Atlantic Theater, “The Band’s Visit” has moved uptown with all of its wondrous charm and warmth intact. Directed with supreme finesse by David Cromer and performed by the best cast imaginable, this small-scale show is fine enough to fill you with fresh hope for a genre that has lately been running on fumes. In an era of slick, sterile, big-budget, no-but-I-saw-the-movie commodity musicals whose sole purpose is to siphon cash from tourists with ruthless efficiency, “The Band’s Visit” shows that the great American art form (give or take jazz) is still full of life when practiced by artists who trust the taste and intelligence of their audiences.

The Band’s Visit

Ethel Barrymore Theatre, 243 W. 47th St.
$67-$157, 212-239-6200/800-432-7250
More Theater Reviews

‘Junk’ Review: Bankrupting Entertainment November 2, 2017
‘After the Blast’ Review: Below the Surface, a Man’s World November 2, 2017
‘M. Butterfly’ Review: Too Busy to Take Flight October 26, 2017

Adapted for the stage by Itamar Moses and David Yazbek from Eran Kolirin’s 2007 Israeli film, “The Band’s Visit” is the story of a fictional occurrence that was, as one of the characters readily admits, “not very important.” The eight members of the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra, it seems, have traveled to Israel from Egypt in order to perform at an Arab cultural center in the city of Petah Tikva. Such, at any rate, is their intention, but they’re sidetracked en route by a mispronounced consonant: Since there is no “p” sound in Arabic, most English-speaking Egyptians automatically replace that consonant with “b.” Slightly fractured English being the lingua franca of the modern-day Middle East, the musicians inadvertently find themselves in Bet Hatikva, a hopelessly provincial desert village whose cultural attractions consist of two restaurants, a roller rink, and a concrete “park” devoid of grass or trees.

In less knowing hands, this mishap might easily have been played for farce and nothing more. But while “The Band’s Visit” gets plenty of well-deserved laughs in its opening scenes, Messrs. Moses and Yazbek are hunting bigger game. We soon discover that the members of the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra and the bored residents of Bet Hatikva who spend their days “waiting for something to happen” all have something in common: They long for their little lives to be enlarged by love.

Some of the rest you can guess for yourself, but part of what makes “The Band’s Visit” so special is that it steers clear of the obvious. This is especially true when it comes to Tewfiq ( Tony Shalhoub ), the band’s conductor, and Dina ( Katrina Lenk ), the divorced café owner who offers to feed him and his men and put them up for the night. He’s rigidly proper, she’s tart-tongued and cynical, yet they’re both frustrated romantics under the skin. That’s the obvious part, and it is typical of “The Band’s Visit” that it leads to a denouement that will take you completely by surprise. CONTINUE AT SITE

Ohio Man Who Invoked ‘Islamophobia’ Defense for Double Murder Gets Life in Prison By Patrick Poole

A northeast Ohio man who gunned down two men and wounded three others this past February is headed to prison. A jury has convicted him of double murder, and today the jury recommended that the judge hand down a sentence of 30 years to life, sparing him the death penalty. The judge then gave Nasser Hamad of Howlett, Ohio, a sentence of life in prison.

Hamad had claimed he acted in self-defense during the February 25th incident, and then during the trial claimed that the shooting was due to PTSD. He and his attorney also said that the charges against him were part of an “Islamophobic” conspiracy against him because he is Arab and Muslim.

They repeatedly demanded that the surviving victims of his shooting be charged with hate crimes.

During today’s sentencing hearing, Hamad said that he hasn’t received adequate counsel. Hamad was convicted last week on two charges of aggravated murder and multiple counts of attempted murder.

As I reported here at PJ Media last March, the incident was prompted by a months-long feud between families and taunts by Hamad on social media. The Youngstown Vindicator describes what happened:

Hamad “acknowledged” that the fight had ended at the point where he went into the house and retrieved his gun, the filing says. He also acknowledged that the five were in the van when he walked the 70 feet from his front door to the van and fired nine to 10 shots at the five.

When the bullets ran out, Hamad went back into the house and got a second ammunition magazine. “Again, he did not call 911, lock himself securely in his home and wait for police,” the filing says. CONTINUE AT SITE

ISIS to Jihadists: No ‘Showing Off or Seeking Fame,’ ‘Strike Violently’ and Escape By Bridget Johnson

The new issue of the Islamic State’s weekly al-Naba newsletter includes a page of tips for lone jihadists that emphasized their first course of action in future attacks should be to escape from the site and live to kill again.

The advice comes after last week’s issue in which ISIS acknowledged Manhattan terror suspect Sayfullo Saipov as “one of the soldiers of the Islamic State of America,” but did not mention him by name, panned the size of the Home Depot rental truck he used in the West Side bike path attack, and noted the high casualty toll of the Oct. 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas.
(ISIS al-Naba graphic)

ISIS has also not issued a formal claim for the Halloween New York attack through their Amaq news agency, perhaps out of disappointment that Saipov was captured brandishing a paintball gun and BB gun after their propaganda has urged terrorists to become martyrs or elude capture and conduct serial attacks.

With a wash of blood over a Paris cityscape, the full-page graphic faintly shows a masked man peering through binoculars, checking bullets in a magazine, and aiming a gun. The two-year anniversary of the coordinated Paris attacks, including the massacre at the Bataclan concert hall, is Monday; the pro-ISIS Wafa’ Media Foundation released a propaganda poster this week showing the Eiffel Tower extending upward as a rifle and vowing to “kill the young before the older.” CONTINUE AT SITE

Tell a Big Lie and Keep Repeating It By Norman Rogers

If you want to tell a big lie, a good vehicle is “science.” Like a wolf hiding in a sheep’s skin, lies hide in lab coats worn by liars with Ph.Ds. We are gullible because science and scientists have a positive image. The positive image belongs to the science of the past, before the entrepreneurial idea of inventing fake catastrophes to attract vast sums of government money.

When a lie is backed by millions of government dollars, it is difficult for the truth to compete. The truth comes from scientists not corrupted by money, and from small organizations dependent on private donations. The truth is outgunned by government financed propaganda mills. The promoters of fake catastrophe depict themselves as disinterested idealists. The promoters of the truth are depicted as servants of evil industries, or as mentally disturbed crackpots.

Pravda was the official newspaper of the Soviet Union. Pravda means “official truth” in Russian. Pretty much everyone in Russia knew that there was very little truth in the pages of Pravda. But to publicly dispute the “official truth” was a very dangerous step. Often dissenters were sent to insane asylums. In the United States, as a climate skeptic, you may lose your job. Almost certainly you will be vilified as incompetent. But so far, you won’t go to prison or to an asylum, although there are calls to criminally prosecute “climate deniers.” There are also those who think that non-believers in the catastrophe are mentally ill. The obvious solution is to send the skeptics to prison or to an insane asylum. Why should we think that true believers in global warming, if they gain enough power, would be less totalitarian than communists?

Fake science prospers for a number of reasons. Investigative reporters are mostly ignorant concerning science. The average educated person is equally ignorant. Often those who do understand that something is fake don’t dare speak up because they work for bureaucracies that are promoting the fake science.

From India to Israel, Making Beautiful Music Zubin Mehta discusses Wagner, Mahler and the evolution of the Jewish state in the half-century since he adopted it. By Tunku Varadarajan

For the first few minutes of our meeting, Zubin Mehta is on his cellphone with an old friend (who, it turns out, is a grandson of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan). The friend, like Mr. Mehta, is an Indian Zoroastrian—or Parsi—and the two are making plans for dinner after the maestro and his Israel Philharmonic Orchestra finish their performance that night at Carnegie Hall. They speak in Gujarati, the adoptive language of the Parsis, who fled persecution in newly Islamized Persia in the ninth century and took shelter in western India.

After he’s sorted out dinner, Mr. Mehta turns to me, mildly irritated. “New York is surprising. The restaurants all close at 10:30 p.m.,” he says. The night before, he had wanted an 11 p.m. table at a favorite spot, “but they said, ‘We cannot serve you that late, we are unionized.’ ” Tonight he is going to an Indian restaurant of repute that is happy to accommodate a late-dining celebrity. “It’s good food,” he tells me, adding in a very Indian touch: “Give them our name if you go. Then they’ll pay more attention.”

Mr. Mehta is the musical director of the Israel Philharmonic, an orchestra he has worked with and loved for more than 50 years, and with which he is touring the U.S., possibly for the last time. At 81, he’s still a maestro with more raw oomph than anyone else waving a baton. He’s also exactly as old as his orchestra, which was founded in 1936 by Bronislaw Huberman, a Polish violinist who made it his mission to find dignified work in Palestine for Jewish musicians forced from their jobs by the Nazis.

For a foreign, non-Jewish man, Mr. Mehta’s association with Israel is remarkable for its longevity and passion. Yet its beginnings were refreshingly humdrum. “It started by chance,” Mr. Mehta says. “A great conductor, Eugene Ormandy, fell ill and couldn’t do a series of concerts with the Israel Philharmonic in 1961. I was a jobless conductor in Vienna, with my two children, and they called me to cover as substitute. They sent me two tickets, for my wife and myself.”

He recalls the contract as grueling—about 15 concerts in a short span—but there was “an immediate good feeling between me and the orchestra. We hit it off, musically and spiritually. And I felt very at home in Israel, because it’s somewhat like our place, somewhat like India.” I press him to elaborate. “Their temperament is very much like India,” he says. “They all talk at the same time. They’re very opinionated, very argumentative, very hospitable.”

Mr. Mehta doesn’t say so, but when he signed on full-time in 1969, he quickly became a sort of popular hero, an outsider who had embraced Israel in a time of national hardship and international ostracism. He became friendly with Israeli founder and former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. Another friend was Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek: “He was Viennese, and I’m half-Viennese because of my musical culture—I speak the Viennese dialect—so we became very close,” Mr. Mehta says. As for Ben-Gurion, he “didn’t love music so much, but he was a scholar of oriental religions. He told me things about Zoroastrianism that I didn’t even know. You know, we modern Parsis, we don’t know too much. We even pray in a language we don’t understand”—a reference to Avestan, the ancient Iranian language now used only in Zoroastrian scriptures.

Besides being impressed with Ben-Gurion’s erudition, Mr. Mehta was struck by “how very depressed he was” that India’s government had condemned Israel for the Six Day War in 1967. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had visited Cairo in solidarity with Israel’s enemies just four months after hostilities ceased. Mr. Mehta says Ben-Gurion “said to me, ‘We Israelis—and I particularly—worship Mahatma Gandhi. He managed to get rid of the British without spilling blood and we, in our small little country, had to kill and shoot them.’ ” Ben-Gurion couldn’t understand how the Mahatma’s country had become hostile to Israel. “And to this day, I don’t know either,” Mr. Mehta says. “What did India have to do with the Six Day War? Israel didn’t start it!”

Mr. Mehta still has Indian citizenship and is delighted that India and Israel now enjoy close relations, having established full diplomatic ties in 1992. I ask how it felt to be in the vanguard of this rapprochement. “Well,” he says, “I was in a way a substitute ambassador. In 1994, I took the Israel Philharmonic to Bombay and Delhi, and they played free of charge. Itzhak Perlman, the great violinist, didn’t take a fee. So I couldn’t be happier.”

Has Israel changed over the many years Mr. Mehta has known it? The maestro grows somber, and—in a faithful reflection of the way so many Israelis are themselves—quite critical. “Oh yes, I’m afraid,” he says, “and not for the better. This obsession with building settlements in land that really doesn’t belong to them—that’s where the argument is.” It’s a “great tragedy,” he adds, “that Sharon isn’t there anymore.” Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was incapacitated by a stroke in 2006 and died eight years later. “He used to be very militant, and then completely changed. He would not have subsidized these settlements to the extent that is currently happening.” CONTINUE AT SITE

An Environmentalist Sues over an Academic Disagreement Meet Stanford’s $10 million man. By Robert Bryce

Leonardo di Caprio’s favorite renewable-energy promoter, Stanford engineering professor Mark Jacobson, has set a new record in thin-skinned-ness. Jacobson has filed a $10 million defamation lawsuit against the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and Chris Clack, the lead author of a paper NAS published in June that roundly debunked a previous paper of Jacobson’s. The earlier paper had claimed it would be possible for the U.S. to run entirely on renewable energy by 2050.

Even when Jacobson implied in an email to Clack that he was going to sue, a development I noted here in July, I didn’t believe he would actually do it. Nevertheless, on September 29, he did. Jacobson’s 42-page lawsuit, filed in federal court, hinges on the fact that Clack — and the 20 co-authors of the paper, who are not named as defendants — refused to accept the Stanford professor’s numbers on the amount of hydropower available in the U.S.

Clack’s paper found that Jacobson had overstated hydropower’s potential by a factor of ten or so. The land-use requirements for wind power were equally cartoonish. Clack determined that Jacobson’s all-renewable scheme would require covering more than 190,000 square miles with turbines — an area larger than the state of California. Given the burgeoning coast-to-coast backlash against Big Wind, such a notion is absurd on its face.

Rather than admit any errors, Jacobson claims that Clack — a Ph.D. mathematician who has worked at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and taught at the University of Colorado, and now has a consulting firm — and the National Academy damaged his reputation and made him and his co-authors “look like poor, sloppy, incompetent, and clueless researchers.”

In an email, Clack told me that it’s “unfortunate” that Jacobson has “chosen to reargue his points in a court of law, rather than in the academic literature, where they belong.”

Despite the many flaws in his plan, Jacobson made himself the patron saint of America’s richest and most powerful green groups by claiming a fully renewable energy sector was possible. His papers, many of them peer-reviewed, lent a patina of credibility to the all-renewable-no-fossil-fuel-no-nuclear dogma that Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and other groups have been feeding their math-challenged disciples for decades. In 2013, Jacobson even appeared on David Letterman’s show.