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February 2018


Fake polls have infected politics by disheartening American voters with approval ratings and predictions which are falsely researched and bruited, and out of sync with the American people. In 1948 the Chicago Daily Tribune went to press and public with the now famous headline: “Dewey Defeats Truman.”

Harry Truman, who trounced Thomas Dewey held up the Nov. 3, 1948 edition of the Chicago Tribune with that headline as he celebrated victory over the man who was predicted to win by most national polls.

Ronald Reagan averaged a 53% job approval rating during his presidency, slightly below average for all U.S. presidents for which Gallup has recorded job approval ratings.

After the Democratic National Convention in July, the Mondale-Ferraro ticket actually bested the Reagan-Bush ticket in a nationwide Gallup Poll, 48 percent to 46 percent.

Questions in polls remind one of the old saw about a trial when the prosecutor asks: “When did you stop beating your wife?”

I have been polled twice and it goes something like this exaggerated version:

“Are you a registered Republican voter? Just answer yes or no”

” If it were disclosed that the Republican candidate was guilty of pillage and plunder and rape would you vote for him?”

Of course, the answer is no, and the poll then discloses that only 3% of registered Republicans will vote for the party’s incumbent. rsk

Un-Candid in Camera by Mark Steyn

Well, the memo was released. You can read it in full here, and I recommend you do so because, on the evidence of much of Friday’s TV and radio coverage, most commentators only want to talk about it in the most shallow political terms. Whereas the questions it raises about state corruption in an age of round-the-clock technological surveillance are far more profound.

Let’s start with something I wrote back in October:

It seems a reasonable inference, to put it as blandly as possible, that the [Christopher Steele] dossier was used to justify the opening of what the Feds call an “FI” (Full Investigation), which in turn was used to justify a FISA order permitting the FBI to put Trump’s associates under surveillance. Indeed, it seems a reasonable inference that the dossier was created and supplied to friendly forces within the bureau in order to provide a pretext for an FI, without which surveillance of the Trump campaign would not be possible.

So my view has always been that the dossier is not “evidence” but a mere simulacrum of evidence – a stage prop to lay before the FISA court judge to get him to sign off on Trump surveillance. Because a judge has to be given something before he’ll cough up a warrant, even if what it is is no more real than the “secret papers” in a spy thriller. Nevertheless, for a group of highly placed FBI and Department of Justice officials, it was a very crude calculation: No dossier, no surveillance.

That much the memo appears to confirm:

Deputy [FBI] Director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information.

So Robert Mueller’s entire “Russia investigation” springs from this dossier: a huge sprawling multi-branch tree of a rotten poisonous fruit.

Europe: Judeo-Christian Symbols Vanish, Islam Rises by Giulio Meotti

The British housing market is now dealing with a new special entry: former Christian churches. A former Methodist church in Surrey was recently put on sale for the first time in its 154-year history. And a few days later, a church in London and went on the market — converted into apartments.

Religious symbols are an integral part of a civilization. When old symbols vanish, new ones — with their own identities — take their place. Europe’s public imagination today is being flooded with Islamic symbols, from veils in schools, swimming pools and workplaces, to the volume and height of mosque minarets.

We impenitent secularists might be happily indifferent to the fall of the old religious symbols — but we should not be indifferent to the new religious symbols taking their place.

French writers coined the term “le grand remplacement,” meaning the demographic replacement by immigrants of native Europeans. There is, however, another replacement taking place on the old continent.

Look at the images taken by the Israeli-Hungarian photographer Bernadett Alpern. Synagogues — like silent witnesses of the fall of a fundamental branch of the European civilization — have been turned into museums, swimming pools, shopping centers, police stations and mosques.

Now it is the turn of the Stars of David and skullcaps, the two most visible Jewish symbols. A poll by the World Zionist Organization recently revealed that at least half of Jews in Europe do not feel safe wearing symbols of their faith. They are right. A few days ago, an 8-year-old Jewish boy wearing a skullcap was attacked and beaten in the street by two men in Sarcelles. Earlier in January, in the same suburb, a man slashed the face of a 15-year-old Jewish girl who was walking home while wearing the uniform of her Jewish school. It is the “new normal” for French Jews.

For years, European elites have been preaching multiculturalism and religious and cultural relativism. Now we find ourselves living through not only further assaults on the habitually besieged Jews and their faith, but a massive de-Christianization, as well.

‘The Faculty Unanimously Distance Themselves With Revulsion’ Charlotte Groh helped a friend escape from East Germany. Only decades later could she leave too. By Peter Friedman

The Berlin Wall stood for 10,315 days, from Aug. 13, 1961, until Nov. 9, 1989. On Monday, Feb. 5, it will have been down for as long as it was up.

East Germany began to seal itself off from the West long before the wall was built. In 1952 Soviet troops helped East Germany close and fortify its border with West Germany, leaving only the Berlin border open as an escape route. Some 250,000 East Germans fled to the West every year for most of the following decade. This exodus undermined East Germany’s economy and threatened the Soviet Union’s five-year plans, which depended on East German manufactured goods.

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev kept urging East German leader Walter Ulbricht to reduce emigration by easing living conditions, as the Soviets were doing with their own “de-Stalinization” policies. Instead, in 1956, Ulbricht passed a law making emigration without permission—deserting the republic—punishable by up to three years’ imprisonment, as was helping others to desert.

The police combed through subways and elevated trains heading from East Berlin to West Berlin. Whoever seemed suspicious—carrying more than one suitcase could draw scrutiny—would be hauled off for interrogation.

I met Charlotte Groh at an East Berlin cafe in 1992, and she told me of her own involvement in someone’s escape. In 1960 Charlotte and her friend Erika Jahn were in their early 20s and working as schoolteachers in Mecklenburg. Charlotte visited Erika during Christmas vacation and found her in tears.

“I can’t stand living in the GDR any longer!” Erika sobbed, referring to East Germany’s official name, the German Democratic Republic. She said that she had relatives in Hamburg with whom she could stay while looking for a job. She had packed two suitcases to take with her. Charlotte volunteered to accompany Erica and take along one of the suitcases.

A Tale of Two Countries By Ruth Papazian

Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-Mass.) had the unenviable task of rebutting President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address this week. Kennedy found himself repudiating Trump’s advocacy of traditional Democratic Party issues, including government accountability, fair trade, job training, paid family leave, prison reform, and rebuilding the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

The privileged political tyro also had the misfortune of having to begrudge the tax cuts and regulatory reform that has helped create 2.4 million new jobs (200,000 of them in manufacturing), enabled employers to raise wages substantially for the first time in years, and brought black and Hispanic unemployment levels to historic lows.

How would he try to pull off this trick? By describing a country and a people that exist on a different planet in a parallel universe:

Trump’s America: We endured floods and fires and storms. But through it all, we have seen the beauty of America’s soul, and the steel in America’s spine. Each test has forged new American heroes to remind us who we are, and show us what we can be.

Kennedy’s America: We see … [h]atred and supremacy proudly marching in our streets.

Trump’s America: We saw the volunteers of the “Cajun Navy,” racing to the rescue with their fishing boats to save people in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane. . . . [S]trangers shielding strangers from a hail of gunfire on the Las Vegas strip . . . Americans like Coast Guard Petty Officer Ashlee Leppert, who . . . braved live power lines and deep water, to help save more than 40 lives. . . . Americans like firefighter David Dahlberg [who] faced down walls of flame to rescue almost 60 children trapped at a California summer camp threatened by wildfires.

Kennedy’s America: [“Dreamers”] wade through flood waters, battle hurricanes, and brave wildfires and mudslides to save a stranger.

Trump’s America: Over the last year, the world has seen what we always knew: that no people on Earth are so fearless, or daring, or determined as Americans. If there is a mountain, we climb it. If there is a frontier, we cross it. If there is a challenge, we tame it. If there is an opportunity, we seize it. So let us begin tonight by recognizing that the state of our Union is strong because our people are strong.

Media Fumble Their Latest Attack on Nunes Memo By Julie Kelly

The media and Democratic spinmeisters think we are stupid. Wait, check that. Not just stupid—illiterate.

How else to explain their latest attempt—to borrow a promo from CNN—to tell us an apple is a banana? More specifically, how could they twist media reports that do not say the Justice Department informed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that the infamous Steele dossier was funded by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign into reports that say they do?

A few hours after the Nunes memo was released Friday afternoon, the Washington Post rushed to dispute one of the missive’s most explosive claims: That none of the FISA applications “disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts.” As anyone who is not living off-the-grid knows, the DNC and Clinton campaign paid millions for the shady dossier that was leveraged to win FISC approval to spy on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page months after he left the campaign.

On Friday night, the Post reported that two U.S. officials speaking on condition of anonymity claimed “ample disclosure of relevant, material facts” were made to the court that “revealed the research was being paid for by a political entity.” The sources went on: “No thinking person who read any of these applications would come to any other conclusion but that [the work was being undertaken] at the behest of people with a partisan aim and that it was being done in opposition to Trump.”

Even though the Post attempted to create a phony plotline that of course the court must have known the dossier was paid for and peddled by the same party of the sitting president, as well as by the campaign of his former secretary of state and the Democrats’ presidential candidate, the paper had to fess up that “the application did not specifically name the Democratic National Committee or the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.” I mean, duh, don’t FISA court judges read Yahoo News?

Video: Muslim Driver Attempts Hit and Run on Jewish Father and Son in Belgium By Michael van der Galien

The Jewish community of Antwerp (Belgium) has released CCTV footage of an attempted car ramming incident on an Orthodox Jewish family Saturday morning.

A Jewish father and his son were on their way to the local synagogue when they suddenly had to jump out of harm’s way because a car was coming directly at them. (Note: the two were walking on the sidewalk.) Here’s the footage:

Police have arrested the driver. According to Israeli public broadcaster Kan News, the driver is of Muslim origin. He was tracked down through the footage of the license plate and is to be arraigned today on the charge of attempted manslaughter.

Sadly, this is one of many recent examples of increased antisemitism in Western Europe over the last few years — and especially the last few months. In September of last year, for instance, a Jewish man was assaulted in Antwerp by a “local youth” who called him every anti-Jewish slur in the dictionary. The attacker had converted to Islam recently and was arrested with the help of onlookers.

5 Things The FBI Never Told The FISA Court About The Trump Dossier By Rachel Stoltzfoos

The memo from House Intelligence Committee Republicans outlining how the FBI and Department of Justice secured a warrant to spy on a Trump campaign official alleges the agencies scrubbed highly relevant political context when presenting it to the secret court as a basis for the warrant.

Anonymous sources previously claimed the agencies used the unverified dossier produced by Christopher Steele on behalf of Hillary Clinton as a basis for the warrant, and confirmation of that is deeply troubling. But the revelation that the FBI and DOJ deliberately withheld information about the dossier that would have undermined their case before the court — that it was opposition research paid for by the target’s rival campaign — is stunning.

Here are five things the FBI and DOJ never told the court when asking for multiple warrants, according to the memo.
1. The dossier was funded by Hillary Clinton and The Democratic National Committee.

Although the false claim that Republicans helped pay for the dossier is still circulating, the dossier was commissioned by Fusion GPS only after Republican funding ceased. The Clinton campaign and the DNC were the sole source of funds to the opposition research firm for the entire duration of Steele’s work on the dossier.

The FBI and DOJ knew this, but didn’t tell the FISA court that Trump’s rival campaign paid for the document they were submitting as a basis for spying on a member of Trump’s campaign. They didn’t mention the DNC, the Clinton campaign, or any political party in the first application for a warrant, or in any of the three applications to renew the warrant, according to the memo.
2. The FBI terminated Steele as a source for “what the FBI defines as the most serious of violations.”

Steele was terminated as a source to the FBI after he disclosed his relationship with the bureau to the press in October 2016. He should have been fired sooner for other unauthorized disclosures to the press, but he lied about them to the FBI, which delayed their discovery of this fact. Yet the FBI never disclosed to the FISA court any issues with Steele’s credibility, the memo says, even after they fired him because he broke their trust. Instead, the bureau used his history of credible reporting in the FISA application to firm up their argument for a warrant.

The FBI also had reason to believe Steele might be politically biased. They learned shortly after the election he told a senior DOJ official in September 2016 that he was “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.” The FBI noted this indication of Steele’s bias at the time and in following official files, but never disclosed it to the FISA court.
3. The dossier had not been independently verified.

The head of the FBI’s counterintelligence division assessed corroboration of the dossier as in its “infancy” when the first surveillance application was submitted to the FISA court in October. After Steele was fired for disclosing his relationship with the FBI to the press, an independent unit inside the FBI reviewed his reporting and assessed the document as “minimally corroborated.” FBI Director James Comey later referred to the dossier as “salacious and unverified” in testimony before Congress.
4. A news story purporting to corroborate the dossier actually came directly from the dossier.

The Ticking Memo By Victor Davis Hanson

The House Intelligence Committee memo is pretty simple. It should not have been classified and thus far withheld from the public. In fact, far more information now needs to be released.

Despite the outcry, as Chairman Devin Nunes clarified, the memo can easily be in the near future supported or refuted by adducing official documents. In other words, the memo makes a series of transparent statements and leaves it up to the criminal-justice system and the public to ascertain subsequent criminal liability.

It is likely that the basic accuracy of the document will not be questioned, but rather opponents, some of them mentioned in the memo, will either ask why the resulting embarrassing information needed to be aired or insist that there are only minor possible crimes in the events it narrates, or both. Remember, officials from the FBI supposedly read the memo before its release to ensure that there were not factual errors or misrepresentations.

In sum, on four occasions during and after the 2016 campaign, the FBI and DOJ approached a federal FISA court — established to allow monitoring of foreign nationals engaged in efforts to harm the U.S. or American citizens deliberately or inadvertently in their service — to surveil Carter Page, a sometime Trump adviser. These requests also mentioned George Papadopoulos, apparently as a preexisting target of an earlier investigation by FBI official Peter Strzok, but according to the memo mysteriously there was not adduced any direct connection between the two individuals’ activities.

The basis of the requests was an anti-Trump dossier that the FBI and DOJ had purchased from a private concern. At the time of their various requests, FBI director James Comey and his deputy, Andrew McCabe, apparently knew that the document was the work of an opposition-research team, hired and paid, through a series of intermediaries, by the Clinton campaign. The same knowledge supposedly was known to DOJ officials Sally Yates, Dana Boente, and Rod Rosenstein, who variously joined the FISA requests.

The Nunes Memo: Just an Opening Act Landmines left behind by the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign might soon start detonating—on Democrats. Fred Siegel Marc Epstein

The publication by the House Intelligence Committee, under the leadership of chairman Devin Nunes, of a four-page summary memo regarding FBI surveillance of a Trump campaign advisor in 2016 is the long-awaited opening act of an extended drama about the Obama administration’s abuse of power—which, when all is revealed, might yet outdo that of the Nixon administration.

Obama concealed his sharp-edged, Chicago-style machine politics under the rhetorical cover of progressivism. He was protected by a press corps that first enlisted in his administration and then fought to stop Donald Trump. But now that Obama is out of office, his ability to intimidate is much diminished. This past week, a 2005 picture of a beaming Obama next to a bright-eyed Louis Farrakhan surfaced, after having been held back for more than a decade at the behest of a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, who had been tried for corruption by Obama’s Justice Department after he refused to toe the party line about the “peace-loving” mullahs of Iran, has now seen the charges against him dropped. Z Street, a hawkish nonprofit supporter of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in Israel, had been tied up with IRS matters since 2009; it has just been released from its legal chains. Democrats are holding to the line that the prophet of hope and change ran a pure administration, virtually free of scandal. But the memo is probably just the beginning; we’re likely to see many more revelations come out.

Obama isn’t directly mentioned in the memo. But he’s nonetheless implicated through his appointees’ apparent efforts to clear Hillary Clinton in her State Department email scandal while undermining her opponent, Trump, through the veneer of legality provided by FISA (the Foreign Intelligence Security Act) warrants, justified solely by the so-called Steele Dossier. The dossier was paid for by Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee; it was created by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele, who despised Trump, and the “research” firm Fusion GPS. The FISA Court, supervised by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, was never told about the unverified dossier’s origins.

As for matters of Russian collusion: Fusion GPS was tied to Vladimir Putin’s associates in the Kremlin, who wanted to undermine the Magnitsky Act, a U.S. law that sanctions Russian officials believed to be connected with the murder of anti-Kremlin lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. The “journalists” at CNN made much of Donald Trump Jr.’s 20-minute meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower in 2016, while ignoring her meeting, before and after that one, with Fusion’s cofounder, former Wall Street Journal reporter Glen Simpson, who was working to overturn the Magnitsky Act. Simpson slimed Hermitage Capital’s Willian Browder, who had helped pass the Magnitsky legislation and authored the important book Red Notice.