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Ruth King

The Challenge of Legacy How to ensure “never again” when so many are erasing Holocaust history? Edwin Black

Editor’s Note: The following is a transcript of Edwin Black’s April 11, 2018 keynote address in the Michigan Capitol Rotunda for that state’s official Holocaust Commemoration.

Today, I come not just to mourn nor to scorn but rather to warn our world, that is, the world of today whose memories are still whistling and bristling with the torments and tribulations of a generation now passing before our eyes. But also, for the world of tomorrow — and the day after — pulsed by a generation whose torments and tribulations may yet be in store. The outrages are audible just over the horizon. But in many cases the horizon is speeding toward us like an unstoppable tsunami preparing to crash.

Many of us dwell in the dark past hoping to immunize our future from the maniacal and ideological fires that immolated six million Jews and so many others— and left a world’s hands and souls smoke-singed in the process. The Holocaust was unique among history’s great cruelties, for it was a 12-year international persecution and murder machine perpetrated in the glare of broad daylight as well as the dim of night… emboldened by its own German Ministry of Propaganda advertising it and amid incessant media coverage that bled across the front pages of newspapers, crackled into regular radio reports, flickered in newsreels, and even saddened the whispers and diaries of children hiding in an Amsterdam attic. The world knew.

With study, revelation, and investigation, many now understand how we got here. Make no mistake. The Germans did it. Their allies and accomplices did it. Hitler did it.

But Hitler had help.

Der Fuhrer adopted the Jew-hating ideology of Henry Ford, whose car company distributorships mass-circulated the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the Dearborn Independent so often quoted and lionized by Hitler. Nazism was driven by the American pseudoscience of eugenics that called for the elimination and even the chamber gassing of so-called inferior social groups, a murderous medical discipline developed in America by our great universities in the first two decades of the twentieth century, but then transplanted into Nazi Germany and even into Mengele’s Auschwitz laboratory by the million-dollar charitable programs of the Carnegie Institution and the Rockefeller Foundation. Hitler’s troops dismounted their WWI-era horses and stormed into Poland and the rest of Europe in a never-before-seen Blitzkrieg, driving the Blitz truck and flying JU-88 bombers both manufactured under corporate camouflage by General Motors under the direct supervision of its offices in Detroit. And it was up to IBM—the solutions company—to organize all six phases of the Holocaust: identification, exclusion, asset confiscation, ghettoization, deportation, and even extermination. With its advanced punch card technology, IBM knowingly conducted the census to identify the Jews, religious or not, made the railroads run on time, and pinpointed Jewish bank accounts to seize. Every concentration camp had its own IBM customer site. The infamous Auschwitz tattoo began as an IBM number before it morphed into other serial systems.

The Enemy in Our Schools Should an anti-American Marxist set the history curriculum for American schools? Lloyd Billingsley

“If you’ve read Marx, there’s really no reason to read Howard Zinn,” notes author Daniel Flynn, but many have read Zinn’s million-selling A People’s History of the United States. As Rutgers history professor David Greenberg notes in a 2013 New Republic article headlined “Agit-Prof,” Zinn’s famous book is “a pretty lousy piece of work.” Even so, it gets great reviews within a circle of Marxist academics such as Eric Foner, leftist rockers such as Rage Against the Machine, and actors such as Matt Damon, who in Good Will Hunting tells his psychiatrist that A People’s History will “knock you on your ass.”

For Howard Zinn, America was evil and capitalism bad – except for his lucrative publishing deal, and prestigious professorship at Boston University. Zinn was pretty quiet about the Soviet Union and what he might have done during the Stalin-Hitler Pact, but Mao Tse-Tung’s China was the closest thing to a “people’s government.”

In 2010 Zinn passed away at 87 during a swim in Santa Monica. The New York Times noted that the “proudly, unabashedly radical” professor’s A People’s History of the United States, “inspired a generation of high school and college students to rethink American history.” Zinn’s handlers set about transforming the rotting corpse of his work into the keystone of America’s history curriculum.

“Howard Zinn is no longer just for washed up actors like Ben Affleck and Matt Damon,” wrote Daniel Greenfield in 2012. “His neo-Communist propaganda is being wedged deeper and deeper into the educational system, because teaching kids to hate America is the new education.” Zinn contended that the Constitution was devised solely to formalize the inferior position of blacks, the exclusion of Indians, and the establishment of supremacy for the rich and powerful.

James Comey and the Stinking Fish Factor By Joan Swirsky

(Author’s note: In August 2016, I wrote an article entitled “James Comey and the Stinking Fish Factor,” warning readers that the Comey fish was already rotting and that things were bound to get worse. Clearly, they just did. And it’s just as clear that the uncontrolled hysteria we are witnessing from Democrats has to do not with bogus accusations about Russia but about the criminal indictments coming down the pike for the people they’ve blindly defended for decades—that would be Bill & Hill Clinton—and possibly against even bigger fish! I’ve updated this article by abbreviating its length but also adding a few sentences. -JS)

I always thought that James Comey was a company man. As it happens, the company he headed is among the most influential, powerful and scary companies in the world—the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

But still, a company guy. Whether working for a president on the moderate-to-conservative spectrum like G.W. Bush or for a far-left Alinsky acolyte like Barack Obama, makes absolutely no difference to this type of obedient—and also subservient—accommodator.

The red flag of skepticism should have gone up years ago to the American public when lavish praise was heaped on Comey by people who revile each other. While the spin insists that Comey is a lot of virtuous things—“straight-shooter,” “unbiased,” “fair-minded,” “non-partisan” “man of his word”—don’t be fooled. That’s Orwellian newspeak for someone who will do and say anything to keep his job, including, as Comey did in yet another Clinton fiasco case last summer, allow her to…

1. Create out of whole cloth an “intent” criterion in federal law to let a clearly corrupt politician––that would be Hillary––off the hook, and,

2. Appropriate the job of the Attorney General in announcing what the outcome of the FBI’s investigation should be.

While citing Hillary’s “extreme negligence” in handling classified information, a virtual litany of illegal acts committed by the then-Secretary of State, and the fact that hostile foreign operatives may have accessed her email account, Comey said he would not refer criminal charges to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Justice Department. Hillary, he said, was “extremely careless” and “unsophisticated,” among other spitballs he hurled in her direction before completely letting her off the hook!

Comey’s friend and colleague, Andrew C. McCarthy, said that the FBI director’s decision is tantamount to sleight-of-hand trickery. “There is no way of getting around this,” McCarthy wrote. “Hillary Clinton checked every box required for a felony violation…in essence, in order to give Mrs. Clinton a pass, the FBI rewrote the statute, inserting an intent element that Congress did not require.”

The Luckiest Jews in History By Shmuel Rosner (NYTimes)

TEL AVIV — I am perhaps the luckiest Jew who ever lived. Or if you are Jewish, you might be.

I am the Jew who gets to see Jewish ingenuity unapologetically celebrated, Jewish material success flourish, Jewish might acknowledged and the Jewish language rejuvenated. I am the Jew who after 2,000 years gets to witness Jewish political independence. And this is true of all Jews, whether they live here in Israel or experience this success in Jewish communities elsewhere in the world.

True, there is some competition for the luckiest generation of Jews: the time of Moses, Solomon’s kingdom or the Golden Age in Spain. But I think I can make a solid case for it.

Israel, the Jewish state, turns 70 this week. Around the time my grandmother was born in Lithuania, at the end of World War I, there were, according to scholars, about 60,000 Jews living in Palestine. When my mother was born in Mandatory Palestine, shortly before Israel declared its independence, there were about 600,000. I was born in 1968, when Israel celebrated its 20th anniversary, and during my childhood the number of Jews in this country was about three million, according to Israeli government statistics. Whenever today’s population is mentioned, I have a moment of cognitive dissonance: In my still-young mind we are still three million, even as my older body lives in an Israel of six million Jews.

Still, 70 years of independence is barely a blip on the radar of Jewish history. And the Jews of Israel are highly aware of our role as a small link in a long chain of Jewish history. We are modern Israelis, of course, but our consciousness is one of ancient Jews. In survey after survey, more Israelis choose “Jewish” over “Israeli” as their main identity. And by this they do not refer to a religion (Judaism) but to a nation (the Jewish people).

Thus, when celebrating 70 years of statehood, we Jews must engage in a kind of balancing act. On one hand, we need to appreciate the great achievement of building this Jewish homeland in such a short time in such a hostile environment. On the other hand, we need to grasp the smallness of this achievement in the scheme of Jewish history.

Mission Accomplished? Shoshana Bryen

It was either very brave or very foolish to adopt the “Mission Accomplished” slogan that hung behind President George W. Bush as he stood on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln in the early days of the Iraq war. Although President Bush ​never used those words, they were indelibly linked to the fortunes of the United States in the course of the Iraq war. For President Donald Trump to have tweeted it is a poke at the very principle of conventional wisdom.

The US/UK/FR strike on Syria’s Him Shinshar (both the bunker and the storage depot) and the Barzeh “scientific research center,” (the location of chemical weapons research) was a resounding success. Not designed for “regime change” or to end the Syrian civil war, the raid was intended to punish the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime, its protector Russia and its banker Iran. It was to make it harder to do it again. It was to uphold one of the few areas of international consensus in warfare – that CW use is forbidden. That mission was indeed accomplished, but the expected chorus of naysayers would have you believe that it was:
​ a military failure​,​​a​ political failure, or both.

On the military side, as usual, the Russians were out of the gate first, claiming the chemical attack on Duma – for which the allied raid was retaliation – had been staged by the British, and then that Syrian air defenses had destroyed 71 of 103 missiles the allies launched. The Pentagon warned on Saturday, “The Russian disinformation campaign has already begun…There has been a 2,000% increase in Russian trolls in the last 24 hours.”

The Guardian (UK) reported:

Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi of the Russian military said the strikes had not caused any casualties and that Syrian military facilities suffered only minor damage… Russia said its advisers had spent the last 18 months completely rebuilding the Syrian air defence system, and said the high number of intercepted rockets spoke to “the high effectiveness of the weaponry in Syria and the excellent training of Syrian servicemen prepared by our specialists.”

Canada Is Pulling Diplomats’ Families From Cuba Over Mysterious ‘Acquired Brain Injury’ This follows concerns of “sonic attacks” against US and Canadian diplomats on Cuban soil.Tracey Lindeman

Canadian diplomatic families are being recalled from Cuba after new research suggested a mysterious illness that afflicted some embassy staff was a “possible acquired brain injury.”

The decision to turn the Canadian embassy in Havana into an “unaccompanied post” comes just four months after the federal government said it wouldn’t pull diplomatic staff from the Caribbean country following reported but unproven “sonic attacks.” Other unaccompanied posts include Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and South Sudan.

“Canadian diplomats posted to Cuba will not be accompanied by their dependants. Arrangements will be made to support our diplomatic staff and their families returning to Canada in the coming weeks, as well as for those families who had expected to be posted to Cuba this summer,” wrote Global Affairs Canada in a statement released April 16.

This is the latest in a saga that began in late 2016, when American diplomats stationed in Cuba began complaining of headaches, dizziness, nosebleeds, vision and hearing problems, and a lack of concentration. They reported hearing “buzzing,” “grinding,” and “piercing squeals,” according to the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Brain Injury and Repair.

American Pravda Wins Pulitzer By Pedro Gonzalez

The New York Times just won a Pulitzer Prize for “public service.” I’ve never met this “public” to whom the New York Times has provided some great service.

Perhaps that is unfair. After all, the last article I read in the Gray Lady was actually enlightening.

I had just finished my cultural enrichment with “The Myth of the Criminal Immigrant,” a masterpiece by Anna Flagg, and was set to edify the unenlightened wretches I call friends with the knowledge that “immigration does not increase crime,” when I was informed that a colleague’s home had been raided by the FBI!

My colleague (who will remain unnamed) rolled awake to a team of plainclothes agents pointing guns at him. They politely asked for a word. The agents revealed that my colleague’s father-in-law had unknowingly hired a mechanic who makes most of his “hard-earned” cash as a narcotraficante—not exactly the contribution to GPD we were promised from mass immigration.

Why would I assume that a notorious narco is likely either to be an immigrant or second generation? Call it informed prejudice.

Living in one of the last “conservative” bastions of California, that also happens to be more afflicted with criminal immigrants than most areas, I wondered which routine of intellectual gymnastics Flagg, or anyone else in the New York Times’ salon, might perform to rationalize the existence of this particular criminal immigrant. Also unexplainable, the recent kidnapping attempt at an outlet mall near the border; the Border Patrol’s discovery of 231 pounds of methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine stuffed by a mother into her van full of children; the more than 158 gangs not infrequently comprised of, however mythological, criminal immigrants; the men beaten and carjacked in broad daylight at a San Diego college, held hostage by the perpetrators as they drove toward the border, and then ejected from the vehicle so that the stolen car could be driven into Mexico.

The Comey Coverup Vladimir Putin knows more about the 2016 outcome than the American people do. By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.

In his memoir, James Comey cites a “development still unknown to the American public to this day.” This mysterious development, he says, was central to his decision to intervene publicly in the Hillary Clinton email case.

Now this is strange because the big mystery was apparently disclosed in a flurry of reporting by the New York Times, Washington Post and CNN a year ago. His insistence in his book that the secret is likely to remain classified for decades also seems a bit hilarious when so much of the story was spontaneously declassified by anonymous leakers last spring, likely including Mr. Comey or people working for him.

Let’s recall what spawned that year-ago leakfest. It’s a question Mr. Comey leaves untouched in his book. Many in the FBI thought the intelligence was fake, possibly a Russian plant. The final reporting word was CNN’s, which cited sources saying Mr. Comey knew the evidence was probably fake but still considered it a threat to discredit the Justice Department’s handling of the Clinton email case.

A few weeks later, though, Sen. Lindsey Graham told CBS that Mr. Comey (presumably in closed hearings) had twice confirmed that the secret intelligence inspired his actions in the email case but “as early as a month ago, he never mentioned it was fake.”

Let us guess that this matter will remain classified for “decades” because it is embarrassing to Mr. Comey and the FBI. It’s also embarrassing, perhaps fatally so, to the intelligence agency that presented the intercept to Mr. Comey. The implication ought to set your hair on fire. Mr. Comey’s first intervention led to his second intervention, reopening the Hillary investigation 11 days before the election, which he now concedes he might have resisted if he had not been sure Mrs. Clinton was going to win anyway.

Many analysts, including Mrs. Clinton, believe Mr. Comey’s actions—possibly driven by fake Russian intelligence—changed the outcome of the election.

In brief, an intercepted Russian document cited a Democratic Party email that, in turn, referred to a private conversation in which Attorney General Loretta Lynch assured a Clinton aide that Ms. Lynch would sit on the email investigation.

In his book, Mr. Comey says of this unnameable intelligence that political opponents of Mrs. Clinton could use it to cast “serious doubt” on the credibility of the Justice Department investigation.

Let’s roll back the tape because Mr. Comey’s original intervention makes even less sense now. If the email was fake, how does it compromise Ms. Lynch? And whether or not it was fake, how did Mr. Comey improve matters? In fact, by intervening, didn’t he just confirm that Justice couldn’t be trusted? Finally, if the intel wasn’t fake, where are the subpoenas and obstruction-of-justice indictments that naturally follow? CONTINUE AT SITE

Gorsuch’s Good Opinion Trump’s nominee protects liberty like Scalia would have.

President Trump said he wanted Supreme Court Justices in the mold of Antonin Scalia, and on Tuesday he got his wish. Though Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the four liberals on an immigration case, his logic would have made the late Justice proud.

In Sessions v. Dimaya, the government sought to deport a legal resident twice convicted of first-degree burglary. The Immigration and Nationality Act lets the government deport any immigrant convicted of a “crime of violence.” The question is whether first-degree burglary is a violent crime.

Section 16b of the criminal code includes a residual clause that defines a violent crime as “any other offense that is a felony and that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.”

Writing for the majority, Justice Elena Kagan invoked the Court’s Johnson precedent and held that the residual clause was void for vagueness. In Johnson (2015), Justice Scalia’s majority opinion rejected a similar residual clause in the Armed Career Criminal Act and ruled that its vague language produced “more unpredictability and arbitrariness” than the Constitution allows.

Chief Justice John Roberts’s minority opinion tries to distinguish the residual clauses in the two cases to save Section 16b, which he notes “is incorporated into many procedural and substantive provisions of criminal law.” But he appears as concerned with the policy results of the Court’s decision as the legal merits.

The big news is Justice Gorsuch’s elegant concurring opinion that joins the majority result but for different reasons. “Vague laws invite arbitrary power,” he writes, “leaving the people in the dark about what the law demands and allowing prosecutors and courts to make it up.” (See Comey, James nearby.)

Justice Gorsuch writes that Congress is free to define 16b with more specific crimes. But until it does the vague statute violates the due process right of individuals by giving license to police and prosecutors to interpret laws as they wish. This defense of individuals against arbitrary state power was a Scalia staple. Justice Gorsuch adds that vague laws also threaten the Constitution’s ordered liberty because they “risk allowing judges to assume legislative power.”

Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court nominee is sending a useful message that Congress should write clearer laws that aren’t subject to arbitrary interpretation. Congress can rewrite immigration law, and the President should be pleased with his nominee for doing what he promised.

Trump, Cohen and Attorney-Client Privilege The protection has limits, but is it worth testing them over a possible campaign-finance offense? By Michael B. Mukasey

Who’d have dreamed that with all the horrors committed by Bashar Assad, Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un, the small change of American political discourse would be whether the attorney-client privilege is being used to conceal the source of hush payments to “actresses”? But here we are.

In the 16th century, when our English forbears began resolving disputes through trial by jury rather than ordeal or battle, disputants had to rely on lawyers to present evidence and arguments. Thus the need for a rule that would encourage clients to disclose information to their lawyers.

That rule was the attorney-client privilege. It compromised the public’s otherwise unrelenting claim to every man’s evidence so as to encourage full and frank communication between lawyers and clients. The trade-off was that legal disputes were a search for the truth, and we would wind up with more truth if we didn’t search the parties’ lawyers to get it. Otherwise no client would disclose any unhelpful truth to a lawyer, and the process would collapse.

The privilege has a limit, the crime-fraud exception. The privilege is not recognized if the client is using the lawyer to commit a crime. For the most part this exception is read narrowly, to cover only the motive of the client. If the lawyer is acting on his own—for the client’s benefit but without the client’s authorization—evidence of the lawyer’s conduct would not be privileged, although evidence of the client’s statements would remain so.

That’s tidy in the abstract, and if a lawyer is served with a subpoena for information. But things get messy when, as occurred here, the party seeking the information is the government, and the means of getting it is a search warrant.

As to any particular client, the lawyer’s records will include myriad information, some of it client disclosures, some concerning conduct undertaken with the approval of the client—all of that privileged. There may also be records of the lawyer’s conduct and statements in pursuance of a criminal scheme, on his own or with the client—none of it privileged.

The government agents executing the warrant must isolate records that are relevant and unprivileged. They have no obvious way to do that other than to look at all records they seize, which means necessarily that they will look at records that should not be subject to a government search.

Agents typically do that by sending in a “filter team,” whose members have no contact with those involved in the investigation. That ensures that information that should not be examined—whether privileged or not—does not seep into, or “taint,” the investigation.

That’s the theory. Its success depends on the skill and honor of the filter team, and even in the best case it doesn’t prevent some government personnel from examining private records that are none of the government’s business.

The process risks damaging the significant public interest that led to the creation of the privilege in the first place. Is it worth the reward? One would think that would depend at least in part on the seriousness of the crimes under investigation.

In this case, the government has redacted any reference to particular crimes, although we learned earlier that perhaps Donald Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, spent $130,000 on the eve of the 2016 election to buy the silence of Stephanie Clifford, a k a Stormy Daniels, about a sexual encounter she claimed she had with Mr. Trump several years ago. The payment itself would violate no law, but if its sole motive was to improve Mr. Trump’s chances in the election, it could constitute an in-kind campaign contribution that was not disclosed, in violation of campaign laws. The amount, more than $25,000, would put the violation in the felony category.

Have such violations been vigorously prosecuted in the past? In 2012 President Obama received campaign donations exceeding $2 million from sources that were not disclosed; he received another $1.3 million that exceeded contribution limits. The matter was settled after the election by the Obama Justice Department for a fine of $375,000 and no felony prosecution.

Another possible crime said to justify the search warrant is bank fraud. Here, one theory is that Mr. Cohen might have defrauded his bank by falsifying the purpose of the home-equity loan that was reportedly the source of the $130,000. But if Mr. Cohen’s equity is sufficient to provide collateral for the loan, why would its purpose matter to the bank? And if it doesn’t matter, there’s no fraud.

We can’t be certain that this is all that is under investigation. But if it is, the potential gains from an intrusive and unusual search warrant look meager compared with the interest put at risk. How confident are we in the self-control of those who set these events in train—who after all were supposed to be at work protecting the integrity of our elections?

Oddly, an episode involving a poison no doubt familiar to all three madmen mentioned in the first paragraph gives pause.

After anthrax spores killed five people, infected 17 others, and showed up in envelopes mailed to U.S. senators and media organizations in 2001, the current special counsel, then director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, spent years chasing and destroying the reputation of a microbiologist named Steven Hatfill, zealous in the belief that Mr. Hatfill was the guilty party. Another zealot, James Comey, then deputy attorney general, said he was “absolutely certain” no mistake had been made.

After Mr. Hatfill was exonerated—he received more than $5.5 million in damages from the government—Mr. Mueller then decided that another microbiologist, Bruce Ivins, was the culprit. When Ivins committed suicide, Mr. Mueller pronounced the case closed. A subsequent investigation by the National Academy of Sciences suggests Ivins too was innocent.

Mr. Mueller is not a bad man, nor is Mr. Comey. It’s just that both show particular confidence when making mistakes, which makes one grateful for safeguards like the attorney-client privilege.

Mr. Mukasey served as U.S. attorney general (2007-09) and a U.S. district judge (1988-2006).