A Terrorist and Naturalization Fraud Why federal prosecutors failed to indict a terrorist for a serious crime. Michael Cutler

On June 29, 2017 the Department of Justice issued a press releases, Ohio Man Pleads Guilty to Providing Material Support to Terrorists.

Numerous politicians have proposed legislation that would strip an American of his/her citizenship if that American attended terror training overseas or fought on the side of terrorist organizations. This is entirely understandable and other countries have proposed similar laws be enacted.

Incredibly, in this case, this terrorist could have easily been stripped of his citizenship because he apparently acquired it by committing fraud in his naturalization application.

Yet, inexplicably, the federal prosecutors in this case failed to indict him for this crime even as they successfully charged him with other crimes relating to terrorism, for which he pleaded guilty. Adding this crime to his charges would have been a simple matter, indeed.

The “Ohio Man” was Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud a native of Somalia who, according to the information filed by federal prosecutors, entered the United States at the age of two.

The DOJ press release began with these two paragraphs:

Court records unsealed today reveal that Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, 25, of Columbus, Ohio, pleaded guilty to all counts alleged against him regarding a terrorist plot.

A federal grand jury charged Mohamud in April 2015 with one count of attempting to provide and providing material support to terrorists, one count of attempting to provide and providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization – namely, al-Nusrah Front – and one count of making false statements to the FBI involving international terrorism in an indictment returned in Columbus. Mohamud pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Preston Deavers on Aug. 14, 2015, and the plea was sealed because of an ongoing investigation.

Allen/Bauman Peace Plan Dangerous For Israel Putting one’s security in the hands of foreign forces. Morton A. Klein and Daniel Mandel

President Donald Trump entered the White House committed to finding “the ultimate deal” to bring about an Israeli/Palestinian Arab peace. Though putting himself on record in February as favoring no particular type of solution other than one that commends itself to both sides, President Trump’s advisers are now reportedly examining a plan for a Palestinian state.

The plan, devised by General John Allen during the Obama Administration, calls for a sovereign but demilitarized Palestinian state to be established within the 1949 armistice lines. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) would be withdrawn from within its territory, including the strategically vital Jordan Valley –– something Yitzhak Rabin, weeks before his murder, insisted on Israel retaining under any peace agreement. Instead, Israel would have to rely for its security upon a US military force operating in the Jordan Valley and, perhaps a continuing IDF presence for a 10-15 year period.

Colonel Kris Bauman, who assisted General Allen in the formulation of the original plan, is now serving as adviser to Trump’s National Security Council –– an indication of the seriousness with which the Plan is being considered.

Is the Allen Plan a good one? Unfortunately not, for several reasons.

Reliance on foreign forces holds a cautionary history for Israel.

The United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF), which was designed to keep the peace between Egypt and Israel after the 1956 Suez War, was simply withdrawn at Egypt’s request in 1967, leading to the Six Day War.

President Eisenhower’s 1957 military guarantee to Israel of free, unmolested maritime shipping through the Straits of Tiran turned out to be unenforceable when Israel needed the US to provide it in 1967 –– another factor that produced the Six Day War.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) never prevented the PLO or, later, Hizballah from attacking Israel and has actually become a hindrance to Israel stopping Hizballah militarizing the Lebanese-Israeli border, resulting in several wars.

With the emergence in the last two years of jihadist groups on the armistice lines with Israel on the Golan Heights, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) has similarly ceased to provide any form of protection for Israel or accountability from its attackers. International forces and guarantees can vanish overnight.

Trump Jr. Dared To Talk To a Russian Woman The New York Times’ latest nothing-burger. Matthew Vadum

From the fever swamps of the Left, the unsubstantiated, over-the-top Russian electoral collusion conspiracy theory now includes President Trump’s son who now stands accused of a 20-minute meeting with a Russian lawyer who allegedly has Kremlin ties.

This is merely the latest part of the Left’s rolling coup attempt against President Trump.

According to the New York Times, Natalia Veselnitskaya met with Donald Trump Jr. at the Trump Tower in Manhattan in June last year after his father had secured enough delegates to win the GOP presidential nomination. She got the meeting by claiming she had dirt on Democrat presidential contender Hillary Clinton.

The newspaper breathlessly added in a separate report that young Trump was sent an email by acquaintance Rob Goldstone cautioning that “the Russian government was the source of the potentially damaging information.” The paper acknowledged the email “does not elaborate on the wider effort by Moscow to help the Trump campaign.”

Nor is it clear if Trump Jr. read the email. Of course, the sources to the New York Times are not named. The newspaper adds:

There is no evidence to suggest that the promised damaging information was related to Russian government computer hacking that led to the release of thousands of Democratic National Committee emails. The meeting took place less than a week before it was widely reported that Russian hackers had infiltrated the committee’s servers.

The meeting was set up by Rob Goldstone, a music publicist, the Washington Post reports. Goldstone is involved with the Miss Universe pageant and manages Russian pop star Emin Agalarov.

“President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before agreeing to meet with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign, according to three advisers to the White House briefed on the meeting and two others with knowledge of it.”

Then-campaign manager Paul Manafort and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, reportedly had a meeting with Veselnitskaya who has ties somehow to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

That’s it. A so-called scoop in journalistic parlance.

The Trump campaign apparently did nothing but listen to the woman.

Donald Trump Jr. now says the woman’s offer of opposition research on Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton and other Democrats was a ruse.

“After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton,” Trump Jr. told the Times. “Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.”

As Michael Walsh observes at the New York Post:

The real reason, it seems, was that Veselnitskaya wanted to lobby for the repeal of the Magnitsky Act, an Obama-era law that allows the US to deny visas to Russians thought guilty of human rights violations. In retaliation, the Russians promptly ended the adoption of Russian orphans by Americans.

It Costs Taxpayers a Bundle, but Is It Art? A $10,000 grant for theater ‘celebrating the saguaro cactus’? The National Endowment said yes. Roger Kimball

Conservative criticism of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, like the poor according to Mark the Evangelist, is something we will have always with us. Ever since the endowments were created in 1965, they have been a focus of ire for defenders of fiscal prudence and high cultural standards.

In the 1980s, the chief complaint was against the efflorescence of obscenity and leftish political posturing: the pornographic photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe or the antics of “performance artist” Karen Finley, who pranced about naked skirling about patriarchy and capitalism.

But “Ten Good Reasons to Eliminate Funding for the National Endowment for the Arts,” a 1997 Heritage Foundation report, got to the nub of the issue. The NEA is “welfare for cultural elitists,” Heritage observed, and the same can be said for the NEH. There is nothing wrong with cultural elitists per se, but why should the taxpayers pick up their tab?

A new report from the Illinois-based initiative Open the Books provides an eye-opening look into the size of that tab. The study includes virtually every grant the NEA and NEH have made since 2016, and additional details about the endowments’ activities as far back as 2009. This includes grants to 71 entities with assets over $1 billion, and one grant to a California enterprise that celebrates the work of a Japanese-American artist best known for declaring: “I consider Osama bin Laden as one of the people that I admire.”

Since its founding in 2011, Open the Books has pursued the elusive goal of governmental transparency by collecting reams of data about local, state and federal expenditures. All that information is then made freely accessible online. Their motto: “Every Dime. Online. In Real Time.”

The group’s earlier initiatives include reports on federal payments to so-called sanctuary cities ($26.74 billion in 2016) and the eight superrich Ivy League universities (nearly $42 billion in federal payments, benefits, and tax advantages over the last several years). Harvard alone sits atop an endowment of $36 billion, and altogether the Ivy League controls tax-exempt endowment funds of some $120 billion, equivalent to $2 million per undergraduate. Yet taxpayers are footing the bill for massive subsidies for these institutions, where the cost of attendance now approaches $70,000 per annum.

The latest Open the Books report reveals that in 2016 federal arts agencies dispensed more than $440 million into the collective maw of their clients. Nearly half, $210 million, went to recipients in only 10 states—a predictable lineup of progressive coastal outfits, mostly clustered in California and New York.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a public charity commanding assets worth nearly $4 billion. The museum’s annual gala is a star-studded event, what one publicist called an “ATM for the Met.” The Met raised some $300 million last year, yet it has received more than $1 million from the NEH since 2009. Why?

There is also the issue of what public funds are being spent to support. Doubtless many initiatives could be worthy, but a lot of the funded projects are inane, repellent or both.

In the inane category, consider a $10,000 grant in 2016 to Borderlands Theater in Tucson, Ariz. The money went to a series of “site-responsive performances celebrating the saguaro cactus.” Yep, you read that right. Attendees stand or sit with a saguaro cactus for an hour in the middle of the desert to discover what the cactus can teach them. Then they share their experiences on social media. #IFellAsleep?

Many projects are repellent, including several that cannot be described in a family newspaper. But how about this? The New York Shakespeare Festival has been much in the public eye this summer for its production of “ Julius Caesar, ” in which the title character is made to look like the president. One Associated Press report describes the carnage: “He looks like Donald Trump . . . moves like Trump . . . is knifed to death on stage, blood staining his white shirt.” Over the past several years the festival has received some $30 million in taxpayer grants, including more than $600,000 from the NEA. Is political propaganda the right use of taxpayer dollars?

In Search of the Origin of the Jews For a long time, the biblical narrative held sway. Now scholars seek to distinguish historical fact from religious myth—if it is possible to do so. By Benjamin Balint

Can we grasp the essence of something by laying bare its origins? “An origin is not just a beginning,” Steven Weitzman writes, “it is a ‘beginning that explains.’ ” In “The Origin of the Jews,” Mr. Weitzman, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, aims to find one nation’s elusive starting point. “The Jews have one of the longest and most intensively studied histories of any population on earth,” he notes, “but the beginning of their history, how it is that the Jews came to be, remains surprisingly unsettled.”

The reason for this is that, until recently, the biblical narrative held sway: Jews understood themselves to be the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, members of a family that was forged into a people by enslavement in Egypt and revelation at Mount Sinai. Yet ever since the Bible’s historical veracity came under scrutiny in the 18th and 19th centuries, scholars seeking to distinguish historical fact from religious myth have questioned how Jews today are related to the Hebrews of the Torah and the Judeans of the New Testament.

Because origins can be entangled with authenticity, the inquiry is not without its risks. “Going back to antiquity,” Mr. Weitzman writes, “anti-Jewish animosity has sometimes expressed itself in the form of counter-origin stories that seek to mock and discredit the Jews by negating their own understanding of their origin.” Centuries of Christian polemics, Mr. Weitzman adds, “sought to discredit the Jews as authentic heirs to biblical Israel” by questioning the continuity between Jews and their ancient forebears and caricaturing them as a rootless people.

Today the search for origins, already fraught, has come to be entangled with the legitimacy of the state of Israel. Mr. Weitzman cites critics who challenge Zionist claims that modern-day Jews, sharing a genealogical and geographical origin with their ancient ancestors, are indigenous to the land of Israel.

Photo: WSJ
The Origin of the Jews

By Steven Weitzman
Princeton, 394 pages, $35

The first to gauge the formative moment of this people’s story, Mr. Weitzman says, were 20th-century archaeologists who claimed that around 1200 B.C. the Israelites emerged from the earlier Canaanite culture. The archaeologists variously proposed that the Israelites were invaders from Egypt who seized Canaan in an act of conquest; migrants from Mesopotamia who infiltrated the land peacefully; or Canaanite peasants who revolted against their exploiters and gave birth to a new set of rituals and principles. The pioneering biblical archaeologist W.F. Albright (1891-1971) found evidence of an abrupt leap: “The Canaanites, with their orgiastic nature-worship . . . were replaced by Israel, with its nomadic simplicity and purity of life, its lofty monotheism and its severe code of ethics.”

Still other scholars locate the Jews’ founding moment in the encounter with the ancient Greeks. Drawing on Shaye Cohen’s study “The Beginnings of Jewishness” (1999), Mr. Weitzman takes up the theory that Judaism (itself a Greek coinage of the second century B.C.) was catalyzed by the Judeans’ cross-fertilization with Hellenistic culture. Before Alexander the Great’s conquest, Judean identity was a matter of ethnicity, determined by birth. Afterward, emulating the ways in which Greeks thought of their “Greekness,” it became a community of belief. Paraphrasing Mr. Cohen, Mr. Weitzman writes that “the Judeans realized under the influence of the Greeks that identity was not fixed by birth, that one could make oneself into a Jew through conversion.” CONTINUE AT SITE

What Did Hillary Know about Russian Interference? A congressional committee examines the Kremlin’s campaign to influence U.S. energy policy.By James Freeman

As the search for evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government enters its second year, a senior congressional Republican sees mounting evidence that Russia has been engaged in a long-term campaign to disrupt the energy agenda now promoted by Donald Trump. Today the House Science Committee sent this column the following statement from Chairman Lamar Smith:

If you connect the dots, it is clear that Russia is funding U.S. environmental groups in an effort to suppress our domestic oil and gas industry, specifically hydraulic fracking. They have established an elaborate scheme that funnels money through shell companies in Bermuda. This scheme may violate federal law and certainly distorts the U.S. energy market. The American people deserve to know the truth and I am confident Secretary Mnuchin will investigate the allegations.

He’s referring to Trump Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. On Friday Mr. Smith released a letter that he and Energy Subcommittee Chairman Randy Weber sent to Mr. Mnuchin asking for an investigation of “what appears to be a concerted effort by foreign entities to funnel millions of dollars through various non-profit entities to influence the U.S. energy market.” The two Texas Republicans added:

According to the former Secretary General of NATO, “Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called nongovernmental organizations – environmental organizations working against shale gas – to maintain dependence on imported Russian gas.” Other officials have indicated the same scheme is unfolding in the U.S.

The letter from Messrs. Smith and Weber also says that according to public sources, including a 2014 report from Republican staff on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, “entities connected to the Russian government are using a shell company registered in Bermuda, Klein Ltd. (Klein), to funnel tens of millions of dollars to a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) private foundation,” which supports various environmental groups.

In response to an inquiry from this column, Roderick M. Forrest of Bermuda’s Wakefield Quin Limited says in an emailed statement:

The allegations are completely false and irresponsible. Our firm has represented Klein since its inception, and we can state categorically that at no point did this philanthropic organization receive or expend funds from Russian sources or Russian-connected sources and Klein has no Russian connection whatsoever.

Leaving aside the specific question of which vehicles Putin’s government uses to conduct influence campaigns, the two Texas Republicans aren’t the only ones who have made the more general accusation that Russia has been funding green front groups to disrupt energy supplies that would compete with Russian oil and gas. If a document posted last year on WikiLeaks is to be believed, Clinton campaign staff summarized in an email attachment Hillary Clinton’s remarks on the subject during a private speech:

Clinton Talked About “Phony Environmental Groups” Funded By The Russians To Stand Against Pipelines And Fracking. “We were up against Russia pushing oligarchs and others to buy media. We were even up against phony environmental groups, and I’m a big environmentalist, but these were funded by the Russians to stand against any effort, oh that pipeline, that fracking, that whatever will be a problem for you, and a lot of the money supporting that message was coming from Russia.” [Remarks at tinePublic, 6/18/14]

Reading further into the speech summaries in the WikiLeaks document, this column is struck by how much more sensible Mrs. Clinton’s private remarks were compared to her public positions:

Clinton Discussed Promoting Oil Pipelines and Fracking In Eastern Europe. “So how far this aggressiveness goes I think is really up to us. I would like to see us accelerating the development of pipelines from Azerbaijan up into Europe. I would like to see us looking for ways to accelerate the internal domestic production. Poland recently signed a big contract to explore hydraulic fracturing to see what it could produce. Apparently, there is thought to be some good reserves there. And just really go at this in a self interested, smart way. The Russians can only intimidate you if you are dependent upon them.” [International Leaders’ Series, Palais des Congrès de Montréal, 3/18/14]

Hillary Clinton obviously knows the terrain and perhaps Mr. Mnuchin (whose department holds expertise in tracking international financial flows) should start his inquiry by interviewing the former secretary of State. He might also gain some insights into Russia’s strategy to handicap competing sources of fossil fuels by talking to former Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta.

Mr. Podesta has been back in the news lately after President Trump oddly tweeted from Germany to report that “everyone” at the G20 was talking about the former Clinton and Obama aide’s response to last year’s theft and disclosure of Democrats’ emails. CONTINUE AT SITE

Can We Make the Internet of Things Secure? By Stephen Bryen and Shoshana Bryen

In the simplest terms, Internet of Things (IoT) is the addition of some internet connectivity to everyday objects. Security cameras, for example, previously had to be hardwired. Now they are generally WiFi-connected, allowing camera information to be transmitted to the security control system and allowing the security control system to broadcast its collected information to a remote command center or even to a tablet or smartphone. Then, if the camera has PTZ (pan, tilt, and zoom) functions, the user can redirect the camera, zoom in on an anomaly, or follow an object.

There is hardly a new product that does not try in some way to offer IoT capability. The simplest products gather information from the broader internet and relay it to the user. A “smart” refrigerator can tell you when your grapes are getting low or close to spoilage. It can order grapes for you and have them delivered, or tell you where grapes are on sale and how close to your house the sale is. A “smart” TV can search out genres of programs for you based on preferences you pre-load, or by deriving recommendations by tracking your use behavior on the internet. A “smart” TV can become a point of sale device linked to Amazon, eBay or other outlets, letting you order on impulse while watching your favorite sports or house-hunting program. (“We can deliver a pizza now!” “How about calling Joe at Friendly Realty? He can find you a great home at a terrific price.”)

As artificial intelligence (A.I.) gains ground, home and business assistants will answer your questions or even make suggestions. Alexa from Amazon already has a large user base, with Google and Apple coming along. “Would you like me to turn on the lights downstairs as it is past 9PM?” “Can I recommend a really great restaurant that just opened near you? I can make a reservation for you; just tell me when you would like to try it.” Or “Keep in mind that you need to take into account local taxes when figuring prices for your latest product. Do you want me to calculate that for you?”

Intelligent assistants will start doing a lot of the work that paid help once provided, will do it 24×7 without complaint, with minimal overhead, and will not only be cost-effective, but can also be a profit center. For example, a really great sales digital assistant will not only call customers, but be capable of managing a conversation, promoting new offers, providing technical help, and even asking for customer opinions and integrating findings into a master package for the company. These go far beyond current-day answering systems. (“Press 1 if you want to speak to a nurse, 2 to make an appointment, or 3 to collect the dead body.”)

This is an environment wide open to mischief, and the mischief is starting. Suppose I turn on your smart TV camera (yes, you have one) and record activity without your knowledge. Suppose I misdirect your GPS and send you off in the wrong direction or to the wrong destination. Suppose I create a fake traffic jam ahead (this has already been done) and make you take a dead-end detour. Suppose I order products you did not buy. Or deliver a pizza, an Uber, or a new car to your front door.

How Did Trump Earn an Unprecedented Progressive Backlash? By Victor Davis Hanson

Celebrities, academics, and journalists have publicly threatened or imagined decapitating Donald Trump, blowing him up in the White House, shooting him, hanging him, clubbing him, and battering his face. They have compared him to Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin. And some have variously accused him of incestuous relations with his daughter and committing sex acts with Vladimir Putin, while engaging in some sort urination-sex in a hotel in Moscow.

Yet all this and more is often alleged to be the singular dividend of Trump’s own crudity, as if his own punching back at critics created the proverbial progressive “climate of fear” or “climate of hate” that prompted such uncharacteristic venom.

In truth we are back to 2004-2008, when the Left did to George W. Bush what it is now doing to Donald Trump.

Assassination? Alfred A. Knopf published Nicholson Baker’s novel,Checkpoint, about characters fantasizing how to kill Bush. A guest columnist in the Guardian, Charlie Brooker, wrote to his British readers on the eve of the election fearing that if Bush were reelected, there would be no assassin to shoot him: “John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr.—where are you now that we need you?”

Do we remember filmmaker Gabriel Range’s “Death of a President,” the docudrama about Bush’s assassination that was a favorite at the Toronto Film Festival? Cindy Sheehan wrote she wished to go back into time to kill a younger Bush before he could be president.

Trump as Hitler or Mussolini is a Bush retread. Well before Trump, everyone got into the fascist/Nazi act, from Sens. Robert Byrd and John Glenn to celebrities like Linda Ronstadt and Garrison Keillor.

Hate? Jonathan’s Chait infamous New Republic article began: “I hate President George W. Bush. There, I said it.”

Do we remember the delusions of Howard Dean, who foamed, “I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for”?

Even decapitation chic is not new. After Bush left office, his detached head appeared on a stake in an episode of “Game of Thrones”; had they tried the same with Barack Obama, the hit show would have gone off the air.

Yet there is one difference. The Bush Administration, to paraphrase Michelle Obama, went high as progressives went low, and thus chose not to respond in kind. The result in part was that a battered Bush accordingly left office demonized, with a scant 34 percent approval rating.

The difference with Trump hatred is not some unique intensity or prior provocation, but rather Trump’s singular counter-punching. It may not be traditionally presidential, but the Trump mode is to nuke those who first attacked him, in an effort to create a sort of deterrence. CNN, to take one example, or Barack Obama to take another, at least knows that their smug, chic Trump putdowns will receive a reply in a manner that is neither smug nor chic. Trump in Samson fashion is quite willing to pull the temple down on top of himself, if it means his enemies perish first.

U.S.-Russia: A Glimmer of Hope By:Srdja Trifkovic

Considering the toxic Russophobic atmosphere nurtured by the Beltway establishment, the first meeting between presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin last Friday went reasonably well. Contrary to the mainstream media pack’s predictions and predictable post mortems, there were no “winners” or “losers.” The encounter was not perceived by its principals in terms of zero-cum game. It was a businesslike encounter between two grownups and their foreign ministers.

It is a good thing that the meeting did not include various staffers and advisors. The danger of leaks was thus eliminated, the setup was more conducive to candor. In the end it went on for over two hours, much longer than either side had anticipated, and covered a broad range of topics. For all their differences of temperament and background, Trump and Putin both understand that the business of U.S.-Russian relations is too serious to be subjected to the Deep Staters’ shenanigans or to the ukase of corporate media commentariat. Their initial agreements, notably on Syria, may not look earth-shattering. It is significant that they were reached in the first place.

On the subject of Russia’s alleged meddling in last year’s election, the two sides’ accounts of what was said may differ in detail but not in substance: it is time to move on, rather than litigate the past. We do not know whether Trump actually accepted Putin’s denials of interference (according to Sergei Lavrov), or simply acknowledged them without prejudice (according to Rex Tillerson, who also emphasized the two leaders’ “positive chemistry”).

Either way, he was just going through the motions. It is obvious that Donald Trump does not believe the establishmentarian narrative on Russian hacking, and he does not want to be bound by it. A day earlier in Poland he gave notably tepid support to the assertion that Moscow interfered in the 2016 election process: “I think it was Russia, but I think it was probably other people and/or countries, and I see nothing wrong with that statement. Nobody really knows; nobody really knows for sure.”

On the other side, it is noteworthy that Putin effectively put his credibility on the line by giving Trump his personal assurances that there had been no meddling. Next March he will be duly reelected to another six-year term, probably his final. He will therefore need to develop and maintain a solid relationship with Trump until at least January 2021, and possibly even until 2024. If various ongoing investigations in the U.S. produce credible evidence of official Russian interference, that would deal a fatal blow to the relationship of trust which Putin hopes to establish with his American counterpart; it would also make the Russian president look foolish. Putin’s readiness to disregard that possibility indicates his confidence that, in reality, no such evidence exists.

Lutey Tunes by Mark Steyn

Apologies to all my readers: Last week I carelessly wrote about President Trump’s Warsaw speech as if the words therein corresponded to the definitions ascribed to them by Oxford, Webster’s or any other English dictionary. My mistake. Apparently the plain meaning of the words is entirely irrelevant. Because the words aren’t words per se, they’re “dog whistles”:

Trump’s white-nationalist dog whistles in Warsaw

As James Taranto noted during a previous dog-whistling frenzy:

“The thing we adore about these dog-whistle kerfuffles is that the people who react to the whistle always assume it’s intended for somebody else,” he wrote. “The whole point of the metaphor is that if you can hear the whistle, you’re the dog.”

Indeed dog whistles are all they hear. If Trump is, as has been said, the all-time great Twitter troll, in Warsaw he was trolling for western civilization, and an entire army of mangy pooches began yowling and – to mix canine metaphors – set off like greyhounds in pursuit of a mechanical hare. Even if the speech had not been worth it on its own merits, it would still have performed a useful service in demonstrating that the western left now utterly despises western civilization. As I noted on Friday, this is the most pathetic humbug:

Ours is the civilization that built the modern world – as even the west’s cultural relativists implicitly accept, if only because they have no desire to emigrate and try to make a living as a cultural relativist in Yemen or Niger.

Because you can’t. Only a very highly evolved and advanced civilization can support a swollen elite grown rich on contempt for it. Most of the lefties stuck to the big-picture contempt: the dog whistles of faith, family, God, west, civilization. But for The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capeheart the most deafening dog whistle of all was played by a full-size symphony orchestra:

There was a line during Trump’s oration that sounded like an off-beat cymbal in his rhetorical sis-boom-bah in “defense of [Western] civilization itself.” See if you can pick it out.

‘Americans will never forget. The nations of Europe will never forget. We are the fastest and the greatest community. There is nothing like our community of nations. The world has never known anything like our community of nations.

‘We write symphonies. We pursue innovation. We celebrate our ancient heroes, embrace our timeless traditions and customs, and always seek to explore and discover brand-new frontiers.

‘We reward brilliance. We strive for excellence, and cherish inspiring works of art that honor God. We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression.’

“We write symphonies.” What on Earth does that have to do with anything?

Well, I would have thought that was obvious, though apparently Washington Post columnists need it spelled out: Trump is hymning the unique range of western achievement, not just the structures of functioning self-government, the rule of law and free speech, but the greatest accomplishments in science and intellectual inquiry, and a magnificent legacy of artistic expression, too, from paintings and cathedrals to plays and symphonies. What’s to argue about?