The Spiral of Silence How media bias aids the Left’s totalitarian climate-change crusade By Rupert Darwall

Editor’s Note: The following excerpt is adapted from Rupert Darwall’s new book Green Tyranny: Exposing the Totalitarian Roots of The Climate Industrial Complex. It appears here with permission.

Solitude many men have sought, and been reconciled to: but nobody that has the least thought or sense of a man about him, can live in society under the constant dislike and ill opinion of his familiars, and those he converses with.
— John Locke, 1690

It is not so much the dread of what an angry public may do that disarms the modern American, as it is sheer inability to stand unmoved in the rush of totally hostile comment, to endure a life perpetually at variance with the conscience and feeling of those about him.
— Edward Alsworth Ross, 1901

In August 2014, the Pew Research Center, an offshoot of the Pew Charitable Trusts, published the results of a survey on people’s willingness to discuss contentious issues on social-media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. “An informed citizenry depends on people’s exposure to information on important political issues and on their willingness to discuss these issues with those around them,” Pew explained. If people thought friends and followers on social media disagreed with them, they were less likely to share their views, the survey showed. “It has long been established that when people are surrounded by those who are likely to disagree with their opinion, they are more likely to self-censor.” These findings confirmed a major insight of pre-Internet-era communication studies: the tendency of people not to voice their opinions when they sense that their view is not widely shared. The report’s authors, led by Keith Hampton of Rutgers University, wrote, “This tendency is called the ‘spiral of silence.’”

The Spiral of Silence, published in 1984, was written by Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, West Germany’s foremost pollster. There was more to Noelle-Neumann. As the first sentence of her Times obituary put it, Noelle-Neumann moved from working as “a Nazi propagandist to become the grande dame of opinion polling in post-war Germany.” A cell leader of the Nazi student organization in Munich, she met Hitler at Berchtesgaden. “She found him sympathetic, lively and engaging.” Thanks to a scholarship from Joseph Goebbels’s Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, she went to the University of Missouri to study journalism. Her 1940 doctoral thesis on George Gallup’s polling techniques brought her to Goebbels’s notice, and he gave her a job writing for Das Reich. “To reach into the darkness to find the Jew who is hiding behind the Chicago Daily News is like sticking your hand into a wasp’s nest,” she wrote in June 1941. Dismissed a year later, she distanced herself from the Nazi regime, and after the war she and her husband, also an alumnus of Goebbels’s propaganda ministry, established the Allensbach Institute. Turned down by the SPD, Allensbach’s services were offered to the CDU. She was soon having tea with Konrad Adenauer, West Germany’s first chancellor.

Noelle-Neumann claimed that her thinking about the spiral of silence had been triggered by the 1965 German election, though this was far from the whole story. Polls had shown the CDU–CSU coalition running neck and neck with the SPD, while expectations of the outcome shifted dramatically in favor of the CDU–CSU coalition, accurately forecasting the actual result. Others’ opinions might influence one’s own behavior, Noelle-Neumann hypothesized. When a population is continuously exposed to a persistent and consistent media account of current events on controversial issues, the primary motivation of a person will be to conform, at least outwardly, to avoid discomfort and dissonance. “Over time there is thus a spiraling of opinion change in favor of one set of views,” Noelle-Neumann argued.

The intuition that had led her to the spiral of silence lay outside opinion polls. “The fear of isolation seems to be the force that sets the spiral of silence in motion,” she wrote. Historians, political philosophers, and other thinkers provided corroboration. Alexis de Tocqueville had written in 1856 that people “dread isolation more than error.” The quotations at the head of this chapter appeared in a lecture given by Noelle-Neumann just two months after the 1965 election. People can be on uncomfortable or even dangerous ground when the climate of opinion runs counter to their views. “When people attempt to avoid isolation, they are not responding hyper-sensitively to trivialities; these are existential issues that can involve real hazards,” she wrote in The Spiral of Silence. It could be proved

More Thoughts on the Manafort Indictment It contains puzzling gaps and non-standard tactics that may or may not end up making sense. By Andrew C. McCarthy

You never know what’s going to set people off.

In a Monday column on special prosecutor Bob Mueller’s indictment of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, I opined that the case seems to be “much ado about nothing,” and that some of the allegations that have been brought appear “shaky and overcharged.” Some commentators took this to mean that, being in the tank for Trump, I am pooh-poohing Mueller’s opening gambit.

Not so. Readers who follow these columns know that I am not knee-jerk pro- or anti-Trump. I’ve opined that “Paul Manafort is a sleazeball.” And, while I concededly have strong political views, I try to be coldly clinical about legal questions and prosecution theories. That is my professional training, and the skill of being a prosecutor involves recognizing weaknesses in the case — you never want the defense lawyers to spot them first.

Much Ado about Nothing
To be clear, I am not saying the case is unserious for Manafort and Richard Gates. I am saying it is “much ado about nothing” in the greater scheme of things — meaning: Mueller’s (highly elastic) mandate is to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election and any possible Trump-campaign collusion therein; yet the Manafort case is utterly unrelated to that. (Maybe I should have said the indictment is “nothing about much ado”!)

Moreover, when I said the case is “shaky and overcharged,” I qualified that with “at least in part.” That is because there are felonies of which Manafort and Gates appear to be guilty, which is a very consequential matter for them. Nevertheless, the indictment’s presentation of much of the case is overhyped.

Unquestionably, Mueller is not done with his investigation. I am more than a little surprised to be criticized by some for purportedly suggesting that this is the end, rather than the start, of the special counsel’s case. I have been saying since the summer that Mueller is trying to squeeze Manafort into becoming a cooperating witness. Necessarily, that means he plans to keep building his case.

More to the point, there is a glaring omission in the indictment, which suggests that Mueller is planning to supersede it with more charges.

The Missing Tax Charges
In my haste to cover what is in the indictment, I left out of the column what is not: There are no tax charges. The indictment not only mentions tax evasion in various places; the commission of tax crimes is a key element of the money-laundering conspiracy charged in Count Two. Yet despite detailing that Manafort and Gates submitted fraudulent tax returns, the indictment does not accuse them of tax-law felonies that the prosecutors would be required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

This is curious, and I don’t know if the explanation is substantive or administrative.

By substantive, I mean that there could be legal and factual issues unknown to me that complicate the taxability of Manafort’s prodigious foreign earnings. As a former prosecutor, I try to stay mindful of something that gets harder to remember as my prosecutor days recede in the rear-view mirror: There were always things about my cases that struck outsiders as odd but would not have if they had known what I knew. The prosecutors know things about their evidence that we don’t. They may have a good reason that I haven’t figured out for eschewing tax counts.

Western Elites Take The Knee The sordid history of modern anti-patriotism. Bruce Thornton

President Trump once again has enraged the left by suggesting, with colorful language no less, that NFL players who kneel during the national anthem should be fired by their teams. Progressives criticized Trump’s lack of presidential decorum, racial insensitivity, and disrespect of the players’ First Amendment rights—and the head of the NFL defended the players and rebuked the President for his tweet demanding the players be fired. At the same time, declining attendance at NFL stadiums and lower ratings for televised games suggest that many Americans are unhappy with privileged athletes disrespecting the country’s flag.

Though anti-patriotism is having a cultural moment in the United States, disliking and disrespecting one’s own country is nothing new. The origins of modern anti-patriotism lie in the continuing influence of Marxism on Western culture.

Marxist and socialist political movements intrinsically disdain patriotism for several reasons. As a political theory that transcends nations and peoples, Marxism is the natural enemy of particular ethnic or national identities and loyalties. These attachments create a “false consciousness” that obscures the true engine of history: the ownership of the means of production and the permanent conflict between workers and bosses. Pride in the success and power of the British Empire, for example, distracted the ordinary worker from the oppression under which he suffered, and which forestalled the collective ownership of the economy, and the egalitarian utopia promised by Marxist theory.

The idea that patriotism camouflages the injustice of capitalism became increasingly widespread in England before World War I. In 1907, J. A. Hobson’s Imperialism: A Study influenced Vladimir Lenin’s 1916 Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism. Hobson reduced Victorian imperialism to what he called “economic parasitism,” or the exploitation of the labor, resources, and markets of colonial peoples. War was the inevitable outcome of imperialism, as competing empires fought over control of foreign markets and resources. The belief that World War I was driven by capitalist bosses and fought for the sake of patriotism and nationalism reinforced this interpretation. Loss of faith in the empire created a loss of faith in England.

By the 1930s, such attitudes of “unwarranted self-abasement,” as Winston Churchill called them, were common among the British intelligentsia. The newspaper cartoonist David Low created Colonel Blimp, a caricature of the blustering, xenophobic, patriotic imperialist. The poet Wilfred Owen, who served in France during World War I and was killed a week before the armistice was signed, called patriotism “The Old Lie” in the most famous piece of literature to come out of the war, “Dulce et Decorum,” an ironic reference to the Roman poet Horace’s famous line, “It is sweet and proper to die for one’s country.” The popular writer H. G. Wells protested against the “teaching of patriotic histories” that promote a “poisonous war-making tradition,” and novelist J. B. Priestly called patriotism “a mighty force, chiefly used for evil.”

The influential Bloomsbury group of writers, artists, and intellectuals were instrumental in propagating such attitudes and making them status symbols of intellectual sophistication. The draft-dodging Lytton Strachey attacked Victorian imperialist heroes like Florence Nightingale and General Charles “Chinese” Gordon in his 1917 book Eminent Victorians. In 1939, as England was facing down Nazism, the novelist E. M. Forster epitomized this fashionable set of attitudes when he said, “If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country” (emphases in original). By 1941, anti-patriotism was so prevalent that socialist George Orwell wrote disapprovingly, “England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles, it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution.”

This animus against patriotism among the intellectual elite survived World War II, and became even more widespread in the postwar period. One factor was the left’s analysis of the war, which did not distinguish between the extreme ethno-nationalism of Nazism and fascism, and the liberal democratic nationalism that had destroyed those regimes. Patriotism thus became associated with Hitler and Mussolini, who exploited it in order to gain support. Nationalism was redefined as diseased patriotism, as in Charles de Gaulle’s statement, “Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.”

Among leftists, patriotism has always been considered dangerous for another reason. Liberal democratic nations––especially the United States––were successful in achieving all of the social, economic, and political boons communism had promised but failed to deliver. As French philosopher Raymond Aron wrote in 1957, leftists have “a grudge against the United States mainly because the latter had succeeded by means which were not laid down in the revolutionary code. Prosperity, power, the tendency toward uniformity of economic conditions––these results have been achieved by private initiative, by competition rather than State intervention, in other words by capitalism, which every well-brought up intellectual has been taught to despise.”

Halloween Massacre Islamic terror strikes in New York City. Judith Miller and Seth Barron

The Halloween assault in Lower Manhattan was straight out of the ISIS playbook. Ever since October 2010, when al-Qaida published the second issue of its online magazine Inspire, jihadi leaders have been urging the faithful to turn ordinary cars and trucks into killing machines to “mow down the enemies of Allah.” On Tuesday in New York, Sayfullo Saipov, 29, a green-card holder from Uzbekistan in Central Asia and resident of Florida, who appears to have come to the United States through the so-called “Diversity Visa” lottery, responded to the call. He drove his rented Home Depot truck from West Houston Street onto a Hudson River Park bike path, one of New York’s most beloved amenities. Within ten minutes, eight people were killed and 15 were injured. A note found in the truck, law enforcement officials said, indicated that Saipov committed the attack out of devotion to ISIS.

At a news conference at 1 Police Plaza less than two hours after the deadly attack, John Miller, the New York Police Department’s chief of counterterrorism, cited the Islamic State’s updated guidance to jihadi aspirants contained in the third November 2016 issue of its own online journal, Rumiya (Rome), as the attacker’s probable inspiration. The article encouraged followers to attack “large outdoor conventions and celebrations, pedestrian-congested streets, outdoor markets, festivals, festivals, parades, [and] political rallies.” It even specified the ideal type, weight, and speed of a car needed for terror purposes, according to a translation provided by the Counter-Extremism Project.

It seems likely that the killer’s original target may have been the famous Greenwich Village Halloween parade, another beloved New York tradition that close to 1 million people typically attend. But the NYPD’s overwhelming security presence, and the numerous street closures adjacent to the parade, may have dashed his dreams of an even more memorable massacre.

While the attack investigation is ongoing and details of Saipov’s motives and plans are still being gathered, the vehicle assault bore the hallmarks of the attacks that ISIS and other militant jihadi groups have long been promoting. NYPD commissioner James O’Neill said that the terrorist emerged from his rental vehicle after crashing into a school bus screaming a statement that indicated terrorist intent. While the politically attuned O’Neill declined to identify what the attacker shouted, the language in which he was shouting, or his suspected nationality, numerous eye witnesses said that the man, dressed in dark clothing and carrying a pellet gun and a paint-ball gun, was screaming “Allahu Akhbar”—“God is Great” in Arabic.

Governor Cuomo pointed out another hallmark of a vehicle assault. The perp, he said, was one of those “lone wolves” who “meant to cause pain and harm and probably death and the resulting terror.”

But it takes a pack to raise a lone wolf. Even if Saipov acted alone, he was part of a growing ideological fraternity numbering in the tens of thousands who now inhabit every region of the globe. Those seeking eternal glory have staged similar attacks in at least a dozen other cities—from Nice to Paris to Barcelona to London to Jerusalem. Like the attacks in these cities, the Halloween attack in Lower Manhattan was aimed at inflicting maximum carnage. Schools in the area were letting out students shortly after three o’clock when Saipov drove his rented truck off West Houston Street onto the bike path. There was no shortage of targets. The streets between West Houston and Chambers were crowded with parents picking up their costumed children prepared for an evening of trick-or-treating. Pedestrians and bikers on the Hudson River bike path were stunned and helpless as Saipov careened his weapon through the crowd.

Vehicular Jihad Comes to Manhattan But don’t be concerned: Governor Cuomo says there is no “ongoing threat.” Robert Spencer

In lower Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon, a Muslim named Sayfullo Saipov, screaming “Allah akbar,” drove a rented truck along a bicycle path, killing at least eight people and injuring numerous others. According to Al Arabiya, “New York state governor Andrew Cuomo told media that there is no evidence to suggest wider plot or wider scheme.” And reported that Cuomo said that there was no “evidence of an ongoing threat or any additional threat.”

No evidence to suggest a wider plot or an ongoing threat? Really, Governor? Here’s some: last June, the Islamic State published a poster depicting an SUV driving over a heap of skulls and bearing the legend “Run Over Them Without Mercy.”

Also, the Islamic State issued this call in September 2014:

So O muwahhid, do not let this battle pass you by wherever you may be. You must strike the soldiers, patrons, and troops of the tawaghit. Strike their police, security, and intelligence members, as well as their treacherous agents. Destroy their beds. Embitter their lives for them and busy them with themselves. If you can kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be….If you are not able to find an IED or a bullet, then single out the disbelieving American, Frenchman, or any of their allies. Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him….

Many Muslims in the West have heeded this call. Last August, there was a vehicular jihad attack in Barcelona. The week before that in France, a Muslim named Hamou Bachir hit six French soldiers with his car in Levallois-Perret, where the headquarters of the DGSI (General Directorate for Internal Security), the country’s primary counter-terrorism intelligence agency, are located. In June, a Muslim drove his car into a crowd on the London Bridge and then jumped out and started stabbing people. We have seen several other vehicular jihadis get out of the car after they plowed into pedestrians, and start stabbing people. In June 2015, a Muslim in Austria drove his car into a crowd, killing three, and then got out and stabbed passersby. Then in November 2016, a Muslim student at Ohio State University named Abdul Razak Ali Artan drove his car into a crowd, then got out and stabbed several others.

There have been many others in 2016 and this year: in Nice, in Berlin, in Jerusalem, in Paris, and elsewhere. Yet Andrew Cuomo and others among the political elites resolutely refuse to connect the dots between these jihad attacks, which have an obvious connection with one another in sharing the same motivating ideology and the same goal.

Saipov, meanwhile, has been identified as a native of Uzbekistan. It has not yet been revealed under what circumstances Saipov entered the United States, but however he came here, his actions today indicate the crying need for immigration reform, and the correctness of the underlying principle behind President Trump’s much-maligned travel bans.

No doubt when Saipov came here, he was deemed a “moderate.” The current immigration and refugee apparatuses do not even make any serious attempt to determine whether or not a Muslim entering the United States has jihad sentiments – an enterprise which would be essentially impossible in any case. The unpleasant fact remains that it is impossible to distinguish jihadis from peaceful Muslim refugees. If, however, President Trump tries to use this incident in order to broaden his travel ban, the response will be the familiar cries of “bigotry” and “Islamophobia,” and the Hate-America Left will go into high gear again to stop his action in the courts.

And so it goes in the daily life of the contemporary West: another jihad massacre, and more denial and willful ignorance.

Daryl McCann Defeating Islam in the Battle of Ideas

Not only have Islamic revivalists declared war on the West, our ruling elites have joined them. This is the arena in which the Battle of Ideas will be won or lost, and not through the version of appeasement given voice in British MP Liam Byrne’s deceptively ‘objective’ book.

Black Flag Down: Counter-Terrorism, Defeating ISIS and Winning the Battle of Ideas
by Liam Byrne
Biteback Publishing, 2016, 272 pages, £12.99

Liam Byrne, former British Labour cabinet minister and author of Black Flag Down: Counter-Terrorism, Defeating ISIS and Winning the Battle of Ideas, has been a harsh critic of President Trump, describing him as a megalomaniac “trumpeting anti-Muslim hate speech”. Byrne, who sought the opinions of Muslims in his inner-city Birmingham constituency, extensively interviewed British intelligence and police officers and even spent time in Iraq, prefers the softly, softly PC approach in “bringing down the black flag of extremism”. His Black Flag Down is an almost plausible account of how the Battle of Ideas might be won in this era of the global jihad.

Black Flag Down positions itself as a sensible and practical response to radical Islamic terrorism, although Liam Byrne would not label the phenomenon beyond calling it “violent extremism”. Any attempt to connect Islam with the atrocities perpetrated by Salafi jihadism, from the Islamic State group and Al Qaeda to Al Shabaab, Ansar al-Sharia and Boko Haram, is straight-out wrong. Additionally, it can only be unhelpful in the Battle of Ideas, the key to winning our confrontation with what Byrne does, at least, agree is a global insurgency (if not a global jihad).

Not that Black Flag Down undervalues the role of the military, security and counter-intelligence in defeating terrorism. Byrne champions the role of security agencies in monitoring the terrorist recruiters and thwarting attempts to co-opt young Muslims in the United Kingdom for their nefarious cause. By February 2016, the Islamic State group, according to the statistics in Black Flag Down, was boasting that it operated 10,000 Facebook accounts and 5000 Twitter profiles. The sheer scale of digital communication among the British general public is overwhelming, with Scotland Yard’s figures indicating that every minute of the day some 3.3 million Facebook posts, 342,000 tweets, 41,000 Instagram photos and 120 hours of video to YouTube are uploaded. As Byrne says: “Try policing that.” The longer-term answer, in his opinion, is not policing but self-policing. It is more important to train Muslim parents “to spot the warning signs in their children’s online habits” rather than “fight the last war against extremist preachers in the backrooms of mosques”.

black flag downThis will obviously come as cold comfort to the British victims of radical Islamic terrorism—I mean violent extremism—in the short period since the publication of Black Flag Down. In March this year, we recall, a jihadist drove a four-wheel-drive into a crowd of pedestrians on London Bridge, killing four people, before going on a knife rampage and slaughtering a policeman. Two months later, a suicide bomber killed twenty-two people and injured dozens more at the conclusion of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. On June 3, three radical Islamic terrorists drove into a crowd of pedestrians on London Bridge, before going on a knife rampage resulting in eight dead and dozens wounded. And then, on June 19, an anti-Muslim fanatic drove his car into a crowd of worshippers outside a London mosque, killing one person and injuring nine others. People have a right to know why this kind of carnage is happening in Britain, not to mention the atrocities perpetrated in Nice, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Sydney, San Bernardino, Orlando and Barcelona.

Liam Byrne has been a leading figure in calling for the British government to crack down on global tech companies that allow terrorist organisations to spread their propaganda. He might even be able to take some credit for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, in July this year, announcing plans to introduce into Parliament laws that would compel businesses such as Apple and Facebook to release encrypted data to assist urgent counter-terrorism operations: “Encryption is vital for information security but the privacy of the terrorist must never trump the personal security of Australians. We cannot allow the internet to be an ungoverned space.” But even Byrne—if not Turnbull—would acknowledge that increased security, online and off, is not an all-encompassing remedy for terrorism.

Obama’s Shady Trump-Russia Spinmeister By Julie Kelly

An explosive story by Sean Davis at The Federalist reveals that President Obama’s PAC, Obama for America, paid nearly $1 million in 2016 to the law firm that retained Fusion GPS, the consulting group responsible for the infamous Trump “dossier.” According to Davis, Federal Election Commission records show the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and Obama’s PAC paid Perkins Coie more than $12 million last year alone.

The article also notes that Neil King, Jr.—the husband of Shailagh Murray, one of Obama’s former senior advisors—went on to work for Fusion GPS shortly after the election. King was a longtime Wall Street Journal reporter who, while at the Journal, was also a colleague of Glenn Simpson, one of Fusion GPS’s founders. These links were never divulged in any of King’s election coverage for the Journal. These ties could explain the Obama White House’s almost daily attention to the Trump-Russia collusion plotline, fueled largely by Josh Earnest, Obama’s press secretary.

From the White House press podium, Earnest played a critical role in tossing Trump-Russia conspiracy chum to an eager White House press pool. He conferred White House credibility to a politically connected cybersecurity firm that claimed Russian hackers hit the DNC server; wove a tale of Trump campaign collusion after the election in a shameful attempt to discredit the president-elect; and, just days before Trump’s inauguration, childishly compared Trump’s obligation to defend himself against the dossier to Obama’s need to defend against “birther” allegations.

In retrospect, knowing what we know now, particularly that the spouse of one of Earnest’s colleagues was close to and subsequently hired by the same outfit digging up dirt on Obama’s biggest political foe, Earnest’s conduct calls into question the integrity of Obama’s communications shop both before and after the election.

Earnest first floated the Russia-hacked-the-election meme during his press briefing on July 25, 2016. It was the same day the FBI announced it would investigate “cyber intrusion involving the DNC” related to the hacking of that organization’s email server earlier in the year. But while the FBI’s statement did not mention Russia, Earnest—with the help of some willing reporters—fueled the unsubstantiated but politically explosive plot line that the Russians hacked the DNC, even suggesting it was an attempt to help Donald Trump.

Here is an exchange on July 25, 2016, between Associated Press reporter Josh Lederman and Earnest at the beginning of the daily briefing, one day after the emails exposed via the DNC hack led to chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s ouster at the Philadelphia convention:

Lederman: Turning to the investigation into this hack that the FBI is now leading . . . are you prepared to say anything about whether Russia was involved in this hack and whether it may have been an attempt by a foreign state to try and sway the election towards Donald Trump?

Earnest: I know that there’s been a lot of public reporting about this particular matter and I know that there are some private sector entities that have conducted their own investigations and even released their own reports on these investigations. So the FBI has put out a statement indicating that they are investigating this situation . . . we know that there are a variety of actors who are looking for vulnerabilities in the cybersecurity of the United States, and that includes Russia.

*record scratch* Wait, what? The DNC server is hacked, no one knows who did it, but it’s automatically presumed to be helping Trump?

Further, the “entity” Earnest refers to is Crowdstrike, the firm hired by the DNC to investigate the hack. (We now know Perkins Coie also hired Crowdstrike on behalf of the DNC to look into the breach. To date, the DNC refuses to surrender its server to the FBI for a forensic analysis.) In June 2016, Crowdstrike posted a blog article identifying “two separate Russian intelligence-affiliated adversaries present in the DNC network” and concluded, “attacks against electoral candidates and the parties they represent are likely to continue up until the election.” Trump’s name was never mentioned, and early news articles reported the hackers did it to gain “opposition research on Donald Trump.” So, how could anyone conclude that the DNC hack was intended to help Trump?

Terror suspect in NYC truck attack pledged allegiance to ISIS By Larry Celona

The driver who plowed into a group of people on Tuesday, killing 8, left behind handwritten notes pledging loyalty to ISIS along with an image of an ISIS flag inside his vehicle.

Sayfullo Saipov, 29, had the notes written in Arabic inside his Home Depot rental truck along with a picture of the ISIS flag, according to law enforcement sources.

The handwritten notes indicated that he had pledged allegiance to the terror group, the sources said.

Investigators discovered the materials inside his truck after the rampage in lower Manhattan.

The New York Times reported Tuesday night that Saipov had previously been on the radar of law enforcement as a result of an unrelated investigation.

It wasn’t clear if Saipov was the main target of that probe or just an associate of another figure being investigated, according to the report, which cited unnamed sources.

Inspector Clouseau pounces! By James Lewis

Shazam! The crack legal team of Herr Robert Mueller have pounced on a real crime (they say), and all the loudest voices in today’s politics have agreed on this farce, just as if it were the real thing. Liberals around the country are getting chills up their spines as the official Master Sleuths close in on…whom, exactly? And why, exactly? And in obedience to what principle in the Constitution, or in common law, or in common sense, for that matter?

The answer is that there is no legal, moral, or sane principle to be seen. None whatsoever. This is pure, emotional mob scapegoating under color of law – but not any law that adheres to the U.S. Constitution. The American Founders were steeped in the Western Enlightenment of the 18th century, and they would chew up and spit out all the rationalizations of all the liberal witch hunts since Watergate. This is all made up legal fiction, in direct violation of the very basis of civilized legality.

There is actually no sane or rational basis for the special prosecutor. Special prosecutors are really “special” – they are magicked into being from some extra-constitutional fringe of the law, whenever the Democrats and the Monsters of the Deep feel threatened, as happened during the Stalin years (when the State Department featured Stalin agents); during the George W. years (when the Democrats first voted for the Iraq War, and then, when American troops were in the field, stabbed them in the back); and in last year’s election, when Ms. Hillary was downed by a fiendish Electoral College, which (according to the Democrats) isn’t even in the U.S. Constitution.

(Actually, the electors are in there, but you have to look for them. DNC Chief Perez apparently lost his Cliff’s Notes to the U.S. Constitution, because he can’t find the electors – Article I, Section 2, Clause 1-3, etc.)

What do you expect from our lousy education system?

So Mr. Mueller has indicted his ham sandwich, responding to the fierce outcry of The American Public (as shown in the New York Times op-ed pages and the WaPo). He is giving us a couple of victims to hang. There, that should make everybody happy.

This is pure and simple mob justice, of the kind practiced throughout ancient history under the heading of scapegoating.

Remember, in the Book of Leviticus, the scapegoat was an actual goat – quite innocent of any crime – that was driven off to its death in ancient Israel, to carry with it all the sins of the people.

The act of scapegoating is not limited to Scripture. It is a human universal, and it belongs in the ancient gallery of emotional defenses against guilt and anxiety. Scapegoating was a favorite practice of European mobs in Poland and Russia, and in Germany and France, and anywhere else where an evil Other could be found. Africans practiced mob scapegoating in Rwanda, and Muslims have been doing it in Sudan for the last thirty years.

In Europe, the Jews were convenient scapegoats much of the time, and Russian Orthodox priests scapegoated Polish Catholic priests and vice versa. Catholics did it to Lutherans, and Lutherans did it to Catholics.

In Obama’s childhood home of Jakarta, the Indonesian Army scapegoated the Communist Party and the Muslims, but then everybody scapegoated the Overseas Chinese, who were easy to recognize as an ethnic group, and they were rumored to be rich, besides.

The Klan is the most notorious example of mob scapegoating and yes, murder, in recent American history. The late Robert Byrd could tell you all about that.

Review: The Turn to Tyranny We may never know what degree of personal obsession, political calculation and ideological zeal drove Stalin to kill and persecute so many. Joshua Rubenstein reviews ‘Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941’ by Stephen Kotkin.

In the aftermath of Lenin’s death in January 1924, Joseph Stalin —already secretary-general of the Communist Party—emerged as the outright leader of the Soviet Union. “Right through 1927,” Stephen Kotkin notes, Stalin “had not appeared to be a sociopath in the eyes of those who worked most closely with him.” But by 1929-30, he “was exhibiting an intense dark side.” Mr. Kotkin’s “Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941,” the second volume of a planned three-volume biography, tracks the Soviet leader’s transformation during these crucial years. “Impatient with dictatorship,” Mr. Kotkin says, Stalin set out to forge “a despotism in mass bloodshed.”

The three central episodes of Mr. Kotkin’s narrative, all from the 1930s, are indeed violent and catastrophic, if in different ways: the forced collectivization of Soviet agriculture; the atrocities of the Great Terror, when Stalin “arrested and murdered immense numbers of loyal people”; and the rise of Adolf Hitler, the man who would become Stalin’s ally and then, as Mr. Kotkin puts it, his “principal nemesis.” In each case, as Mr. Kotkin shows, Stalin’s personal character—a combination of ruthlessness and paranoia—played a key role in the unfolding of events.

Forced collectivization was the linchpin of Stalin’s first Five-Year Plan. With the peasants living mostly on small-scale plots, he compelled millions of households to move onto collective farms and sought to turn many peasants into the industrial workers who would build the factories and electric stations needed for crash industrialization. To enforce his plan, he set draconian quotas for the confiscation of “surplus” food and violently repressed millions of so-called kulaks (supposedly better-off peasants), whom he wanted to exterminate as a class.

The consequent famine killed more than five million people in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Russia’s North Caucasus region. Scholars continue to debate whether the famine in Ukraine, which killed some 3.5 million, was a deliberate aim of Stalin’s policies—intended to destroy Ukraine’s national spirit and culture—or the unforeseen result of his war on the peasantry. Although Mr. Kotkin argues that the famine was “not intentional,” his book makes it clear that Stalin was well aware of widespread starvation and that he responded with remarkable cruelty, sealing Ukraine’s borders to make escape impossible. The Kremlin allowed the famine to deepen, accepting a high number of victims rather than ameliorate its most calamitous effects.

Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941

By Stephen Kotkin
Penguin Press, 1,154 pages, $40

Another crisis erupted after the assassination of the Leningrad party chief Sergei Kirov in December 1934. Although many historians, including Robert Conquest and Amy Knight, have argued that Stalin almost certainly orchestrated the crime, Mr. Kotkin accepts the current scholarly consensus that Stalin was not behind Kirov’s murder and that Leonid Nikolayev, a disaffected young worker, carried it out on his own.

There is no debate, however, over how Stalin exploited the murder. He had always insisted that the country “was honeycombed with wreckers,” as Mr. Kotkin writes, and beset by conspiracies to subvert Bolshevik rule. In the wake of Kirov’s death, Stalin first accused thousands of Communist Party figures of engaging in a conspiracy to kill Kirov and then expanded the purge to encompass tens of thousands of military commanders, state-security personnel and party officials, including leaders of the revolution like Nikolai Bukharin, Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev. Mr. Kotkin argues that Stalin carried out the purge to “smash his inner circle” and avenge elements within the party that had opposed collectivization, but he doesn’t provide sufficient documentation to buttress the claim. Stalin probably regarded army and state-security officers as the only force that could dislodge him.

With the purges under way, Stalin embarked on the Great Terror, a wave of violence that killed more than 800,000 people in the space of 16 months. Among those targeted were the members of ethnic groups—Poles, Koreans, Germans—whom Stalin regarded as unreliable elements, a fifth column that could threaten the regime in case of war. As with all great crimes, we may never truly know what degree of personal obsession, political calculation and ideological fanaticism drove Stalin to order the execution and imprisonment of so many. CONTINUE AT SITE