Saturday, October 01, 2016

Why the long, hard hunt for Nazis had to carry on

By Jonathan Kirsch
May 20, 2016
Ten top-ranking Nazis were sent to the gallows in 1946 by the international war crimes tribunal in Nuremberg. Many more escaped justice for decades or forever, some by taking their own lives, some by going into hiding and some merely because all but a few dedicated avengers lost interest in them. In “The Nazi Hunters,” Andrew Nagorski scrutinizes the varying backgrounds, means and motives of the small number of investigators and prosecutors who refused to give up. “Notions of revenge and justice were often intermingled,” Nagorski writes of the effort to punish Nazi war criminals, “whatever the motives of the executioners themselves.”
Nagorski is a veteran author and foreign correspondent whose “Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power” is the alpha to the omega of “The Nazi Hunters.” Even before the final defeat of Germany, as Nagorski points out, partisans and surviving inmates of liberated concentration camps were subjecting their persecutors to rough justice. For a few years after the first Nazi war criminals felt nooses around their necks, hundreds more were judged and condemned in less-celebrated trials conducted by both the Allied victors and by the countries only recently liberated from German occupation. But Nagorski also allows us to see that the ardor for finding and punishing war criminals quickly abated, and the task fell to a handful of self-appointed seekers of retribution.
Among the Nazi hunters whose lives and work are reprised in Nagorski’s book are figures who are now, like Simon Wiesenthal, nearly mythic. But Nagorski insists on affording both blame and credit wherever they are due. At the heart of his book is the agonizing saga of Nazi hunters such as Tuvia Friedman — who has been mostly overshadowed by Wiesenthal — and Mossad Director Isser Harel and West German Attorney General Fritz Bauer, who both worked to locate and recover Adolf Eichmann. Their tales feature moments of intrepidity and recrimination in equal measure. Indeed, the Eichmann case is not the only one in which Nagorski perceives that the Nazi hunters battled each other as much as they fought those who had served the Third Reich.
That was particularly evident in the case of Kurt Waldheim, who had already served as secretary general of the United Nations and was running for the presidency of Austria in 1986 when his Nazi associations came to public attention. It turned out that Waldheim had served under a superior officer who was later hanged as a war criminal, and questions were raised about Waldheim’s war record. Waldheim went on to win his election, but the revelations “not only ignited a fiery debate on the campaign trail but also led to angry recriminations among rival Nazi hunters, and between the Jewish community in Austria and the New York-based World Jewish Congress,” as Nagorski reports. “No one emerged a clear winner, and many reputations were tarred in the process.”
Nagorski also introduces us to Nazi hunters whose exploits have been mostly overlooked. Jan Sehn, described as “about as original a Nazi hunter as could be imagined,” was a Polish investigative judge who interrogated and prosecuted Auschwitz camp commandant Rudolf Höss. Sehn may have been atoning for his own German ancestry when he dedicated himself to gathering, preserving and presenting hard evidence of the war crimes of Poland’s occupiers. Höss, too, was sentenced to die, but even more important is the testimony that Sehn extracted from him before he was hanged. From the witness stand, Höss provided a flat repudiation to the Holocaust deniers: “The ‘final solution’ of the Jewish question,” he testified, “meant the complete extermination of all Jews in Europe.”
Much of Nagorski’s evidence is archival, but he has also found his way to some firsthand testimony from the last surviving participants in the war-crimes trials. Benjamin Ferencz, for example, was 93 years old when Nagorski interviewed him in Florida in 2013, and Ferencz vividly recounted his experiences as a young war-crimes investigator and prosecutor in postwar Europe. When Ferencz examined a cache of secret reports in a Gestapo file that detailed the shootings of Jews, gypsies and civilians by mobile killing units on the Eastern Front, he went to work with an adding machine. “When I passed the figure of one million, I stopped adding,” Ferencz recalled. “That was quite enough for me.” Armed with documentary evidence, he served as the U.S. prosecutor in the trial of the willing executioners whose fingers were actually on the triggers, a proceeding the Associated Press called the “biggest murder trial in history.”
Nagorski also reminds us of the ugly fact that the West seemed to lose interest in the punishment of Nazi war criminals during the Cold War. At that time, some former Nazis in West Germany were regarded as useful collaborators in the struggle against our new adversaries behind the Iron Curtain — precisely because they had proved to be such ruthless enemies of the Soviet Union during World War II. Thus did the Advisory Board of Clemency, headed by Cold War power broker John J. McCloy, commute the death sentences and reduce the prison terms of various Nazi war criminals, an act that Nuremberg prosecutor Telford Taylor condemned as “the embodiment of political expediency.”
As many as 10,000 participants in Nazi war crimes may have been welcomed to the United States under a law that was meant to shelter the victims of Nazi aggression and persecution. Only the efforts of a few freelance Nazi hunters such as Serge and Beate Klarsfeld, who delivered SS officer Klaus Barbie to a French courtroom in 1987, and a few prosecutors who acted on the available evidence have continued to remind the world of the war criminals who live among us.
Nagorski acknowledges the sharp debate over the diminishing returns of Nazi hunting at a time when the last of the perpetrators are far more likely to die of old age than at the end of a rope. Still, he sees a transcendent and enduring purpose to all these exertions. “Genocide” — a term coined in 1933 by the Polish-Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin and first used in court by Ferencz in a trial of Nazi war criminals — is now an established principle of international law. Remarkably, it was Ferencz who delivered the closing argument in the first trial of the International Criminal Court in 2011, when a Congolese rebel leader was convicted of recruiting child soldiers. And a line from his closing argument in the Einsatzgruppen trial was quoted in the proceedings of U.N. tribunals on war crimes in Yugoslavia and Rwanda: “If these men be immune, then law has lost its meaning, and man must live in fear.”
Exactly here is the raison d’etre for Nagorski’s deep and sweeping account of a relentless search for justice that began in 1945 and is only now coming to an end.
By Andrew Nagorski
Simon & Schuster. 
393 pp. $30
Jonathan Kirsch, book editor of the Jewish Journal, is the author of, most recently, “The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan: A Boy Avenger, a Nazi Diplomat and a Murder in Paris.”

Friday, September 30, 2016

The FBI’s Hillary email probe is looking even more like a coverup

September 28, 2016
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It’s bad enough that FBI Director James Comey agreed to pass out immunity deals like candy to material witnesses and potential targets of his investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s illegal private email server.
But now we learn that some of them were immunized despite lying to Comey’s investigators.
In the latest bombshell from Congress’ probe into what’s looking more and more like an FBI whitewash (or coverup) of criminal behavior by the Democratic nominee and her aides, the Denver-based tech who destroyed subpoenaed emails from Clinton’s server allegedly lied to FBI agents after he got an immunity deal.
That’s normally a felony. As a federal prosecutor, Comey tossed Martha Stewart in jail for it and helped convict Scooter Libby for it as well. Yet the key Clinton witness still maintained his protection from criminal prosecution.
With Comey’s blessing, Obama prosecutors cut the deal with the email administrator, Paul Combetta, in 2015 in exchange for his full cooperation and honest testimony. But the House Judiciary Committee revealed Wednesday that he falsely told agents in a Feb. 18 interview that he had no knowledge that emails he bleached from the server were under congressional orders to be preserved as evidence.
In a second interview on May 3, Combetta admitted he in fact did know. But he still refused to reveal what he discussed with Clinton’s former aides and lawyer during a 2014 conference call about deleting the emails.
Instead of asking Attorney General Loretta Lynch to revoke his immunity deal and squeezing him, Comey let him go because he was a “low-level guy,” he testified at the House hearing. It’s yet another action by Comey that has left former prosecutors shaking their heads.
“When I was at the Department of Justice, your reward for lying to a federal agent was a potential obstruction of justice charge,” House Judiciary Committee member Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) said. “It wasn’t immunity.”
Ratcliffe argued Combetta violated the terms of his immunity agreement and therefore “shouldn’t have immunity anymore.”
Another panel member, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), established that former Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills also lied when she told agents she had no idea Clinton maintained a private email server. She once sent the server administrator a message asking “is server ok” after emails she sent Clinton kept bouncing back. Yet Mills continued to get immunity as well.
Comey said he looked “very hard” but couldn’t make an obstruction case “against any of the subjects we looked at.” He claimed not to have the evidence.
But the case suffered from the fact that he was denied evidence by Clinton and her minions, including:
  • A personal Apple email server used by Clinton in her first two months in office.
  • An Apple MacBook and thumb drive that contained her email archives, which was “lost” in the mail.
  • Two BlackBerry devices that were missing SIM cards and SD data cards.
  • 13 mobile devices either lost or smashed with hammers.
  • Two iPads.
  • Server backup files that were deleted.
  • Copies of emails located on the laptops of Mills and another aide who got immunity that were wiped clean with software called BleachBit after the Benghazi committee sought the documents.
  • Clinton’s server email archive, which was deleted using BleachBit by Combetta after the emails were subpoenaed.
  • Backups of the server email files, which were manually deleted.
This mass destruction of evidence was known to Comey. It’s in his investigative case summary. Yet he couldn’t make an obstruction case?
“Any one of those in that long list says obstruction of justice,” Ratcliffe said. “Collectively, they scream obstruction of justice.”
Ignoring such evidence leads “not just reasonable prosecutors but reasonable people to believe that maybe the decision on this was made a long time ago not to prosecute Hillary Clinton,” he added.
In other words, the fix was in.
Either that, or Comey led one of the shoddiest probes in FBI history. God help us if that’s the way he’s investigating the 1,000-plus ISIS terrorist cases now open in all 50 states.

Why Do Some Election Officials Want to Hide Evidence of Non-Citizen Voting?

Here’s a little clue: About 80 percent of non-citizen voters vote . . . Democratic.

By John Fund — September 29, 2016
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Arcan Cetin at his arraignment. (Brandy Shreve/Skagit Valley Herald via AP)

Arcan Cetin faces five counts of murder after his shooting rampage at a Seattle-area mall last week. But he also turns out to be a non-citizen who has voted three times in state elections since 2014. Liberals claim non-citizen voting fraud is extremely rare, but Cetin’s case should cast light on both just how easy it is to commit and the efforts of federal and state officials to block efforts to uncover it.

Cetin, who is from Turkey, is a legal resident of the United States but not a citizen. In 2014, he registered to vote and voted three times, most recently in May’s presidential primary. 

Washington State, like all but a handful of states, doesn’t require any proof of citizenship. “Our hands are kind of tied,” Secretary of State Kim Wyman told a Seattle TV station, noting that the state doesn’t allow verification of a person’s citizenship for voting purposes. “But make no mistake,” she adds. “We want to make sure that everybody has confidence that people casting ballots are eligible. This is certainly going to be a topic at the next legislative session.” Local registrars can currently use a database to check the age and residence of people who register to vote, but a person’s claim to be a citizen is based on the honor system.

The problem is that not all non-citizens are honorable — or they may be led astray in being told they can vote. In our 2012 book Who’s Counting: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk​, Hans von Spakovsky and I noted numerous cases of non-citizen registration and voting all over the country.

In 2014, a study released by three professors at Old Dominion University and George Mason University, based on survey data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, estimated that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted illegally in the 2008 presidential election and that 2.2 percent voted in the 2010 midterm congressional elections.

Since 80 percent of non-citizens vote Democratic, according to the study, non-citizen participation could have “been large enough to change meaningful election outcomes including Electoral College votes [in North Carolina in 2008], and congressional elections,” such as the 2008 race in Minnesota in which Al Franken was elected to the U.S. Senate, giving Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote to pass Obamacare.

The authors’ paper is consistent with other credible reports of non-citizen voting. In 2005, the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that up to 3 percent of the 30,000 people who were called for jury duty from voter-registration rolls over a two-year period in one of the 94 current U.S. district courts were non-citizens. In 2012, a local NBC station in Fort Myers, Fla., found that at least 100 individuals in one county had been excused from jury duty because they were not citizens but were registered to vote. Many had also voted in some elections.

But federal agencies refuse — in direct violation of federal law — to provide citizenship data to state election officials who attempt to verify citizenship status. Kansas and Arizona have put in place new commonsense proof-of-citizenship requirements for registration to prevent illegal voting, but they have been fought tooth and nail by Obama’s Justice Department. The DOJ is even using strong-arm methods to intervene in a lawsuit challenging the right of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to allow states to require proof of citizenship when registering. Rather than fulfill its duty to represent a federal agency, the DOJ is siding with the League of Women Voters and the NAACP in the case. A federal judge, Richard Leon, has already been rebuked by the DOJ for its “unprecedented” and “extraordinary” refusal to defend a federal agency and its decision instead to side with the plaintiffs suing it.

Take Virginia, where last year Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed a bill that would have required jury commissioners to forward information to election officials on individuals who were excused from jury duty for not being a citizen. Then James Alcorn, one of McAuliffe’s two Democratic appointees on the Virginia Board of Elections, proposed that rules be changed so that people who left the citizenship question unanswered on the voter-registration form would still be allowed to register. A few years ago, the Fairfax County Electoral Board found close to 300 non-citizens who had illegally registered, about half of whom had also illegally voted in prior elections. No action was taken to prosecute any of those non-citizens.

In Alexandria, Va., local officials could be involved in a cover-up. The Virginia Voters Alliance filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming that the general registrar, Anna Leider, was violating the National Voter Registration Act.The lawsuit charged that Leider failed to make available for public inspection her records related to the city’s voter-list maintenance procedures, records that would obviously include all information about the removal of ineligible voters.

As a result of the lawsuit, the Alliance was finally able to inspect the voter-registration records. Among the items they discovered was a list containing several hundred registrants who had been removed from the voter rolls because they were not U.S. citizens. So far not a single one has been prosecuted for violating the law. And they were caught only because they told the truth when they renewed their driver’s licenses, admitting they were not citizens.

How many non-citizens on the voter rolls don’t make that confession?

When the Alliance asked to photocopy this document, Leider refused. Her attorney said that the state election board was blocking her from releasing that information, a clear violation of federal law.

But other counties were more forthcoming with the Alliance’s requests. In Prince William County, officials produced a list of more than 400 non-citizens who had been removed from the county’s voter rolls. In rural Bedford County, officials gave the Alliance a list of several dozen non-citizens who had been removed from the voter rolls. After the Alliance received the list, the Public Interest Legal Foundation received a telephone call from the Bedford County registrar asking the Alliance to either return or delete the list. She said that Virginia state election officials had contacted her and informed her that she shouldn’t have sent the Alliance the list of removed non-citizens.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) has taken up the case and is about to release a full report on the scope of the problem across Virginia. It will also reveal its discovery of hundreds of non-citizens registered to vote in Philadelphia. “There is an active effort to hide the significant voting activity of non-citizens in key swing states,” PILF’s president, Christian Adams, told me. He estimates that in some of the Virginia counties he’s examined, some 40 percent of non-citizen registered voters have voted in at least one election. Virginia has seen two statewide races for attorney general decided by fewer than 1,000 votes in just the last decade.

“Instances of non-citizens attempting to cast a ballot are extremely rare,” the liberal group Project Vote says on its website. “But this drummed-up fear has real consequences: It excludes legitimate voters.” Clearly, though, the potential for non-citizen voting exists. If it didn’t, why are so many officials hiding evidence that would help us establish its extent? As former Democratic senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut said, “We can both make it easy to vote and hard to cheat.” Indeed. We can both show respect for the rights of those within our borders and at the same time prevent people from violating our voting laws and canceling out the votes of legitimate voters.

— John Fund is NRO’s national-affairs correspondent.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Book on holocaust heroine Irena Sendler sheds light on her long-suppressed life

16 September 2016
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SHE was only 4 ft 11 in tall, a wisp of a Catholic girl in her early 30s, a fair-haired blue-eyed beauty, and an unlikely heroine of the Second World War.
Yet before she was interrogated by the Gestapo, savagely beaten and sentenced to death – only to miraculously survive – Irena Sendler helped 2,500 Jewish children escape Nazi death squads. A female Oskar Schindler, Irena smuggled children out of the Warsaw ghetto in suitcases, boxes and in coffins hidden beneath corpses.
She led many through the city’s pestilential sewers and labyrinthine tunnels, hiding Jewish infants with families across German-occupied Poland.
Her story was suppressed for decades after the war, but is now told in the moving new book Irena’s Children, by historian Professor Tilar Mazzeo. “Irena risked her life several times a day throughout the war saving children who faced certain death,” says the author. “If caught, the Nazis would have executed her and her entire family.
She displayed outstanding moral and physical courage. Yet she always lamented that she hadn’t done more, though I don’t know what more she could have done.
“She carried her scars, both physical and mental, her entire life. Even into her 90s she was haunted by the memories of parents handing over their children knowing they would probably never see them again.”
Irena was a Warsaw social worker, horrified when the Germans occupied Poland in 1939 and imprisoned Jews in derelict ghettos where disease and starvation ran rampant.
As the Nazis began systematically exterminating Jews, Irena led an underground Polish network that smuggled Jewish children out of the ghetto and hid them with Polish families under false identities.
“She smuggled babies out in tool boxes concealed among bricks in a truck, helped toddlers escape hidden under dirty laundry, and even brought children out buried beneath fresh corpses in coffins,” says Mazzeo.
“Her network led children out of the ghetto crawling through foul sewers sometimes barely 12 inches high, and through underground passages.
The Germans later filled the sewers with poison gas to discourage escapes. “Sleeping babies fitted snugly inside suitcases.
"Some mothers would wrap their infants in blankets and throw them over the ghetto wall hoping that Irena’s network would find them.”
MAZZEO adds: “Irena smuggled one baby out of the ghetto in a bag, heavily sedated so that it would not cry and expose her. When Nazi troops boarded her bus, Irena had only moments to escape before they were discovered. It was one of countless close calls with death.”
At great danger to herself she kept a list of the children’s original names, their new fake identities and addresses buried in a jar beneath an apple tree, so that Jewish parents could find their missing children after the war. She could not have known that tragically 90 per cent of the parents would not escape the gas chambers of Treblinka.
If discovered, it was a list that would have cost thousands of lives. “It would set in motion a chain of executions,” says Mazzeo.
“The Gestapo would hunt down the Jewish children. They would murder the Polish men and women who had agreed to care for them and hide them.
"And they would kill Irena and her mother.” She was finally captured when a laundress under torture revealed that the social worker was passing messages for the Resistance.
Image result for irena's children
“Irena was brutally tortured, beaten with clubs and metal pipes, and had both legs broken.There were scars and ugly open wounds running in jagged strips across her body that would mark her forever, but she never divulged any information,” says Mazzeo.
“The only reason she wasn’t tortured to death was because the Germans thought she was insignifi cant, not realising that she led the underground network saving Jews.
“Finally she was ordered to be executed, but on her way to the firing squad a German offi cer led her from the prison and told her to run.
"The Resistance had paid its biggest bribe ever for her freedom. “Irena could have gone into hiding, but instead she assumed a false identity, dy"ed her hair, and continued working for the Resistance.”
But while Irena was undeniably a heroine, Mazzeo admits: “She was not a saint. Irena’s love life was anarchic and unruly, and she struggled with the self-knowledge that she was not a good wife or a good daughter.” She had separated from her Catholic husband, Mietek Sendler, before the war, and he found himself in a German prisoner of war camp.
In his absence, Irena had fallen in love with her childhood friend Adam Celnikier, one of Warsaw’s few surviving Jews, hiding under a false identity. “Irena was a great hero, but she suffered human flaws,” says Mazzeo.
She had separated from her Catholic husband, Mietek Sendler, before the war, and he found himself in a German prisoner of war camp.
In his absence, Irena had fallen in love with her childhood friend Adam Celnikier, one of Warsaw’s few surviving Jews, hiding under a false identity. “Irena was a great hero, but she suffered human flaws,” says Mazzeo. “When her husband returned from the POW camp after the war he found her living with her Jewish lover and pregnant with his child. Irena acted selflessly to save thousands, but in doing so she put her mother’s life at constant risk.”
“When her husband returned from the POW camp after the war he found her living with her Jewish lover and pregnant with his child. Irena acted selfl essly to save thousands, but in doing so she put her mother’s life at constant risk.”
After the war, Irena tried in vain to find the buried list of children’s names. “Warsaw was razed in 1945 as the Germans destroyed it street by street,” says Mazzeo. “Irena dug through the rubble, but it was impossible.
"So she and her surviving network recreated the list of children from memory: all 2,500. “However, many of those saved probably never knew they were Irena’s children, almost all their parents died, and in post-war Poland under Soviet authority it was dangerous to be associated with the Resistance, who were viewed by the Soviets as supporting the West.
"Many of those children, now in their 80s and 90s, still don’t know they were saved from the ghetto.


By Ann Coulter
September 28, 2016

Image result for trump hillary debate

At least we know Trump wasn’t lying when he said he didn't practice for the debate.

Based on the behavior of trained, professional journalists, I gather I'm not supposed to say what I really thought of the debate, but to cheer like a pom-pom girl for my candidate.

But the truth is, I -- along with my Trump-supporting friends -- thought it was a draw: Trump won the first half, and Hillary won the second half. Since most people stopped paying attention after the first 30 minutes, that's a win for Trump.

Hillary supporters, or "the media," had reason to be happy: She looked healthy! She probably could have kept reciting her snarky little talking points for another hour.

In fact, it was the best I've ever seen Hillary. She avoided that honking thing she does, smiled a lot -- a little too much, actually (maybe ease up on the pep pills next time) -- and, as the entire media has gleefully reported, she managed to "bait" Trump.

Note to the Trump campaign: While it may seem studly that Hillary's best performance versus Trump's worst ends in a draw, on Nov. 9, no one wants to say: We almost won -- and our guy didn't prepare!

The media's excitement over Hillary successfully "baiting" Trump is revealing -- of the media, of what this election is really about, and of what Trump needs to do now.

The definition of Trump "taking the bait" was getting him to talk about himself, not about issues. This from a media that claim to be aching for "policy specifics."

Hillary -- with assists from the moderator -- "baited" Trump on how rich he is, the loan from his father, a lawsuit in 1972, the birther claims, who he said what to about the Iraq War from 2001 to 2003, and so on.

For the media, their gal was winning whenever precious minutes of a 90-minute debate were spent rehashing allegations about Trump. Ha ha! We prevented Trump from talking about issues that matter to the American people! That was scored as a "win."

Nothing illustrates more clearly that this election is about the people versus the elites than the fact that the media run from Trump's issues like Dracula from the sun.

Trump wins whenever he talks about issues; he loses whenever he talks about himself.

Trump was winning when he talked about the heinous trade deals that have shipped jobs abroad and immiserated millions of Americans -- which Hillary supports. He was winning when he talked about bringing order and safety to black neighborhoods overrun with crime; Hillary’s with the criminals. He was winning when he talked about rebuilding our inner cities, instead of saying, "Vote for me!" then, "See you in four years!" -- as Hillary does.

Unlike the media, ordinary people don't care about Trump's taxes or net worth or the things he said as an entertainer. Trump will be dead and gone in 30 years. But whether America continues to exist or becomes some dystopian blend of Guatemala and Afghanistan will be determined by this election.

It's almost impossible not to correct a lie, especially about yourself, which is why Hillary and Lester Holt's "baiting" strategy was to make outrageous claims about Trump.

Hillary, for example, criticized Trump for not releasing his tax returns, saying, "maybe ... he's paid nothing in federal taxes."

This is exactly what Sen. Harry Reid stated as hard fact about Romney in 2012 -- on the Senate floor, so he couldn't be sued. After the election was over, Reid was asked about this obvious falsehood. He laughed it off and said, "Romney didn't win, did he?"

This is the game they play.

Trump has got to learn to ignore it. The voters have. They don't care about his taxes. They want jobs, they want a wall and they'd like fewer Muslims showing up, collecting welfare, then killing Americans.

Trump doesn't have to do formal debate practice, standing at a podium, facing off against a shorty in a pantsuit. But he does need Pavlovian training to stop responding to irrelevancies.

This isn't about him! It's about a movement of the people to take back their government from an arrogant plutocracy.

From now until the next debate, every single person who works for Trump should personally insult him several times a day.

Good morning, sir -- your business is a total fraud.

Here are those trade stats you wanted -- oh and you lied about opposing the war in Iraq.

The Cincinnati airport needs a tail number -- why did you "fat-shame" that poor girl?

If he starts to respond, they should say, "No one cares, sir. Tell me how you're going to stop Mexican drugs from pouring across our border."

The proof that voters don't care about the personal attacks on Trump is that, even after his lazy and self-indulgent debate performance, he won nearly every online poll.

Evidently, the American people have sized up the candidates and decided they want Trump. But there's just one last formality: He needs to pass some minimum threshold, a basic job requirement – like proving he has a drivers license.

Everybody agrees he’s got the job. It's too late for Hillary to be sucking up to the hiring committee, reminding them, but I took driver's ed seven times -- yes, there were mistakes, but I was grilled for 11 hours about that vehicular homicide. Also, the Russians hacked my GPS.

Trump showed up at the debate with his driver's license. That's all anyone needed to see.



Why we should all be troubled by Hillary Clinton’s closest adviser.

September 29, 2016

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Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
When Hillary Clinton is seen in public, you can rest assured that Huma Abedin is not too far away. She’s often seen handing notes to Clinton, whispering God knows what in her ear or otherwise waving to crowds alongside her opaque boss. 
Abedin is Clinton’s most visible advisor, a trusted confidant who was one of the central figures in the Clinton email scandal. She also figured prominently in alleged pay-for-play schemes involving the Clinton Foundation and is currently vice chair of the Clinton campaign.
So just who is Huma Abedin and what role does she play in shaping Clinton’s outlook on domestic and foreign policy? It’s difficult to say because unlike Clinton’s other somewhat conceited advisers like Sidney Blumenthal (who stands accused of spreading the Birther conspiracy theory) Abedin keeps her views close to her chest. For example, run a search of Abedin and her views on Israel and you’d be hard-pressed to find a single quote attributed to her on the matter. 
The only thing we know about Abedin’s current life is that she’s married to a disgraced pervert and sexual predator and will soon be issuing him a divorce. They have one child in common. Aside from that, we know nothing of her personal views other than the fact that she is fiercely loyal to Clinton. She is for, all intents and purposes, an enigma; a shadowy adviser who never leaves her boss’s side and is regarded as indispensable by Clinton. 
Nevertheless, if past employment history and family background are any indication, Abedin may spell trouble. Huma Abedin’s father, Syed Abedin, had close connections to the Saudi government as well as the neo-fascist Muslim Brotherhood. Ironically, Saudi Arabia now views the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization as does Egypt, Russia and a smattering of other Arab countries.
Archived footage obtained by the Washington Free Beacon also confirms that he was a rabid hardline Islamist who was a proponent of Sharia law and believed that Muslim governments should play a central role in policing human relationships and ensuring compliance with strict Islamic law and custom. Taken to its logical extremes, Syed Abedin would plausibly condone stoning for women who committed adultery, the practice of so-called “honor killings” and throwing gays off rooftops.
Syed Abedin also shared his insight as to why the majority of Muslims are hostile to the West and Israel. Suffice it to say that he is no friend of the Jews.
Of course, Syed’s views are not necessarily reflective of Huma’s beliefs but Huma Abedin’s employment history provides additional insight. She served as an assistant editor for the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs from 1996 through 2008. The journal’s chief editor was Huma’s mother, Saleha Mahmood Abedin.
To refer to Saleha as an extremist would be doing an injustice to the word. She is a poster child for regressive medieval thought. Her opinions include the belief that America brought 9/11 on itself for “various kinds of injustices and sanctions” committed by the United States against Muslims. This repugnant belief was published in the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs while Huma was assistant editor. As assistant editor, she presumably saw her mom’s article but did nothing to change or modify its content. Not good.
Huma Abedin also presided as assistant editor when the Journal published articles that were distinctly anti-woman, anti-gay and pretty much anti-anything that was not in conformance with strict Islamic notions of what the family unit should look like.
Clinton’s allies claim that Huma wasn’t responsible for the Journal’s content and really didn’t do anything consistent with the functions of an assistant editor. That explanation is implausible but even if true, would still pose troubling questions regarding judgment and honesty.
This November, Americans will be going to the polls to vote in what can arguably be considered the most important presidential election in recent memory. It will determine the trajectory of the nation for many years to come. And yet we still know precious little about the person who likely has the most influence over Hillary Clinton and who will almost certainly command a high-level position within a Clinton-led government. What little we do know about her is not encouraging and the fact that Clinton and her entourage refuse to address the subject merely feeds speculation that they’re trying to hide something. This astonishing lack of transparency is something that we’ve sadly come to expect from Clinton.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

'Favors' to Blacks

By Thomas Sowell
September 27, 2016

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Photo credit JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Back in the 1960s, as large numbers of black students were entering a certain Ivy League university for the first time, someone asked a chemistry professor -- off the record -- what his response to them was. He said, "I give them all A's and B's. To hell with them."

Since many of those students were admitted with lower academic qualifications than other students, he knew that honest grades in a tough subject like chemistry could lead to lots of failing grades, and that in turn would lead to lots of time-wasting hassles -- not just from the students, but also from the administration.

He was not about to waste time that he wanted to invest in his professional work in chemistry and the advancement of his own career. He also knew that his "favor" to black students in grading was going to do them more harm than good in the long run, because they wouldn't know what they were supposed to know.

Such cynical calculations were seldom expressed in so many words. Nor are similar cynical calculations openly expressed today in politics. But many successful political careers have been built on giving blacks "favors" that look good on the surface but do lasting damage in the long run.

One of these "favors" was the welfare state. A vastly expanded welfare state in the 1960s destroyed the black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and generations of racial oppression.

In 1960, before this expansion of the welfare state, 22 percent of black children were raised with only one parent. By 1985, 67 percent of black children were raised with either one parent or no parent.

A big "favor" the Obama administration is offering blacks today is exemption from school behavior rules that have led to a rate of disciplining of black male students that is greater than the rate of disciplining of other categories of students.

Is it impossible that black males misbehave in school more often than Asian females? Or Jewish students? Or others?

Is the only possible reason for the disparities in disciplining rates that the teachers and principals are discriminating against black males? Even when many of these teachers and principals in black neighborhoods are themselves black?

But Washington politicians are on the case. It strengthens the political vision that blacks are besieged by racist enemies, from which Democrats are their only protection. They give black youngsters exemptions from behavioral standards, just as the Ivy League chemistry professor gave them exemption from academic standards.

In both cases, the consequence -- unspoken today -- is "to hell with them." Kids from homes where they were not given behavioral standards, who are then not held to behavioral standards in schools, are on a path that can lead them as adults straight into prison, or to fatal confrontations with the police.

This is ultimately not a racial thing. Exactly the same welfare state policies and the same non-judgmental exemption from behavioral standards in Britain have led to remarkably similar results among lower-class whites there.

The riots of lower-class whites in London, Manchester and other British cities in 2011 were incredibly similar to black riots in Ferguson, Baltimore and other American cities -- right down to setting fire to police cars.

One of the few bright spots for black children in American ghettos have been some charter schools that have educated these children to levels equal to, and in some cases better than, those in affluent suburbs.

You might think that this would be welcomed by those who are so ready to do "favors" for blacks. But you would be dead wrong. Democrats who have been in charge of most cities with sizable black populations, for decades, are on record opposing the spread of charter schools. So is the NAACP.

That is a de facto declaration of moral bankruptcy in both cases, just as in the case of the Ivy League chemistry professor. In all three cases, it is a question of promoting one's own special interests, while offering "favors" to blacks.

The Democrats' special interest is in serving the teachers' unions, which oppose charter schools and support Democrats financially. The NAACP's special interest is in serving the same donors -- and in keeping ghetto schools controlled by racial activists, as part of their turf.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

After First Debate, 'Nobody Knows Anything'

September 26, 2016

Hempstead, N.Y.
Rick T. Wilking (Pool Photo)

In his Adventures in the Screen Trade, screenwriter William Goldman famously wrote of Hollywood that "Nobody knows anything."

He was mostly right about the movie business, except that sequels of Star Warsdo tend to make a lot of money (until they don't).

But applied to politics, his words are one hundred percent correct. Nobody does know anything. Nevertheless, as in Hollywood, a lot of people are paid big bucks to pretend they do.
Goldman's was the first phrase that came to my mind after watching the Greatest Debate That Ever Lived or whatever anyone wants to call the extravaganza Monday night that turned out not to be nearly as dramatic as some were expecting.

Who won? Beats me. Does it matter? Also beats me. (Well, I do have a suspicion, but I'll get to that in a minute.)

I do notice that as of this moment (8:20PM PT) the Drudge Report is showing Donald up 90% to 10% in its online poll.  That's basically meaningless considering the source.  If Drudge's poll had shown Trump winning by less that 80% it would have spelled disaster.

As for the pundits, I can't stand watching them. They make my head explode.  And they're basically useless. No one is more disconnected from the American public than a television pundit. When have you ever heard one say something you haven't thought of a hundred times before? Well, maybe once in a blue moon. (You're free to dial off me now.  I'm no better.)

But, being a good pundit, I will say the painfully obvious. Both candidates basically got what they wanted.  Hillary didn't have a coughing fit or fall over. Donald seemed plausibly presidential. He didn't assault Clinton or bite her head off (not that she didn't deserve it). In the end,he may have gotten more.  (As I said, more of that in a moment)

I can't say I'm surprised, as others have noted (okay I took a few peaks), that moderator Lester Holt asked no questions about Hillary's emails, Benghazi, or the Clinton Foundation. That's what the mainstream media are paid for -- to be silent and practice omertà concerning anything embarrassing to Democrats. (Ironically, this leaves a big opening for one person -- Julian Assange. And don't think he doesn't know it.)

What did surprise me is that Trump barely brought much of this up himself. He had a huge opportunity when the subject of cyber security came up but didn't take it.  Was this deliberate or an oversight?  If the former,  and I suspect it largely is, it's a clever strategy. Everyone knows about Hillary's email/Foundation veracity issues. Trump didn't have to make a big deal about them, especially if his goal was to appear presidential, to not seem crazy or mean to those few remaining independent voters who are not attracted to Hillary but want to be reassured about Trump. And we have to remember, the polls at this moment show him practically even or ahead and surging, a great position.

Interestingly, as I continue to write, Drudge has abandoned his own poll and is linking to another online poll being run by Time magazine. It is currently showing Trump ahead 60-40 with well over 540,000 votes cast. That's a significant number with a big spread and, unlike Drudge, Time is no conservative icon.

What does this mean? Well, there was a link from Drudge and it may be his fans coming over. As I said, "Nobody knows anything." Another round of polls will be coming out in a few days and we will be told what to think.

Meanwhile there's this: Trump concentrated his fire on Hilary actually having done nothing of substance in her 30 (later corrected to 26) years of public service -- just talk talk talk. That approach may ultimately prove more lethal than the more obvious "Crooked Hillary." I wonder if it was poll-tested. We'll have to ask Kellyanne.

But before I sign off, I have to comment on what I think was the most significant moment of the debate and it came at the end. Hillary had just gone after Donald on the sexism issue -- the beauty contest nonsense, etc. -- and it seemed for a moment that Trump was going to come back at her on her dreadful family life the whole world knows about.  But then he stopped himself.  He didn't turn into the mean Donald and turn off a whole bunch of people.

On Fox, immediately after the debate, Trump explained his decision to Sean Hannity. The candidate saw Chelsea in the audience and decided it was the wrong thing to do. Well done, Donald.  This is the moment that may resonate in the weeks to come.

So now I have one last online poll to report.  It's from the ultra-liberal Slate and shows Trump in the lead by 9% with 42,000 votes cast. I assumed there were no Drudge links, but I checked anyway. There weren't.

So did Trump win?  Possibly. He seems not to have lost anyway, which was all he needed.
But remember, in 2012, after the first debate, the pundits (mostly the same ones) were pronouncing Obama dead. All together now, "Nobody knows anything."

Roger L. Simon is a prize-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media.  His most recent book is—I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn't Already.


…and the whole system.

September 27, 2016

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump shakes hands with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton after the presidential debate at Hofstra University.

Donald Trump's main opponent in the first presidential debate wasn't Hillary Clinton. It was NBC anchor Lester Holt. Hillary, with forced smiles as brittle as china and an eerie fake laugh, continued her primary debate strategy of repeating canned talking points while waiting for the moderator to knock off her opponent. Hillary wasn’t there to debate, but to once again seem like the only possible option.
Holt’s job was to make her seem like the only possible option by targeting Trump.
There were fears that Lester Holt would be another Candy Crowley. That was unfair to Crowley. The entire debate was structurally biased. Its general topics were framed in narrow left-wing terms, instead of discussing the economy and moving the country forward, Holt defined the topics as class warfare and racial divisiveness. Even national security was narrowed down to Obama’s favorite battlespace, cyberspace, rather than the actual battlefield.
Trump was hit with repeated personal attacks and gotcha questions by Holt, who then took to arguing with him over the facts. Hillary, despite having been under investigation by the FBI, received only a perfunctory offer from Lester Holt to comment on her emails after Trump had raised the issue.
But Holt’s overt bias also proved to be his undoing. Candy Crowley had been effective because her interjection into the debate between Obama and Romney had come as something of a surprise. Holt made his agenda clear at the outset. And it also made him easy to ignore, as Trump frequently did.
Like small boys jumping into a mud pile, media personalities had been urging each other on for weeks to abandon even the pretense of objectivity and just go after Trump. That’s what Holt did in his awkward and impotent way. And it proved to be ineffective as he quickly lost control of the debate. Holt, like the rest of his media cohort, had failed to understand that overt bias makes them less effective.
Hillary’s role in the debate was to grit her teeth and smile awkwardly, then deliver a few scripted attacks and lines that would allow her media allies to hail her as the winner. It was an easy job that she botched.
The media headlines were pre-scripted. And the same stories would have run even if Hillary had gone full Linda Blair spinning her head around 360 degrees or been devoured by a herd of wild dingoes during the debate. Here’s CNN. “Clinton puts Trump on defense at first debate.” And here’s the Washington Post. “Trump vs. Clinton: Her jabs put him on the defensive in first debate.”  This is what happens when the Clinton campaign writes your stories for you. They all sound the same.
But the only thing Hillary accomplished was to remind Americans of how unpleasant, insincere, untrustworthy and irritating she was. The pathological sense of entitlement, the political narcissism, the empty promises, the hollow rhetoric and the artificial attempts to connect to people whom she clearly despised were all on display here. The lady in red had nothing new to offer, either in policy or in her attacks on Trump. Like her, it was all reruns. And it was grating enough not to bear rewatching.
Hillary claimed to want to discuss policy, but she launched the first personal attack and between her and Holt, these supposedly serious personalities took the debate into the arena of petty malice. A country full of people who had lost hope had not tuned in to hear about Trump’s taxes or his comments about Rosie O’Donnell. In a particularly surreal moment, Hillary claimed to have brought an architect who had suffered at Trump’s hands. Because whom could working class people relate to better than an architect.
And it was obvious why Hillary and Holt had to embark on these desperate stunts.
Hillary’s message was a contradictory mess of promises to fix problems that existed for inexplicable reasons under Obama. Everything is already okay and she has a plan to fix all that. When Trump exploited this contradiction, her messaging completely collapsed into its own black hole.
The real agenda of the debate was to discredit Trump. Instead he came out appearing presidential, patiently listening to another Hillary rant, gamely sipping a glass of water every time she touted her website, and enduring it with the same wry expression that much of the audience was wearing.
 Trump was at his best when puncturing the media and Hillary’s hypocrisy. Asked about his taxes, he demanded that Hillary release her emails. Challenged on Iraq, he pushed back on Libya. Where Hillary offered artificial bonhomie, pasting on plastic smiles and uploading fake laughs, he was natural. Nothing about Trump’s reactions or responses were faked. And that still remains a shock to the system.
And it is very much a system that we saw on display here tonight. It’s a system that Lester Holt and Hillary Clinton are a part of. It’s a system that has run this country deep into the ground.
Instead of destroying Trump, Holt’s bias brought the system out onto the stage. It reminded everyone that the national election was being hijacked just as the Democratic primaries had been. It showed viewers that the system was rigged and that it was rigged to select Hillary Clinton for the White House.
The fundamental question of this election is whether this country will be run by the people or the system. Trump reminded everyone that he was not the candidate of the system. The media’s post-debate analysis will tell us what the system thinks about the debate. But everyone already knows that. The system wants its own perpetuation. It wants, in Hillary’s words, more “investments”. That is the system’s euphemism for spending. It wants to export more jobs and import more migrants.
It wants to transform America into a grotesque reflection of its own warped processes.
Hillary Clinton is the perfect embodiment of the system. Artificial, unnatural and corrupt. And Lester Holt took on his role as the system’s feeble gatekeeper. But it’s not the system that the public wants. It seeks someone to smash the system. That is the source of Trump’s popularity. It is what makes him so threatening.
The debate was not about any of its topics, not the official ones or unofficial ones. It was about the subtext of the system. It was about what the system does to protect itself. Instead of a debate, what the people witnessed was the media hive trying to destroy an intruder while protecting its queen.
And once again, the system failed. Its media gatekeeper drone failed. The queen is in check.