PowerLine -> Project Veritas vs. CNN, Ch. 3

PowerLine -> Project Veritas vs. CNN, Ch. 3

Daily Digest

  • Project Veritas vs. CNN, Ch. 3
  • The Outlook from “New Europe”
  • 17 intelligence agencies–not
  • One dream from my father
  • Thoughts from the ammo line
Project Veritas vs. CNN, Ch. 3

Posted: 30 Jun 2017 04:00 PM PDT

(John Hinderaker)

James O’Keefe released the third Project Veritas CNN video today. It reprises a few highlights of the first two editions, and shows excerpts from an undercover conversation with a CNN producer who says that pretty much everyone at CNN hates President Trump, and American voters are “stupid as sh*t.” (I have long been struck by how readily many journalists, who themselves are not mental giants, label the rest of us dumb.)

There is more, which, while not particularly notable, does paint the picture of CNN as a political actor rather than a reputable news source. We will see how much more O’Keefe has in store, but I wonder whether CNN’s reputation can ever recover–not so much from Project Veritas’s expose as from the network’s own behavior during the Trump presidency.


The Outlook from “New Europe”

Posted: 30 Jun 2017 09:30 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)SOFIA, Bulgaria, June 30—What the heck, I may as well get my Rebecca West on and file an old-fashioned “foreign correspondent” story from the the Balkans, where I’m visiting for several days that have included a seminar for graduate students and young professionals at New Bulgarian University, and yesterday a “strategic briefing” for business and political leaders, about which more in a moment.

New Bulgarian University

One of my favorite ledes from Whittaker Chambers during his years at National Review ran something like (I am doing this from memory), “Over in the capitals of the East—Vienna, Prague, Budapest, New York. . .” Heh. And just so. More recently my all time favorite provocation from Donald Rumsfeld was his implicitly anti-French and anti-German distinction between “Old Europe and New Europe,” and the explicit sequel that the U.S. found more political support for its foreign policy from the former satellite nations of Eastern Europe. Older people here remember vividly, and younger people are taught, how Ronald Reagan revived the practice, abandoned during the flabby days of détente, of issuing a formal statement on “Captive Nations Day” every August.

Bulgaria definitely has Rumfeld’s “New Europe” spirit. Bulgaria’s economy is growing smartly, and the signs of progress since my last visit here five years ago are evident. The country is enjoying a lot of foreign investment and has a thriving entrepreneurial sector. Although a member of the European Union, it is not part of the Schengen zone that essentially means open borders (so it has taken in very few “refugees”), and it has not joined the Euro currency, so it is not vulnerable to the kind of currency-related economic asymmetries that plagued Greece. There is a lot of animosity toward Angela Merkel, whose recklessness in opening Europe to a flood of “refugees” is plainly recognized here, even if not in Germany. Merkel is widely expected to win her upcoming election campaign in a landslide, which may well entrench her intransigent cultural death wish. (News item: native-born Germans are now a minority in the Frankfurt metropolitan area.) As a general matter, there is no political correctness here when it comes to recognizing—and discussing—the problem of radical Islam.

There is a lot of apprehension about Brexit because Britain is regarded as an important counterweight to Germany’s growing dominance of the EU. But more significant is the apprehension this pro-American country has about Trump. I received a lot of questions about Trump’s Brussels speech to NATO in which he conspicuously declined to embrace NATO’s Article V on mutual defense obligations, along with his general disposition of the last two years about his nationalist or “America First” outlook. People here wonder if this all means the United States is withdrawing from its traditional leadership role, which they think would be a bad thing. Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord adds one more piece of evidence behind this anxiety. Trump may allay some of this anxiety with his upcoming visit to Poland after the next G-20 meeting, which has a lot of people upset because—gasp!—Poland is conservative these days. (It has refused to take in “refugees,” and perhaps not coincidentally, has experienced no Islamist terror attacks.)

There is also a lot of credence given to the current controversy over Russian influence either directly with Trump, or at least in affecting the election, partly because Bulgarians have a lot of first-hand experience with Russian subversion of Bulgarian politics, which has been both sophisticated and relentless. For example, right now Bulgaria has imposed a ban on fracking, so it is not able to exploit its potentially large shale gas deposits. This decision followed a massive Russian-backed propaganda campaign featuring the usual demagoguery about the subject that fools so many Hollywood celebrities in the U.S. (I wrote about Russia’s attempt to monopolize the natural gas market in Eastern Europe in the Weekly Standard four years ago. It’s only gotten worse since then, and the Germans are undermining the position of Eastern Europe in outrageous ways that would require a separate post to explain adequately.)

I’m the bald guy on the left.

Yesterday’s “strategic briefing” for business and public officials was an interesting thing. I was paired with Daniel Pipes, who spoke pessimistically about the profound decay of Turkey under its dictator Recep Erdogan, while I spoke in defense of President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. (See photo nearby.) Normally you’d expect that my dissent from climate orthodoxy would draw the most controversy, but in this case, the fireworks were overwhelmingly directed at Dan Pipes, because Turkey’s ambassador to Bulgaria turned up, and expressed his supreme displeasure with Pipes’s analysis of Turkey’s decline and duplicity.

The ambassador’s counterattack was largely ad hominem, consisting of generalized personal attacks on Pipes and a series of non-denial denials about some of the facts Dan listed in his presentation. It was an astonishing performance from someone in a formal diplomatic post. Dan replied with grace and aplomb, but the interesting part was his twice asking directly whether he would be arrested if he traveled to Turkey. The ambassador conspicuously avoided answering the question. And once the moderator of the panel drew an end to the exchange, the ambassador promptly departed. It is hard to escape the conclusion that the ambassador is an Islamist in a business suit.

After that, my analysis and presentation of climate change issues were a breeze. Meanwhile, Friday and Saturday’s agenda here involves sampling Bulgarian wines, and if I find some that are mispriced, I may look into getting an export license.

Also, not to worry: Week in Pictures is already in the can and scheduled for its usual appearance first thing Saturday morning, and it is epic.

This seems like sensible advice, so naturally, I followed it.


JOHN adds: I’ve been drinking a good Bulgarian Cabernet lately, very reasonably priced. And how can you resist a wine that comes from the Thracian Valley?


17 intelligence agencies–not

Posted: 30 Jun 2017 09:16 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)Maggie Haberman is one of the New York Times’s White House reporters, and I think she’s a good one. Sometimes, however, you have to wonder if Times reporters follow the news, or imbibe it straight, no chaser. In a story earlier this week, Haberman repeated the canard that 17 intelligence agencies concurred in the post-election report on Russian meddling. Yesterday the Times appended a correction to Haberman’s article:

A White House Memo article on Monday about President Trump’s deflections and denials about Russia referred incorrectly to the source of an intelligence assessment that said Russia orchestrated hacking attacks during last year’s presidential election. The assessment was made by four intelligence agencies — the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. The assessment was not approved by all 17 organizations in the American intelligence community.

Hillary Clinton recited the “17 intelligence agencies” canard repeatedly during the campaign. Did the Times ever correct her on it or include it in a list of her many, many lies? That’s a rhetorical question.

The “17 intelligence agencies” canard is still repeated by reporters and talking heads on the news. It is a ubiquitous error.

The declassified version of the intelligence report is posted online here. It states that its analytic assessment was “drafted and coordinated among The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and The National Security Agency (NSA), which draws on intelligence information collected and disseminated by those three agencies.” The Times adds the concurrence of James Clapper and the ODNI to make four. It’s a fact known by anyone who followed the story in any detail.

Now about the agencies’ assessment that “Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him” — we’ll have to revisit that one sometime soon. In the meantime, I will only say that I think it may be even more misleading than the CIA’s strategically timed December 2007 national intelligence assessment that Iran had suspended its nuclear program in 2003 (“despite the fact that Iran was testing missiles that could be used as a delivery system and had announced its resumption of uranium enrichment”).


One dream from my father

Posted: 30 Jun 2017 06:20 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)Paul deliberates over President Trump’s attack on Joe Scarborough and Mika B. in a nearby post(with a comment by John). I have nothing to add to what they wrote.

I think that Trump’s tweet was triggered in part by Scarborough and Mika B.’s mockery of a fake Time cover that has been on display at five Trump golf clubs. The Washington Post blew the lid off this scandal earlier this week. Add it to the list of high crimes and misdemeanors uncovered by the Post as it seeks to recapture its glory days taking down President Nixon.

For me, the story brought back a buried memory of my father, a small businessman who owned a modest motel/restaurant in the Twin Cities. Working like a dog, he made a good living from it. In high school, I would hear him returning from work late at night when the garage door opened after I had already gone to bed.

In law school, I would occasionally meet him for lunch at the restaurant. He sweated it out in the kitchen pushing to have plates delivered to customers while the food was hot. When I tracked him down in the kitchen on one such occasion, he mopped his brow and told me, “Scott, this is my punishment for my lack of education.”

“Dad,” I said, “the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.”

In 1966 my dad asked one of his customers to paint the Time cover below and insert him into it. He gave her a photograph of himself with which to work. The customer came through bigly, placing him right in the middle with a perfect likeness of my dad beaming exactly like Harold Prince.

I should add that it was a joke. In my dad’s case, it wasn’t remotely true. He intended the fake cover to be a humorous conversation piece for visitors. Perhaps President Trump had the same idea.

Looking back at the cover now, I am struck by how unbelievably dated it is. Today for something comparable we would need “Billionaires Under 30.” Maybe President Trump could commission an updated version to be unmasked by the fearless sleuths of the Washington Post.


Thoughts from the ammo line

Posted: 30 Jun 2017 05:18 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)Ammo Grrrll recalls MY FIRST ELECTION. She writes:

A study has confirmed what everybody already suspected: in 2008 some 5.7 MILLION non-citizens voted. I do not know if that also includes the dead, the felonious, and the enthusiastic voters who voted many times. Can’t happen; racist to suggest it does, says The Left.

Bovine excrement, says Ammo Grrrll. Mine eyes have seen the glory. The year was 1964 and I had just turned 18 a month earlier. I was a freshman in college at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois. I was a Goldwater Girl. The voting age was still 21, so I was not even eligible to vote, but I was keenly interested in the election.

The Republicans were looking for volunteers to be Poll-Watchers, preferably volunteers from way out of town who were not aware of the places we were about to be sent to Chicago.

It would have been difficult to find anyone more sheltered than I was that Fall, anyone, more likely to have just fallen off the turnip truck. And so my new boyfriend – the only one before Mr. AG — who would not even turn 18 until late December, and I signed up to be Poll-Watchers on the South Side of Chicago, at 63rd and Cottage Grove. Seriously.

As we rode from Evanston south on the El at 5 a.m., we held hands and felt like we were important little cogs in the democratic process. At some point, the two little old ladies with net shopping bags who had been sitting across from us yakking in Polish got off the El. We did not yet realize that ours were now the only white faces we would see for the next 18 hours. And we still had several more stops to go before our destination. This did not really disturb us, mainly because we were too naive to be worried.

We arrived about 6:30 and went into the polling place and introduced ourselves with some sort of letter from the state Republicans. The Democrats were already there and, not surprisingly, were all black. In fact, two of them had just volunteered to be the “Republican” poll watchers. They seemed frankly astonished to see two little white teenagers.

We sat at our own little table with tablets to “observe” and take notes on any “irregularities.” The irregularities began right out of the box as our first voter got his paper ballot, went into the voting booth and emerged almost immediately feeling “sick,” and quickly running off.

We had been alerted to this. We were told that the ward heelers were paying for votes. But how to guarantee that your bribed voters actually voted “right”? I mean, you can’t eliminate sheer stupidity. Remember the “butterfly” ballot in Florida? Here’s the solution: Just have the first guy pocket and bring out a BLANK ballot. Then the Precinct Captain marks the ballot himself and gives it to the next guy in line, who puts it in his pocket, gets a blank one from the person handing them out, puts the pre-marked one in the ballot box and returns the pocketed blank one to the Captain to be marked again. It was called “chain” balloting. Clever!

My boyfriend went outside to look at the line and saw the Precinct Captain openly handing out dollar bills. Later when they ran out of dollar bills, they were handing out pounds of bacon out of a cooler. This went on all day long.

We were writing furiously. Eventually, the polls closed and it was time to count the ballots. At this point, an imposing woman came over and told us we could leave now. She said that because we were not 21, we were actually not eligible to be poll-watchers at all, especially during the counting. (Well done, Republicans!) She said they could have got rid of us earlier, but agreed to let us stay until the counting since we had come such a long way.

We didn’t argue. Back in the day, teenagers didn’t argue with adults, let alone scream obscenities at them. It was now pitch black out and two long city blocks back to the El stop.

When we got back to campus, I ran into a tough Italian Chicago native who was in my Advanced French class. He was an older student, a Social Work major and part-time youth worker working with gangs on the South Side. He said we were lucky to be alive. First of all, we had no money and absolutely nothing worth stealing, and secondly, perhaps the Lord dispatches special angels to guard the terminally stupid.

Goldwater, of course, would experience a decisive, yea, crushing defeat, winning the electoral votes of just five Southern states, plus Arizona. It made me wonder why the Democrats had bothered to squander money on votes. But who knows how many votes were not only paid for but counted multiple times in Chicago, in Detroit, in East St. Louis, in Milwaukee?

In the most recent special election that Ms. Handel won, uh, “handily,” the losing losers cried losingly that there was “voter suppression” by such racist events as A Rainy Night in Georgia. Evidently, only Democrats are afraid to get wet. Sad. Here’s a new entitlement: mandatory umbrellas on Election Day! (Yeah, I know; don’t give them any ideas!)

The problem with dead people and non-citizens voting, with people going from polling place to polling place doing “same-day” registration in Minnesota, is not simply that it absolutely perverts one man-one vote democracy. But if 300 ineligible voters cast ballots for Al Franken say – felons, non-citizens, the deceased – obviously that means the other side needs 300 legitimate ballots just to pull the counter back to zero. It is outrageously unfair.

From that November day in 1964 to the present, I have never really had much confidence in the integrity of the electoral process. And I will never, ever believe the bald-faced lie that there is little or no cheating in elections. I have seen it with my own eyes and no race-baiting demagogue will ever convince me otherwise. There is one reason and one reason alone not to clean up the voter rolls and not to have to show picture ID to vote and that is to enable cheating. Period. That the citizens of my former home state voted the Picture ID measure down in flames is just one more yuge reason I am glad to call Arizona home.


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