Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A Great State of the Union Address, and a Great Time to Be American

PRESIDENT TRUMP'S FIRST STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS. “Americans are dreamers, too.” That is what President Trump said in his State of the Union Address. It brought the assembled audience in the Capitol's House chamber to their feet -- one of 100 times they rose to applaud and cheer the President's statements, a record, according to those who keep tabs on such things. • "Divisive and misleading" (Washington Post) / "Uniquely depressing" (Dana Milbank, WP) / "I don’t know what the hell happened" (Michael Steele, former RNC Chairman). These misfits aren't talking about ISIS or the border sieve Obama left Trump or the opioid epidemic Obama's border policies helped create. They aren't even talking about Nancy Pelosi's bizarre and rather unhinged recent comments as the GOP takes control of the Nation's business. NO. They were talking about a President who in one year has actually snatched America from the jaws of its tormenter Progressive Democrats and made it great again. Trump's remarks were put into focus by the genuine tributes he paid to gallery guests, which helped drive his points home on a very personal level -- as evident in the high marks he received from viewers. And, it was astounding that, in moments when the whole house should have risen in applause, Democrats sat on their hands, scoffing, booing, groaning and glowering at Trump. Okay -- Republicans don't applaud Democrat Presidents when they propose statist policies, and Democrats don't applaud Republicans when they propose policies that promote Liberty and free enterprise. But when President Trump noted economic improvements that have, in the words of JFK, "lifted all boats," Democrats did not budge. • • • LEWANDOWSKI NOTES ON THE FIRST TRUMP SOTU. • Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski blasted mainstream media pundits who panned President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address on Tuesday, saying they “still don’t love the fact that we’ve got a President who’s now proud to call America the greatest country in the world again.” Lewandowski spoke to Fox News host Laura Ingraham, calling the State of the Union address a “very good, positive, forward-looking speech.” Lewandowski praised Trump for focusing “on reminding the American people where we were just a year ago, where the economy was, and where it is today -- with job creation and with unemployment for the Hispanic and black communities at record lows, with consumer confidence at record highs” • • • FOX NEWS CALLED IT A 'NEW AMERICAN MOMENT' UNDER TRUMP. "President Trump appealed for common ground in the immigration debate at his first State of the Union address Tuesday night, while holding firm on his demands for border security and using the grand setting to tout his economic accomplishments and declare, "there's never been a better time to start living the American dream." At a critical time when the political divide over immigration has held up essential government funding, Fox News said the President called for putting politics aside and "get the job done," saying : "Tonight, I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties -- Democrats and Republicans -- to protect our citizens of every background, color, religion, and creed." Fox added : "It remains unclear whether Democrats are ready to make a deal on immigration, but the issue could hang over a looming February 8 deadline to pass a new spending bill. • • • SHAMEFUL DEMOCRAT BEHAVIOR. Fox News noted that : "Democrats on Tuesday night took their 'resistance' to President Trump to new depths, with many refusing to even applaud or stand during his State of the Union address to acknowledge economic gains or to honor veterans....This included during Trump's reference to record-low African-American unemployment and a promise to fix the country’s crippled infrastructure. Donald Trump Jr., appearing on Hannity, said : "It was amazing to watch," saying it looked like Democrats wanted to stand but felt obligated to oppose his father. Several pundits pointed out the striking response on Twitter, noting these are the kind of non-controversial items that usually merit applause. • Doug Schoen wrote that Trump's State of the Union was optimistic and a nod toward compromise : "Now both parties must man up..." • • • HOLLYWOOD, EAT YOUR HEARTS OUT. That's how Liz Peek put it in an Opinion piece for Fox News : "Hollywood, eat your hearts out. President Trump’s first-ever State of the Union Address delivered more drama, passion and feel-good patriotism than his critics in Tinseltown delivered all year. My guess -- his ratings will top the Oscars and the Grammys, combined." Peek pointed out that : "Pundits expected to hear from a kinder, gentler President Trump who would reach across the aisle to enlist the aid of Democrats in pursuing his agenda. While the tone of the President’s address was surely more positive and upbeat than his dark and combative inaugural address, he did not stoop to conquer. He asked for Congress to come together, to serve the people of the nation, but on his terms. He did not attempt to topple the Resistance by backing away from his campaign promises; instead, he reaffirmed his dedication to border security, to a strong military, to religious freedom, to protecting the second amendment and to upholding our veterans and our law enforcement, seemingly challenging Democrats to deny the reasonableness and popularity of these bedrock commitments." • And, Liz Peek saw what we all are seeing every day : "The sour faces of his critics suggested this: they fear his success." As Trump reviewed his administration’s accomplishments of the past year -- tax cuts that will save families thousands of dollars; bonuses and raises being handed out by corporations because of the GOP tax bill; new investments by Apple and others encouraged by the tax reforms; wages have started to rise, Democrats looked like angry students at a session where the teacher was telling them why they failed their final exams. As Peek put it : "As Trump proudly ticked off the data points on the strong economy, including unemployment among African-Americans falling to the lowest level ever recorded. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus failed to stand and applaud; how foolish does that look?" • • • THE TRUMP SCORE CARD FOR AMERICA. There are many analyses of the President's remarks on Tuesday evening. I like Liz Peek's because she hits on the right note for real Americans in each point the President made. Here are her comments : "Emphasizing that the government serves the people, and not the other way around, he touted moves to make agencies more responsive to the needs of our citizens. He said he would ask Congress to pass legislation making it easier to fire government employees, and noted that because of the VA Accountability Act that he signed into law, his administration had been able to remove 1,500 employees who 'failed to give vets the care they deserve.' He did not pledge to drain the swamp, but you could just tell he wanted to. He celebrated his numerous efforts to protect and help American workers. Trump tiptoed past the graveyard of climate change, saying he had 'ended the war on American energy and the war on beautiful clean coal.' He touted the revving up of car manufacturing in the US, and also the accelerated approval of drugs flowing from the FDA. He claimed to have turned the page on 'unfair trade deals,' reiterating that future pacts must be fair and reciprocal and that his government will work to protect workers as well as our intellectual property. He asked Democrats to partner with his administration in delivering an infrastructure program, asking Congress to create a bill designed to unlock $1.5 trillion in new infrastructure investment, leveraging federal funds with money from state governments and private funding. In particular, he demanded that the permitting process be streamlined. Getting the required permissions to build a 'simple road' can take up to ten years; he wants that cut down to two. And then there was immigration. The President has already proposed a four-part compromise on immigration reform, and in particular on resolving the fate of the Dreamers. He offered no new concessions, and instead took a hard stand on the security aspect of immigration policy. He personalized the real threat from gang members in the country illegally by introducing two Long Island families grieving for their daughters who were murdered by members of MS-13. Senator Cory Booker looked like he was sucking on a prune. The President also reviewed his America First foreign policy, and suggested he would ask Congress to ensure that our foreign aid will be increasingly handed out only to America’s friends. He celebrated the success in taking back nearly all the lands so recently held by ISIS, and vowed to continue the fight, declaring that terrorists will be treated as enemy combatants, and not criminals. Lest anyone misunderstand that distinction, he vowed to keep Guantanamo open. And he talked about the dangers of North Korea, recounting the horrible imprisonment and death of Otto Wambier, a college student who was released to his family shortly before he died, presumably succumbing to months of torture and hardship at the hands of Kim Jong-un. Wambier’s parents made a tearful salute to the assembled crowd." • President Trump’s speech, said Peek : "will likely not have won over any Democrats, only 11% of whom approve of him, according to the latest Fox News poll. But he may have shored up his support amongst independents, some of whom have moved away from him in recent months. His strong, clear-eyed message of American empowerment appeals. It is hard to deny that our government should put our people first. It is tough to argue that the bureaucracy functions as well as it should, or that security should not be the uppermost concern of our leaders. Most important, Trump has a good story to tell. A story of accomplishment, of lower taxes, better jobs and higher wages. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke earlier in the day, attempting to deny Mr. Trump credit for the improving economy and instead arguing that President Obama was responsible for the brightening picture. Sorry Charlie; the experts say this is Trump’s economy, and come the fall voters may well agree." • • • FACTS CANNOT BE DENIED. Who can argue in good faith with the Trump first year accomplishments? Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™, the US trade association representing more than 2,200 consumer technology companies, listed some of those accomplishments for Fox News -- deregulatory executive orders that have led 20 Consumer Technology Association (CTA) member companies to announce plans to create 250,000 US jobs, including Apple’s announcement to invest $350 billion in the US economy over the next five years and hire 20,000 new workers; the new tax bill that will end filing under the old broken system, and millions of Americans will have more take-home pay starting in February; a path to citizenship for DACA recipients -- those brought to the US illegally as children -- if it is combined with an end to the visa lottery program, in favor of a merit-based system that “admits people who are skilled, who want to work, who will contribute to our society, and who will love and respect our country”; a merit-based immigration system would be welcome news for the tech industry, where immigrants drive the startup economy and develop the game-changing platforms and systems that give our nation its global edge in innovation; a commitment to invest in and update America’s infrastructure, calling on both parties “to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve.” • Shapiro said : "Overall, President Trump’s first State of the Union address spoke to America’s innovative, entrepreneurial spirit. He told the American people : “'If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve absolutely anything.' Let’s seize this opportunity to work together as a more unified nation, providing our children a better, brighter future." • • • HIGHLIGHTS FROM TRUMP'S FIRST STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS. The Speech as President Trump spoke it : "Less than one year has passed since I first stood at this podium, in this majestic chamber, to speak on behalf of the American People -- and to address their concerns, their hopes, and their dreams. That night, our new Administration had already taken very swift action. A new tide of optimism was already sweeping across our land. Each day since, we have gone forward with a clear vision and a righteous mission -- to make America great again for all Americans. Over the last year, we have made incredible progress and achieved extraordinary success. We have faced challenges we expected, and others we could never have imagined....we have seen the beauty of America's soul, and the steel in America's spine. Each test has forged new American heroes to remind us who we are, and show us what we can be. We saw the volunteers of the “Cajun Navy,” racing to the rescue with their fishing boats to save people in the aftermath of a totally devastating hurricane. We saw strangers shielding strangers from a hail of gunfire on the LasVegas Strip....With us tonight is one of the toughest people ever to serve in this House -- a guy who took a bullet, almost died, and was back to work three and a half months later : the legend from Louisiana, Congressman Steve Scalise. We are incredibly grateful for the heroic efforts of the Capitol Police officers, the Alexandria Police, and the doctors, nurses, and paramedics who saved his life, and the lives of many others some in this room, in the aftermath....Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people. This is really the key. These are the people we were elected to serve....Over the last year, the world has seen what we always knew: That no people on Earth are so fearless, or daring, or determined as Americans. If there is a mountain, we climb it. If there is a frontier, we cross it. If there is a challenge, we tame it. If there is an opportunity, we seize it. So let us begin tonight by recognizing that the state of our Union is strong because our people are strong. And together, we are building a safe, strong, and proud America....This in fact is our new American moment. There has never been a better time to start living the American Dream. So to every citizen watching at home tonight -- no matter where you have been, or where you come from, this is your time. If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve absolutely anything. Tonight, I want to talk about what kind of future we are going to have, and what kind of nation we are going to be. All of us, together, as one team, one people, and one American family can do anything....Together, we are rediscovering the American way. In America, we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of American life. The motto is “in God we trust.” And we celebrate our police, our military, and our amazing veterans as heroes who deserve our total and unwavering support...For the last year we have sought to restore the bonds of trust between our citizens and their government. Working with the Senate, we are appointing judges who will interpret the Constitution as written, including a great new Supreme Court justice, and more circuit court judges than any new administration in the history of our country. We are totally defending our Second Amendment, and are taking historic actions to protect religious liberty. And we are serving our brave veterans, including giving our veterans choice in their health-care decisions. Last year, the Congress passed, and I signed, the landmark VA Accountability Act. Since its passage, my administration has already removed more than 1,500 VA employees who failed to give our veterans the care they deserve -- and we are hiring talented people who love our vets as much as we do....In Detroit, I halted government mandates that crippled America's great, beautiful autoworkers -- so we can get the Motor City revving its engines once again. And that's what's happening. Many car companies are now building and expanding plants in the United States -- something we haven't seen for decades....But now they are roaring be where the action is in the United States of America....To speed access to breakthrough cures and affordable generic drugs, last year the FDA approved more new and generic drugs and medical devices than ever before in our country's history. We also believe that patients with terminal conditions, terminal illness, should have access to experimental treatments immediately that could potentially save their lives....It is time for the Congress to give these wonderful incredible Americans the “right to try.”....I have directed my administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of my top priorities for the year. And prices will come down substantially, watch. America has also finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies, our jobs, and our wealth. Our nation has lost its wealth, and we're getting it back. The era of economic surrender is totally over. From now on, we expect trading relationships to be fair and very importantly to be reciprocal....As we rebuild our industries, it is also time to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. America is a nation of builders....I am asking both parties to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure that our economy needs and our people deserve. Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment that our country so desperately needs. Every federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with state and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment -- to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit. And we can do it....And we will do it with American heart, American hands and American grit. We want every American to know the dignity of a hard day's work. We want every child to be safe in their home at night. And we want every citizen to be proud of this land that we all love so much. We can lift our citizens from welfare to work, from dependence to independence, and from poverty to prosperity. As tax cuts create new jobs, let's invest in workforce development and let's invest in job great vocational schools so our future workers can learn a craft and realize their full potential. And let us support working families by supporting paid family leave....This year we will embark on reforming our prisons to help former inmates who have served their time get a second chance at life. Struggling communities, especially immigrant communities, will also be helped by immigration policies that focus on the best interests of American workers and American families. For decades, open borders have allowed drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities. They have allowed millions of low-wage workers to compete for jobs and wages against the poorest Americans. Most tragically, they have caused the loss of many innocent lives....Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to finally close the deadly loopholes that have allowed MS-13, and other criminals gangs, to break into our country. We have proposed new legislation that will fix our immigration laws, and support our ICE and Border Patrol Agents, these are great people. These are great great people. Who work amidst great danger, so that this can ever happen again. The United States is a compassionate nation. We are proud that we do more than any other country anywhere in the world to help the needy, the struggling, and the underprivileged all over the world. But as President of the United States, my highest loyalty, my greatest compassion, and my constant concern is for America's children, America's struggling workers, and America's forgotten communities. I want our youth to grow up to achieve great things. I want our poor to have their chance to rise. So tonight, I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties -- Democrats and Republicans -- to protect our citizens of every background, color, religion and creed. My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans -- to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American Dream. Because Americans are dreamers, too....Over the next few weeks, the House and Senate will be voting on an immigration reform package....For over 30 years, Washington has tried and failed to solve this problem. This Congress can be the one that finally makes it happen....So let us come together, set politics aside and finally get the job done....As we rebuild America's strength and confidence at home, we are also restoring our strength and standing abroad. Around the world, we face rogue regimes, terrorist groups and rivals like China and Russia that challenge our interests, our economy and our values. In confronting these horrible dangers, we know that weakness is the surest path to conflict, and unmatched power is the surest means to our true and great defense. For this reason, I am asking the Congress to end the dangerous defense sequester and fully fund our great military. As part of our defense, we must modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal, hopefully never having to use it, but making it so strong and so powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression by any other nation or anyone else. Perhaps someday in the future there will be a magical moment when the countries of the world will get together to eliminate their nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, we are not there yet, sadly. Last year, I also pledged that we would work with our allies to extinguish ISIS from the face of the Earth. One year later, I am proud to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated very close to 100 percent of the territory once held by these killers in Iraq and Syria and other locations as well. But there is much more work to be done. We will continue our fight until ISIS is defeated....In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds and hundreds of dangerous terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield -- including the ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi, who we captured, who we had, who we released. So today, I am keeping another promise. I just signed while walking in an order directing Secretary Mattis, who is doing a great job, to reexamine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities in Guantanamo Bay. I am asking Congress to ensure that, in the fight against ISIS and al-Qaida, we continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists -- wherever we chase them down, wherever we find them. And in many cases for them it will be Guantanamo Bay. And at the same time, as of a few months ago, our warriors in Afghanistan also have new rules of engagement....our military is no longer undermined by artificial timelines, and we no longer tell our enemies our plans. Last month, I also took an action endorsed unanimously by the Senate just months before : I recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Shortly afterwards, dozens of countries voted in the United Nations General Assembly against America's sovereign right to make this decision. In 2016, American taxpayers generously send those same countries more than $20 billion in aid every year. That is why, tonight, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to friends of America, not enemies of America. As we strengthen friendships around the world, we are also restoring clarity about our adversaries....America stands with the people of Iran in their courageous struggle for freedom. I am asking Congress to address the fundamental flaws in the terrible Iran nuclear deal. My administration has also imposed tough sanctions on the communist and socialist dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela. But no regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea. North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland. We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from ever happening....Finally, we are joined by one more witness to the ominous nature of this regime. His name is Mr. Ji Seong-ho. In 1996, Seong-ho was a starving boy in North Korea. One day, he tried to steal coal from a railroad car to barter for a few scraps of food, which was very hard to get. In the process, he passed out on the train tracks, exhausted from hunger. He woke up as a train ran over his limbs. He then endured multiple amputations without anything to dull the pain or the hurt. His brother and sister gave what little food they had to help him recover and ate dirt themselves -- permanently stunting their own growth. Later, he was tortured by North Korean authorities after returning from a brief visit to China. His tormentors wanted to know if he had met any Christians. He had -- and he resolved after that to be free....Today he lives in Seoul, where he rescues other defectors, and broadcasts into North Korea what the regime fears the most -- the truth. Today he has a new leg, but Seong-ho, I understand you still keep those old crutches as a reminder of how far you have come. Your great sacrifice is an inspiration to us the yearning of every human soul to live in freedom. It was that same yearning for freedom that nearly 250 years ago gave birth to a special place called America. It was a small cluster of colonies caught between a great ocean and a vast wilderness. But it was home to an incredible people with a revolutionary idea : that they could rule themselves. That they could chart their own destiny. And that, together, they could light up the entire world. That is what our country has always been about. That is what Americans have always stood for, always strived for and always done. Atop the dome of this Capitol stands the Statue of Freedom. She stands tall and dignified among the monuments to our ancestors who fought and lived and died to protect her. Monuments to Washington and Jefferson -- and Lincoln and King. Memorials to the heroes of Yorktown and Saratoga -- to young Americans who shed their blood on the shores of Normandy, and the fields beyond. And others, who went down in the waters of the Pacific and the skies all over Asia. And freedom stands tall over one more monument : this one. This Capitol. This living monument. This is the monument to the American people. We're a people whose heroes live not only in the past, but all around us -- defending hope, pride, and defending the American way. They work in every trade. They sacrifice to raise a family. They care for our children at home. They defend our flag abroad. They are strong moms and brave kids. They are firefighters, and police officers, and border agents, medics, and Marines. But above all else, they are Americans. And this Capitol, this city, and this nation, belong entirely to them. Our task is to respect them, to listen to them, to serve them, to protect them, and to always be worthy of them. Americans fill the world with art and music. They push the bounds of science and discovery. And they forever remind us of what we should never ever forget: The people dreamed this country. The people built this country. And it's the people who are making America great again. As long as we are proud of who we are, and what we are fighting for, there is nothing we cannot achieve. As long as we have confidence in our values, faith in our citizens, and trust in our God, we will never fail. Our families will thrive. Our people will prosper. And our nation will forever be safe and strong and proud and mighty and free. Thank you, and God bless America." • • • DEAR READERS, sitting beside First Lady Melania Trump was Preston Sharp, a 12-year-old boy from Redding, California. The President explained that Preston "noticed that veterans' graves were not marked with flags on Veterans Day. He decided all by himself to change that, and started a movement that has now placed 40,000 flags at the graves of our great heroes. Preston : a job well done. Young patriots like Preston teach all of us about our civic duty as Americans. And I met Preston a little while ago, and he has a great future. Preston's reverence for those who have served our nation reminds us why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts for the Pledge of Allegiance, and why we proudly stand for the national anthem. Americans love their country. And they deserve a government that shows them the same love and loyalty in return." Melania Trump gave him a beaming smile and put her arm around him. C-SPAN called it "a sweet moment -- and aren't we still permitted to say that in America, no matter how much controversy, chaos and challenge we face on so many fronts? It was human, real, and lovely." Mrs. Trump was given a roaring welcome as she entered the chamber of the House of Representatives on Tuesday night just ahead of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. Several hours before the event, Mrs. Trump had tweeted to her followers : “I will be joined tonight by an honorable group of Americans. Sitting with me are heroes who have served our nation in times of need, families who have suffered at the hands of evil, and citizens who have embraced the American dream.” She rode to the venue “with her guests. This was a nice gesture to make them feel more welcome and comfortable,” noted Andrew Och, author of “Unusual for Their Time: On the Road with America’s First Ladies.” Och said : “Some people have already jumped to the conclusion that this means she didn’t want to ride with her husband, but I challenge that -- she was being a good hostess to her guests -- and they rode home together.” • And, while the night was clearly a triumph for President Trump and a GOP congressional contingent obviously energized by his words, the Democrat response was given by Representative Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.), the great-nephew of John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States. It says mountains about the malaise and defeat of the Democrat Party that it had to look to a Kennedy to save the evening for them. Joe didn't do it, but it should remind us that the GOP rejected the past in 2016, choosing the future with Donald Trump. It is a lesson the Democrat Party has not yet learned -- the past is over; the 21st century demands new leadership, new ideas, and a new awakening for an America that was for too long trapped in the web of the 1930s New Deal dished out in various formats for 80 years by Democrats. • President Trump gave a great speech and Congress was on its feet more often than seated, giving us all hope that the GOP is not dead. The President never said the word Obama. In fact, he never mentioned another President -- except for the Founders. The Democrats were very subdued and sulking. Many black Dems avoiuded the only President who has not only promised them jobs but actually succeeded. • Nearly half of those who watched President Trump's State of the Union address on Tuesday reacted "very" positively to the speech, according to a snap CNN/SSRS poll -- 48% of respondents said they had a "very positive" reaction to the speech, 22% said they had a "somewhat positive" reaction to the speech, and a mere 29% reacted negatively, while 62% said that the policies outlined by the President on Tuesday would move the country in the right direction, while only 35% said they would move it in the wrong direction. • The day before the State of the Union address, even The Washington Post's Charles Lane conceded : "The approval rating polls on Donald Trump are causing a lot of rethink how we read that particular indicator of American politics because...with all this tumult, with the tremendous controversy around him, a lot negative press...and so on...he seems not to just have a base but a bedrock of 42% of the American people behind him....That's pretty darn high [given the bad press]." • The ProgDems are losing the war, and they know it. That makes them very dangerous. BUT, you could feel Tuesday night that President Trump has the bit between his teeth and he is not going to be stopped. A GREAT evening. A GREAT time to be American.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

As President Trump Gives His State of the Union Address, We Reflect on the Stale Rhetoric and Sterile Vision of the Progressive Elites

A YEAR CAN BE AN ETERNITY OR A WINK OF AN EYE. For President Trump, inaugurated just 375 days -- the equivalent of 9,008 hours or 540,514 minutes or 32,430,860 seconds -- ago, it must often seem like an eternity. He has been viciously attacked personally, lied about and lied to, blocked at every policy turn, and made to seem a fool all over the world by his Progressive-Globalist-Marxist tormenters and their lapdog media. But, the man still stands. He has, like Lincoln, humbly but determinedly, set out to do a job for America, and nothing stops him. • Sometimes, in the everyday battle for political success, we forget to step back and look at the encompassing view. As we await tonight's first State of the Union Address by President Trump, let's consider the bigger picture. Here is what he said 375 days ago, minutes after taking the oath of office as the 45th President of the United States. • • • REMARKS OF PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP – INAUGURAL ADDRESS, FRIDAY, JANUARY 20, 2017, WASHINGTON, DC : "Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans, and people of the world : thank you. We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people. Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for years to come. We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done. Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent. Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one Administration to another, or from one party to another -- but we are transferring power from Washington, DC and giving it back to you, the American People. For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished -- but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered -- but the jobs left, and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s Capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land. That all changes -- starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you. It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country. What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now. You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before. At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are the just and reasonable demands of a righteous public. But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now. We are one nation -- and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny. The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans. For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; Subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military; We’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own; And spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay. We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon. One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind. The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world. But that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future. We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this moment on, it’s going to be America First. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body -- and I will never, ever let you down. America will start winning again, winning like never before. We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams. We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation. We will get our people off of welfare and back to work -- rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor. We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American. We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world – but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow. We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones – and unite the civilized world against Radical Islamic Terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth. At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. The Bible tells us, 'how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.' We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable. There should be no fear -- we are protected, and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God. Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger. In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving. We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action -- constantly complaining but never doing anything about it. The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action. Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America. We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again. We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow. A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions. It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag. And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator. So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, hear these words : You will never be ignored again. Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams, will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way. Together, We Will Make America Strong Again. We Will Make America Wealthy Again. We Will Make America Proud Again. We Will Make America Safe Again. And, Yes, Together, We Will Make America Great Again. Thank you, God Bless You, And God Bless America." • • • PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ACHIEVEMENTS. In his first 375 day, President Trump has done a remarkable job in fulfilling his promises. The media doesn't talk about it because it shows just how weak and muddled the ProgDem Left is. But, they and their political bosses know they are losing, and their attacks reflect their diminished powers and their last-ditch efforts to take America back from its people and the man who gave their country back to them. • The Trump victories -- dramatically lower taxes that benefit all Americans and have brought US corporate profits back from overseas to be paid to American workers as bonuses and higher wages, and to be plowed into US productive activities; 2.5 million jobs, reaching out into the heartland and into black communities where the jobless rate is the lowest it has ever been; 22 regulations cut for every new one enacted; energy independence unleashed making the US the largest petroleum producer in the world; ISIS cut to ribbons in Iraq and Syria, and the US military re-energized and equiped to finish the war on terror; Obamacare's mandate to buy in or pay a tax eliminated, and insurance companies freed to provide alternative plans; the United Nations put on notice that it must earn US contributions, not expect them as a right; NATO partners beginning to pay their fair share for defending Europe and the world; North Korea confronted, and China cooperating; Jerusalem called by its rightful name as the capital of Israel and the US embassy preparing to move there by the end of 2019. • • • DEAR READERS, those are the achievements any US President would consider the solid work of a 4-year term. President Trump has done all that in one year while in the constant vice of a mean-spirited ProgDem opposition that neither loves American nor has time for any Trump policy that will make America better. • Tonight, as we listen to the President tell us about his plan for the next 365 days, keep his first-year achievements in mind. We can be sure that the ProgDem rebuttal remarks and the mainstream media's boisterous commentary will tell us that President Trump is a failure, that we Deplorables who support him are not good Americans, and that they know better than we do what America needs. Their rhetoric is stale and their vision for the Republic is sterile. It smacks of socialist statism. It appeals only to those who know that they benefit from its un-American elitism. • Tomorrow we will talk about President Trump's plans for 2018. Enjoy the State of the Union address and be assured that whatever he says he will do, we can be sure that this President will do it.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Grassley and Nunes Stand Tall as ProgDem Wall Begins to Crack under the Weight of Fake Collusion and Obstruction Charges

THE REAL NEWS TODAY IS ALL ABOUT PRESIDENT TRUMP VS THE PROGDEM SWAMP. • • • The Swamp Creatures are working feverishly to rid themselves of President Trump, the only check on their elite status in Washington. A CABAL OF SENATORS SEEKS TO THWART THE CONSTITUTIONAL POWERS OF THE PRESIDENT. In covering just the tip of the iceberg, the Daily Caller reported on Sunday that "a group of Democrat Senators and one Republican called for a legislative check on President Donald Trump’s ability to fire special counsel Robert Mueller in the wake of reports that Trump considered the move over the summer." The "one Republican" is the increasingly Swampish Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who seems to be filling in for John McCain in his level of vindictiveness and disloyalty to his party and his party's President. The current gang of Swamp Creatures have called for votes on a bill that would require a panel of three judges to approve before the President could fire any special counsel. Their position isn't new, but it seems to be driven now by a report of the New York Times last Thursday that Trump ordered Mueller’s firing in June but recanted after White House counsel Don McGahn threatened to resign. GOP Senator Charles Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said : "If these latest reports are true, it seems to me that they show the President listened to good advice from his advisors." Grassley of Iowa, who has jurisdiction over any special counsel bill as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Friday : “Based on his statements from the last couple weeks, he and his lawyers appear to be cooperating with Mueller.” Graham’s bill, which he co-authored with Democrat Senator Corey Booker of New Jersey, competes with a similar bill, drafted by GOP Senator Thom Thillis of North Carolina -- what is it with these Carolina Republicans -- that seeks to preserve executive power by granting a fired special counsel the right to appeal the President’s decision before a panel of judges. But, Grassley has said he will only consider one of the bills in committee and lawmakers have not yet agreed on the chosen legislation. • News of Trump’s alleged desire to fire Mueller -- goodness knows he has plenty of reasons to do it -- seems to be tied to the latest ProgDem spin for getting rid of President Trump -- since the "collusion" with Russia idea of Hillary and the DNC is going nowhere fast, the latest attack strategy is to go after President Trump for "obstructing justice" by suggesting that he might fire former FBI Director James Comey, and now Mueller. • It is rubbish from the get-go because the Constitution gives the President the absolute power to fire any executive branch official he sees fit to fire -- after being fired, Comey even agreed under oath that a President has that right. • So, this gang of Swamp Creatures is trying an end run to get Congress to illegally amend the Constitution legislatively in order to constrain the absolute right it gives the President over his executive branch personnel. • President Trump got it right -- when he heard about the New York Times article while he was in Davos, he simply called it “fake news.” • • • HILLARY AND PODESTA UNDERTHE GUN WITH CONGRESS. Zero Hedge reported on Saturday that : "GOP Congressional investigators have written six letters to individuals or entities involved or thought to be involved in the funding, creation or distribution of the salacious and unverified 'Trump-Russia Dossier' believed to have been inappropriately used by the FBI, DOJ and Obama Administration in an effort to undermine Donald Trump as both a candidate and President of the United States." • Senators Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham -- will Senator Graham please decide which side he's on and stay put -- wrote six Judiciary Committee letters requesting information from John Podesta, Donna Brazille, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Robbie Mook, the DNC, and Hillary For America Chief Strategist Joel Benenson. • Why? The DNC and Hillary Clinton’s PAC was revealed by the Washington Post to have paid opposition research firm Fusion GPS for the creation of a dossier that would be harmful to then-candidate Donald Trump. Fusion DPS then went to the Russians for help in the form of commissioning former UK spy Christopher Steele to assemble the "Russian Dossier" that turned out to be a series of memos relying largely on Russian government sources to make allegations against Trump and his team. Court filings suggest that Fusion GPS also worked with disgraced DOJ official Bruce Ohr, and hired Ohr's CIA-linked wife Nellie Ohr, to assist in the smear campaign against Trump. Bruce Ohr was demoted from his senior DOJ position after it was revealed that he met with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson as well as Christopher Steele and then tried to cover it up. Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, denied under oath to the Senate Intelligence Committee that he knew about the Dossier’s funding, while Clinton’s former spokesman, Brian Fallon, told CNN that Hillary likely had no idea who paid for it either. Current and past leaders of the DNC, including Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, also denied knowledge of the Dossier’s funding. Right !!! Podesta met with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson the day after the Trump-Russia Dossier was published by Buzzfeed News. • The Grassley-Graham Senate Judiciary Committee letters state : "In October 2017, the Washington Post reported that Hillary for America and the Democratic National Committee had funded, via Fusion GPS, Christopher Steele’s creation of a series of memos relying largely on Russian government sources to make allegations against Donald Trump and his associates. A letter from the law firm Perkins Coie acknowledged that, '[t]o assist in its representation of the DNC and Hillary for America,' Perkins Coie engaged Fusion GPS in April of 2016, and that 'the engagement concluded prior to the November 2016 presidential election.' The Committee has been investigating the FBI’ s relationship with Christopher Steele during this time his work was funded by Hillary for America and the DNC. The scope of our review includes the extent to which the FBI may have relied on information relayed by Mr. Steele in seeking judicial authorization for surveillance of individuals associated with Mr. Trump. It also includes whether any applications that may have been made [to the FISA court] for permission for such surveillance fully and accurately disclosed : (1) the source of Fusion GPS’s and Mr. Steele’s funding; (2) the degree to which his claims were or were not verified; (3) the motivations of Mr. Steele, his clients, and his sources; and (4) representations about their contacts with the press." • The letter then lists twelve questions -- the last being a request for all communications between a list of 40 individuals or entities -- including Christopher Steele, Bruce Ohr, Peter Strzok, Andrew McCabe, Glenn Simpson and former CIA Director John Brennan. The six recipients of letters have two weeks to comply with the following requests [insert "Hillary for America" or "DNC" as appropriate] : "1. Prior to the Washington Post ‘s article in October of 2017, were you anyone else at Hillary for America aware of Mr. Steele’s efforts on behalf of the Clinton campaign to compile and distribute allegations about Mr. Trump and the Russian government? If so, when and how did you first learn of his activities on the campaign’s behalf? Please provide all related documents. 2. Did you or anyone else at Hillary for America receive copies of any of the memoranda comprising Mr. Steele’s Dossier prior to its publication by Buzzfeed in January of 2017? If so, how and when? Please provide all related documents. 3. Regardless of whether you or your associates received copies of the actual memoranda, did you or anyone else at Hillary for America otherwise receive information contained in the Dossier prior to Buzzfeed publishing the Dossier in January of 2017? If so, how and when? Please provide all related documents. 4. Did you or anyone else at Hillary for America receive other memoranda written or forwarded by Mr. Steele regarding Mr. Trump and his associates that were not published as part of the Buzzfeed Dossier? If so, how and when? Please provide all related documents. 5. Did you or anyone else at Hillary for America distribute outside of the organization any o f the Dossier memoranda, information contained therein, or other information obtained by Mr. Steele? If so, please list who distributed the information, what was distributed, and to whom it was distributed. Please provide all related documents. 6. Did you or anyone else at Hillary for America communicate with any government officials – whether in the executive, legislative or judicial branches -- regarding the Dossier memoranda, information contained therein, or other information obtained by Mr. Steele? If so, please list the parties involved in the communication, the content of the communication, and the date and means of the communication. Please provide all related documents. References such as “anyone at Hillary for America” include all of Hillary for America’s officers, employees, contractors, subcontractors, advisors, volunteers, and, of course, Secretary Clinton herself. 7. Did you or anyone else at Hillary for America instruct, request, suggest, or imply that any individuals should pass along information to Mr. Steele or his intermediaries? Please provide all related documents. 8. Did you or anyone else at Hillary for America communicate with members of the press regarding the Dossier memoranda, information contained therein, or other information obtained by Mr. Steele? If so, please list the parties involved in the communication, the content of the communication, and the date and means of the communication. Please provide all related documents. 9. Did you or anyone else at Hillary for America inform Secretary Clinton of Mr. Steele’s efforts, whether by name or not, or of the allegations he was spreading? If so, who and when? Please provide all related documents. 10. Were you or anyone else at Hillary for America aware of Mr. Steele’s contacts with the FBI or other government agencies prior to the 2016 election? If so, who? When and how did you or they become aware? Please provide all related documents. 11. Did you or anyone else at Hillary for America encourage, whether directly or through intermediaries, Mr. Steele to initiate or continue contacts with the FBI or other government agencies? If so, who and when? Please provide all related documents. 12. For the period from March 2016 through January 2017, please provide all communications to, from, copying, or relating to: Fusion GPS; Bean LLC; Glenn Simpson; Mary Jacoby; Peter Fritsch; Tom Catan; Jason Felch; Neil King; David Michaels; Taylor Sears; Patrick Corcoran; Laura Sego; Jay Bagwell; Erica Castro; Nellie Ohr; Rinat Akhmetshin; Ed Lieberman; Edward Baumgartner; Orbis Business Intelligence Limited; Orbis Business International Limited; Walsingham Training Limited; Walsingham Partners Limited; Christopher Steele; Christopher Burrows; Sir Andrew Wood, Paul Hauser; Oleg Deripaska; Cody Shearer; Sidney Blumenthal; Jon Winer; Kathleen Kavalec; Victoria Nuland; Daniel Jones; Bruce Ohr; Peter Strzok; Andrew McCabe; James Baker; Sally Yates; Loretta Lynch; John Brennan." • Those questions encompass the entire issue set surrounding the Russia Dossier and whether the DNC and Hillary Clinton's campaign participated in any way in an effort to win the 2106 election by using the FBI and/or the DOJ to open an investigation into the Fake Trump-Russia "collusion" and by fraudulently inducing them to use the Dossier to illegally obtain FISA warrants to enable them to illegally surveill Trump and his team for political purposes. • The Grassley-Graham requests are far-reaching but closely tied to the issue and we should see a lot of squirming and efforts to limit the Senate Judiciary Committee's requests, including stonewalling and refusing to honor eventual subpeonas. Senatro Grassley faces a tough uphill battle with Hillary, the DNC and the Deep State at the FBI and DOJ who are complicit in their illegality. • • • TRUMP MUST NOT TESTIFY UNDER OATH FOR MUELLER, HIS STAFF OR ANYONE ELSE. This brings us to the second part of the current ProgDem effort to somehow "prove" that President Trump "obstructed justice" in the firing of Comey and Flynn, as well as in his alleged desire to fire Mueller. • President Trump has expressed his willingness to answer special counsel Mueller's questions under oath because, as he said last Wednesday : "There's no collusion. There's no obstruction. There's no obstruction whatsoever." The President said he's "looking forward" to answering questions under oath in Mueller's investigation of alleged Russia collusion in the 2016 presidential election. However, it is unclear whether the President would agree to an interview by Mueller's team. As WND reported last week, Mueller’s latest move "indicates the special counsel may be aiming to build a case against the President accusing him of obstruction of justice." Mueller’s team is hoping to get answers both in a face-to-face interview and in a written statement, according to the Washington Post. Trump’s lawyers are allegedly negotiating the terms of the interview. Meanwhile, more than 20 White House personnel have voluntarily given interviews to Mueller's investigators, Fox News has learned. A personal attorney for President Trump also told Fox News that the White House turned over more than 20,000 pages of records to investigators, calling the level of cooperation and transparency "unprecedented." It certainly is "unprecedented" and it may also be dangerously naive. • Roger Stone calls Trump's willingness to answer questions under oath a "suicide mission," warning that Trump shouldn't meet with Mueller, let alone put himself under oath. • Rush Limbaugh was just as vociferous in his warnings. Limbaugh said last Wednesday that special counsel Mueller is determined to question President Trump over his firing of former FBI Director James Comey and former national security advisor Michael Flynn. Limbaugh has a dire warning for the President : “Don’t do it!...It’s just a perjury trap. I don’t care what format. I don’t care what circumstance. Don’t do it. There’s nothing to gain. Especially if they’re off the ‘collusion’ business, there’s nothing to gain by talking to Mueller.” Limbaugh explained that if Mueller is actually seeking to show that Trump obstructed justice, that may be an indicator that the original “collusion” allegation is dead on arrival. Limbaugh explained : “If that’s true, it indicates that Mueller is on to the obstruction portion of the investigation and may have set aside the collusion angle, meaning the allegation that Trump colluded with Putin to steal the election from Hillary. Now, unless the media is purposely misleading here, it would seem to be that if that’s what Mueller wants to talk to Trump about and not would make sense. There wasn’t any!...Everybody knows that the whole gambit of the Trump Dossier and Trump stealing the election by working with the Russians, there was never anything to that. It was an attempt. They did their best to make it a real thing.” Limbaugh again warned Trump : "It seems to me that this is a process crime/perjury trap. And if I were Trump’s lawyers, I wouldn’t let him get anywhere near this! In the first place, Trump improvises as he goes. You know, if the interview is just with Trump and his lawyers in a relaxed setting with Mueller and his anti-Trump investigators, that’s one thing. But if it’s a grand jury appearance, which I don’t think it is yet...then Trump’s lawyers can’t go in there. You tell one little lie [or as is likely in Flynn's case, you recall minor facts differently at different times or at odds with what somebody else has said under oath that has already been proved by the Mueller staff]...and you are done. You’re under oath, and you have no assistance. You have no aides. You have nobody in there that can help you. You have nobody in there to tell the prosecutor he can’t ask the question, ’cause the prosecutor owns the grand jury. So, no, you don’t do that....If it’s just an interview in somebody’s office and you have Mueller and a couple of his investigators and Trump and his lawyer -- even if the session is not formally under oath, they can still circle back and get you for lying to them, if they think that you have...if you agree to this kind of a sitdown." Concerning the Comey / Flynn firing, Limbaugh said : "So Mueller wants to ask Trump why he fired Comey and why he fired Flynn. You can see what kind of trap this is. Trump doesn’t owe anybody an explanation on this. But there are still people who think that they can force one out of him. I would also reject the offer, if it’s made -- which I don’t think it would be. But there’s a possibility that Trump’s lawyers could say, “You know, we’ll do this, but we want it in writing. You submit your questions in writing, and then we’ll answer them in writing. And while some people think that would be the best way to go because there’s no have the questions in front of you, and then you write your answers down and you review them. You edit them, and you don’t submit them until you are fully, fully confident that what you want to say and what you don’t want to say is in your answer. The problem, again, in my layman’s view of this, is those written answers -- whoever writes them -- are, for legal purposes, written by Donald Trump. And anything he writes down can then be used as a springboard for any other avenue or branch of the investigation....If Trump’s gonna do this, they had better get some really serious limitations on scope, on time. They can try to set the parameters." Finally, Limbaugh ended : "I just think it’s a rotten idea. It’s just a perjury trap, and this is the benefit of the doubt, but even if Mueller’s not setting it up as a perjury trap, it still is one.' • • • THE CONSTITUTION IS AT PLAY. It is not just about President Trump, no matter how important that is. It is the Republic and the Constitution that are in play. What worries me most is the off-the-cuff remark President Trump made to a reporter who yelled a question at him about talking to Mueller under oath as the President passed by. Trump said he would love to and added -- and this is what worries me -- he added that Hillary never testified under oath. That is fatal pride, the hubris of Shakespeare's tragic heroes, at work. President Trump suggesting he will do something that Hillary refused to do, i.e., step into the lion's den under oath. IT IS WRONG. This is not about a macho willingness to testify under oath. It is about the future of the Trump presidency, and it is about the future of the constitutional Office of the President. It is about the whittling away of the Constitution's separation of powers -- the power specifically of the President to control his or her own executive branch. It is also about using federal law enforcement agencies as a mechanism to win an election as is done in despotic regimes -- it is about whether a political candidate, in this case Hillary Clinton, can collude with or use the FBI and DOJ to illegally open an investigation of a political opponent and then use the investigation to fraudulantly obtain surveillance warrants to collect information and leak it to a willing media in order to destroy that political opponent. • • • DEAR READERS, it is very clear that Mueller’s team has no evidence that the 2016 presidential election was rigged, or that Trump knew about some effort to rig it and worked with the Russians. If such evidence existed, President Trump would already be immersed in an impeachment or criminal investigation. • The entire Mueller probe smells of partisan politics carried out at the highest levels of law enforcement in order to protect and advance the Progressive socialist Hillary Clinton, the politician that Mueller, the Deep State, and the ProgDems prefer over the conservative Donald Trump whom they fear. IT smells of banana republic co-opting of the legal system for political gain. It smells of an FBI seriously compromised by the Progressive elites. It smells of Big Brother political spying. And, it reeks of corruption and financial self-preference by those who are supposed to be sworn officers of the constitutional government they are corrupting. • We know there was collusion between the Hillary campaign and the Russians by means of Fusion GPS and the Perkins Coie law firm. There are now legitimate demands for a second special counsel to investigate Mueller. That is just how corrupt this entire ProgDem / Deep State smear campaign has become. • And the Deep State wall surrounding Mueller is beginning to show cracks. The New York Post reported on Monday that the classified memo which the House Intelligence Committee is preparing to declassify and release will show that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein okayed an application shortly after taking office last year to monitor former Trump campaign associate Carter Page. The DOJ -- after President Trump was sworn in -- extended surveillance on Carter Page, believing that he was acting as a Russian agent, the New York Times reported late Sunday, citing people familiar with the memo’s contents. The document faulted the FBI and the DOJ for failing to completely explain to the intelligence court judge in seeking the warrant that they were relying on information supplied by Christopher Steele, who compiled the disputed Russia Dossier that contains unsubstantiated claims about Trump’s ties to Russia, the NYT said. Research for the Dossier had been paid for by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee. A number of top DOJ officials can approve such surveillance but the responsibility usually falls to the deputy attorney general, according to the NYT. White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told the NYT that Trump wants “transparency throughout this process. Based on numerous news reports, top officials at the F.B.I. have engaged in conduct that shows bias against President Trump and bias for Hillary Clinton. While President Trump has the utmost respect and support for the rank-and-file members of the FBI, the anti-Trump bias at the top levels that appear to have existed is troubling.” The White House and some Republican lawmakers are calling for the memo to be declassified and released to the public to show how the agencies are biased against the President. FBI Director Christopher Wray viewed the memo Sunday on Capitol Hill, as reported by Fox News’ Catherine Herridge. • And, Fox News reported later on Monday that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has been "removed" from the bureau. Acting FBI director Andrew McCabe ahd announced plans to retire in 2018. A source confirmed to Fox News that McCabe is taking “terminal leave” -- effectively taking vacation until he reaches his planned retirement in a matter of weeks. So, he will not be reporting to work at the FBI anymore. The move was first reported by NBC News. Republicans have questioned McCabe’s ties to the Democratic Party, and have heavily criticized his wife, when she ran as a Democrat for a Virginia Senate seat in 2015, taking a reported $700,000 in financial help from a PAC tied to longtime Clinton family ally Terry McAuliffe while McCabe was investigating Hillary. McCabe never reported the contributions, as required. Trump tweeted in December : “How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin’ James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?” McCabe has also been mentioned in connection with several other controversies. The Daily Beast reported that a GOP memo alleging government surveillance abuse named McCabe, along with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and ex-FBI boss James Comey. Republicans also want to know what McCabe knew about the virulently anti-Trump text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, two FBI officials deeply involved in the Trump investigation, including one message on August 15, 2016, that seemed to reference an “insurance policy” against Trump winning the 2016 election : “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office -- that there’s no way he gets elected -- but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.” Some lawmakers think "Andy" was a reference to McCabe. • Last week, American Thinker published an article titled "The Sinking of the FBI" by William F. Marshall, an intelligence analyst and investigator in the government, the private sector, and the non-profit sector for over 30 yearsn and presently a senior investigator for Judicial Watch. Marshall writes : "J. Edgar Hoover must be turning in his grave at what is happening to his venerable FBI. Then again, given Hoover's own proclivities to abuse his powers as the director of that agency, perhaps the predicament in which the bureau finds itself is a natural stage of evolution on an arc of governmental hubris. It's increasingly clear that the FBI is taking on water at an accelerating rate as new revelations come, fast and furious, in the political scandals engulfing Washington. This week, for example, we see two adolescent-minded senior FBI officials, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, involved in virtually all aspects of the Hillary Clinton email server investigation and the Donald Trump "Russian collusion" (or is it "obstruction of justice" now?) investigation, acting like hormone-fueled high school lovers, discussing a "secret society" of Trump-haters one day after President Trump's remarkable election. We learned of this only because two patriotic congressmen, representatives Trey Gowdy and John Ratcliffe, former federal prosecutors both, revealed this stunning exchange to Fox News. Was the "secret society" a tongue-in-cheek reference? Given the mind-boggling behavior of the top echelons at the FBI and DOJ these days, one can't be too sure." Marshall's description of today's FBI is striking : "The keel of the USS Federal Bureau of Investigation is starting to rise out of the water, like the RMS Titanic about 30 minutes after striking the iceberg. One can almost hear the bodies of top law enforcement bureaucrats crashing against each other, like so much china on a dying vessel sinking under the waves, as the embattled organization faces exposure after exposure of truly outrageous and un-American, if not illegal, conduct....The tragic reality is that this apotheosis of American law enforcement, this symbol of truth, justice, and the American way, has become so corrupt, so politicized, and so diametrically opposed to its mission because of its recent actions that nothing short of its reconstitution is required -- much as the KGB was reconstituted following the collapse of the Soviet Union. (I never thought I would be drawing any sort of comparison between the FBI and the KGB, but those are the unfortunate circumstances in which we find ourselves.)" • As I have said often, Americans should be frightened of what is happening at the FBI and the DOJ and everywhere the Deep State is active. William Marshall is blunt about it : "What we are seeing today at the highest levels of our government should frighten all Americans. As I laid out in detail in a recent interview for Judicial Watch, discussing the role of Fusion GPS, its interactions with the FBI, and Fusion founder Glenn Simpson's testimony before a Senate committee, the evidence is rapidly emerging that senior officials in our government, most likely up to and including then-President of the United States Barack Obama, worked in concert to illicitly, and possibly criminally, derail the candidacy of the opposition party's presidential candidate using fabricated information (or, as former FBI director James Comey described it, "salacious and unverified") obtained by a private investigations firm from an enemy of the United States: Russia. Even worse, once that effort to derail that candidacy failed and that candidate, Donald Trump, was elected, those same individuals used the same manufactured evidence as the basis to launch an investigation, employing the vast authority and technical resources of the United States government, whose ultimate goal, I believe, is to impeach and remove that duly elected President." Marshall calls what is going on by its correct name : "That, ladies and gentlemen, is a coup d'état. Merriam-Webster defines a coup d'état as a 'a sudden decisive exercise of force in politics.' While the Hillary-FBI-DOJ-Fusion GPS cabal was not a violent coup, to be sure, it was certainly a decisive exercise of force in politics when it used, as has been reported, a fraud on the court to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on members of the opposing party's presidential campaign....It required the subversion and corruption of numerous governmental agencies, not just the FBI -- to effect: the Department of Justice and the National Security Agency to be sure, and possibly the Central Intelligence Agency, the State Department, and other agencies as well. I do not say this lightly....I care deeply about this country, the Constitution, and the rule of law. The American people need to wake up and understand the gravity of what is shaping up to be nothing short of an attempt to overthrow their government. The sinking of the FBI may be the least of our worries." • The American Republic is facing a crisis of unequaled proportions. We all need to be vigilant and supportive of the President as he fights for us and for the constitutional rule of law. And, we need a President Trump and legal team who understand fully the enormity of the crisis and put the safety of the Constitution and the security of the Republic before every and all possible personal considerations, including the desire for transparency and cooperation by talking to special counsel Mueller under oath. I feel sure President Trump understands all of this. What he must now do is turn that understanding into a carefully crafted plan to save us all.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Holocaust Recognition and the Improving Role of Women -- the Saudi Arabia Modernization Program We Applaud and Trust but Should Verify

THE REAL NEWS TODAY IS ABOUT SAUDI ARABIA. But there's little talk about it. • International Holocaust Remembrance Day was commemorated at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum on Saturday. Voice of America News covered the ceremony in remembrance of the liberation of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in 1945. Officials from around the world came to remember the genocide. European Union Ambassador David O’Sullivan said museums remembering the Holocaust are essential for future generations to learn about the past atrocities : “The new generation also needs people, stories and places to keep the memory alive. To make sure we keep the promise made at the end of the Holocaust -- Never Again.” First lady Melania Trump was among those who toured the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Friday and tweeted that she experienced a “powerful and moving tour.” President Trump was in Davos, but The White House on Friday recognized International Holocaust Remembrance Day with a message that said : “We acknowledge this dark stain on human history and vow to never let it happen again. Tomorrow marks the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi death and concentration camp in Poland. We take this opportunity to recall the Nazis’ systematic persecution and brutal murder of 6 million Jewish people. In their death camps and under their inhuman rule, the Nazis also enslaved and killed millions of Slavs, Roma, gays, people with disabilities, priests and religious leaders, and others who courageously opposed their brutal regime." And, on Saturday in the Polish capital of Warsaw, US Secretary of State Tillerson paid tribute to Holocaust victims by placing a wreath and making remarks at the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Monument : "On this occasion it reminds us that we can never, we can never, be indifferent to the face of evil. The Western alliance which emerged from World War Two has committed itself to ensuring the security of all, that this would never happen again." • But, the real news was made by Saudi Arabia. • • • MOSLEM WORLD LEAGUE RECOGNIZES THE HOLOCAUST. That is real news. US Holocaust Memorial Museum officials read a letter from Dr. Muhammad Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Moslem World League based in Saudi Arabia, who wrote, “Who in their right mind would accept, sympathize or even diminish the extent of this brutal crime?” You can access a short video about the reading of the letter from secretary general Al-Issa at < blob: > . • The Saudi recognition letter was first released and came about as a result of the efforts of the executive director of The Washington Institute, Robert Satloff, and was first publiched on the TWI website and then reported by the New York Daily News last Friday. • Satloff called the Al-Issa letter "a laudable example of outreach from the heart of Islam." To put this into perspective, TWI wrote that Saudi Arabia's "King Faisal once celebrated the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as historical fact, [their] UN representative (Jamil Baroody, 1976) once denounced Anne Frank's diary as a forgery and claimed the murder of millions of Jews by the Nazis was fiction. The country that not only counted among its countrymen 15 of 19 perpetrators of the September 11 attacks but whose religious hierarchy exported bigotry and intolerance to mosques and madrasas around the world for decades, fueling the hate on which al-Qaida, ISIS, Hamas and all Islamist extremist movements thrived." • In early December, Satloff tells us, he led a delegation of lay leaders of TWI on a visit to Riyadh. Among the high-ranking officials he met during our three-day visit was Dr. Mohammed Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Moslem World League, which Satloff notes is "the organization that has long been cited as the key facilitator of Saudi Arabia's global effort to export a radical, hate-filled, anti-West, anti-Semitic version of Islam. Just last year, a prominent British research institute labeled Saudi Arabia the main source of Islamic extremism in the United Kingdom and cited the MWL as a critical linchpin in that project." But, says Satloff, "the change inside MWL appears to have begun with the August 2016 appointment of Al-Issa, a former Saudi justice minister. Taking his lead from Muhammad bin Salman, the current crown prince who has vowed to cleanse his country of extremism and return it to 'moderate Islam,' Al-Issa seems to have a specific mandate to transform the MWL from an organization synonymous with extremism to one that preaches tolerance. And, no less important, he has promised to remake the MWL into an organization focused solely on religion, taking it completely out of politics -- except for the politics of countering extremism, that is....Al-Issa struck an impressive note. Not only did he underscore a decidedly un-Saudi commitment to religious outreach, speaking fondly of his recent visit to a Paris synagogue, he also refused to take the bait when asked about President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. If I expected any Saudi official to bang the table, sermonize about the Moslem connection to Al Quds and decry the President's decision to recognize the sovereignty of the Jewish state anywhere in the city, it would have been the secretary-general of the Moslem World League. Instead, he politely declined comment, saying only that the League is committed to peace and is not a political body." • So, Satloff recounts, he later wrote to Al-Issa, thanked him for the meeting and invited him to Washington to address TWI's annual conference in May. But Satloff added one more request -- should he come to Washington, Satloff urged him to tour the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and meet with its director, Sara Bloomfield. Satloff explains : "For more than 15 years, one of my personal passions has been to engage Arabs and Moslems in a discussion of the Holocaust. This is based on my belief that tearing down the walls of Holocaust denial so widespread in Arab and Moslem culture is a critical element in the broader fight against the hatred at the heart of Islamist extremism. I have been privileged to work with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in an ambitious effort to legitimize discussion of the Holocaust in Arab and Moslem countries and to help prevent future genocide by spreading the lessons of the Holocaust. We have had some impressive success, especially in Morocco (where the king's brother recently endorsed Holocaust education as an important tool in the battle against extremism) and in Tunisia (where civil society is holding a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony this week)." Satloff never thought that "Saudi Arabia would merit inclusion on that list of 'progressive' countries." But Al-Issa answered Satloff's letter, welcoming his invitation and agreeing to visit the Museum. While he wouldn't be the first Moslem notable to visit the Museum, the secretary-general of the Moslem World League would be the highest-ranking Moslem religious official -- an important step in the process of legitimizing Moslem discussion of the Holocaust." Emboldened by Al-Issa's response, Satloff then "had another 'why not?' idea. With January 27 approaching, I wrote Al-Issa asking whether he would send a letter to Bloomfield on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day that she could make public. The letter, I suggested, might reflect his and the MWL's approach toward the Holocaust and the broader battle for tolerance and moderation." • • • THE AL-ISSA LETTER. To his amazement, Satloff got the following letter from Al-Issa, which was read at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum commemoration ceremony last Saturday : "Ms. Bloomfield, It’s my pleasure to write to you this letter on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, celebrating the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp. On this occasion, I confirm to you what I have already told my friend Robert Satloff, the executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, about our great sympathy with the victims of the Holocaust, an incident that shook humanity to the core, and created an event whose horrors could not be denied or underrated by any fair-minded or peace-loving person. This human tragedy perpetrated by evil Nazism won’t be forgotten by history, or meet the approval of anyone, except criminal Nazis or their genre. True Islam is against these crimes. It classifies them in the highest degree of penal sanctions and among the worst human atrocities ever. One would ask, who in his right mind would accept, sympathize, or even diminish the extent of this brutal crime. However, our solace is that the memory of history is fair and vivid; and a justice, free of any other inclinations, would mourn this crime on behalf of all humanity. The victims have sacrificed their innocent lives to pen a memorable reminder of freedom and determination, an example of the extent of Nazi hate which has sunk the world into wars and disasters. History is indeed impartial no matter how hard forgers tried to tamper with or manipulate it. Hence, we consider any denial of the Holocaust or minimizing of its effect a crime to distort history and an insult to the dignity of those innocent souls who have perished. It is also an affront to us all since we share the same human soul and spiritual bonds. The Moslem World League is entirely independent of any political aims, tendencies, or otherwise. It does, however, express its opinion with utter neutrality; an impartiality that doesn’t carry any political tone at all. It looks at matters and judges them without prejudice and with transparency. We do not express our views on any dimensions other than absolute the human dimension: that of innocent lives. The latter have been protected and safeguarded in Islam, which decrees that anyone who assaults and kills an innocent soul will be held accountable as if he has killed all people. Islam has, through long centuries, coexisted with all religions and respected the dignity of its followers. We are also aware that there are political slogans in all religions throughout history that exploit faith to achieve their goals and aspirations, however, religions are innocent of these schemes. As a result, unjustified and unjust wars broke out, and blood was shed and still is, all in the name of religions. The law of the Creator came with peace, love, justice, and truth. On the other hand, we find extremists who are affiliated with all religions become active from time to time, in ebb and tide cycles throughout history. They swear hatred to others, even to people of their own faith. We Moslems have seen many terrorists who tried to falsify and distort religious texts and twist their historical facts. We have said in the past, and still do today, that there is no authority on religions except correct religious texts free of misleading, false, and distorted interpretations. We must also rely only on prophets and messengers of all religions who have conveyed the messages given to them the Creator of these faiths. The religion of God came as a mercy to mankind; it was not revealed to cause their misery and be a reason for wars and calamities. Please accept my best regards and appreciation. Dr. Mohammad Al-Issa, Secretary General Moslem World League, President of the International Organization of Moslem Scholars." • As Satloff states : "All in all, it is a remarkable document -- remarkable for its authorship, content, breadth and message. I assume there are many reasons -- some sacred, some less so -- why the head of the Moslem World League took pen to paper to denounce Holocaust denial. As my teenage son likes to say, this is not my first rodeo. But action matters so much more than motive. And having been written, Al-Issa's words cannot easily be undone. Thanks to him, this International Holocaust Remembrance Day will be recalled as the one in which Saudi Arabia -- defender of Islam's two holiest sites -- took a giant step toward joining the world in its recognition of the enormity of the Holocaust. Is more to be done? Absolutely. But let's give credit where credit is due." • And, let's give credit to Robert Satloff, the executive director of The Washington Institute and author of Among the Righteous : Lost Stories from the Holocaust's Long Reach into Arab Lands. It was he who had the courage and faith to engage Dr. Al-Issa and to encourage him to join the world in recognizing the horror and reality of the Holocaust. • • • TWO OTHER SAUDI ACTIONS. • In what appears to be part of a huge sea change in Saudi Arabia, on January 18, in addition to the Holocaust letter, Dr. Al-Issa signed a cooperation agreement with the World Council of Religious Leaders (WCRL), which was also signed by Bawa Jain, the secretary-general of WCRL. Both parties agreed to organize an international conference at the UN to be attended by a number of religious, intellectual and political leaders. The Saudi news release stated : "In this context, the advisor for international relations at the MWL, Adil Al-Harbi, said the step constitutes a key shift in the framework of enhancing the global programs of the MWL. The MWL has become one of the leading cultural and religious foundations around the globe in its capacity as an umbrella of the Islamic nations and its strong and influential relations, said Al-Harbi. He said the MWL has represented the Islamic World at a number of global forums and presented a civilized message that has maintained Islamic identity and, at the same time, coped with the contemporary period in a positive way. Al-Harbi said the proposed conference is expected to have a big international presence with special emphasis on peace and clearing the atmosphere, materially and morally, and facing extremist and terrorist ideology. Jain said the MWL has become a global and influential entity and the world has become attentive to it." • In another less astonishing event, Arab News reported that Princess Reema bint Bandar made an eloquent plea for gender equality as a driving force for economic change in the Kingdom during her address at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos last Thursday. Princess Reema said : "Saudi Arabia is advancing the cause of women 'because it’s necessary for our nation from an economic point of view, and also from the holistic nature of how you want a family to actually function as a family if you’re constantly segregating family members. It just doesn’t work that way. We’re not doing gender equality because the West wants it, or because it will target Human Rights Watch and get them off our backs, or because Amnesty International is going to say ‘great, good job you.’ We’re doing it because it is right." Princess Reema, a granddaughter of King Faisal, who last year became the first woman to head a Saudi sports body, said sport, culture and entertainment were at the heart of the drive to improve the quality of life in the Kingdom. She accused the world’s media of double standards in covering the Saudi transformation : “There is a determination not to allow us to create a new narrative. My question is, why? You ask us to change, and then when we exhibit change, you come to us with cynicism. I find it so destructive on a daily basis, and detrimental to the women I’m trying to inspire. But you have to understand that we’re not working for anybody outside this nation, we’re working for the women of this nation, for the men of our nation, for the evolution to where we need to be, and that’s how we will benefit youth, that’s how we’ll be a global player. However, you all have to understand something in this room. A behavioral shift does not happen overnight. Sometimes economic factors drive it, like sometimes you need the money so you let your daughter go to work. That was our reality perhaps five years ago, but today the mind shift necessary is : There’s value in this woman, there’s value in her contribution to the community, there’s value in her voice and the decisions she helps make, for a more balanced economy and a more balanced society. Perhaps you just have not heard our voices before. Today the introduction of the woman may seem like an anomaly or novelty across the world, and in Saudi Arabia, but we’ve been there. Where we have been is the silent partner, but today we’re being given the opportunity and platform to be more present and more relevant. I hope you don’t think I’m the only woman in Saudi Arabia that feels this way or is working toward this. I actually represent the thousands of women who are a lot more competent and qualified than I am. All I can hope for is to do them justice while I’m here. These are women who are already in the Shoura Council, already in the municipalities, already have PhDs, that took more work and longer than the time I’ve been alive. It is sad for me that those women are not shown and they are not showcased. I really hope you’ll take the opportunity to see that they exist.” • • • DEAR READERS, we know that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is a young man determined to make Saudi Arabia a modern "moderate Islam" state. He has apparently broken the hold of any possible opponents in the Saudi royal family by detaining them and exacting large fines because of their corrupt activities. But, MSB, as the crown prince is known, has also apparently unleashed Dr. Mohammed Al-Issa of the Moslem World League to "moderate" the religious side of the Kingdom. And, while we know that Saudi women are now permitted to drive and to attend soccer matches and have long been well-educated and active in business and cultural activities in Saudi Arabia, it was reassuring to hear a female member of the Saudi royal family speak of ongoing changes. What we cannot know is whether this reform will take hold and prosper, or whether the radically conservative forces in the Kingdom will again assert themselves. As Princess Reema told attendees at Davos : "You ask us to change, and then when we exhibit change, you come to us with cynicism." So, let us accept the astonishing Holocaust letter of Dr. Al-Issa and the efforts of Princesss Reema as the signs of the Crown Prince's genuine resolve to moderate and modernize the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. • It brings to mind Suzanne Massie, a writer in Russia who met with President Ronald Reagan many times between 1984 and 1987 and who taught him the Russian proverb, "Doveryai, no proveryai" (trust, but verify). It was an expression that President Reagan adopted and used in December 1987 after the signing of the INF Treaty with Mikhail Gorbachev. The Russian leader quipped, "You repeat that at every meeting," to which Reagan replied, "I like it." • We like what Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is doing. We like very much Dr. Al-Issa's letter. We like Princess Reema's championing of Saudi women. But, let us remember to verify even as we applaud and support these signs of the Saudi sea change.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Holocaust Facts on International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2018

INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY. Saturday, January 27, is the day in 2018 marked by the United Nations as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Israel has its own commemoration later in the year beginning at ‎sunset on April 11 and ending at nightfall on April 12. The full name of the day commemorating the victims of the Holocaust is “Yom Hashoah Ve-Hagevurah“-- literally the “Day of (Remembrance of) the Holocaust and the Heroism.” It is marked on the 27th day in the month of Nisan -- a week after the seventh day of Passover, and a week before Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day for Israel’s fallen soldiers). When the 27th of Nisan falls on a Friday or Sunday, Yom Hashoah is shifted a day to avoid conflicting with Shabbat . The Hebrew calendar is fixed so that the 27th never falls on Shabbat itself. • We outlined earlier this week some of the many worldwide commemorations that have been taking place leading up to Saturday. Today, let us face the facts of the Holocaust, as they are recorded at Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Centre in Jerusalem. • • • DAVID BEN-GURION VISITED CONCENTRATION CAMPS. David Ben-Gurion, the primary national founder of the State of Israel and the first Prime Minister of Israel, could be said to have led the first Holocaust Remembrance when he visited Holocaust survivors in Bergen-Belsen, Germany, in October 1945. Bergen-Belsen was opened by the Nazis in April 1943 as a detention camp for foreign citizens intended for exchange with the Allies, from which thousands of Jews were deported to be murdered. In March 1944 the camp became a concentration camp, and until its liberation on April 15, 1945, hundreds of thousands of prisoners had been transferred to the camp, the majority of whom arrived on death marches from Eastern Europe. Approximately 35,000 inmates died in the camp before liberation, from diseases, starvation and the harsh weather. After liberation, about half of the 60,000 liberated inmates perished. • A displaced persons’ camp was established in Bergen-Belsen, in which the liberated inmates carried on widespread cultural, political and social activities. The visit of David Ben-Gurion, at that time chairman of the Jewish Agency for Eretz Israel, to the DP camp in Bergen-Belsen was part of his visit to the concentration and DP camps in the vicinity of Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich, Heidelberg and Hanover, including Dachau and Bergen-Belsen. • In the reports on his visit he wrote : “I saw the furnaces where they incinerated hundreds of thousands and millions of Jews throughout Europe -- from the West, from the East, the South and the North, Ashkenazim and Sephardim, from all of the different ethnic communities and political parties...the few remnants, who were miraculously saved from the gas chambers, the forced labor, the tortures and the sufferings, from the beatings and the humiliation -- in their name I bring to you (in Eretz Israel) blessings of brotherly peace. They charged me with informing you of two requests. The first request : Jewish unity. Together, they died, were tortured and suffered, with no regard to tribe, origin, or political affiliation. The murderers did not distinguish...and the second request : the State of Israel. That is the last will and testament of millions of martyrs who went to their deaths : only because we are a nation lacking a homeland and a country we were murdered, and justice and freedom cannot prevail, unless this historical injustice that has been committed against us has been rectified.” • As Ben-Gurion made his way to the hall, the survivors broke out in a powerful rendition of Hatikva, the Israel national anthem. “Shocked and deeply moved, Ben-Gurion walked through the camps and held long meetings with the refugees who had gathered around. He wanted to know everything : what they had experienced, how they are living, how much food they receive, if they want to make aliyah, if they are willing to put themselves in harm’s way in order to do so.” (Bar Zohar) • The DP camp in Bergen-Belsen was closed in 1951, and the majority of its inhabitants either immigrated to Israel or to other countries outside of Europe. • • • YAD VASHEM EXPLAINS THE FACTS OF THE HOLOCAUST. You can access the factual history of the Holocaust and many other of its aspects by logging on to < >. Today, to honor those who perished in the Holocaust, and to remind ourselves of its horrors, so great that they are difficult to comprehend and extremely painful to absorb, here are some of the Holocaust facts presented on the Yad Vashem website. • • What were concentration camps? When did they start to function, and what was their purpose? Immediately after they came to power, the Nazis set up camps in which they imprisoned those whom they considered opponents to their regime and treated them with great brutality. As in other dictatorial regimes, these camps were designed to break that opposition and inspire fear among the population in order to ensure that new opposition would not arise. The first concentration camp was established at Dachau on March 23, 1933, just two months after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. Dachau became the training ground for the SS. Its first commandant was Theodor Eicke, whose many precedents for brutality were followed throughout the expanding camp system. Among the major camps established in Greater Germany were Buchenwald, Mauthausen, Neuengamme, Ravensbrueck and Sachsenhausen. At the time of the annexation of Austria and more so during the riot against the Jews of Germany in November 1938 (Kristallnacht), people were no longer imprisoned primarily because of their perceived actions, but they began to be imprisoned for reasons of race. From this point onward, Jews were placed in Nazi camps simply because they were Jews. As the Nazis conquered more and more territory, they expanded the camp system greatly and used it as a tool in their plan for the reordering of European society along racial lines. Forced labor was always a component of the camp universe and as time went on, this component became more and more central to it. In fact, the Nazis did not call all of their camps “concentration camps”; some were designated as labor or hard-labor camps, others as transit camps, and others as exchange camps. Owing to the inhuman labor conditions, cruelty of the camp staff, and horrible physical conditions, many prisoners died in the camps, especially during the war. With the coming of the Final Solution, six extermination camps were also established in which primarily Jewish prisoners were systematically murdered. • • What were the extermination camps? When did they start to function, and what was their purpose? The first camp specifically established as an extermination camp was at Chelmno (Kulmhof), Poland. It began to function on December 8, 1941, when Jews from the surrounding area were brought there. At first, gas vans were used for the murder. Eventually, approximately 320,000 people, mostly Jews, were murdered there. Early in 1942, the Nazis began to build three extermination camps in the framework of Operation (Aktion) Reinhard : Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka. Most of the Jews from Poland were murdered in these camps in 1942 and 1943. All told, about 1.7 million Jews were murdered in the Reinhard camps. Majdanek, which was a concentration-labor camp, also had a killing center and is often cited as an extermination camp. Unlike in the Operation Reinhard camps, many of the victims of Majdanek were not Jews. The most infamous of the extermination camps was established at Auschwitz. It began to function as an extermination camp in the spring of 1942, after larger gas chambers were built in nearby Birkenau (Auschwitz II). Eventually, more than a million Jews and several hundred thousand Poles, Sinti and Roma, and people of various nationalities were murdered there. • • Why didn't more Jews leave Europe before the war began? The most straightforward answer is that they simply had nowhere to go. For the Jews of Europe, as noted in Chaim Weizmann's famous remark, the world was divided into two: places where they could not live and places where they could not go. The restrictive immigration practices of the major overseas countries vis-à-vis Jewish refugees reflected a global climate of economic protectionism tinged with xenophobia and outright anti-Semitism. An international conference on refugees at Evian (France) in July 1938, initiated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, proved to be a complete fiasco. Except for the Dominican Republic, none of the representatives of the 32 countries invited offered prospective Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria any hope whatsoever. Another explanation is that the intermittent and uneven application of the anti-Semitic pressure during the Nazi regime's first years sent confusing signals to the Jewish victims, lulling their sense of danger and allowing them to believe that the worst had already passed. A panic exodus of Jews from Nazi-dominated Europe ensued only after the spring of 1938, in the wake of the annexation of Austria in March of that year, and intensified after the November pogrom. By that time, Jews were willing to emigrate to any place they could. In the first years of the Nazi regime, most German Jews who emigrated went to neighboring European countries and to Palestine. However, the picture changed considerably after 1936 and especially in 1938. During this period, as immigration of refugees to Palestine and most of the countries of Europe became increasingly difficult, and the circumstances of Jews in Germany deteriorated, Jews became more willing to go to places they considered more remote, especially South America. With the desperate plight of Austrian Jewry after the Nazi annexation of March 1938, and the Kristallnacht pogrom in November that struck the Jews of the entire Reich, the United States and Great Britain relaxed their restrictive practices. In their frantic efforts to break out of the Nazi death trap, the Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria went as far a field as Shanghai, one of the few places that accepted immigrants freely. Others tried to reach Palestine stealthily in order to circumvent British restrictions on Jewish immigration. Emigration of Jews from Germany and Austria in 1933-1939, by destinations : United States 85,000 / Latin America 85,000 / Palestine 60,000 / Shanghai 18,000 / Great Britain 60,000 / Switzerland 12,000 for a Total of 320,000. Some 110,000 Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria escaped to neighboring countries only to fall again into the Nazis' clutches during the war. • • When and how did the Nazis decide to murder the Jews under their control? The exact date of the Nazi policy decision to murder all the Jews is not entirely clear. No written order from Hitler to this effect has been found. Currently there is a consensus among historians, however, that before the outbreak of the war the Nazis did not have a definite plan to murder the Jews of Europe. Rather, the policy that came to be known as the Final Solution, which called for the murder of all Jews, developed during the war itself. At the time of the German conquest of Poland, in the autumn of 1939, the Nazis crossed the line from earlier forms of discrimination to murder. At this point, sporadic mass killings in the Generalgouvernement alone, the area where most Polish Jews were gathered, resulted in the deaths of at least 7,000 in the last months of 1939. With the invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, murderous activities against the Jews were greatly intensified. German armed formations, chief among the special units of the SS known as the Einsatzgruppen, began shooting Jewish males as well as Communist political officers in a mass and systematic fashion. In early July, the “No. 2” man in the SS, Reinhard Heydrich, was made responsible by Hitler's deputy Hermann Goering for a "Final Solution to the Jewish Question in Europe." In mid-August, when the head of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, visited the newly occupied Soviet areas, it was decided to extend the killing to Jewish women and children. Soon thereafter experiments began on the use of Zyklon-B gas as a means for mass murder. These experiments were conducted in Auschwitz on Soviet prisoners of war. In mid-October the deportation of the Jews from the Reich began, and just a few days later, Jewish emigration from the Reich was forbidden. Also in October, sites were chosen for the extermination camps Chelmno and Belzec. In early December, the first extermination camp, Chelmno, went into operation. There Jews began to be murdered with carbon monoxide gas generated by large diesel engines that pumped gas into gas chambers. On December 12, it is known that Hitler met with some of his intimate circle and told them that the systematic mass murder which had begun in the Soviet Union would be extended to the Jews of Germany, the last group to be included in the plans for murder. From this meeting we know that the decision to include all Jews in the murder was made before December 12 -- most likely during the autumn of 1941. On January 20, 1942, after hundreds of thousands of Jews had already been murdered, Heydrich convened various senior members of the German bureaucracy in what has come to be known as the Wansee Conference to discuss and coordinate the "Final Solution." It is clear from this series of events that Hitler, Goering, Himmler, Heydrich, and other Nazi leaders were closely involved in the decision-making process which led to the mass murder of the Jews. • • What were the largest ghettos, how many Jews were in them, and when were they liquidated? The largest ghetto was in Warsaw, which held up to 480,000 Jews and was liquidated in May 1943, after massive deportations to Treblinka in the summer of 1942 and two uprisings in January and April of 1943. The Lodz ghetto contained 160,000 Jews at its peak. This ghetto was liquidated gradually : in a first wave of deportations to Chelmno between January and May of 1942, many subsequent deportations to Chelmno and other camps, and final liquidation on September 1, 1944. The Lvov ghetto contained nearly 150,000 Jews when established in November 1941; its last few thousand inhabitants were removed in June 1943 after the rest had been deported to their deaths in Belzec and Janowska. The Minsk ghetto held 100,000 Jews from this city and the surrounding towns and villages. The Minsk ghetto was liquidated on October 21, 1943, after most of its Jewish inhabitants had been shot or deported to their deaths in Sobibor. In Vilna, most of the 57,000 Jews who initially inhabited the ghetto were shot to death in the nearby pits of Ponar. In the wake of a failed Vilna ghetto uprising, the last few thousand Jews were sent to camps in Estonia on September 23, 1943. The Bialystok ghetto, which originally contained 50,000 Jews, was liquidated on August 16, 1943, following five days of fighting by the Jewish underground. • • What conditions prevailed in the ghettos? During the Holocaust, ghettos were small and, in most cases, poor areas in cities and towns, to which the Jews were confined and from which non-Jews were generally barred. Many ghettos were surrounded by walls or fences in order to help enforce the Jews' isolation and separation from their neighbors and the outside world. The ghettos were meant to serve as temporary, tightly controlled collection points, where the Jews' labor potential would be exploited until a future German policy led to their removal. Jews in the ghettos were kept under horrendous conditions. The Nazis confiscated nearly all of their belongings and denied them access to most needs of daily life. Severe overcrowding, lack of hygiene, extreme starvation, and denial of basic medicines led to widespread epidemics in many ghettos. The harsh conditions and long hours of forced labor weakened the Jews further. In Warsaw, the largest of the ghettos, approximately 85,000 Jews (about 20 percent of the ghetto population) died from the conditions before the Nazis began to deport them to a death camp. Similar death rates were evident in other ghettos, and even where conditions were somewhat better, they were "narrow as the grave," in the words of one Vilna ghetto diarist, Dr. Lazar Epstein. • • How did Jews cope with conditions in the ghettos? The Jews resorted to legal and “illegal” methods in their attempts to cope with the severe conditions imposed on them in the ghettos. Jewish councils arranged housing, distributed food, and provided social welfare, child care, refugee assistance, and other services -- stretching their very scanty resources beyond the limits of their capabilities. In some ghettos, autonomous social-welfare organizations were created to deal with the same types of needs. Political parties and youth movements organized clandestinely to provide their members with supplementary aid and moral support. Additionally, families and friends tried to help their own. Many Jews in many ghettos, singly and collectively, came to realize that the Nazis had placed them in a trap : If they obeyed the Nazis' rules, they stood to die prematurely of starvation or disease. If they were caught breaking the rules by smuggling food, supplies, and information, they faced certain death. In many instances, Jews chose to become "outlaws" in their struggle to survive. • • In what condition were the Jews in Germany and Poland after the liberation? How did their rehabilitation start? §§ Germany. Immediately after the liberation, there were 50,000–75,000 Jews in the western part of occupied Germany. In the first few weeks after the war, hundreds of displaced-persons camps were set up provisionally in this area for people who did not want to return to their countries of residence, among them many Jews. In August 1945, the Harrison Committee (appointed by President Truman to investigate the plight of the displaced persons) reported to the American Army on the desperate condition of Jews in the displaced-persons camps. As a result of the report, special camps with improved conditions were set up for Jews in the American occupation zone and, some time later, in the British zone as well. The Soviets, for their part, persistently refused to recognize the Jews as a distinct group and did not establish special camps for them. The population of the displaced-persons camps in Germany, in Austria, and also in Italy kept growing, mainly because Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe continued to arrive. At the end of 1946, as a result of a mass flight of Jews from Poland (in the wake of the Kielce pogrom), there were about 15,000 Jews in the British occupation zone, 140,000 in the American occupation zone (mostly in Bavaria), and 1,500 in the French zone. In all, about 700 displaced-persons camps were active; among the best known were Landsberg, Pocking, Feldafing, and Bergen-Belsen. Notwithstanding the survivors' many problems, an intense and active lifestyle came into being in these camps -- an educational and vocational system, cultural creativity, journalism, and even political life. Most Jews in displaced-persons camps in Central Europe left the camps by 1950. Most emigrated to Israel; others emigrated to the United States, Canada, Australia, and other localities. Some stayed in Germany. §§ Poland. About 300,000 Polish Jews [of the 3 million Polish Jews before WWII] survived : 25,000 who survived in Poland, 30,000 who returned from labor camps, and the rest, who repatriated from the Soviet Union. The destruction of Jewish life, the harsh economic situation, and eruptions of anti-Semitism -- peaking in the Kielce pogrom of July 1946 -- caused the majority of Polish Jews to leave this country (clandestinely, for the most part), usually in the direction of Central Europe. Only 50,000 Jews chose to stay in Poland after 1946. Under the Central Committee of the Polish Jews, an effort was made to revive various aspects of Jewish life in Poland. Most attempts to resettle Jews focused on the former German areas that had been annexed to Poland in the west. • • Who are the 'Righteous Among the Nations'? “Righteous Among the Nations” is the official title given to non-Jews who risked their lives in order to rescue Jews during the Holocaust. The deeds of each candidate for the title are reviewed by a special committee at Yad Vashem. In many cases it was ordinary people who saved Jewish lives during the Holocaust. They chose, against all odds, to hide one or more Jews in their home or yard. Often, the rescuer would build a bunker for the Jew, who would stay there for weeks, months, or years, hardly ever seeing the sun. Food was very scarce during the war, and the rescuer would share the few pieces of bread he had with the Jews he was hiding from the Nazis. There are also cases where groups of people, rather than individuals, rescued Jews. In the Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, and France, underground resistance groups helped Jews, mainly by finding them hiding places. In Denmark, ordinary Danes transported 7,000 of the country's 8,000 Jews to Sweden in a fishing-boat operation. In a few instances, highly placed Germans used their position to aid Jews. The most famous of these rescuers is Oskar Schindler, the German businessman who rescued thousands of Jews from the Plaszow camp by employing them in his factory. Diplomats and civil servants have also been recognized as “Righteous Among the Nations.” Some of the better-known ones are Aristides Sousa Mendes (Portugal), Sempo Sugihara (Japan), and Paul Gruninger (Switzerland), all of whom risked their careers to help Jews. But the most famous of the diplomats who rescued Jews is probably Raoul Wallenberg, from Sweden, who saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews. Despite his diplomatic immunity, he was arrested by the Soviets after the conquest of Budapest, and apparently died in the Soviet camp system. By the year 2000, over 17,000 men and women had received the honor and title “Righteous Among the Nations.” The many instances of rescue perpetuated by those designated as "Righteous Among the Nations" show that rescue was indeed possible, despite the dangerous circumstances. The recipients of the title not only saved Jewish lives, but help restore our faith in humanity. • • • ANTI-SEMITISM CONTINUES. CBS News has published an article titled "Anti-Semitism : The Longest Hatred." Prejudice against or hatred of Jews -- known as anti-Semitism -- has plagued the world for more than 2,000 years. CBS explains : "Early Christian thought held Jews collectively responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus. This religious teaching became embedded in both Catholic and Protestant theology during the first millennium, with terrible consequences for Jews. Following many centuries of persecution and exclusion, the Jewish minority in Europe achieved some rights after the Enlightenment. As Europe became more secular and Jews integrated into mainstream society, political forms of anti-Semitism emerged. Jews were targeted for their ideas and their role in society. In the late nineteenth century, pseudo-scientific theories that legitimized a racial form of anti-Semitism became popular with some intellectuals and political leaders. All of these centuries of hatred were exploited by the Nazis and their allies during World War II, culminating in the Holocaust, the systematic murder of Europe’s Jews." As stated by CBS, there has been an increase in anti-Semitism in recent years in the form of hate speech, violence, and denial and distortion of the Holocaust. These incidents occur everywhere, but especially in the Islamic world and in lands where the Holocaust occurred. CBS reminds us : "In many Middle Eastern countries, anti-Semitism is promoted in state-controlled media and educational systems, and militant groups with political power, such as Hamas, use genocidal language regarding Jews and the State of Israel. The former president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, repeatedly declared the Holocaust a 'myth' and that Israel should be 'wiped off the map.' In Europe, anti-Semitism is increasingly evident among both far-right and far-left political parties. And in the United States, some Jewish students on some college campuses are confronted by anti-Semitic hostility. Violence targeting Jews and Jewish institutions continues around the world. Denial and minimization of the Holocaust, along with other forms of hatred against Jews, is now widespread on the Internet in multiple languages." CBS concludes : "In the aftermath of the moral and societal failures that made the Holocaust possible, confronting anti-Semitism and all forms of hatred is critical." • • • DEAR READERS, there is so much about the Holocaust and anti-Semitism to remember, to be ashamed of, and to fight against. But, there are always stories that bolster our belief in the power of unversal brotherhood. One of these was published in November by JTA. It tells the story of a French Holocaust survivor who donated $1 million for relief programs for US veterans to thank American troops for saving his life during World War II. Bernard Darty, 83, announced in November that he would donate the money to the Wounded Warrior Project and the Services for Armed Forces program of the American Red Cross to help the Vets, especially those affected by the recent devastating hurricanes that hit the United States. JTA tells Darty's story : "Darty's family moved from Poland to France in 1939 to escape the Nazis. In 1942, his father went into hiding, but his mother was arrested during a roundup of Jews and sent to Auschwitz, where she died. For the next two years, he was hidden by families living on the outskirts of Paris, as were his siblings and his future wife, Paulette." Darty wrote in a personal story for Fox News when he announced his donations : "I vividly remember the arrival of the hundreds of thousands of American troops who landed in Normandy to liberate us in June 1944. They were our saviors, doling out packets of sweets to half-starved, war-weary children who had almost given up hope for freedom. The gratitude I feel to these men is beyond words. They freed our country and they saved our lives. Without American troops, my family and I simply would not have existed. I think of that every time I look at our family photos." Darty is a co-founder of the Darty Group, an electrical retailer operating more than 340 stores in several European countries and in the United States. He is retired and lives in Paris, but spends his winters in Miami Beach, Florida. Darty acknowledged that his gift comes more than 70 years after he was rescued : "It's not too late to give back. That's a lesson I hope the next generation recognizes, because its all too easy to let procrastination give way to inaction. But action is what brings hope to those who need it. As I watched news stories this fall of hurricanes, flooding and wildfires striking America, inflicting suffering among civilians and veterans alike, I realized that I still had an important task left to complete in my life. I had not yet given back to the American soldiers who saved my life nearly three-quarters of a century ago."