Thursday, April 26, 2018
Trump, Mueller, Giuliani, Eastern Europe, Rasmussen Polls, George Soros, and Conrad Black's Take on It All
TODAY, LET'S CATCH UP WITH WHAT'S GOING ON IN AMERICAN POLITICS. It's a full slate of actions and counter-actions. • • • THE SUPREME COURT ON BRINK OF AGREEING WITH TRUMP. On his travel ban, that is. On Wednesday, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments on President Trump's travel ban case, and the Court's conservative justices asked questions pointing to a likely validation of his executive authority to block people from several majority-Moslem countries from entering the US -- a ban which Trump argues is needed to protect the US from terrorists. On December 4, the Court had already signaled support for the Trump ban when it granted his administration’s request to let the ban go into full effect while legal challenges played out. Now, the Court is considering whether Trump can indefinitely keep people out of the US based on nationality -- and whether the policy is aimed at excluding Moslems from the United States. • Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy, who often casts the swing vote on the Court, both indicated they would not second-guess Trump in matters of national security. • The travel ban challenge, led by the state of Hawaii, will undoubtedly get the vote of at least one of those two justices if the Court strikes down the ban. • The challengers argue that the policy was motivated by Trump’s enmity toward Moslems and that it violates federal immigration law and the US Constitution’s prohibition on religious discrimination. The current travel ban prohibits most people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen from entering the US. It also affects two non-Moslem countries -- North Korea and some Venezuela, including some Venezuelan government officials and their families. Chad was on the last list announced in September, but Trump removed it this month after saying the country improved “its identity-management and information sharing practices.” • Here are some of the oral argument points of interest : §§ Conservative Justice Samuel Alito said the text of Trump’s proclamation about the ban “does not look at all like a Moslem ban.” §§ Justice Kennedy pressed Neal Katyal, a lawyer for the challengers, about why courts should second-guess a President’s national security judgments. Kennedy also answered Katyal about whether the ban would be permanent, saying the policy’s call for a report every six months “indicates there’ll be a reassessment” from time to time. Kennedy’s only question that may have favored the challengers came when he asked Francisco whether Trump’s campaign trail call to keep Moslems out of the US should be considered in evaluating the ban, but the Soilicitor General lawyers said the justices shouldn’t look at Trump’s campaign statements. • For the Court's ruling, we have to wait until the end of June when the Court announces its decisions for this session. • • • GIULIANI MEETS WITH MUELLER. Rudy Giuliani wasted no time in activating a more aggressive position concerning the special counsel's probe. The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that its unnamed sources told it that Giuliani, "President Trump’s new personal lawyer dealing with the ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, met with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III on Tuesday to reopen negotiations for a presidential interview, according to three people familiar with the talks." Giuliani joined Trump’s legal team just last week. The WP reported that Giuliani "conveyed the ongoing resistance of Trump and his advisors to an interview with federal investigators, but did not rule out the possibility, the people said, adding that Giuliani pressed Mueller for clarity on when the probe is expected to end. In response, Mueller reiterated that he would like a chance to ask Trump questions about steps he took during the transition and early months of his administration, the people said. The special counsel emphasized, as he did in conversations in March with Trump’s team, that an interview is essential for investigators to understand Trump’s intent in making key decisions as they seek to wrap up the portion of the probe focused on potential obstruction of justice." • The Giuliani-Mueller meeting that included members of both teams re-opened talks that had largely stopped with the resignation last month of John Dowd, a veteran lawyer who had been serving as Trump’s lead outside attorney on the investigation. Giuliani said he was taking a position on the White House legal team "because I hope we can negotiate an end to this for the good of the country and because I have high regard for the president and for Bob Mueller.” President Trump said in a statement last week that Giuliani “wants to get this matter quickly resolved.” • As the WP pointed out, Giuliani, the former New York mayor and US Attorney, has known Mueller for many years through their work in federal law enforcement. Trump attorney Jay Sekulow declined to confirm a meeting took place or to describe the discussions : “We don’t discuss conversations with the Office of the Special Counsel. We continue to maintain our ongoing cooperation.” • The WP said that : "Trump remains 'extremely opposed' to granting Mueller an interview, according to one close adviser -- setting up a potential high-stakes legal battle between the White House and the special counsel, who could ultimately seek to try to subpoena the President. When Mueller’s office first broached the idea of an interview late last year, Trump initially was open to it, rejecting warnings from Dowd that such a move would be perilous, according to several advisors. Dowd resigned in late March after disagreements with Trump about the interview....Giuliani, a longtime defender of the President, took the helm of the defense nearly one year after Mueller began his investigation and amid signs that the special counsel is looking to wrap up the obstruction-related portion of his probe. In March, Mueller informed Trump’s attorneys that he was continuing to investigate the president but did not consider him a criminal target at that point, The Post previously reported. Mueller’s investigators said at the time they were considering writing reports on their findings in stages -- with the first report focused on possible obstruction, according to two people briefed on the discussions. The special counsel said he needed to interview Trump to understand whether he had any corrupt intent to thwart the Russia investigation when he took certain steps, including firing FBI Director James B. Comey." • There is still no good reson for the President to agree to a face-to-face interview with the Mueller team. At best, it will prove nothing -- because Trump cannot reasonably be expected to answer "corrupt intent" questions about a firing that even Comey, the official fired, says Trump had every right to do. At worst, Trump will be led into a perjury trap by asking him questions about matters to which Mueller already has the answers -- because of Mueller interviews already made with other witnesses. • "That Way Madness Lies." Shakespeare’s King Lear speaks this line to Kent, to express his grief for his daughters’ selfish and cruel behavior. He says, “Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all -- / O, that way madness lies; let me shun that; / No more of that." King Lear has finally recognized that, if he keeps obsessing this way, he will lose his senses. A tempest arises in the King’s mind when he is feeling depressed for his daughters’ ingratitude toward, and maltreatment of, him, reminding himself that this heartache and emotional pain is going to drive him crazy. As a storm comes on over the heath to match the storm in hs heart, King Lear considers the ingratitude of his wicked daughters, Goneril and Regan, to whom he has given his realm. But, despite his kindness, now they have turned their old father out into a furious and unbearable storm, to show the King who is in charge. Shakespeare beautifully reminds us that, when someone becomes obsessed with a worry, a problem, a point of view, or grief, the inner storm that brews could take over his mind and thinking to an extent that he forgets everything else. The person in question even forgets to take care of himself. Simply, when a person does everything humanly possible for others, yet others pay him back very poorly, it causes despair and obsession due to over-thinking, ultimately leading him to a point of madness. • That obsession that leads to hasty and ill-considerd action is what President Trump needs to avoid at all costs. His inner conviction thath e has done no wrong and his observation that no wrongdoig has been found in 18 months of probes must make him want to talk to Mueller to end the affair. But, that way lies madness. The President must be patient, stay calm in his conviction, and let Giuliani work out what must and needs to be done. • • • POOR GEORGE SOROS IS LOSING. The conservative Canada Free Press (CFP) recently wrote that : "Soros and his cause are losing. Today in Hungary and among the Visegrad Group of nations who despise him, Hungarian-born philanthropist George Soros is toast -- not a god as he thinks of himself. Hungarian-born hedge fund multibillionaire George Soros is best known as a radical open borders advocate and manipulator of a political reality that suits his vision. His unsavory reputation, widespread in the States as well as in Europe and Russia, has arisen from Soros’ own history. Aware of the Balkanization of Europe that plunged continents into two world wars, one of which he lived through, Soros saw events such as these as reasonable cause for erasing barriers between nations. Meaning walls and fences, language, politics, ideology, culture, races, colors, differences in opinion, and religion. He literally saw himself as a god who would defeat reactionary forces that insisted on national sovereignty and create a Tower of Babel of Utopia in which all will agree on one language and a dominant culture. Possibly that out of Arabia." Canada Free Press states that : "Since the mid-1980s in particular, he has used his immense influence to help reconfigure the political landscapes of several countries around the world -- in some cases playing a key role in toppling regimes that had held the reins of government for years, even decades. Vis à vis the United States, a strong case can be made for the claim that Soros today affects American politics and culture more profoundly that any other living person. To succeed, Soros & Co. need to ignore human nature. The problem is that human nature will not ignore George Soros & Co. Soros’ One World insists on a non-conscious uniformity of political sentiment. It completes the universal TRESSPASS across social norms, wealth, class and race....Soros’ formula is simple: Make sure no one is deprived of life’s necessities. To accomplish the sharing -- redistribution -- of everyone’s share by whatever it takes, make sure that those who have some of “it,” no longer will. No one is jealous of a neighbor whose auto has been repossessed, and therewith we have Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward All Men. The final result of the widespreading of misery thus created is of little importance. What is important is to eliminate the perception of inequality -- even as the political left is still unaware that income inequality is not greater today than in was forty years ago." • Canada Free Press offers some statistics -- 2 billion miserably poor people across the globe have risen into the middle class -- courtesy of capitalism, access to capital, to travel, and to trade. Thus the level of income across broad swaths of humanity has risen dramatically. As CFP says, "Income inequality is a leftwing myth...cynical propaganda spread to disinform the deliberately ignorant, and take power from those who have it....Educated in economics in the UK, Soros is hardly shy about using his power, wealth, manipulating markets, and his wits and political connections, to influence the affairs of nations no longer his. Hedging thus he manufactures wealth in the process by placing bets where he believes he’ll win. Soros is the archetypical predator and parasite at the same time. Reportedly he managed to collapse the Bank of England and the Russian ruble, among other good bets. Soros’ hedge funds made billions in the process. Reportedly that man is a pariah in many nations and has unresolved criminal matters left unresolved in some." • The Soros adventure in Hungary is a perfect example of his predatory approach to flattening the social system into one of universal misery. CFP writes : "Wealth such as his is built by advancing fake news with feelings of uncertainty -- turmoil, unrest, financial instability in the markets, attacks on the democratic electoral process and political chaos -- assuring conditions that promote widespread human suffering and poverty. Exactly what he and his European Union associates are advancing in Hungary as I write this, right after a landslide election victory by Soros’ arch-enemy Viktor Orbán. Soros’ NGOs and colleges are promoting antifa, #womensmarch, and “Save Our Lives” -- anti-goverment political marches mostly attended by youth programmed at Soros’ own CEU, Central European University in downtown Budapest. And the same in Israel! For example, before the  Global Financial Meltdown that can be directly credited to the husband of the last Democrat candidate and too, an earlier Democrat President and their party, none of whom understand to this day WHAT HAPPENED, a few smart people shorted the housing industry and the banks....What Happened became Systemic Failure. That hedge funds make their money from the decisions of those with whom they did not collaborate does not make smart people diabolical. It makes them smart. The evil ones are those who bet on what was unsustainable -- debt -- and kept upping their bets as the debt grew. They’re called Democrats....The cause of the global financial meltdown were Democrats. All of them. And a Republican President, not a Skinny Kenyan who was credited for it by the mainstream, reversed the course by instituting TARP, the Troubled Asset Releif Program in 2008, months before the Kenyan, financed by George Soros, was elected." • There's more -- CFP states : "Soros’ game raised the stakes. He bet on events that he himself can initiate and then control by cynically using his wealth, NGO’s and connections, to manipulate media, opinion, and the markets, to achieve targeted political and financial results. Soros bet on George W. Bush losing two elections because the demographics were against Republicans in general and he would lose Florida. He bet against John McCain and Mitt Romney for pretty much the same reasons, and he had a strong horse with a good story about his father’s dreams and a weaponized federal government. He bet against Donald Trump losing the last round, and earlier, the Israeli PM Bibi Netenyahu losing several elections. Soros didn’t have to exert himself : he used a taxpayer-funded freebie via Barack Obama who organized a team to manage the Israeli election process in Tel Aviv and sabotage the chances of the longest-serving Israeli incumbent." • BUT, Soros bet against Viktor Orbàn didn't work, says CFP : "Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, a monumental thorn in Soros’ and the European Union’s side, just won his fourth term with a significant majority in parliament and a populist landslide. Orbán is portrayed by the leftwing Soros-enabled and complicit media, Reuters, BBC, the New York Times among others, and the European Commission, as a right-winger. In fact the propaganda ministry that is the global mainstream who wrote, and now have to walk back the fictions against the Hungarian PM, as well as our President, are so far to the left of reality, that the center to them appears so far to the right that it is invisible....The [Hungarian] right wing party, JOBBIK, and the left wingers, the second and third runner-up parties, are both socialists. In the United States the communists and Nazis joined the socialist Occupied movement. Two sides of the same coin -- both are socialists. In Hungary the two socialist...extremes made common cause against the center-capitalists represented by the winner, Orbàn. As it happens, the winner dramatically transformed his nation‘s economy and well-being in the last eight years. It is dramatic, and visible. That is why he was elected." • Canada Free Press goes on to examine US politics : "There is no genuine right wing left in the United States other than for a handful of neo-Nazis and skinheads....Today’s center is led by a non-ideological Republican capitalist...Donald Trump is reviled by all not aligned at the rational political center. We see parallel movements like Hungary’s moving to the center. Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Ukraine and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. And of course, Russia. We see like-kind sentiment arise in Norway and other Scandinavian countries, Western Europe, in France led by Marine LePenn, the Netherlands via Geert Wilders, and soon, in Italy. Lastly, the anti-EU Brexit phenomenon is being resolved we hope in the UK, as it was with the third victory by Israel’s Bibi Netanyahu who defeated Soros and Barack Obama." • Finally, CFP says : "George Soros’ army of NGO’s (Non Governmental Organizations). as well as his personal funds and influence, aim to obstruct and scuttle every non-aligned-to-his-cause nation’s democratic process. It aims to crush their leaders and get elected persons who will profit him financially as well as ideologically. Soros has no interest in democracy or We, the People. He has no interest in the values these other nations share with ours because he does not share America’s with his fans. His wars against his enemies are calculated, strategic, ideological, economic, and political. He thrives on ruin and the misery of others. It should surprise no one that many of these nations have allied themselves with each other against other regional interests -- as well as against Soros -- in light of the anti-democratic and anti-national forces that govern the European Commission, the EU, and the United Nations. George Soros pretty much calls the shots for all three and runs defense for them with the complicit media into which he has placed his operatives to slander, abuse, obstruct, harm and damage, and subvert his political opponents. Soros and his cause are losing. Today in Hungary and among the Visegrad Group of nations who despise him, Hungarian-born philanthropist George Soros is toast." • That is a lot to digest. But, the author is no prattling neophyte -- Andrew G. Benjamin is a real estate and tax specialist, equities trader, a former economic advisor to New York city mayor Rudy Giuliani; served on the transition team’s Subcommittee on Taxation, Finance and the Budget. Benjamin also writes extensively about intelligence, economic issues, the Mideast, terrorism, technology, high end audio and transnational politics. • • • RASMUSSEN REPORTS CONTINUES TO BE ATTACKED BY THE LEFT. The Progressive Left will not publish Rasmussen polls -- because they too often support both President Trump and his agenda. And the Rasmussen polls are often the only correct ones. • A Commentary By Fran Coombs, managing editor of Rasmussen Reports, points this out. Coombs wrote : "The anti-Trump media in its typical pack fashion has begun criticizing Rasmussen Reports in recent days. Why? Because President Trump likes the job approval numbers we’re reporting. It’s true that our Daily Presidential Tracking Poll often finds Trump’s public job approval several points higher than other national pollsters do. The same thing was true during the latter years of Barack Obama’s presidency, but for some reason the big media didn’t have a problem with that. Now it’s true that if we only surveyed the newsrooms of The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN, Trump’s job approval ratings would be lower than low. Fortunately for our readers, however, we survey the real America outside the newsrooms and beyond the Beltway that girdles the nation’s capital. They give the president higher marks for his job performance out there. The criticism from the anti-Trumpers is nothing new. Rasmussen Reports was constantly criticized throughout the 2016 election cycle for showing that Trump and Hillary Clinton were in a neck-and-neck contest much of the time. We were branded 'outliers' because our findings didn’t show Clinton leaving Trump in the dust on a fast train to the White House. Two days before the election, a prominent Democratic operative sent us an e-mail asking when we were going to apologize for being so wrong all year. But a funny thing happened when Americans actually got to vote. Trump defeated Clinton in perhaps the greatest electoral upset in US history, and our polling nailed the exact margin between the two candidates. Who got it right? The three daily tracking polls -- Investor’s Business Daily, the Los Angeles Times and Rasmussen Reports. We’re the ones who were taking the temperature of the electorate every single day, not dropping in for a handful of days like the others -- usually after a controversy -- for a snapshot of popular opinion. The rest of the polling industry was way off on the 2016 election results and spent the next several weeks apologizing for its worst performance since Dewey-Beats-Truman. Despite all the mea culpa-ing and public breast-beating, though, nothing much changed in the way they count their numbers. The Democratic operative who wanted an apology from Rasmussen Reports, by the way, neglected to follow up the election results with an apology of his own." • Coombs says Rasmussen's polling techniques give better results -- it's just that simple : "Just as we’ve done in previous administrations, we ask pointed questions about most of the major comments and actions of the President and the GOP-led Congress, and quite often the results are not what they’d like to see. But Trump is doing better in our Daily Presidential Tracking Poll than other surveyors say he is. Why? Well, for one thing, since Gallup left the field earlier this year, Rasmussen Reports is the only public opinion organization that is tracking the President’s job approval on daily basis. The rolling number we post every morning at 9:30 Eastern is based on the responses of 1,500 Likely Voters. We pick up 500 new responses every night Sunday through Thursday and drop the oldest 500 off at the other end. We go through additional screening questions to survey Likely Voters for the obvious reason that they’re the ones whose responses count : That’s where the electoral rubber hits the road. These people intend to vote. Many other pollsters survey registered voters, but think how many Americans don’t bother to vote in every election. A survey of registered voters doesn’t really tell you much about how an election is going to turn out. Other companies poll an even wider field by surveying 'Americans' which is basically anybody over 18 who answers the telephone. A survey like that on an upcoming election is largely worthless, although it often spawns a big headline....So it’s 2018, and the forces that oppose Trump are calling us 'outliers' again. The President, not surprisingly, likes our numbers and boasts about them which makes our competitors even angrier. We’re not on the Trump team; we’re not on the anti-Trump team. At Rasmussen Reports, we’re just trying to do an honest job telling you what America thinks." • • • CONRAD BLACK MAKES THE CASE FOR TRUMP IN HIS ELEGANT PROSE. National Review puiblished an essay by Conrad Black on April 10. In it, Black said : "It is strangely satisfying to observe President Trump slowly rising in the polls, like the astonishingly slow lift-off of a rocket or an aircraft. The poll of polls of the last week has him at 43 percent,hardly brilliant, but a little better than Obama eight years ago, who had the greatest political honeymoon in the United States since Dwight D. Eisenhower. The general ambiance is settling. The highbrow Right has ransacked the kitchen and has no more sinks to throw at Trump. It is unprecedented for a former CIA director who has so much hanging out for his sponsorship of partisan activity in a general election to be cyber-foaming at the mouth, as John Brennan is, but after 18 months of it, no one cares or notices. The senior justice and intelligence figures who tried to tamper with the election and then muddy the waters with the Russian-collusion nonsense will have ample time and need to explain themselves....If the politically active and influential people can start back toward disagreeing with one another while upholding reasonable standards of civilized parlance and behavior...the morale of the whole country will rise. Should such a trend begin, the President will certainly have to do his part. I don’t blame him for his publicly expressed detestation of those in the media who accuse him of being a traitor, a crook, a moron, and a mental case, and he is better and wittier at hurling the muck around than his enemies are; and of course he does so from a great official promontory. But if there is any discernible movement to normalize political discourse, it is the duty of the country’s leader to encourage it....From the less frantic sections of the media, there seems to be a slightly greater disposition than there has been not to overreact to the President’s unorthodox informality in enunciating some policies. The hysteria about a trade war with China is declining. China has violated World Trade Organization rules against demanding industrial intelligence as a requisite for exporting to China, and spuriously claims that such practices are voluntary on the part of the exporter. Successive administrations and many other countries have tolerated this as a price to pay for the benefit of having that immense country move steadily into the world economy and political society. But it is taking far more than it gives, shredding the rules most other important countries live by, and has a very large and artificial trade surplus with the United States. Donald Trump said he wouldn’t stand for it and he is right to do as he promised. If the Democrats go the distance on open borders and sanctuary cities, and against the right of census-takers to establish citizenship, they will be massacred at the polls. Of course, China is a powerful country, but so is the United States. China’s debt is 300% of its GDP (about thrice the US percentage) and it still has, to the extent of about 40%, a command economy; it is not invulnerable. The dialogue will presumably now move to the incomprehensible minutiae of the trade specialists, but the result is that the US will be relieved of a significant part of its trade imbalance, and China will be less reckless in ignoring the requirements of a rules-based international trading system. The President is playing a subtle game, in taking this line while expressing respect and admiration for China and its president, Xi Jinping. Somewhat similarly, Mexico, especially as it is about to elect a Marxist president, could not be allowed to continue to export millions of unskilled peasants and immense quantities of dangerous drugs into the US, while raiding American manufacturing and exporting unemployment as well as the replacement products to the US, and encouraging the migrant American companies not to remit their profits. It was an outrage, and from an infinitely less formidable country than China. Trump said he would stop it and he will. If the Democrats go the distance on open borders and sanctuary cities, and against the right of census-takers to establish citizenship, they will be massacred at the polls. In the Middle East, Turkey, Russia, and Iran are natural rivals and any agreements among them are fluid and fragile. The US and the West generally support the major Arab powers as well as Israel. In suggesting that the 2,000 Americans in Syria may be withdrawn, Mr. Trump is presumably telling the Arabs and the Europeans, who love to claim some status in and knowledge of the Middle East (impossible to prove from their performance there since the late Roman Empire), will have to do more of the heavy lifting. This is a delicate game in the most cynical and unstable region of all, and this President and his new Secretary of State and national-security advisor are the best equipped Americans to cope with it since Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger. None of it is easy. " • • • DEAR READERS, I have only one thing to say -- Thank you, Conrad Black. You made our day.