American Elephants


Victor Davis Hanson: Germany and the Unwinnable WWII by The Elephant's Child

I have no idea how many books have been written on World War II. Many of them important, but Victor Davis Hanson has explained it. I gave my oldest son, who is really interested in the war, and has toured the battlefields in Europe,The Second World Wars for Christmas. He usually mutters about the somewhat conservative books I give him, but he made a special point of thanking me for it. He said it has made it all make sense, and he loved the book. So there are glimmerings of hope.

If you have not yet ordered the book, you’ll be glad that you did. The preface explains the title, and why Victor Davis Hanson was the correct one to tell that story. Memorial Day would be a good time to indulge.

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Historian Richard Pipes Has Died at age 94. by The Elephant's Child

Richard Pipes, an invaluable historian of Russia, an aide to President Reagan, has died at age 94. He spent his entire academic career at Harvard, and took his place in the front rank of Russian historians with the publication of Russia Under the Old Regime in 1974.

He had a notable public career, but he regarded himself as first and foremost as a historian of Russian history, politics, and culture. He abandoned chronology and treated his subject by themes, such as the peasantry, the church, the machinery of the state and the intelligentsia. One of his most original contributions was to locate many of Russia’s woes in its failure to evolve beyond its status as a patrimonial state — nullifying the concepts of private property and individual freedom. Everything belonged to the head of the state.

You might want to start with his Modern Library book on Communism as a good introduction. I prize his Property and Freedom. He was a little uncomfortable taking on the subject as a departure from his Russian histories, but it was an important book.



The Soap Opera of the Century! by The Elephant's Child

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This Mueller investigation has become the soap opera of the century. Some new twist every day. The inspector general’s report on the activities of the FBI is due out soon. It is said to be devastating to the most executive floor of the FBI. The House Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed the founding document of the entire investigation and the FBI is refusing to turn it over.

We flip over and back to questions of law and constitution and who can do what to whom. A special counsel’s investigation is supposed to start with a crime to be investigated, but this one just started with the hope that they would find a crime in the process.  They indicted Paul Manafort for things unrelated to the Russia thing, but although investigating collusion with the Russians to influence the election was the supposed reason for the whole mess, Paul Manafort was supposed to have done something illegal about something entirely different, at a different time.

Andy McCarthy who is invaluable for explaining matters of law in this kind of thing, said “The president’s job is more critical to the nation than Robert Mueller’s investigation.”  And added:

That does not mean Mueller’s investigation is insignificant; it is crucial that we fully uncover Russia’s interference in the 2016 election (the aim of the counterintelligence investigation Mueller was assigned to conduct) so that we can thwart the Kremlin in the future. But it does mean that Mueller’s desire for investigative secrecy and the ability to interview every witness who might have relevant evidence has to give way to other priorities.

President Trump apparently feels that he has done nothing whatsoever wrong, and would like to answer Mueller’s questions to get this thing over with, and his advisors tell him no, that it’s just a trap for the Democrats hope for impeachment. But yes, he could fire Mueller, but it would be bad politics, and so it goes. As I said, the soap opera of the century. We cannot ignore the whole thing, because there might be developments, but… on the other hand we can’t sit around waiting for something that will clarify the entire mess. Ive been around for quite a few administrations, but I have never seen anything like this.

While our attention is fixed on Mueller, North Korea has released their American citizen hostages to the Secretary of State, and the President and First Lady went out to welcome them home at 3:00 clock in the morning. The Iran Deal has been fortuitously dumped, John Kerry is running around trying to get the other partners to the “deal” to do something, but it was never a signed treaty anyway. The Paris Climate Deal has also been fortuitously dumped, and the Left is having vapors over that, but it would do nothing whatsoever for the climate except transfer a lot of advanced countries’ money to the poor countries, which was the idea in the first place. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s show which will undoubtedly have some development that won’t clarify anything.

 



More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Russian Collusion by The Elephant's Child

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The Daily Caller has reported that a”group of wealthy donors from New York and California have forked out $50 million to fund a Russia investigation being conducted by Christopher Steele, Fusion GPS and a former Senate staffer for Dianne Feinstein.”

This interesting little tidbit is made in a footnote to the House Intelligence Committee’s newly released report on Russian interference in the presidential campaign. Fusion GPS hired Steele, a former MI6 agent to investigate Trump’s activities in Russia. He would end up producing a 35-page report alleging collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

The Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee funded the project. A law firm representing the two organizations hired Fusion GPS in April 2016. The dossier project failed to help Hillary, the former Secretary of State, to win the presidency, Fusion GPS and Steele have continued to investigate, according to a former Feinstein staffer named Daniel Jones who now runs a Washington D.C. consulting firm, PQG. The House report states that in March 2017, Jones told the FBI about a PQG project he is working on with Steele and Fusion GPS that is being funded with $50 million from 7 to 10 wealthy donors from New York and California.

Also from The Daily Caller: Chuck Ross reports that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Friday released a heavily redacted 253-page report laying out the findings of its 14-month investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. The report came from committee Republicans and was approved for release on a party-line vote.

The report asserts that the investigation “found no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian government.” The report notes that “the investigation found poor judgment and ill-considered actions by the Trump and Clinton campaigns.” It singles out Trump associates’ contacts with Russian nationals and groups like Wikileaks during the campaign.

The Committee also released a 99-page rebuttal written by Democrats upset with the Republican members handling of the investigation. Democrats, led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), claim that Republicans failed to interview relevant witnesses or issue subpoenas that might uncover evidence of Trump campaign collusion. The committee, chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes, (R-CA) conducted 73 witness interviews for the investigation and reviewed 308,000 documents. But who knows what one more witness and one more document might turn up. The investigation started in January of 2017, and looked at four main areas: Russian active measures; intelligence related to any links between Russian operatives  and political campaigns; the U.S. government’s response to Russia’s attempts to get into the political system; and leaks of classified information from the intelligence community.

Here is the House Intel’s Russia report by Chuck Ross on Scribd



QQQ: Why Does Communism Fail? by The Elephant's Child

“In sum,  communism failed and is bound to fail for at least two reasons: one, that to enforce equality, its principal objective, it is necessary to create a coercive apparatus that demands privileges and thereby negates equality; and two, that ethnic and territorial loyalties, when in conflict with class allegiances everywhere, and at all times overwhelm them, dissolving Communism in nationalism, which is why socialism so easily combines with “Fascism.” In recognition of this reality, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, abandoned the slogan calling on all proletarians to unite.”
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Richard Pipes: Communism: a History



The Grassley-Graham Memo Is Thoroughly Shocking. Press Snoozes. by The Elephant's Child

The source many of us have turned to for information on the ongoing scandal supposed to involve alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign is National Review’s Andrew McCarthy. (McCarthy, you will recall, was the U.S. Attorney who tried the Blind Sheik for the first World Trade Center bombing.) Andy knows what he is talking about. He is not interested in removing Trump from office on some pretext. Just in getting to the bottom of things.

In a word, the Grassley-Graham memo is shocking. Yet, the press barely notices.

Rest assured: If a Republican administration had used unverifiable hearsay from a patently suspect agent of the Republican presidential candidate to gull the FISA court into granting a warrant to spy on an associate of the Democratic nominee’s campaign, it would be covered as the greatest political scandal in a half-century.

Instead, it was the other way around. The Grassley-Graham memo corroborates the claims in the Nunes memo: The Obama Justice Department and FBI used anonymously sourced, Clinton-campaign generated innuendo to convince the FISA court to issue surveillance warrants against Carter Page, and in doing so, they concealed the Clinton campaign’s role. Though the Trump campaign had cut ties with Page shortly before the first warrant was issued in October 2016, the warrant application was based on wild allegations of a corrupt conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Moreover, the warrant meant the FBI could seize not only Page’s forward-going communications but any past emails and texts he may have stored — i.e., his Trump campaign communications.

With its verification by the Grassley-Graham memo, the Nunes memo now has about a thousand times more corroboration than the Steele dossier, the basis of the heinous allegations used by the Justice Department and FBI to get the FISA warrants.

The press howled about the Nunes memo, but the Grassley-Graham memo tells us that we need  a full-blown investigation of whatever possessed the Obama administration to hand such shoddy applications to the FISA court, but how a judge managed to rationalize signing the warrants.

Andrew McCarthy adds “We need full disclosure—the warrants, the applications, the court proceedings. No more games.”

Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Graham chairs a relevant subcommittee. They composed their memo in support of a criminal referral recommending that dossier author Christopher Steele be investigated for making false statements to the FBI (a felony). And they have increased their efforts to get more information unsealed, so the public can see it , even if the press does not cover it.

Here, again is the link to McCarthy’s post. Do read the whole thing. Andy explains the legal matters of the whole thing, and just why it is such a potential bombshell of a scandal. They thought that Hillary would win, and their efforts would never come to light. Obama’s name will go down in history—just not the way he planned.



The Memo, The Memo, The Memo, And What it All Means. by The Elephant's Child

Here is the article on the publication and the White House approval:

—”Memo Released: FBI Officials Knew Political Origins of Dossier, but Used it Anyway.”

— Here is the article from Yahoo the FBI used to corroborate the Dossier, even though it’s just a repeat of the information in the Dossier.

The Spectator: “Media propaganda can’t erase the fact that the FBI used Hillary’s dossier to spy on Trumpworld.”

Heritage: Anti-Trump Politics in FBI Drove Russia Probe, Memo”

PJ Media: Spengler: “Trump Triumphs with Release of House Intel Memo”

Powerline: John Hinderraker: “What the House Intelligence Committee Memo Says:” (John Hinderraker is an attorney)

The Wall Street Journal: “Obama and the FISA Court” (pay barrier)

The Weekly Standard: Nunes: More Memos Are Coming

American Greatness: “Worse Than Watergate” by Chris Buskirk

Manhattan Contrarian:Comments on the House Intelligence Committee Memo” Francis Menton is also an attorney.

Frontpage Magazine: The Memo Reveals The Coup Against America
by Daniel Greenfield

The Diplomad 2.0: The Release of the MemWow” The  author is a long time American diplomat, now retired.

There, that gives you lots of varied opinions on the memo so far. The anguished Democrats are going to vote on releasing their version of the contents of the memo on Monday, insisting that the Republican version is a pack of lies and misleading and hating Trump and all that. The whole thing is very damning to the Democrat claims, and they’ve had a few days and the weekend to cook up a good story. Pathetic.




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