Toxic Identity Politics Consumed Clinton Campaign—And DNC Chair Donna Brazile Admits Playing The Game

In her new “break out the popcorn” memoir titled “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House,” the Washington Post reports former DNC Chair Donna Brazile revealed how toxic identity politics fissures of race, gender, and age tore at the heart of the operation — even as Clinton was campaigning on a message of inclusiveness and trying to assemble a rainbow coalition under the banner of “Stronger Together” …While simultaneously denouncing Trump supporters as “in a Basket of Deplorables… Irredeemable” in a prepared speech three days before she passed out from pneumonia at Ground Zero.

But get this: In her same book the former DNC chair writes that she seriously contemplated replacing Hillary Clinton as the party’s 2016 presidential nominee with then-Vice President Biden in the aftermath of Clinton’s fainting spell, in part because Clinton’s campaign was “anemic” and had taken on “the odor of failure,” the Post reports

Brazile goes on to detail widespread dysfunction and dissension throughout the Democratic Party, including secret deliberations over using her powers as interim DNC chair to initiate the removal of Clinton and running mate VA Sen. Tim Kaine from the ticket after Clinton’s Sept. 11, 2016, collapse.

Brazile writes that she considered a dozen combinations to replace the nominees and settled on Biden and NJ Sen. Cory Booker, the duo she felt most certain would win over enough working-class voters to defeat Republican Donald Trump. But then, she plays the toxic Feminine Identity Politics card, braying “I thought of Hillary, and all the women in the country who were so proud of and excited about her. I could not do this to them.”

But then, as one of her party’s most prominent Black strategists, Brazile also doubles down, playing both the Race and Feminist Identity Politics cards in her fiery disagreements with Clinton’s staffers — including a conference call in which she told three senior campaign officials, Charlie Baker, Marlon Marshall and Dennis Cheng, that she was being treated like a slave.

“I’m not Patsey the slave,” Brazile recalls telling them, a reference to the character played by Lupita Nyong’o in the film, “12 Years a Slave.” “Y’all keep whipping me and whipping me and you never give me any money or any way to do my damn job. I am not going to be your whipping girl!”

And as Honest Lefty political commenter Robert Leonard implies that why the Dems still can’t figure out why they lose election after election is that they are “delusional” about the power of Identity Politics… and in conservative rural Iowa and elsewhere, “Trump is ascendant.” He continues,

“Keep preaching to the choir, coastal media elites. Continue to predict the downfall of Trump in 2020 if not before, and great victories for Democrats in congressional races in 2018, and we’ll see if it works. That’s my hope. I fear, however, such stories will only lead to complacency among the Democratic electorate.”

As JB White tellingly writes,

“A good glimpse of the problem [as richly let slip by Donna Brazile in her new book ~DLS] is provided by Joshua Mitchell in his piece, “The Identity-Politics Death Grip.” Mitchell laments the Democrats’ inability, given their political losses, to rethink their failed strategies. Instead, because of the identity politics death grip, they are doubling down on strategies that appear designed to cause national discord.

Who needs Russian “troll farms” to sow discord on Facebook and Twitter, when the Dems do a better job?

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Trump, Cruz are Rebuilding the Reagan Coalition Hijacked, and then Squandered by the Bushes (repost from 10-26-2015)

Much ink has been used by many, including inside-the-Beltway pundits and Manhattan journalists, to ask the question “what is propelling Donald Trump’s poll numbers?” Although similar questions surround Ben Carson’s rise, that one is relatively easy to explain: The same Evangelicals who selected Mike Huckabee in 2008 and Rick Santorum in 2012 are lining up with the Baltimore surgeon; but more importantly he has campaign operations in all 99 Iowa counties. Whether Carson is a true Reagan conservative like Trump & Cruz remains to be seen, as he seems to be squishy on immigration, which will be the defining issue of the 2016 race.

For Trump, Cruz and Carson supporters, I remind you that even Reagan would have difficulty getting the nomination today. In the wise words of Mayor Ed Koch:
If you agree with me on eight out of twelve issues, vote for me…
If you agree with me on twelve out of twelve issues, see a psychiatrist.

On The Other Hand, for this article I’ll explain with the help of Reagan & even Goldwater-era Conservatives the real dynamic that is in play… And why you see me include Ted Cruz in the title.

To discuss or comment on this article, please go to this link on my Facebook wall which is open to comments from all.

Phyllis Schlafley is the First Lady of Conservatism: At 91 she’s still active in politics through her St Louis-based Eagle Forum, and has authored eight books as well as a weekly column. Earlier this month she deconstructed the GOP race, and supporters of Trump, Cruz and Carson should read:

The Establishment Looks for a New Plan B

By: Phyllis Schlafley || October 7, 2015

The Republican Establishment designed the process to deliver the 2016 presidential nomination to a business-friendly moderate who avoids so-called social issues. The consultants who rewrote the party rules after 2012 are now trying to explain to their patrons what went wrong and how to fix it.

Plan A, of course, was to assure the nomination of Jeb Bush, whose views are the perfect reflection of the Republican donor class. But despite many months of campaigning, $114 million of political funds raised through June 30, and two presidential debates watched by a record-setting average of 24 million people, Jeb Bush has dropped to sixth place, registering only 4% in the latest Pew poll…

…The immigration issue, and the way it has grabbed the attention of the grassroots, made it difficult for Jeb Bush to secure the Republican Party nomination in the usual way. Bush will continue to try, of course, and may be able to play insider politics to line up more endorsements and donors with wads of political money.

But the kingmakers always have a Plan B if their first choice stumbles. In 1964, for example, Pennsylvania Governor William Scranton was carefully groomed as a second-choice alternative who could jump in the race after Nelson Rockefeller failed to stop the conservative Barry Goldwater.

Speculation has been in the media that Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, or Chris Christie is the Plan B for the Establishment in case Jeb Bush fails to gain popular support. But Rubio is tied for only fifth in Iowa and fourth in New Hampshire, Christie has failed to gain any real support and Walker has dropped out completely…

Mrs Schlafly goes on…

…Walker insisted that candidates should have a “positive” message and that only “candidates who can offer a positive conservative alternative to the current frontrunner” should be considered. He stressed that “Ronald Reagan was good for America because he was an optimist,” and complained that “the debate taking place in the Republican Party today is not focused on that optimistic view of America.”

Contrary to Governor Walker, who may not have realized that the words “positive” and “optimistic” are consultant code for “business as usual,” every poll shows that the voters, by a margin of nearly 3 to 1, say the country is on the “wrong track” or headed in the “wrong direction.” Those voters don’t need more happy-talk; they’re looking for a candidate who’s willing and able to turn the country around and “make America great again.”

When Jeb Bush and some of these other candidates tried criticizing Trump, polls showed that any loss in support for Trump simply went to another outside-the-Establishment candidate, such as Ben Carson or Carly Fiorina. So Plan B is striking out as badly as Plan A did.

Just a quick note here: Fiorino is a Big GOP Establishment Insider: Her failed 2010 bid for Barbra Boxer’s Senate seat flushed her out, as no conservative except Sarah Palin endorsed her in the primary: Every other prominent conservative endorsed Chuck DeVore.

The nonagenarian Goldwater/Reagan conservative sounds the alarm of the GOP Establishment’s inside game:

It may be that the only alternative left for these Republican would-be kingmakers is the late entry of a new candidate to enter the race. We are already hearing rumblings about resurrecting Mitt Romney…

…The grassroots must be vigilant to anticipate and counter the attempts by Republican insiders to impose an unwanted candidate on the American people. When we fought for and nominated Barry Goldwater in 1964, we did not win the general election that year but we built the conservative movement and laid the foundation to win five out of the next six presidential elections.

When the Establishment is allowed to pick the Republican nominee, a candidate unable to win the support of the all-important middle-class America results. Establishment candidates have been unable to win the popular vote in five out of the last six elections, and that outcome is not something any Republican should want to repeat~

Jeffrey Lord was Political Director in the Reagan White House; and is also a CNN political analyst, and columnist for Conservative Review and The American Thinker. Despite the article title, his musings also apply to Trump and Carson.

Bush or Cruz: Who Really Hijacked the GOP?

By: Jeffrey Lord || October 21, 2015

…Make no mistake. The sentiments expressed by President Bush [in the Denver fundraiser] are really not about Ted Cruz at all. They are the views of the GOP Establishment towards not just Senator ‪#‎Cruz‬ but towards the entire Reagan wing of the GOP.

Through the decades this tension has taken the form of the 1976 Reagan-Ford nomination fight, the battle over the Panama Canal Treaty, and the 1980 Reagan-Bush fight. The abandonment by Bush 41 of his “read my lips, no new taxes” pledge—what conservative activist Richard Viguerie called a “breach of faith”—was yet another example. We also see the role that Supreme Court nominations, from John Paul Stevens (Ford) to David Souter (Bush 41) to Harriet Miers (Bush 43), have played in this saga; and of course, the battle to contain the size of government, Bush 43’s budget busting bureaucratic No Child Left Behind a crowning achievement for the establishment. Moreover, the timidity of the Boehner-McConnell regime and the “reach across the aisle” fatuousness of the so-called “Cromnibus” are equally emblematic of the GOP Establishment.

Again I would ask just who really hijacked the GOP? Suffice it to say there is an overwhelming sentiment that, as Ed Rollins expressed, the real hijacking began the moment Reagan assented to putting George H.W. Bush on the ticket. This is the narrative that says from that moment on the GOP Establishment was at work to hijack the Reagan Revolution—and to a considerable extent they have succeeded, leaving the GOP in the hands of Establishment Republicans who across the decades have racked up one presidential loss after another and even in victory manage to so badly squander political capital that presidencies are either lost outright (with 37% of the vote in 1992) or left in such bad shape that a mere 22% of the American people approve on departure day (as true of the Bush 43 departure in January, 2009)…

With the greatest respect for President Bush, what is really happening is the conservative base of the GOP is taking back their party—a party hijacked long ago by the lamented Trojan Horse: an Establishment GOP that, as fate would have it, is embodied by the Bush family. Good people that they are, one and all, Reaganites they are not.

What Ted Cruz, and so many others, are really fighting for is a conservative counterrevolution. And that counterrevolution is winning. Which is exactly why George W. isn’t fond of Ted Cruz.

On Saturday the NY Times published what was initially titled in the slug as Watching GOP Race, Bush 41 is Glad to be Old, but the final title is Bush at 91: Irritated and Invigorated by ’16 Race. We’ll come back to that title change in a minute; but Breitbart excerpted it and gave it a more accurate title:

Bush 41: Squanderer of Reagan Legacy Stunned by Son’s Rejection by Anti-Establishment Base

Former President George Bush, 91 and frail, is straining to understand an election season that has, for his son and the Republican Party, lurched sharply and stunningly off script. And he is often bewildered by what he sees.

“I’m getting old,” he tells friends, appraising today’s politics, “at just the right time.”

These are confounding days for the Bush family and the network of advisers, donors and supporters who have helped sustain a political dynasty that began with the Senate victory by Prescott Bush, the older Mr. Bush’s father, in Connecticut 63 years ago. They have watched the rise of Donald J. Trump with alarm, and seen how Jeb Bush, the onetime Florida governor, has languished despite early advantages of political pedigree and campaign money…

…No one, it seems, is more perplexed than the family patriarch by the race, and by what the Republican Party has become in its embrace of anti-establishment outsiders, especially the sometimes rude Mr. Trump.

In July, even after breaking a vertebra in a fall that left him hospitalized in Maine, the elder Mr. Bush was fuming at the news of the day: Mr. Trump had belittled Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) of Arizona for being taken prisoner in Vietnam.

“I can’t understand how somebody could say that and still be taken seriously,” said Mr. Bush, himself a naval aviator in World War II, according to his longtime spokesman, Jim McGrath, who had visited him…

…Contempt for Mr. Trump runs deep in the clan. Two people interviewed, who are in direct communication with the elder Mr. Bush but requested anonymity to avoid betraying a confidence, said Mr. Trump had revived painful memories among the Bushes of another blunt populist: H. Ross Perot. The family has long believed Mr. Perot’s third-party candidacy helped Bill Clinton capture the White House from Mr. Bush in 1992…

…And their father has been highly irritated by Mr. Trump’s ridicule. The former reality TV star has in recent weeks taunted both former President George W. Bush and Jeb over the Sept. 11 attacks.

“He is throwing shoes at the TV when his son gets attacked and insulted by our favorite candidate,” Jeb Bush joked, referring to his father and Mr. Trump, at a campaign stop in New Hampshire.

I alluded to the original NY Times’ Bush at 91: Irritated and Invigorated by ’16 Race, as there was another quote in there which ties back in to the last three paragraphs of Phyllis Schlaffley’s article above.

From The NY Times:

But those who have long been in the Bush family orbit are also being forced to reckon with a party that seems to be moving on from them.

“I have no feeling for the electorate anymore,” said John H. Sununu, the former New Hampshire governor who helped the elder Mr. Bush win the 1988 primary there and went on to serve as his White House chief of staff. “It is not responding the way it used to. Their priorities are so different that if I tried to analyze it I’d be making it up.”

Mr. Sununu, like many establishment-aligned Republicans, is especially mystified by Mr. Trump’s appeal. “He supports single-payer federal health care and he loves eminent domain, and the Tea Party hates both of those things,” he said. “So explain to me how people are voting on issues.”

Governor Sununu is the gentleman who pushed his good friend David Hackett Souter onto the Supreme Court. Sununu is a bitter, old Establishment Republican, and In His Memoir About Bush I, John Sununu Flips the Bird to Everyone Else [and I would include the American electorate.] Finally for your reading pleasure I recommend Jeb‬’s Malign Influence, as National Review’s Charles W Cooke all-but calls for ¡Jeb! to exit the race, as he reminds voters just how toxic George W Bush’s failed presidency is to recapturing the White House, what with 9/11 and (especially) the Iraq War. If you are a true Conservative, if for no other reason than this you should be grateful for Donald Trump bringing up these painful subjects; because if he didn’t, Hillary would… And win.

Cook writes,

Were an alien visitor to these United States to have picked up a newspaper this morning, he would presumably have been surprised to see which political topics were at present under discussion. There are just twelve months until the United States hosts an open presidential election — an election that will most likely determine the future of Obamacare, of the Supreme Court, and of America’s place in the world — and yet, to look across today’s buzzing media landscape is to wonder if anybody has yet noticed. [In the media and] across talk radio, social media, and the broader political blogosphere, Americans are happily relitigating a host of fractious questions that were last debated in earnest in the fall of 2008. Among them: “Was the last Republican president responsible for the worst attack on American soil since the bombing at Pearl Harbor?”; “Should the U.S. military have been sent into Iraq or been focused instead on Afghanistan, the ‘good’ post-9/11 war?”; and “Is the current state of the Middle East the fault of local actors or of the United States?”

These are not the conversations the GOP was looking for.

The most obvious cause of these rather precipitous reconsiderations is the serial indiscipline of Donald Trump, whose routine indifference toward Ronald Reagan’s famous 11th Commandment has led him into some unusually strident rhetoric. Trump, it seems clear, sees himself as a radical outsider, and, except insofar as it serves as a vehicle for his ambition, has no great interest in the [Establishment ~DLS] GOP’s broader future.

That Trump has no apparent capacity for self-restraint is nobody’s fault but his own. Nevertheless, if his time in the limelight ends up damaging the Republican party’s chances next year, there will be plenty of blame to go around. Specifically, I suspect that Jeb Bush will come in for some especially pointed criticism. Going into 2016, Jeb knew full well how explosive his last name remained within American political discourse, but he jumped into the fray regardless. In so doing, he gambled that the obvious downsides of his entry would be outweighed by the benefits. Thus far, at least, that bet is not playing out well. By remaining at the center of the maelstrom — and by attracting negative attention by casting more than a few arrows of his own — Jeb has all but guaranteed that the GOP will spend at least some of this election season refighting battles that it would prefer to have brought to a quiet conclusion.

Were he dominating in the polls — and, indeed, were he a fair prospect for the general election — this might not matter a great deal. But he is not. Rather, he is demonstrating neatly that while there is a seemingly endless supply of Bushes who are willing and able to run for president, the demand for their services has diminished to the vanishing point. Jeb’s particular combination of maximum baggage and minimum benefit is an unfortunate one at the best of times. With Donald Trump around, it’s lethal…

…What good can it do the Right, I wonder, to get itself bogged down in defenses of the Iraq war?; to become embroiled in personalized debates over Middle Eastern chaos?; to hear repeated vestra culpas apropos 9/11? What benefit will conservatism derive from well-publicized spitting matches between a former president who is trying to help his brother and a new class that is trying to get away from him? How useful can it be to force younger candidates — most of whom missed the Iraq debate entirely — into the same pit as those who have already been tarnished?…

Balance in Jeb‬’s Malign Influence.

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Is Conservative Treehouse’s “Sundance” a/k/a Mark Bradman An Anti-Semite? A Deep State Sell-Out? You Decide

With all of the comings & goings swirling around National Security Advisor Herbert “HR” McMaster and his attempt to finish purging Trump loyalists from the National Security Council after firing Adam Lovinger Rich Higgins, Derek Harvey, and most recently, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, we tend to agree with Legal Insurrection’s William Jacobsen that we are seeing a “Slow-Motion Coup d’Etat pick[ing] up steam,” with McMaster as the ringleader.

We here at the #VichyGOP blog have always had our suspicions of McMaster, especially after he & SecState Tillerson pushed against CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Deputy Assistant Sebastian Gorka, and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon to certify Iran is “in compliance” with the disastrous Iran nuclear “agreement” for another 90 days for a second time, two weeks ago.

Thursday morning, Chicago native and Israel’s top columnist Caroline Glick dropped a bunker-buster on McMaster, on just how anti-Israel McMaster actually is. Glick wrote:

Many of you will remember that a few days before Trump’s visit to Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו and his advisers were blindsided when the Americans suddenly told them that no Israeli official was allowed to accompany Trump to the Western Wall.

What hasn’t been reported is that it was McMaster who pressured Trump to agree not to let Netanyahu accompany him to the Western Wall. At the time, I and other reporters were led to believe that this was the decision of rogue anti-Israel officers at the US consulate in Jerusalem. But it wasn’t. It was McMaster.

And even that, it works out wasn’t sufficient for McMaster. He pressured Trump to cancel his visit to the Wall and only visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial — a la the Islamists who insist that the only reason Israel exists is European guilt over the Holocaust.

How does this involve Conservative Treehouse’s Mark Bradman, a/k/a “Sundance” you ask? When I tweeted the Glick post to him, I received this troubling reply to me, and a second reply to another person who also mentioned Glick’s piece:

Doubling down Friday evening, Bradman writes:

After spending 72 hours looking specifically at the motives of those pushing almost identical paragraphs including the catchphrases: “holdovers”, “purging loyalists“, “unfettered access” and “Caroline Glick“; it comes as no surprise to hear the administration perceives the anti-McMasters crowd as having “jumped the shark”… “reached too far”, and “exposed their agenda” etc.
[:]
HR McMaster might not get the Afghanistan policy outcome he prefers, but his position as NSA appears safe; and we won’t have to go to war against Iran to appease his opposition. This looks like a genuine win/win/win. Bannon wins on Afghanistan policy; McMaster wins on Iran policy; America-First wins because we’re not going into another war in either Iran or North Korea.

BINGO!

Nobody wants a war with Iran; but Bradman is posing the same straw man argument Obama and his mind-meld buddy Ben Rhodes used, that it’s binary choice between the disastrous nuclear deal and war. This is the argument McMaster and Tillerson are making to support the deal; but it’s the swamp-drainers such as Bannon, Pompeo, Gorka, as well as the ousted Flynn supporters who are being painted as warmongers.

Remember, it was Flynn, along with many dozens of generals and over 150 colonels who were purged by Obama… While for the last eight years McMaster marinated in the culture.

[At this point, it’s worth noting one of President Trump’s flaws: He picked many in his cabinet out of “Central Casting” opting for strong personalities: “Mad Dog” Mattis, Admiral Kelly for Homeland Security, Generals Flynn & then McMaster as NatSec Advisor, Mike “Number One in his West Point class” Pompeo at CIA, Sebastian Gorka as Special Deputy, leaving Admiral Mike Rogers to run the NSA; and even former Navy SEAL Ryan Zinke at Interior. Although all-but McMaster have been good picks, it’s still worth mentioning this.]

When putrid Wilsonian Progressive John McCain, (who, along with fellow Wilsonian Progressives Hillary, Lindsey Graham, Susan Rice, and Samantha Power enabled the Muslim Brotherhood in the region), highly recommends someone, it’s well worth considering the source before acting on the advice. When Secretary Tillerson wanted to appoint Neocon 2.0 Elliott Abrams, as David “Spengler” Goldman wrote, “an Arsonist as Fire Chief at the State Department,” it was the Jacksonian Nationalist Steve Bannon who pushed back.

Over at The Pentagon, there were already tensions during the transition when Mattis proposed a number of #NeverTrump swamp dwellers to staff his department; but it really blew up in March when we worked Very Hard to sink McCain ally and disastrous Ambassador to Egypt (2011-13) Anne Patterson, who is despised by my friends in that country. From Gatestone Institute in July 2013, US Ambassador to Egypt: “Muslim Brotherhood’s Lackey

Patterson-egypt1

Mideast Egypt
Protesters hold posters against U.S. Ambassor to Egypt, left, Anne Patterson, left, with a message that translates to “crone go home,” and Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi with Arabic writing saying, “participate with the rebels, protesters and demonstrators, general strike June 30” in El-Sa’ah in Damietta, Egypt., Sunday, June 30, 2013. Thousands of opponents and supporters of Egypt’s Islamist president began massing in city squares in competing rallies Sunday, gearing up for a day of massive nationwide protests that many fear could turn deadly as the opposition seeks to push out Mohammed Morsi. (AP Photo/Hamada Elrasam)

Here is Caroline Glick’s entire post:

The Israel angle on McMaster’s purge of Trump loyalists from the National Security Council is that all of these people are pro-Israel and oppose the Iran nuclear deal, positions that Trump holds.

McMaster in contrast is deeply hostile to Israel and to Trump. According to senior officials aware of his behavior, he constantly refers to Israel as the occupying power and insists falsely and constantly that a country named Palestine existed where Israel is located until 1948 when it was destroyed by the Jews.

Many of you will remember that a few days before Trump’s visit to Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו and his advisers were blindsided when the Americans suddenly told them that no Israeli official was allowed to accompany Trump to the Western Wall.

What hasn’t been reported is that it was McMaster who pressured Trump to agree not to let Netanyahu accompany him to the Western Wall. At the time, I and other reporters were led to believe that this was the decision of rogue anti-Israel officers at the US consulate in Jerusalem. But it wasn’t. It was McMaster.

And even that, it works out wasn’t sufficient for McMaster. He pressured Trump to cancel his visit to the Wall and only visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial — a la the Islamists who insist that the only reason Israel exists is European guilt over the Holocaust.

In May, Adam Lovinger, a pro-Trump national security strategist on loan from the Pentagon’s office of net assessment was summarily informed that his security clearance was revoked. He was fired and escorted from the White House like a spy and put on file duty at the Pentagon.

Lovinger is a seasoned strategic analyst who McMaster hated because he supported India over Pakistan, among other things.

Lovinger has not been told the grounds for his sudden loss of clearance but Mike Cernovich reported that the grounds were that he traveled to Israel for a family bar mitzvah. In other words, there were no grounds for dismissal. His boss at the Pentagon — unbelievably named James Baker, is an Obama hire who hates Trump and supports Obama’s agenda.

Pausing here for a moment, getting an enemy’s security clearance revoked is an old inside-the-beltway “swamp” trick used to take out political enemies. This was used in early February against one of Mike Flynn’s closest deputies on the NSC, senior director for Africa Robin Townley, shortly before The Swamp took out Flynn himself. This was also attempted against Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, and even Jared Kushner.

As for Iran, well, suffice it to say that McMaster supports the deal and refuses to publish the side deals Obama signed with the Iranians and then hid from the public.

The thing I can’t get my arms around in all of this is why in the world this guy hasn’t been fired. Mike Flynn was fired essentially for nothing. He was fired because he didn’t tell the Vice President everything that transpired in a phone conversation he had with the Russian ambassador. Whoopdy doo! Flynn had the conversation when he was on a 72 hour vacation with his wife after the election in the Caribbean and could barely hear because the reception was so bad. He found himself flooded with calls and had no one with him except his wife.

And for this he was fired.

McMaster disagrees and actively undermines Trump’s agenda on just about every salient issue on his agenda. He fires all of Trump’s loyalists and replaces them with Trump’s opponents, like Kris Bauman, an Israel hater and Hamas supporter who McMaster hired to work on the Israel-Palestinian desk. He allows anti-Israel, pro-Muslim Brotherhood, pro-Iran Obama people like Robert Malley to walk around the NSC and tell people what to do and think. He has left Ben (reporters know nothing about foreign policy and I lied to sell them the Iran deal) Rhodes’ and Valerie Jarrett’s people in place.

And he not only is remaining at his desk. He is given the freedom to fire Trump’s most loyal foreign policy advisers from the National Security Council.

One source claims that Trump’s political advisers are afraid of how it will look if he fires another national security adviser. But that makes no sense. Trump is being attacked for everything and nothing. Who cares if he gets attacked for doing something that will actually help him to succeed in office? Why should fear of media criticism play a role here or anywhere for this president and this administration?

Finally, there is the issue of how McMaster got there in the first place. Trump interviewed McMaster at Mara Lago for a half an hour. He was under terrible pressure after firing Flynn to find someone.

And who recommended McMaster? You won’t believe this.

Senator John McCain. That’s right. The NSA got his job on the basis of a recommendation from the man who just saved Obamacare.

Obviously, at this point, Trump has nothing to lose by angering McCain. I mean what will he do? Vote for Obamacare?

If McMaster isn’t fired after all that he has done and all that he will do, we’re all going to have to reconsider Trump’s foreign policy. Because if after everything he has done, and everything that he will certainly do to undermine Trump’s stated foreign policy agenda, it will no longer be possible to believe that exiting the nuclear deal or supporting the US alliance with Israel and standing with US allies against US foes not to mention draining Washington’s cesspool – are Trump’s policies. How can they be when Trump stands with a man who opposes all of them and proves his opposition by among other things, firing Trump’s advisers who share Trump’s agenda?

Scary-McCain

Sundance-Mark_Bradman-antisemite-McMaster

Facebook Promotes #FakeNews

I created and run the half-million member The Deplorables group, which is the largest independent political group on Facebook. One of the biggest problems we have is postings from “fake news” and closely-related “click-bait” websites, often stealing content from legitimate sites such as Daily Caller, Breitbart, and the Washington Examiner and then bombarding the reader with all sorts of garbage ads. This election proved it can be lucrative, even for high schoolers. As the BBC thoroughly documented in December, the epicenter of this crapstorm is Veles, Macedonia.

Imagine our surprise when we were presented on the admin page with this graphic:
Veles-Facebook-The_Deplorables
I circled near the bottom this gem:
We set this location based on your group’s description. It helps people find your group…

That’s right, folks: We have about a half-million members, to the point the number of click-bait & fake news posts triggered their vaunted algorithm to believe this US-centric group is in a small Macedonian city! Yet, Facebook only gives us crude admin tools which causes us unending nightmares with monster groups; and one critical tool — blocking users — does not even work! What we desperately need are the following admin tools, perhaps only released to admins of groups exceeding 50,000 members:

  • Ability to restrict membership by country, or at least geographic area, even if it’s simply to adding new members;
  • Ability to ban postings by website domain;
  • Ability to mass-delete posts by website domain;
  • Ability to block non-members: One common trick among these clowns is to add many fake accounts, then quickly leave the group so we cannot block these “master accounts;”
  • Ability to actually block people: Our block list is at about 9,050, but even though we block people we remove, separately on the member list window and distinct from the reported posts window, the users are simply removed, and can be added back in. Clicking on the Remove post and block user function on either the Reported Posts page or on the article post itself does not work, as the block list is full.

From the BBC: The city getting rich from fake news

Many of the fake news websites that sprang up during the US election campaign have been traced to the small city Veles, in Macedonia, where teenagers are pumping out sensationalist stories to earn cash from advertising.
[:]
“The Americans loved our stories and we make money from them,” [Goran] boasts, making sure I see the designer watch he’s fiddling with. “Who cares if they are true or false?”

Goran – not his real name by the way, he’s not confident enough to reveal that – is one of scores, or probably hundreds of Macedonian teenagers who are behind a cottage industry in the small city of Veles which churned out fake pro-Trump news during the US election campaign.

Goran began putting up sensationalist stories, usually plagiarised from right-wing American sites, last summer.

After copying and pasting various articles, he packaged them under a catchy new headline, paid Facebook to share it with a target US audience hungry for Trump news and then when those Americans clicked on his stories and began to like and share them, he began earning revenue from advertising on the site.

Goran says he worked on the fakery for only a month and earned about 1,800 euros (£1,500) – but his mates, he claims, have been earning thousands of euros a day. When I ask him if he worries that his false news might have unfairly influenced voters in America, he scoffs.

“Teenagers in our city don’t care how Americans vote,” he laughs. “They are only satisfied that they make money and can buy expensive clothes and drinks!”

The digital gold rush has certainly provided a welcome boom for Veles where the average salary is just 350 euros a month; as we drive into the city, I notice some very new and very smart cars while the down-at-heel bars are full of excited young men drinking fancy cocktails. When it was part of the former Yugoslavia, this city was called Titov Veles after the Yugoslavian President Josip Tito – today I’m told it’s been jokingly rechristened Trump Veles.
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The peddling of false news on lookalike American news sites is not illegal but there’s something a little underhand and dirty about the whole game of misleading readers. (more)

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Our Reply to “‘Enhanced Whack-A-Mole’ Anti-Terror Strategy for Trump” in JAG

‘[Note: We’re big fans of the First Lady of Conservatism, Mrs Phyllis Schlafly; and her making the case for Trump in January, and subsequent full-throated endorsement two months later sealed the deal for us… And damned near toppled her from her Eagle Forum. The #VichyGOP title for our blog is shorthand for who Reagan biographer Craig Shirley referred to as “Vichy Republicans” in his April 2014 essay.]

UPDATE (10/5/2017): Added references to North Korea’s September 2017 thermonuclear detonation, including reference to South Korea’s detection of 133Xe atmospheric gas several days later.
UPDATE (3/30/2017): Former CIA Director James Woolsey published in The Hill How North Korea could kill 90 percent of Americans, where he raises many of the very same points about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, with some stunning additional conclusions.
Our good friend DECIUS at the Journal of American Greatness has an excellent article suggesting an “Enhanced Whack-A-Mole” Anti-Terror Strategy for Trump. In general, it’s a well-reasoned strategy in between the Wilsonian Progressive — Neocon 2.0 and Buchanan paleo-isolationism worldviews, i.e. borrowing Walter Russell Mead’s 2001 definitions, his proposed policy fits a Jacksonian Nationalist worldview. However, there are a few points where we respectfully disagree.

First, let’s address the “truck driver’s nuclear weapon” and how it’s much more dangerous than DECIUS gives credit:

Did you hear the one about the truck driver who built a nuclear weapon? No, seriously. Now, it’s not a full-on Teller-Ullam two-stage thermonuclear metropolis-killer. It’s merely an exact—exact—copy of Little Boy, the HEU gun-assembly bomb that destroyed Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945. The trucker’s bomb lacks only two things to make it go boom: the cordite priming charges to fire one part of the highly enriched uranium core into the other, and that uranium core itself. The first would be easy to get but dangerous to carry around. The second would be quite hard indeed to get.

Which is probably, at this point, the only reason why a home-made Little Boy or something very much like it has not been detonated at 42nd and Vanderbilt or 17th and G. Don’t kid yourself: they want to. We’re not going to repeat the case for how we know that, because we’re not specialists in it and others are far, far better equipped. If you’re an alt-righter or paleo-isolationist who thinks all we have to do is end the U.S.-Israel alliance, and the whole Muslim terror problem will go away, this Journal will be a consistent source of anger and disappointment to you. They’d still want to nuke us. And, given the material, they could. “The secret of the atomic bomb is how easy they are to make,” our trucker has observed.
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More to the point: a nuclear terror attack would have to have at least two sources: the terrorist group itself and the state that provides the fissile material. The high attribution rate on which the authors hang so much refers only to the terrorist group and not the state. Not that they ignore the state; we’ll consider what they have to say about states shortly. The point is simply that knowing which terrorist group hit you is not the same as knowing which state was behind them. And, to say the least, terrorist groups are much less deterrable than states: their raison d’etre is to commit attacks. They are also much harder to retaliate against, especially without the cooperation of the states that harbor and support them.

We highly recommend any policymaker visit the American Museum of Science and Energy in beautiful Oak Ridge, Tennessee, about two hours east of Nashville, where you will see in the “sliderule days” before computers how simple it actually was to produce enough of two different fissile materials — 235U used in Little Boy over Hiroshima & 239Pu used in Fat Boy over Nagasaki — using magnetic diffusion and an “atomic pile” (reactor), respectively. [Historical footnote: We didn’t know if either technology would work, so we covered our bets and used both… And both worked well]

Let’s first look at 235U production, starting with the infamous “yellowcake” processed ore: We have three basic methods to refine it to 90% weapons grade: The original magnetic diffusion, gaseous diffusion, which was used for commercial production at Oak Ridge for decades, and centrifuges, which is used today. The reason we moved from one to the next method was purely economic efficiency… But all three methods work.

Next, let’s look at 239Pu production: This dangerous material is a byproduct of uranium–powered nuclear reactors, and exists in massive quantities in every nation which has commercial nuclear plants, and even research reactors found on university campuses around the world. [We had a 5 MW one at Georgia Tech starting in the early 60’s right in downtown Atlanta: This is about the size of Israel’s first reactor at Dmona.]

There’s an old joke from the Cold War which applies here:
Q: How long will it take Japan to produce a nuclear weapon?
A: About three days!

What most policymakers overlook is that there’s a difference when you build out a massive enrichment infrastructure such as at Oak Ridge, and a rogue program designed to produce just enough fissile material to make a single bomb. It’s rogue programs like the NoKo – Syrian al-Kibar reactor the Israelis wiped out in 2007, which although had a state sponsor, proved the point that a program just big enough to produce enough material for a single bomb can be within the reach of a well-financed terror group, absent state sponsorship.

Next, DECIUS writes:

Their case for certainty (or near certainty) of attribution rests on two foundations: first, the ability of “nuclear forensics” to determine the origin of a bomb’s fissile material, and second, the very good track record (so far) of fixing attribution for conventional terror attacks.
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Regarding the authors’ first reason for confidence that deterrence will work—nuclear forensics—the authors themselves admit that it is far from perfect. Its success depends in large part on the cooperation of regimes that may have reasons not to want to provide information about their own fissile material programs (either because such states are engaged in proliferation, are supporters of or sympathetic to terrorists, or are anti-“world order” in outlook, or some combination of these). Absent nearly universal cooperation from all states that have mastered the nuclear fuel cycle, nuclear forensics must be considered imperfect.

“Imperfect” is an understatement: It relies on analyzing trace isotopes for a “signature,” looking for things such as 90Sr or 135Cs as byproduct isotopes of a fission detonation; 210Po as a fission trigger; and as was detected by the South Koreans in September 2017, 133Xe for evidence of a tritium booster byproduct of a thermonuclear blast.

[A corollary exists for conventional explosives: Although trace compound “tagging” is used in commercial explosives, home-brew nitroglycerine is just glycerin, and nitric & sulfuric acids.]

However, the “truck driver’s” nuclear weapon probably wouldn’t have any of these yield-boosting additives to trace back to actual, infrastructure-based nuclear programs; and as we posited above, a crude fission weapon can be built even without a state sponsor — Just enough money and yellowcake to kick it into gear.

DECIUS correctly calls out Iran’s 36+ year War against America:

Even when attribution is known, the United States does not always retaliate. One big reason why, since 1979, Iran has remained, with very few exceptions, very aggressive toward U.S. interests—even to the point of killing American soldiers and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan—is because we so rarely ever hit them back. For example, we didn’t retaliate after either the 1983 Marine barracks bombing in Lebanon or the 1996 Khobar Towers attack in Saudi Arabia. On the occasions when we DO retaliate—such as the 1987-88 actions that sunk half the Iranian navy—the regime’s behavior subsequently becomes much less aggressive and much more circumspect. For a while—until they realize that we have reverted to passive form, as we always do.

However, we believe this statement understates just how pitched in battle the Iranians actually are against us: Their War against us started on November 4th, 1979 when they invaded sovereign American soil when the so-called “revolutionaries” seized our Embassy in Tehran; and this battle against us has continued to this very day, despite the willful blindness of Clinton, Obama, and especially George W Bush. Basically, Iran’s jihad against America oozes out of every pore of their leadership, which is why regime change is crucial: Iran represents an existential threat to the United States itself. More on this later in this article.

Continuing, DECIUS writes:

One other consideration that may seem picayune, but we believe would be relevant in the circumstance. The simplest nuclear bomb to build is, as said, a copy (however inexact) of Little Boy. Without sophisticated ways of “boosting” the yield, its explosive power would be on the order of 15 kilotons. The Hiroshima bomb, for maximum effect, was detonated at an altitude of about 1,900 feet. No terrorist is going to be able to air drop a bomb over Manhattan or Washington. The attack will therefore be a “ground burst” and thus much less devastating, at the same yield, than the Hiroshima bomb.

Three disparate points worth noting:

First, all it takes is a single detonation of a nuclear weapon to “change the world” as we know it, on a scale an order of magnitude larger than it changed on the morning of September 11th;

Second, who said an air burst at 1,900 feet is out of the question? It would be a trivial exercise to buy a twin-engine plane big enough to fly the five ton load on a kamikaze jihad mission. For that matter, you can pick up an old DC-9 or 727 off the Arizona desert floor for just a couple-few hundred thousand.

What’s more, although DC and NYC are relatively hardened with anti-aircraft missiles, the same probably cannot be said for Atlanta, and especially Los Angeles: These cities have airports with approach paths close to the city center, and in the case of LAX, the city has literally “built out” between the two runway pairs… And London’s Heathrow is even worse.

That being said, an air burst need not be directly over Manhattan: An air burst over Newark Liberty’s runway 29 final approach path, which is over Bayonne, would still hit Lower Manhattan & Brooklyn, as you can see from this map:

EWR_Runway-29_Final_Approach_Path

The point we’re trying to make is that an Islamic jihad kamikaze mission need not involve a deviation from routine aviation operations: It can hit completely out of the blue with not even a nanosecond of warning.

What’s more, from an airframe standpoint, even if a plane deviates from its’ flight path and is intercepted with a surface-to-air missile, unless a fuselage fuel tank detonates (as happened from an electrical short in the center tank on TWA 800), the terrorist on board would still have seconds to detonate the weapon, albeit perhaps not at the optimum altitude &/or location… But massively devastating nonetheless. Furthermore, even if the weapon does not detonate, you still have a dirty bomb attack, and if it’s over land the contamination radius would be large, as we’re talking 239Pu or highly-enriched 235U here, folks, and that’s nasty shit.

Third, even a ground burst today would be much more devastating than just the blast damage, as the damage to fragile semiconductor circuits found in every vehicle as well as computer would be destroyed for miles around; and if it’s an air burst, the damage would be even more extensive.

DECIUS continues:

This is why conservative fulmination about the Iran deal is so oversold. Yes, it’s a bad deal and yes the Obama administration lied in selling it. But neither the best deal nor the absence of a deal was going to stop Iran from getting the bomb. A country as big, rich, and sophisticated as Iran—if it really wants nuclear weapons—it will get them sooner or later. Countries much smaller (Israel), poorer (North Korea) and dumber (Pakistan) have managed it. The only way to stop Iran, again, is either to change the regime’s mind or change the regime. The former would have required much tougher sanctions, plus the cooperation of all of all Europe and Russia. We were never going to get that. And even if we had, there’s no guarantee the Iranian regime would have changed its mind. North Korea never has, despite being sanctioned to the hilt for decades. Libya did only when it was caught red-handed importing nuclear materials from Pakistan—mere months after the U.S. armed forces toppled the Iraqi government.

Somewhere out there on the Interwebs I wrote on August 6th, 2005 from Oak Ridge that Iran already had at least one “bomb in the basement,” much as Israel had one definitely by 1967, and possibly as far back as 1956. What’s more, Iran’s nuclear weapons program does not operate in a vacuum: North Korea participates in Iran’s program, much as they participate in Pakistan’s. [Historical timeline point: In her 1994 visit to Pyongyang, Benazir Bhutto’s plane sat on the apron for an extra 45 minutes as they loaded some sort of nuclear equipment — probably centrifuges — into the cargo hold for Abdul Qadir Khan’s weapons program.]

If we may further shock conservative ears, there is a case to be made for the Iran deal. Not its terms or the mendacity with which it was made. But for the deal itself, the ostensible purpose of which is to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. The only thing short of war that can stop that, as noted, is a change in the Iranian mind. The one thing the Iranian regime wants more than nuclear weapons is full access to the global economy and First-World financial system. (Well, that and its frozen assets back.) The deal paves the way to realizing that dream. But not if they flagrantly flout it. If they do that, all the sanctions—and more—are likely to be re-imposed. Tehran won’t have the Obama spin machine to cover for them for much longer. And whatever you think of Western pusillanimity, betrayed losers tend to react angrily. Even arch-appeaser Neville Chamberlain got mad when Hitler personally humiliated him by invading Poland. (Did you ever think you’d read a Munich reference not intended to urge more war? JAG delivers!)

The deal thus may not stop nuclear development, but it could push it underground, slow it down, make it less intense. To repeat: if Iran wants the bomb, Iran will get the bomb. The question is: does Iran want the bomb badly enough to lose all that it gained through the deal? Only time will tell. One thing we do know is that secret nukes are not that useful. The only “undeclared” nuclear power is Israel, which despite never formally acknowledging (or testing—unless they did) its arsenal has nonetheless managed to let the world “know” that it has nukes. Certainly, Iran could not celebrate the debutante ball of a nuclear power and still enjoy access the OECD economy.

What they could do, however, is keep quietly working on a bomb, get all the way to the finish line—and wait. Wait until the moment when they feel they “need” to go public, until their self-perceived “need” to be recognized as a nuclear power outweighs their assessment of the usefulness of access to the Western economy.

DECIUS’ analysis falls apart, as Iran already has nuclear weapons. What’s more, they have the Sunni as well as Shi’ite terrorist infrastructure in place to detonate one in the United States: Just get the fissile material across our porous southern border, and gather the rest here and assemble it in some abandoned mine away from any radiation detectors. What’s more, because Bush frittered away the Monroe Doctrine, the largest embassy in the Western Hemisphere is… wait for it… Iran’s in Caracas.

Bush had a real chance during the 2002 Venezuelan coup attempt to push Chavez out, which would have been a major win in the Great War on Terror… But, he was too busy masturbating to his twin Iraq and Medicare Part D ($450 billion RX benefit) fantasies to pay attention.

[Historical footnote: It was Bruce Bartlett who blew the whistle on Frist & Bush, as he correctly projected the largest expansion in entitlement spending would be about triple the $160 billion White House figure, and was fired, just as Larry Lindsey was canned for predicting the Iraq war would be at least double the sunny $400 billion cost. Basically, the Medicare D expansion was a sop to the congressional Democrats, in exchange for their support of the Iraq invasion. In other words, the Medicare D expansion is a hidden cost of the Iraq misadventure, and needs to be budgeted accordingly.]

Getting back to the Venezuelan nexus of a potential Islamic terror attack on American soil, the Los Zetas, Siniloa, MS-13 and other drug cartels already have ties to the mideast & Persian terror organizations: These violent gang-bangers certainly are no patriots, and will gladly sell out to the highest bidder.

As we stated above, Iran, especially through its’ Venezuelan proxy, represents an existential threat to the United States.

DECIUS continues:

So what do we do? Here (finally!) we get to the strategy. By all means, keep on with all those non-proliferation efforts. By all means, continue with “target hardening” and counterterrorism efforts at home.

But we also have to take the fight to the enemy. We’ve observed before that the much-maligned Bush-era slogan—fight them there so we don’t have to fight them here—is dead right. Why it should be so controversial remains mysterious—beyond the obvious point that it’s been spot-welded to the neocon democracy project and thus unfairly discredited. In reality, the idea undergirding that slogan is no different than the ancient and eternal principle of the buffer state. All great powers have them. That’s one of the measures of being a great power. Can you force your borders outward, and so fight your battles somewhere other than in your own front yard—or living room?

Another Bush-era slogan was “we don’t want to play whack-a-mole with terrorists.” Condoleezza Rice used to say this in interviews all the time. She meant: no one-offs but instead a grand strategy to remake the region. It’s not enough to win military victories. If that’s all we do, we’ll be fighting jihadis forever because the supply is endless. The only long-term solution is to modernize, democratize and moderate the Greater Middle East. Then and only then can we stop this fighting. And, the people there will be better off and happier, so everybody wins.

The rest of his plan is in the bottom third of the article.

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Continue reading “Our Reply to “‘Enhanced Whack-A-Mole’ Anti-Terror Strategy for Trump” in JAG”

Vichy Republicans and the #VichyGOP Hashtag

The #VichyGOP title for our blog is shorthand for who Reagan biographer Craig Shirley referred to as “Vichy Republicans” in his excellent April 2014 essay.

We’re big fans of the First Lady of Conservatism, Mrs Phyllis Schlafly; and her making the case for Trump in January, and subsequent full-throated endorsement two months later sealed the deal for us… And damned near toppled her from her Eagle Forum.

Also, just as Mrs Schlafly despised Governor George Romney as part of the “Kingmaker class,” along with governor’s Bill Scranton (PA) and Rockefeller, we despise his son Mitt as every bit as rotten. His dad helped lose the 1964 election, and not only did he lose the 2102 election, he’s trying to lose 2016 for us as well.