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Story 1: Stock Market Hits New All Time Record For Longest Bull Market and Third Strongest — Videos

Wall Street 'Charging Bull' statue

Current bull market sets record for longest ever

Historic Bull Market: Recapping Ups And Downs Of The Last 10 Years | CNBC

Major averages end mixed as bull market becomes longest in history

Stock market on the verge of breaking the record for longest bull market in history

Record number of 401(K) millionaires

Record bull run signals it’s time to sell, says Yale economist Shiller

It’s official: We’re in the longest bull market ever

By Eshe NelsonAugust 22, 2018

At the close of trading in New York today, the stock market will make an impressive milestone. It will set the record for the longest bull market in history.

A bull market generally begins when the market rises 20% from the low set at the end of a bear market, which itself is measured by a 20% fall from a previous peak. (There are other ways to measure all this, and other records that can be argued over.) The last low set by the benchmark S&P 500 index was on March 9, 2009. It’s been 3,453 days of fairly steady growth since then, with the S&P 500 climbing by more than 320% over that period. The previous record bull run was set between Oct. 1990 and March 2000.

This is another sign that the current economic recovery is getting long in the tooth. And though it’s said recoveries don’t die of old age, many people are convinced the end of the cycle is rapidly approaching. A long run of loose central bank policies following the financial crisis has helped stretch out this bull market, making stocks more attractive than low-yielding bonds and giving companies leeway to borrow freely. Recently, corporate tax cuts have added another boost to corporate balance sheets.

The single biggest contributor to the current bull run has been Apple, which recently hit its own milestone of becoming the first US public company valued at more than $1 trillion. Meanwhile, the company whose share price gained the most during this bull market has been Abiomed, which makes medical implant devices. Its stock has climbed a heady 6,900% since March 2009.

This bull run has struggled to survive at times. In August 2015, global stocks suffered a rout that threatened to end the bull market. A selloff that started in Chinese stocks ultimately wiped off more than $5 trillion in global stock value in just a few days. In February of this year, the S&P 500 dropped by more than 10% and stocks had their most volatile quarter since 2011.

Given these setbacks, this bull run hasn’t been the strongest in history, even if it is now the longest. It has recorded the third-largest total return of bull markets going back to the 1930s, according to data from S&P Dow Jones Indices. On an annualized basis, the returns have been particularly weak, at only 16.5% per year, making it 10th out of 13 bull markets. By comparison, the 1990-2000 market produced an annualized return of 19%. The strongest on that measure ran from June 1932 to March 1937, which returned just under 36% on an annual basis.

What does today’s record-setting milestone mean to most people? Probably not a lot. Research published earlier this year by an economist at New York University found that more than 80% of all stocks owned by Americans are held by the wealthiest 10% of households. Almost half of US households have absolutely nothing invested in stocks, not even through their retirement savings.

https://qz.com/1364993/its-official-were-in-the-longest-bull-market-ever/

Story 2: American People and Investors Ignore News About President — No Evidence of Trump Russian Collusion — Just The Fundamentals Please — It Is The Economy Stupid — Videos

Market has ability to ignore news around president, says pro

Story 3: President Trump Critical of Fed’s Monetary Policy — Fiscal Policy Is The Real Problem Mr. President — No Balanced Budgets and Rising Deficits, National Debt and Unfunded Liabilities and Obligation Exceeding $200 Trillion — Videos —

Trump lays into the Federal Reserve for raising rates

Trump: I disagree with the Fed raising interest rates

Trump isn’t ‘thrilled’ with Fed Chairman Jerome Powell for raising rates: report

Trump Is Said to Complain Powell Has Not Been Cheap-Money Fed Chair

David Stockman Blame the Fed. for USA Trade Deficit

[youtube3=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYPCiNNOr8k]

 

Story 4: When will the nest recession happen? — 2019, 2020, 2021? Look For An Inverted Yield Curve — Videos

See the source image

Ten Experts On When The Next Recession May Hit | CNBC

Corporate debt could cause the next recession: Expert

The Rapid Growth of Global Corporate Debt

Michael Pillsbury

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Michael Pillsbury
Michael Pillsbury Official Photo.jpeg
Born February 8, 1945 (age 73)
California, US
Education Stanford University (BA in History)
Columbia University ( PhD)
Occupation Consultant at US Department of Defense (2003–present)
Political party Republican

Michael Pillsbury (Chinese白邦瑞pinyinBái Bāngruì; born February 8, 1945) is the Director of the Center on Chinese Strategy, Hudson Institute, 1201 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington DC, 2014–present. He is the author of three books on China, the most recent one is an international bestseller, The Hundred-Year Marathon, also published in Korean, Japanese, Taiwan-Chinese and a PRC-Chinese edition published by Chinese National Defense University, and published in Hindi and Mongolian. The Hundred-Year Marathon was selected “one of the 10 best books of the year” by the Christian Science Monitor; selected by the Commander, US Special Operations Command for Commanders Reading List, 2017. The book was number one on the Washington Post best seller list on February 15, 2015.

 

Career

During the Reagan administration, Pillsbury was the Assistant Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Planning and responsible for implementation of the program of covert aid known as the Reagan Doctrine. In 1975–76, while an analyst at the RAND Corporation, Pillsbury published articles in Foreign Policy and International Security recommending that the United States establish intelligence and military ties with China. The proposal, publicly commended by Ronald ReaganHenry Kissinger, and James Schlesinger, later became US policy during the Carter and Reagan administrations.

Pillsbury served on the staff of four US Senate Committees from 1978–1984 and 1986–1991. As a staff member, Pillsbury drafted the Senate Labor Committee version of the legislation that enacted the US Institute of Peace in 1984.[1] He also assisted in drafting the legislation to create the National Endowment for Democracy and the annual requirement for a DOD report on Chinese military power.

In 1992, under President George H. W. Bush, Pillsbury was Special Assistant for Asian Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, reporting to Andrew W. Marshall, Director of Net Assessment. Pillsbury is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

In 2015, a former CIA Director revealed that a book called The Hundred-Year Marathon “is based on work Michael Pillsbury did that landed him the CIA Director’s Exceptional Performance Award.” The official website, www.100yearmarathon.com, has declassified documents and photos that illustrate the book.

Pillsbury played a role in three Presidential actions:

US–China military and intelligence ties

Pillsbury participated in President Jimmy Carter‘s decision in 1979–80, as modified by President Reagan in 1981, to initiate military and intelligence ties with China.[2][3]

According to Raymond L. Garthoff, “Michael Pillsbury first floated the idea of arms sales and broad range of American military security relationships with China in a much-discussed article in Foreign Policy in the fall of 1975. Not known then was that Pillsbury had been conducting secret talks with Chinese officials … his reports were circulated to a dozen or so top officials of the NSC, Department of Defense and Department of State as secret documents.”[4]:696 According to the book US–China Cold War Collaboration, 1971–1989, “The man spearheading the effort was not a public official, and enjoyed deniability. Michael Pillsbury, a China analyst at the RAND Corporation… spent the summer of 1973 secretly meeting PLA officers stationed under diplomatic cover at China’s UN mission… The DoD managed Pillsbury. Pillsbury filed a report, L-32, in March 1974… L-32 was a seminal paper on which subsequent US-PRC military cooperation blossomed.”[5]:81 James Mann wrote, “Outward appearances indicate that Pillsbury may have been working with American intelligence agencies from the very start of his relationship with General Zhang… In the fall of 1973, Pillsbury submitted a classified memo suggesting the novel idea tha the United States might establish a military relationship with China… This was the genesis of the ideas of a ‘China card,’ the notion that the United States might use China to gain Cold War advantage over the Soviet Union. The idea would eventually come to dominate American thinking about the new relationship with China.”[2]:58–59

Stingers for Afghanistan decision

Pillsbury participated in President Reagan’s decision in 1986 to order the CIA to arm the Afghan resistance with Stinger missiles. According to the UN Undersecretary General who negotiated the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, “Initially, the Stinger campaign was spearheaded by Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Fred Ikle and his aggressive Coordinator for Afghan Affairs, Michael Pillsbury… The Stinger proponents won their victory in the face of overwhelming bureaucratic resistance that persisted until the very end of the struggle.”[6]:195 Mann wrote, “For Michael Pillsbury, the covert operations in Afghanistan represented the fulfillment of the decade-old dream of American military cooperation with China… To help him win the argument, Pillsbury made use of his China connections.”[2]:137–139 George Crile stated in Charlie Wilson’s War that, “Ironically, neither [Gust] Avrakotos nor [Charlie] Wilson was directly involved in the decision and claims any credit.”[7]:419[8][9][10][11][12][13]

Harvard University’s JFK School of Government published what it called the first case study of how covert action policy is made and describes the role of Michael Pillsbury.[12]:24 According to Charlie Wilson’s War, “The moving force in this group was an engaging, well-born conservative intellectual named Mike Pillsbury, then serving as the Pentagon’s deputy undersecretary in charge of overseeing covert programs. Pillsbury, a former Senate staffer and China expert, had been an early believer in the program…”[7]:415–416 According to Philip Heymann in his 2008 book Living the Policy Process, “A policy player such as Michael Pillsbury may have absorbed many of the critical rules of the game of shared policy choice without even thinking of them as rules.”[8]

Heymann wrote that “providing Stinger missiles was obviously of such importance or political prominence that the President would want to decide. This decision is obviously of that character for several reasons. If approved, we may be furnishing a terrifying weapon to a present or future enemy. There is a small chance that we will encourage dangerous forms of retaliation by the Soviet Union. Even the shift from a “plausibly deniable” covert action to the open support of a guerrilla force fighting the Soviet Union would raise issues in Congress that the President would want to consider in light of his staff’s advice.”[8]

Pillsbury worked through the secret Planning and Coordination Group. Heymann wrote, “This committee was secret, and public details about it are sketchy… The covert action committee met every three to four weeks. Its existence was not officially acknowledged, although such a committee had operated in every administration since Eisenhower. In the Kennedy administration, for example, it was known as the Forty Committee. Any information on covert actions was protected under a compartmentalized security system given the name VEIL.”[8]

According to Steve Coll, in 1985–1986 Osama Bin Laden also wanted US weapons including the Stinger missiles. Coll wrote, “Michael Pillsbury flies to the Afghan frontier to review training facilities used by two Afghan warlords, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Abdul Rasul Sayyaf… Bin Laden family head Salem bin Laden asks the Pentagon to supply anti-aircraft missiles to Arab volunteers fighting in the Soviet-Afghan War. The request is made on behalf of Salem’s brother Osama [Bin Laden], who is establishing a semi-autonomous group of Arab volunteers outside the direct control of local Afghan commanders and will set up a camp just for Arabs later this year… Later research will indicate that there is no formal decision by the Reagan administration not to supply the missiles or other equipment to the Arab volunteers. Pentagon official Michael Pillsbury will later say he was not aware of any such decision, but if such a decision had been taken, he would have been aware of it.”[10]:287

Studies of China and the Pentagon’s annual report

In 1997–2007, Pillsbury published research reports and two books on China’s view of future warfare. According to the Wall Street Journal in 2005, Pillsbury’s findings were added to the reports the Secretary of Defense sent to Congress on Chinese military power in 2002–2005.[14][15] In 2003, Pillsbury signed a nonpartisan report of the Council on Foreign Relations task force on Chinese military power. The task force found that China is pursuing a deliberate course of military modernization, but is at least two decades behind the United States in terms of military technology and capability. The task force report stated it was a “nonpartisan approach to measuring the development of Chinese military power.”[16] He has discussed the threat the people’s republic of China poses to the United States of America with Tucker Carlson.[17]

Criticism

Pillsbury’s scholarship has been questioned by Washington Monthly assistant editor Soyoung Ho, in his article “Panda Slugger, the dubious scholarship of Michael Pillsbury, the China hawk with Rumsfeld’s ear”, published in the July/August issue in 2006.[18]

VOA commentator

Since May 2014, Pillsbury has been a frequent guest on Voice of America Chinese providing opinions and participating in discussion in Mandarin Chinese typically on defense-related issues.

Government positions

  • Consultant at US Department of Defense 2004–present
  • Senior Research Advisor at US-China Economic and Security Review Commission 2003–2004
  • Policy Advisory Group at United States Department of Defense 2001–2003
  • Visiting Research Fellow at National Defense University, 1997–2000
  • Special Government Employee at US Department of Defense (Defense Science Board) 1998–2000
  • Research Consultant at US Agency for International Development 1991–1995
  • Special Assistant to Director of Net Assessment US Department of Defense 1992–1993
  • Congressional Afghan Task Force Senate Staff Coordinator at US Senate 1986–1990
  • Assistant Under Secretary for Policy Planning at US Department of Defense 1984–1986
  • Professional Staff at US Senate 1978–1981
  • Acting Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency at US Department of State 1981

Affiliations

Published works

Books

Author of two books on China, available at National Defense University Press:

Reports and articles

US China Commission Congressional Reports[edit]

House and Senate testimonies

Journal articles

  • Pillsbury, Michael (1980). “Strategic Acupuncture”. Foreign Policy (Winter 1980): 44–61. doi:10.2307/1148172JSTOR 1148172.
  • Pillsbury, Michael (1975). “US-China Military Ties?”. Foreign Policy (Autumn 1975): 50–64. doi:10.2307/1148126JSTOR 1148126.
  • Pillsbury, Michael (1978). “A Japanese Card?”. Foreign Policy (Winter 1978): 3–30. doi:10.2307/1148458JSTOR 1148458.
  • Pillsbury, Michael P (1977). “Future Sino American Security Ties: The View from Tokyo, Moscow, and Peking”. International Security1 (Spring 1977): 124–142. doi:10.2307/2538627JSTOR 2538627.

RAND Corporation reports

Some of these are available online:[19]

  • Personal Ties and Factionalism in Peking. RAND Corporation. 1975. OCLC 1575577.
  • Taiwan’s fate: Two Chinas But Not Forever. RAND Corporation. 1975. OCLC 1575589.
  • The Political Environment on Taiwan. RAND Corporation. 1975. OCLC 1462258.
  • SALT on the Dragon: Chinese Views of the Soviet-American Strategic Balance. RAND Corporation. 1975. OCLC 2218652.
  • Soviet Apprehensions about Sino-American Relations, 1971–74. RAND Corporation. 1975. OCLC 1549446.
  • Statement to the Subcommittee on Future Foreign Policy Research and Development, Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives. RAND Corporation. 1976. OCLC 2731888.
  • Chinese Foreign Policy: Three New Studies. RAND Corporation. 1975. OCLC 2379124.

References

  1. Jump up^ Montgomery, Mary E. (2003). “Working for Peace While Preparing for War: The Creation of the United States Institute of Peace”. Journal of Peace Research40 (4): 479–496. doi:10.1177/00223433030404007.
  2. Jump up to:a b c Mann, James (1998). About Face: A History of America’s Curious Relationship with China, from Nixon to Clinton. Knopf. ISBN 978-0-679-76861-6.
  3. Jump up^ Garrett, Banning. The China Card and its Origins. Brandeis University doctoral dissertation.
  4. Jump up^ Garthoff, Raymond L. (1983). Détente and Confrontation: American-Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan. Brookings Institution. ISBN 978-0-8157-3044-6.
  5. Jump up^ Ali, Mahmud (2005). US-China Cold War Collaboration, 1971–1989. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-35819-4.
  6. Jump up^ Cordovez, Diego (1995). Out of Afghanistan: The Inside Story of the Soviet Withdrawal. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-506294-6.
  7. Jump up to:a b Crile, George (2003). Charlie Wilson’s War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History. Atlantic Monthly Press. ISBN 978-0-87113-854-5.
  8. Jump up to:a b c d Heymann, Philip (2008). Living the Policy Process. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-533539-2.
  9. Jump up^ Bearden, Milt; Risen, James (2004). The Main Enemy: The Inside Story of the CIA’s Final Showdown with the KGB. Ballantine. pp. 211–212. ISBN 978-0-345-47250-2.
  10. Jump up to:a b Coll, Steve (2004). Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and bin Laden. Penguin. ISBN 978-1-59420-007-6.
  11. Jump up^ Coll, Steve (2009). The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century. Penguin. ISBN 978-1-59420-164-6.
  12. Jump up to:a b Lundberg, Kirsten (1999). “Politics of a Covert Action: The US, the Mujahideen, and the Stinger Missile”. Kennedy School of Government Case Program. C15-99-1546.0.
  13. Jump up^ Sullivan, Tim; Singer, Matt; Rawson, Jessica. “What Were Policymakers’ and Intelligence Services’ Respective Roles in the Decision to Deploy Stinger Missiles to the Anticommunist Afghan Mujahedin During the Rebels’ Struggle with the Soviet Union?”. Archived from the original on 2010-12-18.
  14. Jump up^ King, Neil (September 8, 2005). “Secret Weapon: Inside Pentagon, A Scholar Shapes Views of China” (Fee required). Wall Street Journal. p. A1. Retrieved June 23, 2009.
  15. Jump up^ “The Pillsbury Factor”. The Oriental Economist. August 2002.
  16. Jump up^ Segal, Adam (2003). Chinese Military Power Independent Task Force ReportCouncil on Foreign RelationsISBN 978-0-87609-330-6.
  17. Jump up^ [1]
  18. Jump up^ Ho, Soyoung. “Panda Slugger, the dubious scholarship of Michael Pillsbury, the China hawk with Rumsfeld’s ear”Washington Monthly. Archived from the original on 14 February 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  19. Jump up^ Reports authored by Michael Pillsbury available at RAND Web site

Further reading

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Pillsbury

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1125, August 15, 2018, Breaking: Story 1: Trump Revoking Security Clearance of Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspirators Including Former CIA Director Brennan — No Big Deal — When Will Second Special Counsel Be Appointed To Investigate and Prosecute Plotters — Waiting For Results Not Distractions — Videos — Story 2: Department of Justice Bruce Ohr And Christopher Steel Connection and Clinton Opposition Research Fabricated Russian Steel Dossier — Videos — Story 3: Small Business Optimism Index Hits Second Highest Level in 45 Years —

Posted on August 16, 2018. Filed under: American History, Barack H. Obama, Bill Cosby, Blogroll, Books, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Computers, Congress, Countries, Deep State, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Empires, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Freedom of Speech, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, James Comey, Law, Media, National Security Agency, News, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Public Corruption, Robert S. Mueller III, Scandals, Security, Senate, Social Networking, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Terror, Terrorism, Trump Surveillance/Spying, United Kingdom, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , |

 

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Story 1: Trump Revoking Security Clearances of Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspirators Including Former CIA Director Brennan — No Big Deal — When Will Second Special Counsel Be Appointed To Investigate and Prosecute Plotters — Waiting For Results Not Distractions — Videos

URGENT 🔴 White House EXPLOSIVE Press Briefing with Sarah Sanders on Revoking CIA Director Clearance

Watch Live: Trump revokes former CIA Director’s Clearance

BREAKING: TRUMP REVOKES SECURITY CLEARANCE OF EX-CIA DIR. JOHN BRENNAN

HE PUNISHING CRITICS IS ABUSE OF POWER”… John Brennan SCOLDS Trump’s Revoking Of Clearance

DOJ’s Bruce Ohr to testify, but where is British spy Steele?

Brennan fires back at Trump after clearance revoked

Trump FACES A BOMBSHELL From All American After He Revokes Brennan’s Security Clearance

Judicial Watch: Why Trump is Right to Revoke Security Clearance of ‘Unhinged’ John Brennan

James Clapper RESPONDS John Brennan After Trump Revokes His Security Clearance

Sanders says Trump may remove ex-intel chiefs’ security clearances

Hannity: Corruption at the highest levels of DOJ

Judicial Watch sues DOJ for communications with Steele

FBI paid Trump-Russia dossier author Christopher Steele, heavily redacted docs show

BUSTED! John Brennan ex-CIA ‘is the key missing link’ of the Steele Dossier story

Mark Levin “Who is John Brennan…?”

Exclusive: John Brennan still has top security clearance

Trump pulls security clearance of ex-CIA Director John Brennan

Updated 

President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, who has become a harsh critic of the president, and appeared to be targeting others who have disagreed with the administration.

“Mr. Brennan’s lying and recent conduct characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary is wholly inconsistent with access to the nation’s most closely held secrets and facilities, the very aim of our adversaries which is to sow division and chaos,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, reading a statement from Trump while briefing reporters on Wednesday.

“Mr. Brennan has recently leveraged his status as a former high-ranking official with access to highly sensitive information to make a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations — wild outbursts on the internet and television — about this Administration,“ the president‘s statement continued.

In addition, Sanders said, the administration is evaluating clearances for former FBI Director James Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former FBI attorney Lisa Page, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strozk, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, whose security clearance was deactivated after he was fired earlier this year, and Bruce Ohr, who is still in the Justice Department although he was demoted from associate deputy attorney general.

“More broadly, the issue of Mr. Brennan’s security clearance raises larger questions about the practice of former officials maintaining access to our nation’s most sensitive secrets long after their time in government has ended,” Sanders said.

Brennan later responded on Twitter.

“This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics,” he wrote. “It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent,” he wrote.

The White House last month announced that it was looking into revoking security clearances for the individuals Sanders listed on Wednesday, with the exception of Yates, Strozk, Page and Ohr, whose names were added on Wednesday.

Trump has over the past couple of days dug into Strozk, who was fired from the FBI on Friday, and Ohr.

Ohr, a senior Justice Department official, has come under scrutiny after it was revealed he had contact during the 2016 election cycle with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson and former British spy Christopher Steele, who compiled a dossier that described a complex conspiracy of Trump and his campaign working with the Kremlin to influence the outcome of the presidential election. Trump has denied the dossier‘s findings. Ohr’s wife, Nellie, also worked for Fusion GPS during the 2016 election.

The Justice Department declined to comment on Ohr’s security clearance.

“Security clearances for those who still have them may be revoked, and those who have already lost their security clearance may not be able to have it reinstated,” Sanders said.

Clapper on Wednesday said during an interview with CNN that he had not had any access to current intelligence since he resigned in January 2017.

The former intelligence chief has been a harsh critic of Trump and has feuded with the president, who has characterized the FBI’s use of an informant as the Justice Department‘s spying on his presidential campaign. Clapper, however, has countered that Russian efforts were the subject of intelligence operations, not Trump‘s campaign.

Clapper said that losing his clearance wouldn’t have any “ immediate substantive impact“ on him, and that he would continue to speak out against the president.

“Will the republic stand or fall on whether John retains his access to classified information, or mine or any others that were named? Of course not,“ he said. “The larger issue here, to me, throughout has been infringement on First Amendment rights. And I think people ought to think seriously about that.“

Comey last month said he no longer had a security clearance, and Hayden also said on Twitter that he did not go back for classified briefings but would occasionally be asked to “offer a view on something.”

Comey, who was fired last year, documented a conversation with Trump in which he says the president asked him to to let go of an FBI investigation into former Trump campaign adviser Michael Flynn, who also served briefly as the president’s national security adviser. Since the release of Comey‘s memo, special counsel Robert Mueller has broadened his Russia investigation to include whether Trump tried to obstruct justice. Trump has long called the Mueller inquiry a “witch hunt.“

Conservatives have over the past couple of weeks pushed for Brennan’s security to be removed.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in June said he spoke to the president about that very issue, and Fox News host Tucker Carlson also called for Brennan’s clearance to be removed after he reported he still had it.

John McLaughlin, a former acting director of the CIA, who was not listed as having his clearance under review but has criticized the president’s policies in the past, said on Wednesday that he thought the choice to revoke the clearance was to “silence critics.“

“This really has the feel of someone simply trying to do two things: silence critics and also distract from another damaging political event that‘s going on with Omarosa,“ he said during a phone interivew on MSNBC, referring to former presidential adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman, whose new book includes scathing criticism of Trump and his administration.

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/08/15/trump-pulls-security-clearance-of-ex-cia-director-brennan-778791

 

Jordan: More Obama-era officials should lose security clearances

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) cheered President Trump‘s Wednesday decision to revoke former CIA Director John Brennan‘s security clearance, saying the White House should revoke those of several other Obama-era officials, too.

“Clapper lied under oath, Rice blamed Benghazi on a video,” Jordan tweeted. “Comey fired, McCabe fired, Strzok fired, Yates fired, Page demoted, then left, Ohr demoted.”

“If any of these folks still have a clearance, they should lose it too.”

Some of the names on Jordan’s list have already been identified by the White House as liable to losing their security clearances.

Former FBI Director James B. Comey, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe could all have their clearances revoked, the administration says.

The FBI fired agent Peter Strzok Monday for violating their policies after he came under fire for alleged political bias in the investigations into Hillary Clinton‘s emails and Russia’s 2016 election interference.

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr are also controversial figures at the center of the Russian probe, accused by Republicans of being biased against Trump.

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/402033-jordan-other-obama-era-officials-should-lose-security-clearances-too

 

Opinion: How a senior DOJ official helped Dem researchers on Trump-Russia case

By John Solomon
Opinion Contributor

8/7/2018

Hundreds of pages of previously unreported emails and memos provide the clearest evidence yet that a research firm, hired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to find dirt on and defeat Donald Trump, worked early and often with the FBI, a Department of Justice (DOJ) official and the intelligence community during the 2016 presidential election and the early days of Trump’s presidency.

Fusion GPS’s work and its involvement with several FBI officials have been well reported.

But a close review of these new documents shows just how closely Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, who reported to Obama-era Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, maintained contact with Fusion — and, in particular, its primary source, former British spy Christopher Steele — before, during and after the election.

Yates was fired by President Trump over an unrelated political dispute. Ohr was demoted recently.

Ohr’s own notes, emails and text messages show he communicated extensively with Steele and with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson. Those documents have been turned over in recent weeks to investigative bodies in Congress and the DOJ, but not reviewed outside the investigative ranks until now.

They show Ohr had contact with Steele in the days just before the FBI opened its Trump-Russia probe in summer 2016, and then engaged Steele as a “confidential human source” assisting in that probe.

They also confirm that Ohr later became a critical conduit of continuing information from Steele after the FBI ended the Brit’s role as an informant.

“B, doubtless a sad and crazy day for you re- SY,” Steele texted Ohr on Jan. 31, 2017, referencing President Trump’s firing of Sally Yates for insubordination.

Steele’s FBI relationship had been terminated about three months earlier. The bureau concluded on Nov. 1, 2016, that he leaked information to the news media and was “not suitable for use” as a confidential source, memos show.

The FBI specifically instructed Steele that he could no longer “operate to obtain any intelligence whatsoever on behalf of the FBI,” those memos show.

Yet, Steele asked Ohr in the Jan. 31 text exchange if he could continue to help feed information to the FBI: “Just want to check you are OK, still in the situ and able to help locally as discussed, along with your Bureau colleagues.”

“I’m still here and able to help as discussed,” Ohr texted back. “I’ll let you know if that changes.”

Steele replied, “If you end up out though, I really need another (bureau?) contact point/number who is briefed. We can’t allow our guy to be forced to go back home. It would be disastrous.” Investigators are trying to determine who Steele was referring to.

FBI officials now admit they continued to receive information from Steele through Ohr, identifying more than a half-dozen times its agents interviewed Ohr in late 2016 and 2017, to learn what Steele was saying.

That continued reliance on Steele after his termination is certain to raise interest in Congress about whether the FBI broke its own rules.

But the memos also raise questions about Ohr’s and the Justice Department’s roles in the origins of building a counterintelligence case against the Republican presidential nominee, based heavily on opposition research funded by his rival’s campaign, the DNC and the DNC’s main law firm, Perkins Coie.

Some of the more tantalizing Ohr contacts occurred in the days when Steele made his first contacts with the FBI in summer 2016 about the Russia matter.

“There is something separate I wanted to discuss with you informally and separately. It concerns our favourite business tycoon!” Steele wrote Ohr on July 1, 2016, in an apparent reference to Trump.

That overture came just four days before Steele walked into the FBI office in Rome with still-unproven allegations that Trump had an improper relationship with Russia, including possible efforts to hijack the presidential election.

Ohr scheduled a call with Steele over Skype a few days later. But then the two men met in Washington on July 30, 2016, at the Mayflower Hotel.

Ohr brought his wife, Nellie, who was working at Fusion GPS on the Trump-Russia research project.

“Great to see you and Nellie this morning Bruce,” Steele wrote shortly after their breakfast meeting. “Let’s keep in touch on the substantive issues/s (sic). Glenn is happy to speak to you on this if it would help.”

That meeting occurred exactly one day before FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok formally opened an investigation, dubbed Crossfire Hurricane, into whether the Trump campaign was colluding with Moscow to steal the election.

At the time, the case was based mostly on an Australian diplomat’s tip that Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos appeared to know in advance that the Russians possessed information involving Hillary Clinton before hacked documents were released on WikiLeaks.

Soon, the case expanded to include allegations that another Trump adviser, Carter Page, might have ties to Russia — an uncorroborated allegation from Fusion GPS’s research now known as the “Steele dossier.”

Calendar notations and handwritten notes indicate Ohr followed up on Steele’s offer and met with Simpson on Aug. 22, 2016. Ohr’s notes indicate Simpson identified several “possible intermediaries” between the Trump campaign and Russia.

One was identified as a “longtime associate of Trump” who “put together several real estate deals for Russian investigators to purchase Trump properties.” Another was a Russian apparently tied to Carter Page, Ohr’s note of his Simpson contact indicated.

Steele offered Ohr many other theories over their contacts, including a now widely discredited one that the Russian Alfa Bank had a computer server “as a link” to the Trump campaign, Ohr’s notes show.

Though much of Steele’s information remained uncorroborated, the FBI nonetheless took the extraordinary step in October 2016 of seeking a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to monitor Carter Page during the final days of the election, based mostly on Steele’s dossier. The warrant was renewed at least three times, but Carter Page was never charged.

Ohr’s connections to Steele are significant because at least one of the FISA warrants was approved by Ohr’s boss, Yates.

By early November 2016, Steele was terminated for unauthorized media contacts — and the FBI was turning to Ohr as a back channel to Steele.

Ohr’s notes suggest he met Nov. 21, 2016, with FBI officials that included Strzok, then-FBI attorney Lisa Page and another agent. Strzok and Lisa Page have become the poster children for Republicans who believe the FBI abused its authority by investigating Trump on flimsy evidence. FBI records confirm an interview with Ohr around that time.

Ohr’s notes from that meeting indicate that FBI officials told him they “may go back to Chris” — an apparent reference to Steele — just 20 days after dismissing him.

In all, Ohr’s notes, emails and texts identify more than 60 contacts with Steele and/or Simpson, some dating to 2002 in London. But the vast majority occurred during the 2016-2017 timeframe that gave birth to one of the most controversial counterintelligence probes in recent American history.

Most importantly, the new memos make clear that Ohr, a man whose name was barely uttered during the first 18 months of the scandal, may have played a critical role in stitching together a Democratic opposition research project and the top echelons of the FBI and DOJ.

Representatives for the Justice Department and FBI did not return calls Tuesday seeking comment. A message left on the cell phone for Bruce and Nellie Ohr, seeking comment, was not returned.

John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He is The Hill’s executive vice president for video.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.

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John O. Brennan

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John O. Brennan
John Brennan CIA official portrait.jpg
5th Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
In office
March 8, 2013 – January 20, 2017
President Barack Obama
Deputy Avril Haines
David Cohen
Preceded by Michael Morell (Acting)
Succeeded by Mike Pompeo
5th United States Homeland Security Advisor
In office
January 20, 2009 – March 8, 2013
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Ken Wainstein
Succeeded by Lisa Monaco
Director of the National Counterterrorism Center
Acting
In office
August 27, 2004 – August 1, 2005
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by John Redd
Personal details
Born John Owen Brennan
September 22, 1955 (age 62)
North BergenNew JerseyU.S.
Spouse(s) Kathy Pokluda
Education Fordham University (BA)
University of Texas, Austin (MA)

John Owen Brennan (born September 22, 1955)[1][2] was the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from March 2013 to January 2017. He served as chief counterterrorism advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama; with the title Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Assistant to the President.[1][3][4] His responsibilities included overseeing plans to protect the country from terrorism and respond to natural disasters, and he met with the President daily.[5][6] Previously, he advised President Obama on foreign policy and intelligence issues during the 2008 presidential campaign and transition.[7] Brennan withdrew his name from consideration for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the first Obama administration over concerns about his support, while serving under President George W. Bush, for transferring terror suspects to countries where they might be tortured.[3][5] Instead, Brennan was appointed Deputy National Security Advisor, a position which did not require Senate confirmation.[3][5][8]

Brennan’s 25 years with the CIA included work as a Near East and South Asia analyst, as station chief in Saudi Arabia, and as director of the National Counterterrorism Center.[3][5][9] After leaving government service in 2005, Brennan became CEO of The Analysis Corporation, a security consulting business, and served as chairman of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, an association of intelligence professionals.[10]

Brennan served in the White House as Assistant to the President for Homeland Security between 2009 and 2013. President Obama nominated Brennan as his next director of the CIA on January 7, 2013.[11][12] The ACLUcalled for the Senate not to proceed with the appointment until it confirms that “all of his conduct was within the law” at the CIA and White House.[13] John Brennan was approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee on March 5, 2013, to succeed David Petraeus as the Director of the CIA by a vote of 12 to 3.[14]

Brennan serves as a senior national security and intelligence analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. His inaugural appearance was on Meet the Press with Chuck Todd on Sunday, February 4, 2018.[15]

On August 15, 2018, President Donald Trump, who Brennan has been an outspoken critic of, announced that Brennan’s security clearance will be revoked.[16] The revocation was criticized as political retribution from Brennan’s comments.[17]

Early life and education

Brennan is the son of Irish immigrants from RoscommonRepublic of Ireland. His father, Owen, a blacksmith, immigrated to New Jersey in 1948.[18] Brennan was born in North Bergen, New Jersey,[9] attended the Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary School and graduated from Saint Joseph of the Palisades High School in West New York, New Jersey.

He received a B.A. in political science from Fordham University in 1977.[3] He then attended the University of Texas at Austin, receiving a Master of Arts in government with a concentration in Middle East studies in 1980.[5] He speaks Arabic fluently.[9] His studies included a junior year abroad learning Arabic and taking courses at the American University in Cairo.[3][5]

While riding a bus to class at Fordham, he saw an ad in The New York Times that said the CIA was recruiting. He decided that a CIA career would be a good match for his “wanderlust” and his desire for public service.[5]During his application to the CIA he admitted in a lie-detector test that he had voted for the U.S. Communist Party candidate for president, Gus Hall, in 1976. He explained to the interviewer that his vote was a way of “signaling my unhappiness with the system,” and he later described his vote as a protest against partisanship of the Watergate era.[18] He emphasized after leaving office that his entry into the CIA showed that freedom of speech in the U.S. does not disqualify a person for a career in government.[19]

Career

Brennan with Kathleen Sebeliusand Rahm Emanuel, White House, April 2009

Brennan began his CIA career as an analyst and spent 25 years with the agency.[1][5][20] He was a daily intelligence briefer for President Bill Clinton.[5] In 1996, he was CIA station chief in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, when the Khobar Towers bombing killed 19 U.S. servicemen.[5] In 1999, he was appointed chief of staff to George Tenet, then-Director of the CIA.[3][5] Brennan became deputy executive director of the CIA in March 2001.[3] He was director of the newly created Terrorist Threat Integration Center from 2003 to 2004, an office that sifted through and compiled information for President Bush’s daily top secret intelligence briefings and employed the services of analysts from a dozen U.S. agencies and entities.[21] One of the controversies in his career involves the distribution of intelligence to the Bush White House that helped lead to an “Orange Terror Alert“, in late 2003. The intelligence, which purported to list terror targets, was highly controversial within the CIA and was later discredited. An Obama administration official does not dispute that Brennan distributed the intelligence during the Bush era but said Brennan passed it along because that was his job.[22][23] His last post within the Intelligence Community was as director of the National Counterterrorism Center in 2004 and 2005, which incorporated information on terrorist activities across U.S. agencies.[3][24]

Brennan then left government service for a few years, becoming Chairman of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) and the CEO of The Analysis Corporation (TAC).[18] He continued to lead TAC after its acquisition by Global Strategies Group in 2007 and its growth as the Global Intelligence Solutions division of Global’s North American technology business GTEC, before returning to government service with the Obama administration as Homeland Security Advisor on January 20, 2009.[10]

On January 7, 2013, Brennan was nominated by President Barack Obama to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency.[25]

On January 20, 2017, Brennan’s appointment ended and he was replaced by President Donald Trump’s nominee Mike Pompeo on January 23, 2017.

In September 2017, Brennan was named a Distinguished Non-Resident Scholar at The University of Texas at Austin, where he also acts as a Senior Advisor to the University’s Intelligence Studies Project.[26] He serves as a consultant on world events for Kissinger Associates.[18]

Counterterrorism advisor to President Obama

Brennan was an early national security adviser to then-candidate Obama.[18] In late 2008, Brennan was reportedly the top choice to become the Director of the CIA in the incoming Obama administration. However, Brennan withdrew his name from consideration because of opposition to his CIA service under President George W. Bush and past public statements he had made in support of enhanced interrogation and the transfer of terrorism suspects to countries where they might be tortured (extraordinary rendition).[3][5][27] President Obama then appointed him to be his Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, the President’s chief counterterrorism advisor and a position that did not require Senate confirmation.[3][5][8]

Brennan and President Barack Obama at a meeting of the Homeland Security Council, May 2009

In August 2009, Brennan criticized some Bush-administration anti-terror policies, saying that waterboarding had threatened national security by increasing the recruitment of terrorists and decreasing the willingness of other nations to cooperate with the U.S.[28] He also described the Obama administration’s focus as being on “extremists” and not “jihadists“. He said that using the second term, which means one who is struggling for a holy goal, gives “these murderers the religious legitimacy they desperately seek” and suggests the US is at war with the religion of Islam.[28] Brennan told the New York Times in January 2010 that “I was somebody who did oppose waterboarding,”[29] a claim that he repeated in 2013, during the Senate’s hearings about whether to confirm him as Obama’s CIA director.[30] None of Brennan’s superior officers at the CIA, however, recall hearing his objections, and in 2018, Brennan admitted to the New York Times that “It wasn’t as though I was wearing that opposition on my sleeve throughout the agency. I expressed it privately, to individuals.”[31]

In an early December 2009 interview with the Bergen Record, Brennan remarked, “the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement communities have to bat 1.000 every day. The terrorists are trying to be successful just once”.[5] At a press conference days after the failed Christmas Day bomb attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, Brennan said U.S. intelligence agencies did not miss any signs that could have prevented the attempt but later said he had let the President down by underestimating a small group of Yemeni terrorists and not connecting them to the attempted bomber.[1][32] Within two weeks after the incident, however, he produced a report highly critical of the performance of U.S. intelligence agencies, concluding that their focus on terrorist attempts aimed at U.S. soil was inadequate.[20] In February 2010, he claimed on Meet the Press that he was tired of Republicanlawmakers using national security issues as political footballs, and making allegations where they did not know the facts.[33]

Brennan was present in the Situation Room in May 2011 when the United States conducted the military operation that killed Osama bin Laden. He called President Obama’s decision to go forward with the mission one of the “gutsiest calls of any president in memory.”[34] In the aftermath of the operation, Brennan said that the U.S. troops in the raid had been “met with a great deal of resistance,” and bin Laden had used a woman as a human shield.[35][36]

Drone program

In April 2012, Brennan was the first Obama administration official to publicly acknowledge CIA drone strikes in PakistanYemenSomaliaLibyaAfghanistan, and elsewhere. In his speech he explained the legality, morality, and effectiveness of the program.[37][38][39] The ACLU and other organizations disagreed. In 2011-2012, he also helped reorganize the process, under the aegis of the Disposition Matrix database, by which people outside of war zones were put on the list of drone targets. According to an Associated Press story, the reorganization helped “concentrate power” over the process inside the White House administration.[40][41][42] According to the New York Times, Brennan was the “principal coordinator” of U.S. kill lists. Former Obama administration counter-terrorism official Daniel Benjamin has stated that Brennan “probably had more power and influence than anyone in a comparable position in the last 20 years”.[43]

In June 2011, Brennan claimed that US counter-terrorism operations had not resulted in “a single collateral death” in the past year because of the “precision of the capabilities that we’ve been able to develop.”[44][45] Nine months later, Brennan claimed he had said “we had no information” about any civilian, noncombatant deaths during the timeframe in question.[45][46] The Bureau of Investigative Journalism disagreed with Brennan, citing their own research[47] that initially led them to believe that 45 to 56 civilians, including six children, had been killed by ten US drone strikes during the year-long period in question.[45] Additional research led the Bureau to raise their estimate to 76 deaths, including eight children and two women.[45] According to the Bureau, Brennan’s claims “do not appear to bear scrutiny.”[45] The Atlantic has been harsher in its criticism, saying that “Brennan has been willing to lie about those drone strikes to hide ugly realities.”[48]

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Brennan’s comments about collateral death are perhaps explained by a counting method that treats all military-aged males in a strike zone as combatants unless there is explicit information to prove them innocent.[45][49]

CIA Director (2013–2017)

Nomination

Brennan being sworn in as CIA Director, March 8, 2013

Brennan at the White House in April 2013, discussing the Boston Marathon bombing

United States President Barack Obama twice nominated Brennan to serve as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.[11][12] Morris Davis, a former Chief Prosecutor for the Guantanamo Military Commissions compared Brennan to Canadian Omar Khadr, who was convicted of “committing murder in violation of the law of war”.[50] He suggested that Brennan’s role in targeting individuals for CIA missile strikes was no more authorized than the throwing of the grenade of which Khadr was accused.

On February 27, 2013, the Senate Intelligence Committee postponed a vote, expected to be taken the next day on the confirmation of Brennan until the following week. On March 5, the Intelligence Committee approved the nomination 12–3. The Senate was set to vote on Brennan’s nomination on March 6, 2013. However, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul began a talking Senate filibuster of the vote, citing President Barack Obama and his administration’suse of combat drones against Americans, stating “No one politician should be allowed to judge the guilt, to charge an individual, to judge the guilt of an individual and to execute an individual. It goes against everything that we fundamentally believe in our country.”[51][52] Paul’s filibuster continued for 13 hours, ending with the words: “I’m hopeful that we have drawn attention to this issue, that this issue will not fade away, and that the president will come up with a response.”[53] After the filibuster, Brennan was confirmed by a vote of 63–34.

Brennan was sworn into the office of CIA Director on March 8, 2013, in a 63-34 vote.[54]

Tenure

Two months after assuming his post at the CIA, Brennan replaced Gina Haspel as head of the National Clandestine Service and placed another unidentified, career intelligence officer and former Marine in her place.[55][56] In June 2013, Brennan installed Avril Haines as Deputy Director of the Agency.[57]

In April 2014, Brennan visited Kiev where he met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaliy Yarema and purportedly discussed intelligence-sharing between the United States and Ukraine.[58][59]

In the summer of 2014, Brennan faced scrutiny after it was revealed that some CIA employees had improperly accessed the computer servers of the Senate Intelligence Committee in the wake of oversight of the CIA’s role in enhanced interrogation and extraordinary rendition. Brennan apologized to Senators and stated that he would “fight for change at the CIA,” and stated he would pass along the findings of the Inspector General on the incident.[60]After the incident, Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) stated he had “lost confidence in Brennan.”[61]

Brennan and James Clapper at the LBJ Presidential Library, September 16, 2015

Brennan and former National Security Advisers Sandy Berger and Brent Scowcroft in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 2015

In December 2014, Brennan again came under fire when he defended the CIA’s past interrogation tactics as having yielded “useful” intelligence, during a news conference. While admitting that the actions of the CIA officers were “abhorrent”, worthy of “repudiation”, and had, at times, exceeded legal boundaries Brennan stated the CIA had also done “a lot of things right during this difficult time to keep this country strong and secured.”[62]

During testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee in June 2016, Brennan warned of the threat posed by ISIL claiming it had the ability to draw on a “large cadre of Western fighters” and reiterated the threats posed by lone wolfattackers, calling them “an exceptionally challenging issue for the intelligence community.” Brennan detailed ISIL’s size to the committee, specifying they had more fighters than al-Qaeda at its height and that they were spread between Africa and southwest Asia.[63]

While director, Brennan created ten new “mission centers” in his campaign to focus the CIA on threats in cyberspace, where analysts and hackers work in teams with focuses on specific areas of the globe and particular issues. In addition, he created the Directorate for Digital Innovation (DDI) to hone the Agency’s tradecraft in the information technology sector and create new tools dedicated to cyber-espionage. Despite general praise for his actions from within the intelligence community about Brennan’s shift towards cyber, some CIA officials said they held reservations in moving away from traditional human intelligence.[64] In January 2017, Brennan, alongside FBI director James Comey, NSA director Mike Rogers, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper briefed President-elect Donald Trump in Trump Tower on the findings of the intelligence community in regards to Russian election interference and the allegations contained in the Steele dossier.[65][66]

Less than a week before Brennan left office in January 2017, he expressed several criticisms of incoming President Trump. Brennan said “I don’t think he has a full appreciation of Russian capabilities, Russia’s intentions and actions that they are undertaking in many parts of the world”. Brennan stated that it was “outrageous” that Trump was “equating the intelligence community with Nazi Germany.”[67]

WikiLeaks Hack

In October 2015, the contents of Brennan’s personal e-mail account were stolen by a hack and posted on WikiLeaks. The e-mails did not contain classified information but did include sensitive personal information, including a draft of Brennan’s Standard Form 86 (SF-86) application. During a subsequent security conference at George Washington University, Brennan proclaimed his “outrage” at the hack but also demonstrated the need to “evolve to deal with these new threats and challenges.”[68][69] In January 2017, a North Carolina college student, who was represented by attorneys Marina Medvin and Jay Leiderman, pleaded guilty in a Virginia federal court to charges relating to hacking Brennan’s e-mail.[70]

Criticism of President Trump

Since leaving office, Brennan has been harshly critical of President Trump. In March 2018, Brennan said Trump had “paranoia”, accused him of “constant misrepresentation of the facts”, and described him as a “charlatan”.[71]Following the firing of senior FBI official Andrew McCabe later that month, Brennan tweeted to Trump, “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but will not destroy America… America will triumph over you.”[72] Axios quoted Brennan as replying on Twitter to Trump’s harsh comments about James Comey (over quotes reported in advance from his April 2018 book) as, “Your kakistocracy is collapsing after its lamentable journey… we have the opportunity to emerge from this nightmare stronger & more committed to ensuring a better life for all Americans, including those you have so tragically deceived.”[73]

On July 16, 2018, Brennan tweeted his reaction to Trump’s comments at the 2018 Helsinki summit meetings with Putin:

John O. Brennan via Twitter
@JohnBrennan

Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors”. It was nothing short of “treasonous”. Not only were Trump’s comments “imbecilic”, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???

July 16, 2018[74]

Trump called him a “total lowlife” following this tweet.[75] On July 23, 2018, Senator Rand Paul met with President Trump and asked Trump to revoke Brennan’s security clearance.[76] Paul accused John Brennan of “monetizing his security clearance” and “making millions of dollars divulging secrets to the mainstream media with his attacks” on the President.[77]

On August 15, 2018, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that Brennan’s security clearance will be revoked by President Trump.[16] The revocation was criticized as political retribution from Brennan’s comments.[17]

Personal life

Brennan is married to Kathy Pokluda Brennan, with whom he has had one son and two daughters.[2][3][78]

British hacker Kane Gamble, sentenced to 2 years in youth detention, posed as CIA chief to access highly sensitive information and hacked into Brennan’s private email and iCloud accounts, made hoax calls to his family home and even took control of his wife’s iPad. The judge said Gamble engaged in “politically motivated cyber terrorism.”[79][80]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_O._Brennan

Story 2: Department of Justice Bruce Ohr And Christopher Steel Connection and Clinton Opposition Research Fabricated Russian Steel Dossier — Videos

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Rep. Goodlatte now preparing Steele dossier subpoenas

Nunes on Bruce Ohr and the push to declassify DOJ documents

Published on Aug 12, 2018

Fitton: ‘DOJ’s Bruce Ohr is at Center of Clinton-DNC Dossier Scandal Targeting Trump’

FBI documents show Russia dossier author deemed ‘not suitable for use’: Judicial Watch

Jonathan Winer: Why I turned over Steele dossier

Byron York talks link between Steele and DOJ official

Bruce & Nellie Ohr. 302s, Fusion GPS-Simpson, Christopher Steele

Sekulow: Russia investigation ‘corrupt at its inception’

Bruce Ohr testimony falls through

Published on Dec 18, 2017

Fitton: How Were Bruce and Nellie Ohr, Christopher Steele, and Fusion GPS Plotting?

Recently, Republican lawmakers indicated that Bruce Ohr, the former associate deputy attorney general, is becoming more central to their investigation of the soft coup against President Trump.

Moreover, newly released emails and memos show that Ohr continued to receive information from former British spy Christopher Steele in 2017 after the FBI had supposedly terminated its relationship with Steele in 2016 for leaking to the media.

In fact, as I describe below, it was another Judicial Watch lawsuit that just uncovered FBI document showing that Steele was deemed unsuitable as a “confidential human source” in November 2016. But that was no impediment to Ohr’s continuing to use him nor the FBI continuing to receive “information” from Steele through Ohr! Talk about corruption!

Judicial Watch just filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for all communications from the offices of the deputy attorney general and the office of the director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force related to Bruce G. Ohr, his wife Nellie Ohr, Christopher Steele, and Fusion GPS (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-01854)).

Bruce Ohr remains Organized Crime Task Force director. Until his dossier-related demotion, he was the fourth-ranked official at DOJ. The House Intelligence Committee memo released by Chairman Devin Nunes on February 2 says that Nellie Ohr was “employed by Fusion GPS to assist in the cultivation of opposition research on Trump” and that Bruce Ohr passed along the results of that research, which was paid for by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign, to the FBI. The “salacious and unverified” dossier was used to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) surveillance warrant to spy on Carter Page.

Judicial Watch sued after the Justice Department failed to respond to our May 29, 2018, FOIA request for:

All records from the Office of the Deputy Attorney General relating to Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr and/or British national Christopher Steele, including but not limited to all records of communications about and with Fusion GPS officials, Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele.

All records from the office of former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce G. Ohr relating to Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr and/or British national Christopher Steele, including but not limited to all records of communications (including those of former Associate Deputy Attorney General Ohr) about and with Fusion GPS officials, Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele.

All records from the office of the Director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force relating to Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr and/or British national Christopher Steele, including but not limited to all records of communications (including those of former Organized Crime Task Force Director Bruce Ohr) about and with Fusion GPS officials, Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele.

In December 2017, Bruce Ohr was removed from his position as U.S. associate deputy attorney general after it was revealed that he conducted undisclosed meetings with anti-Trump dossier author Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson, principal of Fusion GPS.

In March, Judicial Watch filed two lawsuits seeking records about the Ohrs’ involvement in the anti-Trump dossier. In June, the DOJ was ordered to begin searching and producing Fusion GPS records to Judicial Watch.

As this sordid scandal continues to unfold, it is increasingly clear that top DOJ official Bruce Ohr – working in conjunction with his wife and other Clinton-connected Fusion GPS actors – played a key role in laundering false information from Russia about Donald J. Trump. The DOJ must stop the stonewalling and release these documents, as the law requires.

Tom Fitton is president of Judicial Watch.

https://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/08/13/fitton-how-were-bruce-and-nellie-ohr-christopher-steele-and-fusion-gps-plotting/

Republicans call Justice Department’s Ohr to testify on contacts with dossier author Steele

 – The Washington Times – Sunday, August 12, 2018

Republicans in a joint session of House committees are set to interview former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr this month to gauge whether a complex conspiracy against Donald Trump existed among Hillary Clinton loyalists and the Justice Department.

“DOJ official Bruce Ohr will come before Congress on August 28 to answer why he had 60+contacts with dossier author Chris Steele as far back as January 2016. He owes the American public the full truth,” tweeted Rep. Mark Meadows, North Carolina Republican and member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

His panel and the House Judiciary Committee plan to hold a joint hearing to interview Mr. Ohr, according to The Daily Caller.

FBI documents show that the bureau bluntly told dossier writer Christopher Steele in November 2016 that it no longer wanted to hear about his collection of accusations against Mr. Trump.

But for months afterward, the FBI appeared to violate its own edict as agents continued to receive the former British spy’s scandalous charges centered on supposed TrumpRussia collusion.

Mr. Steele spoke with Mr. Ohr, who relayed the Trump talk back to the same FBI that had banned him, according to FBI documents and congressional testimony.

On Sunday, Mr. Trump tweeted a statement from a congressman who said it seems like the Justice Departmentconducted an operation to stop candidate Trump.

“If this had happened to the other side, everybody involved would be in jail,” Mr. Trump said on Twitter. “This is a Media coverup of the biggest story of our time.”

The back-channel flow involved Mr. Steele; Fusion GPS, which the Clinton campaign hired to investigate Mr. TrumpMr. Ohr; his wife, Nellie, who worked at Fusion; and senior FBI agents, including Peter Strzok, who led the Trump-Russia investigation.

Mr. Strzok’s now-infamous text messages to his FBI lover bemoaned candidate Trump and vowed, “We’ll stop” him.

To Republicans, the investigation is important because Mr. Steele’s work, in their opinion, is full of false claims about a supposed Trump-Kremlin conspiracy.

None of Mr. Steele’s charges has been confirmed publicly. Some Republican staffers suggest the Steele dossier, which Fusion and Mr. Steele briefed to reporters during the campaign, is a hoax.

Senate Judiciary Committee investigators have confirmed the Steele-Ohr nexus by obtaining a series of FBI 302 interview reports from November 2016 to May 2017. In one, Mr. Ohr disclosed that Mr. Steele was “desperate” to sink the Trump candidacy.

A Judiciary Committee letter to the Justice Department inspector general said there are “Numerous FD-302s demonstrating that Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr continued to pass along allegations from Mr. Steele to the FBI after the FBI suspended its formal relationship with Mr. Steele for unauthorized contact with the media, and demonstrating that Mr. Ohr otherwise funneled allegations from Fusion GPS and Mr. Steele to the FBI.”

Mr. Steele was a paid FBI confidential human source (CHS) in 2016, according to highly redacted bureau documents obtained by The Washington Times and Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act. The documents do not disclose Mr. Steele’s FBI project. At the same time, Mr. Steele was being paid by the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party, through Fusion.

The FBI fired Mr. Steele in early November after he went to liberal Mother Jones magazine as an unidentified source and disclosed his FBI work and dossier allegations. The bureau’s document on the Steele firing said he was “not suitable for use as a CHS.”

“Handling agent advised CHS that the nature of the relationship between the FBI and CHS would change completely and that it was unlikely that the FBI would continue a relationship with the CHS. Additionally, handling agent advised that CHS was not to operate to obtain any intelligence whatsoever on behalf of the FBI,” the document reads.

It is now known that Mr. Steele did not stop. What remains to be answered are what he provided, how the FBI used the material and whether it reached special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mr. Strzok, when questioned at a hearing by Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, confirmed that he spoke with Mr. Ohr, who was a counternarcotics official and not involved in the Russia investigation. But Mr. Strzok refused to provide details.

Mr. Ohr gave the FBI documents, which included material that I believe originated from Mr. Steele,” Mr. Strzok testified in an apparent reference to the dossier and possibly other information.

Said Mr. Jordan: “Bruce Ohr, the fourth-ranking official at the Department of Justice, his wife works for Fusion GPS in the summer. He gets information and passed it to the FBI. That becomes the basis to spy on the Trump campaign, plain and simple. This is the first time to my knowledge the FBI has admitted that, and it was good that we got some of that information out today.”

Judicial Watch obtained the FBI court application to wiretap Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page. The application shows the bureau relied greatly on Mr. Steele’s dossier to peg Mr. Page as an agent of Russia and thus justify the snooping.

The FBI, however, did not tell the court that Mr. Steele was paid by Democrats, according to a House report, it knew.

The Hill newspaper last week reported on Mr. Ohr’s notes on a meeting he had after the election with Glenn Simpson, the Fusion co-founder who hired Mr. Steele with Democrats’ money. Mr. Simpson continued to pitch the dossier allegations. For example, Mr. Simpson told Mr. Ohr that Trump attorney Michael Cohen served as a go-between for the candidate and the Kremlin.

Mr. Cohen now is under investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan. The subject is believed to be his business practices, not Russia, for which Mr. Cohen repeatedly has denied playing any role.

Mr. Cohen has turned on his onetime boss in what Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal attorney, says is an attempt to stay out of jail.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/aug/12/bruce-ohr-called-on-christopher-steele-talks/

Seal of the Department of Justice

 ES-00  Top 10%

Bruce G. Ohr

Title: General Attorney

Agency: Offices, Boards and Divisions

In 2017, Bruce G. Ohr was a General Attorney at the Offices, Boards and Divisions in Washington, District Of Columbia. As our dataset only goes as far back as 2004, it is likely that has worked in the federal government prior to 2004.

Bruce G. Ohr is a ES-00 under the senior executive service payscale and is among the highest-paid ten percent of employeesin the Offices, Boards and Divisions.


Year Occupation Paygrade Base Salary Bonus Location
2017 General Attorney ES-00 $187,000 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2016 General Attorney ES-00 $185,100 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2015 General Attorney ES-00 $181,500 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2014 General Attorney ES-00 $181,500 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2013 General Attorney ES-00 $179,700 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2012 General Attorney ES-00 $179,700 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2011 General Attorney ES-00 $179,700 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2010 General Attorney ES-00 $179,700 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2009 General Attorney ES-00 $177,000 $9,500 Washington, District of Columbia
2008 General Attorney ES-00 $172,100 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2007 General Attorney ES-00 $162,959 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2006 General Attorney ES-00 $155,942 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2005 General Attorney ES-00 $149,200 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
2004 General Attorney ES-00 $145,600 $0 Washington, District of Columbia
FederalPay’s Employee Information Policy

Federal employees’ salaries are considered public information under 5 U.S.C. § 552, and in the interest of government transparency FederalPay publishes the salary information of all federal employees who earn more than $100,000 per year, or who are in the highest paid 10% of their agency. This data is published unmodified, as provided by the OPM.

https://www.federalpay.org/employees/offices-boards-and-divisions/ohr-bruce-g

Bruce Ohr

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Bruce Genesoke Ohr (born March 16, 1962) is a former United States associate deputy attorney general and former director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. He is a current member of the Senior Executive Service. (OCDETF).[1][2]

 

Education

Ohr graduated from Harvard College in 1984 with a degree in physics, and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1987.[3] He went on to teach as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.[4]

Involvement with Trump-Russia dossier

Ohr served as a U.S. Department of Justice contact for Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent commissioned by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS to author the Trump–Russia dossier. Fusion GPS also hired Bruce Ohr’s wife Nellie to conduct research on Donald Trump.[5]

References

  1. Jump up^ Gibson, Jake (January 8, 2018). “DOJ official who concealed meetings with Trump dossier figures loses another job title”. Fox News. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  2. Jump up^ Zapotosky, Matt; Reinhard, Beth (February 2, 2018). “Why the Nunes memo takes aim at a Justice Dept. official specializing in gangs and drugs”The Washington Post.
  3. Jump up^ Jessica McBride (Dec 8, 2017). “Bruce Ohr & Nellie Ohr: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know”heavy.com.
  4. Jump up^ “Faculty”gufaculty360.georgetown.edu.
  5. Jump up^ Gibson, Jake (December 31, 2017). “Fusion GPS admits DOJ official’s wife Nellie Ohr hired to probe Trump”. Fox News. Retrieved 1 June 2018.

External link

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Ohr

Trump–Russia dossier

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Trump–Russia dossier, also known as the Steele dossier,[1] is a private intelligence report comprising 17 memos that were written between June and December 2016[2] by Christopher Steele, a former head of the Russia Desk for British intelligence (MI6). The resulting dossier contains allegations of misconduct and conspiracy between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Government of Russia during the 2016 election cycle, with campaign members and Russian operatives allegedly colluding to interfere in the election to benefit Trump.[3] It also alleged that Russia sought to damage Hillary Clinton‘s candidacy, including sharing negative information about Clinton with the Trump campaign.[4] The dossier was published in full by BuzzFeed on January 10, 2017.[5] Several mainstream media outlets criticized BuzzFeed’s decision to release it without first verifying its allegations.[6][7]

Fusion GPS, a private investigative firm, provided political opposition research against Trump in two distinct phases, with completely separate funders. Fusion GPS was first contracted by a conservative political website, The Washington Free Beacon, and Steele was not involved in that research. When Trump became the presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee on May 3, 2016, The Free Beacon stopped their backing. Separately, in April 2016, attorney Marc Elias hired Fusion GPS to investigate Trump on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). In June 2016, Fusion GPS subcontracted Steele to research and compile the dossier. Steele was hired without knowing, or ever having direct contact with, his ultimate clients,[8] and his only instructions were to seek answers to this basic question: “Why did Mr. Trump repeatedly seek to do deals in a notoriously corrupt police state that most serious investors shun?”[9] Senior Clinton campaign officials were reportedly unaware that Fusion GPS had subcontracted with Steele, and Steele was not told the Clinton campaign was the ultimate recipient of his research.[10][8] Following Trump’s election as president, funding from Clinton and the DNC ceased, but Steele continued his research, and was reportedly paid directly by Glenn R. Simpson, a co-founder of Fusion GPS.[11] The completed dossier was then handed to British and American intelligence services.[12] Weeks before the 2016 election, on the basis of Steele’s reputation working on Russia-related matters for nearly 20 years, the FBI reached an agreement to pay Steele to continue his work, but the agreement was later terminated as information about the dossier became public.[13]

The media, the intelligence community, and most experts have treated the dossier with caution, due to its unverified assertions, while Trump himself denounced the report as “fake news“. However, the intelligence community does take the allegations seriously and investigates them.[14][15][16][17] For example, as of May 2018, former career intelligence officer James Clapper believed that “more and more” of the dossier has been validated over time.[18]

Some of the dossier’s allegations have been corroborated, while others remain unverified[19] or may require access to classified information for verification.[20] In February 2017, some details related to conversations “solely between foreign nationals” were independently verified. Some of those individuals were known to be “heavily involved” in efforts to damage Clinton and help Trump. The conversations “took place between the same individuals on the same days and from the same locations as detailed in the dossier,” giving US intelligence and law enforcement “greater confidence” in the credibility of parts of the dossier.[21] Fox News reported on August 15, 2018 that nothing in the dossier had been publicly proven false.[22]

 

History

The opposition research conducted by Fusion GPS on Donald Trump was completed in two phases with separate funders. The first research phase, from October 2015 to May 2016, was funded by The Washington Free Beacon. The second phase, from June 2016 to December 2016, was funded by the DNC and the Clinton campaign, unrelated to the Washington Free Beacon request. The second phase produced the dossier.[23][24]

Research funded by conservative website

In October 2015, before the official start of the 2016 Republican primary campaignThe Washington Free Beacon, an American conservative political journalism website primarily funded by Republican donor Paul Singer, hired the American research firm Fusion GPS to conduct general opposition research on Trump and other Republican presidential candidates.[1] The Free Beacon and Singer were “part of the conservative never-Trump movement”.[25] For months, Fusion GPS gathered information about Trump, focusing on his business and entertainment activities. When Trump became the presumptive nominee on May 3, 2016,[26] The Free Beacon stopped funding research on him.[2][27][28]

Although the source of the Steele dossier’s funding had already been reported correctly over a year before,[2][27][28] a February 2, 2018 story by the Associated Press (AP) contributed to confusion about its funding by stating that the dossier “was initially funded” by the Washington Free Beacon, so the AP posted a correction the next day: “Though the former spy, Christopher Steele, was hired by a firm that was initially funded by the Washington Free Beacon, he did not begin work on the project until after Democratic groups had begun funding it.”[29] At no point in time did the Free Beacon have any connection with the production of the Steele dossier, and the Free Beacon stated that “none of the work product that the Free Beacon received appears in the Steele dossier.”[30]

Research funded by Democrats produces dossier

The second phase of opposition research was funded by the DNC and the Clinton campaign, working through their attorney of record, Marc Elias of Perkins Coie. In April 2016, Elias hired Fusion GPS to perform opposition research on Trump.[10]

As part of their investigation, Fusion GPS hired Orbis Business Intelligence, a private British intelligence firm, to look into connections between Trump and Russia. Orbis co-founder Christopher Steele, a retired British MI6 officer with expertise in Russian matters,[2] was hired as a subcontractor to do the job.[31] In total, Perkins Coie paid Fusion GPS $1.02 million in fees and expenses, $168,000 of which was paid to Orbis by Fusion GPS and used by them to produce the dossier.[32]

Orbis was hired between June and November 2016, and Steele produced 16 memos during that time, with a 17th memo added in December.[33] The memos were like “prepublication notes” based on reports from Steele’s sources, and were not released as a fully vettedand “finished news article”.[34] Steele believes that 70–90% of the dossier is accurate,[35] a view that is shared by Simpson.[34]

Simpson has stated that, to his knowledge, Steele did not pay any of his sources.[36][9][37] According to investigative reporter Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, Orbis has a large number of paid “collectors” who “harvest intelligence from a much larger network of unpaid sources, some of whom don’t even realize they are being treated as informants […] but money doesn’t change hands, because it could risk violating laws against, say, bribing government officials or insider trading. Paying sources might also encourage them to embellish.”[8] According to British journalist Luke Harding, Steele’s sources were not new: “They’re not people that he kind of discovered yesterday. They are trusted contacts who essentially had proven themselves in other areas.”[38] Howard Blum said that Steele leaned on sources “whose loyalty and information he had bought and paid for over the years”.[39]

According to Fusion GPS’s co-owners, Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, they did not tell Steele who their ultimate clients were, only that Steele was “working for a law firm”,[8] and they “gave him no specific marching orders beyond this basic question: ‘Why did Mr. Trump repeatedly seek to do deals in a notoriously corrupt police state that most serious investors shun?'”[9] Mayer reported that when the Clinton campaign “indirectly employed” Steele, Elias created a “legal barrier” by acting “as a firewall” between the campaign and Steele. Thus, any details were “protected by attorney-client privilege. Fusion briefed only Elias on the reports. Simpson sent Elias nothing on paper—he was briefed orally.”[8] Only several months after signing the contract with Fusion GPS did Steele learn that the DNC and the Clinton campaign were the ultimate clients.[8] The firewall was reportedly so effective that even campaign principals John Podesta and Robby Mook did not know that Steele was on the Democratic payroll until Mother Jones reported on the issue on October 31, 2016.[8]

Steele delivered his reports individually as one- to three-page memos.[2] The first memo, dated June 20, 2016, was sent to Washington by courier and hand-delivered to Fusion GPS. The names of the sources were redacted, “providing instead descriptions of them that enabled Fusion to assess their basic credibility.”[8]

Luke Harding wrote:

“At first, obtaining intelligence from Moscow went well. For around six months – during the first half of the year – Steele was able to make inquiries in Russia with relative ease. It got harder from late July, as Trump’s ties to Russia came under scrutiny. Finally, the lights went out. Amid a Kremlin cover-up, the sources went silent and information channels shut down.”[40]

Steele has stated that he soon found “troubling information indicating connections between Trump and the Russian government.” According to his sources, “there was an established exchange of information between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin of mutual benefit.”[41] According to Harding, “Steele was shocked by the extent of collusion his sources were reporting,” and told his friends: “For anyone who reads it, this is a life-changing experience.”[35] Steele felt that what he had unearthed “was something of huge significance, way above party politics.”[39] American reporter Howard Blum described Steele’s rationale for becoming a whistleblower: “The greater good trumps all other concerns.”[39]

On his own initiative, Steele decided to also pass the information to British and American intelligence services because he believed the findings were a matter of national security for both countries.[42][43] According to Simpson’s testimony, Steele approached the FBIbecause he was concerned that Trump, then a candidate, was being blackmailed by Russia,[44] and he became “very concerned about whether this represented a national security threat”.[42] When Steele showed his findings to FBI agents in Rome in early July, their reaction was “shock and horror”.[44][45] Jane Mayer reports that the FBI agents “asked Steele about Papadopoulos, and he said that he hadn’t heard anything about him.”[8]

Steele enjoyed a good working reputation “for the knowledge he had developed over nearly 20 years working on Russia-related issues for British intelligence.”[13] Knowing this, in October 2016, a few weeks before the election, the FBI agreed to pay him to continue collecting information. However, the subsequent public release of the dossier stopped discussions between Steele and the FBI.[13] Simpson testified that “Steele wasn’t paid by the FBI, but was possibly reimbursed for a trip to Rome to meet with FBI officials.”[28][46]According to Mayer, Steele “did request compensation for travelling to Rome, but he never received any.”[8]

Simpson later revealed that “Steele severed his contacts with [the] FBI before the election following public statements by the FBI that it had found no connection between the Trump campaign and Russia and concerns that [the FBI] was being ‘manipulated for political ends by the Trump people’.”[47] Steele had become frustrated with the FBI, whom he believed failed to investigate his reports, choosing instead to focus on the investigation into Clinton’s emails. According to The Independent, Steele came to believe that there was a “cabal” inside the FBI, particularly its New York field office linked to Trump advisor Rudy Giuliani, because it blocked any attempts to investigate the links between Trump and Russia.[43]

Hints of existence

Jane Mayer has described how, in “late summer, Fusion set up a series of meetings, at the Tabard Inn, in Washington, between Steele and a handful of national-security reporters…. Despite Steele’s generally cool manner, he seemed distraught about the Russians’ role in the election.” Mayer attended one of the meetings. No news organizations ran any stories about the allegations at that time.[8]

Mother Jones story

By the third quarter of 2016, many news organizations knew about the existence of the dossier, which had been described as an “open secret” among journalists. However, they chose not to publish information that could not be confirmed.[2][48]

By October 2016, Steele had compiled 33 pages (16 memos), and he then passed on what he had discovered to David Corn, a reporter from Mother Jones magazine. On October 31, 2016, a week before the election, Mother Jones reported that a former intelligence officer, whom they did not name, had produced a report based on Russian sources and turned it over to the FBI.[41] The article disclosed some of the dossier’s allegations:

The first memo, based on the former intelligence officer’s conversations with Russian sources, noted, “Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years. Aim, endorsed by PUTIN, has been to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance”. It maintained that Trump “and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals”. It claimed that Russian intelligence had “compromised” Trump during his visits to Moscow and could “blackmail him”. It also reported that Russian intelligence had compiled a dossier on Hillary Clinton based on “bugged conversations she had on various visits to Russia and intercepted phone calls.”

— David Corn, “A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump”, Mother Jones (October 31, 2016)[41]

When the Mother Jones story broke, John Podesta, chairman of the Clinton campaign, said he was “stunned by the news that the FBI had launched a full-blown investigation into Trump, especially one that was informed by research underwritten by the Clinton campaign.” Although they knew that Perkins Coie had spent money for opposition research, neither Podesta nor campaign manager Robby Mook knew that Steele was on the Democratic payroll. They both maintain they “didn’t read the dossier until BuzzFeed posted it online. Far from a secret campaign weapon, Steele turned out to be a secret kept from the campaign.”[8]

Post-election events

After Trump’s election on November 8, 2016, the Democratic client stopped paying for the investigation, but Steele continued working on the dossier for Fusion GPS.[2] At that time, Simpson “reportedly spent his own money to continue the investigation”.[11] After the election, Steele’s dossier “became one of Washington’s worst-kept secrets, and journalists worked to verify the allegations.[2]

On November 18, 2016, U.S. Senator John McCain, who had been informed about the alleged links between the Kremlin and Trump, met with former British ambassador to Moscow Sir Andrew Wood at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada. Wood told McCain about the existence of the collected materials about Trump,[49] and also vouched for Steele’s professionalism and integrity.[50]

According to Simpson’s August 22, 2017, testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Steele and David J. Kramer, a longtime McCain aide and former U.S. State Department official working at Arizona State University, met each other at the Halifax forum and discussed the dossier. Kramer told Steele that McCain wanted to “ask questions about it at the FBI. … All we sort of wanted was for the government to do its job and we were concerned about whether the information that we provided previously had ever, you know, risen to the leadership level of the FBI.” Later, “Kramer followed up with Steele”.[51] Steele had agreed with Fusion GPS to deliver a hard copy of all 16 memos to McCain,[33] which McCain received in early December from Kramer.[2] On December 9, McCain met personally with FBI Director James Comey to pass on the information.[49][23][52] Comey later confirmed that counterintelligence investigations were under way into possible links between Trump associates and Moscow.[33]

After delivering his 16 memos, Steele received more information and composed the two-page “December memo”, dated December 13. It mostly contained allegations against Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, which he denied.[53][54] In an April 2017 court filing, Steele revealed previously unreported information that he had given a copy of his last memo to a “senior UK government national security official acting in his official capacity, on a confidential basis in hard copy form”, because it “had implications for the national security of the US and the UK”.[33] Steele also “sent an encrypted version to Fusion with instructions to deliver a hard copy to Senator McCain.”[33]

Publication by BuzzFeed

In early January 2017, President-elect Trump[55] and President Barack Obama were separately briefed about the Russian interference in the election and on the existence of the dossier by the chiefs of several U.S. intelligence agencies. Vice President Joe Biden has confirmed that he and the president received briefings on the dossier and the allegations within.[56][57][58]

After the meeting with Obama, Trump was informed of the Russian election interference by Comey and Clapper on January 6, 2017, at a meeting in Trump Tower. After this meeting, Comey stayed behind and spoke privately with Trump, informing him of the dossier and some of its allegations.[59] Trump later expressed that he felt that James Comey was trying to blackmail him at the meeting in Trump Tower, held two weeks before the inauguration.[55] In April 2018, Comey said he did not inform Trump that the dossier was partly funded by Democrats because that “wasn’t necessary for my goal, which was to alert him that we had this information”.[60][61]

On January 10, 2017, CNN reported that classified documents presented to Obama and Trump the previous week included allegations that Russian operatives possess “compromising personal and financial information” about Trump. CNN stated that it would not publish specific details on the memos because it had not “independently corroborated the specific allegations”.[62][63] Following the CNN report,[64] BuzzFeed published a 35-page dossier that it said was the basis of the briefing, including unverified claims that Russian operatives had collected “embarrassing material” involving Trump that could be used to blackmail him.[65][66][67]

BuzzFeed was harshly criticized for publishing what Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan called “scurrilous allegations dressed up as an intelligence report meant to damage Donald Trump”,[68] while The New York Times noted that the publication sparked a debate centering on the use of unsubstantiated information from anonymous sources.[69] BuzzFeed’s executive staff said the materials were newsworthy because they were “in wide circulation at the highest levels of American government and media” and argued that this justified public release.[70]

In relation to a defamation lawsuit filed by Aleksej Gubarev against BuzzFeed, regarding their publication of the dossier, Senior Master Barbara Fontaine stated that Steele was “in many respects in the same position as a whistle-blower” because of his actions “in sending part of the dossier to Senator John McCain and a senior government national security official, and in briefing sections of the US media”. She said that “it was not known who provided the dossier to BuzzFeed but Mr Steele’s evidence was that he was ‘horrified and remains horrified’ that it was published at all, let alone without substantial redactions.”[71] Both Simpson and Steele have denied providing the dossier to BuzzFeed.[72]

Format

When BuzzFeed published the 35-page dossier in January 2017, the individual memos were one- to three-pages long and page numbers 1-35 had been handwritten at the bottom. All but one had a typed date at the bottom. Each of the first 16 reports was assigned a typed number in the heading between 80 and 135, but the numeric order didn’t always match the chronological order. The 17th memo, known as the “December memo”, was numbered 166.[73]

Each memo started with a page heading in the same style as the first one shown here:

CONFIDENTIAL/SENSITIVE SOURCECOMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/080

US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE DONALD TRUMP’S
ACTIVITIES IN RUSSIA AND COMPROMISING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE
KREMLIN[40]

Authorship

When CNN reported the existence of the dossier on January 10, 2017,[62][74] it did not name the author of the dossier, but revealed that he was British. Steele concluded that his anonymity had been “fatally compromised”, and, realizing it was “only a matter of time until his name became public knowledge”, fled into hiding with his family, in fear of “a prompt and potentially dangerous backlash against him from Moscow”.[75][76] The Wall Street Journal revealed Steele’s name the next day, on January 11.[77] Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd, for whom Steele worked at the time the dossier was authored, and its director Christopher Burrows, a counterterrorism specialist,[25] would not confirm or deny that Orbis had produced the dossier.[74][2] On March 7, 2017, as some members of the U.S. Congress were expressing interest in meeting with or hearing testimony from Steele, he reemerged after weeks in hiding, appearing publicly on camera and stating, “I’m really pleased to be back here working again at the Orbis’s offices in London today.”[78]

Called by the media a “highly regarded Kremlin expert” and “one of MI6’s greatest Russia specialists”, Steele formerly worked for the British intelligence agency MI6, heading its Russia Desk for three years at the end of his MI6 career. He entered MI6 in 1987, directly after his graduation from Cambridge University.[79] He currently works for Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd, a private intelligence company he co-founded in London.[80][81]

Wood, the former British ambassador to Moscow, has vouched for Steele’s reputation.[43] He views Steele as a “very competent professional operator … I take the report seriously. I don’t think it’s totally implausible.” He also stated that “the report’s key allegation—that Trump and Russia’s leadership were communicating via secret back channels during the presidential campaign—was eminently plausible”.[82] FBI investigators reportedly treat Steele “as a peer”, whose experience as a trusted Russia expert has included assisting the Justice Department, British prime ministers, and at least one U.S. president.[83]

Allegations

President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at HelsinkiFinland on July 16, 2018

Michael Cohen (2011)

Carter Page (2017)

The dossier contains multiple allegations, some of which have been publicly verified while many others remain publicly unverified but not disproven. In some cases, public verification is hindered because information is classified.[20] According to Adam Schiff, a major portion of the dossier’s content is about Russian efforts to help Trump, and those allegations “turned out to be true”.[84] Trump and Putin have repeatedly denied the allegations, with Trump labeling the dossier as “discredited”, “debunked”, “fictitious”, and “fake news”.[85][86]

Cultivation, conspiracy, and cooperation

  • That “Russian authorities” had cultivated Trump “for at least 5 years”, and that the operation was “supported and directed” by Putin.[40][87] (Dossier, p. 1)
  • That Putin aimed to spread “discord and disunity” within the United States and between Western allies, whom he saw as a threat to Russia’s interests.[42][88] (Dossier, pp. 1–2)
  • That Trump was a “divisive” and “anti-Establishment” candidate, as well as “a pragmatist with whom they could do business”. That Trump would remain a divisive force even if not elected.[89][90] (Dossier, p. 29)
  • That a major goal of the Russians in supporting Trump was “to upset the liberal international status quo, including on Ukraine-related sanctions, which was seriously disadvantaging the country.[89][90] (Dossier, pp. 28–29)
  • That the Russian government’s support for Trump was originally conducted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, then by the Federal Security Service (FSB), and was eventually directly handled by the Russian presidency because of its “growing significance over time.”[89][3] (Dossier, p. 29)
  • That Trump had “so far declined various sweetener real estate business deals”, but had “accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin,” notably on his political rivals.[23][91] (Dossier, p. 1)
  • That there was “a well-developed conspiracy of co-operation between [the Trump campaign] and the Russian leadership,” with information willingly exchanged in both directions. That this co-operation was “sanctioned at highest levels and involving Russian diplomatic staff based in the US.” That the Trump campaign used “moles within DNC and hackers in the US as well as outside in Russia.”[92][93] (Dossier, p. 7)
  • That Trump associates had established “an intelligence exchange [with the Kremlin] for at least 8 years.” That Trump and his team had delivered “intelligence on the activities, business and otherwise, in the US of leading Russian oligarchs and their families”, as requested by Putin.[89][94][90] (Dossier, p. 11)
  • That the Trump camp became angry and resentful toward Putin when they realized he was not only aiming to weaken Clinton and bolster Trump, but was attempting to “undermine the US government and democratic system more generally.”[90] (Dossier, p. 17)

Key roles of Manafort, Cohen, and Page

  • That then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had “managed” the “conspiracy of co-operation”, and that he used Trump’s foreign policy adviser, Carter Page, and others, “as intermediaries”.[95][96] (Dossier, p. 7)
  • That Page had “conceived and promoted” the idea of leaking the stolen DNC emails to WikiLeaks during the 2016 Democratic National Convention.[97][88] (Dossier, pp. 7, 17)
  • That Cohen played a “key role” in the Trump–Russia relationship[3] by maintaining a “covert relationship with Russia”,[98][99][100] arranging cover-ups and “deniable cash payments”,[53][33] and that his role had grown after Manafort had left the campaign.[101][97] (Dossier, pp. 18, 30, 32, 34–35)
  • That “COHEN now was heavily engaged in a cover up and damage limitation operation in the attempt to prevent the full details of TRUMP’s relationship with Russia being exposed.”[97][90] (Dossier, p. 32)

Kremlin pro-Trump and anti-Clinton

  • That Putin feared and hated Hillary Clinton.[95][102] (Dossier, p. 7)
  • That there was a “Kremlin campaign to aid TRUMP and damage CLINTON”.[92][93] (Dossier, pp. 7, 13)
  • That Putin’s interference operation had an “objective of weakening CLINTON and bolstering TRUMP”.[90] (Dossier, p. 17)

Kompromat and blackmail: Trump

  • That Trump “hated” Obama so much that when he stayed in the Presidential suite of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Moscow,[8][103] he employed “a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him”[87][65] in order to defile the bed used by the Obamas on an earlier visit. The alleged incident from 2013 was reportedly filmed and recorded by the FSB[104] as kompromat.[105][106][107] (Dossier, p. 2)
  • That Trump was susceptible to blackmail[39][89] due to paying bribes and the existence of “embarrassing material” due to engagement in “perverted sexual acts” and “unorthodox behavior” in Russia.[108][65][104] (Dossier, pp. 1–2, 8, 11, 27)
  • That the Kremlin had assured Trump they would not use kompromat collected against him, “given high levels of voluntary co-operation forthcoming from his team.”[89][109] (Dossier, pp. 11–12)
  • That Trump had explored the real estate sectors in St Petersburg and Moscow, “but in the end TRUMP had had to settle for the use of extensive sexual services there from local prostitutes rather than business success”.[106][105] (Dossier, p. 8)
  • That Trump has pursued real estate deals in St Petersburg, and “paid bribes there to further his interests”. That witnesses to his “sex parties in the city” had been “‘silenced’ i.e. bribed or coerced to disappear.”[106][105] (Dossier, p. 27)
  • That Trump associates did not fear “the negative media publicity surrounding alleged Russian interference”, because it distracted attention from his “business dealings in China and other emerging markets”, which involved “large bribes and kickbacks” that could be devastating if revealed.[110][38] (Dossier, p. 8)

Kompromat: Clinton

Dmitry Peskov (2017)

  • That Putin ordered the maintenance of a secret dossier on Hillary Clinton, with content dating back to the time of her husband’s presidency. The dossier comprised eavesdropped conversations, either from bugging devices or from phone intercepts; it did not contain “details/evidence of unorthodox or embarrassing behavior”, but focused more on “things she had said which contradicted her current positions on various issues”.[89][41] (Dossier, pp. 1, 3)
  • That the Clinton dossier had been collated by the FSB[89][41] and was managed by Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press secretary.[104][42] (Dossier, pp. 1, 3)

DNC email hack, leaks, and misinformation

  • That Russia was responsible for the DNC email hacks[89][111] and the recent appearance of the stolen DNC e-mails on WikiLeaks,[89][112] and that the reason for using WikiLeaks was “plausible deniability“.[113] (Dossier, pp. 7–8)
  • That “the operation had been conducted with the full knowledge and support of TRUMP and senior members of his campaign team.”[3][113] (Dossier, p. 8)
  • That after the emails had been forwarded to WikiLeaks, it was decided to not leak more, but to engage in misinformation: “Rather the tactics would be to spread rumours and misinformation about the content of what already had been leaked and make up new content.”[96] (Dossier, p. 15)
  • That Page had intended the email leaks “to swing supporters of Bernie SANDERS away from Hillary CLINTON and across to TRUMP.”[97][102] (Dossier, p. 17)
  • That the hacking of the DNC servers was performed by Romanian hackers ultimately controlled by Putin and paid by both Trump and Putin.[53][33] (Dossier, pp. 34–35)
  • That Cohen, together with three colleagues, secretly met with Kremlin officials in the Prague offices of Rossotrudnichestvo in August 2016,[114][89][54][115] where he arranged “deniable cash payments” to the hackers and sought “to cover up all traces of the hacking operation”,[53][33] as well as “cover up ties between Trump and Russia, including Manafort’s involvement in Ukraine”.[3] (Dossier, pp. 18, 34–35)

Kickbacks and quid pro quo agreements

Igor Sechin (2016)

  • That Viktor Yanukovych, the former pro-Russian President of Ukraine, had told Putin that he had been making supposedly untraceable[3] kickback payments to Manafort while he was Trump’s campaign manager.[113] (Dossier, p. 20)
  • That in return for Russia’s leaking the stolen documents to WikiLeaks, “the TRUMP team had agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue and to raise US/NATO defense commitments in the Baltics and Eastern Europe to deflect attention away from Ukraine, a priority for PUTIN who needed to cauterise the subject.”[95][113] (Dossier, pp. 7–8)
  • That Page had secretly met Rosneft chairman Igor Sechin in Moscow on “either 7 or 8 July”,[92] together with a “senior Kremlin Internal Affairs official, DIVYEKIN.” That Sechin “offered PAGE/TRUMP’s associates the brokerage of up to a 19 per cent (privatised) stake in Rosneft” (worth about $11 billion) in exchange for Trump lifting the sanctions against Russia after his election.[116][90][89][117][118] (Dossier, pp. 9, 30–32)

Russian spy withdrawn

  • That Russia had hastily withdrawn from Washington their diplomat Mikhail Kalugin (misspelled as “Kulagin”), whose prominent role in the interference operation should remain hidden.[94][119][120] (Dossier, p. 23)

Cultivation of various U.S. political figures

Possible earlier interest in Trump

Although the dossier alleged in June 2016 that the Kremlin had been cultivating Trump for “at least five years”, Luke Harding wrote that the Soviet Union had been interested in him since 1987. In his book Collusion, Harding asserts that the “top level of the Soviet diplomatic service arranged his 1987 Moscow visit. With assistance from the KGB.” Then-KGB head Vladimir Kryuchkov “wanted KGB staff abroad to recruit more Americans.” Harding proceeds to describe the KGB’s cultivation process, and posits that they may have opened a file on Trump as early as 1977, when he married Czech model Ivana Zelníčková; the Soviet spies may have closely observed and analyzed the couple from that time on.[122][123]

Denials of specific claims

Michael Cohen

The dossier alleges that Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, met with Russian officials in Prague in 2016 with the objective of paying those who had hacked the DNC and to “cover up all traces of the hacking operation”. Cohen has denied the allegations against him,[33][53][54] stating that he was in Los Angeles between August 23 and 29, and in New York for the entire month of September[115] and that “I have never been to Prague in my life”.[124] According to a Czech intelligence source, there is no record of him entering Prague by plane, but Respekt magazine and Politico pointed out that he could have entered by car or train from a neighboring country within the Schengen Area, for example Italy. In the latter case, a record of Cohen entering the Schengen zone from a non-Schengen country should exist.[125][126] McClatchy reported that “investigators have traced evidence that Cohen entered the Czech Republic through Germany”,[114]which was confirmed by The Spectator citing an intelligence source in London.[127] Mother Jones reported that Cohen had told them “I was in Prague for one afternoon 14 years ago,” contradicting later statements that he had never visited.[103]

Paul Manafort

Manafort has “denied taking part in any collusion with the Russian state, but registered himself as a foreign agent retroactively after it was revealed his firm received more than $17m working as a lobbyist for a pro-Russian Ukrainian party.”[96]

Carter Page

Page originally denied meeting any Russian officials, but his later testimony, acknowledging that he had met with senior Russian officials at Rosneft, has been interpreted as corroboration of portions of the dossier.[128][129][130]

Donald Trump

Trump has denied the “golden showers” allegation by claiming he is a “germaphobe”,[131] and then, as an alibi, that he did not stay overnight in Moscow.[132] In April 2018, James Comey said he did not know whether Trump “was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013”, adding “It’s possible, but I don’t know”.[60][61] In a June 21, 2018, debate, Comey, when asked if he believed “all the salacious” stories in the dossier, replied: “When I first saw it I didn’t believe it at all… [now] I think it’s possible that it’s true.” He said he changed his view after his encounters with President Trump.[133] Comey has stated that at the time he was fired, the allegations had not been verified.[134]

Twice Trump provided identical and disproven alibis to James Comey. He claimed he did not overnight in Moscow, but according to flight records, Keith Schiller‘s testimony, and Aras Agalarov, he did spend Friday night, Nov. 8, in Moscow, and attended the Miss Universe pageant the next night.[135] Trump not only spent a full night in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Moscow,[136] according to Trump’s close acquaintance, Aras Agalarov,[137] he actually stayed in the Presidential suite, where the “golden showers” incident is alleged to have occurred.[8]

Trump’s longtime bodyguard Keith Schiller “privately testified that he rejected an offer by a Russian individual to send five women to Trump’s hotel room during their 2013 trip to Moscow,” stating that “he took the offer as a joke … and Trump laughed it off.” After accompanying Trump to his room, Schiller stayed outside the door for a few minutes and then left,[138] and according to one source “could not say for sure what happened during the remainder of the night.”[139] Thomas Roberts, the host of the Miss Universe contest, has confirmed that “Trump was in Moscow for one full night and at least part of another.” (November 8–10).[140]

Veracity

Steele and the dossier have become “the central point of contention in the political brawl raging around”[83] the Special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. Those who believe Steele consider him a hero who tried to warn about the Kremlin’s meddling in the election, and people who distrust him consider him a “hired gun” used to attack Trump.[83] With the passage of time and further revelations from various investigations and sources, it is becoming clearer that the overall thrust of the dossier was accurate, but some details appear to be merely disinformation:[72]

Some of the dossier’s broad threads have now been independently corroborated. U.S. intelligence agencies and the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election interference did eventually find that Kremlin-linked operatives ran an elaborate operation to promote Trump and hurt Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, as the dossier says in its main narrative.”

— Jeff Donn, “Some Questions in Trump-Russia Dossier Now Finding Answers”, Associated Press (June 29, 2018)[72]

Reputation in the U.S. intelligence community

On January 11, 2017, Paul Wood, of BBC News, wrote that the salacious information in Steele’s dossier was also reported by “multiple intelligence sources” and “at least one East European intelligence service”. They reported that “compromising material on Mr. Trump” included “more than one tape, not just video, but audio as well, on more than one date, in more than one place, in both Moscow and St. Petersburg.” While also mentioning that “nobody should believe something just because an intelligence agent says it”,[141][77] Wood added that “the CIA believes it is credible that the Kremlin has such kompromat—or compromising material—on the next US commander in chief” and “a joint taskforce, which includes the CIA and the FBI, has been investigating allegations that the Russians may have sent money to Mr Trump’s organisation or his election campaign”.[142][143][141]

On January 12, 2017, Susan Hennessey, a former National Security Agency lawyer now with the Brookings Institution, stated: “My general take is that the intelligence community and law enforcement seem to be taking these claims seriously. That itself is highly significant. But it is not the same as these allegations being verified. Even if this was an intelligence community document—which it isn’t—this kind of raw intelligence is still treated with skepticism.”[15][16] Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes wrote that “the current state of the evidence makes a powerful argument for a serious public inquiry into this matter”.[16]

On February 10, 2017, CNN reported that some communications between “senior Russian officials and other Russian individuals” described in the dossier had been corroborated by multiple U.S. officials. They “took place between the same individuals on the same days and from the same locations as detailed in the dossier”. Sources told CNN that some conversations had been “intercepted during routine intelligence gathering”, but refused to reveal the content of conversations, or specify which communications were intercepted “due to the classified nature of US intelligence collection programs”. CNN was unable to confirm whether conversations were related to Trump. U.S. officials said the corroboration gave “US intelligence and law enforcement ‘greater confidence’ in the credibility of some aspects of the dossier as they continue to actively investigate its contents”. They also reported that American intelligence agencies had examined Steele and his “vast network throughout Europe and found him and his sources to be credible.”[21]

On March 30, 2017, Paul Wood reported that the FBI was using the dossier as a roadmap for its investigation.[144] On April 18, 2017, CNN reported that, according to U.S. officials, information from the dossier had been used as part of the basis for getting the FISAwarrant to monitor Page in October 2016. Officials told CNN this information would have had to be independently corroborated by the FBI before being used to obtain the warrant.[12][145]

British journalist Julian Borger wrote on October 7, 2017, that “Steele’s reports are being taken seriously after lengthy scrutiny by federal and congressional investigators”, at least Steele’s assessment that Russia had conducted a campaign to interfere in the 2016 election to Clinton’s detriment; that part of the Steele dossier “has generally gained in credibility, rather than lost it”.[96]

On October 11, 2017, it was reported that Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (DRhode Island), member of the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC), had stated: “As I understand it, a good deal of his information remains unproven, but none of it has been disproven, and considerable amounts of it have been proven.”[146]

On October 27, 2017, Robert S. Litt, a former lawyer for the Director of National Intelligence, was quoted as stating that the dossier “played absolutely no role” in the intelligence community’s determination that Russia had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.[147]

On November 15, 2017, Adam Schiff stated that much of the dossier’s content is about Russian efforts to help Trump, and those allegations “turned out to be true”, something later affirmed by the January 6, 2017, intelligence community assessment released by the ODNI.[84]

On December 7, 2017, commentator Jonathan Chait wrote that as “time goes by, more and more of the claims first reported by Steele have been borne out”, with the mainstream media “treat[ing] “[the dossier] as gossip” whereas the intelligence community “take it seriously”.[14]

On January 29, 2018, Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said “little of that dossier has either been fully proven or conversely, disproven”.[148][149]

John Sipher, who served 28 years as a clandestine CIA agent, including heading the agency’s Russia program, said investigating the dossier allegations requires access to non-public records. He said “[p]eople who say it’s all garbage, or all true, are being politically biased”, adding he believes that while the dossier may not be correct in every detail, it is “generally credible” and “In the intelligence business, you don’t pretend you’re a hundred per cent accurate. If you’re seventy or eighty per cent accurate, that makes you one of the best.” He said the Mueller investigation would ultimately judge its merits.[8] Sipher has written that “Many of my former CIA colleagues have taken the [dossier] reports seriously since they were first published.”[101]

During his April 15, 2018, ABC News interview with George Stephanopoulos, former FBI Director James Comey described Steele as a “credible source”: “It was coming from a credible source, someone with a track record, someone who was a credible and respected member of an allied intelligence service during his career, and so it was important that we try to understand it, and see what could we verify, what could we rule in or rule out.”[150]

In May 2018, former career intelligence officer James Clapper believed that “more and more” of the dossier has been validated over time.[18]

Varied reactions about veracity

Steele, the author of the dossier, said he believes that 70–90% of the dossier is accurate.[35][25] In testimony to Congress, Simpson quoted “Steele as saying that any intelligence, especially from Russia, is bound to carry intentional disinformation, but that Steele believes his dossier is ‘largely not disinformation’.”[72] Regarding the sex claims, Michael Isikoff and David Corn have stated that Steele’s “faith in the sensational sex claim would fade over time…. As for the likelihood of the claim that prostitutes had urinated in Trump’s presence, Steele would say to colleagues, ‘It’s 50-50’.”[25] James Comey has stated that, after his meetings with Trump, he thinks the salacious claims are possibly true.[133]

Other observers and experts have had varying reactions to the dossier. Generally, “former intelligence officers and other national-security experts” urged “skepticism and caution” but still took “the fact that the nation’s top intelligence officials chose to present a summary version of the dossier to both President Obama and President-elect Trump” as an indication “that they may have had a relatively high degree of confidence that at least some of the claims therein were credible, or at least worth investigating further”.[15]

Vice President Joe Biden told reporters that, while he and Obama were receiving a briefing on the extent of election hacking attempts, there was a two-page addendum which addressed the contents of the Steele dossier.[56] Top intelligence officials told them they “felt obligated to inform them about uncorroborated allegations about President-elect Donald Trump out of concern the information would become public and catch them off-guard”.[151]

On January 11, 2017, Newsweek published a list of “13 things that don’t add up” in the dossier, writing that it was a “strange mix of the amateur and the insightful” and stating that it “contains lots of Kremlin-related gossip that could indeed be, as the author claims, from deep insiders—or equally gleaned” from Russian newspapers and blogs.[152] Former UK ambassador to Russia Sir Tony Brenton stated that certain aspects of the dossier were inconsistent with British intelligence’s understanding of how the Kremlin works, commenting: “I’ve seen quite a lot of intelligence on Russia, and there are some things in [the dossier] which look pretty shaky.”[153]

In his June 2017 Senate Intelligence Committee testimony, former FBI director James Comey called “some personally sensitive aspects” of the dossier “salacious and unverified,” but he did not state that the entire dossier was unverified or that the salacious aspects were false. When Senator Richard Burr asked if any of the allegations in the dossier had been confirmed, Comey said he could not answer that question in a public setting.[154][20]

Trump and his supporters have challenged the veracity of the dossier because it was funded in part by the Clinton campaign and the DNC, while Democrats assert the funding source is irrelevant.[155]

Veracity of certain allegations

Russian assistance to the Trump campaign

January 6, 2017, intelligence community assessment released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) stated that Russian leadership favored the Trump candidacy over Clinton’s, and that Putin personally ordered an “influence campaign” to harm Clinton’s electoral chances and “undermine public faith in the US democratic process,” as well as ordering cyber attacks on “both major U.S. political parties”.[156]

Newsweek stated that “the dossier’s main finding, that Russia tried to prop up Trump over Clinton, was confirmed by” this assessment.[87] ABC News stated that “some of the dossier’s broad implications—particularly that Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an operation to boost Trump and sow discord within the U.S. and abroad—now ring true.”[42] Referring to the ODNI assessment, former Los Angeles Times Moscow correspondent Robert Gillette wrote in an op-ed in the Concord Monitor that the dossier has had at least one of its main factual assertions verified….Steele’s dossier, paraphrasing multiple sources, reported precisely the same conclusion, in greater detail, six months earlier, in a memo dated June 20.”[157]

In The New Yorker, Jane Mayer has stated that the allegation that Trump was favored by the Kremlin, and that they offered Trump’s campaign dirt on Clinton, has proven true.[8]

In March 2016, George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, learned that the Russians had “dirt” on Clinton in the form of thousands of stolen emails. This occurred before the hacking of the DNC computers had become public knowledge.[158][159]Papadopoulos sent emails about Putin to at least seven Trump campaign officials. Trump national campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis[160] encouraged Papadopoulos to fly to Russia and meet with agents of the Russian Foreign Ministry, who reportedly wanted to share “Clinton dirt” with the Trump campaign.[161][162] When Donald Trump Jr. learned of the offer, he welcomed it by responding: “If it’s what you say, I love it…”[8] Later, on June 9, 2016, a meeting in Trump Tower was held, ostensibly for representatives from Russia to deliver that dirt on Clinton.[163][164]

At the July 2018 summit meeting, Putin was asked if he had wanted Trump to win the 2016 election. He responded “Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.”[165]

Republican position on Russian conflict with Ukraine

The dossier alleges that “the Trump campaign agreed to minimize US opposition to Russia’s incursions into Ukraine”.[166] Harding considers this allegation to have been confirmed by the actions of the Trump campaign: “This is precisely what happened at the Republican National Convention last July, when language on the US’s commitment to Ukraine was mysteriously softened.”[53] In July 2016, the Republican National Convention made changes to the Republican Party’s platform on Ukraine: initially the platform proposed providing “lethal weapons” to Ukraine, but the line was changed to “appropriate assistance”. NPR reported, “Diana Denman, a Republican delegate who supported arming U.S. allies in Ukraine, has told people that Trump aide J.D. Gordon said at the Republican Convention in 2016 that Trump directed him to support weakening that position in the official platform.”[167] J. D. Gordon, who was one of Trump’s national security advisers during the campaign, said that he had advocated for changing language because that reflected what Trump had said.[121][168] The Trump campaign does not appear to have intervened in any other platform deliberations aside from the language on Ukraine.[169]

In an interview on This Week, Trump told George Stephanopoulos that people in his campaign were responsible for changing the GOP’s platform stance on Ukraine, but that he was not personally involved.[170]

Trump had formerly taken a hard line on Ukraine. He initially denounced Russia’s annexation of Crimea as a “land grab” that “should never have happened”, and called for a firmer U.S. response, saying “We should definitely be strong. We should definitely do sanctions.” But after hiring Manafort his approach changed; he said he might recognize Crimea as Russian territory and might lift the sanctions against Russia.[171]

Relations with Europe and NATO

Vladimir Putin (2017)

The dossier alleges that as part of a quid pro quo agreement, “the TRUMP team had agreed… to raise US/NATO defense commitments in the Baltics and Eastern Europe to deflect attention away from Ukraine, a priority for PUTIN who needed to cauterise the subject.”[95] Aiko Stevenson, writing in The Huffington Post, noted that some of Trump’s actions seem to align with “Putin’s wish list”, which “includes lifting sanctions on Russia, turning a blind eye towards its aggressive efforts in the Ukraine, and creating a divisive rift amongst western allies.”[172] During the campaign Trump “called Nato, the centrepiece of Transatlantic security ‘obsolete’, championed the disintegration of the EU, and said that he is open to lifting sanctions on Moscow.”[172] Harding adds that Trump repeatedly “questioned whether US allies were paying enough into Nato coffers.”[53] Jeff Stein, writing in Newsweek, described how “Trump’s repeated attacks on NATO have…frustrated…allies …[and] raised questions as to whether the president has been duped into facilitating Putin’s long-range objective of undermining the European Union.”[173] Trump’s appearances at meetings with allies, including NATO and G7, have frequently been antagonistic; according to the Los Angeles Times, “The president’s posture toward close allies has been increasingly and remarkably confrontational this year, especially in comparison to his more conciliatory approach to adversaries, including Russia and North Korea.”[174]

Lifting of sanctions

The dossier says that Page, claiming to speak with Trump’s authority, had confirmed that Trump would lift the existing sanctions against Russia if he were elected president.[89] On December 29, 2016, during the transition period between the election and the inauguration, National Security Advisor designate Flynn spoke to Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, urging him not to retaliate for newly imposed sanctions; the Russians took his advice and did not retaliate.[175]Within days after the inauguration, new Trump administration officials ordered State Department staffers to develop proposals for immediately revoking the economic and other sanctions.[176] One retired diplomat later said, “What was troubling about these stories is that suddenly I was hearing that we were preparing to rescind sanctions in exchange for, well, nothing.”[177] The staffers alerted Congressional allies who took steps to codify the sanctions into law. The attempt to overturn the sanctions was abandoned after Flynn’s conversation was revealed and Flynn resigned.[176][104] In August 2017, Congress passed a bipartisan bill to impose new sanctions on Russia. Trump reluctantly signed the bill, but then refused to implement it.[178]

Spy withdrawn from Russian embassy

The dossier alleges that a “Russian diplomat Mikhail KULAGIN [sic]” participated in US election meddling, and was recalled to Moscow because Kremlin was concerned that his role in the meddling would be exposed. The BBC later reported that US officials in 2016 had identified Russian diplomat Mikhail Kalugin as a spy and that he was under surveillance, thus “verifying” a key claim in the dossier.[94] Kalugin was the head of the economics section at the Russian embassy. He returned to Russia in August 2016.[96] McClatchy reported that the FBI was investigating whether Kalugin played a role in the election interference. Kalugin has denied the allegations.[96][179]

Page meeting with Rosneft officials

Jane Mayer said that this part of the dossier seems true, even if the name of an official may have been wrong. Page’s congressional testimony confirmed he held secret meetings with top Moscow and Rosneft officials, including talks about a payoff: “When Page was asked if a Rosneft executive had offered him a ‘potential sale of a significant percentage of Rosneft,’ Page said, ‘He may have briefly mentioned it’.”[8]

On November 2, 2017, Page appeared before the House Intelligence Committee (HPSCI) which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. In July 2016, Page made a five-day trip to Moscow,[180] but, according to his testimony, before leaving he informed Jeff SessionsJ. D. GordonHope Hicks, and Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager, of the planned trip to Russia, and Lewandowski approved the trip, responding: “If you’d like to go on your own, not affiliated with the campaign, you know, that’s fine.”[118][128] In his testimony, Page admitted he met with high ranking Kremlin officials. Previously, Page had denied meeting any Russian officials during the July trip. His comments appeared to corroborate portions of the dossier.[129][130] Newsweek has listed the claim about Page meeting with Rosneft officials as “verified”.[181]

Investigations using or referencing the dossier

The FBI’s Russia investigation

In late July 2016, “the CIA had set up a special group with the NSA and FBI… to investigate the extent of Russian intervention in the presidential election.” Former CIA director John Brennan then “ensured that all information about links between the Trump campaign and people working for or on behalf of Russian intelligence went to the FBI.”[182] These links between Trump associates and Russian officials were numerous. Politico keeps a very detailed running tally of the persons, and, as of April 25, 2018, they listed “73 associated with [Trump’s] 2016 campaign”.[183] Julian Borger reported that in Brennan’s testimony before the House intelligence committee, he made it clear “that he was alarmed by the extent of contacts between the Trump team and Moscow,” and that this justified the FBI inquiry:[182]

Brennan stressed repeatedly that collusion may have been unwitting, at least at first as Russian intelligence was deft at disguising its approaches to would-be agents. “Frequently, individuals on a treasonous path do not even realize they’re on that path until it gets to be too late,” he said.[182]

The investigation was also spurred by comments made by Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos.[159][184] While Trump and some Republicans have claimed that the dossier was behind the beginning of the FBI investigation into his campaign’s potential conspiracy with Russia, in December 2017, former and current intelligence officials revealed that the actual impetus was a series of comments made in May 2016 by Papadopoulos to Alexander Downer, a top Australian diplomat, during a night of “heavy drinking at an upscale London bar”.[184][159] John Sipher reported that Papadopoulos bragged “that the Trump campaign was aware the Russian government had dirt on Hillary Clinton”[4] in the form of “thousands of emails” stolen from Clinton which could be used to damage her campaign. Papadopoulos had learned this about three weeks earlier. Two months later, when WikiLeaks started releasing DNC emails, Australian officials alerted the Americans about Papadopoulos’ remarks.[184][159]Over a year later, Papadopoulos was arrested on July 27, 2017,[185] and in October 2017, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, and became a cooperating witness in Mueller’s investigation.[184][185]

Other factors also played into the FBI’s decision to investigate Russian interference and the Trump campaign: intelligence from friendly governments, especially the British and Dutch, and information about Page’s Moscow trip. Steele’s first report was sent to Fusion GPS, dated June 20, 2016, and FBI agents first interviewed Steele in October 2016.[159] The New York Times reported on February 14, 2017 that the FBI had made contact with some of Steele’s sources.[186] CNN later reported that the FBI had used the dossier to bolster its existing investigations.[33][12]

In a January 2, 2018, CNN panel discussion, Elizabeth Foley, a Florida International University law professor, falsely alleged that the FISA warrant for Page was “all based on a dossier”, adding “That’s what Jim Comey has suggested.” She also cited reports from CNN and The New York TimesPolitiFact concluded that her claim about Comey was unsubstantiated, and according to CNN, the dossier was only “part of the justification”, and that The New York Times report did not mention the dossier. PolitiFact rated her claim “Mostly False”.[187]

Special counsel investigation

According to Senate Intelligence Committee vice chairman Mark Warner (D-VA), the dossier’s allegations are being investigated by a Special Counsel led by Robert Mueller, which, since May 2017, has been investigating allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 elections.[188] In the summer of 2017, Mueller’s team of investigators met with Steele.[189] As some leads stemming from the dossier have already been followed and confirmed by the FBI, legal experts have stated that Special Counsel investigators, headed by Robert Mueller, are obligated to follow any leads the dossier has presented them with, irrespective of what parties financed it in its various stages of development, or “[t]hey would be derelict in their duty if they didn’t.”[188][190]

Subject of the Nunes memo

On February 2, 2018, the Nunes memo, a four-page memorandum written for U.S. Representative Devin Nunes by his staff, was released to the public. Referring to the dossier, the memo states that the FBI “may have relied on politically motivated or questionable sources” to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant in October 2016 and in three subsequent renewals on Carter Page in the early phases of the FBI’s interference investigation.[191] Republican legislators argued that the memo presents evidence that a group of politically-biased FBI employees abused the FISA warrant process for the purpose of undermining the Trump presidency.[192] The Nunes memo stated that there was excessive and improper dependence on the Trump–Russia dossier.

On February 3, 2018, Trump praised the Nunes memo and tweeted:

Donald J. Trump via Twitter
@realDonaldTrump

This memo totally vindicates “Trump” in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!

3 Feb 2018[193]

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) disagreed, stating on February 4 on CBS’s Face the Nation: “I actually don’t think [the memo] has any impact on the Russia probe.” He went on to say:

“There is a Russia investigation without a dossier,” Gowdy said. “So to the extent the memo deals with the dossier and the FISA process, the dossier has nothing to do with the meeting at Trump Tower. The dossier has nothing to do with an email sent by Cambridge Analytica. The dossier really has nothing to do with George Papadopoulos’ meeting in Great Britain. It also doesn’t have anything to do with obstruction of justice. So there’s going to be a Russia probe, even without a dossier.”[28]

Gowdy was dissatisfied with the process of seeking the warrant: “I say investigate everything Russia did but admit that this was a really sloppy process that you engaged in to surveil a U.S. citizen.” When questioned, he said that the FISA warrant on Carter Page would not have been authorized without the dossier.[194]

Jane Mayer has quoted Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse: “To impeach Steele’s dossier is to impeach Mueller’s investigation… It’s to recast the focus back on Hillary”, with the Republicans’ aim to “create a false narrative saying this is all a political witch hunt.” Mayer tied his view directly to Devin Nunes‘ production of “a report purporting to show that the real conspiracy revolved around Hillary Clinton,” falsely alleging that Clinton “colluded with the Russians…”, a claim debunked by Glenn Kessler.[8] Kessler, a fact checker for The Washington Post, analyzed a false accusation made by Nunes in a February 7, 2018, interview on the Hugh Hewitt Show: “The truth is that they [Democrats] are covering up that Hillary Clinton colluded with the Russians to get dirt on Trump to feed it to the FBI to open up an investigation into the other campaign.” Kessler’s “Pinocchio Test” rating was: “[T]here is no evidence that Clinton was involved in Steele’s reports or worked with Russian entities to feed information to Steele. That’s where Nunes’s claim goes off the rails—and why he earns Four Pinocchios.”[195] “Four Pinocchios” equals a “Whopper”.[196]

The Nunes memo falsely asserted that “Comey briefed President-elect Trump on a summary of the Steele dossier, even though it was—according to his June 2017 testimony—’salacious and unverified.'” Factcheckers noted that Comey actually testified that “some personally sensitive aspects of the information” were “salacious and unverified,” rather than the entire dossier.[197][198]

The Nunes memo asserted that Andrew McCabe testified to the House Intelligence Committee that “no surveillance warrant [of Carter Page] would have been sought from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) without the Steele dossier information,” but because McCabe testified in classified session, no transcript has yet been released to verify this assertion. In a CNN interview, McCabe asserted “that House Republicans twisted his answers”:

“We started the investigations without the dossier. We were proceeding with the investigations before we ever received that information…. Was the dossier material important to the package? Of course, it was. As was every fact included in that package. Was it the majority of what was in the package? Absolutely not.”[199]

Congressman Eric Swalwell, a member of the Committee, also stated that McCabe’s testimony was mischaracterized.[200]

Contrary to assertions by Trump and his supporters that the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections was triggered by the dossier,[201] the Nunes memo confirmed the investigation began with a tip from Australian diplomat Alexander Downer regarding a conversation he had with Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos in a London bar in May 2016.[159][202] The FBI opened its investigation in late July 2016, and The Washington Post noted that this timing is “significant, given the FBI did not seek authorization to conduct surveillance on Page until three months later, on Oct. 21, 2016.” The Democrats asserted that the Nunes memo “shows the Russia investigation would be underway with or without the surveillance of Page, and—more critically—even if the government had never seen the dossier of information about Trump that was compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British spy.”[203]

Amid assertions in the Nunes memo and from others that the dossier’s use in the Carter Page FISA warrant request was improper—countered by Democrats’ assertions that there was nothing improper—on April 6, 2018 the Justice Department made the FISA application available for all members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to review.[204]

On July 21, 2018, the Justice Department released heavily-redacted versions of four FISA warrant applications for Carter Page which showed that key assertions made in the Nunes memo were false or misleading, corroborating the rebuttal made by Democrats.[205][206]

Reactions

November 14, 2017 – House Intelligence Committee transcript of Glenn Simpson

August 22, 2017 Fusion GPS testimony transcript of Glenn Simpson

Individual responses

Donald Trump has repeatedly condemned the dossier, including in this tweet, in which he quotes from Fox & Friends:[19]

Donald J. Trump via Twitter
@realDonaldTrump

WOW, @foxandfrlends “Dossier is bogus. Clinton Campaign, DNC funded Dossier. FBI CANNOT (after all of this time) VERIFY CLAIMS IN DOSSIER OF RUSSIA/TRUMP COLLUSION. FBI TAINTED.” And they used this Crooked Hillary pile of garbage as the basis for going after the Trump Campaign!

26 Dec 2017[207]

As late as July 29, 2018, Trump continued to falsely insist that the FBI investigation of Russian interference was initiated because of the dossier, and three days later White House press secretary Sarah Sanders repeated the false assertion. Fox News host Shepard Smith said of Trump’s assertion: “In the main and in its parts, that statement is patently false.”[208]

Trump has called the dossier “fake news” and criticized the intelligence and media sources that published it.[209] During a press conference on January 11, 2017, Trump denounced the dossier’s claims as false, saying that it was “disgraceful” for U.S. intelligence agencies to report them. Trump refused to answer a question from CNN’s senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta on the subject. In response, CNN said that it had published “carefully sourced reporting” on the matter which had been “matched by the other major news organizations”, as opposed to BuzzFeed‘s posting of “unsubstantiated materials”.[210][64]

James Clapper described the leaks as damaging to U.S. national security.[211] This contradicted Trump’s previous claim that Clapper had said the information was false; Clapper’s statement actually said the intelligence community had made no judgment on the truth of the information.[212]

As Putin’s press secretary, Peskov insisted in an interview that the dossier is a fraud, saying “I can assure you that the allegations in this funny paper, in this so-called report, they are untrue. They are all fake.”[213] Putin called the people who leaked the dossier “worse than prostitutes”[214] and referred to the dossier itself as “rubbish”.[215] Putin went on to state he believed that the dossier was “clearly fake”,[216] fabricated as a plot against the legitimacy of President-elect Trump.[217]

Some of Steele’s former colleagues expressed support for his character, saying “The idea his work is fake or a cowboy operation is false—completely untrue. Chris is an experienced and highly regarded professional. He’s not the sort of person who will simply pass on gossip.”[17]

Among journalists, Bob Woodward called the dossier a “garbage document”, while Carl Bernstein took the opposite view, noting that the senior-most U.S. intelligence officials had determined that the content was worth reporting to the president and the president-elect.[218] Julian Borger has described the dossier as “one of the most explosive documents in modern political history…”[96] Ben Smith, editor of BuzzFeed, wrote: “The dossier is a document…of obvious central public importance. It’s the subject of multiple investigations by intelligence agencies, by Congress. That was clear a year ago. It’s a lot clearer now.”[219]

Ynet, an Israeli online news site, reported on January 12, 2017 that U.S. intelligence advised Israeli intelligence officers to be cautious about sharing information with the incoming Trump administration, until the possibility of Russian influence over Trump, suggested by Steele’s report, has been fully investigated.[220]

On March 2, 2017, media began reporting that the Senate may call Steele to testify about the Trump dossier.[221] On March 27, 2017, SJC Chairman Chuck Grassley asked the Department of Justice to initiate an inquiry into Fusion GPS, who initially retained Steele to write the dossier.[222] Fusion GPS was previously associated with pro-Russia lobbying activities due to sanctions imposed by the Magnitsky Act.[223] On August 22, 2017, Steele met with the FBI and had provided them with the names of his sources for the allegations in the dossier.[224]

Steven L. Hall, former CIA chief of Russia operations, has contrasted Steele’s methods with those of Donald Trump Jr., who sought information from a Russian attorney at a meeting in Trump Tower in June 2016: “The distinction: Steele spied against Russia to get info Russia did not want released; Don Jr took a mtg to get info Russians wanted to give.”[225]

Jane Mayer referred to the same meeting and contrasted the difference in reactions to Russian attempts to support Trump: When Trump Jr. was offered “dirt” on Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” instead of “going to the F.B.I., as Steele had” done when he learned that Russia was helping Trump, Trump’s son accepted the support by responding: “If it’s what you say, I love it…”[8]

On January 2, 2018, Simpson and Fritsch authored an op-ed in The New York Times, requesting that Republicans “release full transcripts of our firm’s testimony” and further wrote that, “the Steele dossier was not the trigger for the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling. As we told the Senate Judiciary Committee in August, our sources said the dossier was taken so seriously because it corroborated reports the bureau had received from other sources, including one inside the Trump camp.”[9] Ken Dilanian of NBC News stated that a “source close to Fusion GPS” told him that the FBI had not planted anyone in the Trump camp, but rather that Simpson was referring to Papadopoulos.[226][47]

On January 5, 2018, in the first known Congressional criminal referral resulting from investigations related to the Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, Grassley made a referral to the Justice Department suggesting that they investigate possible criminal charges against Steele[227][228] for allegedly making false statements to the FBI about the distribution of the dossier’s claims,[229] specifically possible “inconsistencies” in what Steele told authorities and “possibly lying to FBI officials”.[230]Senator Lindsey Graham also signed the letter.[231][232] Both Grassley and Graham declared that they were not alleging that Steele “had committed any crime. Rather, they had passed on the information for ‘further investigation only’.”[233] The referral was met with skepticism from legal experts, as well as some of the other Republicans and Democrats on the Judiciary committee, who reportedly had not been consulted.[231]

On January 8, 2018, a spokesman for Grassley said he did not plan to release the transcript of Simpson’s August 22, 2017 testimony before the SJC.[234] The next day, ranking committee member Senator Dianne Feinstein unilaterally released the transcript.[51][235]

On January 10, 2018, Fox News host Sean Hannity appeared to have advance information on the forthcoming release of the Nunes memo and its assertions about the dossier, saying “more shocking information will be coming out in just days that will show systemic FISA abuse.” Hannity asserted that this new information would reveal “a totally phony document full of Russian lies and propaganda that was then used by the Obama administration to surveil members of an opposition party and incoming president,” adding that this was “the real Russia collusion story” that represented a “precipice of one of the largest abuses of power in U.S. American history. And I’m talking about the literal shredding of the U.S. Constitution.”[236]

On January 18, 2018, the HPSCI released the transcript of the Simpson Testimony given on November 14, 2017.[237][238] Democratic committee member Adam Schiff stated that the testimony contains “serious allegations that The Trump Organization may have engaged in money laundering with Russian nationals”. Trump Organization’s chief counsel Alan Garten called the allegations “unsubstantiated” and “reckless”, and said that Simpson was mainly referring to properties to which Trump licensed his name. Democratic member Jim Himes said that Simpson “did not provide evidence and I think that’s an important point. He made allegations.”[239]

In April 2018, the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) gave The Merriman Smith Memorial Award to CNN reporters Evan Perez, Jim SciuttoJake Tapper and Carl Bernstein. In January 2017, they reported that the intelligence community had briefed Obama and Trump of allegations that Russians claimed to have “compromising personal and financial information” on then-President elect Donald Trump.[62][240] WHCA noted that “[t]hanks to this CNN investigation, ‘the dossier’ is now part of the lexicon”.[241]

Circumstances surrounding the death of Oleg Erovinkin

On December 26, 2016, Oleg Erovinkin, a former KGB/FSB general, was found dead in his car in Moscow. Erovinkin was a key liaison between Sechin and Putin. Steele claimed much of the information came from a source close to Sechin. According to Christo Grozev, a journalist at Risk Management Lab, a think tank based in Bulgaria, the circumstances of Erovinkin’s death were “mysterious”. Grozev suspected Erovinkin helped Steele compile the dossier on Trump and suggests the hypothesis that the death may have been part of a cover-up by the Russian government.[242][243] Experts expressed skepticism about the theory. “As a rule, people like Gen Yerovinkin don’t tend to die in airport thriller murders,” said Mark Galeotti, an expert on the Russian security services.[242]

Litigation

Against BuzzFeed and Fusion GPS

On February 3, 2017, Aleksej Gubarev, chief of technology company XBT and a figure mentioned in the dossier, sued BuzzFeed for defamation. The suit, filed in a Broward County, Florida court, centers on allegations from the dossier that XBT had been “using botnetsand porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct ‘altering operations’ against the Democratic Party leadership”.[244][245] In the High Court of Justice, Steele’s lawyers said their client did not intend for the memos to be released, and that one of the memos “needed to be analyzed and further investigated/verified”.[246] In response to the lawsuit, BuzzFeed hired the business advisory firm FTI Consulting to investigate the dossier’s allegations.[247] BuzzFeed has sued the DNC in an attempt to force the disclosure of information it believes will bolster its defense against libel allegations.[248] Fusion GPS “has claimed that it did not provide the dossier to BuzzFeed.”[249]

In connection with the libel suit against them by Gubarev, on June 30, 2017, BuzzFeed subpoenaed the CIA, the FBI, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. They also sought “testimony from fired FBI Director James Comey, as well as former DNI James Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan”. They were interested in using the discovery process to get information about the distribution of the dossier, how it had circulated among government officials, and the “existence and scope of the federal government’s investigation into the dossier”. They hoped “the information could bolster BuzzFeed’s claim that publication of the document was protected by the fair report privilege, which can immunize reports based on official government records.”[250] On June 4, 2018, Judge Ursula Ungaro ruled that BuzzFeed could claim “fair report privilege” for the publication of the dossier and its accompanying article, bolstering BuzzFeed’s defense.[251]

In May 2017, Mikhail FridmanPetr Aven, and German Khan – the owners of Alfa Bank – filed a defamation lawsuit against BuzzFeed for publishing the unverified dossier,[252][253] which alleges financial ties and collusion between Putin, Trump, and the three bank owners.[254][255] In October 2017, Fridman, Aven, and Khan also filed a libel suit against Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson, for circulating the dossier among journalists and allowing it to be published.[256]

On January 9, 2018, Michael Cohen sued BuzzFeed and Fusion GPS for defamation over allegations about him in the dossier.[257] On April 19, 2018, ten days after his home, office and hotel room were raided by the FBI as part of a criminal investigation, Cohen filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss the suit.[258][259][260]

Against Christopher Steele

In April 2018, Alfa Bank owners Fridman, Aven, and Khan filed a libel suit against Steele,[261] since the dossier alleges financial ties and collusion between Putin, Trump, and the three bank owners.[254][255] The lawsuit is filed in Washington D.C., and since none of the parties to the lawsuit are based in D.C., it is possible the lawsuit may not be able to move forward in that court.[261] Steele’s lawyers have filed two motions to dismiss the case, accusing the three men of intimidation.[262]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trump%E2%80%93Russia_dossier

Story 3: Small Business Optimism Index Hits Second Highest Level in 45 Years —

Small business optimism hits second-highest level in 45 years: NFIB

NFIB Small Business Survey: ‘Small Business Optimism Index Nears Survey High In July’

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1

The latest issue of the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends came out this morning. The headline number for July came in at 107.9, up 0.7 from the previous month and its second highest of all time. The index is at the 100th percentile in this series. Today’s number came in above the Investing.com forecast of 106.9.

Here is an excerpt from the opening summary of the news release.

The Small Business Optimism Index marked its second highest level in the survey’s 45-year history at 107.9, rising to within 0.1 point of the July 1983 record-high of 108. The July 2018 report also set new records in terms of owners reporting job creation plans and those with job openings. A seasonally-adjusted net 23 percent are planning to create new jobs, up three points from June. Thirty-seven percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, a one-point increase from June.

“Small business owners are leading this economy and expressing optimism rivaling the highest levels in history,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “Expansion continues to be a priority for small businesses who show no signs of slowing as they anticipate more sales and better business conditions.”

The first chart below highlights the 1986 baseline level of 100 and includes some labels to help us visualize that dramatic change in small-business sentiment that accompanied the Great Financial Crisis. Compare, for example, the relative resilience of the index during the 2000-2003 collapse of the Tech Bubble with the far weaker readings following the Great Recession that ended in June 2009.

Here is a closer look at the indicator since the turn of the century. We are now at a post-recession high.

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1103, Story 1: Should The Supreme Court Be Composed of Only Lawyers? No, At Least 3 out of 9 Should Not Be Lawyers — Honest/ Virtuous and Wise People of Experience Not Another Harvard or Yale Educated Attorney — Short List: Victor Davis Hansen, Charles Murray and Jordan B. Peterson — Videos — Story 2: Hate America Democrats (HAD) — Not Proud To Be American — Free To Leave — Videos — Story 3: American People On The Move — 50 U.S. Cities Losing People — Videos

Posted on July 5, 2018. Filed under: American History, Barack H. Obama, Blogroll, Books, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Cartoons, College, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Elections, Employment, Extortion, Federal Government, Former President Barack Obama, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, High Crimes, History, House of Representatives, IRS, Language, Media, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Spying on American People, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Image result for victor davis hanson See the source imageImage result for jordan b peterson 12 rules to live byPolitical Liberals Are Unlikely to Say They Are Extremely Proud to Be Americans

 

 

Story 1: Should The Supreme Court Be Composed of Only Lawyers? No, At Least 3 out of 9 Should Not Be Lawyers — Honest/ Virtuous and Wise People of Experience Not Another Harvard or Yale Educated Attorney — Short List: Victor Davis Hansen, Charles Murray and Jordan B. Peterson — Videos —

President Donald Trump Narrows Supreme Court Pick To 3 Appeals Court Judges | MSNBC

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Trump narrows list for Supreme Court pick with focus on Kavanaugh and Kethledge

Robert Costa and Seung Min KimWashington Post

President Donald Trump’s deliberations over a Supreme Court nominee now center on three candidates culled from his shortlist: federal judges Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge and Amy Coney Barrett, according to White House officials and Trump advisers involved in the discussions.

But Trump’s final decision on a replacement for retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy remained fluid as he traveled Thursday to a political rally in Montana before heading to his golf course in New Jersey for the weekend, with the president pinballing between associates as he seeks feedback and suggestions.

While Trump has placed Kavanaugh, a polished former Kennedy clerk and Yale Law School graduate, near the top of his list, he has also been asking several friends and aides about whether Kavanaugh’s past work in George W. Bush’s White House would be an issue for his core supporters, thousands of whom filled the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls, Montana, Thursday evening.

And Trump is hearing out arguments for Kethledge, another former Kennedy clerk, and for Coney Barrett, a Notre Dame law professor who is being championed by some social conservatives, according to the advisers, who requested anonymity since they were not authorized to speak publicly.

Kavanaugh and Kethledge have the “inside track,” according to a person close to the president, because many White House officials believe Coney Barrett, 46, could instead be a pick for the high court in the coming years, after she gains more experience on the federal bench.

A second person close to the president said Thursday that Kavanaugh and Kethledge are the shortlist.

Vice President Mike Pence met privately with Kavanaugh on Wednesday at the vice president’s residence and that session went well, underscoring the judge’s strong prospects, according to two Republicans briefed on the meeting.

“I think I have it down to four people and I think of the four people, I have it down to three or two. I think they’re all outstanding,” Trump told reporters Thursday en route to Montana, declining to name the finalists. “I don’t want say the four. But I have it down to four. I’ll have a decision made in my mind by Sunday. We’ll announce it on Monday.”

Others who emerged on Trump’s shortlists just days ago – federal judges Thomas Hardiman, Amul Thapar and Joan Larsen as well as Sen. Mike, R-Utah, – remain in contention, but the president’s queries have mostly been about the leading contenders, whether it’s been during phone calls, in Oval Office meetings or on Air Force One.

One Trump adviser said the president is unlikely to expand his list in the coming days, but could follow up by phone with some of the candidates, all of whom have been asked to fill out disclosure forms dealing with their finances and conduct.

Trump told reporters he was not planning to bring candidates in for interviews again when he heads to his New Jersey golf club this weekend. “I doubt it,” he said.

Trump’s process has echoes of both his search for a Supreme Court justice last year – he eventually nominated Neil Gorsuch – and his consideration of a running mate during the 2016 presidential campaign. Even as White House counsel Donald McGahn fiercely guards information about the candidate interviews and Trump’s leanings, the president is engaging with the freewheeling loop of boosters, lawmakers and confidants that he has long counted on for political gut checks.

“Do you know him?” Trump has asked about Kethledge, advisers said. Or, on Kavanaugh’s link to the Bush network with whom Trump has clashed for years, the president has flatly asked, “What do you think?”

Others close to Trump said a variety of factors were on the president’s radar beyond the candidates’ interpretation of the law, such as their educational profiles, personal backgrounds and rapport with him in interviews – leaving most Trump allies wary of making predictions.

“He listens to everybody, big or small, influential or not, and absorbs it all. He then adds that to how he feels and comes to a conclusion,” Trump friend and Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy said.

The resignation Thursday of Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, following months of ethics scandals, added some uncertainty to Trump’s timeline for a Supreme Court decision as White House officials handled Pruitt’s exit as some Trump allies wondered if the president might announce his choice before Monday to bump Pruitt from the headlines.

Trump, however, maintained Thursday that Monday remains his chosen date for an announcement. “We’re going to do it at 9 p.m. in the White House,” he told reporters.

Debates over Kavanugh’s work with Bush and rulings he has made on health care and abortion continued to churn Thursday as critics urged the president to shy away from a judge with an establishment Republican pedigree.

Kavanaugh, 53, helped investigate President Bill Clinton as part of independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s team and then served as an aide to Bush before joining the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2006.

“He looks, walks, and quacks like John G. Roberts Jr.,” the chief justice of the United States who has angered conservatives for his rulings on President Barack Obama’s signature health-care law, former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli said. “The Bush lives loudly in Kavanaugh.”

Cuccinelli’s remark is a wry reference to another contender who social conservatives unsure about Kavanaugh have rallied behind this week: Coney Barrett. “The dogma lives loudly within you,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told her last year during her confirmation hearing in an exchange about the judge’s Catholic faith – a comment that was roundly criticized by religious leaders.

“If Democrats tried to go anti-Catholic with her, that’d backfire and we know it,” Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said.

But Trump is not rushing toward Coney Barrett with the same fervor, according to the two people close to the president. They described his view of her as “positive” since he appointed her, but noted that he sees Kavanaugh and Kethledge as similar to Gorsuch, another former Kennedy clerk, whose tenure has been celebrated by his supporters and whose judicial records are largely acceptable to most wings of the Republican Party.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a Trump ally, signed a statement Thursday with other conservative leaders pushing for Lee, following days of phone calls with Trump and others over his concerns about Kavanaugh, complicating the outlook in the Senate, where Republicans have a narrow, 51-seat majority.

Kethledge’s sudden ascent in the process is widely seen in the West Wing as a consequence of what conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh has called the “whisper campaign” against Kavanaugh, with the president newly intrigued by the University of Michigan Law School graduate.

Democrats, meanwhile, prepared for the political war over the high court that could dominate the summer, with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., making his own suggestion for Trump.

Schumer privately urged the president in a phone call earlier this week to nominate federal Judge Merrick Garland, Obama’s third nominee to the Supreme Court who was summarily shunned by Senate Republicans in 2016.

Trump called Schumer on Tuesday afternoon for a Supreme Court-centered conversation that lasted less than five minutes, according to a person familiar with the call. Schumer, the person said, pressed the president to name Garland to succeed Kennedy, arguing doing so would help unite the country.

Schumer also warned the president that nominating a jurist who would be hostile to Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that established a woman’s right to an abortion, and to Obama’s health-care law, would be “cataclysmic” and damage Trump’s legacy, the person added, requesting anonymity since they were not authorized to speak publicly.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump pledged to nominate judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Schumer also tweeted barbs about Kethledge Thursday. “Judge Kethledge has a history of opposing women’s reproductive freedom,” he wrote.

The rush of scrutiny gave Kethledge’s backers hope that his chances were perhaps rising – and a preview of the political firestorm he would face on Capitol Hill, should he be nominated.

The Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey in Washington contributed to this report.

The Supreme Court Needs a Justice Who Isn’t a Lawyer

Article Image
I think Elena Kagan will be an outstanding Justice, not just because of her outstanding (and underrated) technical abilities—as I’ll mention shortly, I think the Court as a group is already well-stocked, if anything overstocked, with technical legal skills—but because she possesses that rarest of qualities, the charisma of leadership.  This is now a Court with two natural leaders—Kagan and Roberts—and the fascinating question will be whether the building is large enough to contain two outsize talents of the same type.
Stepping back from Kagan, I’m struck by the narrow bandwith of the debate over her qualifications.  The political system has converged to a point at which all the Justices attended either Harvard or Yale, and the only question is whether all nine of the Justices should be former lower-court federal judges—in effect that was the Republican position —or whether it’s acceptable to have one Justice who, like Kagan, has never served as a judge.  Those positions are shockingly narrow, on at least three dimensions.  First, not all good lawyers attended either Harvard or Yale, heretical though that claim might seem; the opposition to Harriet Meiers was pervaded by the snobbery of the elite bar, who sneered at her credentials.  Second, many great Justices had no previous service as federal appellate judges; given that the Court decides many cases that involve high politics, one might think that having at least a few Justices who served in elected office or in the upper reaches of the executive branch might usefully diversify the Court’s base of experience and information.  Third, and most radically, I believe there is a good case that the Court should contain at least a few non-lawyers.  Let me expand on that last point, which is outside the mainstream, but which is supported by a growing body of academic work on the determinants of good collective decision making.
No legal rule requires that appointees to the Court be lawyers, in the sense of possessing a J.D. degree and being a member of a state bar association.  The Court’s docket, roughly speaking, consists of two types of cases—”autarkic” cases in which the legal issues are strictly technical and internal to law, and “non-autarkic” cases in which the right legal answer itself depends upon the answer to questions about which lawyers have no specialized technical ability or comparative advantage.  Examples in the latter category include the questions about the effect of climate change debated in Massachusetts v. EPA, a case from a few years ago, or the questions about the nature and consequences of military detention that the Court has debated in several cases after 9/11. In the non-autarkic cases, a group consisting solely of lawyers is likely to be at sea; a group containing at least one member with relevant non-legal expertise is likely to make better decisions.  The illusion that drives the debates over qualifications for Justices is that the Court does only technical lawyers’ work.  Although that is more often true for lower federal appellate courts, a great deal of the Court’s docket involves questions of fact, causation or policy in various specialized nonlegal fields or else involves matters of high politics, as to which legal training is essentially irrelevant.  Ironically, then, the insistence that all or nearly all Justices should have been lower federal judges selects for technical legal skills, precisely the dimension on which the work of the Court differs from the work of the lower federal courts.
The larger point is that a growing body of research and theory shows that cognitively diverse groups make better decisions.  The main benefit of cognitive diversity is that it reduces the degree to which members of the group have correlated biases, and thus tend to make the same sorts of mistakes.  The economist Krishna Ladha showed in the early 1990s that groups with lower correlation of biases might actually reach correct answers more often than groups with a higher level of technical competence but greater correlation of bias.  More recently the political scientist Scott Page has expanded on this idea, detailing many situations in which cognitive diversity helps group decision making.  The nub of the insight is that in the more cognitively diverse groups, errors in various directions tend to cancel out, and the right answer tends to prevail.  The less diverse groups, by contrast, tend to err badly as to matters in which their biases all point in the same direction.  Diversity of training and profession is correlated with cognitive diversity; conversely, professional homogeneity creates likemindedness.
The problem with a Court composed of all lawyers is that, by virtue of training or self-selection into the legal profession, lawyers’ biases are highly correlated, and the group will tend to have corporate blind spots.  I don’t deny that most of the Justices should be lawyers; I suggest only that the legal system might do better with a group of Justices that contains at least one non-lawyer than with a group of lawyers alone.  To be clear, this argument is not at all a populist one, based on the idea that adding nonl-awyers would make the Court more “democratic” or something of that sort.  It is a strictly technocratic argument; but the point is that a professionally diverse group will make better technocratic decisions, even in the legal cases that reach the Court.
Even if one thinks that appointing nonl-awyers to the Court is too radical, at a minimum, one might diversify the Court’s informational base by appointing Justices who possess some form of dual competence—legal training plus credible expertise in some other discipline or subject matter.  Suppose we accept that appointees must be lawyers who have served as judges.  Why not look outside the ranks of the generalized federal judiciary, and instead consider appointees who have served on one of the many more specialized federal tribunals—the Tax Court, the many administrative courts, the Federal Circuit (which handles patents, other intellectual property matters, and certain money claims against the government), or the system of military courts?  Even within the class of generalist federal judges, what about appointing a Justice who has dual competence—perhaps someone with a second degree in finance, accounting, economics, medicine, environmental sciences, or engineering, or a former military lawyer?  The political incentives to nominate candidates only from a pool defined in the narrowest of terms are powerful, intelligible, and damaging.

I think Elena Kagan will be an outstanding Justice, not just because of her outstanding (and underrated) technical abilities—as I’ll mention shortly, I think the Court as a group is already well-stocked, if anything overstocked, with technical legal skills—but because she possesses that rarest of qualities, the charisma of leadership.  This is now a Court with two natural leaders—Kagan and Roberts—and the fascinating question will be whether the building is large enough to contain two outsize talents of the same type.

Stepping back from Kagan, I’m struck by the narrow bandwith of the debate over her qualifications.  The political system has converged to a point at which all the Justices attended either Harvard or Yale, and the only question is whether all nine of the Justices should be former lower-court federal judges—in effect that was the Republican position —or whether it’s acceptable to have one Justice who, like Kagan, has never served as a judge.  Those positions are shockingly narrow, on at least three dimensions.  First, not all good lawyers attended either Harvard or Yale, heretical though that claim might seem; the opposition to Harriet Meiers was pervaded by the snobbery of the elite bar, who sneered at her credentials.  Second, many great Justices had no previous service as federal appellate judges; given that the Court decides many cases that involve high politics, one might think that having at least a few Justices who served in elected office or in the upper reaches of the executive branch might usefully diversify the Court’s base of experience and information.  Third, and most radically, I believe there is a good case that the Court should contain at least a few non-lawyers.  Let me expand on that last point, which is outside the mainstream, but which is supported by a growing body of academic work on the determinants of good collective decision making.

No legal rule requires that appointees to the Court be lawyers, in the sense of possessing a J.D. degree and being a member of a state bar association.  The Court’s docket, roughly speaking, consists of two types of cases—”autarkic” cases in which the legal issues are strictly technical and internal to law, and “non-autarkic” cases in which the right legal answer itself depends upon the answer to questions about which lawyers have no specialized technical ability or comparative advantage.  Examples in the latter category include the questions about the effect of climate change debated in Massachusetts v. EPA, a case from a few years ago, or the questions about the nature and consequences of military detention that the Court has debated in several cases after 9/11.  In the non-autarkic cases, a group consisting solely of lawyers is likely to be at sea; a group containing at least one member with relevant non-legal expertise is likely to make better decisions.  The illusion that drives the debates over qualifications for Justices is that the Court does only technical lawyers’ work.  Although that is more often true for lower federal appellate courts, a great deal of the Court’s docket involves questions of fact, causation or policy in various specialized nonlegal fields or else involves matters of high politics, as to which legal training is essentially irrelevant.  Ironically, then, the insistence that all or nearly all Justices should have been lower federal judges selects for technical legal skills, precisely the dimension on which the work of the Court differs from the work of the lower federal courts.

The larger point is that a growing body of research and theory shows that cognitively diverse groups make better decisions.  The main benefit of cognitive diversity is that it reduces the degree to which members of the group have correlated biases, and thus tend to make the same sorts of mistakes.  The economist Krishna Ladha showed in the early 1990s that groups with lower correlation of biases might actually reach correct answers more often than groups with a higher level of technical competence but greater correlation of bias.  More recently the political scientist Scott Page has expanded on this idea, detailing many situations in which cognitive diversity helps group decision making.  The nub of the insight is that in the more cognitively diverse groups, errors in various directions tend to cancel out, and the right answer tends to prevail.  The less diverse groups, by contrast, tend to err badly as to matters in which their biases all point in the same direction.  Diversity of training and profession is correlated with cognitive diversity; conversely, professional homogeneity creates likemindedness.

The problem with a Court composed of all lawyers is that, by virtue of training or self-selection into the legal profession, lawyers’ biases are highly correlated, and the group will tend to have corporate blind spots.  I don’t deny that most of the Justices should be lawyers; I suggest only that the legal system might do better with a group of Justices that contains at least one non-lawyer than with a group of lawyers alone.  To be clear, this argument is not at all a populist one, based on the idea that adding non-lawyers would make the Court more “democratic” or something of that sort.  It is a strictly technocratic argument; but the point is that a professionally diverse group will make better technocratic decisions, even in the legal cases that reach the Court.

Even if one thinks that appointing non-lawyers to the Court is too radical, at a minimum, one might diversify the Court’s informational base by appointing Justices who possess some form of dual competence—legal training plus credible expertise in some other discipline or subject matter.  Suppose we accept that appointees must be lawyers who have served as judges.  Why not look outside the ranks of the generalized federal judiciary, and instead consider appointees who have served on one of the many more specialized federal tribunals—the Tax Court, the many administrative courts, the Federal Circuit (which handles patents, other intellectual property matters, and certain money claims against the government), or the system of military courts?  Even within the class of generalist federal judges, what about appointing a Justice who has dual competence—perhaps someone with a second degree in finance, accounting, economics, medicine, environmental sciences, or engineering, or a former military lawyer?  The political incentives to nominate candidates only from a pool defined in the narrowest of terms are powerful, intelligible, and damaging.

https://bigthink.com/experts-corner/the-supreme-court-needs-a-justice-who-isnt-a-lawyer

Trump closes in on Supreme Court pick; 3 judges top list

CATHERINE LUCEY, KEN THOMAS and LISA MASCARO

,

Associated Press

President Donald Trump is closing in on his next Supreme Court nominee, with three federal judges leading the competition to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Trump’s top contenders for the vacancy at this time are federal appeals judges Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh and Raymond Kethledge, said a person familiar with Trump’s thinking who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Working closely with a White House team and consulting with lawmakers and outside advisers, Trump has spent the week deliberating on the choice. He conducted interviews on Monday and Tuesday. He has not yet publicly indicated that he has narrowed the list and could still consider others in the mix.

With customary fanfare, Trump plans to announce his selection Monday night, kicking off a contentious nomination process as Republicans seek to shift the court to the right and Democrats strive to block the effort.

Vice President Mike Pence has also met with some of the contenders for the Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement, The Associated Press has learned.

The meetings took place in recent days, according to a person familiar with the search process. The person did not specify which candidates Pence met with and spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday to describe the private search process.

Trump is choosing his nominee from a list of 25 candidates vetted by conservative groups. Earlier in the week, he spoke with seven people on the list. Other contenders that have received serious interest include federal appeals judges Amul Thapar, Thomas Hardiman and Joan Larsen.

The president also spoke by phone with Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah on Monday. He’s the only lawmaker on Trump’s list. That call was not characterized by the White House as an interview and Lee is not viewed as a top prospect, though he has some support on Capitol Hill.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, advocated for Lee in a Fox News op-ed, warning Trump not to repeat “mistakes” of past Republican presidents by picking a Supreme Court nominee who turns out to be insufficiently conservative.

Cruz said Lee would be a “sure thing.” He cited former justices William Brennan, John Paul Stevens and Harry Blackmun, who authored the Roe v. Wade decision that established a woman’s right to abortion. All three were nominated by Republican presidents.

Trump’s choice to replace Kennedy — a swing vote on the nine-member court — has the potential to remake the court for a generation as part of precedent-shattering decisions on abortion, health care, gay marriage and other issues. Recognizing the stakes, many Democrats have lined up in opposition to any Trump pick, and Republican lawmakers and activists are seeking to shape the president’s decision.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has told colleagues he may not vote for Kavanaugh if the judge is nominated, citing Kavanaugh’s role during the Bush administration on cases involving executive privilege and the disclosure of documents to Congress, said a person familiar with Paul’s conversations who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

Some conservatives have pointed to Kethledge as a potential justice in the mold of Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee last year. Both Kethledge and Gorsuch once served Kennedy as law clerks, as did Kavanaugh. Kethledge, a Michigan Law graduate, would add academic diversity to a court steeped in the Ivy League.

Since Trump said his short list includes at least two women, speculation has focused on Barrett, a former law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia and a longtime Notre Dame Law School professor who serves on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Conservative groups rallied around Barrett after her confirmation hearing last year featured questioning from Democrats over how her Roman Catholic faith would affect her decisions.

On Wednesday, Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine, reiterated that she could not vote for a nominee with a “demonstrated hostility” to Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that established a woman’s right to an abortion.

“I think I’ve made it pretty clear if a nominee has demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade and has said that they’re not going to abide by that long-standing precedent, that I could not support that nominee,” Collins told reporters at a holiday parade in Bangor.

But Collins said she also wouldn’t blindly vote to confirm someone she thinks is unworthy in other respects — even if he or she supports Roe v. Wade.

___

Associated Press writers Zeke Miller in Washington and Marina Villeneuve in Portland, Maine, contributed to this report.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/ap-source-pence-met-supreme-court-contenders-043447870–politics.html

There Are No Conservative Judges

The role of politics is to convert the will of the people into the laws that govern us. Politicians serve as the intermediaries who represent the people.  As such, in politics, we expect there to be a spectrum of ideas ranging from those that are correct, conservative ones, to those that are absurd or evil, leftist ones.

That’s why in the political sphere labels like conservative, liberal, leftist, and libertarian make sense: they describe the diversity of ideas presented as possible solutions to the issues that face the country.

The role of the judiciary is not to solve problems or decide what’s “best” for the country, but rather see how the words of the laws passed by Congress and signed into law by the president combined with the intent behind those words as defined by the discussions leading up to the passing of each law apply to a given case.

As such, there is no room for an ideological spectrum because the court’s purpose is only to decide based on reason and logic what the lawmakers intended. The Court is not empowered by the people through the Constitution to decide what the solutions should be and then impose those solutions on the people.

Essentially, in politics, we have lots of Captain Kirks, and in the judiciary, we should have only Spocks.

Hence, to talk of conservative or liberal judges doesn’t make sense.  Rather, we should talk about honest or dishonest judges.

Honest judges do what they’re supposed to do: apply the law as intended by the people who wrote and passed it.  Dishonest judges torture the words of the law to justify the solution that they, the judges, think is best for America.

For example, the Constitution is clear that powers not specifically granted to the federal government in the Constitution are reserved to the states.  The Constitution nowhere gives the federal government power to regulate marriage, which means that honest judges would, no matter what their personal beliefs, recognize that the Supreme Court cannot impose a radical redefinition of marriage on the states and, in the process, overthrow the votes of 55,000,000 Americans who have voted to not redefine marriage.

Dishonest judges, who view their role as “improving” society, have a very Louis XIV view of their authority.  As such, they believe that they have the authority to impose whatever they deem best on America.  While they pretend, for political purposes, that their activist rulings are based on the law, the reality is that their methodology, the “living” Constitution, allows them to claim that pretty much anything is based on the Constitution.

It would seem clear to all that if the Constitution was viewed by the courts, the presidents, and Congress for over 100 years saying something is illegal, it’s impossible that the intent of the people who ratified the Constitution was that that thing is in fact legal.

For example, abortion was viewed as a horrible crime right up to the time that artificial contraception was developed. Our knowledge of the humanity of the unborn had actually grown, and there had been no change in the moral issues surrounding abortion.  Hence, it was absurd to claim, as the dishonest judges on the Supreme Court did, that the intent of the Constitution was that killing an unborn child was not only legal, but a constitutionally protected right.

What had happened was that while the Pill led people to believe they could have sex without children, the reality is that mankind has yet to find a way to undo either God’s plan for the purpose of sex or basic biology, which makes the most likely outcome of sex a new human life.  For example, the typical woman on the Pill has about a 40% chance of an unexpected pregnancy during her lifetime.

But once some people thought they could have sex without children, they encountered the harsh reality that man hasn’t yet figured out a perfect way to have sex without the possibility of children.  As a result, they looked to the killing of “unwanted” babies as a surefire way to have sex without the “burden” of children.  Hence, while nothing about the nature of sex or the law had changed, the attitudes of some people had changed.

Under the Constitution, when the attitudes of some people change, they can change the law through the Democratic process.  Unfortunately for those who want to define some human beings as not being persons and not having rights, as the Nazis did for the Jews and as slave-owners did for blacks, the most they could “achieve” was a very limited right to kill their children in the most liberal states.

Dishonest judges eschewed their constitutional role and declared that some human beings, the most defenseless among us, were not persons and as such lacked any rights.  That decision is not based on anything that is said in the Constitution and in fact directly contradicts what the Constitution says.

Note that the Constitution does not limit those rights based on the developmental stage of a human being.

Further, for nearly 200 years, everyone in America, including the judiciary, believed that the Constitution did not contain a right to kill one’s children so long as the execution occurred before birth.

Hence, neither the intent of those who wrote and ratified the Constitution nor the actual words of the Constitution – remember that the phrase “right to privacy” appears nowhere in the Constitution – provide any support for the idea that there is a right to kill one’s unborn daughter because one wants a boy.  In spite of this, the dishonest judges on the Court overthrew the laws of all 50 states and declared that abortion is legal at any time and for any reason.

The practical implication of all of this is that we need to have honest judges on the Supreme Court, and all the lower courts, who will stick to their constitutionally mandated role, not judges who effectively eliminate the Democratic process and ignore the will of the people.

The fear that is overwhelming leftists about Trump appointing a replacement for Anthony Kennedy should teach them that having a dictatorial rather than an interpretive Court is bad.  Sadly, instead of learning that lesson, what we’re seeing is that they believe that the Court should have absolute power but that it should also be populated only by dishonest judges who impose the left’s vision on America.

In the upcoming fight over Kennedy’s replacement, remind your friends that the Trump nominee is not a conservative who was picked based on his willingness to impose conservative beliefs on America, but rather an honest judge who believes that his job is to apply the law as intended by the politicians elected by we the people.

For example, if leftists were to eradicate the 2nd Amendment through the process defined in the Constitution, whomever Trump nominates would not rule on a case that the “right to privacy” means that people can own guns anyway.

What this means is that the fight over Kennedy’s replacement is not a choice between conservatism and leftism, but rather a choice between democracy and tyranny.  It’s about whether we will live in a representative republic, where the laws are defined by the people through the Congress, or in a tyranny where the laws are defined by five unelected lawyers.

Ask your friends whom they want running the country: the people or less than a handful of unelected, mostly white, mostly male lawyers?

Trump and the American people have a chance to return power to the people – power that dishonest judges have stolen from us – and we need make sure that everyone knows what the real issue is.

You can read more of Tom’s rants at his blog, Conversations about the obvious, and feel free to follow him on Twitter.

The role of politics is to convert the will of the people into the laws that govern us. Politicians serve as the intermediaries who represent the people.  As such, in politics, we expect there to be a spectrum of ideas ranging from those that are correct, conservative ones, to those that are absurd or evil, leftist ones.

That’s why in the political sphere labels like conservative, liberal, leftist, and libertarian make sense: they describe the diversity of ideas presented as possible solutions to the issues that face the country.

When we look at the judiciary in general, and the Supreme Court in particular, we see something different.

The role of the judiciary is not to solve problems or decide what’s “best” for the country, but rather see how the words of the laws passed by Congress and signed into law by the president combined with the intent behind those words as defined by the discussions leading up to the passing of each law apply to a given case.

As such, there is no room for an ideological spectrum because the court’s purpose is only to decide based on reason and logic what the lawmakers intended. The Court is not empowered by the people through the Constitution to decide what the solutions should be and then impose those solutions on the people.

Essentially, in politics, we have lots of Captain Kirks, and in the judiciary, we should have only Spocks.

Hence, to talk of conservative or liberal judges doesn’t make sense.  Rather, we should talk about honest or dishonest judges.

Honest judges do what they’re supposed to do: apply the law as intended by the people who wrote and passed it.  Dishonest judges torture the words of the law to justify the solution that they, the judges, think is best for America.

For example, the Constitution is clear that powers not specifically granted to the federal government in the Constitution are reserved to the states.  The Constitution nowhere gives the federal government power to regulate marriage, which means that honest judges would, no matter what their personal beliefs, recognize that the Supreme Court cannot impose a radical redefinition of marriage on the states and, in the process, overthrow the votes of 55,000,000 Americans who have voted to not redefine marriage.

Dishonest judges, who view their role as “improving” society, have a very Louis XIV view of their authority.  As such, they believe that they have the authority to impose whatever they deem best on America.  While they pretend, for political purposes, that their activist rulings are based on the law, the reality is that their methodology, the “living” Constitution, allows them to claim that pretty much anything is based on the Constitution.

It would seem clear to all that if the Constitution was viewed by the courts, the presidents, and Congress for over 100 years saying something is illegal, it’s impossible that the intent of the people who ratified the Constitution was that that thing is in fact legal.

For example, abortion was viewed as a horrible crime right up to the time that artificial contraception was developed. Our knowledge of the humanity of the unborn had actually grown, and there had been no change in the moral issues surrounding abortion.  Hence, it was absurd to claim, as the dishonest judges on the Supreme Court did, that the intent of the Constitution was that killing an unborn child was not only legal, but a constitutionally protected right.

What had happened was that while the Pill led people to believe they could have sex without children, the reality is that mankind has yet to find a way to undo either God’s plan for the purpose of sex or basic biology, which makes the most likely outcome of sex a new human life.  For example, the typical woman on the Pill has about a 40% chance of an unexpected pregnancy during her lifetime.

But once some people thought they could have sex without children, they encountered the harsh reality that man hasn’t yet figured out a perfect way to have sex without the possibility of children.  As a result, they looked to the killing of “unwanted” babies as a surefire way to have sex without the “burden” of children.  Hence, while nothing about the nature of sex or the law had changed, the attitudes of some people had changed.

Under the Constitution, when the attitudes of some people change, they can change the law through the Democratic process.  Unfortunately for those who want to define some human beings as not being persons and not having rights, as the Nazis did for the Jews and as slave-owners did for blacks, the most they could “achieve” was a very limited right to kill their children in the most liberal states.

Dishonest judges eschewed their constitutional role and declared that some human beings, the most defenseless among us, were not persons and as such lacked any rights.  That decision is not based on anything that is said in the Constitution and in fact directly contradicts what the Constitution says.

Note that the Constitution does not limit those rights based on the developmental stage of a human being.

Further, for nearly 200 years, everyone in America, including the judiciary, believed that the Constitution did not contain a right to kill one’s children so long as the execution occurred before birth.

Hence, neither the intent of those who wrote and ratified the Constitution nor the actual words of the Constitution – remember that the phrase “right to privacy” appears nowhere in the Constitution – provide any support for the idea that there is a right to kill one’s unborn daughter because one wants a boy.  In spite of this, the dishonest judges on the Court overthrew the laws of all 50 states and declared that abortion is legal at any time and for any reason.

The practical implication of all of this is that we need to have honest judges on the Supreme Court, and all the lower courts, who will stick to their constitutionally mandated role, not judges who effectively eliminate the Democratic process and ignore the will of the people.

The fear that is overwhelming leftists about Trump appointing a replacement for Anthony Kennedy should teach them that having a dictatorial rather than an interpretive Court is bad.  Sadly, instead of learning that lesson, what we’re seeing is that they believe that the Court should have absolute power but that it should also be populated only by dishonest judges who impose the left’s vision on America.

In the upcoming fight over Kennedy’s replacement, remind your friends that the Trump nominee is not a conservative who was picked based on his willingness to impose conservative beliefs on America, but rather an honest judge who believes that his job is to apply the law as intended by the politicians elected by we the people.

For example, if leftists were to eradicate the 2nd Amendment through the process defined in the Constitution, whomever Trump nominates would not rule on a case that the “right to privacy” means that people can own guns anyway.

What this means is that the fight over Kennedy’s replacement is not a choice between conservatism and leftism, but rather a choice between democracy and tyranny.  It’s about whether we will live in a representative republic, where the laws are defined by the people through the Congress, or in a tyranny where the laws are defined by five unelected lawyers.

Ask your friends whom they want running the country: the people or less than a handful of unelected, mostly white, mostly male lawyers?

Trump and the American people have a chance to return power to the people – power that dishonest judges have stolen from us – and we need make sure that everyone knows what the real issue is.

You can read more of Tom’s rants at his blog, Conversations about the obvious, and feel free to follow him on Twitter.

Read more: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/06/there_are_no_conservative_judges.html#ixzz5KPFcJTnG

Donald Trump and the Supreme Court’s Future

The Supreme Court just recently upheld President Trump’s executive order travel/immigration ban from several predominantly Muslim countries. This was the President’s third attempt at a ban to restrict immigration from countries with known terrorist ties, countries whose governments are so low-functioning as to be virtually incapable (and unwilling!) to provide the U.S. with any meaningful vetting information on the proposed immigrants.

Not a single sane-thinking person of any political stripe disagrees in the privacy of their own thoughts with the notion of restricting unvettable immigrants from terror-producing countries. This was a good decision, a win for the country, obligatory bleats of protest from the Usual Quarters notwithstanding. The Court’s vote was 5-4, with the “4” no doubt feeling confident that they could vote ‘no’ and thus preserve their liberal bona fides, secure in the knowledge that the ‘5’ votes were there, and the measure was going to pass anyway.

Justice Anthony Kennedy just announced his retirement from the Court, effective July 31st, 2018. Named to the Court by President Reagan in 1987 (confirmed in 1988) after the Robert Bork debacle, Kennedy has long been considered a swing vote, unpredictably voting with either the liberal or conservative side in many key cases. Replacing Kennedy with a more reliable partisan vote, in either direction, will definitely shift the balance of the Court for many years to come.

It is the specter of Kennedy’s retirement that makes these mid-term elections so important. While all the talk has been about a so-called “Blue Wave” that would wrest control of the House away from the Republicans and make Nancy Pelosi Speaker once again, as chilling as that thought is to conservatives the real drama of this year’s elections concerns the Senate.

After Judge Roy Moore committed political suicide and gifted a Georgia Republican Senate seat to the Democrats in December 2017, the current Senate count is 51-49 in favor of the Republicans. There are 33 Senate seats up for election this November, 9 Republican and 24 Democrat (including independents who caucus with the Democrats). Without handicapping every single race and analyzing every conceivable scenario, it is not beyond the realm of realistic possibility that the Democrats could retake the Senate with a net gain of just two seats.

Trump’s purported political “allies” (House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, et al.) haven’t exactly been cooperative or helpful to any meaningful degree in terms of helping pass his legislation or helping him achieve his political aims. Bills inexplicably languish, legal/political initiatives remain frustratingly unpursued, and corrupt swamps are still maddeningly undrained. His so-called governing partners have been of astonishingly little help.

The only truly meaningful assistance that Trump’s party-mates have given him was when McConnell changed the existing rules of the Senate and executed the so-called “nuclear option,” whereby Senate confirmation of a Supreme Court nominee required only a simple majority of 51 instead of the previous super-majority of 60. The 60 number is not a legal requirement; it has simply been sort of an unspoken gentlemen’s agreement that important issues require at least a minimal degree of bipartisan support, so the 60-Vote Rule was adopted. When it became obvious that Democrats (and all too often, some dependably-obstreperous Republicans like McCain, Paul, Graham and others) had no intention of supporting anything coming from President Trump, McConnell changed the Supreme Court voting requirement to 51 so Trump nominees would at least have a chance at confirmation and the nation’s highest court could be fully staffed. Note that McConnell could have changed the requirement in the Senate to 51 votes for all measures, but he didn’t. Only for Supreme Court nominees. All other major issues still require 60.

The current 51-vote requirement is why Kennedy’s retirement before the November mid-terms is so important. Assuming a Trump replacement nominee could reach the Senate floor before November for a vote — and assuming those few troublesome Republican senators put their grandstanding egos on hold and toe the party line — Kennedy would be replaced by a conservative-leaning judge and the Court would become more consistently conservative in its rulings.

But if the Democrats delay the confirmation hearing and retake the Senate in November 2018, then all bets are off. In order to pass Democratically-controlled Senate muster, a Kennedy replacement would have to be a malleable centrist at the very least, if not a full-fledged liberal. At that point, the options for President Trump are either a liberal Court or an eight-person bench until 2020, with Republicans hoping for a Trump re-election and a Republican retaking of the Senate.

If the Republicans hold the Senate in 2018, then they will replace Justice Kennedy with a more conservative jurist (if they haven’t done so before the elections). Liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg is 85 and in questionable physical and mental health. (Who can forget her many instances of falling asleep on the job or her numerous close-to-incoherent utterances?) Similarly, liberal Justice Stephen Breyer will be 80 in August and it is conceivable that his term on the bench could also be ended for age-related reasons, especially during a second Trump term. If President Trump gets to replace them on the Court, then the country could very well have a 6-3 or even 7-2 conservative-leaning Supreme Court, for decades to come.

The implications will be huge for immigration policy, federal funding for sanctuary cities, environmental issues, affirmative action/racial quotas, gun-control rights and many others. (Interestingly, probably less so for reproductive rights than many people think, because even in the highly unlikely event that the Court overturned the decades-long, oft-challenged-but-always-survived Roe v Wade ruling, the matter would simply revert to the states, where it’s highly likely that the states — especially the more moderate-to-liberal ones — would retain the availability of “choice” pretty much exactly as it is now. That’s a discussion for another time.)

So while the drama and anticipation of whether the Blue Wave will indeed flip a few dozen House seats and give control of the House of Representatives back to the Democrats, seasoned political observers know that it is the 2018 Senate races — not the House — that hold the most impactful long-range implications for the country.

The Supreme Court just recently upheld President Trump’s executive order travel/immigration ban from several predominantly Muslim countries. This was the President’s third attempt at a ban to restrict immigration from countries with known terrorist ties, countries whose governments are so low-functioning as to be virtually incapable (and unwilling!) to provide the U.S. with any meaningful vetting information on the proposed immigrants.

Not a single sane-thinking person of any political stripe disagrees in the privacy of their own thoughts with the notion of restricting unvettable immigrants from terror-producing countries. This was a good decision, a win for the country, obligatory bleats of protest from the Usual Quarters notwithstanding. The Court’s vote was 5-4, with the “4” no doubt feeling confident that they could vote ‘no’ and thus preserve their liberal bona fides, secure in the knowledge that the ‘5’ votes were there, and the measure was going to pass anyway.

This latest Court vote demonstrates, once again, that the President’s — any president’s — ability and opportunity to name Supreme Court justices are without question his most lasting and impactful actions in office.

Justice Anthony Kennedy just announced his retirement from the Court, effective July 31st, 2018. Named to the Court by President Reagan in 1987 (confirmed in 1988) after the Robert Bork debacle, Kennedy has long been considered a swing vote, unpredictably voting with either the liberal or conservative side in many key cases. Replacing Kennedy with a more reliable partisan vote, in either direction, will definitely shift the balance of the Court for many years to come.

It is the specter of Kennedy’s retirement that makes these mid-term elections so important. While all the talk has been about a so-called “Blue Wave” that would wrest control of the House away from the Republicans and make Nancy Pelosi Speaker once again, as chilling as that thought is to conservatives the real drama of this year’s elections concerns the Senate.

After Judge Roy Moore committed political suicide and gifted a Georgia Republican Senate seat to the Democrats in December 2017, the current Senate count is 51-49 in favor of the Republicans. There are 33 Senate seats up for election this November, 9 Republican and 24 Democrat (including independents who caucus with the Democrats). Without handicapping every single race and analyzing every conceivable scenario, it is not beyond the realm of realistic possibility that the Democrats could retake the Senate with a net gain of just two seats.

Trump’s purported political “allies” (House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, et al.) haven’t exactly been cooperative or helpful to any meaningful degree in terms of helping pass his legislation or helping him achieve his political aims. Bills inexplicably languish, legal/political initiatives remain frustratingly unpursued, and corrupt swamps are still maddeningly undrained. His so-called governing partners have been of astonishingly little help.

The only truly meaningful assistance that Trump’s party-mates have given him was when McConnell changed the existing rules of the Senate and executed the so-called “nuclear option,” whereby Senate confirmation of a Supreme Court nominee required only a simple majority of 51 instead of the previous super-majority of 60. The 60 number is not a legal requirement; it has simply been sort of an unspoken gentlemen’s agreement that important issues require at least a minimal degree of bipartisan support, so the 60-Vote Rule was adopted. When it became obvious that Democrats (and all too often, some dependably-obstreperous Republicans like McCain, Paul, Graham and others) had no intention of supporting anything coming from President Trump, McConnell changed the Supreme Court voting requirement to 51 so Trump nominees would at least have a chance at confirmation and the nation’s highest court could be fully staffed. Note that McConnell could have changed the requirement in the Senate to 51 votes for all measures, but he didn’t. Only for Supreme Court nominees. All other major issues still require 60.

The current 51-vote requirement is why Kennedy’s retirement before the November mid-terms is so important. Assuming a Trump replacement nominee could reach the Senate floor before November for a vote — and assuming those few troublesome Republican senators put their grandstanding egos on hold and toe the party line — Kennedy would be replaced by a conservative-leaning judge and the Court would become more consistently conservative in its rulings.

But if the Democrats delay the confirmation hearing and retake the Senate in November 2018, then all bets are off. In order to pass Democratically-controlled Senate muster, a Kennedy replacement would have to be a malleable centrist at the very least, if not a full-fledged liberal. At that point, the options for President Trump are either a liberal Court or an eight-person bench until 2020, with Republicans hoping for a Trump re-election and a Republican retaking of the Senate.

If the Republicans hold the Senate in 2018, then they will replace Justice Kennedy with a more conservative jurist (if they haven’t done so before the elections). Liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg is 85 and in questionable physical and mental health. (Who can forget her many instances of falling asleep on the job or her numerous close-to-incoherent utterances?) Similarly, liberal Justice Stephen Breyer will be 80 in August and it is conceivable that his term on the bench could also be ended for age-related reasons, especially during a second Trump term. If President Trump gets to replace them on the Court, then the country could very well have a 6-3 or even 7-2 conservative-leaning Supreme Court, for decades to come.

The implications will be huge for immigration policy, federal funding for sanctuary cities, environmental issues, affirmative action/racial quotas, gun-control rights and many others. (Interestingly, probably less so for reproductive rights than many people think, because even in the highly unlikely event that the Court overturned the decades-long, oft-challenged-but-always-survived Roe v Wade ruling, the matter would simply revert to the states, where it’s highly likely that the states — especially the more moderate-to-liberal ones — would retain the availability of “choice” pretty much exactly as it is now. That’s a discussion for another time.)

So while the drama and anticipation of whether the Blue Wave will indeed flip a few dozen House seats and give control of the House of Representatives back to the Democrats, seasoned political observers know that it is the 2018 Senate races — not the House — that hold the most impactful long-range implications for the country.

Read more: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/06/donald_trump_and_the_supreme_courts_future.html#ixzz5KPJZh29N

Victor Davis Hanson

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Victor Davis Hanson
Victor Davis Hanson.jpg

Hanson giving a lecture at Kenyon College in May 2005
Born September 5, 1953 (age 64)
Fowler, California, U.S.
Occupation Writer, historian, farmer
Nationality American
Subject Military history, history of ancient warfare, ancient agrarianismclassics

Victor Davis Hanson (born September 5, 1953) is an American classicistmilitary historian, columnist, and farmer. He has been a commentator on modern and ancient warfare and contemporary politics for National ReviewThe Washington Times and other media outlets. He is a professor emeritus of classics at California State University, Fresno, and is currently the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in classics and military history at Stanford University‘s Hoover Institution. He chairs the Hoover working group on Military History and Contemporary Conflict as well as being the general editor of the Hoover online journal, Strategika. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College where he teaches an intensive course on world, ancient or military history in the autumn semester, as the Wayne and Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History since 2004.[1] Hanson is the author of Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power (2001), a New York Times best-selling book.

Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush, and was a presidential appointee in 2007–2008 on the American Battle Monuments Commission that oversees the cemeteries of and monuments of U.S. war dead abroad. Hanson is a student of current affairs, particularly regarding the U.S. in the Middle East, national defense issues and illegal immigration. He is also a fifth-generation farmer, growing almonds on a family farm in Selma, California, where he resides, and is a commentator on social trends related to farming and agrarianism.

Early life, education and today

Hanson, who is of Swedish and Welsh descent, grew up on a family farm outside of Selma, California in the San Joaquin Valley and has worked there most of his life. His mother, Pauline Davis Hanson, was a lawyer and a California superior court and state appeals court justice, his father was a farmer, educator and junior college administrator. Along with his older brother Nels, a writer, and fraternal twin Alfred, a farmer and biologist, Hanson attended public schools and graduated from Selma High School. Hanson received his BA with highest honors in classics and general college honors, Cowell College, from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1975[2] and his PhD in classics from Stanford University in 1980. He is a Protestant Christian.[3] He also won the Raphael Demos scholarship at the College Year in Athens (1973–74) and was a regular member of the American School of Classical Studies, Athens, 1978–79.

Hanson is currently a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and professor emeritus at California State University, Fresno,[4] where he began teaching in 1984, having created the classical studies program at that institution.

In 1991, Hanson was awarded an American Philological Association‘s Excellence in Teaching Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top undergraduate teachers of Greek and Latin, and he was named distinguished alumnus of the year (2006) at University of California, Santa Cruz.[4] He has been a visiting professor of classics at Stanford University (1991–92), a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California (1992–93), an Alexander Onassistraveling fellowship to Greece (1999), as well as Nimitz Fellow at UC Berkeley (2006) and held the visiting Shifrin Chair of Military History at the U.S. Naval AcademyAnnapolis, Maryland (2002–03), and often the William Simon visiting professorship at the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University (2009–15), and was awarded in 2015 an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the graduate school at Pepperdine. He gave the Wriston Lecture in 2004 for the Manhattan Institute. He has been a board member of the Bradley Foundationsince 2015, and served on the HF Guggenheim Foundation board for over a decade.

Since 2004, Hanson has written a weekly column syndicated by Tribune Media Services, as well as a weekly column for National Review Online since 2001, and has not missed a weekly column for either venue since he began. He has been published in The New York TimesWall Street JournalThe Times Literary SupplementThe Daily TelegraphAmerican Heritage, and The New Criterion, among other publications. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal (2007) by President George W. Bush, as well as the Eric Breindel Prize for opinion journalism (2002), and the William F. Buckley Prize (2015). Hanson was also awarded the Claremont Institute’s Statesmanship Award at its annual Churchill Dinner, and the Bradley Prize from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in 2008.[4]

Writing

Hanson’s Warfare and Agriculture (Giardini 1983), his PhD thesis, argued that Greek warfare could not be understood apart from agrarian life in general, and suggested that the modern assumption that agriculture was irrevocably harmed during classical wars was vastly overestimated. The Western Way of War (Alfred Knopf 1989), for which John Keegan wrote the introduction, explored the combatants’ experiences of ancient Greek battle and detailed the Hellenic foundations of later Western military practice.

The Other Greeks (The Free Press 1995) argued that the emergence of a unique middling agrarian class explains the ascendance of the Greek city-state, and its singular values of consensual government, sanctity of private property, civic militarism and individualism. In Fields Without Dreams (The Free Press 1996, winner of the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award) and The Land Was Everything (The Free Press 2000, a Los Angeles Times notable book of the year), Hanson lamented the decline of family farming and rural communities, and the loss of agrarian voices in American democracy. The Soul of Battle (The Free Press 1999) traced the careers of Epaminondas, the Theban liberator, William Tecumseh Sherman, and George S. Patton, in arguing that democratic warfare’s strengths are best illustrated in short, intense and spirited marches to promote consensual rule, but bog down otherwise during long occupations or more conventional static battle.

In Mexifornia (Encounter 2003)—a personal memoir about growing up in rural California and an account of immigration from Mexico—Hanson that predicted illegal immigration would soon reach crisis proportions, unless legal, measured, and diverse immigration was restored, as well as the traditional melting-pot values of integration, assimilation, and intermarriage.

Ripples of Battle (Doubleday 2003) chronicled how the cauldron of battle affects combatants’ later literary and artistic work, as its larger influence ripples for generations, affecting art, literature, culture, and government. In A War Like No Other (Random House 2005, a New York Times notable book of the year), a history of the Peloponnesian War, Hanson offered an alternative history, arranged by methods of fighting—triremes, hoplites, cavalry, sieges, etc.) in concluding that the conflict marked a brutal watershed event for the Greek city-states. The Savior Generals (Bloomsbury 2013) followed the careers of five great generals, arguing that rare qualities in leadership emerge during hopeless predicaments that only rare individuals can salvage.

The End of Sparta (Bloomsbury 2011) is a novel about a small community of Thespian farmers who join the great march of Epaminondas (369/70 BC) into the heart of the Peloponnese to destroy Spartan hegemony, free the Messenian helots, and spread democracy in the Peloponnese.

In addition, Hanson has edited several collected essays (Hoplites, Routledge 1991), Bonfire of the Humanities (with B. Thornton and J. Heath, ISI 2001), and Makers of Ancient Strategy (Princeton 2010), as well as a number of his own collected articles (An Autumn of War [2002 Anchor], Between War and Peace [Anchor 2004], and The Father of Us All [Bloomsbury 2010]). He has written a number of chapters for scholarly works such as the Cambridge History of War, and the Cambridge History of Ancient Warfare.

Carnage and Culture

Hanson is the author of the 2001 book Carnage and Culture (Doubleday), published in Great Britain and the Commonwealth countries as Why the West Has Won, in which he argued that the military dominance of Western civilization, beginning with the ancient Greeks, results from certain fundamental aspects of Western culture, such as consensual government, a tradition of self-critique, secular rationalism, religious tolerance, individual freedom, free expression, free markets, and individualism. Hanson’s emphasis on cultural exception rejects racial explanations for Western military preeminence and disagrees as well with environmental or geographical determinist explanations such as those put forth by Jared Diamond in Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997).[5]

According to Hanson, Western values such as political freedomcapitalismindividualismdemocracyscientific inquiryrationalism, and open debate form an especially lethal combination when applied to warfare. Non-western societies can win occasional victories when warring against a society with these western values, writes Hanson, but the “Western way of war” will likely prevail in the long run. Hanson emphasizes that western warfare is not necessarily more (or less) moral than war as practiced by other cultures; his argument is simply that the “Western way of war” is unequaled in its emphases on devastation and decisiveness, fueled by superior technology and logistics.

Carnage and Culture examines nine battles throughout history, each of which is used to illustrate a particular aspect of Western culture that Hanson believes contributes to the dominance of Western warfare. The battles or campaigns recounted (with themes in parenthesis) are the Battle of Salamis (480 BC; free citizens), the Battle of Gaugamela (331 BC; the decisive battle of annihilation), the Battle of Cannae (216 BC; civic militarism), the Battle of Tours/Poitiers (732; infantry), the Battle of Tenochtitlan (1521; technology and reason), the Battle of Lepanto (1571; capitalism), the Battle of Rorke’s Drift (1879; discipline), the Battle of Midway (1942; individualism), and the Tet Offensive (1968; dissent).

Though Carnage and Culture appeared before the September 11 attacks of 2001, its message that the “Western way of war” will ultimately prevail made the book a bestseller in the wake of those events. Immediately after 9/11, Carnage and Culture was re-issued with a new afterword by Hanson in which he explicitly stated that the United States government would win its “War on Terror” for the reasons stated in the book.

The American military officer Robert Bateman in a 2007 article on the Media Matters for America website criticized the Hanson thesis, arguing if Hanson’s point about Western armies preferring to seek out a decisive battle of annihilation is rebutted by the Second Punic War, where the Roman attempts to annihilate the Carthaginians instead led to the Carthaginians annihilating the Romans at the Battle of Cannae.[6] Bateman argued that Hanson was wrong about Western armies common preferences in seeking out a battle of annihilation, arguing that the Romans only defeated the Carthaginians via the Fabian Strategy of keeping their armies in being and not engaging Hannibal in battle.[6] In his first response, Hanson argued that Bateman was engaged in a “puerile, politically correct” attack on him, and accused Bateman of being motivated by current left-wing politics rather a genuine interest in history.[7] In a second response, Hanson called Bateman’s use of personal, adolescent invectives such as “pervert”, “feces”, and “devil”, as unprofessional and “unhinged”, and had no role in scholarly disagreements, accusing Bateman of being poorly informed of history and geography, as well as engaging in conduct unbecoming a U.S. Army officer.[8] Hanson declared that Bateman was incorrect about the Battle of Yarmoukarguing that the Golan Heights were at the edge of the Eastern Roman Empire, instead of being in the center as Bateman argued, and claimed that the Romans lost because of divided leadership rather than as a result of superior Islamic generalship as Bateman had contended.[8]

In his final responses, Hanson argued that Bateman was unfamiliar with any foreign language, did not understand the practice of translation or scholarly citation, and was utterly confused by basic issues of geography and history.

United States education and classical studies

Hanson co-authored the book Who Killed Homer?: The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom with John Heath. This book explores the issue of how classical education has declined in the US and what might be done to restore it to its former prominence. This is important, according to Hanson and Heath, because knowledge of the classical Greeks and Romans is necessary to fully understand Western culture. To begin a discussion along these lines the authors state, “The answer to why the world is becoming Westernized goes all the way back to the wisdom of the Greeks—reason enough why we must not abandon the study of our heritage”.[9]

Hanson and Heath, in their populist argument for a return to undergraduate teaching, fault the academic classicists themselves for the decline, accusing them of becoming so infected with political correctness and postmodern thinking, not to mention egoism and money-grubbing (grants, visiting professorships, conference-hopping, promotion based on unreadable publications), that they have lost sight of what Hanson and Heath feel the classics truly represent. They say it this way, “the study of Greek in the last twenty years became a profession, a tiny world—but a world of sorts nonetheless—of jets, conferences, publicity, jargon, and perks.”[10]

The political scientist Francis Fukuyama, reviewing Who Killed Homer? favorably in Foreign Affairs, noted,

The classicists Victoria Cech and Joy Connolly have found Who Killed Homer? to have considerable pitfalls. Reviews of the book have noted several problems with the authors’ perception of classical culture.

Per Victoria Cech, Director of Grants & Program Development,[12]

Per Joy Connolly, Professor of Classics at New York University,[14]

Political views

Hanson is a registered member of the Democratic Party, but he is also a traditional conservative who voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 and 2004 elections.[16]

He has been described as a neoconservative by some commentators, for his support of maintaining U.S. troops to rebuild society after successful military interventions,[17][18] and has stated, “I came to support neocon approaches first in the wars against the Taliban and Saddam, largely because I saw little alternative.”[19] In 2005, Hanson wrote of why he did not find the Democratic Party populist or reflective of its prior concerns: “The Democratic Party reminds me of the Republicans circa 1965 or so—impotent, shrill, no ideas, conspiratorial, reactive, out-of-touch with most Americans, isolationist, and full of embarrassing spokesmen.”[20]

More recently, Hanson has appeared to reject the term neoconservative, writing in a 2016 column “Hillary’s Neoliberals” that the term neoconservative was coined in the 1970s to describe liberals who moved right on social issues and on maintaining deterrence during the Cold War.[21] Hanson has critiqued the decision of several neoconservatives to declare their support for Hillary Clinton as preferable to Donald Trump on grounds that Clinton has a long history of abuse of office, and is mired in scandal over violations of national security statutes as well as influence peddling between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department. Hanson has attacked these neoconservatives as “neoliberals” who were never entirely proper conservative, arguing that these people had joined the Republican Party out of distaste for the Democratic Party, which had nominated as the presidential candidates George McGovern in 1972 and Jimmy Carter in 1976 as opposed to converting to conservatism.[21] Hanson ended his column that there were now two emerging factions in America—the proverbial ordinary Americans supporting Trump vs. the elites of both the Democratic and Republican parties supporting Clinton.[21] Hanson wrote: “A mostly urban, highly educated, and high-income globalized elite often shares more cultural and political affinities with their counterparts on the other side of the aisle than they do with the lower-middle and working classes of their own parties. Just as Hillary Clinton may feel more comfortable with the old neoconservatives, Trump supporters have little in common with either Clintonites or neocons. Clinton versus Trump is a war of NPRCBS, and the New York Times against the National Enquirerconservative talk radio, and the Drudge Report. Clinton supporters such as former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, onetime Bush officials Hank Paulsonand Brent Scowcroft, and billionaire Meg Whitman certainly have nothing in common with Republican Trump supporters such as Mike Huckabee and Rush Limbaugh. Culture, not just politics, is rapidly destroying—but also rebuilding—traditional political parties.”[21]

Hanson was a defender of George W. Bush and his policies,[22] especially the Iraq War.[23] He was also a vocal supporter of Bush’s Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Hanson wrote of Rumsfeld that he was: “a rare sort of secretary of the caliber of George Marshall” and a “proud and honest-speaking visionary” whose “hard work and insight are bringing us ever closer to victory”.[24]

On the issues pertaining to the constant political turmoil in the Middle East, Hanson emphasizes the lack of individual and political freedom, as well as transparency and self-critique, in many Middle Eastern nations as a major factor retarding economic, technological and cultural progress. He further relates the root cause of radical Islamic terrorism to insecurities resulting from a failure to achieve parity with the West, and a reactionary need to regain honor and pride.[25]

Iraq War

Hanson believed that the Iraq War, given the repeated serial violations by Iraq of UN sanctions, congressional mandates, and the threats that Saddam Hussein posed, in a post-9/11 climate, to the long-term security of the Middle East, was a necessary and worthwhile undertaking—and was, after a flawed occupation, eventually a laudable success that had led to a workable government in 2009 and relative calm in Iraq: analogous to the foundations of the successful American occupation of South Korea in the latter 1950s that led to the democratic society of today. However, he stated in 2008 that he, “… disagreed with many of the decisions made about the Iraq war,” such as the dissolution of the old Iraqi army.[19]

Hanson argued that the “surge” of 2007 had largely won the Iraq War by the beginning of 2009, and that rise of the Islamic State terrorist group which seized control of much of Iraq in mid-2014 was the result of what Hanson sees as the unwise withdrawal of all American troops from Iraq in December 2011, which he blames on the Obama administration.[26] Hanson argued that if only American troops had stayed in Iraq after December 2011, then the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki would have been less sectarian and the Islamic State group would have never emerged.[27] Hanson argued that the December 2011 withdrawal from Iraq was motivated to help improve Obama’s chances of reelection in 2012, an act that he compared to being equivalent to the United States pulling its troops out of South Korea in 1955, arguing if only the Americans had stayed in Iraq, then that nation would have evolved into a Near Eastern version of South Korea.[28]

America and the world

In 2004, Hanson gave a mostly favorable review to the book Colossus by the British historian Niall Ferguson, where Ferguson argued that the United States should be an imperial power in the sense of preserving the post war order of global free trade, communications, and commerce, and the principal problem with Americans was that they were unwilling to embrace global leadership in the same way that people in 19th century Britain did.[29] Hanson found much to approve of in Ferguson’s book, writing: “In reality, we should be natural imperialists, given our wealth and expertise. Americans are also endowed with an exceptional moral sense. We are a generous people, whose checkered imperial interventions in the past rarely proved profitable or exploitive.”[29] Hanson agreed with Ferguson that the principle problem with Americans was an unease at playing the role of an imperialistic power, argued that post-1945 histories of Germany and Japan proved the beneficial results of American occupation and predicted that Iraq under American occupation would become just as much a prosperous and democratic society as Germany and Japan are.[29] Hanson praised Ferguson for his defense of the British Empire as a benevolent force and his thesis that the United States should play the same role in the world as the British Empire, writing: “Does Ferguson propose a new American liberal empire? In fact, he does almost, but not before noting that the British Victorians themselves got a bad rap as exploitive colonialists. In fact, the record of the 18th and 19th centuries prove exactly the opposite: Former and once-prosperous colonies, following autonomy, quickly turned into self-induced miseries, while Britain itself thrived as never before once free of these costly obligations. Empire turns out not to be a means of making money, but instead an idealist pursuit to keep sea lanes open, bullies at bay and nations trading rather than fighting. The world has been lucky to have the Americans fill this vacuum, inasmuch as the British once did a pretty good job of it as well.”[29] Hanson, well before the immigration and financial crises of the EU, also praised Ferguson for his very negative picture of the European Union as being both “busy triangulating with our enemies” and “running huge trade deficits with us as we supply their own security needs.” He cites appears to agree with Ferguson that Europe is undemocratic, and statist, but that with a population in decline and even worse entitlement overspending than the US, a more broken melting pot, and socialist response to these issues ensuring Europe will be unable generate the unity or idealism required to supplant the US.[29]

Israeli–Arab conflict

In his article Israel did it, Hanson asked why Israel, during the 2006 Lebanon war, was being blamed for responding to attacks by Hezbollah.[30] Hanson was critical of the Middle East policies of the administration of Barack Obama and accused the Obama administration of distancing itself from Israel, despite its exceptional position as a tolerant Western nation in the Middle East, and of preferring the Palestinian Authority and Hamas despite being anti-Western.[31]

Race relations

Hanson has often argued that in a 21st-century multiracial America there is little overt racism on the part of whites, and that generic complaints of racism too often are automatic from an often privileged African-American elite that uses such charges of racism to advance careerist concerns not often synonymous with those in the inner city.[32] In reference to the Gates affair in which the Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates was arrested in his home when a white policeman responded to a report of a possible break-in, Hanson argued that the policeman’s actions were understandable given that “… African-American males commit crimes at rates both higher than the general population’s, and at levels higher than other minority groups that likewise struggle with poverty and systemic unfairness.”[33]

In a 2012 column titled “The New Racial Derangement Syndrome”, Hanson argued again that class considerations now more often trump racial differences, and that racism in modern America is not confined to any one particular group, citing various statements by prominent African-Americans such as Morgan FreemanSamuel L. JacksonJamie FoxxChris Rock and Rob Parker that he saw as racially chauvinistic and often blatantly anti-white, and thus as signs of a new “racialist derangement” sweeping across black America that had set back considerable progress in making racial considerations prior to 2009 incidental rather than essential to an American citizen’s identity.[34] In a 2015 column titled “The Weariness of the Whiners”, Hanson illustrated the paradoxes of race and class, by illustrating the talk show hostess Oprah Winfrey claim that she was a victim of racism when a clerk at the Trois Pommes boutique refused to display a $38,000 handbag to her.[32] In a 2016 column “The New Segregationism”, Hanson lamented growing racial polarization, mostly on the part of elites who take refuge in racial chauvinism when their own careerist concerns are unmet. He used as an example of what he sees as the unlikelihood of the claim that there is anti-black racism in modern America in the complaint by the actor Will Smith that he was not nominated for an Oscar.[35]

Hanson has been critical of the group Black Lives Matter, which he maintains is a group based on “racial chauvinism” and “whining” which has told a “series of lies”—beginning with the “hands up don’t shoot” untruth in the Ferguson shooting of Michael Brown—about the supposedly statistically-proven epidemic of police killings of black men, the majority of which Hanson argued were found to be justified on the basis of current police practice and protocols.[36] Hanson claimed that responsibility for declining racial relations often rested with Barack Obama, whom Hanson suggested had deliberately inflamed racial tensions between whites and blacks, with a series of gratuitous and racially charged commentaries, dating from the 2008 campaign to editorializing about the Trayvon Martin killing case, as a way of securing the votes of black Americans for the Democrats.[37] Hanson faulted Obama for having “…systematically adopted a rhetoric and an agenda that is predicated on dividing up the country according to tribal grievances, in hopes of recalibrating various factions into a majority grievance culture. In large part, he has succeeded politically. But in doing so he has nearly torn the country apart. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to suggest that no other recent president has offered such a level of polarizing and divisive racial bombast.”[38]

Hanson has also been consistently critical of unchecked and unmonitored illegal immigration into the United States from Mexico and the Central American republics, which he sees as threatening to overwhelm the United States with millions of Spanish-speakers who make assimilation difficult and some of whom he charges have criminal records and do not establish a record of work history. In a 2014 column “1984 Redux: Orwellian Illegal Immigration” Hanson wrote that Hispanic groups that use the name La Raza are racialists who have “hijacked” America’s immigration policy to permit non-diverse, illegal, and unrestricted illegal immigration into the United States to further demographically-based political agendas, and who have made often false claims of suffering continual racial prejudice from a supposed prejudiced white majority, while arguing that Latinos as members of La Raza should keep themselves separate from the rest of Americans.[39] Hanson has condemned groups such as the National Council of La Raza as he argued that term La Raza has an unfortunate history as a “racialist term,” whose origins he claims go back to fascist Spain of General Francisco Franco and Benito Mussolini‘s fascist Italy, and those Mexican-American leaders who self-identify with the Francoist term La Raza are themselves guilty of operating as racial separatists.[40] In this regard, Hanson has voiced qualified support for Donald Trump‘s plans to deport illegal immigrants from the United States, after offering a chance for green card residence to those who were vetted and found to have no criminal record, no history of public support, and residence of some duration. Blanket deportation policy, Hanson argued, would be as “unworkable”, as is the present open-borders status quo.[41]

Hanson is also opposed to the unvetted, and often illegal mass influx of mostly young male refugees from the war-torn Middle East into Europe, alluding to the resulting tensions in EU society by using premodern/postmodern allusions to H.G. Well’s 1895 novel The Time Machine that the millions of Muslims fleeing to Europe are the “Morlocks” (i.e. a fierce underclass) who will devour the Europeans who are “Eloi” (i.e. largely defenseless and overly refined creatures).[42] Hanson wrote that: “Europe’s immigration policy is a disaster—and for reasons that transcend the idiocy of allowing the free influx of young male Muslims from a premodern, war-torn Middle East into a postmodern, pacifist, and post-Christian Europe.”[42] Hanson has called the German Chancellor Angela Merkel “unhinged” for welcoming about a million refugees fleeing from the Syrian Civil War into her nation without plans to assimilate or integrate such numbers, instead of sending them to their countries of origin. Hanson has denied that all Syrians fleeing into Europe are refugees from the civil war, writing that uncharacteristically most refugees are “…young, single men from the Middle East who pour into Europe not as political refugees but as opportunists eager for European social largesse”.[43] Hanson wrote “Merkel’s disastrous decision to open the borders of Germany—and with them Europe’s as well—is proving both selfish and suicidal.”[43]

Along the same lines, Hanson has argued that history proves that multi-cultural societies have too often proved disastrous failures, and that only way of preventing a society from collapsing into tribal bloodbaths is a “common culture, one that artificially suppresses the natural instinct of humans to identify first with their particular tribe”.[38] As an example of what he sees as a law of history, Hanson wrote: “The Italian Roman Republic lasted about 500 years. In contrast, the multiracial Roman Empire that after the Edict of Caracalla in AD 212 made all its diverse peoples equal citizens endured little more than two (often violent) centuries.”[44] Along the same lines Hanson wrote in the 2016 column “Diversity: History’s Pathway to Chaos” that: “Emphasizing diversity has been the pitfall, not the strength, of nations throughout history”.[45] Hanson charged that the current celebration of diversity was destroying America and ended with the statement if the celebration of diversity did not end: “Otherwise, we will end up as 50 separate and rival nations—just like other failed states in history whose diverse tribes and races destroyed themselves in a Hobbesian dog-eat-dog war with one another.”[45] In a 2013 column titled “Western Cultural Suicide”, Hanson wrote: “Multiculturalism—as opposed to the notion of a multiracial society united by a single culture—has become an abject contradiction in the modern Western world… Western hosts lost confidence in the very society that gives us the wealth and leisure to ignore or caricature its foundations. The result is that millions of immigrants flock to the West, enjoy its material security, and yet feel little need to bond with their adopted culture, given that their hosts themselves are ambiguous about what others desperately seek out.”[46]

Writing about the murder of a British soldier by two Nigerian Muslims on the streets of London in May 2013, Hanson wrote the murder reflected what he viewed as cultural decline, stating: “In Britain, as in the West in general, deportation is a fossilized concept. Unity is passé. Patriotism is long suspect. The hip metrosexual cultures of the urban West strain to find fault in their inheritance, and seem to appreciate those who do that in the most cool fashion—but always with the expectation that there will be some poor blokes who, in terms of clean water, medical care, free speech, and dependable electricity, ensure that London is not Lagos, that Stockholm is not Damascus, and that Los Angeles is not Nuevo Laredo.”[46] Through acknowledging that in the early years of the American republic that to be American was to be white, Hanson argued that the “ultimate logic” of the American constitution led to the United States becoming a society where “multiracialism under one common culture” was the norm, but unfortunately in the late 20th century “multiculturalism, in which each particular ethnic group retained its tribal chauvinism and saw itself as separate from the whole” become the new norm.[44]

In July 2013, the Attorney General Eric Holder gave a speech when he mentioned that as a black man the need to deliver “the Talk” to his children, namely he would have to inform his children that some, mostly white people who were going to hate them not because what they did, but simply because of their skin color. In response to Holder’s speech, Hanson wrote a column titled “Facing Facts about Race” where he offered up his own version (and others’) of “the Talk”, namely the need to inform his children to be careful of young black men when venturing into the inner city, who Hanson argued were statistically more likely to commit violent crimes than young men of other races, and that therefore it was understandable for the police to focus on groups with the highest statistical crime rates, which turn out to be young black males.[47]

Hanson wrote his father once had been robbed by young black men, and had given him “the Talk” warning his son to exercise caution in known crime-ridden areas and to note that African-American male youth have a far higher incidence of assault than other groups; and Hanson added that having been robbed himself by black men, he had given “the Talk” warning his children to avoid situations when in dangerous areas and to exercise caution there when encountering groups of young African-American men when alone, whom Hanson argue were statistically more likely to have had criminal records.[47] Hanson therefore criticized Holder and Obama for suggesting that racism may have been a factor in the trial of Hispanic George Zimmerman who had been charged and acquitted of murder with the shooting death of Trayvon Martin—and especially for intruding in an ongoing criminal case before a jury had even been selected.[47] Hanson argued that Zimmerman was later found by a jury of his peers to be justified in shooting Martin in self-defense, and he suggested that Obama was alluding to racism being a factor in the case, to distract attention from his then unpopular presidency.[47]

Referring to the concurrent case at the time of two Vietnamese-Americans killed by a black convicted felon, Hanson wrote: “The world will long remember Trayvon Martin, but few people—and certainly not Barack Obama or Eric Holder, who have a bad habit, in an increasingly multiracial country, of claiming solidarity on the basis of race—will care that Khin Min and Lina Lim were torn to pieces by bullets and a knife. Few will care that they died in a vicious assault that had nothing to do with stereotyping, Stand Your Ground self-defense, weak gun laws, insufficient federal civil-rights legislation, or any of the other causes of interracial violence falsely advanced by the attorney general—but quite a lot to do with an urban culture that for unspoken reasons has spawned an epidemic of disproportionate violent crime on the part of young African-American males.”[47]

Criticism for his views on race relations

In response to “Facing Facts About Race”, the American writer Ta-Nehisi Coates accused Hanson of racism and stupidity.[48] Referring to Hanson’s “Talk”, Coates wrote: “Let us be direct—in any other context we would automatically recognize this “talk” as stupid advice. If I were to tell you that I only employ Asian-Americans to do my taxes because “Asian-Americans do better on the Math SAT,” you would not simply question my sensitivity, but my mental faculties. That is because you would understand that in making an individual decision, employing an ancestral class of millions is not very intelligent. Moreover, were I to tell you I wanted my son to marry a Jewish woman because “Jews are really successful,” you would understand that statement for the stupidity which it is…There is no difference between my argument above and the notion that black boys should be avoided because they are overrepresented in the violent crime stats. But one of the effects of racism is its tendency to justify stupidity.”[48]

The Anglo-American journalist Andrew Sullivan called Hanson’s column “spectacularly stupid”, writing: “Treating random strangers as inherently dangerous because of their age, gender and skin color is a choice to champion fear over reason, a decision to embrace easy racism over any attempt to overcome it”.[49] The American journalist Arthur Stern called “Facing Facts About Race” an “inflammatory” column based upon crime statistics that Hanson never cited, writing: “His presentation of this controversial opinion as undeniable fact without exhaustive statistical proof is undeniably racist.”[50] The Anglo-American journalist Kelefa Sanneh in response to “Facing Facts About Race” wrote that Hanson was wrong to claim that white and Asian-Americans were all victims of black criminals, writing: “It’s strange, then, to read Hanson writing as if the fear of violent crime were mainly a “white or Asian” problem, about which African-Americans might be uninformed, or unconcerned—as if African-American parents weren’t already giving their children more detailed and nuanced versions of Hanson’s “sermon,” sharing his earnest and absurd hope that the right words might keep trouble at bay.”[51]

The Anglo-American journalist John Derbyshire, who was fired from the National Review for writing a similar column in 2012 titled “The Talk: Nonblack Version”, came to Hanson’s defense, praising him for “spot-on observations” about race relations in modern America, through he argued that his column was much superior.[52] In “The Talk: Nonblack Version”, Derbyshire, who had earlier been criticized by Hanson on his advocacy for racial stereotyping well beyond the context of traveling in high crime areas, went well beyond what Hanson had advocated, telling his children not to live in cities with black mayors, never to help a black person in distress, to avoid all public gatherings with large numbers of black people and only have a few black people as friends to avoid allegations of prejudice.[53]Contra Coates, Derbyshire argued in support of Hanson that the best way to avoid being a victim of crime was: “..stay well clear of crowds of unfamiliar blacks. Might application of those rules leave someone with hurt feelings? Probably. So in this pan we have some stranger’s hurt feelings. In the other pan, we have our kids’ safety. What’s the beam doing, Ta-Nehisi?”.[52] Hanson in response to Sanneh’s essay accused him of a “McCarthyite character assassination” and “infantile, if not racialist, logic”.[54]

Confrontation with Iran

Hanson has argued that the U.S. may be forced to take a much more confrontational stance towards Iranian violation of prior nuclear enrichment prohibitions, advocating, if necessary, unilateral responses to the country should it continue its aggressive acts of war. On the Hugh Hewitt show in August 2007, Hanson stated, “We really need to start doing some things beyond talking, and if that is going into Iranian airspace, or buzzing Iranians, or even starting to forget where the border is and taking out some of these training camps, we need to do that and send a message, because they’re a paper tiger. They really are.”[55] In a 2014 column Hanson faulted the Obama administration for engaging in “appeasement” of Iran and of fruitlessly attempting to negotiate an end to the Iranian program to acquire nuclear weapons, predicating if Iran continued enrichment unchecked that: “Accordingly, it is more than likely that in the next two years Iran will become a nuclear power.”[56]

China

Hanson has argued that China is an increasingly aggressive power that is set upon eventually dominating East Asia. In a 2014 column titled “Is China copying the Old Imperial Japan?”, Hanson answered his question in the affirmative.[57] Hanson maintained that economically successful Asian nations without the deterrent power of the United States are naturally inclined to expansionism.[57] Hanson claimed that Japan, as a result of late nineteenth-century Meiji era reforms, had become powerful at the same time the United States had temporarily retreated into isolationism which allowed Japan to embark upon an imperialistic foreign policy; that the same thing was happening today with China and the United States under the leadership of Barack Obama.[57] Along these lines, Hanson has cited China for attempting to create its version of “Greater East Asia co-prosperity sphere”, which would incorporate all of East Asia.[58]

Russia

Hanson repeatedly accused President Barack Obama of engaging in “appeasement” of Russia. Hanson argues that Vladimir Putin is the embodiment of “eternal Russia”, an aggressively expansionist and anti-Western nation whose people are innately anti-democratic. In a 2012 column titled “History Never Quite Ends”, Hanson wrote: “From the czars to the Soviet Communists to Vladimir Putin’s cronies, there is something about constitutional government and liberal rule that bothers Mother Russia. The more that progressive outsiders seek to lecture or reform Russians, the more likely they are to bristle and push back with left-wing or right-wing nationalist strongmen. At present, we do not know whether there will be a Czar Vladimir, Comrade Putin, or Putin Inc. in charge, but we fear it does not matter much”.[59] Hanson depicts modern Russia in unflattering terms as “…a disaster of a declining population, corruption, authoritarianism, a warped economy, and a high rate of alcoholism.”[60] Precisely because Russia is so weak, Hanson claims that Putin is driven to aggression against his neighbors with the overwhelmingly support of the Russian people out of a sense of hurt pride and a desire to make Russia great again.[60] In 2014, Hanson called Putin “evil”, writing: “Putin is almost Milton’s Satan—as if, in his seductive evil, he yearns for clarity, perhaps even a smackdown, if not just for himself, for us as well. He is not the better man than Obama but, again like Milton’s Satan, the more interesting, if only because he reminds of us of our own limitations.”[61] In a 2015 column, Hanson wrote about what he views as the aims of Russian foreign policy that:

Hanson stated that Obama’s much heralded “reset” of relations with Russia in 2009 had “empowered” Putin and, in this way, Obama was responsible for the outbreak of the war in Ukraine in 2014.[27][61][62][63] In 2009, Hanson wrote about the “reset”: “…former Soviet republics understand that Russia’s Putin has a de facto green light to “readjust” their present-day, “ad hoc” borders—with President Obama about as clear on any future dispute as candidate Obama was about Georgia.”[64] In 2014, Hanson predicted that Russia might very well invade Estonia in the near future, stating: “Future targeted states, perhaps like Estonia, should understand that they are slated to play the 1939 role of Poland after the earlier Anschluss and dismemberment of Czechoslovakia.”[65] In 2014, Hanson predicted that the Russian-dominated Eurasian Economic Union, which Hanson calls the “Russian Union” would continue to grow, writing: “Soon the Russian Union could dwarf the European Union, as the former consolidates and the latter threatens to fragment.”[66]

In 2015, Hanson wrote:

In another 2015 column, Hanson wrote about he sees as Putin’s mindset that:

Hanson is opposed to the Russian intervention in the Syrian civil war, which he argues is a part of a bid by Putin to construct an anti-American Russian-Syrian-Iranian-Iraqi alliance that will dominate the Middle East and intimidate the Gulf states.[69] Hanson has made the claim that the primary responsibility for the outbreak of the Second World War was not due to Adolf Hitler, but was rather due to the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and the French Premier Édouard Daladier who failed to maintain credible threats of deterrence.[70] Hanson has argued Obama has likewise failed to maintain a credible threat of deterrence, and as such, the world is on the verge of another war comparable to the Second World War.[70] Hanson has predicted that Putin will sometime in the near-future invade one or more of the Baltic states if the United States does not provide more deterrence to Russia.[71]

Works

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Davis_Hanson

 

Charles Murray (political scientist)

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Charles Murray
Charles Murray Speaking at FreedomFest.jpeg

Murray in 2013
Born Charles Alan Murray
January 8, 1943 (age 75)
Newton, Iowa, U.S.
Alma mater Harvard University (AB)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (SMPhD)
Known for The Bell Curve
Losing Ground
Human Accomplishment
Coming Apart
Spouse(s)
  • Suchart Dej-Udom
    (m. 1966; div. 1980)
  • Catherine Bly Cox
    (m. 1983)
Awards Irving Kristol Award (2009)
Kistler Prize (2011)
Scientific career
Fields Political science
Sociology
Race and intelligence
Thesis Investment and Tithing in Thai Villages: A Behavioral Study of Rural Modernization (1974)
Doctoral advisor Lucian Pye
Notes

Charles Alan Murray (/ˈmɜːri/; born January 8, 1943) is an American political scientist, author, and columnist. His book Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950–1980 (1984), which discussed the American welfare system, was widely read and discussed, and influenced subsequent government policy.[3] He became well known for his controversial book The Bell Curve (1994), written with Richard Herrnstein, in which he argues that intelligence is a better predictor than parental socio-economic status or education level of many individual outcomes including income, job performance, pregnancy out of wedlock, and crime, and that social welfare programs and education efforts to improve social outcomes for the disadvantaged are largely wasted.

Murray’s most successful subsequent books have been Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950 (2003) and Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010(2012).[3] Over his career he has published dozens of books and articles. His work has drawn accusations of scientific racism.

Murray is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C.[3]

Early life

Of Scotch-Irish ancestry,[5][6] Murray was born in Newton, Iowa, and raised in a Republican, “Norman Rockwell kind of family” that stressed moral responsibility. He is the son of Frances B. (née Patrick) and Alan B. Murray, a Maytag Company executive.[7] His youth was marked by a rebellious and pranksterish sensibility.[8] As a teen, he played pool at a hangout for juvenile delinquents, developed debating skills, espoused labor unionism (to his parents’ annoyance), and on one occasion lit fireworks that were attached to a cross that he put next to a police station.[9]

Murray credits the SAT with helping him get out of Newton and into Harvard. “Back in 1961, the test helped get me into Harvard from a small Iowa town by giving me a way to show that I could compete with applicants from Exeter and Andover,” wrote Murray. “Ever since, I have seen the SAT as the friend of the little guy, just as James Bryant Conant, president of Harvard, said it would be when he urged the SAT upon the nation in the 1940s.”[10]However, in an op-ed published in the New York Times on March 8, 2012, Murray suggested removing the SAT’s role in college admissions, noting that the SAT “has become a symbol of new-upper-class privilege, as people assume (albeit wrongly) that high scores are purchased through the resources of private schools and expensive test preparation programs”.[11]

Murray obtained a A.B. in history from Harvard in 1965 and a Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1974.[3]

Peace Corps

Murray left for the Peace Corps in Thailand in 1965, staying abroad for a formative six years.[12] At the beginning of this period, the young Murray kindled a romance with his Thai Buddhist language instructor (in Hawaii), Suchart Dej-Udom, the daughter of a wealthy Thai businessman, who was “born with one hand and a mind sharp enough to outscore the rest of the country on the college entrance exam.” Murray subsequently proposed by mail from Thailand, and their marriage began the following year, a move that Murray now considers youthful rebellion. “I’m getting married to a one-handed Thai Buddhist,” he said. “This was not the daughter-in-law that would have normally presented itself to an Iowa couple.”[13]

Murray credits his time in the Peace Corps in Thailand with his lifelong interest in Asia. “There are aspects of Asian culture as it is lived that I still prefer to Western culture, 30 years after I last lived in Thailand,” says Murray. “Two of my children are half-Asian. Apart from those personal aspects, I have always thought that the Chinese and Japanese civilizations had elements that represented the apex of human accomplishment in certain domains.”[14]

His tenure with the Peace Corps ended in 1968, and during the remainder of his time in Thailand he worked on an American Institutes for Research (AIR) covert counter-insurgency program for the US military in cooperation with the CIA.[15][16][17]

Recalling his time in Thailand in a 2014 episode of “Conversations with Bill Kristol,” Murray noted that his worldview was fundamentally shaped by his time there. “Essentially, most of what you read in my books I learned in Thai villages.” He went on, “I suddenly was struck first by the enormous discrepancy between what Bangkok thought was important to the villagers and what the villagers wanted out of government. And the second thing I got out of it was that when the government change agent showed up, the village went to hell in terms of its internal governance.”[18]

Murray’s work in the Peace Corps and subsequent social research in Thailand for research firms associated with the US government led to the subject of his statistical doctoral thesis in political science at M.I.T., in which he argued against bureaucratic intervention in the lives of the Thai villagers.[19][20]

Divorce and remarriage

By the 1980s, his marriage to Suchart Dej-Udom had been unhappy for years, but “his childhood lessons on the importance of responsibility brought him slowly to the idea that divorce was an honorable alternative, especially with young children involved.”[21]

Murray divorced Dej-Udom after fourteen years of marriage[8] and three years later married Catherine Bly Cox (born 1949, Newton, Iowa),[22] an English literature instructor at Rutgers University. Cox was initially dubious when she saw his conservative reading choices, and she spent long hours “trying to reconcile his shocking views with what she saw as his deep decency.”[8] In 1989, Murray and Cox co-authored a book on the Apollo programApollo: Race to the Moon.[23] Murray attends and Cox is a member of a Quaker meeting in Virginia, and they live in Frederick County, Maryland near Washington, D.C.[24]

Murray has four children, two by each wife.[25] His second wife, Catherine Bly Cox, had converted to Quakerism as of 2014, while Murray considered himself an agnostic.[26]

Research and views

Murray continued research work at AIR, one of the largest of the private social science research organizations, upon his return to the US. From 1974 to 1981, Murray worked for the AIR eventually becoming chief political scientist. While at AIR, Murray supervised evaluations in the fields of urban education, welfare services, daycare, adolescent pregnancy, services for the elderly, and criminal justice.[citation needed]

From 1981 to 1990, he was a fellow with the conservative Manhattan Institute where he wrote Losing Ground, which heavily influenced the welfare reform debate in 1996, and In Pursuit.[citation needed]

He has been a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute since 1990 and was a frequent contributor to The Public Interest, a journal of conservative politics and culture. In March 2009, he received AEI’s highest honor, the Irving Kristol Award. He has also received a doctorate honoris causa from Universidad Francisco Marroquín.[27]

Murray has received grants from the conservative Bradley Foundation to support his scholarship, including the writing of The Bell Curve.

Murray identifies as a libertarian;[28] he has also been described as conservative[29][30][31][32] and far-right.[33][34][35][36]

Murray’s Law

Murray’s law is a set of conclusions derived by Charles Murray in his book Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950–1980. Essentially, it states that all social welfare programs are doomed to effect a net harm on society, and actually hurt the very people those programs are trying to help. In the end, he concludes that social welfare programs cannot be successful and should ultimately be eliminated altogether.

Murray’s Law:

  1. The Law of Imperfect Selection: Any objective rule that defines eligibility for a social transfer program will irrationally exclude some persons.
  2. The Law of Unintended Rewards: Any social transfer increases the net value of being in the condition that prompted the transfer.
  3. The Law of Net Harm: The less likely it is that the unwanted behavior will change voluntarily, the more likely it is that a program to induce change will cause net harm.

The Bell Curve

External video
 Booknotes interview with Murray on The Bell Curve, December 4, 1994C-SPAN

The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life (1994) is a controversial bestseller that Charles Murray wrote with Harvard professor Richard J. Herrnstein. Its central thesis is that intelligence is a better predictor of many factors including financial income, job performance, unwed pregnancy, and crime than one’s parents’ socio-economic status or education level. Also, the book argued that those with high intelligence (the “cognitive elite”) are becoming separated from the general population of those with average and below-average intelligence, and that this was a dangerous social trend. Murray expanded on this theme in his 2012 book Coming Apart.[citation needed]

Of the book’s origins, Murray has said,

I got interested in IQ and its relationship to social problems. And by 1989, I had decided I was going to write a book about it, but then Dick Herrnstein, a professor at Harvard who had written on IQ in the past had an article in the Atlantic Monthly which led me to think, “Ah, Herrnstein is already doing this.” So I called him up. I had met him before. We’d been friendly. And I said, “If you’re doing a book on this, I’m not going to try to compete with you.” And Dick said to me, “No, I’m not.” And he paused and he said, “Why don’t we do it together?”[37]

Much of the controversy stemmed from Chapters 13 and 14, where the authors write about the enduring differences in race and intelligence and discuss implications of that difference. They write in the introduction to Chapter 13 that “The debate about whether and how much genes and environment have to do with ethnic differences remains unresolved,”[38] and “It seems highly likely to us that both genes and the environment have something to do with racial differences.”[39]

The book’s title comes from the bell-shaped normal distribution of IQ scores.

After its publication, various commentators criticized and defended the book. Some critics said it supported scientific racism[40][41][42][43][44][45] and a number of books were written to rebut The Bell Curve. Those works included a 1996 edition of evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould‘s The Mismeasure of Man; a collection of essays, The Bell Curve Wars (1995), reacting to Murray and Herrnstein’s commentary; and The Bell Curve Debate (1995), whose essays similarly respond to issues raised in The Bell Curve. Arthur S. Goldberger and Charles F. Manski critique the empirical methods supporting the book’s hypotheses.[46]

Citing assertions made by Murray in The Bell Curve, The Southern Poverty Law Center labeled him a “white nationalist,” charging his ideas were rooted in eugenics.[47][48][49] Murray eventually responded in a point-by-point rebuttal.[50]

In 2000, Murray authored a policy study for AEI on the same subject matter as The Bell Curve in which he wrote:

Try to imagine a GOP presidential candidate saying in front of the cameras, “One reason that we still have poverty in the United States is that a lot of poor people are born lazy.” You cannot imagine it because that kind of thing cannot be said. And yet this unimaginable statement merely implies that when we know the complete genetic story, it will turn out that the population below the poverty line in the United States has a configuration of the relevant genetic makeup that is significantly different from the configuration of the population above the poverty line. This is not unimaginable. It is almost certainly true.[51]

Education

Murray has been critical of the No Child Left Behind law, arguing that it “set a goal that was devoid of any contact with reality…. The United States Congress, acting with large bipartisan majorities, at the urging of the President, enacted as the law of the land that all children are to be above average.” He sees the law as an example of “Educational romanticism [which] asks too much from students at the bottom of the intellectual pile, asks the wrong things from those in the middle, and asks too little from those at the top.”[52]

Challenging “educational romanticism,” he wrote Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America’s Schools Back to Reality. His “four simple truths” are as follows:

  1. Ability varies.
  2. Half of all children are below average.
  3. Too many people are going to college.
  4. America’s future depends on how we educate the academically gifted.[53]

Human group differences

Murray has attracted controversy for his views on differences between gender and racial groups. In a paper published in 2005 titled “Where Are the Female Einsteins?”, Murray stated, among other things, that “no woman has been a significant original thinker in any of the world’s great philosophical traditions. In the sciences, the most abstract field is mathematics, where the number of great female mathematicians is approximately two (Emmy Noether definitely, Sonya Kovalevskaya maybe). In the other hard sciences, the contributions of great women have usually been empirical rather than theoretical, with leading cases in point being Henrietta LeavittDorothy HodgkinLise MeitnerIrene Joliot-Curie and Marie Curie herself.”[54] Asked about this in 2014, he stated he could only recall one important female philosopher, “and she was not a significant thinker in the estimation of historians of philosophy,” adding “So, yeah, I still stick with that. Until somebody gives me evidence to the contrary, I’ll stick with that statement.”[55]

In 2007, Murray wrote a back cover blurb for James R. Flynn‘s book What Is Intelligence?: “This book is a gold mine of pointers to interesting work, much of which was new to me. All of us who wrestle with the extraordinarily difficult questions about intelligence that Flynn discusses are in his debt.”[56]

In 2014, a speech that Murray was scheduled to give at Azusa Pacific University was “postponed” due to Murray’s research on human group differences.[57] Murray responded to the institution by pointing out that it was a disservice to the students and faculty to dismiss research because of its controversial nature rather than the evidence. Murray also urged the university to consider his works as they are and reach conclusions for themselves, rather than relying on sources that “specialize in libeling people.”[58][59]

Op-ed writings

Murray has published opinion pieces in The New RepublicCommentaryThe Public InterestThe New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalNational Review, and The Washington Post. He has been a witness before United States House and Senate committees and a consultant to senior Republican government officials in the United States and other conservative officials in the United KingdomEastern Europe, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.[60][citation needed]

In the April 2007 issue of Commentary magazine, Murray wrote on the disproportionate representation of Jews in the ranks of outstanding achievers and says that one of the reasons is that they “have been found to have an unusually high mean intelligence as measured by IQ tests since the first Jewish samples were tested.” His article concludes with the assertion: “At this point, I take sanctuary in my remaining hypothesis, uniquely parsimonious and happily irrefutable. The Jews are God’s chosen people.”[61]

In the July/August 2007 issue of The American, a magazine published by the American Enterprise Institute, Murray says he has changed his mind about SAT tests and says they should be scrapped: “Perhaps the SAT had made an important independent contribution to predicting college performance in earlier years, but by the time research was conducted in the last half of the 1990s, the test had already been ruined by political correctness.” Murray advocates replacing the traditional SAT with the College Board’s subject achievement tests: “The surprising empirical reality is that the SAT is redundant if students are required to take achievement tests.”[10]

Incident at Middlebury College

On March 2, 2017, Murray was shouted down at Middlebury College (Middlebury, Vermont) by students and others not connected with the school, and prevented from speaking at the original location on campus. The speech was moved to another location and a closed circuit broadcast showed him being interviewed by professor Allison Stanger. After the interview, there was a violent confrontation between protesters and Murray, Vice President for Communications Bill Burger, and Stanger (who was hospitalized with a neck injury and concussion) as they left the McCullough Student Center. Middlebury students claimed that Middlebury Public Safety officers instigated and escalated violence against nonviolent protesters and that administrator Bill Burger assaulted protesters with a car.[62] Middlebury President Laurie L. Patton responded after the event, saying the school would respond to “the clear violations of Middlebury College policy that occurred inside and outside Wilson Hall.”[63][64][65][66] The school took disciplinary action against 67 students for their involvement in the incident.[67][68]

Selected bibliography

In addition to these books, Murray has published articles in Commentary magazine, The New CriterionThe Weekly StandardThe Washington PostWall Street Journal, and The New York Times.[3]

See also

Notes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Murray_(political_scientist)

 

Jordan Peterson

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Jordan Peterson
Jordan Peterson by Gage Skidmore (cropped).jpg

Peterson in June 2018
Born Jordan Bernt Peterson
June 12, 1962 (age 56)
EdmontonAlberta, Canada
Residence TorontoOntario, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Education Political science (B.A., 1982)
Psychology (B.A., 1984)
Clinical psychology (Ph.D., 1991)
Alma mater
Spouse(s) Tammy Roberts (m. 1989)
Children 2
Scientific career
Fields Psychology
Institutions
Thesis Potential psychological markers for the predisposition to alcoholism (1991)
Doctoral advisor Robert O. Pihl
Influences JungFreudPiagetNietzscheDostoevskySolzhenitsyn
Website jordanbpeterson.com
Signature
Jordan Peterson Signature.svg

Jordan Bernt Peterson (born June 12, 1962) is a Canadian clinical psychologist and a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. His main areas of study are in abnormalsocial, and personality psychology,[1] with a particular interest in the psychology of religious and ideological belief,[2] and the assessment and improvement of personality and performance.[3]

Peterson studied at the University of Alberta and McGill University. He remained at McGill as a post-doctoral fellow from 1991 to 1993 before moving to Harvard University, where he was an assistant and then associate professor in the psychology department.[4][5] In 1998, he moved back to Canada, as a faculty member in the psychology department at the University of Toronto, where he is currently a full professor.

Peterson’s first book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, was published in 1999, a work which examined several academic fields to describe the structure of systems of beliefs and myths, their role in the regulation of emotion, creation of meaning, and motivation for genocide.[6][7][8] His second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, was released in January 2018.[4][9][10]

In 2016, Peterson released a series of videos on his YouTube channel in which he criticized political correctness and the Canadian government’s Bill C-16 because of free speech implications. He subsequently received significant media coverage.[4][9][10]

Early life

Peterson was born on June 12, 1962, and grew up in FairviewAlberta, a small town northwest of his birthplace Edmonton, in Canada. He was the eldest of three children born to Beverley, a librarian at the Fairview campus of Grande Prairie Regional College, and Walter Peterson, a schoolteacher.[11][12] His middle name is Bernt (/ˈbɛərənt/ BAIR-ənt), after his Norwegian great-grandfather.[13][14]

When he was 13, he was introduced to the writings of George OrwellAldous HuxleyAleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and Ayn Rand by his school librarian Sandy Notley – mother of Rachel Notley, leader of the Alberta New Democratic Party and 17th Premier of Alberta.[15] He also worked for the New Democratic Party (NDP) throughout his teenage years, but grew disenchanted with the party due to what Orwell diagnosed in The Road to Wigan Pier as a preponderance of “the intellectual, tweed-wearing middle-class socialist” who “didn’t like the poor; they just hated the rich”.[11][16] He left the NDP at age 18.[17]

Education

After graduating from Fairview High School in 1979, Peterson entered the Grande Prairie Regional College to study political science and English literature.[2] He later transferred to the University of Alberta, where he completed his B.A. in 1982.[17] Afterwards, he took a year off to visit Europe. There he developed an interest in the psychological origins of the Cold War, particularly 20th century European totalitarianism,[2][18] and was plagued by apocalyptic nightmares about the escalation of the nuclear arms race. As a result, he became concerned about humanity’s capacity for evil and destruction, and delved into the works of Carl JungFriedrich NietzscheAleksandr Solzhenitsyn,[11] and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.[18] He then returned to the University of Alberta and received a B.A. in psychology in 1984.[19] In 1985, he moved to Montreal to attend McGill University. He earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology under the supervision of Robert O. Pihl in 1991, and remained as a post-doctoral fellow at McGill’s Douglas Hospital until June 1993, working with Pihl and Maurice Dongier.[2][20]

Career

From July 1993 to June 1998,[1] Peterson lived in Arlington, Massachusetts, while teaching and conducting research at Harvard University as an assistant and an associate professor in the psychology department. During his time at Harvard, he studied aggression arising from drug and alcohol abuse and supervised a number of unconventional thesis proposals.[17] Two former Ph.D. students, Shelley Carson, a psychologist and teacher from Harvard, and author Gregg Hurwitz recalled that Peterson’s lectures were already highly admired by the students.[4] In July 1998, he returned to Canada and took up a post as a full professor at the University of Toronto.[1][19]

Peterson’s areas of study and research are in the fields of psychopharmacologyabnormalneuroclinicalpersonalitysocialindustrial and organizational,[1] religiousideological,[2] political, and creativity psychology.[3] Peterson has authored or co-authored more than a hundred academic papers.[21]

For most of his career, Peterson had an active clinical practice, seeing 20 people a week. He had been active on social media, but in September 2016, he released a series of videos in which criticized Bill C-16 that changed his career and life.[15][22] In 2017, he decided to put the clinical practice on hold,[9] as well since 2018 temporarily stopped teaching because of new projects.[12][23]

Works

Books

Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief

Something we cannot see protects us from something we do not understand. The thing we cannot see is culture, in its intrapsychic or internal manifestation. The thing we do not understand is the chaos that gave rise to culture. If the structure of culture is disrupted, unwittingly, chaos returns. We will do anything – anything – to defend ourselves against that return.

— Jordan Peterson, 1998 (Descensus ad Inferos)[5]

In 1999 Routledge published Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. The book, which took Peterson 13 years to complete, describes a comprehensive theory about how people construct meaningbeliefs and make narratives using ideas from various fields including mythologyreligionliteraturephilosophyand psychology in accordance to the modern scientific understanding of how the brain functions.[17][5][24]

According to Peterson, his main goal was to examine why both individuals and groups participate in social conflict, explore the reasoning and motivation individuals take to support their belief systems (i.e. ideological identification[17]) that eventually results in killing and pathological atrocities like the Gulag, the Auschwitz concentration camp and the Rwandan genocide.[17][5][24] He considers that an “analysis of the world’s religious ideas might allow us to describe our essential morality and eventually develop a universal system of morality”.[24] Jungian archetypes play an important role in the book.[4]

In 2004, a 13-part TV series based on Peterson’s book Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief aired on TVOntario.[11][19][25]

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

In January 2018, Penguin Random House published Peterson’s second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. The work contains abstract ethical principles about life, in a more accessible style than Maps of Meaning.[9][4][10] To promote the book, Peterson went on a world tour.[26][27][28] As part of the tour, Peterson was interviewed by Cathy Newman on Channel 4 News which generated considerable attention, as well popularity for the book.[29][30][31][32] The book was ranked the number one bestselling book on Amazon in the United States and Canada and number four in the United Kingdom.[33][34] It also topped bestselling lists in Canada, US and the United Kingdom.[35][36]

YouTube channel and podcasts

In 2013, Peterson began recording his lectures (“Personality and Its Transformations”, “Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief”[37]) and uploading them to YouTube. His YouTube channel has gathered more than 1 million subscribers and his videos have received more than 50 million views as of April 2018.[22][38] In January 2017, he hired a production team to film his psychology lectures at the University of Toronto. He used funds received via the crowdfunding website Patreon after he became embroiled in the Bill C-16 controversy in September 2016. His funding through Patreon has increased from $1,000 per month in August 2016 to $14,000 by January 2017, and then to more than $50,000 by July 2017.[15][22][39]

Peterson has appeared on many podcasts, conversational series, as well other online shows.[38][40] In December 2016, Peterson started his own podcast, The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast, which has 45 episodes as of April 26, 2018, including academic guests such as Camille PagliaMartin Daly, and James W. Pennebaker,[41] while on his channel he has also interviewed Stephen HicksRichard J. Haier, and Jonathan Haidt among others.[41] Peterson supported engineer James Damore in his action against Google.[10]

In May 2017, Peterson began The psychological significance of the Biblical stories,[42] a series of live theatre lectures, also published as podcasts, in which he analyzes archetypal narratives in Genesis as patterns of behavior ostensibly vital for personal, social and cultural stability.[10][43]

Self Authoring Suite

In 2005 Peterson and his colleagues set up a for-profit company to provide and produce a writing therapy program with series of online writing exercises,[44] titled the Self Authoring Suite.[11] It includes the Past Authoring Program, a guided autobiography; two Present Authoring Programs, which allow the participant to analyze their personality faults and virtues in terms of the Big Five personality model; and the Future Authoring Program, which guides participants through the process of planning their desired futures. The latter program was used with McGill University undergraduates on academic probation to improve their grades, as well since 2011 at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.[45][46] The programs were developed partially from research by James W. Pennebaker at the University of Texas at Austin and Gary Latham at the Rotman School of Management of the University of Toronto.[4] Peterson’s co-authored 2015 study showed significant reduction in ethnic and gender-group differences in performance, especially among ethnic minority male students.[46][47] According to Peterson, more than 10,000 students have used the program as of January 2017, with drop-out rates decreasing by 25% and GPAs rising by 20%.[11]

Critiques of political correctness

Peterson’s critiques of political correctness range over issues such as postmodernismpostmodern feminismwhite privilegecultural appropriation, and environmentalism.[40][48][49] Writing in the National Post, Chris Selley said Peterson’s opponents had “underestimated the fury being inspired by modern preoccupations like white privilege and cultural appropriation, and by the marginalization, shouting down or outright cancellation of other viewpoints in polite society’s institutions”,[50] while in The SpectatorTim Lott stated Peterson became “an outspoken critic of mainstream academia”.[18] Peterson’s social media presence has magnified the impact of these views; Simona Chiose of The Globe and Mail noted: “few University of Toronto professors in the humanities and social sciences have enjoyed the global name recognition Prof. Peterson has won”.[22]

According to his study – conducted with one of his students, Christine Brophy – of the relationship between political belief and personality, political correctness exists in two types: PC-egalitarianism and PC-authoritarianism, which is a manifestation of “offense sensitivity”.[51] He places classical liberals in the first type, and places so-called social justice warriors, who he says “weaponize compassion”, in the second.[11][2] The study also found an overlap between PC-authoritarians and right-wing authoritarians.[51]

Peterson considers that the universities should be held as among the most responsible for the wave of political correctness which appeared in North America and Europe.[22] According to Peterson, he watched the rise of political correctness on campuses since the early 1990s,[52] and considers that the humanities have become corrupt, less reliant on science, and instead of “intelligent conversation, we are having an ideological conversation”. From his own experience as a university professor, he states that the students who are coming to his classes are uneducated and unaware about the mass exterminations and crimes by Stalinism and Maoism, which were not given the same attention as fascism and Nazism. He also says that “instead of being ennobled or inculcated into the proper culture, the last vestiges of structure are stripped from [the students] by post-modernism and neo-Marxism, which defines everything in terms of relativism and power“.[18][53][54]

Postmodernism and identity politics

And so since the 1970s, under the guise of postmodernism, we’ve seen the rapid expansion of identity politics throughout the universities, it’s come to dominate all of the humanities – which are dead as far as I can tell – and a huge proportion of the social sciences … We’ve been publicly funding extremely radical, postmodern leftist thinkers who are hellbent on demolishing the fundamental substructure of Western civilization. And that’s no paranoid delusion. That’s their self-admitted goal … Jacques Derrida … most trenchantly formulated the anti-Western philosophy that is being pursued so assiduously by the radical left.

— Peterson, 2017[53]

Peterson claims that postmodern philosophers and sociologists since the 1960s [48] have built upon and extended certain core tenets of Marxism and communism while simultaneously appearing to disavow both. He believes that it is difficult to understand contemporary Western society without considering the influence of a strain of postmodernism thought that migrated from France to the United States through the English department at Yale University. He suggests that certain academics in the humanities, “started to play a sleight of hand, and instead of pitting the proletariat, the working class, against the bourgeois, they started to pit the oppressed against the oppressor. That opened up the avenue to identifying any number of groups as oppressed and oppressor and to continue the same narrative under a different name […] The people who hold this doctrine – this radical, postmodern, communitariandoctrine that makes racial identity or sexual identity or gender identity or some kind of group identity paramount – they’ve got control over most low-to-mid level bureaucratic structures, and many governments as well”.[53][21] Peterson’s suggestion that postmodern thought has had a negative influence on academia in North American has been compared to Cultural Marxist conspiracy theories.[31][55][56][57]

Peterson is of the opinion that the state should halt funding to faculties and courses he describes as neo-Marxist, and advises students to avoid disciplines like women’s studiesethnic studies and racial studies, as well other fields of study he believes are “corrupted” by the ideology such as sociologyanthropology and English literature.[58][59] He alleges that these fields, under the pretense of academic inquiry, propagate unscientific methods, fraudulent peer-review processes for academic journals, publications that garner zero citations,[60] cult-like behaviour,[58] safe-spaces,[61] and radical left-wing political activism for students.[48] Peterson has proposed launching a website which uses artificial intelligence to identify and showcase the amount of ideologization in specific courses. He announced in November 2017 that he had temporarily postponed the project as “it might add excessively to current polarization”.[62][63]

Peterson has criticized the use of the term “white privilege“, stating that “being called out on their white privilege, identified with a particular racial group and then made to suffer the consequences of the existence of that racial group and its hypothetical crimes, and that sort of thing has to come to a stop. … [It’s] racist in its extreme”.[48] In regard to identity politics, while “left plays them on behalf of the oppressed, let’s say, and the right tends to play them on behalf of nationalism and ethnic pride” he considers them “equally dangerous” and that instead should be emphasized individualism and individual responsibility.[64] He has also been prominent in the debate about cultural appropriation, stating it promotes self-censorship in society and journalism.[65]

Bill C-16

On September 27, 2016, Peterson released the first installment of a three-part lecture video series, entitled “Professor against political correctness: Part I: Fear and the Law”.[15][66] In the video, he stated he would not use the preferred gender pronouns of students and faculty as part of compelled speech, and announced his objection to the Canadian government‘s Bill C-16, which proposed to add “gender identity or expression” as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and to similarly expand the definitions of promoting genocide and publicly inciting hatred in the Criminal Code.[66][67]

He stated that his objection to the bill was based on potential free speech implications if the Criminal Code is amended, as he claimed he could then be prosecuted under provincial human rights laws if he refuses to call a transsexual student or faculty member by the individual’s preferred pronoun.[68] Furthermore, he argued that the new amendments paired with section 46.3 of the Ontario Human Rights Code would make it possible for employers and organizations to be subject to punishment under the code if any employee or associate says anything that can be construed “directly or indirectly” as offensive, “whether intentionally or unintentionally”.[69] Other academics challenged Peterson’s interpretation of C-16,[68] while some scholars such as Robert P. George supported Peterson’s initiative.[15]

The series of videos drew criticism from transgender activists, faculty and labour unions, and critics accused Peterson of “helping to foster a climate for hate to thrive”.[15] Protests erupted on campus, some including violence, and the controversy attracted international media attention.[70][71][72] When asked in September 2016 if he would comply with the request of a student to use a preferred pronoun, Peterson said “it would depend on how they asked me […] If I could detect that there was a chip on their shoulder, or that they were [asking me] with political motives, then I would probably say no […] If I could have a conversation like the one we’re having now, I could probably meet them on an equal level”.[72] Two months later, the National Post published an op-ed by Peterson in which he elaborated on his opposition to the bill and explained why he publicly made a stand against it:

I will never use words I hate, like the trendy and artificially constructed words “zhe” and “zher.” These words are at the vanguard of a post-modern, radical leftist ideology that I detest, and which is, in my professional opinion, frighteningly similar to the Marxist doctrines that killed at least 100 million people in the 20th century.

I have been studying authoritarianism on the right and the left for 35 years. I wrote a book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, on the topic, which explores how ideologies hijack language and belief. As a result of my studies, I have come to believe that Marxism is a murderous ideology. I believe its practitioners in modern universities should be ashamed of themselves for continuing to promote such vicious, untenable and anti-human ideas, and for indoctrinating their students with these beliefs. I am therefore not going to mouth Marxist words. That would make me a puppet of the radical left, and that is not going to happen. Period.[73]

Peterson at the University of Toronto in March 2017

In response to the controversy, academic administrators at the University of Toronto sent Peterson two letters of warning, one noting that free speech had to be made in accordance with human rights legislation and the other adding that his refusal to use the preferred personal pronouns of students and faculty upon request could constitute discrimination. Peterson speculated that these warning letters were leading up to formal disciplinary action against him, but in December the university assured him that he would retain his professorship, and in January 2017 he returned to teach his psychology class at the University of Toronto.[74][15]

In February 2017, Maxime Bernier, candidate for leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, stated that he shifted his position on Bill C-16, from support to opposition, after meeting with Peterson and discussing it.[75] Peterson’s analysis of the bill was also frequently cited by senators who were opposed to its passage.[76] In April 2017, Peterson was denied a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant for the first time in his career, which he interpreted as retaliation for his statements regarding Bill C-16.[77] A media relations adviser for SSHRC said “[c]ommittees assess only the information contained in the application”.[78] In response, The Rebel Media launched an Indiegogo campaign on Peterson’s behalf.[79] The campaign raised C$195,000 by its end on May 6, equivalent to over two years of research funding.[80] In May 2017, Peterson spoke against Bill C-16 at a Canadian Senate committee on legal and constitutional affairs hearing. He was one of 24 witnesses who were invited to speak about the bill.[76]

In November 2017, a teaching assistant at Wilfrid Laurier University first year communications course was censured by her professors for showing a segment of The Agenda, which featured Peterson debating Bill C-16 with another professor, during a classroom discussion about pronouns.[81][82][83] The reasons given for the censure included the clip creating a “toxic climate”, being compared to a “speech by Hitler“,[16] and being itself in violation of Bill C-16.[84]The censure was later withdrawn and both the professors and the university formally apologized.[85][86][87] The events were criticized by Peterson, as well as several newspaper editorial boards[88][89][90] and national newspaper columnists[91][92][93][94] as an example of the suppression of free speech on university campuses.

Personal life

Peterson married Tammy Roberts in 1989.[15] They have one daughter and one son.[11][15]

Politically, Peterson has described himself as a classic British liberal,[95][18] and has stated that he is commonly mistaken to be right wing.[38] He is a philosophical pragmatist.[43] In a 2017 interview, Peterson identified as a Christian,[96] but in 2018 he did not.[97] He emphasized his conceptualization of Christianity is probably not what it is generally understood, stating that the ethical responsibility of a Christian is to imitate Christ, for him meaning “something like you need to take responsibility for the evil in the world as if you were responsible for it … to understand that you determine the direction of the world, whether it’s toward heaven or hell”.[97] When asked if he believes in God, Peterson responded: “I think the proper response to that is No, but I’m afraid He might exist”.[9] Writing for The SpectatorTim Lott said Peterson draws inspiration from Jung’s philosophy of religion, and holds views similar to the Christian existentialism of Søren Kierkegaard and Paul Tillich. Lott also said Peterson has respect for Taoism, as it views nature as a struggle between order and chaos, and posits that life would be meaningless without this duality.[18]

Starting around 2000, Peterson began collecting Soviet-era paintings.[16] The walls of his house are covered with this art, which he keeps as a reminder of the relationship between totalitarian propaganda and art, because how idealistic visions can become totalitarian oppression and horror.[4][23] In 2016, Peterson became an honorary member of the extended family of Charles Joseph, a Kwakwaka’wakw artist, and was given the name Alestalagie (“Great Seeker”).[16][98] Since late 2016, Peterson is on strict diet eating only meat and some vegetables, to control severe depression and an auto-immune disorder, including psoriasis and uveitis.[12][99]

Bibliography

Books

Journal articles

Top 15 most cited academic papers from Google Scholar and ResearchGate:

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jordan_Peterson

Story 2: Hate America Democrats (HAD) — Not Proud To Be American — Free To Leave — Walk Away Renee — Videos —

The Four Tops – Walk Away Renee (with lyrics on screen)

Candace Owens: There Will Be a ‘Major Black Exit’ From the Democratic Party

Campaign to abandon liberalism goes viral

Tucker: Left’s gamble that voters hate Trump is failing

Ingraham: The Democratic meltdown and the war on ICE

Watters’ Words: From anti-Trump to anti-American

Laura Ingraham: Meet the real cultists

Ingraham: Organized hatred

Shapiro on the left’s endorsement of Waters’ rhetoric

Judge Jeanine: Democrats a party of hate and destruction

Victor Davis Hanson – Revolt of the Forgotten Masses

Victor D Hanson; How Universities Have Been Radicalizing Our Kids Science the 60’s

Victor D. Hanson: How the Obama Presidency Destroyed Todays Democratic Party

Victor Davis Hanson 2018 – Diagnosing the Democrats

Victor Davis Hanson 2018 – Declining Character, Increasing Scandal

Victor Davis Hanson: how Obama destroyed the Democrats

VDH spoke to a [middle-aged] group of the Young Americas Foundation. His analysis of the damage that Obama did to the Democratic Party is accurate. Obama is far to the left of the Democrats, but he shifted the centre of  political discussion leftward, at the expense of the voting strength of the Democratic Party. He points out that someone in middle America is always paying the price of the smug misplaced idealism of rich liberals on the coasts. Hence a man with orange skin, yellow hair and a vocabulary of at best 1000 words is now governing them, because he figured this out early. The Republican Establishment is still trying to figure out where they went wrong. They confused their class disdain for something more serious, actua; political disagreement.

The Democratic leadership is not yet asking itself the  question, “why, if we are so smart, are we losing?” For them, the election was illegitimate, and did not happen.

You cannot win a war if you fail to realize that you are losing it.

As for Trump, he fights. He wins. And the progressive transformation the Left envisaged for America is not happening.

 

In U.S., Record-Low 47% Extremely Proud to Be Americans

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • First time below majority level
  • Sharp declines since 2017 among liberals, Democrats
  • High point was 70% in 2003

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This Fourth of July marks a low point in U.S. patriotism. For the first time in Gallup’s 18-year history asking U.S. adults how proud they are to be Americans, fewer than a majority say they are “extremely proud.” Currently, 47% describe themselves this way, down from 51% in 2017 and well below the peak of 70% in 2003.

Record Low in U.S. Are Extremely Proud to Be Americans

The latest results are based on a June 1-13 poll. When Gallup first asked the question in 2001, 55% of Americans said they were extremely proud. After the 9/11 terror attacks caused the public to rally around the nation and its leaders, the percentage expressing extreme pride in the country increased to 65%, and went up further to 70% less than two years later.

By 2005, about the time George W. Bush was set to begin his second term in office and the U.S. was going on its second year of military involvement in Iraq, the percentage extremely proud to be Americans fell to 61%. It held in the high 50% range between 2006 and 2013, but has fallen at least marginally each year since 2015, about the time the 2016 presidential campaign was getting underway.

While the 47% who are extremely proud to be Americans is a new low, the vast majority of Americans do express some level of pride, including 25% who say they are “very proud” and 16% who are “moderately proud.” That leaves one in 10 who are “only a little” (7%) or “not at all” proud (3%).

The combined 72% who are extremely or very proud to be Americans is also the lowest in Gallup’s trend.

National Pride Dropping Most Among Democrats, Liberals

Currently, 32% of Democrats — down from 43% in 2017 and 56% in 2013 — are extremely proud. The decline preceded the election of Donald Trump but has accelerated in the past year.

Less than half of independents, 42%, are also extremely proud. That is down slightly from 48% a year ago, and 50% in 2013.

As has typically been the case, Republicans are more inclined to say they are extremely proud to be Americans than are Democrats and independents. Seventy-four percent of Republicans are extremely proud, which is numerically the highest over the last five years.

Fewer Than One in Three Democrats Are Extremely Proud to Be Americans

With the large decline among Democrats, the Republican-Democratic gap in extreme pride has grown from 15 percentage points in 2013 to 42 points today.

Political liberals are even less likely than Democrats to say they are extremely proud — just 23% do so, compared with 46% of moderates and 65% of conservatives. Extreme pride among liberals has dropped nine points in the past year and 28 points since 2013.

Political Liberals Are Unlikely to Say They Are Extremely Proud to Be Americans

Other demographic differences in national pride largely reflect the political leanings of U.S. adults. Young adults, college graduates, nonwhites and women — all Democratic-leaning groups — are below the national average in terms of being extremely proud to be Americans. Meanwhile, older adults, those without a college degree, whites and men — who are more Republican-leaning — are above the average.

Extremely Proud to Be an American, by Subgroup
2013 2015 2016 2017 2018
% % % % %
Men 59 56 53 51 51
Women 55 52 50 51 44
White 61 58 54 55 54
Nonwhite 47 45 45 44 33
18 to 29 55 43 34 43 33
30 to 49 53 52 51 51 42
50 to 64 61 58 64 50 56
65 and older 61 64 55 60 58
College graduate 53 51 47 47 39
Noncollege graduate 59 55 54 54 52
GALLUP

Most of these subgroups have seen declines in patriotism at some point over the last five years, with those declines greatest among nonwhites, young adults and college graduates.

Implications

Fewer than half of U.S. adults are extremely proud to be Americans, something that had not been seen in the prior 17 years Gallup has asked the public about its national pride. Politics appears to be a factor, with sharp declines evident among Democrats and political liberals and no decrease among Republicans and conservatives. Left-leaning groups’ antipathy toward Donald Trump and their belief that other countries look unfavorably on the president are likely factors in their decline in patriotism, particularly the sharp drops in the past year. But the declines began before Trump was elected.

National pride may be just one of a growing number of issues — including opinions about gunslabor unions and the environment — for which party loyalties are pushing Democrats and Republicans to adopt divergent views. These changes are making each party’s base more homogenous but increasingly different from one another.

SURVEY METHODS

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted June 1-13, 2018, with a random sample of 1,520 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 70% cellphone respondents and 30% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

View survey methodology, complete question responses and trends.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

Immigration top issue for U.S. voters, economy a close second: Reuters/Ipsos poll

(Reuters) – Immigration tops the economy and healthcare as the most important issue determining Americans’ vote ahead of the midterm elections in November, a new Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll shows.

Reuters/Ipsos data shows that immigration became a top concern for registered voters in the United States after the Trump administration in May announced its “zero tolerance” policy on illegal immigrants, saying they would be criminally charged. The policy became a political lightning rod in mid-June with disclosures that thousands of children were separated from their parents who were accused of crossing illegally into the country.

The poll, conducted between June 28 and July 2, found:

– Fifteen percent of U.S. registered voters said immigration was the top issue determining how they will cast their ballot in November, while 14 percent said the economy was their biggest concern.

Twenty-six percent of registered Republicans cited immigration as the most important issue likely to determine their vote, up 14 percentage points from a similar poll conducted at the beginning of June.

Healthcare remains the top issue for registered Democrats (16 percent), followed by the economy (14 percent), the Reuters/Ipsos poll shows. Seven percent of Democrats cited immigration as their top concern.

– However, Trump’s approval on his handling of immigration remains little changed since the beginning of the year, with 52 percent of registered voters saying in an ongoing Reuters/Ipsos poll that they disapprove of the way the president is handling immigration.

Americans are squarely divided along partisan lines on Trump’s stance on immigration: Eighty-one percent of Republicans said they approve of his handling of the issue while 84 percent of registered Democrats said they disapprove.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-immigration/immigration-top-issue-for-u-s-voters-economy-a-close-second-reuters-ipsos-poll-idUSKBN1JV31K

 

 

Story 3: American People On The Move — 50 U.S. Cities Losing People — Videos

Population migration patterns: US cities Americans are abandoning

LINKEDIN 3COMMENTMORE

Each year, roughly 40 million Americans, or about 14% of the U.S. population, move at least once. Much of that movement includes younger people relocating within cities, but it is trends of Americans moving to warmer climates, more affordable areas, and better job opportunities that have largely determined migration patterns in recent decades.

Because of those long-term patterns, as well as the recent period of economic recovery, cities in some parts of the country have lost tens of thousands of residents.

To find the 50 U.S. metropolitan areas that have had the largest net decline in population as a result of migration between 2010 and 2017, 24/7 Wall Street reviewed population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program.

The 50 cities where the most people are moving away from can primarily be found in the Northeast, Midwest, and West Coast, particularly in states like Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and New York. Among the cities where people are leaving in droves are places such as Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, New York, and Los Angeles.

More:Population migration patterns: US cities Americans are flocking to

William Frey, demographer at the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy research group, explained that these cities that have been losing thousands of residents due to migration are part of the long-term trend of movement from the Northeast and the Midwest to warmer climates, a trend that has increased in recent years.

“The story of the broader migration pattern in the U.S. is from Snow Belt to Sun Belt,” Frey said. “That migration has slowed a little bit in the early part of the decade, when we were still dealing with the aftermath of the recession, but it’s coming back.”

More:Are these the worst cities to live in? Study looks at quality of life across the U.S.

50. Fairbanks, Alaska

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -7,011
  • Population change, 2010-2017: +2.2% (97,585 to 99,703)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 12,364 births, 3,417 deaths
  • Median home value: $226,900

49. Johnstown, Pennsylvania

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -7,070
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -7.4% (143,674 to 133,054)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 9,624 births, 13,203 deaths
  • Median home value: $93,400

48. Hinesville, Georgia

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -7,171
  • Population change, 2010-2017: +3.2% (77,919 to 80,400)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 12,218 births, 3,030 deaths
  • Median home value: $133,600

47. El Centro, California

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -7,219
  • Population change, 2010-2017: +4.8% (174,528 to 182,830)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 22,531 births, 7,106 deaths
  • Median home value: $170,900

More:Who is getting paid more? 16 states where personal incomes are booming

46. Bakersfield, California

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -7,314
  • Population change, 2010-2017: +6.4% (839,621 to 893,119)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 102,106 births, 41,099 deaths
  • Median home value: $204,200

45. Norwich-New London, Connecticut

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -7,365
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -1.8% (274,059 to 269,033)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 19,518 births, 17,252 deaths
  • Median home value: $242,000

44. Fresno, California

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -7,571
  • Population change, 2010-2017: +6.3% (930,495 to 989,255)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 113,926 births, 47,252 deaths
  • Median home value: $238,100

43. Macon-Bibb County, Georgia

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -7,877
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -1.5% (232,286 to 228,914)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 21,752 births, 17,233 deaths
  • Median home value: $122,000

42. Anchorage, Alaska

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -8,464
  • Population change, 2010-2017: +5.3% (380,821 to 400,888)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 43,973 births, 15,756 deaths
  • Median home value: $299,700

41. Vineland-Bridgeton, New Jersey

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -8,476
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -2.6% (156,628 to 152,538)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 14,926 births, 10,604 deaths
  • Median home value: $165,900

40. Erie, Pennsylvania

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -8,511
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -2.1% (280,564 to 274,541)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 22,920 births, 20,396 deaths
  • Median home value: $125,700

39. Mobile, Alabama

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -8,517
  • Population change, 2010-2017: +0.2% (413,143 to 413,955)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 40,422 births, 30,886 deaths
  • Median home value: $126,800

38. Atlantic City-Hammonton, New Jersey

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -8,550
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -1.7% (274,540 to 269,918)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 22,801 births, 18,976 deaths
  • Median home value: $215,100

37. Fayetteville, North Carolina

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -8,741
  • Population change, 2010-2017: +5.6% (366,322 to 386,662)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 47,548 births, 19,638 deaths
  • Median home value: $134,600

More:Which manufacturers are bringing the most jobs back to America?

36. Jacksonville, North Carolina

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -8,791
  • Population change, 2010-2017: +9.1% (177,799 to 193,893)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 30,768 births, 7,184 deaths
  • Median home value: $151,500

35. Yakima, Washington

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -8,916
  • Population change, 2010-2017: +2.9% (243,237 to 250,193)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 29,681 births, 13,811 deaths
  • Median home value: $166,300

34. Binghamton, New York

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -9,470
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -3.8% (251,737 to 242,217)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 18,295 births, 18,409 deaths
  • Median home value: $121,000

33. Sierra Vista-Douglas, Arizona

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -9,495
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -5.0% (131,356 to 124,756)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 11,814 births, 9,110 deaths
  • Median home value: $130,100

32. Farmington, New Mexico

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -9,633
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -2.4% (130,045 to 126,926)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 13,381 births, 6,949 deaths
  • Median home value: $153,100

More:What’s the richest town in every state?

31. Lawton, Oklahoma

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -9,641
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -2.3% (130,291 to 127,349)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 14,355 births, 7,848 deaths
  • Median home value: $124,900

30. Charleston, West Virginia

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -9,772
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -5.6% (227,061 to 214,406)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 18,078 births, 20,856 deaths
  • Median home value: $111,300

29. Saginaw, Michigan

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -9,783
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -4.1% (200,169 to 191,934)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 16,380 births, 14,912 deaths
  • Median home value: $96,200

28. Pine Bluff, Arkansas

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -10,001
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -9.3% (100,278 to 90,963)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 8,244 births, 7,701 deaths
  • Median home value: $84,700

27. Montgomery, Alabama

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -10,317
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -0.2% (374,541 to 373,903)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 35,032 births, 25,380 deaths
  • Median home value: $135,700

26. Wichita, Kansas

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -10,335
  • Population change, 2010-2017: +2.3% (630,924 to 645,628)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 65,873 births, 40,647 deaths
  • Median home value: $132,400

25. Watertown-Fort Drum, New York

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -10,901
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -1.8% (116,232 to 114,187)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 15,196 births, 6,527 deaths
  • Median home value: $149,600

24. Albany, Georgia

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -10,964
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -3.9% (157,500 to 151,434)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 15,175 births, 10,379 deaths
  • Median home value: $109,600

More:Migration and growth: The fastest growing (and shrinking) cities in the US

23. New Haven-Milford, Connecticut

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -11,253
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -0.2% (862,462 to 860,435)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 64,732 births, 55,491 deaths
  • Median home value: $247,600

22. Visalia-Porterville, California

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -12,390
  • Population change, 2010-2017: +5.0% (442,178 to 464,493)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 55,606 births, 20,845 deaths
  • Median home value: $186,600

21. Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -12,410
  • Population change, 2010-2017: +0.3% (439,811 to 440,933)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 46,192 births, 32,742 deaths
  • Median home value: $150,900

20. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, Connecticut

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -13,682
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -0.2% (1,212,398 to 1,210,259)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 86,636 births, 75,155 deaths
  • Median home value: $247,400

19. Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pennsylvania

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -14,057
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -4.2% (565,799 to 541,926)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 40,696 births, 50,302 deaths
  • Median home value: $106,000

18. Peoria, Illinois

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -14,415
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -1.8% (379,186 to 372,427)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 35,268 births, 27,573 deaths
  • Median home value: $136,800

17. Hanford-Corcoran, California

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -14,442
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -1.9% (152,982 to 150,101)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 17,121 births, 5,895 deaths
  • Median home value: $190,500

16. Rochester, New York

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -15,934
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -0.2% (1,079,691 to 1,077,948)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 84,317 births, 69,938 deaths
  • Median home value: $138,900

15. Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -17,233
  • Population change, 2010-2017: +4.3% (406,219 to 423,725)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 53,118 births, 18,432 deaths
  • Median home value: $80,000

14. Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Virginia-North Carolina

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -17,297
  • Population change, 2010-2017: +2.9% (1,676,817 to 1,725,246)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 163,787 births, 97,935 deaths
  • Median home value: $239,900

13. Syracuse, New York

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -17,717
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -1.2% (662,625 to 654,841)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 52,435 births, 42,535 deaths
  • Median home value: $133,300

More:Jeep, Disney, Coca-Cola top survey list of America’s most patriotic brands

12. Toledo, Ohio

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -18,475
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -1.0% (610,002 to 603,668)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 54,309 births, 42,313 deaths
  • Median home value: $129,200

11. Rockford, Illinois

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -18,789
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -3.2% (349,431 to 338,291)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 30,366 births, 22,915 deaths
  • Median home value: $121,600

10. New York-Newark-Jersey City, New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -21,503
  • Population change, 2010-2017: +3.9% (19,566,480 to 20,320,876)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 1,811,927 births, 1,035,505 deaths
  • Median home value: $426,300

9. El Paso, Texas

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -21,829
  • Population change, 2010-2017: +5.1% (804,123 to 844,818)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 98,803 births, 36,570 deaths
  • Median home value: $119,600

8. Flint, Michigan

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -22,658
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -4.3% (425,788 to 407,385)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 35,720 births, 31,707 deaths
  • Median home value: $106,900

7. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wisconsin

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -27,959
  • Population change, 2010-2017: +1.3% (1,555,954 to 1,576,236)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 144,429 births, 95,601 death
  • Median home value: $204,000

6. Memphis, Tennessee-Mississippi-Arkansas

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -30,000
  • Population change, 2010-2017: +1.8% (1,324,827 to 1,348,260)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 136,058 births, 82,670 deaths
  • Median home value: $142,400

5. Cleveland-Elyria, Ohio

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -33,117
  • Population change, 2010-2017: -0.9% (2,077,271 to 2,058,844)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 168,361 births, 153,138 deaths
  • Median home value: $146,100

4. St. Louis, Missouri-Illinois

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -39,894
  • Population change, 2010-2017: +0.7% (2,787,763 to 2,807,338)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 246,280 births, 186,111 deaths
  • Median home value: $169,200

3. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Michigan

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -54,640
  • Population change, 2010-2017: +0.4% (4,296,317 to 4,313,002)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 364,121 births, 293,091 deaths
  • Median home value: $160,700

2. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -93,959
  • Population change, 2010-2017: +4.1% (12,828,961 to 13,353,907)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 1,202,115 births, 578,750 deaths
  • Median home value: $578,200

1. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Illinois-Indiana-Wisconsin

  • Population decrease due to migration, 2010-2017: -296,320
  • Population change, 2010-2017: +0.8% (9,461,541 to 9,533,040)
  • Natural growth, 2010-2017: 869,178 births, 501,469 deaths
  • Median home value: $229,900

More:25 richest cities in America: Does your metro area make the list?

Detailed findings

Not all the cities with the largest net declines in population from migration since 2010 are necessarily the fastest shrinking cities. However, among the U.S. metropolitan areas with the highest net population declines due to migration, the vast majority have had the largest overall decreases in population.

Two notable exceptions are New York and Los Angeles. While tens of thousands more people moved out of each city than moved in, both cities have still had among the highest net increases in population. This is because of natural population growth — hundreds of thousands more people in these cities have been born than died. Notably, Los Angeles had a net migration loss of 93,959, but the overall population increased by over three-quarters of a million people because of births.

Frey explained that movement from New York and Los Angeles to many of the cities with the largest net migration increases is due to residents of these cities getting pushed out because of rising populations and prices, the latter of which is a product of the economic recovery. “Now that things are picking up again, people are moving out of cities. As the housing market is coming back, people are being sucked out of pricey areas to where it is more affordable again.”

Frey gave the example of one common migration pattern: Los Angeles to Las Vegas, the latter of which had the 15th highest net population increase due to migration. Los Angeles has always lost residents to Las Vegas, but when the recession hit and housing prices fell, that movement slowed significantly.

Now that housing prices have recovered in Los Angeles and have become too expensive for many residents, people are once again moving out of the city in droves. As of 2016, Los Angeles had the seventh highest median home value of any metropolitan area, at $578,200. Las Vegas’ median home value is just slightly more than half that, at $233,700.

More:Cost of living: The purchasing power of a dollar in every state

“The same sort of thing is true for a place like New York,” Frey added. “There has always been huge movement going from New York to Florida, but during the Great Recession period that slowed up quite a bit, and now it is picking up again.”

Frey added that the reasons behind the decline in population in cities like Los Angeles and New York — overcrowding and high prices — are very different than the reasons for decreases in other cities on this list, notably Rust Belt cities like Flint, Michigan; Toledo, Ohio; and Rockford, Illinois; and even larger cities like St. Louis, Cleveland, and Milwaukee. These cities have been losing domestic migrants for decades due to stagnating economic conditions stemming from the decline of American manufacturing.

Methodology

To identify America’s Fastest Declining Cities, 24/7 Wall Street reviewed the annual estimates of resident population and the estimates of the components of residential population change from April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2017, provided by the American Community Survey. Population, and home value data also came from the 2016 American Community Survey.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/economy/2018/07/05/cities-americans-abandoning-population-migration/35801453/

 

 

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