Jeremiah Wright was the preacher in the Church that future U.S. president Barack Obama attended in Chicago. Wright is famous for saying “God Damn America” and that the Muslim attacks on 9/11/2001 that brought down the twin towers were “America’s chickens coming home to roost.” But behind these statements is a socialist outlook. Wright was (and is) a radical, and its worth understanding how he saw the world. Like Obama’s other friend, Bill Ayers, Jeremiah blamed black poverty on the government. He also blamed black imprisonment on the government, and implicitly on America’s entire economic and political system. Wright insisted that his faith be placed within the context of “black liberation theology”. This theology was created in the sixties by James Cone, a professor of theology. In Cone’s book “Black Theology and Black Power”, Cone says that the black intellectual’s goal is to “aid in the destruction of America as he knows it.” To achieve that destruction, making whites feel guilt is important so that white men will “tremble, curse and go mad, because they will be drenched with the filth of their evil.” To Cone, those who looted during the urban riots of the late 1960s were affirming their “being”. Long before it became a cliché, Cone came up with the concept of institutional racism – “racism is so/embedded in the heart of American society that few, if any, whites can free themselves from it.” Cone thought that racism could not be eliminated as long as capitalism remains intact. Jeremiah Wright and James Cone visited Cuba in 1984 – it was on this trip that Jesse Jackson, another black radical, courted controversy by chanting “Long Live President Castro! Long live Martin Luther King! Long live Che Guevara!”
Wright cited the opposition of Martin Luther King to the Vietnam war and said “When one goes against the war, one tampers with the financial institutions and the financial system that was put in place by the Founding Fathers of this country to keep the rich, rich!” One colleague of Wright’s, Ira Carruthers, believed that the skin-pigment melanin made black culture better than white culture. “If you object that such theories are pseudo-scientific, Carruthers replies that Western science itself is a method of oppressive control.” Its interesting that Thomas Sowell, a black conservative, started as a Marxist. Exploring Manhattan, he saw disparities in wealth. “Nothing in the schools or most of the books seemed to deal with that. Marx dealt with that,” says Sowell. But various sobering experiences eventually intruded and Sowell became a champion of the free market. Says Sowell: “We (Sowell’s family) were much poorer than the people in Harlem and most anywhere else today, but in the sense of things you need to get ahead, I was enormously more fortunate than most Black kids today.” That’s because he discovered the public library. “When you start getting in the habit of reading when you’re 8 years old, it’s a different ballgame!” Jeremiah Wright, on the other hand, graduated from Central High School of Philadelphia in 1959, among the best schools in the area at the time. At the time, the school was around 90 percent white. The 211th class yearbook described Wright as a respected member of the class. “Always ready with a kind word, Jerry is one of the most congenial members of the 211,” the yearbook said. “His record in Central is a model for lower class [younger] members to emulate. Wright joined the Marines, and then the Navy. It seems as if his worldview moved left, while Sowell’s moved right.
I think if you want to understand black radicalism, you have to understand the attraction of Socialism. Black radicals are not just people who experienced racism, or who believe that the whites keep blacks down. They also have a socialist worldview. Which is ironic, because Marxist countries have used slave labor, have a complete intolerance for free speech and for human rights. Sowell writes, “If you have always believed that everyone should play by the same rules… that would have gotten you labeled a radical 50 years ago, a liberal 25 years ago, and a racist today.”
Bill Ayers was a weatherman (a terrorist revolutionary) in the 1960s, and a friend of Barack Obama (the future president of the U.S.) in later years. Stanley Kurtz’s book on Obama has a chapter on Bill Ayers, and its worth looking at for understanding what radicals believe and how they try to implement their vision. In Bill’s violent incarnation, he participated in the bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, the Capitol building in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972. 15 years later he worked as a professor of education at the University of Illinois. From the Kurtz book we learn that: in Ayers eyes schools should be “sites of resistance” to an oppressive system. The point, Ayers says, is to “teach against oppression,” against America’s history of evil and racism, thereby forcing social transformation.
Kurtz talks about the “shared desire of Obama and Ayers to funnel a very large pot of money to the city’s most radical community organizers”
Money began to flow as well to Bernardine Dohrn’s Children and Family Justice Center at Northwestern University School of Law. Dohrn had been a weatherwoman. She is Bill Ayer’s wife. Bernadine thought of the American justice system as a modern version of the “slave ship” and the prison system a veritable political “gulag”. Dohrn also thought that violence is less the fault of criminals than of America’s structurally racist society. Welfare reform laws were a form of “state violence”. Even low wage jobs were a form of “state violence”.
Bernadine’s husband (Bill) compared America’s juvenile justice system to the mass detention of a generation of young blacks under South African apartheid.”
Bill also believed that America’s prison system is a racist plot to clear the streets of the kids most likely to make a socialist revolution.
Kurtz once appeared on a radio talk show to talk about the relationship between Obama and Ayers, specifically that Ayers worked directly with Barack Obama at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge and had a role in appointing Obama to the board. Callers to the show demanded that Kurtz be barred from speaking. Supposedly Kurtz was a “right wing hatchet man,” a “smear merchant,” and a “slimy character assassin,” perpetrating one of the “most cynical and offensive smears ever launched against Barack.”
But Kurtz shows in the book that the “smear” was well documented.
Ayers once told an interiewer that the notion of the United States as a “just and fair and decent place… makes me want to puke.” This leaves me with a question. When I see the U.S. I see a place that had (and has) flaws, but has attempted over time to correct them. I see a country where blacks have equal rights under the law. Unlike Bill, Bernadine, and Barack, I do not have a dream of a socialist alternative that makes a favorable contrast with the current situation. I see countries that socialists like, (such as Cuba) as unpleasant places to live in, where people’s potential is wasted, and free thought is not allowed. Why is there such a divergence in what I see, and what Bill Ayers sees? Why have many of his ideas become mainstream among the left?
Its not that I don’t see systemic problems with the U.S. Just the National debt, which jumps by a trillion during some president’s terms, is enough to prove a problem exists. And “cancel culture” and the breakdown of the family, and a host of other ills. Perhaps the world is divided into people who want to patch their rowboat, versus those who want to burn it in the belief that the ocean will disappear from under them!
ACORN (The association of Community Organizations for Reform now) was the largest community organization in the United States. ACORN was notorious for fraudulent voter registrations. It used ‘in-your-face’ protest tactics, and it helped precipitate the banking crisis of 2008. That crisis cost millions of jobs and hurt the people all over the world. (see https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/reports/2010/04/28/the-impact-of-the-september-2008-economic-collapse). So how did an organization which was supposed to help the little guy cause so much damage? Skeptics argue that the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) which ACORN used to force banks into making high-risk loans to low-credit customers, could have influenced at most only about a quarter of the loans at the base of the financial meltdown. What critics miss is that ACORN used a combination of local protest actions and national lobbying to spread subprime lending far beyond the confines of CRA-controlled banks.
For instance, there is this quote from Stanley Kurtz’s book “Radical in Chief”.
“However much pressure ACORN put on banks to lower credit standards, tough requirements in the “secondary market,” run by quasi-federal housing agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, served as a barrier to change. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy up mortgages en masse, bundle them, and sell them to investors on the world market. Back then, Fannie and Freddie refused to buy loans that failed to meet high credit standards. If, for example, a local bank buckled to ACORN pressure and agreed to offer poor or minority applicants a 5 percent down-payment rate, instead of the normal 10 to 20 percent, Fannie and Freddie would refuse to buy up those mortgages. That would leave all the risk of these shaky loans with the local bank.”
So the local bank would tell Acorn that they could only lower credit standards by a little.
In response ACORN had its friends in Congress introduce bills compelling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to support subprime lending. Acorn won this showdown. Now quotas for low-income loans were imposed on Fannie and Freddie.
When Bill Clinton became president of the United States, ACORN found friends in the new government. ACORN had captured Fannie and Freddie, but now it wanted to rope in the insurance companies. ACORN people met with Bill Clinton and explained what they wanted to do. Clinton was enthusiastic, and said that while he probably couldn’t get a bill to ACORN’s liking through Congress, he would use the “executive power of the president” to achieve their goals.
The story is more involved than the above, and anyone interested on how socialist organizations get funds from the government should read the chapter on ACORN in Kurtz’s book. The irony is that the problems that ACORN contributed to did not come to a head in the Clinton administration, but during the presidency of a Republican president, George W Bush, who subsequently was replaced by Barack Obama, a Democrat who tried to minimize his ties with ACORN. Kurtz documents that Obama had more ties to that organization than he was willing to admit. Nancy Pelosi, currently speaker of the house and a Democrat, voted for ACORN sponsored provisions. And yet, we are heading in the same direction:
The basic problems of Fannie and Freddie have not been solved as of 2021, and a Biden administration is unlikely to address them – quite the contrary, says Charles Gasperino in a column in the New York Post.
There were various reasons for the 2008 financial crisis. Various steps in the loan making process were carried by people who had no skin in the game – the risk of the loan could be passed like a hot potato from one link in the chain of loans to the next. But the ultimate buyers probably had little idea that loan standards had been so weakened and that they were buying a package of loans some of which were worthless.
It was in the name of equity and justice and anti-racism that the low-standard loans that contributed to the disaster of 2008 were made. Supposedly these are pure motives, but Kurtz notes a role of Peter Dreier (an influential advisor to ACORN’s banking campaign) in all this. Dreier, who I mentioned in a previous post, wanted to overload American Capitalism with entitlements until it collapsed and Socialism replaced it. Perhaps there was method in ACORN’s madness.
There may be one reality, but our views of it are elastic. When my father taught at the City University in New York, he had a maverick colleague who wrote a book that nobody took very seriously titled “A People’s History of the United States“. The author, Howard Zinn, was a Communist, and as you can imagine, his book did not make the United States look good. Eventually Mary Grabar, a professor who was born in a Communist country but grew up in the U.S. wrote a book titled: “Debunking Howard Zinn: Exposing the Fake History That Turned a Generation against America“. Which book do you think was more successful? Here is a quote from the Federalist:
“Zinn’s book was first published in 1980 and is now estimated to have sold some 2.6 million copies. College Board’s rewrite of its Advanced Placement U.S. history course features Zinn’s book and embeds his anti-American philosophy. The tragedy of all this, of course, is that Zinn’s book is concentrated poison. Using a careful review of his source materials and claims, as evidenced by her nearly 1,000 footnotes, Grabar documents quite clearly and conclusively that Zinn is not only a plagiarist but a liar.”
Since the worldview of many educators is to the left, Zinn’s book has more influence than Grabar’s ever will. Or take the 1619 project. Here is quote from City Journal:
In August 2019, the New York Times magazine published the “1619 Project.” This series of essays and articles provided readers with many “facts” that they may not have known: that the American Revolution was fought to preserve slavery; that Abraham Lincoln was a racist; that America’s foundational premise was “slavocracy;” that present-day American wealth is a direct consequence of slavery; and that the essential pattern of our history is not one of unprecedented growth in freedom and democracy but institutional hatred and oppression of blacks.
If you were unfamiliar with these facts, there is good reason—none are true. As National Association of Scholars president Peter W. Wood reveals in 1620: A Critical Response to the 1619 Project, the larger purpose of the Times’s project appears to have been to promote racial grievances and resentment. Most damningly, Wood points out that a Times fact-checker who contacted a radical historian to weigh the claim that the revolution was fought to protect slavery was told that this was nonsense.
So which book has more clout?
One clue: The Pulitzer Center helped turn The New York Times’ The 1619 Project — which received worldwide attention when it was published last year — into a curriculum that’s now taught in more than 4,500 schools nationwide.
On reading the above, you might shrug your shoulders, and say we all know that the winners of the ideological wars write the history books. Some of these winners are unscrupulous and twist facts to fit their motivated reasoning. Yawn…
However, lets continue:
There is a large book, with many footnotes, put out by the Nation of Islam (a black Muslim organization in the U.S.) that claims the Jews were heavily involved in the black slave trade:. According to Wikipedia:
The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews is a three-volume work published by the Nation of Islam. The first volume, which was released in 1991, asserts that Jews dominated the Atlantic slave trade. The Secret Relationship has been widely criticized for being anti-Semitic and for failing to provide an objective analysis of the role of Jews in the slave trade. The American Historical Association issued a statement condemning claims that Jews played a disproportionate role in the Atlantic slave trade, and other historians such as Wim Klooster and Seymour Drescher concluded that the role of Jews in the overall Atlantic slave trade was in fact minimal. Critics of the book assert that it uses selective citations in order to purposefully exaggerate the role of Jews.
So why would the Nation of Islam push a book such as this? Assuming the book is inaccurate, the reason might be that NOI’s religion says some unpleasant things about Jews and so its adherents might want to believe negative facts about Jews.
Again, we might ask, how much influence has this book had:
… the bible of the new anti-Semitism is “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews,” an official publication of the Nation of Islam that boasts 1,275 footnotes in the course of 334 pages.
Sober and scholarly looking, it may well be one of the most influential books published in the black community in last 12 months. It is available in black-oriented shops in cities across the nation, even those that specialize in Kente cloth and beads rather than books. It can also be ordered over the phone, by dialing 1-800-48-TRUTH. Meanwhile, the book’s conclusions are, in many circles, increasingly treated as damning historical fact.
Interestingly enough a writer in the Atlantic reviews the book, and indicates that yes, some Jews who were located in slave trading economies did trade in slaves, or own slaves. Nonetheless, the book is a distortion by making Jews more guilty than others.
However, as Winston Churchill once said: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”
There is a book called “The Avengers” which I once read. It describes how:
in 1944, a band of Jewish guerrillas emerged from the Baltic forest to join the Russian army in its attack on Vilna, the capital of Lithuania. The band, called the Avengers, was led by Abba Kovner, a charismatic young poet. In the ghetto, Abba had built bombs, sneaking out through the city’s sewer tunnels to sabotage German outposts.
Being Jewish, I was impressed and heartened that some Jews fought back in WW-II. But there was a twist. I mentioned the book to my father, who had left Germany at about 10 years old with his parents, and gone with them to Palestine. What he told me was that Kovner’s group was leftist, and when other, more right-wing Jews in town asked him for a copy of the plans of the sewers, he did not let them have it. I asked my father how he knew this, and he said that some of the remaining townspeople survived the Holocaust, came to Israel, and told the story.
So even reading a book which I was convinced was true, and whose heroes and heroines I was rooting for – I was not seeing the whole picture.
This raises a question – should we trust the history that we are taught? I was taught a different version of events in my schools than what is taught now. Was my version correct?
Currently we are living through a period where a significant fraction of the country believe that Donald Trump would have been re-elected president, if not for voter fraud. But I read the adjective “baseless” before any claims of voter fraud in conservative papers such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. A conservative columnist, Ben Shapiro, says claims of voter fraud are a lie. A conservative named Debra Saunders says this in an article titled “How to start a civil war“:
I’ve talked to multiple Trump supporters who told me that the election was stolen, and that fraud skewed the vote in the Democrats’ favor. They stuck to their guns, so to speak, as recounts failed to change a single state’s outcome. They stuck to their guns as judges and courts found the Trump campaign claims to be flimsy and unconvincing — way below the bar necessary to disenfranchise legally cast American votes.
Now this is a fork in the road. One fork starts with the assumption that there was voter fraud. The other starts with the assumption there was none. Where do these two roads lead? If there was voter fraud, then the newly elected government is illegitimate. It also means we no longer live in a democracy. If there was no voter fraud, then President Trump either lied in an effort to hold on to power, or believed what the Wall Street Journal calls “Conspiracy Theories” that led the more radical element of his followers to storm into the capitol building while the congress was certifying the electoral college result.
I personally believe there was voter fraud, partly because of this study by Economist John Lott at the DOJ: (for a more popular summary, see here ). I’ve also seen two of the several undercover videos of Project Veritas where a Democrat confesses to knowing about voter fraud in earlier elections. So how do I explain away the courts rejecting all the cases that have been brought? Well two of the cases that I looked at were not rejected based on looking on the evidence, but on ‘standing’ of the claimants (in the case of the Supreme Court) or the lack of a law to enforce oversight (in Pennsylvania).
Other people explain this challenge to their belief in voter fraud by saying that courts are afraid to take such cases, but of course motivation is notoriously hard to know.
Twitter and Facebook — the social media megaphones Trump has used to communicate with some 80 million followers — have terminated the president’s personal accounts.
Apple, Amazon and Google have cut ties to the social media website Parler, which is popular among conservatives.
Now, Cumulus Media, which has more than 400 radio stations and employs some of the most popular conservative talk-radio hosts in the nation, has warned its on-air personalities to stop suggesting the election of 2020 was stolen from Trump — or face termination.
Major corporations have begun to instruct their Political Action Committees to halt contributions to Republican legislators who support Trump. And some of Trump’s Cabinet officers and White House staff have bailed out on him.
The reason this is interesting is that ‘voter fraud’ should be a topic that can be debated. It is either true, or false, or a gray area where there was some fraud, but some fraud is inevitable in any election. Its truth or falsity is independent of whether people who believe it would commit violence, and therefore must be prevented from believing it by censorship.
How we look at the whole episode varies drastically – remember, I’m claiming that history is elastic. I’ll end with the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was a two-term Republican governor of California as well as the star of the Terminator franchise and other action movie classics.
I should say that I think he is wrong, but you can see one fork in the road here:
In a video posted to social media and scored to rousing classical music, the 73-year-old said he “would like to say a few words to my fellow Americans and to our friends around the world about the events of recent days”.
“I grew up in Austria and was very aware of Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass,” he said. “It was a night of rampage against the Jews carried out [by] the Nazi equivalent of the Proud Boys [a quasi-fascist group of Trump supporters].”
“Wednesday was the Day of Broken Glass right here in the United States. The broken glass was in the windows of the United States Capitol. But the mob did not just shatter the windows of the Capitol. It has shattered the ideals we took for granted. They did not just break down the doors of the building that housed American democracy. They trampled the very principles on which our country was founded.”
Schwarzenegger described a traumatic childhood in post-war Austria, the son of a police officer who joined the Nazi party. …President Trump sought to overturn the results of an election. And a fair election. He sought a coup by misleading people with lies. My father and our neighbours were misled also with lies. I know where such lies lead.”
There you have it – on one side, a belief that a lying demagogue is misleading his followers to trample on democracy, on the other a belief that an election was stolen and this caused the end of Democracy.
Each wrong fork in the road leads us further and further from the truth. How many wrong forks have we taken?
One reason many Americans distrust politicians, is because we believe they are paid off, perhaps by lobbyists for corporations. Some politicians think of really creative ways to make money. For example President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary had siblings who phoned people offering them presidential pardons – for money! There’s a whole book on this titled Pardongate: How Bill & Hillary Clinton and Their Brothers Profited from Pardons. However, dishonesty in politics can appear in other ways – the activists and idealists who protest in favor of a particular cause may not be really interested in that cause. How can this be?
Take the Green New Deal, a proposal to convert America to run on renewable energy rather than carbon containing fuels. The proponents must believe in an existential crisis of man made global warming, correct?
On a Wednesday morning in late May, emissaries of two of the strongest political voices on climate change convened at a coffee shop a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol. Saikat Chakrabarti, chief of staff to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), was there to meet Sam Ricketts, climate director for Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), who is running for president almost exclusively on a platform of combating global warming. A newly released plank of Inslee’s climate change agenda had caught the attention of Chakrabarti and his boss, who had tweeted that Inslee’s “climate plan is the most serious + comprehensive one to address our crisis in the 2020 field.” Pleased by the positive reception from the demanding Green New Deal wing of the climate struggle, Ricketts had set up this meeting with Chakrabarti to establish a personal connection and share approaches to climate advocacy.
“Congrats on the rollout,” Chakrabarti told him as they sat down. “That was pretty great.”
“Thank you again for the kudos you guys offered,” said Ricketts. “We wanted to be pace-setting for the field, and I think we’re there now. … I want to ask you for input … in addition to hearing what you guys are working on.”
Chakrabarti had an unexpected disclosure. “The interesting thing about the Green New Deal,” he said, “is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all.” Ricketts greeted this startling notion with an attentive poker face. “Do you guys think of it as a climate thing?” Chakrabarti continued. “Because we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.”
So which is it – saving the planet from CO2, or changing the economic system? It could be both of course, but which of the two is more important?
Consider the words of Christine Stewart – Canadian Environment Minister: “No matter if the science is all phony, there are still collateral environmental benefits…Climate change [provides] the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world.”
Yes, but then why not argue for justice directly?
I remember reading in some environmental journal about the environmental campaign to save the spotted owl. It became clear that the author regarded the owl as a tool to preserve large tracts of forest. The owl itself was incidental. Again, there is a component of dishonesty here.
And we see this odd phenomenon. in other causes – Western feminists who say nothing about the second-class status of women under Sharia, for instance. Surely if you care about women, you care about all women?
In his book “Radical In Chief”, Stanley Kurtz writes about the formation of the Citizen/Labor Energy Coalition. it was formed in 1978, 43 years ago. It was supposedly formed to fight for lower gas and oil prices. But there were broader goals. It was an initial attempt to build a nationwide populist movement, quietly directed by socialists, and designed to unify a fragmented American left. C/LEC called for creation of a publically owned energy company to compete with private ones. It crafted a regulatory regime for the energy industry that would effectively have put it under government control. And as with today’s energy battle, in public C/LEC emphasized solar energy and what we now call “green jobs”. Yet this seems to have been something of a cover for C/LEC’s top priorities: price controls and higher energy taxes.
So again, this is an example of a public image of a political group that claims it is for particular goals, when those goals are not the overriding ones.
Before she entered politics, Alexandra Ocasio Cortez was present at the protest against the Dakota access oil pipeline. According to LegalInsurrection.com:
The people who claimed they were protesting the Dakota Pipeline to save the environment have a funny way of showing it. They left behind so much garbage that the site has become a potential environmental disaster.
Officials estimated that the price of cleaning up the protesters’ mess would cost the taxpayers one million dollars.
The protests often became violent as protesters repeatedly resorted to extreme behavior to stop the building of the oil pipeline.
I’m sure protestors thought they were helping the environment, (though some might have seen the protest as just another way of radicalizing people against the Capitalist system), but in practice, if you can’t clean up after yourself, maybe you should not be protesting against pollution.
The basic point I’m trying to make in this post, and a point that Stanley Kurtz demonstrates often in his book, is that people with dramatic new visions for how our society may be structured can latch on to specific causes that are not really what they are about.
In my lifetime, most U.S. presidents wanted to be friendly with Russia.
President Ronald Reagan described it as an “evil empire” in a speech in 1983, and while being recorded joked “My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes”. The joke was meant to be off the record.
But other presidents were more trusting, even when Russia was Communist.
In 1977 President Jimmy Carter gave a speech renouncing America’s “inordinate fear of communism.”
Then the Russians invaded Afghanistan.
“My opinion of the Russians has changed most drastically in the last week than even (sic) the two-and-a-half years before that. It’s only now dawning upon the world the magnitude of the action that the Soviets undertook in invading Afghanistan.” said Carter in an interview with ABC News on December 31, 1979.
Then came a supposedly post-Communist Russia and Vladimir Putin.
Republican president George W. Bush met with Putin in 2001 and said he got “a sense of [Putin’s] soul.”
Later, Bush explained that
“…he did not make a mistake in his initial and often-ridiculed assessment of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, when they first met in 2001 and Bush said he got “a sense of [Putin’s] soul.”
Instead, Bush said, Putin became a different person.
“I think, to a certain extent, he changed,” Bush said Monday in an interview with conservative radio show host Hugh Hewitt.
“The reason why I said that is because I remembered him talking movingly about his mother and the cross that she gave him that she had blessed in Jerusalem,” Bush told Hewitt. “Nobody knows that, and I never tried to make an explanation of why I said what I said until the book” (Bush wrote a book titled ‘Decision Points’ about his time as president).
In the book, Bush writes that he interrupted Putin as the then-Russian President spoke from note cards and “seemed a little tense.” Bush asked whether the story of his mother giving him a cross was true, and writes that “a look of shock washed over Putin’s face.”
Putin then told the story of recovering the cross from a house fire and said that when a worker found the piece of jewelry it was as if it was meant to be. Bush writes that he remarked, “Vladimir, that is the story of the cross. Things are meant to be.”
Under Putin’s leadership freedom of speech and a free press have withered in Russia. Journalists who have been too aggressive have died suspicious deaths, and Putin has imprisoned business leaders who have been too open in opposing his will.
The extent to which Bush had misjudged Putin became clearest in August 2008 when Russia invaded the Republic of Georgia, a former Soviet bloc country on its southern border. The two leaders had an intense exchange in the stands of Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium during the 2008 Olympics opening ceremony.
Bush told Putin he had warned him that the Georgian leader, President Mikhail Saakashvili, was “hot-blooded.”
“I’m hot-blooded too,” Putin said.
“I stared back at him,” Bush writes in his book. “‘No Vladimir,’ I said. ‘You’re cold-blooded.”
Then came Barack Obama.
Obama, who had been a left wing radical in his youth, wanted to be friends with Putin. The N.Y. Times reported at one point (Putin was Prime Minister at the time): “As a pool of television journalists gathered for a news conference on the leaders’ meeting, Mr. Obama leaned in to deliver private assurances to Mr. Medvedev. President Obama found his private moment of political candor caught by a live microphone as he told President Medvedev that he would have “more flexibility” to negotiate on the delicate issue of missile defense after the November election.” In other words, he was assuring the president of Russia that he would be cooperative, but he didn’t want the American public to know how cooperative.
In the Obama administration, the wife of former President Bill Clinton, Hillary, was Secretary of State.
Hillary’s campaign Chairman John Podesta “sat on the board of a small energy company alongside Russian officials that received $35 million from a Putin-connected Russian government fund.”
Podesta sat on the board of a tiny energy company named Joule Unlimited. A mere two months after he joined the board, Rusnano, founded by Vladimir Putin in 2007, invested $35 million in the company. Podesta sat on three separate boards of Joule-affiliated corporate entities, but only reported two.
Moreover, Podesta’s own leftist think tank, the Center for American Progress, got $5.25 million from a group called the Sea Change Foundation in the four years ending in 2013. Sea Change, in return, had received what the authors call “a large infusion of funds from a mysterious Bermuda-based entity called ‘Klein Ltd.,’ ” which appeared to have Russian ties.
“This puts Clinton’s actions while in office under deep suspicion.” Hillary was quite the leftist in her youth. She joined the Venceremos brigades in Castro’s Cuba, and her college dissertation was on the leftist saboteur Saul Alinsky (author of “Rules for Radicals”).
Then came President Donald Trump.
President Trump seemed initially to be the most openly friendly president to Putin.
In fact Hillary suggested that Donald Trump “has shown a very troubling willingness to back up Putin, to support Putin, whether it’s saying that NATO wouldn’t come to the rescue of allies if they were invaded, talking about removing sanctions from Russian officials after they were imposed by the United States and Europe together, because of Russia’s aggressiveness in Crimea and Ukraine, his praise for Putin which is I think quite remarkable.”
Given that Hillary’s own record was spotty, lets look deeper:
Trump has said contradictory things about Putin according to a CNN KFile review of Trump’s public statements. CNN’s article says:
Since 2013 — when Trump’s Miss Universe pageant was held in Moscow — Trump has at least nine times claimed to have spoken to, met, or made contact with Putin. But as the 2016 campaign wore on and his statements on Putin began to attract more scrutiny, Trump changed course, denying having ever met the Russian president.
“I never met Putin,” Trump said at a July 2016 news conference. “I don’t know who Putin is. He said one nice thing about me. He said I’m a genius. I said thank you very much to the newspaper and that was the end of it. I never met Putin.”
March 3, 2014 Amid Russian aggression in Ukraine, Trump tells “Fox and Friends” that Mitt Romney was right about Russia being a “geopolitical foe.”
“Well Mitt Romney was so right, and nobody knew how right he was going to be, and you look at Obama’s response and just take a look at what’s going on,” said Trump. “Syria was propped up by Russia. Syria’s now back in their fold 100% and that whole deal is coming to an end because Russia’s taken over.”
Trump added, “There are a lot of things we could be doing economically to Russia. Russia is not strong economically and we could do a lot of different things to really do numbers on them if we wanted to.”
March 13, 2014 Trump tells NBC’s “Today” that the US should “definitely do sanctions” against Russia for their aggression in Ukraine.
“And we have to show some strength. I mean, Putin has eaten Obama’s lunch, therefore our lunch, for a long period of time,” he said. “And I just hope that Obama, who’s not looking too good, doesn’t do something very foolish and very stupid to show his manhood. I just hope that doesn’t happen.”
March 24, 2014 Trump tells “Fox and Friends” Mitt Romney was right that Russia was “our biggest problem.”
“Well, Mitt was right, and he was also right when he mentioned in one of the debates about Russia, and he said, ‘Russia’s our biggest problem, and Russia is, you know, really something,'” Trump said.
“He said it’s a hell of a problem, and everybody laughed at him, including certain media, by the way,” continued Trump. “They laughed. It turned out that he’s absolutely right. You look at what Russia’s doing with Iran, how they controlled the situation, and Syria, and virtually every other place that … We were thrown out of every place. I’m not saying we should be there. We should rebuild our own schools and our own bridges and highways and everything else. To be scoffed at and thrown around the way we’re being thrown around is absolutely unthinkable.”
March 18, 2015 Trump tells the Daily Mail about his relationship with Putin: “the relationship is great, and it would be great if I had the position I should have.”
Trump also said he received “a gift from Putin – an award and a beautiful letter.” He does not confirm or deny meeting with Putin when asked.
Aug. 29, 2015 Trump says that Putin “hates Obama,” but that he would get along great with the Russian president.
“Putin hates us,” he said. “He hates Obama. He doesn’t hate us. I think he’d like me. I’d get along great with him I think. If you want to know the truth.”
Sept. 28, 2015 Trump tells reporters at Trump Tower that “Putin is a nicer person than I am.”
Dec. 18, 2015 Trump said on Morning Joe that Putin was a better leader than Obama, and dismissed Joe Scarborough’s allegations that the Russian president “kills journalists that don’t agree with him.”
“He’s running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country,” Trump said.
He added: “I think our country does plenty of killing also, Joe, so you know. There’s a lot of stupidity going on in the world right now, a lot of killing going on, a lot of stupidity.”
Dec. 20, 2015 In an interview with ABC’s “This Week,” Trump defends against allegations Putin has ordered the killings of journalists and dissidents.
“As far as the reporters are concerned — as far as the reporters are concerned, obviously I don’t want that to happen. I think it’s terrible — horrible. But, in all fairness to Putin, you’re saying he killed people. I haven’t’ seen that. I don’t know that he has. Have you been able to prove that? Do you know the names of the reporters that he’s killed? Because I’ve been — you know, you’ve been hearing this, but I haven’t seen the name. Now, I think it would be despicable if that took place, but I haven’t’ seen any evidence that he killed anybody in terms of reporters.”
In practice, once he became president Trump argued he has been tougher on Russia than any of his predecessors.
“Ideally we want to get along with Russia. Getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Maybe we will, maybe we won’t,” Trump told reporters during a meeting with Baltic state leaders.
“Probably no one has been tougher to Russia than Donald Trump,” he added, citing investments in the U.S. military and NATO.
Trump gave weapons to the Ukranians defending themselves against Russian aggression. Obama had refused to do that.
Now that it looks like Joe Biden will be president, its important to remember that his son Hunter received a $3.5 million wire transfer from Elena Baturina, the richest woman in Russia and the widow of Yury Luzhkov, the former mayor of Moscow.
In his book “Radical in Chief“, Stanley Kurtz traces the socialist influences on Barack Obama who at the time of writing, had been president for two years. Obama was a radical, but he had to conceal just how radical to appeal to the U.S. electorate. The book is not just about Obama, its also about what the left in America was doing after the initial excitement of the 60’s. One interesting aspect of the book is that it foreshadows what is happening today in 2020.
In the 1967 Socialist Scholars Conference, Stanley Aronowitz said this: “Racism is based on the profit system.” The police, he continued, are the arm of the ruling class in the ghettos.
“Speaking in the aftermath of urban riots, Aronowitz noted that blacks had already led the way by forming anti-police self-defense committees.”
Maybe the phrase “systemic racism” that we hear today reflects this belief of Aronowitz that the profit system causes racism, since the profit motive (among others) are what motivates our businesses.
In that same conference in a “Black Power” panel session plans were made to lever the next summer’s season of urban riots into full-scale revolution. A scheme to burn down twenty American cities was floated, to be followed by a “military struggle in the streets.”
In the nineteen eighties, Harold Washington’s successful insurgent campaign for mayor of Chicago showed Socialists they could win at the ballot box. That may seem surprising, since Harold Washington never described himself as a socialist.
“Yet the progressive coalition that defeated the Chicago machine and lifted Washington into office was the very model of socialist hopes for America’s political future. Washington was carried to victory by a popular movement of newly politicized black and Hispanic voters, supplemented by progressive whites. These groups were mobilized by activist Chicago churches (like Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ) and Chicago’s many leftist community organizations…this coalition was buttressed behind the scenes by Chicago’s powerful but discreet contingent of democratic socialists.”
“Anyone who reads Obama’s Dreams from My Father will know how important Harold Washington’s example was to Obama”…
Michael Harrington was the leader of the Democratic Socialist of America (DSA). His overall strategy was
“to force a two-party “realignment” by pulling the Democrats sharply to the left. Harrington expected that this would drive business interests away from the Democrats and into the Republican Party. In theory, however a flood of newly energized minority and union voters would more than make up for the Democrat’s losses.”
“Could minority voters be a sleeping giant that, once awakened, would vanquish Reagan and usher in a progressive future?”
Peter Dreier spoke at the 1983 Cooper Union Conference (which Obama probably attended). Dreier was a member of the DSA’s National Executive Committee. (Remember in what follows that Obama started his career as a “Community Organizer.”) Dreier seeked public control of America’s economy from below, through pressure from leftist community organizations. (Dreier would later serve as a key strategist in ACORN’s campaign to pressure banks into funding high-risk mortgages to low-credit customers.). In Dreier’s vision…with community organizations leading the way to a more collectively oriented national consciousness, changes like the importation of a Canadian-style government-run health-care system would eventually follow.”
Dreier’s strategy also included (in his words) “injecting unmanageable strains into the capitalist system, strains that precipitate the economic or political crisis.”
Stanley Kurz explains: “So Dreier’s plan is to gradually expand government spending until the country nears fiscal collapse. At that point, a public accustomed to its entitlements will presumably turn on its capitalist masters when they propose cutbacks to restore fiscal balance. Dreier fears that ths intentionally wrought crisis might actually backfire and produce fascism instead of socialism. That is why he believes it’s so important to have a left-wing grassroots movement already in place. Left-wing community organizers will turn the national fiscal crisis in a socialist direction.”
Its interesting to look at our 22 trillion dollar deficit and wonder if it will achieve Dreier’s goals (thats not to say that our deficit was created deliberately, of course). His goal of moving the Democratic party to the left has been achieved (again, I’m agnostic as to what caused this movement to the left).
Peter Dreier served as an advisor to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Manning Marable was a vice chair of the DSA who wrote a book titled “How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America”. While many argue that black poverty is caused by a history of systematic exclusion from the American system, Marable claims that the system itself is designed to make blacks poor: “America’s ‘democratic’ government and ‘free enterprise’ system are structured deliberately and specifically to maximize Black oppression.”
Marable says that black crime is not the fault of the young men who commit it, but of the capitalist system itself.
Marable’s program echoes what Obama could have heard at the Social Movements panel: Penetrate the legislatures, expand entitlements, restrict capitalism through regulation, and place all of this in synergy with a proto-socialist grassroots movement.
All the above is within the first 55 pages of a 393 page book. I haven’t read past this, but I’m curious where Obama fit in with this general left wing zeitgeist that was developing while he was at Occidental college and Columbia, and the influence of the various Socialist conferences he attended. For those readers who are also interested, a link to the book on Amazon follows:
Its dismaying to me to see how minorities get involved in the Socialist push, but recently I was reading just how the Socialist view is pushed in college courses in Australia, and I see that its everywhere.
In the first World War Jews fought for various warring countries, including Germany. My (Jewish) grandfather fought for the Germans, and my father tells me that his relatives were “rabid German nationalists”. A distant relative was a German Jewish air ace.
In Britain, established Jews volunteered for service to fight the Germans, except for recent immigrants from Russia, who had no desire to fight on the side of Russia, given the anti-Semitism they had suffered there. In his book “Jews and the Military”, Derek Penslar puzzles over the fact that German Jews preferred to commemorate their dead than pay attention to their wounded. This contrasted with Britain, where there was extensive conversation in the Jewish press throughout the war about the Jewish wounded. He says that German-Jewish soldiers at times felt powerful solidarity with their Gentile fellow fighters, glorified the community of fighting men, and believed in heroic, redemptive death.” Penslar adds that “In any society people do not deal comfortably with the war wounded, or with disabled people of any type. Viewing the disabled…evokes guilt over being hale, not doing enough to assist the unfortunate or both…For the wounded in defeated countries, that guilt is aggravated by shame, for the broken body of the veteran symbolizes the humiliation of the nation.”
Amid Revolutionary chaos after the war (in the fall of 1918 and the winter of 1920), Jewish veterans formed self-defense squads, and when riots threatened Jewish neighborhoods they armed themselves with pistols and rubber truncheons and brawled with German toughs. Joseph Kurt is an example of a Jewish soldier imbued with patriotism but excluded by anti-Semitism. He served during the war in the air corps, and returned to Berlin during the Spartacist rebellion. Deeply opposed to socialism, Kurt assembled a phalanx of government supporters who took on a group of advancing Spartacists, disarmed them, and took them prisoner. Later he volunteered to command a Freikorps unit on the Polish border but when troops in another unit threatened to kill him for being a Jew, he returned to Berlin.
Penslar points out that the German Jews were not fascists; there was no cult of the leader, no internal enemy, and little interest in territorial expansion. Jewish support for fascism was far greater in Italy than in Germany, in fact over seven hundred Jews took part in Mussolini’s March on Rome or were members of the Fascist Party at the time. Victor Klemperer, a German Jew who survived World War 2, described being holed up with other Jews in a cellar in 1944, and chatting “naturally” about their service in World War 1. “…it goes without saying that each of us is attached to the German army of the First World War and to its opponents in this world war with the same degree of passion”. The puzzle to me was that the Jews who were patriotic and wanted to prove themselves (not all classes of Jews were interested in super-patriotism), didn’t understand that their societies could turn against them, and that anti-Semitism could prevail instead of being something that could be surmounted. They didn’t understand their environment. Or maybe, their environment changed.
Dusko Popov warned the United States in advance of the coming attack on Pearl Harbor. The Nazis thought he was their spy (he was a double agent) and they showed him Japanese requests for information on two topics – the attack by the British that sunk the Italian fleet at Taranto, and for any information on the ammunition dumps and mine depots on Oahu, (Hawaii), where Pearl Harbor is located. Dusko Popov realized what this meant, and traveled from Europe to America to deliver his warning. Four months later, Dusko was on a ship from South America to New York on Dec 7, 1941 when the ship’s loudspeaker announced that all passengers were to assemble in the first-class lounge. The captain said that the Japanese navy had attacked Pearl Harbor, and then one of the ship officers told the passengers that since the United States was at war, their boat could be attacked by a German submarine. Popov writes (in his book “Spy Counter Spy”):
“The seriousness of the moment could be read on everyone’s face. Except mine. It was the news I had been awaiting. I couldn’t say anything to relieve the tension of my fellow passengers, but I was sure the American fleet had scored a great victory over the Japanese. I was very, very proud that I had been able to give the warning to the Americans four months in advance. What a reception the Japanese must have had! I paced the deck, no not paced it, I floated above it exultantly…. Then the news started trickling in. Involuntarily, I shook my head till my brain felt as though it was coming unstuck. The bulletins simply were not believable. The Japanese had scored a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. How, I asked myself, how? We knew they were coming. We knew how they were going to come. Exactly like at Taranto. And that’s how they came, combined torpedo and dive-bomber attacks, exactly as employed by Admiral Cunningham against the Italians. Except that the Japanese planes hardly should have go off the deck. More news. The battleships West Virginia and California had been sunk at their moorings. At their moorings, I moaned. They couldn’t have been at their moorings. They had to be steaming to attack the Japanese fleet. Then it was the Arizona. Blown up…In one and a half hours the mastery of the Pacific had passed from American to Japanese hands. I had the right information to forestall the attack. I had traveled thousands of miles to deliver the information, which would certainly have shortened the war by a year of more. And American red tape had stopped the information going through.
Popov tried to ascertain how the failure happened. His conclusion was the culprit was probably the head of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, who he had spoken with personally, and not the president of the U.S. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR). About FDR he says
“For a while, there was what I believe to be a canard circulating that President Roosevelt deliberately allowed the attack to take place so as to draw the United States into the war….I have had to discount the Roosevelt theory on the basis of pure logic. Granted even that Roosevelt might have welcomed an attack as a means of coercing the American people to unity in a war he was sure must come sooner or later, he still could have accomplished the same result by alerting his armed forces to the eventuality….there was no need for a defeat to accomplish this. No need to sacrifice the American Pacific fleet and thousands of soldiers, sailors and civilians on 7 December.
Popov’s book raises various interesting issues. Whoever heard or read Popov’s warning must have discounted it. Why? J. Edgar Hoover had thrown Popov out of his office (partly because Popov had carried on with other women despite being married), but Popov did submit the documentation for his warning. Maybe since Hoover did not like or respect the person who was his source of information, he ignored the information. Another reason people dismiss evidence is that they have a rigid theory or expectation, and the evidence doesn’t fit their expectation. In the same war (World War II), Stalin, the leader of Russia, refused to believe his own spy that Germany would invade Russia. There is an entire blog unheededwarnings.wordpress.com that discusses this and other examples of disasters that resulted from not heeding warnings. (full disclosure, I am the author of that blog too).
We all discount information on a regular basis. For instance, the half of the voters in the U.S. that just voted for Joe Biden for president discounted reports that he enriched himself and his family by selling ‘access’ to foreign companies and governments. Some of those voters probably never heard of this accusation, but if they did, it did not prevent them from voting for him. There was disturbing information about Trump too, when he was first elected, and plenty of disturbing info on the candidate he was running against (Hillary Clinton). It was either discounted or it didn’t reach their voters. Its an interesting issue.
Rich Higgins was a munitions expert who saw a need for his skills in Iraq, where Americans and their allies were being blown up by IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices). He has written a scathing book called “The Memo” about the denial of reality in the various American administrations he served in. He put together an team to deal with the IED problem, and they went to Iraq. But:
“…we never had enough resources. Not enough people. Not enough equipment or the right equipment. We felt short-handed and under equipped, and we were always struggling to catch up. We did the best we could and we did very good and very important work. We did as much as we possibly could with what we had. But we were just a few guys—seven of us on the team. We were working out of a garage behind the FBI building, driving around in a beat-up old pickup, and trying to get a handle on these bombs that are killing hundreds of Americans. We had no resources. Command wasn’t interested in us. It was still focused on the hunt for WMDs and spending, literally, billions on the futile search. They were like those generals on the Western Front in World War One, still dreaming of cavalry charges when the machine gun had changed war and was slaughtering their troops. We failed to know our enemy. And we failed, for a long time, to appreciate and understand his weapon of choice.”
Rich Higgins says that it is important to identify who we are fighting. The name “war on terror” was misleading. Terror is a tactic”.
Under George W. Bush:
“The Official line from the Pentagon and the rest of the administration, including the White House, was that we were fighting “terrorism” in Iraq. That fallacy, again. Bomb tech training taught me to view any incident or attack through the eyes of the enemy. Hard to do when you refused to acknowledge him and didn’t respect him.”
But did it really matter what we called the war, or the enemy, as long as we were fighting him? Mr. Higgins says it was indeed important. He shows why:
“So the IED attacks were simply random acts committed by terrorists — specifically al Qaeda — and not an organized resistance. We were not, then, facing an insurgency and we didn’t have to create a plan and a structure for dealing with it. It might be necessary to come up with some better armor for our vehicles, so they could survive an IED blast. And we still needed to find those WMDs. But other than that … Well, like I say, I knew that was wrong. … we had to understand what we were up against and the word for that is . . . “insurgency.” And what follows, logically, is that you adopt counter-insurgency measures and tactics. This means you become a lot more like a police and law enforcement operation and less like a military occupation. You begin depending on police tactics. You develop informers. You make arrests and conduct interrogations. You treat the locations where attacks took place as crime scenes and you mine them for evidence. You provide security for the local populations and develop relationships and rapport with people in the communities and you rely on them for information, which they will be a lot more willing to provide once they feel safe. These are not the things that the American Army had been trained to do. It considered its mission to be war fighting at the heavy end of the scale and it had gotten very good at it. Success in the two wars against Iraq was testimony to that. But that was conventional, big unit warfare with an emphasis on firepower and maneuver. That’s what was meant by the phrase “shock and awe.” That doesn’t work when you are fighting an insurgency. At least not when using tactics acceptable to Americans.”
He does say that the Marines have more of a history and tradition for this kind of warfare”. But they too took a while to catch on what was going on in Iraq.
Meanwhile, the IEDs kept going off and we were losing 80 Americans a month and a lot more Iraqis than that. And we were still looking for WMDs. Our government has had plenty of experience in dealing with insurgencies and, as I have written, there is a counterinsurgency doctrine. But first you have to admit you have a problem and call it, by its right name.
Rich Higgins wrote up his recommendations, which were presented by his boss, Tom O’Connell.And as he was presenting the list, O’Connell used the word “insurgency.” “Now stop right there,” he is told, by Doug Feith (Undersecretary of Defense). “We are not using that term here in this building.”
Higgins was very frustrated: “ all my work had been waved away, like an annoying fly, because ‘we don’t use that word around here.’
What happens when you are so determined not to accept reality that you won’t even call something by its name. Won’t use the name—in this case “insurgency’-‘—and are ordering people to use other words instead? Ordering them to say “dead-enders” instead of ” insurgents”? What I witnessed was the creation at the Pentagon of a sort of fantasy world where people not only denied the reality in front of their faces but created a make-believe rhetoric designed to justify their own errors of judgment (to use the kindest description) and further their own agendas and careers. The other beneficiary of this reality denial was al Qaeda, who gladly accepted the credit for the ferocity of the insurgency mounted by Saddam’s former henchmen.”
On reading Higgin’s description above, I am somewhat confused myself. He says the Bush and Obama administrations refused to recognize that Islam has Jihad as a fundamental element, but he also says that they refused to see that the insurrection was of the loyalists of the Saddam’s Hussein’s government, who presumably would not be primarily motivated by religious concerns.
“What replaces reality is what I call ‘the narrative,’ though I wasn’t using that word at the time. It was a while before I came around to a complete understanding of what was going on and how it worked. Before, that is, I began to appreciate the reality of the Deep State. I wasn’t using that phrase, either, back then. In those days, fairly early in the Iraq war, I still believed that if I could just make the right people listen, then maybe they would understand. But those people, who should have known better, believed in things that were way beyond unrealistic. They were fantasies. Some of those people were sincere in their beliefs. Maybe even most of them. But there was a lot of calculation and political maneuvering. And there were people who tested the wind and went whichever way it was blowing. Human nature is what it is and it doesn’t change.”
Higgins gives examples of huge wastes of money in Iraq, but adds “Meanwhile, I couldn’t get the funding we needed to stand up a task force to hunt down the bomb makers.
Eventually the strategy in Iraq improved, such as the decision to work with tribes who, in return for cash and protection, helped find and “neutralize’ insurgents.
An FBI agent called Rich Higgins to a meeting with other government types, any of them in law enforcement. The briefing started and a speaker said:
“Hey, this is who we are. We’ve been working counterterrorism for five years now. We believe we have a major issue. That issue is. . . we don’t understand the enemy and how he operates.” I remember thinking, Well, yeah. I guess you could call that an issue. “We don’t understand Islam. Not the reality. We are in a state of denial.” First time I’d ever heard anyone put it right out front that way. “We’re not training our guys adequately and this is causing a lot of problems. And we want to share with you what we’ve found inside our organization and ask you to share a little bit about what you’re seeing inside your own organizations. And we are going to have a couple of folks in here today to brief us on what we are dealing with and what we are denying.” The briefers were all frustrated by the resistance they were getting from the top where the official line was still, “Islam is a religion of peace.” Their response, in short, was, “No it is not.” And they proceeded to explain exactly why. I listened and as I did, things became very clear. For me, it was in a very real way, a “red pill moment,” like that scene from the movie “Matrix.” The one with the line that goes, “You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. That briefing opened my eyes to just how deeply into the rabbit hole of denial we had gone. We had bought into a totally false narrative where Islam was a “religion of peace.” That it had been “hijacked” by radicals who were responsible for 9/11 and other acts of terrorism. And we needed Muslims to come into the Pentagon to explain this to us.”
Studying Islam led Rich Higgins to give a warning that got him into trouble but proved to be right:
“In late 2010, maybe early 2011, for instance, I was accused, in an official and threatening way, of being a racist, xenophobe, and a bigot. It started with an army private named Naser Abdo who went on Al Jazeera with a video in which he’s making all these statements that to the normal ear just sounded like he was complaining about life in the U.S. Army and how he wished it were more multi-cultural and all that sort of stuff. It could be passed off as just the usual soldier bitching but what I and a few others realized was . . . this guy was threatening to attack Americans just like Major Hassan had done at Fort Hood. On Al Jazeera. In his army uniform. He was, straight up, a traitor. I sent an email, through two channels. First, to the appropriate Pentagon office asking, “Who is this guy and why is he on television and who is his commander and why isn’t he doing something about it? And, oh, by the way, this guy is threatening an attack.” Second, to an email distro list I participated on that included some very influential national security people. There was never any official response. The distro list response that came back basically said I was not just wrong, but I was making this stuff up because I was a racist and I should be fired for saying it. Well, about four months after that e-mail exchange, then-specialist Abdo was arrested at Fort Hood, where he had gone to do another terrorist attack. An alert gun store owner caught on to him, and he is now in Colorado at the supermax prison. The point of that story is that, unless you know Islam and you know what people like that are talking about—where, you might say, they are “coming from”—you can’t understand what they are actually saying. What they are communicating to you. “
So what are Rich Higgin’s recommendations now?
He’s for getting out of Afghanistan:
“The war in Afghanistan is a pure example of the Deep State in action. Whole careers were built on that war. Massive contracts were let out. We constructed all kinds of things in that country. Twelve thousand-foot runways, air-conditioned office complexes… twenty first century infrastructure in a nation where many, many people still lived in mud huts. The war generated countless conferences, studies, and factfinding missions. We could have papered over the whole country with the reports that were written by all the experts. war was studied and analyzed almost as much as it was fought. It was good for the Pentagon and the State Department and the whole Deep State foreign policy establishment, what some now call “the blob.” Not so good, though, for the American kids who got sent there to do an impossible job and got blown up and killed, or crippled for life or, even if they weren’t physically injured, came home with PTSD. We went in there to fight al Qaeda and kill Osama bin Laden. We broke up al Qaeda and we chased bin Laden into a hole. It took a while to find where he was roached-up and kill him, but we finally did it.” “And.. .still, four years after bin Laden’s demise, we were stuck in Afghanistan”
Rich Higgins believes that given the doctrines and strength of Islam in that country, there was no way to win without killing huge numbers of people, which obviously Americans would not want to do. So the remaining option is to leave a hopeless cause.
Rich Higgins supported Trump. Trump wanted to get out of that war, and that was one reason for the support. Rich did not think much of Republicans (or Democrats): He says that Trump’s biggest mistake was not to staff the administration with people who were not on the same wavelength:
“It’s the Republican party that didn’t do the Obamacare thing he wanted. It’s the Republican Party that would not adjourn Congress the first two years of the Trump presidency to allow him to make recess appointments. It’s the Republican Party that fought him on a lot of his policy objectives on immigration, on the Islam issue, and on and on. Guys like Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are a far greater threat to Trump’s MAGA agenda than Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer And the most distressing part is that even when things started to go wrong, he didn’t understand why and he didn’t change. He kept going to the same old roster of conventional old political hacks from the permanent Washington establishment.”
I’m not sure this is completely fair. On Obamacare, for example, it was only three Republican senators that voted against Trump’s efforts to repeal it, the rest voted for him.
But then again, I wasn’t part of the U.S. government, military or president of a company dealing with National Security Threats”, and Rich has been in all three roles. The lessons in his book should be taken to heart.