We’re headed into the Memorial Day weekend, and what better time to remember those stories that held your attention, briefly, weeks or even months and years ago ? Well, here’s some follow-up:
Perfidious Albion, Revisited – Remember when Judge Andrew Napolitano, the Fox News commentator, was suspended from Fox because he highlighted the British connection to the plot to oust Donald Trump? In light of the Christopher Steele dossier, and the even more recent revelation of the Stefan Halper/Sir Richard Dearlove spying mission, it looks like the Judge was right.
Napolitano contended on air that the Obama White House used the Brits to get transcripts of conversations between Trump officials and their contacts so that “no American fingerprints” would be left on the dirty deeds. Yet it looks like they did go through our own FISA court to get a judge to sign on to the surveillance: however, there are many questions about what evidence they used to convince that judge.
The “dirty dossier” was one piece of the puzzle, the information funneled to the FBI by their spie(s) in the campaign was another, and I believe that information provided by foreign intelligence services, including the Brits, was the third addition to this brew.
The President’s critics, as well as his friends, say he could clear all this up by simply declassifying the relevant documents, but this is easier said than done: those documents doubtless implicate our foreign “allies” as the source of the “collusion” charges leveled at Trump. The Democrats didn’t think this up all on their own: the whole Russia-gate hoax originated, I believe, overseas, and was then eagerly adopted by the Clintonites. Rather than cause an international incident – and a serious one, to be sure – all concerned are doing their best to downplay this aspect of the unfolding drama, yet the truth is bound to come out eventually.
Hitlerian Ukraine – Remember Ukraine? That’s the country Vladimir Putin was going to invade any day now – except it never happened. Oh well, the “imminent” Russian invasion was years ago, so why bring it up now? Because Nazis are overrunning the place, that’s why.
The Forward reports:
“A wave of anti-Semitism has swept over Ukraine. In the past three weeks alone, a far-right leader publicly called for cleansing Ukraine of zhidi (a slur equivalent to ‘kike’); a Holocaust memorial in Ternopil was bombed; hundreds marched through Lviv, in honor of an SS unit, complete with Nazi salutes; ‘Death to Zhidi’ graffiti was scrawled in two cities; a revered rabbi’s tomb was vandalized; a Romani camp in Kiev was attacked and burned by far-right nationalists, and hundreds rocked out at a neo-Nazi concert clad in swastikas and throwing up Nazi salutes.”
The piece is entitled “Violent Anti-Semitism is Gripping Ukraine – And the Government is Standing Idly By.” But of course they’re standing idly by: as I pointed out four years ago, that’s because they’re in ideological agreement with the neo-Nazis, who make up a large electoral and military constituency.
The openly Nazi Azov Brigade is one of the crack units of the Ukrainian military. Other far right militias associated with Right Sector, an extreme nationalist group, are being trained in the use of American weapons by Army trainers, all of it paid for by the hapless US taxpayers. Indeed, in 2016 an amendment to the military spending bill that would have banned US funding for the neo-Nazi Azov fighters was stripped from the final bill – a maneuver the Ukraine lobby managed to pull off three times since 2015. Finally this year, thanks to Rep. Ro Khanna, the Ukrainian Nazis found themselves out in the cold once again, as an amendment was adopted that forbids US funding to Azov and any military formation inculcated with Nazi ideology.
The current omnibus spending bill lavishes $620,7 million on Ukraine, including $200 million in “lethal” military aid and the rest a gift from the State Department.
Italexit?! – Hey, remember the right-wing populist threat to All Decent People Everywhere that was slated to take over the world upon the election of Donald Trump? Well, the Italian branch of the Great Populist Revolt has taken power in Italy – except it’s not right-wing per se, but rather a unique electoral coalition: a left-right alliance, featuring the ultra-conservative Lega Nord, founded by northern secessionists who wanted an independent state of “Padania,” and the upstart leftist Five Star movement started by comedian Beppe Grillo.
Both parties are on record as considering the European Union the incarnation of Ultimate Evil, yet they will be forced to go to Brussels seeking debt relief. Which means Rome and the Euro-crats are on a collision course.
Italy is not Greece: its economy is roughly the equivalent of California’s. The Greeks can be dictated to: the Italians must be bargained with. And in the post-Brexit world, the possibility of leaving the European Union is no longer inconceivable: in the context of the populist politics that have eliminated the traditional parties in Italy, Italexit – yes, I’m coining this new term right now! – is more than merely possible.
In Italy we are seeing yet more evidence that the two dominant trends in global politics right now – nationalism and decentralism – are working overtime to dismantle the supra-national structures the Davos crowd stupidly thinks are the future.
As a member of NATO, Italy has been complicit in the alliance’s provocative military “exercises” and propagandistic pronouncements targeting Russia. Will the victorious Italian populists have the courage to chart an independent course for Italian foreign policy?
Both parties have opposed sanctions on Russia, but there will be a lot of pressure for them to dump this plank in their respective platforms. No one expects Italy to leave NATO, but the sanctions issue is bound to come up fairly quickly. And if the Italians make the “wrong” decision and go up against Washington, you can be sure the “soft power” regime-change machine will start to whirr and churn. In the aftermath of World War II, the CIA launched a full-scale covert action program to prevent the Communists from taking power in Rome. And while history doesn’t actually repeat itself, as Mark Twain pointed out it does often rhyme.
In Memoriam – My 2011 Memorial Day column just about says everything I have to say about this holiday. Here’s an excerpt:
“The war dead are honored, and yet the real reasons for their sacrifice are entirely forgotten, or – worse – mythologized into their exact opposite. We fought two world wars to “make the world safe for democracy” – not to save the British empire, or to establish its American successor. We fought the commies for the same reason – not to establish Western hegemony over the entire world. The history books say so, and so they must be right: who but marginal cranks can doubt these basic lessons of Official American History 101? After all, both liberals and conservatives agree, and since “politics stops at the water’s edge” that’s the only view we get to hear, and, therefore, the only one worth knowing.”
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.