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British accusations against Russia not only unproven, but absurd! Part 3

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Part 3 

If not Russia, then who did it?

Russia’s accusers claim there are no alternative explanations for the attack: nobody, apart from the Russian state, is understood to have had a motive for the attempted murder. This argument can only make sense to those who believe in the world of an evil, criminal Russia whose only opponents are pure, honest, angelic fighters for freedom and justice.

The main consequence of the Salisbury attack – undoubtedly one that would have been predicted by whoever planned it – is to further damage relations between Russia and the West, or at least prevent their improvement. A long list of countries (Ukraine, Poland, the US and many others) or organizations may believe they have an interest in this – at least they have been doing their best to spoil Western Europe’s relationship with Russia. Of course, the existence of a possible motive does not constitute sufficient ground to suspect anyone in particular. However, on the basis the motives involved, to quote British former Member of Parliament George Galloway, “Russia must be near the bottom of the list of suspects.”

How to get away with murder: blame Russia!

It can also not be excluded that the attack was the work of some rogue “ultra-patriotic” group within Russia (whether within or outside Russia’s state institutions) wishing to undermine Putin’s attempts to mend relations with the West by killing a “traitor” on British soil. In this case, the Salisbury attack would clearly be an act of aggression against the Russian government more than against the UK. And Britain’s refusal to cooperate with Russia would make the UK unwittingly guilty of helping the perpetrators avoid the course of justice.

Another aspect is that we do not know what personal enemies Aleksander Skripal may have had. There may be motives involved that nobody suspects. If, for whatever reason a person or organization with sufficient power wished to have him killed, there was a simple way to get away with the crime: a highly effective cover-up the crime would involve using a weapon that points towards Russia, with the knowledge the British authorities would be unlikely to seriously explore other avenues, especially in the current international climate. The same can be argued in the case of Litvinenko’s murder in 2006.

There is something particularly disturbing about the Western international community rushing to accuse Russia for any crime showing the slightest hint of a Russian connection: it provides criminal organizations and terrorists with assurances that they can avoid being held accountable. All they need to do is to leave some kind of “Russian signature”.

UK reckless attitude is dangerous

The words of Theresa May and Boris Johnson, accusing Russia for crimes it did not commit with astoundingly aggressive and hostile language, will naturally lead the Russian population and their decision makers to believe their country is the victim of an orchestrated attack. Hostility towards the West will increase dramatically as a result. British, European and North-American leaders may have convinced themselves of Russia’s guilt, but have they reflected on the possible consequences of their reckless attitude?

It is urgent to stop the escalation in the Russia blame game, which has taken a momentum of its own. It may be of benefit for the media, who can publish stories that make a good read, with an evil bogey man that everyone loves to hate, or for politicians who, when confronted with problems at home – such as the UK government with its current Brexit troubles – can take the opportunity to look strong in the face of an enemy. However, it is an extremely dangerous game which could have disastrous consequences for the entire world.

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Palestinian court’s life sentence for American wrongly called “hate”

US Media spins it as Palestinian “hate” without giving the complicated history of this region its full perspective.

Seraphim Hanisch

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On December 31, Fox News gave a very pro-Israeli spin by promoting this article as “hate on display.” What happened was that a Palestinian court gave an American with dual Palestinian citizenship a life sentence in prison for “selling land to a Jew.” Here is what the Fox News report said, in part (emphasis added):

An American-Palestinian dual national reportedly was sentenced Monday to life in prison with “hard labor” for trying to sell land to Israelis – extending an incarceration that has already drawn the ire of the U.S. ambassador.

A Palestinian court convicted Issam Akel, who has been held since Oct. 10, of “attempting to sever parts of Palestinian land and annex it to a foreign state,” Reuters reported, citing a judiciary spokesperson.

Palestinians are said to be concerned with land sales in the so-called occupied territories due to alleged fears Israelis will purchase property to further efforts to solidify control of the region.

Akel’s family told Reuters on Monday it was not aware of the verdict or sentence against him. But his plight previously has drawn criticism from U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

A Palestinian judiciary spokesperson told Reuters that Akel’s life sentence also includes “hard labor,” although he can appeal the verdict.

The emboldened sentence contains the core of the problem, though, even though Fox has tried to “hide” this very legitimate claim.

What most Americans do not realize in a clear manner is that the “Palestinian Territories” as such are not distinct from the land that is understood as sovereign territory of Israel. The average American may be led to believe that the two areas are distinct, and that the Palestinians are mad at Israel for Israel having the most and the best land, while the Palestinians are in a terrible area.

But in reality, it is worse than that. The Palestinians have two regions under their jurisdiction, but that jurisdiction gets heavy pressure from Israel, even though both Palestinians and Israelis receive aid from the United States. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that Israelis keep starting settlements in Palestinian lands. This is sort of an “invasion by encroachment” that, ironically is also the same sort of subject that gets brought up in the United States concerning its own open southern border.

Source: Wikipedia.com

Although the US gives aid to Palestine, the American government is heavily committed to Israel, despite Israel’s exceedingly bad record of treatment of the Palestinians. In 2011, for example, the US vetoed a draft resolution to condemn all Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories as illegal.

This is the same as if Mexico or Honduras began building settlements in Texas and New Mexico and the Americans in the area could do nothing about it.

At times, various US leaders, like VP Joe Biden, have softly spoken against it, but to date no American leader has simply and unequivocally condemned this practice as just plain wrong.

The level of political resentment between the two sides has been almost constant since 1948 when Israel was carved out of British Palestine and 700,000 Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes, never to be allowed to return. Again, picture this in the USA, where for example, the cities of El Paso and Brownsville get overrun by migrants and the Americans who have lived there for generations suddenly cannot get into their own homes. Not only are their homes not accessible, the migrants live in them now.

The Palestinian situation and response is not any better. With such financial depravity caused by forced eviction, and the hot tempers that are honestly often exacerbated by Islamic ideas of revenge, many Muslim Palestinians consider it honorable to take out their bitter enemies, the Jews, while the Christian Palestinians quietly support the ferocity of the militants because they were wronged, too.

It is probably not a stretch to propose the notion that the strife in this region has been carefully nurtured by the US and even maybe by other powers, for reasons that fill the speculative and often anti-Semitic pages and newspapers in the world. It is certainly an easy bit of incendiary rhetoric to say that having dealings with Jews is like dealing with the devil.

However, the real issue underneath all of this is a refusal to really solve the problem. There is no logistical reason why the problems in Palestine and Israel cannot be solved in a manner mutually beneficial to everyone involved. But this fight is egged on by passion, and to be sure, Fox News’ eye-catching “Hate on Display” was no help at all.

As for the American Palestinian, his actions are easily seen as a betrayal to the beleaguered Palestinian Authority, and his sentence is in response to their territory literally being sold out to a group of people who is illegally squeezing the Palestinians harder and harder. The US use of the new buzzword “hate” is irresponsible here, and it represented a slap in the face of a suffering people, while offering no solution.

 

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Turkey will not let US examine Russian S-400 systems

Turkey has the “best of both worlds”, with US-made Patriots and Russian S-400 systems, and membership in a meaningless alliance.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The Russian S-400 anti ballistic missile defense system is reputedly the most advanced on the planet at this time. Put against the American-made Patriot system, the Russian S-400 Triumf system offers both longer and shorter range intercept capabilities (both very important!) and it is one of the recent Russian-made weapons systems that shows a great deal of sophistication.

Normally, one would expect for those countries closely allied with Russia to buy Russian weapons, and those allied with the US to get American-made stuff. However, the S-400 began to change this, with Turkey and India both opting for the S-400 rather than sticking with the allied weapons.

More significantly, Turkey is a NATO member, an especially significant ally of the United States. This country now will have both Russian S-400 AND American Patriot platforms operating on its soil, and the US no doubt has military engineers that would love to have a good look at the S-400 system.

Turkey says: It’s not going to happen.

TASS reported on this matter (emphasis and slight editing added):

Turkey has no intention of letting the United States examine the S-400 air defense systems Ankara is purchasing from Russia. A source at Turkey’s Foreign Ministry told TASS on Thursday Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu made a statement to that effect to Russia’s ambassador to Turkey Alexei Yerkhov a day earlier.

“In the process of negotiations ambassador Yerkhov asked a question if foreign mass media reports saying Turkey had invited the United States to examine the S-400 system were true. Our minister replied there has been nothing of the sort,” the source said.

Earlier, a source at Turkey’s Foreign Ministry told TASS Ankara would use the S-400 separately from NATO’s systems and also in a way that would keep secret all sensitive information about US F-35 fighter jets.

On December 18, it was announced the US Administration had made a decision to sell Patriot air defense systems to Turkey for $3.5 billion. The sale of Patriots to Turkey will by no means affect the S-400 contract between Moscow and Ankara, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the media on December 19.

The first reports Russia and Turkey were in talks over an S-400 contract emerged in November 2016. Russia confirmed the conclusion of the deal on September 12, 2017. Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said the S-400 would begin to be deployed in October 2019. The head of the state-run corporation Rostec Sergei Chemezov said in December 2017 the value of the S-400 contract with Ankara stood at $2.5 billion.

NATO was created as an alliance of Western states that would together contain and repel the evil, dastardly Soviet Union, but when the Soviet Union went away, NATO didn’t. The tragic, but in this case, oddly amusing aspect of this is that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has no real purpose. President Donald Trump actually threw this point out into public discussion last summer, just before his meeting with the NATO member states and his first summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Turkey actually has a military advantage shared by few nations on earth: that of having equipment on their soil by the two most advanced weapons manufacturers in the world. It stands to reason that they would probably learn everything they can about both systems. Since Turkey is also adjoining neighboring Syria and in a conflict with the Kurds, their proximity to hostilities means that these systems have a somewhat greater probability of being put to use, in which case a real comparison might be made.

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Media heads continue to misinterpret Donald Trump

President Trump cannot be understood by people who rely on emotionism instead of reason to make decisions.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Friday morning’s Drudge Report featured two opinion pieces about President Trump, one which slammed his “suffocating presence,” and the other, which regarded his presidency as supported by emotion in the same way that President Obama’s support was. The mainstream media continue to miss the point, though there is indeed an element of reality that both pieces did touch upon.

To look at the claims in these pieces, we first look at the first piece, from a USA Today piece written by Rob Montz. We included the lede and added emphasis:

Given the presidency’s evolution, Donald Trump, the overlord of American politics, is not a fluke, or some historic anomaly. He’s an inevitability.

The rest of Mr. Montz’ piece goes on to attempt to trace an historical route by which the presidency appealed to emotion and increased in its level of power. This is a theme which Peggy Noonan, a more nuanced opinion writer, also touched on in her piece, which ran in The Wall Street Journal, also with added emphasis:

[A] poll left me thinking of what a high-ranking Republican who himself was once considered a possible president said last week… He speculated aloud on a hunch… that Mr. Trump might not run for re-election. Think of it, he said. Unrelenting bad news is likely coming—final findings from Mr. Mueller, a new and hungry Democratic House, more investigations, little bipartisanship, economic uncertainty. It’s not going to be fun; the outlook for re-election will dim.

So, the politician said, imagine this: The president wakes up one morning and announces that, actually and amazingly, he’s accomplished everything he set out to do when he ran in 2016—cut taxes, appointed judges, faced off with China, made better trade deals, controlled immigration, improved the outlook for financial markets. “I accomplished in four years what other guys couldn’t do in eight!” the president says: “My work is done!”

And he’s gone. The politician thought this just might happen.

Since we’ve already begun to look toward 2020, a thought on what we’ve been doing the past few cycles.

Here is my concern: Politics is part theater, part showbiz, it’s always been emotional, but we’ve gotten too emotional, both parties. It’s too much about feelings and how moved you are. The balance is off. We have been electing magic ponies in our presidential contests, and we have done this while slighting qualities like experience, hard and concrete political accomplishment, even personal maturity. Barack Obama, whatever else he was, was a magic pony. Donald Trump too. Beto O’Rourke, who is so electrifying Democrats, also appears to be a magic pony.

Messrs. Obama and Trump represented a mood. They didn’t ask for or elicit rigorous judgment, they excited voters. Mr. Trump’s election was driven by a feeling of indignation and pushback: You elites treat me like a nobody in my own country, I’m about to show you who’s boss. His supporters didn’t consider it disqualifying that he’d never held office. They saw it as proof he wasn’t in the club and could turn things around. His ignorance was taken as authenticity. In this he was like Sarah Palin, another magic pony.

After two wars and an economic crisis, Mr. Obama gleamed with hope and differentness. This shining 47-year-old intellectual—surely he’ll turn things around. He’d been an obscure and indifferent state legislator who was only two years in the U.S. Senate when the move to make him president began. It was all—a feeling. He was The One. Mr. O’Rourke, who’s shooting up in the polls as a possible Democratic contender, is sunny, friendly, even-keeled. He reminds some Democrats of Bobby Kennedy—soulful, able to see and summon the things you like best in yourself. He even looks like a son of Bobby Kennedy. He is 46, has served only six years in the House, and before that was on the City Council of El Paso, Texas.

Our public political culture has given in too much to emotionalism. Last week at the George H.W. Bush funeral, which functioned as a two-hour portal into the old America, something was unsatisfying. Bush’s political life spanned 30 years. He had a way of seeing the world, thoughts and assumptions about it, a point of view, and these things had an impact on history. But most everyone speaking, and most in the pews, spoke not of the meaning of these things but of his personal qualities. That has its place, but we are talking history here, and the thoughts that produce it. The same was true at John McCain’s funeral.

We are highlighting emotions in our public life at the expense of meaning. And again, emotions are part of life and part of us, but only part, not the whole.

Of the two pieces, it appears that Peggy Noonan’s piece is closer to understanding  the root of the problem; in fact, her thesis is demonstrated by Mr. Montz’ statement that “Trump is a ubiquitous, suffocating presence in American life”, and the amazingly ignorant, but emotionally loaded assertion that “the President was basically a lackey to Congress…”, which is a hidden complaint about President Trump that probably would not have been applied to another person holding the Office of the Presidency.

This statement is itself completely based in emotion, and it is an assertion that would certainly resonate with others who feel the same way. However, for Trump supporters, this statement is simply a reflection of the reporter’s personal bias, proving Noonan right – that emotion reigns supreme in politics these days.

However, Peggy Noonan goes awry from that point, attempting to draw a contrast with emotionally driven politics by the use of nostalgia, this being for President George H.W. Bush and his era, almost thirty years ago.

Nostalgia is primarily emotional, though, as anyone remembering the first Iraq war will also remember that it was regarded with a fair amount of misgivings itself. The sentimental walk down Memory Lane also distorted then-President Bush’s reversal on tax policy when he went back on his pledge not to ever raise taxes.

However, Noonan’s point about emotionalism taking a primary position in politics is absolutely correct. There is far too much emphasis placed on how a candidate makes someone feel. Indeed, Candidate Obama’s ability to evoke an emotion many people classified as “hope” created a truly starry-eyed electorate, who then voted in someone who proceeded to damage America’s founding institutions – faith in God as the Author of Liberty, and the love of family, in a manner that would have made the likes of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin rejoice.

Barack Obama was able to evoke emotion so well that he actually was able to say what he planned to do to “fundamentally transform” the United States in a very direct manner. To anyone who was able to set aside emotion (usually people who did not support him), it was apparent that he represented a basic threat to the United States as it was traditionally based.

However, with President Trump this situation is curiously reversed. President Trump is absolutely a great showman. His rallies indeed rally his supporters, and there is a lot of emotion. Rather than nebulous “hope” that turned sour for many Americans, President Trump evokes people’s own sense of freedom and liberty to pursue their own dreams, with the added punch of stopping the liberal craziness in America. However, for the news media, it appears that they are unable to process anything but emotion as regards Trump, when his actual policy speeches and announcements are extremely clear and dispassionate while being supportive. Look at this video as an example, for the First Step Act, a bipartisan prison reform bill.

President Trump’s speech is effusive with praise for other people and for the Act itself and what it promises. However, the description is replete with details that give information about the proposed bill.

However, the media ignored this, and did not cover it. The same thing happened with reforms to prescription medication pricing – a most substantive speech but with no media coverage at all.

And why?

The reason is because the media is given to emotionalism and sensationalism as a way to sell entertainment. In other words, the complaint about emotionalism comes from the purveyors of it.

It is easier to move a mob to an emotion than it is to get them to think for themselves, and it is also easier for would-be policymakers to sneak difficult ideas through Congressional passage by deflecting to emotionalism rather than discussing facts and information.

This finds fertile ground with an American public that has not been taught how to think for about forty years now. Increasingly, young students are taught what to think, but not how to think. This, of course, is indoctrination, not education.

While Peggy Noonan correctly pointed out that emotion as a basis for judgment is not appropriate for the governance of the Republic, she fell back to evoking emotion rather than reason. In order for this situation to change, we must become educated and thoughtful citizens of our Republic.

The United States was built on a set of ideas, that were put into practice by people that respected God and their liberty, and took it seriously as a matter of great gravity. To determine one’s own course in life means making difficult discursive analysis and choices. It means that the ability to reason is inestimably important. While it is possible to reject this process, it is also inevitable that the result will be… what we have now.

These guys saw it coming. Their images may be silly, but their words are prophetic.

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