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The America I Once Knew

Butterflies and fenceless backyards…

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The vast majority of baby boomers believe that they grew up in a free country. Was it free? Is it free? It has been said: “America is a free country… until you read the fine print!”

To be fair, freedom in every country is conditional, with the conditions stipulated in footnotes that can take up most of the page. The 1960s generation in the USSR, had little doubt that the USSR was a free country, outside of obvious restrictions like those imposed on travel abroad, restrictions that were easily explained by way of Uncle Sam’s imperialism and related connivances.

In America, the limits to one’s freedom are defined by conditions such as whether one is rocking the economic boat of a competitor or whether one has chosen to
enter the public eye as a politician, an athlete, or as an actor. It is also understood that, “Your liberty to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.” Obama-Clinton’s liberty to support “rainbow fascism” and terrorism, abroad, ended at the noses of millions of voters, as Clinton harshly discovered on election day.

Since asterisks didn’t weigh down the definition of freedom for children in the 50s, baby boomers cherish memories of an era when bicycles were left on front lawns unlocked – overnight, or longer – and back porch doors were always welcomingly ajar. A sense of community, civility, and mutual respect was palpable. Sunday was a day of rest and most stores closed. A significantly greater number of families attended church services than those that didn’t.

Some 65 years later, America is a different planet.

A casual drive through suburban side streets will be quiet enough to hear birds chirping. Not many children, if any, will be playing kickball or chasing butterflies through fenceless backyards. Boy’s won’t be seen throwing dirt bomb grenades in the retaking of the empty lot named Guam and cowboys won’t be roping Indians to an oak, which also nests a treehouse. Dogs won’t be on the loose and no girl on a Schwinn with a dual-toned seat will be seen cruising over to a neighbor’s house to
dress up as mom or to play with Tiny Tears. Girls and boys won’t be seen in a beehive of activity building a clubhouse for reenactments of the latest Mickey Mouse Club episode or in anticipation of grown-up life.

The planet will be drained of life.

It was during a stopover at the grandparents that I roused the kids on a lip-locking freeze of a January morning: “Get up! Perfect sledding conditions!” Indeed, ice had solidly, candy-coated a few inches of snow. Before anyone could ruin perfection with a footprint, I was determined to show a new generation where we used to blaze through frost and tears on Flexible Flyers. The vintage sleds, minus a little shine, were as ready to carve up the slopes as I was.

Approaching a venerable golf course on foot, a closed gate glared, menacingly. It was double, chain-locked. I eventually learned that a lawsuit had been filed against
the club by parents of a child who had recklessly tattooed his face riding into a shrub. All good will on the part of club owners subsequently evaporated. Forever. Not to be daunted, we trekked to another golf course. Considering the time lost and that it was almost noon, I was taken aback by the absence of revelers on the wide
expanses. A few phone calls proved to be transfiguring. The white canvas of the hills became a mural with splashes of color and blurred hues conveying action.

Accompanying laughter echoed throughout and squeals of fright broadcast from speakers doubling as hills. Curiously, we remained the sole pleasure seekers, until several hours later when a limousine neared a side fence, at some distance. Bird-like cautious, a woman could be spotted, exiting the vehicle, apparently, trying to make sense of the ruckus. A boy and a sled appeared near her, both waiting for her verdict. Mother hen apparently nodded the go-ahead, but playtime timed out at 20 minutes. The boy and his sled never reached the real slopes where we had pinned our flag. Just as unobtrusively as the mother-son apparition had materialized, it was gone.

My mind played to comprehend the curt visit and the maternal oversight. “What was it that instigated such protective cluckery? Was it us? Were we violating some written or unwritten law? Were we trespassing? Sure, it’s private property but it’s not fenced in. By merely circling behind the Lutheran church on the West side you’re at the best hill. A cinch. Besides, sledding has always been a tradition, here.”

As we parted the fun into the amber sunset, it sunk in that if I hadn’t taken the initiative, despite ideal conditions, Mt. Suburbia would have remained as virginal
as the peaks of Tibet. Adding two plus two, I began to suspect that in the decades of my absence a new reality had settled over these parts. And, that I had imposed the free-spirited reality of my youth on them. Might it be that in the structured play of today’s youth, playing outside of the box isn’t apropos? It’s no longer in – not cool?

I recalled how family had asked me to pick up a nephew, a high school senior, after basketball practice. “But it’s a seven-minute walk to the house,” I demurred. Upon giving in and making what amounted to a four-minute drive to the school, I noted that my nephew wasn’t the only one. In fact, most of the team was waiting to get picked up, as well. I was flabbergasted. What happened to the coolness of being independent – of being grown-up and not hanging on to mother’s apron?

Anything was better, in my day, even a school bus ride home. A mama’s boy was a sissy who wouldn’t get even an eyebrow of interest from the girls. “What’s going on?”

Indeed, organized events have taken over the present age. That is, children rarely take the initiative to make playtime on their own. It’s precooked. The clock ticks
away at the timelines of youth without a child ever knocking on a neighbor’s door to ask: “Can Ted or Sally come out to play?”

The question molded more than one generation. When I used to peddle off, after breakfast, on my Ross bicycle I would only return to the sound of the dinner bell. Packed between two meals were a solid four or five hundred minutes of stickball, soccer, softball, touch football, kickball and, even, golf. Whoever, showed up in the school yard, boy or girl, participated. It made no difference. A right fielder was always in demand. There was no time for getting fat or even chubby despite plates being licked clean, when no one was looking, of course! There were no cell phones yet everyone knew, when and where, the action was, even if it meant a little extra peddling around the neighborhood. Quite the relic of a memory!

Children still participate in team sports but they’re mostly soccer-mom-structured. Today’s uniforms, which we would have loved to have had, lack home-spun
creativity. Isn’t necessity the mother of invention? What life lessons are there when children take everything for granted and when they’re shuttled like livestock, back and forth, between venues.

A metastasis of political correctness is the presentation of trophies to all participants so as to not discourage the 98 percent who are less than the best. In other words, a reward for outstanding merit and achievement has been merged into the collective, tolerant whole rendering it meaningless. I knew one fat kid in the neighborhood. He wasn’t fat by today’s standards, just a little on the chubby side, yet we called him “fatso” and he was none-the-worse for the honesty. In fact, truth proved to be a motivator because by the time that he entered 7 th Grade, he was as slim as the rest of us.

Mothers did what they had to do – they cooked complete meals, they oversaw homework and chores, they rarely complained about housework, and, if for any reason one breadwinner wasn’t earning enough, they took jobs. They sacrificed for the good of family. Do children need anything more than the demonstration of such dedication and love? Are children better off with so-called liberated mothers, indoctrinated with the propaganda line that their interests come first? How many of society’s ills are spawned by the absence of love from parents?

Without any doubt, baby boomers were leaps and bounds healthier than children, today. No one made sonogram wall posters of fetuses in shopping malls. We
weren’t injected with dozens of vaccines. The sugar cube containing the polio vaccine was about it. Food allergies were extremely rare until mothers were told that formula was healthier. Autism had yet to enter the dictionary. If a child had more than one cold per season, it was likely that the father was a physician.

How many grandparents, looking at the present-day child glued to a gadget, think: “What is to become of this generation?” Is it not a bold experiment? It might be a risky prognosis but the seeds of collectivization are being sown in America with a capital “C.” Followers are being reared, not leaders with initiative, creativity, and courage. Creature comforts make for soft minds to be sculpted by left-leaning professors.

Actually, creativity still has a place but it’s on a screen, which is not necessarily applicable to problem solving in the real world. The life lessons of fishing or camping under inspirational, starlit nights isn’t part of the touch screen algorithm for success. Today’s generation will learn the genetic sequence of a fish gene with the aid of the right app but will children be able to distinguish between a bluefish and a catfish without Google? Or know how to catch a fish, should doomsday hunger ever reshuffle priorities, overnight?

At one point, a little before Clinton & Clinton absconded with the White House furniture, I wanted my children to witness a real Christmas Eve with carols and with all of the stops pulled out. I decided on the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, recalling warm impressions from youth. But I wasn’t prepared for what was served-up.

Instead of celebrating Christmas Eve, we found ourselves in something resembling a pagan Roman, Earth Day circus with overtones of a gay rights parade. When a blessing of the plants and caged animals began – including the blessing of the Devil in the spirit of tolerance, symbolized by a ten-foot-long python shouldered in by several, semi-clad lads in crepe and nylons – I stretched and tugged with haste for the exit. But we were blocked by an elephant, yes, an elephant that had just made its entrance into the cathedral. My mouth dropped as the beast swaggered up the aisle to the alter, a poop bag, at the ready! Thank God, the elephant wasn’t being wed to a giraffe or we might have never squeezed our way out of the cathedral-turned-zoo.

Honestly, I didn’t know what to say to the children. I’m not making this up. Again, the sham of a Christmas Eve occurred in the late 90s. One dares not contemplate what takes place, today, in the Temple of God in the name of poor St. John the Divine. It begins to sink in why the heavens will sing “Hallelujah!” upon the destruction of the great city Babylon.

And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his
servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. Rev. 19:1-3. Despite the non-denominational character of my elementary school, we learned the Lord’s Prayer and the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Matt. 7-12. The rest of our introduction to Christian teachings was reserved for Sunday School. No fanaticism – it was bread and butter straighforward.

In First and Second Grades we read Ted and Sally, Dick and Jane, as well as Tuffy and Boots – solid, family-oriented constructions that foster a genuine sense of security in young children. What is upbringing without structure and discipline? I had my mouth washed out by my first-grade teacher for saying, “Shut-up,” after hearing someone else say it. It was the last time that I repeated words that I didn’t understand. Besides, it didn’t look good in the eyes of my crush to be yanked out of class in such disgrace.

First Graders played the role of angels in the nativity scene of the Christmas pageant. And towns weren’t sued over Nativity scene displays. Up to two hours of black and white TV were allowed, weekly, with programming consisting of The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin, Heidi, Lassie, and the Mickey Mouse Club. Time limits on cartoons were waived for a sick day, making it quite the holiday. TV-free household were not oddities. Divorces were for Hollywood and when they did take place they, somehow, touched children less than they do, today.

Returning to NYC, for a moment, I witnessed a three-year-old-something toddler on 5 th Avenue bus strike a female passenger. His mother responded with reasoning. “How would you like it if someone did that to you?”

Before she finished asking, he struck another passenger. And it went, on and on. The more that she reasoned, the more he hit people. No one batted an eyelash of admonishment. I watched Carnegie upbringing, in awe. Tempted as I was to intervene, I convinced myself that this is not only not my battle but also one that can’t be won.

When I witnessed a few boys, roughly seven years of age, trampling sand castles diligently constructed by several, younger girls, I ignored it until the same boys returned throwing sand. Laughing through the motions, they stomped, again, on repaired sand castles. With enough of a degree of intent for it to be understood that I meant business, I took each one by the arm and herded them off to their parents, higher up on the beach. I made it clear with an even firmer grip what I would do if they harassed small girls or threw sand, again.

“Don’t test me. I’ll make mincemeat out of you hooligans,” I exclaimed, loud enough for parents to hear. Needless to say, peace and quiet was restored to the lives of a few girls that summer day. The parents didn’t thank me. In fact, their looks and open-mouthed astonishment were defensive, even threatening, as if I was in the wrong. I’m quite certain that never, before, and never, since, have their boys been publicly reprimanded. Herein, lies the problem.

If you’re a Clinton Snowflake, I know that you’re thinking, “Stone Age Dinosaur! How dare he physically handle children that aren’t even his.” “Physical handing doesn’t have to draw blood,” I laugh, when Snowflakes get ruffled. It’s enough for children to respect hierarchy and to understand who lays down the rules and that violating them could be problematic.

If a car is rolling off a cliff, do you run after the car, open the door, and reach for the hand brake or do you tolerate the outcome because it’s not your car, hoping for the best?

On a fishing expedition, I happened to be surfcasting on an interesting beach. To my right was a lifeguard flag delineating a bustling beach with no small number of young people. Equidistant to my left was a clothing optional beach with the greater part of beachgoers being my age. Without understanding what was happening, a hubbub developed to my left. Amidst the shouts and the commotion, an armada of swimmers, floats and rafts forged though waves and currents, stretching some 100 yards into the cold ocean straight out from the point where I had been surfcasting.

A passerby informed me that someone had drowned.

Within 20 minutes, a limp, young man was pulled out of the surf, greyer than death. An ambulance had crossed the dunes and CPR was being administrated. Suddenly, a torrent of water poured out of the victim’s mouth. He was alive.

Reflecting on what I had just witnessed, the contrast between the reactions of the two groupings of beachgoers carved deep into the senses. Not one, athletic, young man from the textile beach, not even a lifeguard, had budged after word had spread that a person was drowning. I had been focused on surfcasting and, somehow, missed the opportune moment to take action. Considering how many first responders dove in on my left, both men and women, made it quite evident that enough persons from millennial grouping also had heard that someone was drowning but they didn’t react. Could it be that they, simply, couldn’t be bothered?

With the advent of the millennium, tolerance became the buzzword in the US.

Author Ted Flynn notes:

“It’s in the press, our grade schools, our universities, our community centers, our corporate environment, and nearly anywhere else that two or more are gathered. It surrounds us, and woe to the person who is insensitive to another’s ethnic, cultural, or religious orientation. This is all well and good but it has gone too far. We have many terms for it such as politically correct, exclusivism, inclusivism, modernism, ethical theism, postmodernism, universalism, and the favorite over the last five years, multiculturalism. Everybody wants their rights and usually it is at the expense of another. Politically correct has become a synonym for lack of truth, candor, and integrity… English author, G.K. Chesterton once remarked, “Tolerance is the virtue of man without convictions.” Flynn adds, “There is neither
right nor wrong – only tolerance.” The danger of a society that isolates itself from competing truth, says Chuck Colson, “is the inevitable descent into oppression and tyranny.”

Isn’t it interesting that no one is more intolerant than those who advocate tolerance? Biden, for one, came out of some closet, recently, saying Bible- believing Christians violate LGBTq rights simply by existing. Even more recently, again before a LGBTq audience, he called Trump supporters, “The dregs of society!”

It’s getting ugly. Bimbos of the Biden type are dividing rather than uniting. And with financing from Clinton and Soros, leftist hate and intolerance are driving Antifa, which despite the name, are fascists – the radical left’s variant of Hitler’s brown shirts. LGBT is also dividing. The majority of Americans believe that sexual orientation should not be an in-your-face, political movement. “Do what you want behind closed doors. Don’t impose your choice on others.” Be queer or straight, understanding that you’ll be answering for your choice before God.

Americans are learning to distinguish between Christian tolerance and politically correct tolerance. The former is common sense natural, an extension of Christian love; the latter artificial and dangerous because it restricts freedom by impinging on free speech, a prerequisite for tyranny. George Soros, a sociopath and, in so many of his own words a Nazi collaborator, is seeking revenge for his losses tied to picking the wrong presidential candidate, which is one reason why he is behind Antifa.

Today, Antifa is committing terrorist acts against monuments and private property. Tomorrow, it’s not excluded that radical left agenda handlers will demand blood. If you happen to be a plain vanilla Deplorable or if you’re an independent or a libertarian, guided in life by a love of liberty, common sense, and service to country, family, and God, you probably know and appreciate from firsthand experience what life was like in a free America.

Restraints on freedom have been encroaching on Americans from the day that the Federal Reserve was established in 1913 and after a federal income tax was
introduced. When Clinton & Clinton took over the White House, they accelerated the loss of individual liberties faster than any predecessor. The transformation of America into a collectivist state was supposed to be completed with Queen Hillary’s coronation as president.

If founding fathers, Hamilton and Jefferson, didn’t trust the intellect of the people in electing a leader, with the former calling the people, “a great beast,” and the latter referring to fellow Americans with disdain as “rubbish,” (in his Notes on the State of Virginia), little has changed. Columnist Louis René Beres writes: “Upon even the most cursory examination, our foundational political history will reveal an utterly stark contempt for popular rule.”

Obama-Clinton & Clinton with their radical left agenda are the legacy of the hypocritical disdain of “ordinary” people by America’s ruling elite. Clinton’s Deplorables tag and Obama’s supremacist exceptionalism sum up the same. The Democratic Party purports to be the Party of minorities and of the underprivileged whose rights are often violated or ignored. Socialism is, supposedly, humanistic. But it’s a naïve, billboard view of the Democratic identity, starting with the fact that almost all major wars in the past 100 years were started by War Party presidents. Truman, a Democrat, is the only world leader who detonated nuclear weapons on civilian populations.

Are higher taxes humanistic for those who work? The day after liberals are elected, their telephone numbers change, à la NY Senator Chuck Schumer, who is on record for making the fastest telephone number switch. How he loves to escape addressing the needs of ordinary citizens! Good luck to the downtrodden in getting through to such defenders of democracy. The sober reality of the Democratic Party’s cynicism was exposed in a comment made by Bill Clinton:

“We can’t be fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans,” (USA Today, 03/11/93). Bill Clinton said it less than two months after he was sworn in as president. Oh, how countenances change after power paints over personalities and money struts into bank accounts. Unfortunately, imperium upstart types are the rule in democracies, not the exception. What is to become of America if the agenda of the radical left becomes America’s
agenda? It won’t happen. That is, not unless the US becomes a dictatorship and a radical left junta takes over.

We have witnessed the Trump miracle and, with it, the logical end of US democracy. Trump is not responsible for its end. Instead, it’s democracy that has failed because of the intolerance of Obama and Clinton for any views but their own. The notion that majority rules doesn’t work when the majority exerts its will on the minority’s religious tenets or on traditional family values. As already underscored, compromise, the cornerstone of US democracy, becomes unworkable when the Godless impose their views on the sacred, making US institutions, largely, irrelevant.

Trump won the presidency by a hair of a few states. But demographics don’t bode well for conservative and traditional values because of migrants, who vote for the welfare state of the Democrats, and because of the radical left agenda that has monopolized the minds of university-educated youth, a success consistent with Hillary’s efforts to radicalize educational and cultural entities. Much talk exists about the polarization of America, increasingly hostile relations, and the risk of civil war. Despite heightened passions, youth are not willing to die for a cause called Clinton. At least, not yet.

A dictatorship can be a more effective form of government for business considering that the dictator is free to enact legislation without the restraints of Congress. If the economy is good, foreign wars aren’t needed. Finally, the dictator is above money, considering that, he or she, is in power for life, so it’s not necessary to steal from coffers or to stash away bribes for a rainy day.

The US is about to become either a benign dictatorship of the right or a radical dictatorship of the left. It’s up to Trump and his supporters to recognize the fact and to seize the opportunity while it’s still possible.

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Nicholas SampsidisRegulaWalter DublanicaVera GottliebTom Welsh Recent comment authors
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Sally Snyder
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Sally Snyder

Here is an interesting look at the health of America’s democracy compared to that of other nations:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-health-of-democracy-in-america.html

While both sides of the political spectrum in the United States have expressed their concerns over the fairness of the upcoming mid-term elections (Democrats over vote suppression and Republicans over voter fraud) and Washington as a whole clearly stating its belief that Russia, China and Iran are meddling in the 2018 electoral circus, the fact that democracy itself is under threat in America is cleverly never mentioned by either side.

Tom Welsh
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Tom Welsh

I was surprised by the article’s statement that Jefferson called his fellow Americans “rubbish”. It doesn’t sound at all consistent with what I know of Jefferson’s beliefs and way of expressing himself. So I looked up the text of “Notes on the State of Virginia”, and found that the word “rubbish” occurs only once in the fairly long document. Here it is, in context: “Of the boys thus sent in any one year, trial is to be made at the grammar schools one or two years, and the best genius of the whole selected, and continued six years, and the… Read more »

Tom Welsh
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Tom Welsh

The following extract gives a better impression of Jefferson’s attitude to “the common people”, and why he was so anxious to make sure the most talented should get the best education. He was in favour of a thoroughgoing meritocracy, and always upheld the virtues and rights of the ordinary people against those of the rich and powerful. “It becomes expedient for promoting the public happiness that those persons, whom nature has endowed with genius and virtue, should be rendered by liberal education worthy to receive, and able to guard the sacred deposit of the rights and liberties of their fellow… Read more »

Regula
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Regula

While that all intends to further talent, the reverse side of it is elitism – which is precisely what we now have. Add money and only the rich get a good elementary education from which “to be educated for governance of the people”.

Jefferdon’s System only works if all education including university is free. Nor does it take the effect of slums and ghettoes on child development into account.

Vera Gottlieb
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Vera Gottlieb

R.I.P.

Walter Dublanica
Member

America ain’t as nice as it used to be 70/80 years ago. Presidents Roosevelt and Mc Arthur were loved. Truman & Kennedy were liked. Kennedy’s assassination saddened America. The Congress was respected, now it is abhorred .

Regula
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Regula

This author is very religious, but democratic law is based on human rights and by necessity supercedes and displaces religion.

Nicholas Sampsidis
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Nicholas Sampsidis

Greetings, this is Nicholas, the author responding. You’ve touched upon the golden question, namely, what is higher, the Constitution or the law of God (natural law)? It seems that the Supreme Court debates the same issue and the opinion depends on who sits on the bench. For believers, it’s self-evident that the law of God is higher than the Constitution. Let it be remembered that the 180 Articles of the Weimar Constitution, were also based on rights, with 109-118 setting forth individual rights (not radically different from those in the US Constitution). History reveals that, in the end, the folly… Read more »

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US continues to try to corner Russia with silence on Nukes

Moscow continues to be patient in what appears to be an ever more lopsided, intentional stonewalling situation provoked by the Americans.

Seraphim Hanisch

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TASS reported on March 17th that despite Russian readiness to discuss the present problem of strategic weapons deployments and disarmament with its counterparts in the United States, the Americans have not offered Russia any proposals to conduct such talks.

The Kremlin has not yet received any particular proposals on the talks over issues of strategic stability and disarmament from Washington, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS on Sunday when commenting on the statement made by US National Security Adviser John Bolton who did not rule out that such talks could be held with Russia and China.

“No intelligible proposals has been received [from the US] so far,” Peskov said.

Earlier Bolton said in an interview with radio host John Catsimatidis aired on Sunday that he considers it reasonable to include China in the negotiation on those issues with Russia as well.

“China is building up its nuclear capacity now. It’s one of the reasons why we’re looking at strengthening our national missile defense system here in the United States. And it’s one reason why, if we’re going to have another arms control negotiation, for example, with the Russians, it may make sense to include China in that discussion as well,” he said.

Mr. Bolton’s sense about this particular aspect of any arms discussions is correct, as China was not formerly a player in geopolitical affairs the way it is now. The now all-but-scrapped Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, was a treaty concluded by the US and the USSR leaders Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, back in 1987. However, for in succeeding decades, most notably since the fall of the Soviet Union, the US has been gradually building up weaponry in what appears to be an attempt to create a ring around the Russian Federation, a situation which is understandably increasingly untenable to the Russian government.

Both sides have accused one another of violating this treaty, and the mutual violations and recriminations on top of a host of other (largely fabricated) allegations against the Russian government’s activities led US President Donald Trump to announce his nation’s withdrawal from the treaty, formally suspending it on 1 February. Russian President Vladimir Putin followed suit by suspending it the very next day.

The INF eliminated all of both nations’ land based ballistic and cruise missiles that had a range between 500 and 1000 kilometers (310-620 miles) and also those that had ranges between 1000 and 5500 km (620-3420 miles) and their launchers.

This meant that basically all the missiles on both sides were withdrawn from Europe’s eastern regions – in fact, much, if not most, of Europe was missile-free as the result of this treaty. That is no longer the case today, and both nations’ accusations have provoked re-development of much more advanced systems than ever before, especially true considering the Russian progress into hypersonic and nuclear powered weapons that offer unlimited range.

This situation generates great concern in Europe, such that the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on both Moscow and Washington to salvage the INF and extend the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, or the New START as it is known.

“I call on the parties to the INF Treaty to use the time remaining to engage in sincere dialogue on the various issues that have been raised. It is very important that this treaty is preserved,” Guterres said at a session of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on Monday.

He stressed that the demise of that accord would make the world more insecure and unstable, which “will be keenly felt in Europe.” “We simply cannot afford to return to the unrestrained nuclear competition of the darkest days of the Cold War,” he said.

Guterres also urged the US and Russia to extend the START Treaty, which expires in 2021, and explore the possibility of further reducing their nuclear arsenals. “I also call on the United States and the Russian Federation to extend the so-called New START Treaty before it expires in 2021,” he said.

The UN chief recalled that the treaty “is the only international legal instrument limiting the size of the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals” and that its inspection provisions “represent important confidence-building measures that benefit the entire world.”

Guterres recalled that the bilateral arms control process between Russia and the US “has been one of the hallmarks of international security for fifty years.”

“Thanks to their efforts, global stockpiles of nuclear weapons are now less than one-sixth of what they were in 1985,” the UN secretary-general pointed out.

The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the New START Treaty) entered into force on February 5, 2011. The document stipulates that seven years after its entry into effect each party should have no more than a total of 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers, as well as no more than 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and strategic bombers, and a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers and strategic bombers. The new START Treaty obliges the parties to exchange information on the number of warheads and carriers twice a year.

The new START Treaty will remain in force during 10 years until 2021, unless superseded by a subsequent agreement. It may be extended for a period of no more than five years (that is, until 2026) upon the parties’ mutual consent. Moscow has repeatedly called on Washington not to delay the issue of extending the Treaty.

 

 

 

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Trump witch hunt dots connected: CNN to Steele to John McCain (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 110.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss documents released which show that Christopher Steele admitted to using posts by ‘random individuals’ on the CNN community website ‘iReport’ in order to back up his fabricated Trump dossier.

President Trump took note of Steele’s use of CNN citizen journalist posts, in a twitter tirade that blasted the British ex-spy for running with unverified community generated content from a now now-defunct ‘iReports’ website as part of his research.

Trump the proceeded to rip into late neocon Arizona Senator John McCain, tweeting that it was “just proven in court papers” that “last in his class” McCain sent the Steele’s dossier to media outlets in the hopes that they would print it prior to the 2016 US election.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

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Via The Daily Caller

A federal court unsealed 43 pages Thursday of a deposition that former British spy Christopher Steele gave as part of a lawsuit over his infamous anti-Trump dossier.

To the disappointment of many observers, the full deposition was not unsealed in Thursday’s motion. Instead, portions of Steele’s interview, which he gave in London on July 13, 2018, were unsealed in separate court filings submitted in the lawsuit.

Steele’s full deposition totaled 145 pages. The portions published Thursday focus mainly on questions about the dossier’s claims about Aleksej Gubarev, a tech executive who Steele alleges took part in the hacking of Democrats’ computer systems.

Gubarev has vehemently denied the claim and sued Steele and BuzzFeed News, which published the dossier on Jan. 10, 2017.

U.S. District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro, who handled the lawsuit, ordered a slew of previously sealed documents to be made public Thursday. Ungaro dismissed the lawsuit on Dec. 19 but did not weigh in on whether the dossier’s claims about Gubarev were accurate.

It is unclear whether Steele’s entire deposition will be released. A source familiar with Steele’s interview tempered expectations of any bombshells in the document, saying that Steele avoided going into detail about his efforts to create the dossier and his sources.

A deposition given by former State Department official David Kramer was perhaps the most enlightening document contained in the dump.

Kramer, a longtime associate of late Arizona Sen. John McCain, was BuzzFeed’s source for the dossier. Kramer shared the dossier with at least 11 other reporters, including CNN’s Carl Bernstein. (RELATED: John McCain Associate Gave Dossier To A Dozen Reporters)

Kramer obtained the dossier in late November 2016 after visiting Steele in London. Steele acknowledged that Kramer and McCain were picked as conduits to pass the dossier to then-FBI Director James Comey. McCain met with Comey on Dec. 9, 2016 and provided all of the dossier’s memos that had been written up to that point.

“I think they felt a senior Republican was better to be the recipient of this rather than a Democrat because if it were a Democrat, I think that the view was that it would have been dismissed as a political attack,” Kramer said in the deposition when asked why Steele and his business partners at Fusion GPS wanted McCain to meet with Comey.

Via Washington Examiner

Former British spy Christopher Steele admitted that he relied on an unverified report on a CNN website for part of the “Trump dossier,” which was used as a basis for the FBI’s investigation into Trump.

According to deposition transcripts released this week, Steele said last year he used a 2009 report he found on CNN’s iReport website and said he wasn’t aware that submissions to that site are posted by members of the public and are not checked for accuracy.

web archive from July 29, 2009 shows that CNN described the site in this manner: “iReport.com is a user-generated site. That means the stories submitted by users are not edited, fact-checked, or screened before they post.”

In the dossier, Steele, a Cambridge-educated former MI6 officer, wrote about extensive allegations against Donald Trump, associates of his campaign, various Russians and other foreign nationals, and a variety of companies — including one called Webzilla. Those allegations would become part of an FBI investigation and would be used to apply for warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

During his deposition, Steele was pressed on the methods he used to verify allegations made about Webzilla, which was thought to be used by Russia to hack into Democratic emails.

When asked if he discovered “anything of relevance concerning Webzilla” during the verification process, Steele replied: “We did. It was an article I have got here which was posted on July 28, 2009, on something called CNN iReport.”

“I do not have any particular knowledge of that,” Steele said when asked what was his understanding of how the iReport website worked.

When asked if he understood that content on the site was not generated by CNN reporters, he said, “I do not.” He was then asked: “Do you understand that they have no connection to any CNN reporters?” Steele replied, “I do not.”

He was pressed on this further: “Do you understand that CNN iReports are or were nothing more than any random individuals’ assertions on the Internet?” Steele replied: “No, I obviously presume that if it is on a CNN site that it may has some kind of CNN status. Albeit that it may be an independent person posting on the site.”

When asked about his methodology for searching for this information, Steele described it as “what we could call an open source search,” which he defined as “where you go into the Internet and you access material that is available on the Internet that is of relevance or reference to the issue at hand or the person under consideration.”

Steele said his dossier contained “raw intelligence” that he admitted could contain untrue or even “deliberately false information.”

Steele was hired by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS to investigate then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016. Fusion GPS was receiving funding at the time from the Clinton campaign and the DNC through the Perkins Coie law firm.

The series of memos that Steele would eventually compile became known as the “Trump Dossier.” The dossier was used in FISA applications to surveil Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

When asked whether he warned Fusion GPS that the information in the dossier might be “Russian disinformation,” Steele admitted that “a general understanding existed between us and Fusion … that all material contained this risk.”

Steele also described his interactions with Sen. John McCain’s aide, David Kramer, whose own deposition showed that he provided BuzzFeed with a copy of the dossier and had spoken with more than a dozen journalists about it.

“I provided copies of the December memo to Fusion GPS for onward passage to David Kramer at the request of Sen. John McCain,” Steele said. “Sen. McCain nominated him as the intermediary. I did not choose him as the intermediary.”

When asked if he told Kramer that he couldn’t “vouch for everything that was produced in the memos,” Steele replied, “Yes, with an emphasis on ‘everything.'”

When asked why he believed it was so important to provide the dossier to Sen. McCain, Steele said: “Because I judged it had national security implications for the United States and the West as a whole.”

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Trudeau’s Top Bureaucrat Unexpectedly Quits Amid Growing Corruption Scandal

In a scathing letter to Trudeau, Wernick said that “recent events” led him to conclude he couldn’t hold his post during the election campaign this fall.

Published

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Via Zerohedge


Since it was exposed by a report in Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper earlier this month, the scandal that’s become known as the SNC-Lavalin affair has already led to the firing of several of Trudeau’s close advisors and raised serious questions about whether the prime minister was complicit in pressuring the attorney general to offer a deferred prosecution agreement with a large, Quebec-based engineering firm.

And according to the first round of polls released since the affair exploded into public view…

…it could cost Trudeau his position as prime minister and return control to the conservatives, according to the CBC.

Campaign Research showed the Conservatives ahead with 37% to 32% for the Liberals, while both Ipsos and Léger put the margin at 36% to 34% in the Conservatives’ favour.Since December, when both polling firms were last in the field, the Liberals have lost one point in Campaign Research’s polling and four percentage points in the Ipsos poll, while the party is down five points since November in the Léger poll.

Meanwhile, as the noose tightens around Trudeau, on Monday another of the key Canadian government officials at the center of the SNC-Lavalin scandal has quit his post.

Michael Wernick, clerk of the privy council, the highest-ranking position in Canada’s civil service and a key aide to Justin Trudeau, announced his retirement Monday. Trudeau named Ian Shugart, currently deputy minister of foreign affairs, to replace him.

In a scathing letter to Trudeau, Wernick said that “recent events” led him to conclude he couldn’t hold his post during the election campaign this fall.

“It is now apparent that there is no path for me to have a relationship of mutual trust and respect with the leaders of the opposition parties,” he said, citing the need for impartiality on the issue of potential foreign interference. According to Bloomberg, the exact date of his departure is unclear.

As we reported in February, Canada’s former justice minister and attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, quit following allegations that several key Trudeau government figures pressured her to intervene to end a criminal prosecution against Montreal-based construction giant SNC. Wernick was among those she named in saying the prime minister’s office wanted her to pursue a negotiated settlement.

Wernick has since twice spoken to a committee of lawmakers investigating the case, and during that testimony both defended his actions on the SNC file and warned about the risk of foreign election interference, as “blame Putin” has become traditional Plan B plan for most politicians seeing their careers go up in flames.

“I’m deeply concerned about my country right now, its politics and where it’s headed. I worry about foreign interference in the upcoming election,” he said in his first appearance before the House of Commons justice committee, before repeating the warning a second time this month. “If that was seen as alarmist, so be it. I was pulling the alarm. We need a public debate about foreign interference.”

Because somehow foreign interference has something to do with Wenick’s alleged corruption.

Incidentally, as we wonder what the real reason is behind Wernick’s swift departure, we are confident we will know soon enough.

Anyway, back to the now former clerk, who is meant to be non-partisan in service of the government of the day, also criticized comments by a Conservative senator and praised one of Trudeau’s cabinet ministers.

Wernick’s testimony was criticized as overly cozy with the ruling Liberals. Murray Rankin, a New Democratic Party lawmaker, asked the clerk how lawmakers could “do anything but conclude that you have in fact crossed the line into partisan activity?” Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said he seemed “willing to interfere in partisan fashion for whoever is in power.”

Whatever Wernick’s true motives, he is the latest but not last in what will be a long line of cabinet departures as the SNC scandal exposes even more corruption in Trudeau’s cabinet (some have ironically pointed out that Canada’s “beloved” prime minister could be gone for actual corruption long before Trump). Trudeau had already lost a top political aide, Gerald Butts, to the scandal. A second minister, Jane Philpott, followed Wilson-Raybould in quitting cabinet.

Separately, on Monday, Trudeau appointed a former deputy prime minister in a Liberal government, Anne McLellan, as a special adviser to investigate some of the legal questions raised by the controversy. They include how governments should interact with the attorney general and whether that role should continue to be held by the justice minister.

As Bloomberg notes, the increasingly shaky Liberal government hasn’t ruled out helping SNC by ordering a deferred prosecution agreement in the corruption and bribery case, which centers around the company’s work in Moammar Qaddafi’s Libya. Doing so would allow the company to pay a fine and avoid any ban on receiving government contracts. That decision is up to the current attorney general, David Lametti; of course, such an action would only raise tensions amid speculation that the government is pushing for a specific political, and favorable for Trudeau, outcome.

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