Wikipedia: Richard B. Spencer

Spencer has stated that he rejects the label of white supremacist, and prefers to describe himself as an identitarian.

.. He has advocated for a white homeland for a “dispossessed white race” and called for “peaceful ethnic cleansing” to halt the “deconstruction” of European culture

.. In response to his cry “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!”, a number of his supporters gave the Nazi salute and chanted in a similar fashion to the Sieg heil chant used at the Nazis’ Nuremberg rallies. Spencer has also refused to denounce Adolf Hitler.[11]

.. Spencer was born in Boston, Massachusetts,[12] the son of ophthalmologist Rand Spencer and Sherry Spencer (née Dickenhorst),[13][14] an heiress to cotton farms in Louisiana

.. From March to December 2007, Spencer was assistant editor at The American Conservative magazine. According to founding editor Scott McConnell, Spencer was fired from The American Conservative because his views were considered too extreme.

.. In 2014, Spencer was deported from Budapest, Hungary (and because of the Schengen Agreement, is banned from 26 countries in Europe for three years), after trying to organize the National Policy Institute Conference, a conference for white nationalists.

.. A CPAC spokesman said he was removed from the event because other members found him “repugnant”.

..  Michael Signer, the mayor of Charlottesville, called the protest “horrific” and stated that it was either “profoundly ignorant” or intended to instill fear among minorities “in a way that hearkens back to the days of the KKK

.. During a speech Spencer gave in mid-November 2016 at an alt-right conference attended by approximately 200 people in Washington, D.C., Spencer quoted Nazi propaganda in the original German and denounced Jews.[9]. Audience members cheered and made the Nazi salute when he said, “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!”[9][5] Spencer later defended their conduct, stating that the Nazi salute was given in a spirit of “irony and exuberance”.[37]

..  he has supported what he has called “the creation of a White Ethno-State on the North American continent“, an “ideal” that he has regarded as a “reconstitution of the Roman Empire.

.. after leaving The American Conservative he rejected conservatism, because he believed its adherents “can’t or won’t represent explicitly white interests.

.. Spencer supports legal access to abortion, in part because he believes it would reduce the number of black and Hispanic people, which he says would be a “great boon” to white people.[15]

.. Despite his opposition to same-sex marriage, Spencer barred people with anti-gay views from the NPI’s annual conference in 2015

.. He was separated from his Russian American wife, Nina Kouprianova, a political analyst on modern and contemporary Russia, culture, and U.S. foreign policy.[65] The couple separated in October 2016[13]; however in April 2017 Spencer said he and his wife were not separated and are still together.

Mueller Is Squeezing Manafort

I am more interested in reports that business records, connected to Manafort’s taxes and foreign bank transactions, were the object of the raid ordered by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. That seems peculiar if the rationale for ordering a home search, rather than simply issuing a subpoena, was fear that Manafort would destroy evidence.

It makes perfect sense, though, if the prosecutor is playing hardball.

.. We should further note that the president had the authority to fire the acting FBI director at any time. There was no need for Trump to wait on AG Sessions, nor did anything prevent him from ordering Sessions to fire McCabe if that’s what he wanted done.

.. So, essentially, Trump’s tweet was a rant — nothing new there. Was it a rant triggered by the Manafort search? If so, it was Trump at his paper-tiger worst: He wanted McCabe gone but, knowing that many of his troubles stem from botching Comey’s firing, he could not risk firing McCabe — so in a fit of pique he lashed out at Sessions. And he’d love to fire Mueller, but he knows that would be a political earthquake his presidency might not survive — so in a fit of pique he lashed out at McCabe.

.. Manafort labored many years, at apparently lush compensation, for the Kremlin-backed cabal responsible for Ukraine’s ongoing tumult. That happened well prior to the 2016 campaign, but it has always been very disturbing. If Trump is telling the truth about having no meaningful ties to Putin, he should be encouraging the investigation of Manafort, not acting like he’s incensed by it.

.. the New York Times reported that the warrant sought tax documents and foreign banking records.

.. Search warrants are reserved for situations in which the prosecutor and agents reasonably fear that the subjects of the probe will destroy evidence if they know investigators are sniffing around. And search warrants executed in predawn hours are generally reserved for situations in which agents are dealing with hardened or desperate criminals — subjects who might not merely destroy evidence but endanger the agents who knock on the door; subjects who might alert other conspirators to flee if searches commence when everyone is awake and alert.

.. When a subject is cooperating with investigators, search warrants are wholly unnecessary and excessively intrusive.

.. Mueller’s team could easily have gotten the same disclosure without resorting to a search warrant. They need only have asked Manafort’s lawyers, who’d have had no reason to decline, especially after giving the same information to Congress.

.. That was not good enough for Mueller. This could mean either or both of two things: (1) Mueller believed Manafort was hoarding relevant evidence and might destroy it if it were not taken forcibly from him; and/or (2) Mueller has a message for Manafort: The special counsel is not limiting his inquiry to the Russia investigation that Congress has been pursuing; rather, Mueller intends to scorch the earth as necessary to make a case — any case — on Manafort, for purposes of squeezing him to become a cooperating witness against others, potentially including the president.

.. I believe Manafort is being squeezed. I’ve squeezed bad guys before. It’s not illegal, it’s effective, and if you’re a prosecutor dealing with a real bad guy, it’s righteous. Is Manafort that kind of bad guy? We don’t know what Mueller knows. But we can reasonably surmise that Mueller’s investigation is not confined to Russian meddling in the 2016 election — Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s protestations notwithstanding.

He used to rule Germany. Now, he oversees Russian energy companies and lashes out at the U.S.

For seven years, Gerhard Schröder was the leader of the most populous democracy in Western Europe. He modernized the country’s social security system, angered George W. Bush by refusing to participate in the invasion of Iraq and was only narrowly ousted in an election defeat to Angela Merkel in 2005. Schröder could have easily spent the rest of his career as an elder statesman, attending summits and writing books.

Instead, Schröder — a friend of Vladimir Putin who has defended Moscow’s top man as a “flawless democrat” — opted for a career in the Russian business world.

Schröder has spent much of the past decade working for the Russian energy industry, serving as a board member of several consortia in which Russian-government-controlled energy company Gazprom is either the majority or sole shareholder

.. At a time when Russian business connections among members of Trump administration have come under growing scrutiny, Schröder’s case stands out as the perhaps most blatant example of a Western politician having conflicts of interests when it comes to Moscow. “By becoming a well-paid official of a foreign, aggressive power he has damaged the reputation of the political class more than any other living politician,”

.. he went on to criticize the United States’ “monstrous” political influence, and he urged Germans to ignore Trump’s demands to spend at least 2 percent of GDP on defense. There was long applause for his remarks, which implied the need to improve relations with Russia.

.. Schröder’s renewed popularity among parts of the German left has also stunned conservatives, who are concerned about possible Russian election interference in September.

.. As chancellor, Schröder championed the North Stream pipeline deal with Russia. The German government pursued the offshore pipeline between Russia and Germany to cut energy costs and establish a reliable supply route, but the U.S. largely viewed it as a Russian attempt to make Europe more dependent on the Kremlin.

.. Fears in Washington over the pipeline date back to 2005, when Schröder hastily signed the deal during his last days in office. Then, just weeks after leaving politics, he began to oversee the implementation of the gas pipeline project himself — this time as a businessman in Russia and as the head of Nord Stream AG’s shareholder committee.

.. In 2014, at the height of the Ukraine crisis, Schröder celebrated his 70th birthday with Putin, sparking an international backlash. By opting for a post-politics business career in Russia, his critics said, Schröder had essentially chosen to join the Putin administration.

.. He’s also remembered as a “fighter with guts,” as Benner put it, for standing up to the U.S. during the Iraq War — something the Trump era may call for again.

.. Schröder’s rehabilitation also fits in with the traditional patterns of German politics. “Germans on the left and the far right have always had a weak spot for Moscow

.. “If Putin had not invaded Crimea and eastern Ukraine, many Germans would see him as a natural ally in times of transatlantic estrangement.”

.. With global confidence in the U.S. in free-fall due to the Trump administration’s policies, Schröder and other pro-Russian voices in Germany are finding it easier again to defend Putin, said Bierling — and so, too, are many Germans finding it easier to forgive and forget when it comes to their former leader.