WE KNOW, WE KNOW IF YOU WANT TO MAKE A CASE FOR A WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST YOU HAVE TO PRESENT AIRTIGHT EVIDENCE LIKE THIS VIEL, FULL OF SWEET N LOW, THIS MEETING CAME AFTER THEADMINISTRATION SENT AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER, A BOMBER GROUP AND OTHER WARSHIPS IT TO THE PERSIAN GULF REGION.THEY WERE DEPLOYED FROM THEIR PREVIOUS ASSIGNMENT PATROLLING THE MEXICAN BORDER.THEN, THEN THE ACTING DEFENSE SECRETARY WENT TO THE WHITE HOUSE AND PRESENTED AN UPDATED MILITARY PLAN THAT ENVISIONEDSENDING AS MANY AS 120,000 TROOPS TO THE MIDDLE EAST. RISING TENSIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST, AMERICAN MILITARY MOVE TO THE REGION BASED ON QUESTIONABLE INTELLIGENCE, THE WORST THROWBACK THURSDAY EVER.(LAUGHTER) AND, (APPLAUSE) AND I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO FEELS THIS WAY. SO DOES DONALD TRUMP. ACCORDING TO SOURCES IN THE WHITE HOUSE, HE IS NOT COMFORTABLE WITH ALL THIS REGIME CHANGE TALK. WHICH TO HIS EARS ECOS THE DISCUSSION OF REMOVING IRAQI PRESIDENT SADDAM HUSSEIN BEFORE THE 2003 U.S. INVASION. I’M JUST GOING TO SAY THIS AND I KNOW IT WILL NEVER BE USED OUTOF CONTEXT, THANK GOD DONALD TRUMP IS OUR PRESIDENT. (LAUGHTER) TRUMP IS — BECAUSE IN THIS CASE TRUMP IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT HERE.(LAUGHTER) TRUMP IS — BECAUSE IN THIS CASE TRUMP IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT HERE. AND IF ANYONE KNOWS HOW NOT TO GO TO WAR, IT IS DONALD TRUMP.(LAUGHTER) ACCORDING TO, ACCORDING TO ADMINISTRATION SOURCES TRUMP PREFERS A DIPLOMATIC APPROACH TO RESOLVING TENSIONS AND WANTS TO SPEAK DIRECTLY WITH IRAN’SLEADERS.GREAT, TRUMP WILL GET A CHANCE TO BREAK OUT HIS DIPLOMATIC CHARMS WHEN HE MEETS AYATOLLAH KHAMENEI.ST A PLEASURE TO MEET YOU MUSLIM WIZARD.(LAUGHTER) REALLY NICE, I LIKE THE PLACE.MR. DUMBLEDORE OF THE DESERT, PLEASE DON’T PUT A SPELL ON ME.I COME IN PEACE.NOW LET’S SEE THAT FLYING CARPET, WHERE WE GOT THAT.OH, WHOLE NEW WORLD, A NEW FANTASTIC DON’T YOU DARE CLOSEYOUR EYES.♪ CARPET OVER THERE.APPARENTLY THE OFFICIAL PUSHING THIS WAR IS NATIONAL SECURITYADVISOR AND CARTOON BEAVER ASKING YOU TO LITTER JOHNBOLTON.BOLTON HAS ADVOCATED REGIME CHANGE IN IRAQ, LIBYA, SYRIA, NORTH KOREA, VENEZUELA AND IRAN.IT IT IS ALL PROMOTING HIS BUSINESS QUAGMIRES ARE US.I WANNA BLOW EM ALL UP, I’M A QUAGMIRE KID, THERE’S A MILLION BOMBS THAT I COULD DROP TO KILL THEM ALL WITH.(APPLAUSE) NOW MORE PLANES, MORE BOMBS.♪ SO WHO IS GOING TO WIN THIS ARGUMENT?THE PRESIDENT OR HIS NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR.IT’S HARD TO TESM THE PRESIDENT WAS ASKED ABOUT IT THIS MORNING.>> MR. PRESIDENT, ARE WE GOING TO WAR WITH>> I HOPE NOT.(LAUGHTER) I HOPE NOT BUT NO ONE COULD(LAUGHTER) I HOPE NOT BUT NO ONE COULDPREDICT WHAT THAT MAGIC EIGHT BALL IS GOING TO TELL ME NEXT.TRUMP DENY THERE IS ANY CONFLICT ABOUT THE POSSIBLE CONFLICT WITHIRAN TWEETING THE FAKE NEWS “WASHINGTON POST” AND EVEN MOREFAKE NEWS “NEW YORK TIMES,” ARE WRITING STORIES THAT THERE ISIN-FIGHTING WITH RESPECT TO MY STRONG POLICY IN THE MIDDLEEAST.THERE IS NO IN-FIGHTING WHATSOEVER DOT DOT DOT DOT DOTDOT DOT.DIFFERENT OPINIONS ARE EXPRESSED AND I MAKE A DECISIVE AND FINALDECISION, IT IS A VERY SIMPLE PROCESS, ALL SIDES, VIEWS ANDPOLICIES ARE COVERED.I AM SURE THAT IRAN WILL WANT TO TALK SOON, K, THINGS ARE PROCEEDING SMOOTHLY.EVERYONE GETS A CHANCE TO LAY OUT THEIR OPINION AND THEN IIGNORE THEM ALL AND IT’S BACK TO MR. EIGHT BALL.HERE WE GO HERE WE GO.HERE WE GO.KEEP SAYING EIGHT, I DON’T UNDERSTAND.(LAUGHTER) NOW THEY HAVEN’T REALLYCOMMUNICATED THEIR RATIONALE FOR WAR WITH IRAN TO THE AMERICANPEOPLE.OR THE– PART LEIGH BECAUSE THERE HAS NOT BEEN AN OFFICIALBRIEFING FROM THE PENTAGON SPOKESMAN IN ALMOST A YEAR.BUT WITH THIS LOOMING CONFRONTATION, WHAT THEY BELIEVEIS GOING TO BE AGAINST A BURGEONING NUCLEAR POWER THEADMINISTRATION TOOK ACTION.HE HAD SENT OUT GENE SIMMONS.(LAUGHTER) THAT’S NOT A MOCK-UP 6789 AND IJUST WANT TO SAY WHAT THE HELL, WE’RE ON THE BRINK OF A WAR ANDGENE SIMMONS IS AT THE PENTAGON PODIUM?THAT IS RIDICULOUS.YOU COULDN’T GET KID ROCK?
In 2011 and 2012, Gatestone published articles claiming that Europe had Muslim “no-go zones“, falsely describing them variously as “off-limits to non-Muslims”and “microstates governed by Islamic Sharia law”. The claim that there are areas in European cities that are lawless and off limits to local police or governed by Sharia is false. Gatestone’s claims were picked up by many outlets, including FrontPageMag, and The Washington Times. The idea of no-go zones originated from Daniel Pipes, who later retracted his claims.
On November 18, 2016, Gatestone published an article that said the British Press had been ordered to avoid reporting the Muslim identity of terrorists by the European Union. Snopes rated the claim “false”. Snopes pointed out that the report only made a recommendation and it was issued by the Council of Europe, not the European Union. Gatestone subsequently corrected the article and apologized for the error, before removing it entirely from its website.
In 2017, Gatestone falsely claimed that 500 churches closed and 423 new mosques opened in London since 2001, and argued that London was being islamized and turning into “Londonistan”. According to Snopes, Gatestone used “shoddy research and cherry-picked data.” Specifically, Gatestone only counted churches that closed but not churches that opened; data for the period 2005-2012 alone show that 700 new churches opened in London.
The Gatestone Institute published false articles during the 2017 German federal election. A Gatestone article, shared thousands of times on social media, including by senior German far-right politicians, claimed that vacant homes were being seized in Germany to provide housing solutions for “hundreds of thousands of migrants from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.” The German fact-checker Correctiv.org found that this was false; a single house was placed in temporary trusteeship, and had nothing to do with refugees whatsoever. Gatestone also cross-posted a Daily Mail article, which “grossly mischaracterized crime data” concerning crime by refugees in Germany.
Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, wrote a letter in late March to Attorney General William P. Barr objecting to his early description of the Russia investigation’s conclusions that appeared to clear President Trump on possible obstruction of justice, according to the Justice Department and three people with direct knowledge of the communication between the two men.
The letter adds to the growing evidence of a rift between them and is another sign of the anger among the special counsel’s investigatorsabout Mr. Barr’s characterization of their findings, which allowed Mr. Trump to wrongly claim he had been vindicated.
It was unclear what specific objections Mr. Mueller raised in his letter, though a Justice Department spokeswoman said on Tuesday evening that he “expressed a frustration over the lack of context” in Mr. Barr’s presentation of his findings on obstruction of justice. Mr. Barr defended his descriptions of the investigation’s conclusions in conversations with Mr. Mueller over the days after he sent the letter, according to two people with knowledge of their discussions.
Mr. Barr, who was scheduled to testify on Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the investigation, has said publicly that he disagrees with some of the legal reasoning in the Mueller report. Senior Democratic lawmakers have invited Mr. Mueller to testify in the coming weeks but have been unable to secure a date for his testimony.
A central issue in the simmering dispute is how the public’s understanding of the Mueller report has been shaped since the special counsel ended his investigation and delivered his 448-page report on March 22 to the attorney general, his boss and longtime friend. The four-page letter that Mr. Barr sent to Congress two days later gave little detail about the special counsel’s findings and created the impression that Mr. Mueller’s team found no wrongdoing, allowing Mr. Trump to declare he had been exonerated.
But when Mr. Mueller’s report was released on April 18, it painted a far more damning picture of the president and showed that Mr. Mueller believed that significant evidence existed that Mr. Trump obstructed justice.
“The special counsel emphasized that nothing in the attorney general’s March 24 letter was inaccurate or misleading,” a Justice Department spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec, said in response to a request for comment made on Tuesday afternoon. A spokesman for the special counsel’s office declined to comment.
Over the past month, other signs of friction between the attorney general and the special counsel have emerged over issues like legal theories about constitutional protections afforded to presidents to do their job and how Mr. Mueller’s team conducted the investigation.
In congressional testimony in April before the report was released, Mr. Barr demurred when asked whether he believed that the investigation was a “witch hunt” — Mr. Trump’s preferred term. It “depends on where you’re sitting,” Mr. Barr replied.
“If you are somebody who’s being falsely accused of something, you would tend to view the investigation as a witch hunt,” he said, an apparent reference to the president.
Mr. Barr’s testimony stood in contrast to comments he made during his confirmation hearing in January. “I don’t believe Mr. Mueller would be involved in a witch hunt,” he said then.
A rift between the men appeared to develop in the intervening months as the special counsel wrapped up his inquiry.
The Justice Department received Mr. Mueller’s letter four days after Mr. Barr sent his conclusions to Congress. In response, the attorney general and the special counsel spoke on the phone, and Mr. Mueller laid out his concerns about the initial descriptions of the report.
At the time, the Justice Department had begun redacting the report and Mr. Mueller raised the question about whether more of it could be released.
“The attorney general ultimately determined that it would not be productive to release the report in piecemeal fashion,” Ms. Kupec said. “The attorney general and the special counsel agreed to get the full report out with necessary redactions as expeditiously as possible.”
But Mr. Mueller did lay out evidence against the president. After explaining that he had declined to make a prosecutorial judgment, citing as a factor a Justice Department view that sitting presidents cannot be indicted, the special counsel detailed more than a dozen attempts by the president to impede the inquiry. He also left open the door for charges after Mr. Trump leaves office.
“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” Mr. Mueller and his investigators wrote. “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.”
Mr. Mueller’s report, the attorney general and the other senior law enforcement officials believed, read like it had been written for consumption by Congress and the public, not like a confidential report to Mr. Barr, as required under the regulations governing the special counsel.
Some of the special counsel’s investigators have told associates that they were angry about Mr. Barr’s initial characterization of their findings, government officials and others have said, and that their conclusions were more troubling for Mr. Trump than Mr. Barr indicated in his four-page letter. That proved to be the case.
In one instance, Mr. Barr took Mr. Mueller’s words out of context to suggest that the president had no motive to obstruct justice. In another instance, he plucked a fragment from a sentence in the Mueller report that made a conclusion seem less damaging for Mr. Trump.
Investigators wrote, “Although the investigation established that
- the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that
- the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts,
- the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
Mr. Barr’s letter quoted only the passage that the investigation had found no conspiracy or coordination.
It is not clear whether members of Mr. Mueller’s team were angered by these points in particular, or whether Mr. Mueller’s letter cited them.
Despite the disagreement about the report, members of Mr. Mueller’s team worked alongside senior Justice Department officials to redact sensitive information from the report before it was released.
Hours before the public release of the Mueller report, Mr. Barr said during a news conference that he had “disagreed with some of the special counsel’s legal theories” about what constitutes presidential obstruction of justice. He also said repeatedly that the special counsel had found “no collusion” between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. Mr. Trump often uses the term, but Mr. Mueller’s investigators pointed out it had no legal standard and left it out of their judgments.
Instead, investigators wrote that they had not found evidence to prove a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russians.
Mr. Barr also said during the news conference that some of Mr. Trump’s efforts to thwart the investigation needed to be put in “context.”
“There is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fueled by illegal leaks,” he said.
At Politicon, Tucker Carlson cited:
2007 Robert Putnam:
Ethnic diversity is increasing in most advanced countries, driven mostly by sharp increases in immigration. In the long run immigration and diversity are likely to have important cultural, economic, fiscal, and developmental benefits. In the short run, however, immigration and ethnic diversity tend to reduce social solidarity and social capital. New evidence from the US suggests that in ethnically diverse neighbourhoods residents of all races tend to ‘hunker down’. Trust (even of one’s own race) is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friends fewer. In the long run, however, successful immigrant societies have overcome such fragmentation by creating new, cross‐cutting forms of social solidarity and more encompassing identities. Illustrations of becoming comfortable with diversity are drawn from the US military, religious institutions, and earlier waves of American immigration.
The group Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE911) is devoted to popularizing the theory that the World Trade Center buildings were secretly demolished by explosive devices that were placed in the building ahead of time, somehow survived the plane impacts and an hour of raging fire, and then triggered to make the buildings collapse in a way that fooled most experts into thinking that there were no explosives.
To promote this theory, AE911 likes to rent billboard space in New York’s Times Square (AE911 has a yearly income of around $500,000). In particular they like to rent a billboard opposite the offices of the New York Times, admonishing the NYT for ignoring them. Here’s the billboard in place:
This latest billboard (which will be there for the month of September) is promoting favorite claim of evidence of AE911, that there were multiple reports of explosions on 9/11. The text reads:
Sounds persuasive, if it were actually true. In fact by the very account of the Fire Marshal they quote, the idea that the building exploded was something he very quickly figured out did not happen, and he explains why he initially though it happened. Basically he went into the situation knowing it was a terrorist attack, so was very concerned about secondary explosive devices. Then when the building collapsed, he did not report hearing any explosions, but instead said that the building looked like it had exploded, he continued to think this for several hours, but he later realized (probably after seeing the collapse on TV) that this was just the angle from which he was looking at it.
So did everyone think the buildings were blown up? Who is “everyone”, and how long did they think this for? The key thing here is in what was removed from the quote, and the surrounding context:
Notice what AE911 removed, “… at that point still …”. They removed that because the reality of the marshal’s statement is that the belief he (and others) had in explosions was a brief one (and as he later explains, a mistake). He brought it up to explain why they moved from the “Jewish memorial” (likely the Museum of Jewish Heritage, just west of the Battery Park Underpass), because there was concern it would be a target of a secondary attack using explosives.
.. So the very person that AE911 quoted on their poster basically debunks their theory in the statement from which they cherry picked a quote (and then had to remove part of, because it didn’t fit their story). He didn’t report hearing explosions. He initially got the impression that there had been a single large explosion, but then later realized there had not, and it was just, as he said, perspective.
I encourage people to read the oral histories of 9/11. They provide a visceral view into what really happened that day: the horror, the fear, the chaos, and the bravery. But don’t read them like AE911 did – simply combing through them to find sections that might seem to support their odd theory when taken out of context and edited a bit. Read them in depth. These brave men and women gave their all that day, and they each suffered deeply for it. Don’t use them. Honor them. You want 9/11 truth? It’s in these histories.
Now I’m no longer comfortable with the label of “evangelical” because I have become slack-jawed with disgust at friends who will defend Trump harder that they defend the gospel.
.. We cringe when pastors and church members have no qualms about praying for law enforcement and hear deafening silence when it comes to victims of police brutality — or pointed accusations that it was the victims’ fault.
.. It wasn’t “fair” policy criticism, and people — black people in particular — understood what he meant: Donald Trump was saying that a person of African origin was incapable of being president of the United States.
And for eight years Trump ran with that flag. He waved it around and beaned people over the head with it. He tweeted he had detectives in Hawaii combing through birth records and leaving no stone unturned. In his hands, the birther movement took life and grew.
.. I noticed the obvious token smatterings of black faces in the crowd.
.. I saw him talk at people who looked like me as opposed to talking with us. And most disturbingly, I saw bigots line up behind Trump. People who felt Obama was “other,” people who swallowed the birther foolishness, people who felt that it was the victim’s fault when they were shot by police, individuals who felt their skin color made them superior and somehow “oppressed” by social justice.
.. What we are now seeing is a break in the fragile alliance between black and white evangelical Christians, which was always fraught with historical baggage.
.. It has been observed that black men go into jails as “Christian” (i.e., raised in a Christian home and often identifying as Christian) but come out Muslim. In this transformation to Islam, they find a sense of self-worth and inner value. They develop a love for their communities, pride, and militancy for upliftment: factors the Christian church tends to miss, with its focus on the hereafter while the oppressors enjoyed a heaven here on earth.
These churches were on almost every corner in a community infested with squalor. Pastors were well dressed, decorated in jewelry, and escorted around in luxurious cars. But their parishioners were impoverished, fleeting lives surrounded by drugs, alcohol, and vice.
.. I came into my faith by way of the white evangelical church. The initial shock of seeing a pastor not dressed well, but in jeans and a T-shirt, gave way to a sense of peace. I enrolled at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, started leading Bible study, and worshipped next to people of all shades and hues. God helped me toward a broader definition of “brothers and sisters.”
.. church has two diametrically opposite meanings within black and white societies. For the black community in America, since the early 19th century, church came to personify a refuge, a place of spiritual sustenance and succor. It was a foundation of perseverance that allowed black men and women to face their days dealing with bigotry, discrimination, hatred, and injustice. The black church also cultivated a robust demand for social change, which even in my days of being an angry, young rebel, I could not deny.
.. For white America, church is seen differently. It is a place to celebrate the success of life. Church is a joyous reveling for the fortunate in what God has done for them. It seemed eager to embrace glib political jargon and to conflate the doctrines of Christianity with a vague Americanism.
.. Church isn’t about injustice, because the people raising their hands to thank God for Donald Trump probably never had to face it.
.. The white evangelical church today now seems to me like a cruise ship with a mad captain at the helm. The passengers are dancing and partying as the band plays, totally oblivious to an oncoming catastrophe
.. But they don’t see the holes in the ship. They miss the small ones naturally, but even the bigger holes strangely elicit no cause for concern.
.. The evangelicals who voted for Trump effectively discarded the chapters of the Bible that extolled patience, love, forgiveness, peace, care for the poor and suffering, and replaced them with pamphlets for guided tours of the Wall, white nationalist jargon, and juvenile vitriol. They have gained the uncanny ability to campaign against “snowflakes,” following up a heartless bigoted statement with a profession of faith or a selective Biblical verse.
.. Despite my absence and feelings of brokenheartedness, white evangelical churches across this country are gleeful with self-congratulated accomplishment as they thank God for Donald Trump
.. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
Fifteen years ago this week, Colin Powell, then the secretary of state, spoke at the United Nations to sell pre-emptive war with Iraq. As his chief of staff, I helped Secretary Powell paint a clear picture that war was the only choice, that when “we confront a regime that harbors ambitions for regional domination, hides weapons of mass destruction and provides haven and active support for terrorists, we are not confronting the past, we are confronting the present. And unless we act, we are confronting an even more frightening future.”.
.. President George W. Bush would have ordered the war even without the United Nations presentation, or if Secretary Powell had failed miserably in giving it. But the secretary’s gravitas was a significant part of the two-year-long effort by the Bush administration to get Americans on the war wagon.
.. the Trump administration is using much the same playbook to create a false impression that war is the only way to address the threats posed by Iran.
.. It’s astonishing how similar that moment was to Mr. Powell’s 2003 presentation on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction — and how the Trump administration’s methods overall match those of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
.. Iran, a country of almost 80 million people whose vast strategic depth and difficult terrain make it a far greater challenge than Iraq, would be 10 to 15 times worse than the Iraq war in terms of casualties and costs.
.. The strategy positions Iran as one of the greatest threats America faces, much the same way President Bush framed Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
With China, Russia and North Korea all presenting vastly more formidable challenges to America and its allies than Iran, one has to wonder where the Trump team gets its ideas.
.. a campaign built on the politicization of intelligence and shortsighted policy decisions to make the case for war.
.. It harks back to the C.I.A. director George Tenet’s assurances to Mr. Powell that the connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden was ironclad in the lead-up to his United Nations presentation. Today, we know how terribly wrong Mr. Tenet was.
.. Today, the analysts claiming close ties between Al Qaeda and Iran come from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which vehemently opposes the Iran nuclear deal and unabashedly calls for regime changein Iran.
.. It seems not to matter that 15 of the 19 hijackers on Sept. 11 were Saudis and none were Iranians. Or that, according to the United States intelligence community, of the groups listed as actively hostile to the United States, only one is loosely affiliated with Iran, and Hezbollah doesn’t make the cut.
.. the Foundation for Defense of Democracies seems like the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans that pushed falsehoods in support of waging war with Iraq.
.. these seemingly disconnected events serve to create a narrative in which war with Iran is the only viable policy.
.. it didn’t seem to matter to us that we used shoddy or cherry-picked intelligence; that it was unrealistic to argue that the war would “pay for itself,” rather than cost trillions of dollars; that we might be hopelessly naïve in thinking that the war would lead to democracy instead of pushing the region into a downward spiral.