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March 2017

Trump’s VOICE against Sanctuary Cities A registry of illegal-immigrant crime will bring home the need to rein in ‘sanctuary cities.’ By John Fonte

I respectfully disagree with the National Review editors’ comments, following President Trump’s address to Congress, that creation of a new unit in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) focused on the victims of illegal-immigrant crime “would serve no good purpose.” Actually, the office would serve several good purposes that are directly related to immigration policy, politics, and civic morality.

The “Office for Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens,” now called “Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE),” was created by an executive order on immigration enforcement on January 25 and enhanced in a memorandum by DHS secretary John Kelly on February 20. VOICE is a very appropriate name for this office. For years American families victimized by illegal aliens have been ignored. Because of the misuse of “privacy” rules and indifference, they have been unable to find out whether the criminals who attacked their family members were in the country legally or illegally, or even whether the aliens were incarcerated, deported, or set free.

Secretary Kelly’s memo stated that “criminal aliens routinely victimize Americans. . . . Often, these victims are not provided adequate information about the offender, the offender’s immigration status, or any enforcement action taken by ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] against the offender . . . leaving victims feeling marginalized and without a voice.” The DHS memo declared that the new office would create a liaison with the victims and provide information including the “offender’s immigration status and custody status.” Funds for VOICE would be reallocated from “resources that are currently used to advocate on behalf of illegal aliens,” an Obama initiative, which would be “immediately” terminated. Thus, no major new bureaucracy would be created.

It is to Donald Trump’s credit that he has done what no other presidential candidate, or major American political figure, has ever done, by championing these unfashionable and (for many) inconvenient victims of illegal-immigrant crime (inconvenient because they muddy the dominant media narrative). In contrast to Trump, when the family members of Americans killed by illegal aliens testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the summer of 2015, Senators Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Richard Durbin (D., Ill.) fled the hearing room and returned only after the families had gone. As Mark Krikorian explained, these Americans are “all dead because federal, state, and local governments have abdicated their responsibility to protect American citizens from foreign criminals.”

The Beginning of Democratic Nationalism — or the End of Europe With sympathy for his subject, James Kirchick in his new book surveys the continent in crisis. By Brian Stewart

The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age, by Jamie Kirchick
Yale University Press, 288 pages

It is tempting, especially for those in thrall to notions of American exceptionalism, to regard the election of Donald Trump as a singular episode in the history of our times. It is more properly viewed as the traumatic continuation of a populist trend that has been detectable across the democratic world for some time. The rise of Trump exemplifies nothing so much as the crisis of liberalism roiling the West. With luck, it will prove the culmination of that crisis rather than its harbinger. For if it persists, it would herald the end of the liberal international order as we know it.

On this score, Europe’s predicament does not give reason for hope. A quarter-century after being formally established by the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, the European Union is in deep trouble. The economic and political institutions erected after World War II to foster European integration have yielded diminishing returns as the circle of nations in their orbit has grown.

In recent years, the disappointments of European federalism have eroded the credibility of its swollen political establishment and empowered rabble-rousers on both the far left and the far right (or some combination of both). In country after country, crises have converged. Separately and together, they portend a rising of the drawbridges not merely on Europe’s depressed periphery but also in the EU-15, the core nations of Western Europe. At stake is not merely the rickety “European model” of governance but the entire project since the fall of the Berlin Wall of a Europe “whole, free and at peace.”

Few have shed more light on this phenomenon than James Kirchick, an American journalist who has done yeoman’s work covering Europe from a variety of vantage points. In The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age, he analyzes the forces that have put the continent on a razor’s edge, and what is at stake in putting it back on solid ground. Kirchick’s book is preceded in the declinist oeuvre by Walter Laqueur’s The Last Days of Europe (2007) and Christopher Caldwell’s Reflections on the Revolution in Europe (2009). In contrast to those earlier works, however, The End of Europe is not even remotely Euro-skeptic.

Kirchick makes clear that he regards last year’s British exit from the EU as an indefensible folly, as if it were merely a species of Little England xenophobia that impelled Brexit. It is true that British influence in European affairs has dwindled — an unalloyed catastrophe for those who, like this reviewer, hold liberal, Atlanticist principles. But it’s too much to say, as Kirchick does, that Britain thereby “demonstrated that it had learned the wrong lessons from its history.” One need not advocate splendid isolation from the continent to see that the British recoil was a valid response to the manifest failures of the EU.

European Parliament Censors Its Own Free Speech by Judith Bergman

The rule strikes at the very center of free speech, namely that of elected politicians, which the European Court of Human Rights has deemed in its practice to be specially protected. Members of the European Parliament are people who have been elected to make the voices of their constituents heard inside the institutions of the European Union.

The rule can only have a chilling effect on free speech in the European Parliament, and will likely prove a convenient tool in trying to shut up those parliamentarians who do not follow the politically correct narrative of the EU.

By lifting Le Pen’s immunity while she is running for president of France, the European Parliament is sending the clear signal that publicizing the graphic and horrifying truth of the crimes of ISIS, rather than being received as a warning about what might soon be coming to Europe, instead ought to be punished.

Where does this clearly totalitarian impulse stop and who will stop it?

The European Parliament has introduced a new procedural rule, which allows for the chair of a debate to interrupt the live broadcasting of a speaking MEP “in the case of defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or behavior by a Member”. Furthermore, the President of the European Parliament may even “decide to delete from the audiovisual record of the proceedings those parts of a speech by a Member that contain defamatory, racist or xenophobic language”.

No one, however, has bothered to define what constitutes “defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or behavior”. This omission means that the chair of any debate in the European Parliament is free to decide, without any guidelines or objective criteria, whether the statements of MEPs are “defamatory, racist or xenophobic”. The penalty for offenders can apparently reach up to around 9,000 euros.

“There have been a growing number of cases of politicians saying things that are beyond the pale of normal parliamentary discussion and debate,” said British EU parliamentarian Richard Corbett, who has defended the new rule. Mr. Corbett, however, does not specify what he considers “beyond the pale”.

In June 2016, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, addressed the European Parliament in a speech, which drew on old anti-Semitic blood libels, such as falsely accusing Israeli rabbis of calling on the Israeli government to poison the water used by Palestinian Arabs. Such a clearly incendiary and anti-Semitic speech was not only allowed in parliament by the sensitive and “anti-racist” parliamentarians; it received a standing ovation. Evidently, wild anti-Semitic blood libels pronounced by Arabs do not constitute “things that are beyond the pale of normal parliamentary discussion and debate”.

Trump vs Obama Two men. One fight for America. March 10, 2017 Daniel Greenfield

Obama is a coward.

Trump will call someone a name while Obama will anonymously source a smear through three levels of staffers, political allies and reporters.

Trump called CNN “Fake News” on camera. Obama sourced Operation Rushbo, targeting Rush Limbaugh, through a variety of White House people and left-wing allies. Trump will boot reporters he doesn’t like. Obama authorized secretly hacking the emails of a FOX News reporter. Trump had an openly hostile conversation with the Prime Minister of Australia. When Obama wanted to call Netanyahu “chickens__t”, he did it by having one of his people anonymously plant it with a reliable media sycophant, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, before later having a spokesman disavow it.

Poultry ordure doesn’t smell any worse than that.

But Obama is very careful to launch dirty attacks without getting any on his hands. The insults are anonymously sourced. The retaliation comes out of the bowels of the bureaucracy. And he only finds out about it from the media. That allows him to retain what he cares about most: his popularity.

Obama and his people like to think that their dishonesty is a superpower. They pat themselves on the back for stabbing everyone else in theirs. Sometimes their smugness over how well they use the media to lie and smear gets out of control. Like the time Obama’s Goebbels, Ben Rhodes, boasted to the New York Times about how easy it was to fool everyone about the deal to protect Iran’s nuclear program.

After Trump won, it was business as usual.

Obama put on his best imitation of decency while his people went on preparing to undermine Trump at every turn by smearing him, wiretapping him and doing everything possible, legally and illegally, to bring him down. It was the same phony act that he had pulled for eight years, bemoaning the lack of bipartisanship while ruling unilaterally as a dictator, destroying the Constitution while hectoring us about our values, denouncing racism while organizing race riots, complaining about the echo chamber while constructing one and lecturing us on civility while smearing anyone who disagreed.

Trump’s killer instinct lies in understanding that hypocrisy conceals weakness. That is what powered him through the primaries and then through an election. His instinct is to grapple directly with a target. That is also the source of his popularity. Meanwhile the source of Obama’s popularity is his hollow likability. He’s likable only because he is almost always too cowardly to say what he really thinks.

Americans have seen the real Trump: because he is, in his own way, always real. Obama is always unreal. When Trump and Obama have appeared together, Obama seemed less real. He is a brand wrapped in all sorts of images that have nothing to do with who he really is.

Trump has always understood that Obama’s bravado was hollow. Obama boasted that he would have defeated Trump. Then he went on to try to do that with attacks from behind the scenes routed through government loyalists and media operatives while pretending that he had nothing to do with any of it.

But Obama and his people had learned nothing from how Trump had won the election. When Trump is attacked, his response is to go directly for the attacker, no matter what the argument is or how it’s sourced. Trump doesn’t get bogged down in debates or befuddled by media echo chambers that are so totally enveloping that they resemble reality. He just smashes past them to the source of the smear.

Europe’s Complex Political Landscape


The March 15 general election is in 4 days.

Mark Rutte
People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy
Geert Wilders
Party for Freedom
Lodewijk Asscher
Labor Party
Indicates current prime minister

The April 23 first-round vote in the presidential election is in a month.
Marine Le Pen
National Front
Emmanuel Macron
En Marche
François Fillon
Les Républicains

The Sept. 24 general election is in 6 months.

Angela Merkel
Christian Democratic Union
Martin Schulz
Social Democrats
Frauke Petry*
Alternative for Germany
*Ms. Petry is her party’s most prominent politician, but the party hasn’t agreed a candidate for the election.
Indicates current chancellor

South Korea’s Next President The rule of law prevails in Seoul, even as strategic threats mount.

South Korea’s Constitutional Court unanimously decided Friday to remove President Park Geun-hye from office. Her successor, who must be elected in the next 60 days, will likely come from the left-of-center Democratic Party. That raises important policy questions for Seoul, both domestic and international, but it is also an important reminder of the strength of the South’s democratic institutions.

Ms. Park’s dramatic downfall began last October, following allegations of influence-peddling and corruption by her confidante Choi Soon-sil. By December Ms. Park had been impeached by the National Assembly, a decision the court’s ruling confirmed while Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn governs in her place. Gerald Ford took over from Richard Nixon in 1974 by declaring “our Constitution works,” and South Koreans can now make the same boast.

The challenges for Ms. Park’s successor will be heavy. Pyongyang’s belligerent young dictator has accelerated his nuclear and ballistic missile programs even as he murders his political rivals overseas. One consolation is that the two leading Democrat candidates, Moon Jae-in and Ahn Hee-jung, have moderated their opposition to this week’s deployment of the U.S. Thaad missile defense system in recent months. This reflects the reality that South Korea can’t afford to alienate the Trump Administration when the U.S. remains the guarantor of its security.

The next South Korean administration will also have to act when it comes to its economic system. The scandal that brought down Ms. Park involved the country’s largest conglomerates, known as chaebol. On Monday prosecutors released a report that described how Samsung executives allegedly asked Ms. Park for government favors, and she asked officials to support a Samsung merger.

That merger of two subsidiaries in 2015 epitomizes the corruption at the heart of Korea Inc. Minority shareholders lost an estimated $7 billion in a deal that allowed Chairman Lee Kun-hee to pass control of the chaebol to his son Lee Jae-yong. Government regulators failed to protect shareholder rights, and the Park administration used the National Pension Service to help Samsung win a proxy vote.

The younger Mr. Lee is now on trial for bribery and embezzlement. Samsung will likely have to adopt a more transparent ownership structure, which will benefit shareholders.

That’s a promising outcome, but new laws are needed to extend shareholder capitalism across the economy. The scandal might never have come fully to light had it not been for the muscular shareholder activism of New York-based hedge fund Elliott Associates in opposing the Samsung merger—another example of how the forces of “globalism” can help make national politics more democratic and accountable, not less.

The cases against Ms. Park and Samsung are a reminder of the danger of economic nationalism and industrial policy giving officials discretionary power over business. The next President has an opportunity to create a more entrepreneurial and competitive economy, even while staring down the North Korean threat. In both cases, closer strategic and economic ties to the U.S. strengthen will help.

We Shouldn’t Always Have Paris The case for pulling out of Obama’s global climate accord.

President Trump is expected as soon as next week to order the Environmental Protection Agency to rescind its Clean Power rule that is blocked by the courts. But the President faces another test of political fortitude on whether to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord.

That’s suddenly uncertain. Mr. Trump promised to withdraw during the presidential campaign, correctly arguing that the accord gave “foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use.” His transition team even explored strategies for short-cutting the cumbersome, four-year process of getting out of the deal.

But the President’s is now getting resistance from his daughter, Ivanka, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who are fretting about the diplomatic ramifications. No doubt many countries would object, and loudly, but this risk pales compared to the potential damage from staying in the accord.

President Obama committed as part of Paris to cutting U.S. emissions by 26% compared with 2005 levels by 2025. Even Mr. Obama’s climate regulatory programs—all imposed without Congressional votes—would only achieve about half that commitment. Mr. Trump is killing those Obama programs, which means the U.S. may not reach that Paris promise. Why stay in an agreement that the Trump Administration has no interest or plan for honoring?

Another risk is that the U.S. might at some point be coerced into compliance. Mr. Obama joined the accord without congressional assent and endorsed the lengthy withdrawal process precisely to bind future Administrations to his climate priorities. Since Mr. Trump’s election, the international climate lobbies have debated ways to muscle the new Administration to comply.

These include imposing punitive tariffs on U.S. goods or requiring the U.S. to hit targets in return for other international cooperation. Mr. Tillerson might consider that Paris will be used as leverage against him in future international negotiations.

Lawyers and domestic environmental groups are also exploring how to use lawsuits to enforce the deal. Greens are adept at finding judges to require environmental regulations that Congress never intended. Such sympathetic judges today pack the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and include Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who in 2007 joined four liberals to redefine the Clean Air Act to cover carbon as a pollutant.

Remaining in the Paris pact will invite litigation to impose the Paris standards and direct the EPA to impose drastic carbon cuts that would hurt the economy. Energy companies are aware of this threat, and despite Exxon’s recent pledge to pour $20 billion into Gulf Coast facilities, other companies remain wary of U.S. regulation. They will be warier if Mr. Trump looks like he’s waffling on his climate positions.

Mr. Trump’s best bet is to exit the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which could be done in a year and would result in a simultaneous withdrawal from Paris. That would quickly end the litigation risk.

Mr. Tillerson said at his confirmation hearing that he believes the U.S. should remain in the Paris pact to have a “seat at the table” for the climate debate. But the U.S. doesn’t need Paris to have a say in global energy policy.

America has already done more to reduce CO 2 emissions with its natural-gas fracking revolution than has most of the world. Many of the Paris signers want to use the pact to diminish any U.S. fossil-fuel production. Mr. Tillerson will also be on the back foot in Paris discussions as he tries to overcome his past as an oil company executive.

The best U.S. insurance against the risks of climate change is to revive economic growth that will drive energy innovation and create the wealth to cope with any future damage—if that day arrives.

Policy details aside, the worst part of Mr. Obama’s climate agenda was its lack of democratic consent. He failed to persuade either a Republican or Democratic Congress to pass his regulation and taxes. So he attempted to impose that agenda at home through the EPA and abroad via Paris to use international pressure against domestic political resistance. One certainty: The diplomats at Turtle Bay and in Brussels didn’t vote for Donald Trump.

AG Sessions Tells 46 Remaining Obama-Appointed U.S. Attorneys to Hit the Bricks By Debra Heine

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked the 46 remaining Obama-appointed U.S. attorneys to tender their resignations, the Justice Department announced Friday.

The department described the request as part of an effort to ensure a “uniform transition.” About half of the country’s 93 U.S. attorneys have already left the department.

“Until the new U.S. Attorneys are confirmed, the dedicated career prosecutors in our U.S. Attorney’s Offices will continue the great work of the Department in investigating, prosecuting, and deterring the most violent offenders,” the statement added.

It is customary, though not automatic, for the country’s 93 U.S. attorneys to leave their positions once a new president is in office. Incoming administrations over the past several decades typically have replaced most U.S. attorneys during the first year or two.

The Obama administration allowed political appointees of President George W. Bush to serve until their replacement had been nominated and confirmed. One U.S. attorney appointed by Bush, Rod Rosenstein of Maryland, remained on the job for the entire Obama administration and is the current nominee for deputy attorney general.

The move comes amid increasing calls from conservatives to “drain the swamp,” especially as it applies to Obama holdovers in the Justice Department. Radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt pressed Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway last month on why the attorney general hadn’t yet fired the lot of them.

“Why haven’t we fired the U.S. attorneys?” he asked. “They are all Obama appointees. They’re acting replacements, even if you haven’t got nominees lined up, would-be careerists. Why hasn’t he, a man of will, done that?”

Hewitt said that he wanted to see Obama’s “sleeper cells” “gone yesterday.” It may have taken a few weeks, but Sessions delivered.

Now, the status of Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is up in the air. Bharara was appointed by then-President Barack Obama in 2009, but as Fox News pointed out, he “met with Trump in November and said after the meeting that he had agreed to stay on.”

Bharara, the Daily Caller reported last year, was leading the New York-based probe of the Clinton Foundation.

Asked if the move by Sessions was unusual, former DOJ official Thomas Dupre told Fox News that the only thing unusual about it was that it took this long.

“This is something that all presidents do. The president is entitled to fill out his administration, including the top prosecutors in the Justice Department, with people of his own choosing,” he said.

A case study in media’s declining power: The Chelsea Clinton marketing campaign By Thomas Lifson

All of the formidable powers of propaganda have been deployed to help Chelsea Clinton along the path to political power. It won’t work, and the media that lend their credibility to the propaganda only further diminish their influence. As the old Madison Avenue cliché has it, the most brilliant marketing campaign in history won’t sell dog food if the dogs won’t eat it.

The sudden uptick in the long running media campaign to glamorize, promote, and burnish the image of Chelsea Clinton is clear evidence that the Clinton Gang plans to hand power to the heir, and sooner than later. Chelsea obviously is being groomed to step into a safe Democrat constituency, probably in Congress in 2018.

Writing in National Review, Jim Geraghty offers an insightful and rewarding analysis of the futility of the Chelsea marketing campaign.

Chelsea Clinton is not fascinating. But the repeated insistence that Chelsea Clinton is fascinating … is actually rather fascinating. It’s like a giant social experiment, in which everyone who has spent decades building connections to the Clinton political dynasty attempts to make the world see the president’s daughter as someone she isn’t. …

[S]he’s pretty much the worst possible person to be speaking on behalf of Democrats right now. At a time when one of the preeminent problems in American life is a sense of declining economic opportunity and social mobility, she’s the living embodiment of inherited privilege.

After a few years of attempting to work in consulting and at hedge funds, she concluded she “couldn’t care about money on a fundamental level.” Then, with no experience in television journalism, she had her people call up the networks and set up a bidding war for her services as a correspondent. She made $600,000 per year for part-time work at NBC, generating what the Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik called “a handful of reports that no self-respecting affiliate in a top 20 market would air.”

She was named an “assistant vice provost” at NYU at age 30. She was picked to give the keynote address at South by Southwest, and honored as one of Glamour magazine’s “Women of the Year.” Now she makes $1,083 per minute speaking to public universities. And almost everything she does is decreed to be extraordinary by a pliant, pro-Clinton media. The New York Times even interviewed her about her favorite books.

Read the whole thing, and stay tuned for great amusement as the marketing campaign for dog food that dogs won’t eat continues.

Funniest. Headline. Ever. By Thomas Lifson see note please

This is hilarious but the best last year was in The New York Post cover with a picture of Hillary Clinton “Deleter of the Free World”….rsk

“…….Even better, it is factual. And almost inevitably, it’s about a “Florida man.”

Here it is, from NBC News:

Lawyer’s Pants Catch Fire During Florida Arson Trial

It seemed like a set up to a tired joke: A lawyer’s pants caught on fire in court.

But on Wednesday, it was Stephen Gutierrez’s reality when the Florida defense attorney’s pants began smoking during an arson trial, Eleventh Circuit Court Public Relations Director Eunice Sigler confirmed to NBC News Thursday.

Gutierrez, 28, was in the in the Miami-Dade county courtroom defending 49-year-old Claudy Charles, who was accused of setting his car alight.

But During his closing argument, Gutierrez began to feel heat coming from his pocket where he had several electric cigarette batteries, he told NBC News in an email.

As Gutierrez argued Charles’ car had merely spontaneously combusted, the lawyer’s pants seemed to do the same.

Witnesses in the courtroom told the Miami Herald the moment was “surreal,” as Gutierrez rushed out of the courtroom while smoke billowed from his pocket.

Gutierrez said as the heat intensified, he hurried into the bathroom where he tossed the battery in water. He was able to return to the courtroom with a singed pocket.

Because the defense argument was that the car spontaneously combusted, there is reason for suspicion among everyone but children that this was a set-up intended to make the point quite visibly to jurors. Lawyer Gutierez, of course, adamantly denies it.

I don’t really care. I just love the headline, probably because I write headlines on a daily basis and draw inspiration and amusement from the best of them.