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April 2017

French Presidential Campaign: Part 2 Nidra Poller

Part 1 can be found here – click.

The Interior Minister sniffles, Valls gives Macron a peck on the cheek, France 2 throws Fillon into the lion’s den, a book spills the beans on Hollande… And: whither the Jewish vote


The last time we saw acting Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux he was at Orly airport, solemnly declaring the “suspect had tried but failed” to get the soldier’s gun. This was followed shortly by a photo in the Figaro of the dead suspect lying on the floor with the Famas assault rifle still slung across his chest. Family Security Matters http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/detail/french-presidential-campaign-part-1#ixzz4cpgeSljr Deliberately misleading? Honestly misinformed? No one seemed to care publicly. But LeRoux was forced to resign last week…for a different reason.

How, in the absence of any discernible competence, did the deputy get to be Interior Minister? Musical chairs. François Hollande waited to the last minute to announce he would not be running for re-election, Prime Minister Manuel Valls could finally resign and throw his hat into the Primary ring, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve was bumped up to the PM slot, and Le Roux became a low-key Interior Minister in the twilight Hollande government.

Last week Le Roux went out in a sniffle. Looking like the fall guy meant to knock over François Fillon. Deputy Le Roux hired his teenage daughters as parliamentary assistants over a 7-year period with 24 different temporary contracts for a total salary of €55,000. Cross-checkers produced damning evidence. Not only were the teenies overpaid, they were apparently moonlighting for their father while simultaneously holding other jobs, studying, traveling, etc. Of course le Roux was allowed to deny any wrongdoing before resigning. The Greek chorus media chanted “Le Roux resigned why not Fillon?”

Valls pecks Macron on the cheek.

Defeated in the primaries, the former PM, who has shown integrity and valor in some of the worst moments of jihad violence, had nowhere to go. He could not decently respect the good sport promise to defend the victor, Benoît Hamon, one of the “frondeurs,” an informal caucus of far Left deputies that persistently hounded the Hollande-Valls government. Hamon’s last ditch socialism is outplayed by Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s eloquent extravagance. The centerpiece of Hamon’s primary campaign was a shiny universal salary promise, based on a post-employment theory: in our modern economy, jobs don’t need people, people don’t need jobs, so the government will give them salaries and their purchasing power will boost the economy. No one ever asked him why a small businessman or a CEO would work days, nights and weekends to produce the wealth that would be distributed like Care packages.

Hamon had gadflied the socialist party; Mélenchon opted out years ago and created a far Left conglomerate that repeatedly splinters and regroups. Today he runs on his personal ticket -La France Insoumise. The “insoumise [= that does not submit] has nothing to do with the Islamic concept of submission; it’s about the 99% not submitting to the 1%. Reeking of authenticity, dressed in corduroy casual, the earthy showman makes outworn class struggle rhetoric seem new. But pollsters say he gets only 13% of the working class vote, with 51% going to Marine Le Pen. Mélenchon delights in punishing the privileged classes. Under his regime, doctors won’t be allowed to apply surcharges (paid, it should be noted, by the patient). The GP that takes €50 for a consultation today would have to be satisfied with the health system rate of €25. (

Mélenchon’s solution for world peace is to exit NATO and the “logic of war.” The people’s army he intends to create by reestablishing the draft is more a public works project than a defense measure. Awkward attempts by Hamon to create a united Left by swallowing up Mélenchon’s candidacy have failed miserably, as Mélenchon’s fortunes rise and Hamon’s sink

Harvard Students Launch ‘Resistance School’ By Tom Knighton

My, how times change.

Remember when — of course you do, it was just three months ago — opposing the president was considered racist and unpatriotic? Back then, anything President Obama said or did was holy writ, and anyone taking issue with it was told, one way or another, to shut up.

Today, however, resistance to the president isn’t just a natural part of the American process, but something that students at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University think everyone should be taught how to do:

President Donald Trump has a new enemy in town, and thy name is Harvard student.

Specifically, it’s students at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, who’ve just launched a “Resistance School” to fight all things Trump. Guess the name “Propaganda School” was already taken.

The group makes clear it’s student-run, and not officially affiliated with Harvard. But this is what our best and brightest have to offer the country?

Anyhow, the school’s not really a school, but rather a free four-week online course that bills itself as a means for participants to “sharpen the tools we need to fight back at the federal, state and local levels” with an overall goal of keeping “the embers of resistance alive through concrete learning, community engagement and forward-looking action.”

That’s a mouthful.

So let’s break it down into what’s really going on here: Democrats, or more to truth progressives and socialists-in-training, are just ticked to high heaven their beloved Hillary Clinton lost the White House. And Barack Obama, through his Obama Foundation, has created “a living, working start-up for citizenship — an ongoing project for us to shape, together, what it means to be a good citizen in the 21st century.”

Did the Obama White House Collude with a Politically Motivated Scientist? A former scientist at the NOAA has exposed a shoddy report on global warming. Judicial Watch is suing to learn more. By Julie Kelly

Following allegations of impropriety over the handling of a controversial climate change report, a government watchdog group now wants to know whether there was any collaboration between the report’s lead author and a key Obama adviser. On March 27, Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit seeking “all records of communications between a pair of federal scientists who heavily influenced the Obama administration’s climate change policy and its backing of the Paris Agreement.”

The FOIA specifically requests correspondence between Tom Karl, the former head of the climate-data program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and John Holdren, the director of Obama’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. Holdren is from that species of Baby Boomer global catastrophists who make changing predictions each decade about how we will all die. He also happens to be the science guy who had the president’s ear for eight years.

Holdren’s buddy, Tom Karl, authored a report in 2015 attempting to disprove the hiatus in global warming that had been widely acknowledged by many scientific groups, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The warming pause threatened to undermine the justification for a costly climate-change pact that was being negotiated at the time: How could world leaders commit trillions in tax dollars to stop global warming if it wasn’t actually happening?

Karl’s report came to the rescue just months before the Paris Climate Conference. In announcing his findings, Karl said the “new analysis suggests that the apparent hiatus may have been largely the result of limitations in past datasets, and that the rate of warming over the first 15 years of this century has, in fact, been as fast or faster than that seen over the last half of the 20th century.” How convenient. His analysis was eagerly accepted by the international science community, but others were leery about its timing; the House Science Committee has been leading an inquiry into the report for nearly two years.

But a retired top official at NOAA has now confirmed suspicions about the veracity of Karl’s research and about whether politics — not science — were at play. In February, John Bates, the former head of NOAA’s climate-data archive, wrote a lengthy exposé detailing misconduct at NOAA related to the report. The allegations included using inappropriately “corrected” datasets, violating agency protocol on data review, and failing to archive the data. In the most damning allegation, Bates said: “In every aspect of the preparation and release of the datasets . . . we find Tom Karl’s thumb on the scale pushing for, and often insisting on, decisions that maximize warming and minimize documentation.” (You can read more about Bates’s allegations here and a subsequent smear campaign by the scientific establishment here.)

“It was more of a political document than a scientific document,” Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, told me. “People need to know how the [climate] alarmists have taken over agencies like NOAA and NASA. This is about trying to get the truth out.” Judicial Watch also filed a separate lawsuit against NOAA in 2015 attempting to get the datasets used in Karl’s paper.

Be Very Careful Before Beating the War Drums in Syria Russia’s involvement in the conflict raises the stakes of any U.S. action. By David French

War has consequences. Callous incompetence has consequences. The world is watching those consequences unfold in Syria today. No one can look at images of children dead from gas attacks and not be moved.

Let’s stipulate two things: First, there were never any easy American choices in Syria. Second, the Obama administration got virtually every hard choice wrong. Or, to be more precise, the choices it did make did nothing to either stop the worst humanitarian catastrophe in the new century or block our enemies and rivals, Iran and Russia, from exerting their will in Syria.

The result is the Syria we have today, a patchwork quilt of competing zones of control that in some ways looks more complicated than it is. Let’s make sense of the map below:

The red, government-controlled areas represent the most populated and economically consequential sections of the country. This is where Russia and Iran have asserted their will, and this is where Assad is spilling the blood of innocents to expand and maintain his grip on power. Yes, he’s still opposed by rebel groups, but they’ve been decimated, and many of the groups that remain are dominated by jihadists.

In the north, our Kurdish allies are on the move, but not against the regime — against ISIS. In other words, Assad has beaten his main foe and is leaving the United States, the Kurds, and assorted other allies to deal with our main foe, ISIS. After the battle for Raqqa, Syria is likely to be effectively partitioned, with American-backed forces controlling the north, the Russian-backed regime controlling the west, and some small forces still battling it out on the borders.

As we confront the Assad regime’s gas attack — which is just one of its countless violations of the law of war, and hardly its most deadly — we also have to confront this core reality: Our leading geopolitical rival — a traditional great power and a nuclear superpower — has quite obviously decided that the survival of a friendly regime in Damascus is a core national interest. It acted decisively while we dithered, and it has boots on the ground.

Thus, we now face a quandary. Retaliate against Syria so strongly that it truly punishes and weakens Assad, and you risk threatening Russia’s vital interests. Respond with a pinprick strike that Russia effectively “permits,” and you do nothing important. Assad has demonstrated that he cares little about his own casualties and may (like many other American enemies before him) actually feel emboldened after “surviving” an American strike.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s Told-You-So Moment The Israeli leader could be opportunistic and vulgar in pressing his case against the Iran deal. He was also right. By Sohrab Ahmari

Benjamin Netanyahu will never be popular in America’s major newsrooms. Or among most of the think-tankers who set the tone and parameters of foreign-policy debate. His name is a curse on college campuses. So it’s worth asking whose vision of the Middle East has held up better under the press of recent events.

His or theirs?

The question comes to mind as Western governments confront this week’s chemical atrocity in Syria, and as footage of children’s bodies convulsing in agony once more unsettles the world’s conscience. Even President Trump, who generally lacks a moral language, was moved, though whether he will act remains to be seen.

His predecessor had a rich moral vocabulary and a coterie of award-winning moralizers like Samantha Power on staff. But President Obama refused to act when Bashar Assad crossed his chemical red line. He wanted to extricate Washington from the region, and he saw a nuclear deal with Mr. Assad’s Iranian patrons as the exit ramp.

Such a deal came within grasp when Hassan Rouhani launched his presidential campaign in Iran four years ago this month. The smiling, self-proclaimed “moderate” was the Iranian interlocutor the Obamaians had been waiting for. Mr. Netanyahu posed the main obstacle.

The Israeli prime minister warned that Mr. Rouhani didn’t have the power to moderate the regime even if he had the will. He reminded the world of Mr. Rouhani’s role in Iran’s repressive apparatus and his history of anti-American rhetoric. He insisted that Iranian regional aggression wouldn’t relent if sanctions were removed. Iran, he predicted, would pocket the financial concessions, then press ahead in Syria and elsewhere.

The Israeli could be opportunistic, given to hyperbole and not a little vulgar in pressing his case. He was also right.

It’s instructive now to compare his account of the regime with the baseless euphoria in the Western media that greeted Mr. Rouhani’s election in June 2013 and marked coverage of the nuclear deal over the next four years.

Start with Iran’s role in Syria. Writing in September 2013, the New York Times editorial board suggested that Iran’s intentions “could be tested by inviting its new government to join the United States and Russia in carrying out the recent agreement to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons. It seems like a natural convergence: Iranians know well the scourge of poison gas.”

Well, apparently they didn’t know the scourge well enough to restrain their chief Arab client from systematically gassing his own people, even after the Russian-brokered chemical deal. CONTINUE AT SITE

Senate Eliminates Filibuster for Supreme Court Nominees GOP-led effort paves way for Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed Friday By Byron Tau and Siobhan Hughes

WASHINGTON—Senate Republicans voted to end the filibuster of Supreme Court nominations Thursday, setting the stage for the rapid elevation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the high court and removing a pillar of the minority party’s power to exert influence in the chamber.

Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation by the Senate, expected Friday, would return the Supreme Court to full strength for the first time in 14 months, since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February of last year. It means Judge Gorsuch could be a key vote on coming cases, including the high court’s possible consideration of President Donald Trump’s latest executive order on immigration and visas.
The confirmation would also give the president a much-needed win, after setbacks in recent weeks on a health-care bill and the immigration order, as well as shake-ups and dissension among the White House staff. It would allow Mr. Trump to quickly put his stamp on the high court, replacing one conservative justice with another and keeping a promise to conservative activists that he made during the presidential campaign.

The battle’s aftermath appears less positive for the Senate, where it became unusually personal.

The Nunes Takedown His real offense was trying to do both sides of the Russia intelligence probe.

Democrats successfully pressured House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes on Thursday to recuse himself from that committee’s Russia probe. This is how today’s Washington thanks Members who do their jobs.

Officially, Mr. Nunes stepped aside after the House Committee on Ethics said he was under investigation for accusations that he disclosed classified information. This followed complaints filed by progressive groups to the separate Office of Congressional Ethics (a Nancy Pelosi creation) claiming Mr. Nunes broke the law when he announced he’d seen reports proving the Obama White House received intelligence about Trump transition officials and unmasked at least one identity.

Mr. Nunes’s real offense is believing he should investigate both sides of the Russia story—whether the Trump team colluded with the Russians, and the equally important question of whether Obama officials were snooping on their political opponents. Mr. Nunes had brought the role of Mr. Obama’s former National Security Adviser Susan Rice into the light.

It is ironic that Mr. Nunes’s carefully worded press briefing was done in part to root out the real scandal of who in the Obama Administration gave the media the unmasked name and classified conversations of Donald Trump’s first National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn.

The House Ethics Committee will make the final call on whether Mr. Nunes inappropriately discussed classified information. Democrats failed in their primary goal of stripping Mr. Nunes of his chairmanship. While he retains the rest of his Intelligence Committee duties, the Russia probe is now taken over by Michael Conaway (Texas), Trey Gowdy (South Carolina) and Tom Rooney (Florida).

This trio has a duty to finish what Mr. Nunes started. That means getting to the bottom of both internal snooping on U.S. citizens and any Trump-Russia ties.

More Bump from Trump Small businesses report solid March job growth and higher wages.

The Trump trade isn’t dead yet. While the wheels of legislation turn slowly in Washington, the real economy continues to send encouraging signals about the potential for robust growth. And workers are enjoying higher wages. The National Federation of Independent Business report on hiring at small firms, due out later today, will show an average seasonally adjusted increase of 0.16 workers per firm. NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg calls this “a solid showing.”

The report contains more good news for workers at small businesses. Not only are more of them employed, but they’re making more money. Mr. Dunkelberg writes in a draft of today’s release: “The net percent of owners reporting that they raised worker compensation remained at the highest levels observed since when 64.7 percent of the adult population was working (compared to about 60 percent today after being stuck in the 58 percent range from 2009 to 2014). Owners then and now are increasing compensation to attract and/or hold critical employees.”

Let’s hope that this demand from employers pulls more discouraged Americans back into the workforce. Small businesses will be needing them, according to another NFIB finding. A seasonally adjusted net 16% of small businesses plan to create new jobs, “up 1 point and a very strong reading,” writes Mr. Dunkelberg.

Based on these encouraging data, Mr. Dunkelberg expects an increase of more than 200,000 jobs when the U.S. Department of Labor issues its March employment report for the whole economy on Friday morning.

This is solid but not spectacular job growth. Such a monthly reading was cause for celebration during the dreary Obama era, and the “secular stagnation” crowd figures this is about as good as it gets. But it’s not. While today’s NFIB report is encouraging, it’s also a reminder that if Mr. Trump and U.S. workers want Reagan-style growth, the economy still needs Reagan-style tax cuts.


Even for someone who has experienced – nay, endured the rigors and brutality of Islamic “culture,” such as Ayaan HIrsi Ali – it may be difficult for that person to condemn the ideology-cum-religion of Islam and disown it as thoroughly and finally as one can Nazism or Communism, regardless of how Islam affected that person’s life, publicly and personally. However, one can “disown” Islam yet some emotional connection to it may linger, like a virus that may lay dormant for decades and then begin to affect one’s thinking and actions.

That state of lingering belief is utterly alien to me; I have been a committed, conscious atheist since my mid-teens. I dismiss all religious systems, dogmas, and tracts. Having been raised in the Catholic religion, I have never been tempted to find a replacement or substitute for it. Paraphrasing the American patriotEthan Allen, reason, then and now, has been to and for me the only “Oracle of Man,” not Christ or Moses, and certainly not Mohammad. Allen’s arguments against superstition are not mine; I rejected God and other ethereal deities, regardless of their names, for two reasons: their metaphysical impossibility, and for moral reasons of rejecting the power and influence of a “higher” authority over my existence and mind.

The lingering need of a person for a “higher” authority will cause him to sooner or later embark on a project of reclamation of, say, Islam, that will be at dramatic odds with a past record and stature as a critic of Islam, failing to realize that to criticize Islam is not enough. It must be repudiated wholesale; as in Nazism and Communism, there are no “redeeming” features in Islam.

I have said it many times before, in past columns over the years; Islam must be refuted and repudiated “root, branch, and twig.” There is no middle, reconciliatory ground to be advanced, argued, and promoted; the whole ideology must be tossed onto an intellectual bonfire with no regrets or personal recriminations or sense of loss. As an active “religion,” it must be reduced to ashes.

It doesn’t matter that, as an ideology, Islam is somewhat schizophrenic, exhibiting on one hand a “nice,” laid-back, wouldn’t-hurt-a-fly persona among the rank-and-file, non-jihadist Muslims, and on the other a mean, vile, vindictive, homicidal, and consistently destructive persona in actions dedicated to conquest and destruction for the sake of destruction among the “fundamentalists.”

Granted, that religion, as a measure of moral guidance, has had a grip on man since the dawn of history, and even before when man first began carving or painting symbols and ideograms on stone tablets or on cave walls. Religion, as author/philosopher Ayn Rand has put it, is a primitive form of philosophy. She wrote that religion demands:

“…blind belief, belief unsupported by, or contrary to, the facts of reality and the conclusions of reason. Faith, as such, is extremely detrimental to human life: it is the negation of reason. But you must remember that religion is an early form of philosophy, that the first attempts to explain the universe, to give a coherent frame of reference to man’s life and a code of moral values, were made by religion, before men graduated or developed enough to have philosophy.

A clinging fealty to or respect for some religious belief, then, in spite of the outrages to which Ayaan Hirsi Ali was subjected by Islam in her life, including a perpetual death fatwa on her, drew her to attempt to salvage Islam in a Hoover Institution paper published in March 2017, “The Challenge of Dawa: Political Islam Ideology and Movement and How to Counter.” It is in three versions: a printable, closely packed version; a longer PDF of it; and a shorter, excerpted version published on March 20th in the Wall Street Journal, “Why Islam Needs a Reformation.” A byline at the end of the Wall Street Journal article reads:

The Gorsuch Confirmation Approaches Democrats are out of obstruction strategies. Joseph Klein

President Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court is heading for a final showdown Friday, in what is emerging as likely the most high-stakes partisan battle yet during the first 100 days of the Trump administration.

On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the selection by a party-line vote of 11-9, and sent the nomination to the full Senate floor for final action. The Democrats have decided to launch a filibuster in an effort to block the Gorsuch nomination from receiving an up-or-down vote. Democrat Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) declared Sunday, “We call it the 60 vote standard,” to ensure that “you get a mainstream justice.” Of course, there is no such “standard.” Justices who received less than 60 votes in the past were still confirmed. And the fact that Judge Gorsuch voted 99 percent of the time with the other judges on his federal appeals court means nothing to the ideologues who oppose him. For the Left, “mainstream” means only a judge’s willingness to bend the Constitution to suit the progressives’ social justice agenda.

The Democrats appear to have lined up enough votes to make their filibuster stick, placing them on a collision clause with the Republican majority. If the Democrats do not budge, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) is on course to lead his party majority to adopt the so-called “nuclear option” and change the Senate rules, eliminating the 60 vote filibuster barrier for Supreme Court nominations. A simple majority can then proceed on an up-or-down vote to confirm Judge Gorsuch. In addition to the 52 Republicans voting in favor, 3 Democrats so far have also indicated their intention to vote for Judge Gorsuch – Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. A fourth Democrat, Michael Bennet of Colorado, said he would not vote to support the filibuster.

The Democrats’ desperate gambit will not succeed. “What I’m telling you is that Judge Gorsuch is going to be confirmed,” said Senator McConnell on Sunday. “The way in which that occurs is in the hands of the Democratic minority.”

The Democrats conveniently ignore the fact that Republicans did not stand in the way of former President Barack Obama’s first two choices for Supreme Court seats – Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Instead, like spoiled brats, the Democrats are still sore that the Republicans would not consider Obama’s choice of Judge Merrick Garland during Obama’s last year in office, with a presidential election looming. They wanted to preemptively change the ideological balance of the Supreme Court by giving the seat of conservative originalist Scalia to a liberal replacement, without giving the voters a chance to weigh in first. More than a year later, they are taking out their wrath on President Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee, justifying their obstructionism with the bogus claim that the seat Judge Gorsuch would be filling was “stolen” from them.