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April 2017

Durbin: ‘Praise the Lord’ That Mattis is ‘That Close to the President’ By Bridget Johnson see note please


CAIR has been designated by the FBI and several in Congress as a supporter of U.S.-designated terrorist groups. This is what Durbin said about the organization:
“For more than 10 years, CAIR-Chicago has enhanced the understanding of Islam within our communities by facilitating dialogue, protecting civil liberties, empowering American Muslims, and building coalitions which promote justice and mutual understanding. I applaud your commitment to guaranteeing that our country’s ideals are fully respected and realized for all.” – Dick Durbin U.S. Senator, State of Illinois

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he sees movement in the Trump administration toward the “center stripe” on foreign policy, and “praise the Lord” that Defense Secretary James Mattis is in charge at the Pentagon.

Durbin told MSNBC that it was “absolutely essential” that Trump moved forward the expansion of NATO this week, signing off on ratification after the Senate approved Montenegro’s ascension 97-2. Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) were the “no” votes.

That’s in advance of Trump’s first foreign trip to the NATO summit in May. The U.S. “will work to further strengthen our already strong relationship with Montenegro and looks forward to formally welcoming the country as the twenty-ninth member of the NATO alliance,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a Tuesday statement. Trump meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House today.

“Ukraine is the Exhibit A of why it is essential that the countries of Europe, Poland, the Baltics, and Ukraine know that the United States committed to NATO. That is the only way to stop Putin’s adventurism in this situation,” Durbin said. “…What you’re seeing is moderation of the views of Donald Trump, at least in his White House foreign policy that differs from what we heard on the campaign trail. On the campaign trail he didn’t back off an inch.”

“…What a dramatic change in such a short period of time. Think a week ago, about a week ago, here is Secretary of State Tillerson saying let the Syrian people decide if Assad has a future. Within seven days we’re attacking them.”

Durbin opined that “there is a transition taking place,” and pinpointed senior advisor Jared Kushner “as one of the elements of that transition” is “true from what I’ve heard.”

“It’s an indication they are moving toward what used to be the center stripe, mainstream on foreign policy,” he added.

On Mattis, Durbin lauded his Tuesday Pentagon press conference, adding, “Praise the Lord that that sort of person is that close to the president.” CONTINUE AT SITE

Syria and the Fundamentalist Islamic Uprising By Robert Turner

Should the United States have prolonged the Syrian civil war by arming the rebels? Based on recent experience, one wonders if deposing ruling monarchies is in the best interest of either the peoples of the Middle East or of the world at large. Consider the following:

The failure of the Carter administration to support its ally Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran, led to establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the region’s greatest threat. The reward to the United States for its implicit support of the Iranian revolution was an attack on its embassy, the ensuing hostage crisis, throngs in the streets screaming “Death to America,” and support of terrorism aimed at the U.S. and its’ allies. The result to Israel is likely to be increasingly dire in months and years to come.

The failure of the Obama administration to support U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak, president of Egypt, and a key supporter of the peace with Israel negotiated by Anwar Sadat, led to a near takeover of Egypt by the Muslim Brotherhood, described as a terrorist organization by a number of allies in the region. Only intervention by the military saved Egypt from Islamic totalitarianism.

While hardly virtuous, Muammar Gaddafi, following a wakeup confrontation with President Reagan’s military followed by the implicit threat of George W. Bush’s anti-terrorism campaign after 9/11, had given up his nuclear ambitions and was actually providing significant assistance in world efforts to defeat Islamic terrorism. Hillary Clinton, Obama’s first-term Secretary of State, decided that Colonel Gaddafi should not be allowed to put down a rebel insurrection within Libya and led an international effort to free Libya from his predilection to violence. Again, our interference resulted in tragedy for America and disaster for the people of Libya.

Saddam Hussein, the counterweight to Iran in the Middle East, was a cruel dictator with the propensity to involve himself in world politics and commit despicable acts. After 9/11, in addition to its war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Bush administration opted to invade Iraq due to concerns over Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. The ensuing government of Iraq was transformed from Sunni Muslim control that kept a firm hand on its Shiite Muslim majority population to Shiite Muslim control that abused its minority Sunni Muslim population. The result has been a continued reign of terror as car bombs and suicide bombers continue attacks on both branches of the Islamic tree.

Our involvement in Iraq was then followed by the disastrous and premature Obama decision to withdraw U.S. forces, thereby creating the opening for creation of a caliphate by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that has been on a murderous rampage throughout not only the Middle East but now extends into Europe, Africa, and even the United States.

That brings me back to the question of Syria: if the United States had not encouraged Syrians in their rebellion against the Assad government, if we had not surreptitiously armed Islamist rebels with weapons from Gaddafi’s stockpiles in Libya, if we had not trained and equipped something we called the “Free Syrian Army,” might not the civil war in Syria have ended by now with far fewer casualties than our prolonging of the war effort has allowed? I don’t know the answer to this question, but it seems worthy of serious consideration.

Is it a curious coincidence that this revolutionary wave engulfing one Islamic nation after another from Tunisia in 2010, to Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria and Iraq occurred within mere months of one another? Is it a coincidence that demonstrations, protest and riots over this same period of time occurred in Morocco, Bahrain, Algeria, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman and Sudan with lesser protests in half a dozen other nations?

Taiwan Needs Submarines As China increases its threats, the U.S. can help the island’s self-defense.

Taiwan’s recent announcement that it will build its own diesel-electric submarines has provoked skepticism across the defense industry. The island’s shipyards lack experience constructing pressure hulls, and the local defense industry will struggle to provide the high-tech innards of a modern submarine, such as fire control and propulsion systems. So what is Taipei up to?

Taiwan certainly needs the subs to deter an invasion from mainland China, and the best option would be to buy them from a country with an existing production line. But Beijing has pressured the viable candidates not to sell to Taiwan.

In 2001 George W. Bush’s Administration promised to develop and build conventional submarines for Taiwan. But the U.S. Navy and its backers were opposed because it only deploys nuclear-powered subs and it fears that if a U.S. company began to build diesel subs, then it might lobby Congress to acquire them. The Bush proposal also foundered on political opposition within Taiwan to spending the large sums to buy and operate the boats. The U.S. dropped the idea in 2008.

Since then Taiwan’s defense situation has grown more dire. In 2009 a RAND study concluded that in the event of a mainland attack, the island would lose air superiority over its territory within a few days. China’s armed forces have continued to advance in quality and quantity, while many of Taiwan’s weapons are aging or obsolete.

China has also stepped up its bullying. After President Tsai Ing-wen was elected in January 2016, Beijing downgraded economic ties and again threatened to use military force if Taiwan refuses indefinitely to hold talks on reunification. The country’s first aircraft carrier conducted a cruise around Taiwan in December and January, sending a pointed message to the island’s population.

These moves seem to have shaken Taiwanese politicians out of their complacency. The government recently announced plans to increase military spending by up to 50% in 2018, bringing the island’s defense budget up to the goal of around 3% of GDP that the U.S. has been urging for years.

Authorities Detain Islamist After Blast on Team Bus in Germany’s Dortmund Style of attack leaves investigators hesitant to attribute responsibility By Ruth Bender

BERLIN—Authorities detained a suspected Islamist on Wednesday and were investigating another after a bomb blast hit a German soccer team’s bus, leaving one player injured.

The arrest came after investigators found three identical letters near the scene that indicated an Islamist motive, said Frauke Köhler, spokeswoman of the federal prosecutor. Yet the Tuesday night attack in Dortmund bore few of the hallmarks of past Islamist attacks in the country, leaving investigators hesitant to attribute responsibility.

Terror experts said the unusual sophistication of the attack, the preparation it would have required, and the force of the explosives used would mark a significant step up for Islamist militants if they were indeed responsible.

Ms. Köhler didn’t publicly identify the detained suspect or say why the second person hadn’t been arrested. But a person close to the investigation said both were from North-Rhine Westphalia, the western state where Dortmund is located, and that investigators were lacking evidence to arrest the second one.

The attack hit a bus that was ferrying Borussia Dortmund’s soccer players to their stadium for a quarterfinal game in the most prestigious tournament in club soccer.

“It almost looks like a classical improvised explosive device as we see it in Iraq,” said Stefan Hansen, managing director of the Center of Research on Terrorism and Radicalization at the University of Kiel. CONTINUE AT SITE

U.N. Vote on Syria Fails as Russia Blocks Measure Veto in Security Council comes amid growing polarization over the country’s conflict By Farnaz Fassihi

UNITED NATIONS—The U.N. Security Council failed to bring about a resolution condemning the latest chemical attacks in Syria after Russia vetoed the measure, its eighth veto of proposed moves against Damascus since the conflict began six years ago.

The deadlock on Wednesday didn’t come as a surprise, as the Security Council has grown increasingly polarized over the conflict, leaving it unable to offer a feasible solution for ending it.

For the past eight days, since news of another chemical attack in Syria surfaced on April 4, the Council has struggled over a seemingly simple diplomatic task: to issue a resolution that condemns the general use of chemical weapons in Syria; call for U.N. investigations; and call on Damascus to offer full access to investigators.

The resolution went through three rewrites. At one point, three competing texts—one from U.S. and its allies, another from Russia and a third from the other 10 nonpermanent members of the Council—were circulated in a last-minute attempt to restore unity.

China abstained, declining to join Russia’s veto in a stand that drew praise in Washington from President Donald Trump. The U.S., together with France and the United Kingdom, and seven of their allies voted in favor. CONTINUE AT SITE

Notable & Quotable: Angry Clintons ‘Hillary’s talented and accomplished team of professionals and loyalists simply took it.’

From “Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign,” a forthcoming book by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, excerpted at TheHill.com, April 12:

Hillary Clinton turned her fury on her consultants and campaign aides, blaming them for a failure to focus the media on her platform.

In her ear the whole time, spurring her on to cast blame on others and never admit to anything, was her husband. Neither Clinton could accept the simple fact that Hillary had hamstrung her own campaign and dealt the most serious blow to her own presidential aspirations.

That state of denial would become more obvious than ever to her top aides and consultants during one conference call in the thick of the public discussion of her server. Joel Benenson, Mandy Grunwald, Jim Margolis, John Anzalone, John Podesta, [Robby] Mook, Huma Abedin and Dan Schwerin were among the small coterie who huddled in Abedin’s mostly bare corner office overlooking the East River at the campaign’s Brooklyn headquarters. Hillary and Bill, who rarely visited, joined them by phone.

Hillary’s severe, controlled voice crackled through the line first. It carried the sound of a disappointed teacher or mother delivering a lecture before a whipping. That back end was left to Bill, who lashed out with abandon. Eyes cast downward, stomachs turning—both from the scare tactics and from their own revulsion at being chastised for Hillary’s failures—Hillary’s talented and accomplished team of professionals and loyalists simply took it. There was no arguing with Bill Clinton.

The Trump Presidency Begins A presidency that was almost too much fun has taken a clear turn to the serious. Dan Henninger

Instead of “The Trump Presidency Begins,” an alternative headline for this column might have been “Trump’s Presidency Begins.” Each describes a different reality.

Until recently, “Trump’s presidency” has been about one thing—Donald Trump. It’s been Trump 24/7. Mr. Trump owned the presidency the way Mr. Trump owns a tower on Fifth Avenue. For better and for worse, Trump’s presidency was all about him.

In the past few weeks—the Gorsuch appointment, the Syrian strike, the meeting with China’s Xi Jinping —we are finally seeing the beginning of the real Trump presidency.

Like all the others dating back to George Washington, the presidency is not an object captured by one person; it is an office held in trust for the people of the United States.

The Trump-centric phenomenon of these early days is the product of our celebrity-centric times, not least the presidency. He drove it with social media, and the media torrents washed back over him.

There are some realities, though, that the media torrents haven’t washed away yet. America’s institutions, its politics and the distant world are still too large for anyone to hold and command alone. That is the lesson of recent days.

Neil Gorsuch was nominated by Mr. Trump to fill the ninth seat on the Supreme Court. What followed was a mighty political struggle. The opposition to Judge Gorsuch, led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, revealed that the legal philosophies of progressives and conservatives have arrived at incompatibility.

Confirming Judge Gorsuch required the Trump presidency to recede so its political allies could rise and execute. The legislative branch eliminated the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, thereby preserving the president’s prerogatives.

While the Gorsuch drama played out on the Senate floor, Mr. Trump met at Mar-a-Lago with China’s Xi Jinping, who traveled nearly 8,000 miles to meet the American president. Possibly, the Chinese thought that Muhammad going to the mountain would flatter the flatterable Mr. Trump. Instead, the strikingly low-key meeting acknowledged the high stakes for the two nations and the world.

On Wednesday, Mr. Xi called the president to discuss North Korea again. That no doubt had something to do with Mr. Trump’s soufflé surprise over dinner with Mr. Xi—a missile strike against an Assad airfield and chemical-weapons depot in Syria.

Unlike the assassination of Osama bin Laden, when the mission details leaked out overnight, there was no self-congratulatory media dump out of the White House of this presumably ultra-media-conscious president. Just a blow to the Middle East status quo.

For our purposes, the important thing isn’t the strike but what came before. It requires little imagination to guess the import of the conversations about operational and political details between the president and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis —former head of the U.S.’s Middle Eastern Central Command—and his national security adviser, Gen. H.R. McMaster. As Dorothy said to Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore. CONTINUE AT SITE

Which Way Will France Go? by Giulio Meotti

After two years and 238 deaths at the hands of Islamic terrorism, what did France do to defeat radical Islam? Almost nothing.

If Emmanuel Macron wins, France as we have known it can be considered pretty much over. By blaming “colonialism” for French troubles in the Arab world, and calling it “a crime against humanity”, he has effectively legitimized Muslim extremist violence against the French Republic.

In just two years, Muslim organizations in France have dragged to trial great writers such as Georges Bensoussan, Pascal Bruckner, and Renaud Camus. It is the Islamists’ dream coming true: seeing “Islamophobes” on trial to restrict their freedom of expression. Charlie Hebdo’s physical massacre was therefore followed by an intellectual one.

It was a sort of farewell to the army. During a brief visit to the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle last December, French President François Hollande honored the French soldiers involved in “Operation Chammal” against the Islamic State. After two years and 238 deaths at the hands of Islamic terrorism, what did France do to defeat radical Islam? Almost nothing.

It is this legacy of indifference that is at stake in the looming French presidential elections. If Marine Le Pen or François Fillon win, it means that France has rejected this autocratic legacy and wants to try a different, braver way. If Emmanuel Macron wins, France as we have known it can be considered pretty much over. Macron is, for example, against taking away French nationality from jihadists. Terrorism, Islam and security are almost absent from Macron’s vocabulary and platform, and he is in favor of lowering France’s state of emergency. By blaming “colonialism” for French troubles in the Arab world, and calling it “a crime against humanity”, he has effectively legitimized Muslim extremist violence against the French Republic.

As General Vincent Desportes wrote in his new book, La dernière Bataille de France (“The Last Battle of France”):

“President Hollande said on November 15 that it would be ruthless, we were at war … but we do not make war! History shows that in the eternal struggle between the shield and the sword, the sword is still a step forward and winning”.

Time to Tackle the Muslim Brotherhood by Jagdish N. Singh

The final report of the Senate’s “Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001” revealed that U.S.-stationed Saudi intelligence officers, who provided assistance to the hijackers ahead of the World Trade Center and Pentagon bombings, were in direct contact with senior members of the American branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

During the Taliban regime in Kabul, the Brotherhood had training camps in Afghanistan for Kashmiri militants fighting against India and Central Asian states.

In his inaugural address on January 20, U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to “unite the civilized world against… and eradicate radical Islamic terrorism.” So far, however, the administration in Washington, like its predecessors, has done little to rein in one of the key sources of this growing global phenomenon — the Muslim Brotherhood.

Founded by Sheikh Hassan al-Banna in Egypt in 1928, the Brotherhood does not always openly advocate violence. But its main agenda is to establish a worldwide Islamic Caliphate by way of the sword. As its motto reads: “The Prophet is our leader; jihad is our way; death for the sake of Allah is our wish.”The Brotherhood’s hostility towards the United States has been clear. It not only backed the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, but founded al Qaeda, nineteen of whose operatives perpetrated the 9/11 attacks.

The final report of the Senate’s “Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001” — released in December 2002 — revealed that U.S.-stationed Saudi intelligence officers, who provided assistance to the hijackers ahead of the World Trade Center and Pentagon bombings, were in direct contact with senior members of the American branch of the Brotherhood.

Spicer’s Mistake and the Democrat’s Over-Reaction by Alan M. Dershowitz

Sean Spicer made a serious mistake when he compared Bashar Al-Assad to Hitler, and to make matters worse, he got his facts wrong. He quickly and fully apologized. There was no hint of anti-Semitism in his historical mistake and his apology should have ended the matter. But his political enemies decided to exploit his mistake by pandering to Jews. In doing so, it is they who are exploiting the memory of the six million during the Passover Holiday.

The Democratic National Committee issued a rebuke with the headline “We will not stand for anti-Semitism.” Its content included the following: “Denying the atrocities committed by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime is a tried and true tactic used by Neo-Nazis and white supremacist groups that have become emboldened since Donald Trump first announced his campaign for president.” By placing Hitler and Trump in the same sentence, the DNC committed a mistake similar to that for which they justly criticized Spicer. Moreover, the DNC itself, is co-chaired by a man who for many years did “stand for anti-Semitism” — namely Keith Ellison who stood by the notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, while denying that he was aware of Farrakhan’s very public Jew-hatred. It is the epitome of Chutzpah for the DNC to falsely accuse Spicer of standing by anti-Semitism while it is they who are co-chaired by a man who committed that sin.

Nancy Pelosi, the House Minority leaders, falsely accused Spicer of “downplaying the horror of the Holocaust.” But by leveling that false accusation, Pelosi herself is exploiting the tragedy.

Steven Goldstein, a hard-left radical who heads a phony organization that calls itself “The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect,” accused Spicer of “engage[ing] in Holocaust denial.” He called Spicer’s mistake a “most evil slur” against the Jewish people. Goldstein claims to speak for the Jewish people, but he represents only himself and a few handfuls of radical followers who are not in any way representative of the mainstream Jewish community. He repeatedly exploits the Holocaust in order to gain publicity for him and his tiny group of followers. Shame on them!