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May 2017

A Quick Guide to the Political Firestorm over Comey’s Firing. What matters and why. What Democrats and Republicans will argue By Charles Lipson

Donald Trump’s decision to fire James Comey has set off a firestorm, mostly along party lines, but not entirely. Some Republicans have expressed concern, too, and more will wring their hands in the next few days if the Democrats’ narrative takes hold. http://www.zipdialog.com/05/10/2017/a-quick-guide-to-the-political-firestorm-over-comeys-firing-what-matters-and-why-what-democrats-and-republicans-will-argue

How long the fire lasts and how much it consumes depends, crucially, on information that will emerge out over the coming days, as media organizations pump their sources and Comey defends himself.

Here are the basic messages you will hear from Democrats and Republicans, starting immediately.

The Democrats’ message is remarkably disciplined. They are speaking with one voice, Chuck Schumer’s.

They will repeat two key words: Nixon and Watergate.

Their meaning is clear: Comey was fired to cover up Trump’s crimes.

Here is their message:

Trump, not some underlying, is the person who fired Comey.
Advice from the Justice Department is just a cover, they will say.
Key question here: Was the firing top-down or bottom-up? Did Comey’s new boss at DOJ initiate this or was it really an order from the White House.
The new boss is Rod Rosenstein, an esteemed, career prosecutor, considered politically neutral. He received a lot of Democratic backing when he was approved recently. Here’s an excellent, brief description of his professional background, which is sterling. (US News)
But Politico is reporting that Trump was fuming over the Russia investigation.
Trump fired Comey because the FBI was getting to close to uncovering malfeasance by the Trump campaign and transition.
This is focused on Russian collaboration with Trump and usually implied rather than asserted directly. Why?
First, the intelligence agencies agree that Russia actively meddled in the US campaign, sought to harm Hillary Clinton, and favored Trump.
We know that some Trump advisers had connections of various sorts to Russian entities. The most important is Michael Flynn, who was briefly the National Security Adviser. There are reports that he and his associates are now under investigation by a grand jury. Some questions have also swirled around Paul Manafort, head of Trump’s campaign in the summer, and Carter Page, a lower-level figure.
Key question: Do the connections between the Trump team and Russia rise to the level of collaboration? If so, that would be a huge scandal and lead to calls for impeachment. If such evidence were found and were convincing, many would consider it a “high crime and misdemeanor.”
So far, no evidence of such collaboration has been found. Senior figures of the intelligence community, associated with the Obama Administration, have specifically said that they have looked and that there is no such evidence.
Because Trump “interfered” with the FBI, which was investigating the Russia issue, we cannot leave this investigation to the Congress or Department of Justice.
Key claim: We are now seeing a Watergate-style coverup by the Trump Administration since they cannot fairly investigate themselves and we cannot count on the FBI, the DOJ, etc.

David Singer: United Nations Web of Deceit snares International Court of Justice

The United Nations publication The Origins and Evolution of the Palestine Problem 1917-1988 (“Study”) has falsely misrepresented that the Mandate for Palestine was a class A Mandate – deceiving the International Court of Justice and many other reputable sources.

The Study has been published by the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat for, and under the guidance of, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

The Study falsely asserts without substantiation:

“All the mandates over Arab countries, including Palestine, were treated as class ‘A’ Mandates, applicable to territories whose independence had been provisionally recognized in the Covenant of the League of Nations”.

The Study then erroneously concludes:

“Only in the case of Palestine did the Mandate, with its inherent contradictions, lead not to the independence provisionally recognized in the Covenant, but towards conflict that was to continue six decades later.”

However the 1937 Peel Commission Report comprehensively debunks the Study’s concocted claims

“The Mandate [for Palestine] is of a different type from the Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon and the draft Mandate for Iraq. These latter, which were called for convenience “A” Mandates, accorded with the fourth paragraph of Article 22. Thus the Syrian Mandate provided that the government should be based on an organic law which should take into account the rights, interests and wishes of all the inhabitants, and that measures should be enacted ‘to facilitate the progressive development of Syria and the Lebanon as independent States.’ The corresponding sentences of the draft Mandate for Iraq were the same. In compliance with them National Legislatures were established in due course on an elective basis. Article 1 of the Palestine Mandate, on the other hand, vests ‘full powers of legislation and of administration,’ within the limits of the Mandate, in the Mandatory.”

The Study for reasons unknown completely ignores this detailed Peel Commission rebuttal.

The Study’s unchallenged statements – seemingly authentic bearing United Nations imprimatur – appear on many websites including:

In Desperate Search for “Apartheid” in Israel The purveyors of “Israel Apartheid Week” haven’t seen the Israel I saw. Joseph Puder

Spring is usually when the enemies of the Jewish state hold their hate fest known as “Israel Apartheid Week” on college campuses across America. Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and their allies perform various acts that allege discrimination committed by the Jewish state against Arabs. The irony is that these performers of alleged “Apartheid” have not been to Israel, nor have they witnessed everyday life in Israel that this reporter has. Israel may not encompass human perfection, but it certainly exhibits freedom, opportunity and tolerance seen nowhere in this region of the Middle East and beyond.

On a sunny April afternoon, one among many such days throughout the year in Israel, I walked the Tel Aviv Boardwalk in what is known here as the “Namal” or “the Port of Tel Aviv.” In restaurants that abound on this shorefront of the Mediterranean Sea, families and couples were enjoying expensive meals, others were strolling along the boardwalk. In the restaurants, Arab women in head scarfs and their boyfriends were loudly conversing in Arabic. Passing by outside were Arab families with their children mingled with Israeli children, enjoying the playground. None of the Arab families appeared hesitant or uncomfortable in the setting…in fact they seemed totally nonchalant, as if saying “this belongs to me, too.”

In Israel, you won’t find the kind of “banilieues” you can encounter in France or Sweden, where local police won’t enter, and native citizens dare not set foot. There are however Arab, Druze, and Circassian villages in northern (The Galilee and Golan) Israel, and Bedouin-Arab villages in the Negev (southern Israel). In the cities, such as Jerusalem, Haifa, and Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Arab-Israelis and Jews intermingle without distinction. Were it not for the occasional and specific head cover worn by Arab women, one would never know who is who or which is which.

Go to a Super-Pharm store in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv or Beth-Shemesh, and invariably you will find an Arab pharmacist helping you. At Rambam hospital in Haifa or Kaplan hospital in Rehovot, you are bound to find Arab doctors and nurses, not to mention the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem. Christian and Muslim Arabs are involved in virtually all trades and professions in Israel, including 13 members in the Israeli Knesset (Israeli Parliament), a Supreme Court Justice, military officers, teachers, etc.

This reporter had personally experienced the comfortable, if not perfect integration of Arabs in Israeli society. As the sun was setting, driving down from the Golan Heights, my friend Avi (a former paratrooper and currently a tour guide) and I stopped at a fish restaurant in Kibbutz Ein Gev on the Sea of Galilee. After dinner, as we set out to drive back to Beth-Shemesh, it did not take long to discover that our head-lights and brake-lights on our rental car were burnt out and inoperable. Passing drivers honked to alert us of the problem. We slowly made our way to a shopping strip in Tzemach, 12 kilometers from Tiberias. We called the 24 hour emergency road service, and a few hours later a service van appeared. George, an Arab-Israeli from a central Galilee village showed up to help us. He was truly a life saver. While waiting for him to show up, we had coffee at Aroma, a national chain of Israeli restaurants. Next to us were three young Arab couples, loudly laughing and conversing in Arabic. They were all dressed in chic styles, and clearly flaunting their identity.

Mark Tapson Reports :Being Republican at Berkeley “I have been spit on on several occasions. I have had drinks thrown on me. I have been punched in the face.”

The New York Times interviewed five UC Berkeley Republicans on their experiences at the famously illiberal bastion of radical leftist intolerance.

“Founded in the 1960s,” the Times notes,

the Berkeley College Republicans have remained a small and tightknit club, today numbering a few dozen active members…

Berkeley’s Republicans have turned the tables on liberals at the campus, championing free speech and putting a conservative claim on one of the university’s proudest liberal legacies. Last month, the group and another conservative student organization sued administrators for what they said was discrimination against conservative speakers. They have co-opted the language of the left, portraying themselves as fighting intolerance. Not all Berkeley Republicans agree with their tactics — some describe it as unnecessarily provocative.

“We are almost like an exhibit or zoo animals,” said 20-year-old Naweed Tahmas, external vice president of the Berkeley College Republicans. “Whenever someone finds out I’m a Republican at Berkeley, they pick my brain. People are genuinely curious. Nonetheless, their image of a white, male Republican is shattered when they see me.”

“As a Republican on campus I am targeted frequently,” he continued. “I have been spit on on several occasions. I have had drinks thrown on me. I have been punched in the face… People assume we are racist, we are xenophobic. They attach labels to us that are not true.”

Eighteen-year-old Anastasia Pyrinis, a political science and economics major, said, “I think when people find out that I’m conservative there’s an underlying tone or expression I get, like: ‘How could you be? You’re supposed to be a Berkeley enlightened student. How could you dare be a conservative?’ It’s definitely something that puts distance between me and my peers, and I really don’t think it should.”

Economics and history major Patrick Boldea, 19, said, “You have a lot of professors who hold some very liberal views, and you can sometimes feel not necessarily marginalized, but like you’re being penalized when you express a more conservative view. Like in my sociology class, I wrote an essay on the good aspects of gentrification in San Francisco. I was very heavily criticized by my professor.”

He went on to say that, as a conservative on campus, “you feel like your viewpoint is not as valued. You feel somewhat uncomfortable, but it’s not unbearable or unmanageable.”

Maria Konakova, 20, linguistics and business: “I don’t agree with some of the things that Berkeley College Republicans do. Some of their moves, like having an animal-rights barbecue, where the main food that is sold is meat, that doesn’t seem to me like a rational thing to do. It seems like it was inflammatory.” Konakova also does not that the majority of liberal Berkeley students “are aggressive and intolerant.”

The National Security Council’s New Pro-Hamas Israel Advisor The swamp strikes back against Israel and Trump Daniel Greenfield

Kris Bauman, the National Security Council’s new point man on Israel, believes that the “Israel Lobby” is a threat, that Israel should be pressured into making concessions to Islamic terrorists and that “the Obama Administration must find creative (but legal) ways to include Hamas in a solution.”

Yael Lempert, Bauman’s predecessor, had been one of the Obama holdovers that conservatives had fought to pry out of the swamp. Lempert had been described as “Obama’s point person in the White House orchestrating his war against Israel.”

Lee Smith wrote that, “Lempert, one former Clinton official told me, ‘is considered one of the harshest critics of Israel on the foreign policy far left. From her position on the Obama NSC, she helped manufacture crisis after crisis in a relentless effort to portray Israel negatively.’”

Lempert’s mother, Lesly Lempert, had been an anti-Israel activist with the misleadingly named American Israeli Civil Liberties Coalition. Yael had carried on her mother’s work. Her departure should have been a victory for conservatives. Instead the swamp was replaced with more swamp.

Kris Bauman had been part of the failed “peace” efforts in the Obama years working for Hillary ally, General Allen. His views on Israel, the PLO and Hamas were those of the Obama-Kerry team. Bauman believes that Israel is at fault for the failure of previous peace efforts and that peace can only be achieved when the United States applies enough pressure on Israel.

It’s like Yael Lempert never left.

Once McMaster took over as National Security Adviser, the swamp was back. McMaster has warned Trump against talking about Islamic terrorism. He had tried to force out Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who played a crucial role in exposing the Obama eavesdropping, and replace him with Linda Weissgold, the director of the CIA’s Office of Terrorism Analysis, who had helped draft the Benghazi talking points which blamed the Islamic terror attack on “protests”.

President Trump overruled McMaster. Just as he had overruled Mattis’ plot to bring in Michele Flournoy, Hillary Clinton’s likely Secretary of Defense, and move Anne Patterson, the Muslim Brotherhood’s favorite State Department hack, in as undersecretary for policy at the Pentagon.

But not every tidal flow of the swamp can be stopped.

Bye Bye, Comey Behind the scenes of Trump’s firing of the FBI Director. Matthew Vadum

President Trump abruptly fired embattled FBI Director James B. Comey Jr. late yesterday afternoon for exceeding his authority during the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email abuses.

The long-overdue termination of Comey, who inappropriately injected himself and the FBI into political matters, came three-and-a-half years into his 10-year term. It was based on the recommendation of the Department of Justice and was effective immediately.

Comey’s firing is a reaffirmation of the importance of the rule of law. He was more powerful than an FBI director ever should be. As commentator Brit Hume observed, “For better or worse, no FBI director since J. Edgar Hoover had taken so large a role in the political life of this country as James Comey.”

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were intimidated and scared by Comey, Tucker Carlson editorialized on his Fox News Channel show.

Just how powerful was James Comey? Let’s it put this way: He was feared in a way that no appointed bureaucrat should ever be feared in a free society. Time and again elected lawmakers on both sides came on this show and expressed worry and concern about his behavior, but they did so only during commercial breaks with the cameras off. Why? Because they were terrified at the prospect of criticizing him in public. They certainly don’t have that fear of the sitting president of the United States and that tells you everything you need to know about Jim Comey.

After taking this necessary step towards draining the Washington swamp, Trump was upbeat, saying the FBI “is one of our nation’s most cherished and respected institutions and today will mark a new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement.”

Here is the text of the president’s letter informing Comey of his firing:

Dear Director Comey,

I have received the attached letters from the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General of the United States recommending your dismissal as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I have accepted their recommendation and you are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately.

While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgement of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.

It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission.

I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

The passage in Trump’s letter about being informed he was not under FBI investigation seems out of place. While not relevant to the subject of the letter, perhaps it was inserted to color media coverage of the news. It may constitute an “I told you so” in the eyes of Trump but it is odd and Trump’s critics will no doubt seize upon it.

Therapy dogs, chocolate, Play-Doh: Universities offer ways to cope with finals

Therapy dogs, chocolate, Play-Doh, video games: Today’s college students are offered a variety of ways to cope with the stress of final exams.

At the University of Pennsylvania, for example, several different student groups offered various study breaks, including a Zumba class, a video game stress reliever, and a “Chocolate and Chocolate Labs” event, the Daily Pennsylvanian reports. Student organizers did not respond to The College Fix’s request seeking details.

An annual tradition at the University of Illinois offers students a “Reading Day.” “In place of classes, the university hosts a variety of non-mandatory events aimed at helping students study and de-stress,” the Daily Illini reports.

Penn State’s “De-Stress Fest” included origami folding, Wii gaming, “brain massage music” and more, according to the university’s website.

The University of Michigan offered Play-Doh and more in an event billed as a way to de-stress before final exams, according to its Facebook page. Other relaxers at the event included glitter bottles, Legos and dominoes.

At the University of Pennsylvania, for example, several different student groups offered various study breaks, including a Zumba class, a video game stress reliever, and a “Chocolate and Chocolate Labs” event, the Daily Pennsylvanian reports. Student organizers did not respond to The College Fix’s request seeking details.

An annual tradition at the University of Illinois offers students a “Reading Day.” “In place of classes, the university hosts a variety of non-mandatory events aimed at helping students study and de-stress,” the Daily Illini reports.

Penn State’s “De-Stress Fest” included origami folding, Wii gaming, “brain massage music” and more, according to the university’s website.

The University of Michigan offered Play-Doh and more in an event billed as a way to de-stress before final exams, according to its Facebook page. Other relaxers at the event included glitter bottles, Legos and dominoes.

At Temple University, its Student Activities group put together an all-inclusive “camping” event called Camp TU. Students had the chance to participate in de-stressing activities by zip-lining, scaling a rock wall, watching the movie “Anchorman,” or eating from one of seven food trucks, The Tab reports.

Christopher Carey, director of student activities at Temple University, told The College Fix via email that the offerings aided students in several ways.

Right-of-Center Students at St. Olaf College Say They’ve Been ‘Violently Threatened’ By Tom Knighton

A few months ago, most of us had never heard of St. Olaf College in Minnesota. With an enrollment of just over 3,000, it’s not a likely candidate to become a household name. However, after radical leftists hijacked the school recently, the university may be making its statement in all the wrong ways. Effectively shutting down the school after someone allegedly left a note on a black student’s car tends to do that.

Now, right-of-center students want people to know that the school administration isn’t racist … but they have to be careful how they spread that message. From The College Fix:

“The truth is this college is not racist. This college is not racist. This administration is wonderful. I can honestly say the administration is wonderful,” [Andrew] Morales said.

But he and other right-of-center students say they cannot declare that openly on campus or they will be demonized and attacked as racists by peers.

“We’ve been silenced. We’ve been repudiated for our beliefs. We’ve been demonized. It’s despicable,” Morales said.


Morales said protesters unfairly targeted the administration and used the incidents to push a left-wing, political agenda.

Similar sentiments were shared by three other right-of-center students who spoke with The College Fix about the recent events at the private, Lutheran college in rural Southern Minnesota.

Only Morales spoke on the record, with the other three student requesting anonymity to speak freely amid concerns they’d face backlash from classmates for speaking out.

The students’ comments come at a college where conservatives have voiced concern over being “violently threatened” by their peers. Two of students who spoke with The College Fix said they’ve been the targets.

In addition to threatening right-leaning students, the progressives on campus are delighting in making demands of the school administration—an administration that is probably desperate to not appear bigoted in any way under the circumstances. The demands, such as removing an alumnus from a position on an advisory board because he is a “Christian Zionist” and demanding gender-neutral rooms in all residence halls, have absolutely nothing to do with race.

Ah, the joys of intersectionalism.

Yes, Marine Le Pen’s Party Is Bad, But Islamization Is Worse By Bruce Bawer

In challenging my article about Marine Le Pen’s election loss, Michael van der Galien accuses me of “overlooking one rather important detail: the Front National is simply a horrendous party” with a dark past. Yes, it is; the media haven’t been shy about reporting on this subject; everybody who cared about this election has already heard every last particular, and I didn’t see any need to go through it all one more time.

Nor am I unaware of the party’s essentially socialist platform, its unfortunate support for what Galien quite rightly calls “France’s untenable and unaffordable welfare state.” Presumably by way of summing up my thesis, Galien writes:

Yes, yes, I’m aware that we all have to celebrate the rise of populism, and yes, to some degree those parties certainly have an important role to play in modern Europe. Even if you disagree with Le Pen’s policy ideas, you can at least respect her role as a battering ram against political correctness.

No, my concern isn’t with supporting populism per se. I am no fan either of the National Front (FN) or of Ms. Le Pen. My overwhelming interest is, quite simply, in standing up against the Islamization of Europe.

Yes, I wish Le Pen had more sensible views on the French welfare state; I wish her party didn’t have such an ugly history. But there were two choices in this run-off election, and only one of them was promising to strive to keep France from becoming overwhelmed by Islam.

Le Pen’s opponent, Macron, has said nothing to indicate that he considers France’s Islamization a problem. On the contrary, if anything he’s an outspoken enthusiast for the Religion of Peace. According to former Le Monde journalist Yves Mamou, “Macron’s political movement has largely been infiltrated by Muslim Brotherhood militants.” Like the politicians in Stockholm who have done so much to drag Sweden down the drain, Macron has denied that his own country has a culture of its own that is worth defending: “French culture does not exist, there is a culture in France and it is diverse.”

Last October, after terrorist attacks in Paris and Nice, Macron, according to Reuters, “said…that France had sometimes made mistakes in unfairly targeting Muslims, suggesting the country could be less stringent in applying its rules on secularism.” Reuters quoted Macron verbatim: “No religion is a problem in France today.”

Six months later, after a jihadist murdered a policeman on the Champs Élyssés, Macron gave a TV interview in which, as Gavin Mortimer noted in the Spectator, he “couldn’t bring himself to utter the word ‘Islamic’ until the 14th minute of his interview, and then it was in the context of what has been happening in Syria.” After briefly “offering his condolences to the dead policeman,” Macron “spent most of his time discussing education, tax and whether there is such a thing as French culture. Not really, concluded Macron, who said the richness of France lies in its diversity.”

Intimately connected with this refusal to criticize either Islam or Islamization is Macron’s strong loyalty to the European Union – which has steadily drained power from the people of Europe while encouraging disastrous immigration policies that have never been put to a public vote. So high is Macron on the EU that when he stepped out at his campaign headquarters to celebrate his election victory, the music playing was not La Marseillaise but the EU anthem, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.

Galien writes: “It must give American ‘nationalists’ a great feeling of superiority to simply declare that Europeans have surrendered to political correctness and have forgotten who they are.” Since Galien is replying to my article, I assume he is suggesting here that I, personally, take some kind of pleasure in the political correctness of too many European voters and their failure to protect their countries from being overwhelmed by an alien and hostile culture. CONTINUE AT SITE

South Korea Moves Left Will the new President return to a policy of appeasing North Korea?

South Korean voters turned out in record numbers Tuesday, and early returns showed leftist Moon Jae-in leading with a comfortable plurality to become the next President. The left turn is understandable after the impeachment of Park Geun-hye for corruption, but it will complicate U.S. efforts to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear-missile threat.

Mr. Moon was leading as we went to press with about 40% of the popular vote, as he took advantage of a divided center-right majority. Ms. Park’s downfall split the conservative Saenuri Party, and her former supporters were divided between two candidates who each received more than 20% support.

Ms. Park was wise regarding North Korea but her domestic failures opened the door to Mr. Moon, a human-rights lawyer. Prosecutors have indicted her on 18 counts of bribery and abuse of power, and the revelations have sparked a backlash against the country’s largest companies, the chaebol. Mr. Moon has promised long-overdue reforms to create a level playing field for smaller companies.

But instead of cutting the government’s role in the economy, the true source of corruption, Mr. Moon has pledged fresh intervention. He wants to raise taxes on the wealthy and large companies, increase the minimum wage, and force companies to give temporary workers permanent status and reduce working hours. The French Socialists would approve.

Mr. Moon’s desire to appease North Korea marks a return to the Sunshine Policy that failed in the mid-2000s when he was an aide to center-left President Roh Moo-hyun. Mr. Moon wants to pursue reunification based on economic integration, offering a formal peace process if the North will give up its nuclear weapons. He also wants to reopen the Kaesong Industrial Zone, which provided the North with $100 million a year in hard currency until its closure in 2016.