Displaying posts published in

May 2017

French Legislative Elections: Part 1 by Nidra Poller

Ra’anana, Israel 14 May 2017

The sun is shining, the air is sweet and breezy, the birds are chirping and the jacandas are ablaze in purple blossoms. I’m like a restless pupil in summertime, looking out the window and aching to run out of the classroom and dive into glorious nature.

Far away in Paris, François Hollande is handing over to Emmanuel Macron the nuclear scepter and other secret codes and coded secrets of the Elysée Palace. There will be all sorts of media winks and hints with flashbacks to the last such exercise when the newly elected Hollande nastily skipped the courtesy of escorting outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni to the car that would carry them to their new civilian life.

I can’t cheat on time, place & perspective. Instead of following the inauguration as if I were there, I want to see it from this perspective, from Israel…where the question of Aliyah hovers over French Jews, those that have already made the choice, and the others.

My dear friend and colleague Moti Kedar asks me if France is doomed. His parents made Aliyah from Poland in the early 30s, he was born in Israel where he has fruitfully multiplied. Demographically, he says, France doesn’t add up. It subtracts. How did he put it? A nation that doesn’t make children is heading straight for the museum. I am always at a loss to answer this existential question. Of course I respond at great length and exhaustively, but without any statistics or hardware to justify my long term predictions. Or is it simply hope? Not idle hope, not “where’s the problem?” Simply hope instead of dejection, hope as a form of light, my default mode.

Election night

Since my last report at 8 PM on election night, the figures have been refined. The final count is:



Emmanuel Macron

66.1 %


Marine Le Pen







Exit polls were posted on non-French media several hours before the official announcement of the results. The candidates and their supporters knew, of course. Stiff silence at the Front National venue at the Chalet du Lac in the Bois de Boulogne where Marine obviously would not be celebrating a victory. At the Louvre, Macron fans were rushing into the courtyard, grabbing pastel t-shirts and French flags from the ellpeurs [helpers] like marathon runners reaching for water bottles without losing a step. Everyone remembers the proliferation of huge foreign flags, mostly from Muslim countries, at the Bastille where François Hollande celebrated 5 years ago. Nothing was left to chance this time. The roving mike did catch some uninhibited folklore from an ecstatic African supporter: “I was on my way to the toilets to pee,” she said, “when I heard them announce that Macron is the winner!!! Wow!!!

A coup attempt, not a Constitutional crisis By David P. Goldman

A ranking Republican statesman this week told an off-the-record gathering that a “coup” attempt was in progress against President Donald Trump, with collusion between the largely Democratic media and Trump’s numerous enemies in the Republican Party. The object of the coup, the Republican leader added, was not impeachment, but the recruitment of a critical mass of Republican senators and congressmen to the claim that Trump was “unfit” for office and to force his resignation.

It’s helpful to fan away the psychedelic fumes of allegation and innuendo and clarify just what Trump might have done wrong. Trump will not be impeached, and he will not be harried out of office. But he faces a formidable combination of media hostility—what the president today denounced as a “witch hunt”—and a divided White House staff prone to press leaks. The likely outcome will be a prolonged dirty war of words that will delay Trump’s domestic agenda and tie down his loyalists with the chores of fire-fighting.

One thinks of Gulliver tied down by the Lilliputians. Trump was elected by campaigning against the Republican Establishment as well as Obama, ridiculing their policy blunders in Iraq and Afghanistan and questioning their credibility. In the flurry of personal attacks, the underlying policy issues have faded into the background, and that gives the initiative to Trump’s enemies.

Nothing that has been alleged, much less proven, about President Trump comes close to the threshold for impeachment, as Prof. Jonathan Turley of George Washington University’s law school explained in a May 17 comment in TheHill.com. Even if Trump asked then FBI Director James Comey to go easy on Gen. Michael Flynn, Prof. Turley notes, “Encouraging leniency or advocating for an associate is improper but not necessarily” illegal. The charge of obstruction of justice presumes that there is an issue before the bar of justice, but as Turley adds, “There is no indication of a grand jury proceeding at the time of the Valentine’s Day meeting between Trump and Comey. Obstruction cases generally are built around judicial proceedings — not Oval Office meetings.”

The appointment of the respected former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to look into allegations of Russian interference in the November 2016 election strongly suggests that the Trump team feels it has nothing to fear from a thorough review. In the case Trump’s detractors appear to be bluffing. Press reports of contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russian diplomats and businessmen appear to reflect the sort of conversations that every presidential campaign conducts with important foreign governments. It is not clear that Russia was responsible for the delivery of embarrassing Democratic National Committee emails to Wikileaks, moreover. Pro-Trump media report that a DNC staffer Seth Rich was Wikileaks’ source. Rich was murdered on a Washington street in July 2016, and a counter-conspiracy theory is circulating about his death.

Then there is the alleged leak of highly classified intelligence on the laptop bomb threat to airliners, of which Wall Street Journal editors intoned, “Loose Lips Sink Presidencies.” Exactly what the president told the Russians is under dispute, but the salient fact in the case is that presidents and cabinet members frequently leak classified information without prompting the condemnations that piled up on Trump. Obama’s then Defense Secretary Leon Panetta leaked the role of Pakistani physician Shakil Afridi in locating Osama bin Laden’s lair, and President Obama himself revealed that Seal Team 6 had killed Obama, making the unit a subsequent target for terrorists. Apart from inadvertent leaks, the Obama administration deliberately leaked British nuclear secrets to Russia, over bitter protests from London.

Presidential Intelligence Sharing Is Highly Precedented Obama gave Putin British nuclear secrets as Democrats and the media snored. By Deroy Murdock

If you listen to breathless, Trump-loathing Democrats and their stooges in the liberal media, you would think President Donald J. Trump is the biggest traitor since Ethel and Julius Rosenberg sent Stalin the recipe for the atomic bomb.

As the Washington Post reported on Monday, President Trump met Russia’s foreign minister and its ambassador to Washington in the Oval Office on May 10. They discussed ISIS’s secret plans to detonate laptop computers aboard passenger jets. Trump said via Twitter Tuesday that he shared this intelligence — possibly from Israeli sources — because “I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.”

National-security adviser H. R. McMaster vigorously insisted on Monday that Trump did not do what the Left accuses him of doing, including revealing how and from whom America acquired details on ISIS’s laptop weapons.

“I was in the room,” McMaster said. “It did not happen.” He added: “At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly.”

This story emerged after someone found President Trump’s handling of state secrets so worrisome that he or she blabbed those same secrets to the Washington Post. Go figure.

Despite the White House’s denials, Democratic volcanoes erupted afresh.

“Congress must immediately investigate this irresponsible action and take steps to ensure that Trump does no additional damage to U.S. national security in his dealings with Russia,” bellowed Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts.

“I just think it’s part of a pattern of recklessness that we’ve got to get a handle on,” said Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico.

Representatives John Conyers of Michigan and Elijah Cummings of Maryland fumed in a joint statement: “After an unprecedented week in which many thought it would be impossible for President Trump to be any more irresponsible, he now may have sunk to a dangerous new low.”

According to the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler: “Applause in the newsroom as the Russia-leak scoop breaks the Hollywood Access record for most readers per minute.”

But where were these Democratic and left-wing Krakatoas when Obama gave Putin the identity and whereabouts of Great Britain’s nuclear missiles?

Damien Grant: Hysteria over Israel a stain on our nation

BACKGROUND: What sort of relationship does New Zealand want with Israel?Both Prime Minister Bill English and new Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee have said they want to repair the relationship with Israel in the wake of New Zealand co-sponsoring anti-Israel UNSC Resolution 2334

OPINION: I’ve liked Gerry Brownlee ever since he flouted airport security. It’s inherently obvious that an overweight middle-aged Caucasian cabinet minister isn’t going to hijack a plane. He may have shellacked Christchurch but views differ on that.

Still, I like him even more now he’s let slip his view on New Zealand’s shameful support of a UN resolution declaring Jewish building in the occupied territories illegal. Israel squeezes 8 million people on a sliver of land smaller than Waikato, most of which is desert. They need to build houses.

The world’s obsession with Jews in general and Israel in particular is one of the many disheartening features of modern life.Imagine that you are a member of God’s chosen people. For over 1000 years your ancestors have endured periods of mild-but-tolerable persecution followed by irregular bouts of genocidal rage.

The one thing the last millennium should have taught us is it is never safe to be a Jew. Organised campaigns of anti-semitic violence even have their own term: a “pogrom”.

The United Nations Security Council has dealt with 226 resolutions concerning Israel. More than six percent of the total. The UN is obsessed with Israel. In a speech last December retiring UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon conceded the UN has passed a “disproportionate volume of resolutions, reports and conferences criticising Israel.”

Not all criticism of Israel is unwarranted but we forget it is a liberal democracy in a sea of tyranny, terror and hatred. The endless preoccupation over the 700,000 Arabs displaced when Israel was created ignores the equal number of Jews who fled Arab nations. No one calls for their right to return and equally overlooked are the 1.5 million Arabs living in relative peace in Israel today, not including the occupied territories.

I cannot imagine what it would be like to hold my child knowing that he would be subject to fear and hatred because of his race, subject to hostility from alt-right creeps and left-wing “anti-Zionists”.

The world owes a debt it can never repay for the crimes committed to a people displaced for two millennia and Israel is the one place on earth, perhaps excluding New York, where a Jew can feel safe from persecution. Although not safe from suicide bombing and Hamas missiles.

It was a stain on our nation that we participated in the mass-hysteria over Israel. I wish Brownlee success and safe travels.

On Mideast Policy, the Swamp Drains Trump By Robert Spencer

Speaking Friday about President Trump’s trip to the Middle East, National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster said that Trump would:

… develop a strong, respectful message that the United States and the entire civilized world expects our Muslim allies to take a strong stance against radical Islamist ideology.

Those who are aware of how badly U.S. foreign policy has run off the rails over the last fifteen years should be deeply disturbed.

The world has been waiting in vain for that decade-and-a-half for “our Muslim allies to take a strong stance against radical Islamist ideology.” McMaster’s words were a disquieting indication that the foreign policy swamp, one in the most dire need of draining, has instead turned the tables on the president.

Trump now appears set to repeat all the mistakes his last two predecessors made in dealing with the global jihad threat.

McMaster added that jihad terrorists were operating according to “an ideology that uses a perverted interpretation of religion to justify crimes against all humanity.” But Trump, on the other hand, “will call for Muslim leaders to promote a peaceful vision of Islam.”

Here we go again.

How many times since 9/11 has one American spokesman or another declared that “the United States and the entire civilized world expects our Muslim allies to take a strong stance against radical Islamist ideology”? And what do we have to show for this expectation? How many years must we expect this before we realize that our “Muslim allies” have vastly different priorities than what mainstream counterterror analysts would wish to believe?

Trump Denies He Asked Comey to End Flynn Probe President dismisses allegations in Thursday press conference alongside Colombia’s president

President Donald Trump flatly denied that he asked former FBI Director James Comey to end his investigation of former National Security adviser Mike Flynn.

At a press conference Thursday alongside Colombia’s president, Mr. Trump was asked whether he had asked Mr. Comey to end his probe. Mr. Trump responded: “No. No. Next question.”

On Tuesday, media outlets reported that Mr. Trump had made the request of Mr. Comey during a private dinner in February, citing Mr. Comey’s notes on the meeting. Those reports came one week after Mr. Trump had abruptly fired Mr. Comey as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Before Thursday, Mr. Trump had not directly responded to the Comey account; any denials had come from the White House.

On Thursday, Mr. Trump also reiterated his position that he never colluded with Russia during last year’s election, although he left open the possibility that others may have done so.

“Believe me, there’s no collusion,” the president said, before adding a qualification: “I can only speak for myself.”

The president’s statements came Thursday afternoon at a joint press conference with the president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, after a difficult several days for the administration.

Yale Dean Placed on Leave for Offensive Online Comments Official will not participate in commencement activities. By James Freeman

Earlier this week, this column noted the offensive online posts of June Chu, Dean of Yale University’s Pierson College. This morning, Pierson Head Stephen Davis sent the following email to students and faculty:

Dear Pierson community,

I am writing to let you know that Dean Chu has been placed on leave and will not be participating in Commencement activities or working with students through the end of this academic year. In the meantime, Elaine Lincoln will be coordinating with Dean Mark Schenker in the Yale College Dean’s Office to make sure that your academic needs are properly addressed.

I am very aware that when I last wrote to you on Saturday morning, it was to ask you to partner with me in envisioning a way forward—to carve out space for grace—in the aftermath of Dean Chu’s email to the college apologizing for two Yelp reviews in which she had used inappropriate and unacceptable language pertaining to matters of class and race. I did so even though I found the views she expressed to be deeply harmful to our community fabric. I did so because I was convinced that her apology was genuine, because I believed that those posts were not representative of her and of the good work I had seen Dean Chu do in her capacity as dean, and because I still had hope for the possibility of envisioning a path toward healing and reconciliation.

Today I am grieving because I no longer can envision such a way forward. When I wrote to you on Saturday morning, it was with the understanding—and under assurance from Dean Chu, an assurance given to me and to others—that she had posted only two troubling reviews on social media. On Saturday evening, I found out that she was in fact responsible for multiple reprehensible posts, enough to represent a more widespread pattern. The additional posts that surfaced compounded the harm of the initial two, and they also further damaged my trust and confidence in Dean Chu’s accountability to me and ability to lead the students of Pierson College.

Let me be clear. No one, especially those in trusted positions of educating young people, should denigrate or stereotype others, and that extends to any form of discrimination based on class, race, religion, age, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Yale unequivocally values respect for all. This is simply to reaffirm what I wrote to you on Saturday: what holds us together is our collective effort to ensure that every single person in our midst is valued beyond measure. This is true not only in Pierson and across the university, but most emphatically throughout the city of New Haven and in every locale beyond.

This collective effort takes hard work. We work and strive every day to fulfill our basic social imperative: to honor and embrace those who are different from us. It also takes trust. We seek to forgive, but there are also consequences to our actions, and discerning when trust has been broken is one of the most difficult and painful kinds of labor.

And so, I write you today with a different kind of request: to join me in the equally important labor of rebuilding the trust that holds us together. Jenny and I are available to you 24/7, and we remain committed to making Pierson a place where this is possible.


Dr. D

Now we know how far a politically correct Ivy league administrator has to go to face official discipline, and this column expects that Ms. Chu will not be returning to her position as a residential college dean at Yale. Conservatives may be tempted to celebrate, but as noted on Monday this column thinks that people on Yale’s campus and elsewhere should try to be more forgiving of comments that offend them.

And of course what campuses like Yale need more than tolerance for insulting Yelp reviews is tolerance for ideas that are hardly offensive at all but simply deviate from today’s trendy extreme of progressive leftism. It’s not clear that Ms. Chu’s leave, which is effective immediately, will make the campus any more welcoming of alternative viewpoints. There’s a joke about the limited, phony diversity sought by schools like Yale: They want people who look different but think the same.

This column recently noted cause for optimism in a campus survey showing Yale students believe in free speech. Now the grown-ups need to support those who try to exercise it. Along those lines, Yale has an opportunity to restructure the leadership of Pierson College in a way that will send an unequivocal signal that the university stands for robust and healthy intellectual discourse. Pierson Head Stephen Davis seems to be a well-meaning fellow but he might be a better fit taking over Ms. Chu’s job as dean and reporting to a new head of the residential college. Your correspondent humbly suggests that Yale should pay whatever portion of its roughly $25 billion endowment is required to persuade liberal Democrat Erika Christakis to run Pierson. Yale should also promise to support free speech as much as she does. CONTINUE AT SITE

The Special Counsel Mistake Rosenstein bends to political pressure, and here we go again.

Democrats and their media allies finally got their man. After weeks of political pressure, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein blinked late Wednesday and announced that he has named a special counsel to investigate Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election. These expeditions rarely end well for anyone, and Democrats are hoping this one will bedevil the Trump Administration for the next four years.

“My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted,” said Mr. Rosenstein, which is nice but irrelevant. With Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused from the Russia probe, Mr. Rosenstein appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller III, who will now have unlimited time and resources to investigate more or less anything and anyone he wants.

While the decision will provide some short-term political relief, not least for Mr. Rosenstein, it also opens up years of political risk to the Trump Administration with no guarantee that the public will end up with any better understanding of what really happened.

The problem with special counsels, as we’ve learned time and again, is that they are by definition all but politically unaccountable. While technically Mr. Rosenstein could fire Mr. Mueller if he goes too far, the manner of his appointment and the subject he’s investigating make him de facto untouchable even if he becomes an abusive Javert like Patrick Fitzgerald during the George W. Bush Administration.

What the country really needs is a full accounting of how the Russians tried to influence the election and whether any Americans assisted them. That is fundamentally a counterintelligence investigation, but Mr. Mueller will be under pressure to bring criminal indictments of some kind to justify his existence. He’ll also no doubt bring on young attorneys who will savor the opportunity to make their reputation on such a high-profile investigation.

Mr. Mueller has experience in counterintelligence and at 72 years old has nothing to prove. But he is also a long-time Washington player close to the FBI whose director was recently fired, and he is highly attuned to the political winds. As they say in Washington, lawyer up.

One Question About Robert Mueller by Diana West

Now at The Daily Caller

Flipping back the pages of my proverbial notepad I find a fair amount about Robert Mueller and his Bush-to-Obama tenure at the FBI.

Despite the rose petals bestrewing his path back to DC as special counsel, it was not a pretty thing. Summing up — as Patrick Poole began here in 2012, as former FBI special agent John Guandolo does here — Mueller’s FBI tenure should be remembered in large part for having been one long “Muslim outreach” to combat so-called Islamophobia, one long purge of Islamo-realism; and literally so, as when Mueller’s FBI purged lecturers and training materials for their supposed offensiveness to Muslims [read: truthfulness about Islamic teachings on jihad and sharia]. This purge was the result of an “inquiry” beginning in September 2011, described by Wired magazine as an “Islamophobia probe,” and which the magazine claims to have instigated. In February 2012 Wired reported, “The bureau disclosed initial findings from its months-long review during a meeting at FBI headquarters on Wednesday with several Arab and Muslim advocacy groups, attended by Director Robert Mueller.”

As a result, John Guandolo notes, “The FBI no longer teaches anything about sharia, the MB networks, or the Global Islamic Movement.”

Mueller’s legacy.

Here are some of my own reports on Mueller and his FBI — “They Call It Intelligence” (2010) “Uncle Sam Conducts Another `Anti-Islamic’ Purge” (2012), “The Continuum … Continues” (2012), “Making Islam (Not Terrorism) Disappear (2013), “Will FBI Director Mueller Ever Be Held Accountable For Anything? (2013).

That last piece appeared after the jihad attack on the Boston Marathon, where, it might well be argued, Mueller’s see-no-Islam FBI policies, honed over both the see-no-Islam Bush and Obama administrations, came to deadly fruition. In the explosive video clip above, Rep. Louie Gohmert extracts from Mueller the extraordinary admission that he, as FBI Director, did not know the mosque the Tsarnaev brothers attended – Islamic Society of Boston/ISB (Muslim Brotherhood) – was founded by Al Qaeda financier Abdurahman Alamoudi. Director Mueller defended not sending FBI agents to the ISB [until] after the bombing because the FBI was there before the bombing doing `outreach’ with the Imam.”

Which brings me to my question. How can someone who has long engaged in the political and ideological exercise of blinding himself, the FBI, and the USG to Islamic influence on terrorism and subversion suddenly be expected to assess Russian influence on the Trump (and, a must, Clinton) campaign(s) free from politics and ideology?

As Northwestern University Student Group Hosts Palestinian Terrorist, School’s President Attends Vigil Honoring Her Victims

Some 150 Northwestern community members held a vigil for the victims of Rasmea Odeh, who spoke on campus on Monday. Photo: StandWithUs.

Ahead of a Northwestern University student group’s hosting of a convicted Palestinian terrorist for an on-campus event on Monday, the school’s president attended a vigil organized to honor her victims.

The silent, candlelit vigil came together after Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) announced an event, titled “When You Come for Rasmea, You Come for All of Us,” hailing former Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine member Rasmea Odeh, who confessed in 1970 to planting the bombs in two Jerusalem explosions the year before. The first attack, at a supermarket, killed two Hebrew University students and wounded nine others; the second targeted the British Consulate.

“Some 150 students, faculty, administrators, and members of the Northwestern community showed up to participate in” mourning Odeh’s victims in the hours before SJP’s program, according to Northwestern Hillel’s executive director, Michael Simon, who added that he was “especially gratified” that university President Morty Schapiro took part.

Hillel, J Street U Northwestern and Wildcats for Israel were all involved in organizing the effort.

In a Wildcats for Israel statement released on Facebook on Monday, the group wrote, “While we respect Students for Justice in Palestine’s right to host programming that presents narratives critical of Israel, bringing a convicted terrorist to our campus is morally disturbing and crosses the line of rational discourse.”

Hillel similarly stated that they were “advocates for the right to free speech and open discourse, especially given the current climate on college campuses across the country,” but that hosting Odeh was “an affront to the sanctity of life.”