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June 2017



British terror victim Kay Wilson’s magnificently outstanding speech indicting the capitulation of the British political establishment (as seen in certain legislation) to the haters who have been permitted to hold the disgusting Al Quds Day march.

Europe’s Free-Speech Crackdown: Punish Anti-Muslims, Ignore Terrorists Governments that try to suppress incendiary speech on the right only make it more alluring. By Noah Daponte-Smith —

A spate of terrorist attacks has hit Europe in the past month, not only in Manchester and London but also in Paris and Brussels, where incidents this week were mercifully terminated before they could do any real damage. In Britain, a man seeking vengeance rammed a van into a crowd exiting a mosque, giving rise to real and justified fears of an anti-Muslim backlash. The incidents have left the Continent, and especially Britain, in a state of nervous agitation, fearful of a prolonged period of social unrest and heightened tensions between Muslim communities and their secular neighbors.

On the issue of free speech, the response from authorities has been sad but predictable. Reports the New York Times: “In a coordinated campaign across 14 states, the German police on Tuesday raided the homes of 36 people accused of hateful postings over social media, including threats, coercion, and incitement to racism. Most of the raids concerned politically motivated right-wing incitement.” In Sussex, in southern England, a man has been charged with “publishing written material intending to stir up religious hatred against Muslims” on his Facebook account in 2015; he faces a year in prison. The Sussex police say they hope the lengthy sentence will deter those looking to “spread messages of fear and hate” on the Internet.

There are two things that come to mind in the wake of this suppression. The first is that Americans should never forget the value of free speech. Free speech — not its anodyne, Continental form — is by and large a uniquely American institution. It simply does not exist in Europe. Those who yearn for an America that looks more like the orderly, regulated, universal-health-care systems of Western Europe should keep this fact in the back of their mind always.

The second thing to say is that the crackdown on free speech is not occurring in absentia. The ongoing suppression interacts with decisions taken or not taken in other domains of policy and public debate. The most important of those decisions is that politicians and the culture more broadly have chosen not to inquire into the specifically Islamic roots of terrorism. To decline to blame Muslims en masse for terrorism is well and good and should continue. But the unwillingness to ask how Islam may provide a wellspring of justification for terrorist actions is harder to rationalize. It comes with a certain set of implications and corollaries.

Frustrated Dems say Obama botched Russia response By Katie Bo Williams

The Obama administration is under fresh scrutiny for its response to Russian meddling in the election after new details emerged this week about how the White House weighed its actions against the 2016 political environment.

Then-President Obama was too cautious in the months leading up to the election, frustrated Democratic lawmakers and strategists say.

“It was inadequate. I think they could have done a better job informing the American people of the extent of the attack,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee who co-chairs the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.

And even after the election was over, they say, the penalties Obama levied were too mild to appropriately punish what by all accounts was an unprecedented attack on a U.S. election.

Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), another House Intelligence member, called the penalties “barely a slap on the wrist.” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who supports tougher sanctions Russia, said in a statement Friday that the administration “abjectly failed to deter Russian aggression” and “failed to impose any meaningful costs on Russia.”

Some Republicans argue the Obama administration only started to take the Russia threat seriously after President Trump had won the election.

Trump has called the influence operation a “hoax” and dismissed the various inquiries into Russian interference in the election — which include looking for possible collusion between his campaign and Moscow — as a “witch hunt.”

“By the way, if Russia was working so hard on the 2016 Election, it all took place during the Obama Admin. Why didn’t they stop them?” Trump tweeted Thursday.

Senate announces probe of Loretta Lynch behavior in 2016 election By Stephen Dinan

The Senate Judiciary Committee has opened a probe into former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s efforts to shape the FBI’s investigation into 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, the committee’s chairman announced Friday.

In a letter to Ms. Lynch, the committee asks her to detail the depths of her involvement in the FBI’s investigation, including whether she ever assured Clinton confidantes that the probe wouldn’t “push too deeply into the matter.”

Fired FBI Director James B. Comey has said publicly that Ms. Lynch tried to shape the way he talked about the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s emails, and he also hinted at other behavior “which I cannot talk about yet” that made him worried about Ms. Lynch’s ability to make impartial decisions.

Mr. Comey said that was one reason why he took it upon himself to buck Justice Department tradition and reveal his findings about Mrs. Clinton last year.

The probe into Ms. Lynch comes as the Judiciary Committee is already looking at President Trump’s firing of Mr. Comey.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, chairman of the committee, said the investigation is bipartisan. The letter to Ms. Lynch is signed by ranking Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and also by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Sheldon Whitehouse, the chairman and ranking member of the key investigative subcommittee.


Further to my observations on Deep State dinner theatre, the “Russia investigation” show goes on, undeterred by the lack of any evidence of actual crime: The more obvious the absence of any crime to investigate, the bigger the investigation gets. As I’ve said before, in Hitchcockian terms, this is a thriller without a MacGuffin: instead, it’s one big MacNuffin – unless you count the “collusion” between government bureaucracies and the Hillary campaign in surveilling their political opposition before the election, or FBI honcho Jim Leaky leaking material to The New York Times to get his buddy Bob Mueller appointed as “Special Counsel”.

That last one worked – notwithstanding calls for a Special Counsel to investigate the Special Counsel over his ties to the FBI Director who wanted the Special Counsel. This is a very Washington creature-feature: the Blob feasts on nothing. So at the Deep State dinner theatre Mr Mueller is now casting an army of extras. With the usual money-no-object lavishness of the world’s premier five-star swamp, the Special Counsel has appointed, to date, 14 lawyers to his “investigation”, “with more still to come”. In a fascinating column, my old colleague Andrew McCarthy puts this prosecutorial football squad in perspective:

Andy was the lead counsel in the prosecution of the Blind Sheikh for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. It led to a nine-month trial of twelve defendants. The Government somehow managed to pull that off with three prosecutors plus an appellate lawyer.

A couple of years before that, Andy was on the “Pizza Connection” Mafia case – a 17-month trial of 22 defendants. In that one, he was the junior member among five government lawyers, and many of his peers thought the size of the prosecution team was “excessive”.

But McCarthy’s column contains an even more sobering context for Bob and his Fantastic Fourteen:

Does it seem strange to anyone else that, by comparison, the president of the United States has managed to get—count ’em—three appointees confirmed to Justice Department positions in five months?

So in one month Mueller has managed to put five times as many people on the DoJ payroll as Trump has since January.

As has been noticed, no matter how many lawyers Mueller hires, he only seems to know bigtime Hillary donors. If he wraps the investigation up in time, the Special Counsel can change his title to Special Bundler for the Clinton 2020 campaign. But, even if they weren’t so ostentatiously partisan, the whole money-no-object profligacy sums up dysfunctional Washington at its most repulsive.

Venezuela’s Shortages Spur Perilous Sea Journeys As economy crumbles, desperate people travel 10 hours to buy food, supplies across the water in Trinidad

By Kejal Vyas in Irapa, Venezuela and Sara Schaefer Muñoz in Chaguaramas, Trinidad and Tobago

Struggling to find basic staples in her own country, Mariana Revilla and five neighbors here took to crossing a treacherous 60-mile gulf under the cover of night to the island of Trinidad.

On her last trip, they made a good haul, securing seven tons of flour, sugar and cooking oil from the former British colony in exchange for fresh shrimp from home. But on the way back their rickety 46-foot boat capsized, leaving Ms. Revilla and her companions clinging to the wreckage for nearly two days before she and two others ran out of strength and drowned, according to survivors. Her stepfather says her 3-year-old daughter, Isabel, keeps asking, “Where is my mama?”

As Venezuela’s economy crumbles, an increasingly desperate people are doing all they can to get food and medicine. Here that can involve great peril.Venezuelans make trips as long as 10 hours to hawk shellfish, plastic chairs, house doors, ceramic pots and even exotic animals like iguanas and brightly feathered macaws. They are exchanged for basic goods—rice, detergent, diapers—that Caracas is increasingly unable to provide.“It’s thanks to Trinidad that we have any food here,” said 49-year-old Angela Caballero, a resident of this town on a peninsula that extends toward the island. “If that didn’t come, we’d be dead.”

Islamic State Wages War on the Middle East’s Cultural Heritage Just this week terrorists blew up Mosul’s Grand al-Nuri Mosque, which had stood since 1173. By Thomas Campbell

If you’ve ever been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, chances are that you visited the glass pavilion containing the Temple of Dendur. One of only three such temples outside Egypt, it was built by the Roman emperor Augustus around 10 B.C. as part of an effort to cultivate the local Nubian population. This month marks its 50th anniversary overlooking Central Park, where it provides an unforgettable glimpse of Egypt’s ancient culture for millions of tourists who will never travel to the Middle East.

But more important, at a time when the U.S. is questioning the nature of its longstanding relationships with countries across the world, the temple is a symbol of international cooperation. In the 1960s, 50 nations united to save 22 irreplaceable monuments—including the Temple of Dendur—set to be submerged during the construction of Lake Nasser. These countries were motivated not by their own national interests, but by an understanding that mankind has a common interest in protecting historic monuments.

With a final investment of $16 million, the U.S. became the largest contributor to the $100 million preservation project. As a demonstration of gratitude, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser gave the Temple of Dendur to the U.S. in 1965. After a competition led by the newly created National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities, President Lyndon Johnson decided that the 2,000-year-old temple should go to the Met.

The Middle East’s fragile cultural heritage was in the news again this week. On Wednesday Islamic State blew up the historic Grand al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul, obliterating a cultural and religious site that had stood since 1173. Religious fundamentalism, illicit excavation, black-market trade and simple neglect have destroyed historic sites in the Middle East at an alarming rate. Wednesday’s bombing underscores the most urgent problem: ISIS and its affiliates have turned cultural destruction in Iraq and Syria into propaganda, even as they sell looted works of art on the black market to raise money for arms.

Why should we worry about a bunch of old monuments when the human cost of the unrest is so high? There are two reasons. First, the Middle East is the cradle of civilization. As our forebears recognized when they acted to save the cultural heritage of Lower Nubia, these monuments are integral to our collective human story. Architectural monuments illuminate the complexity of our common past. So much has already been lost. We have a moral obligation to save what remains.

Politics: Are you tired of it too? M. Mobley, M.D.

Day in and day out, one cannot pick up a newspaper or tune-in to TV news without reading or hearing about the latest effort by Democrats to bring down our duly-elected 45th president, Donald Trump. The vitriol that accompanies their efforts shows a level of incivility I haven’t seen before in my eight decades of life.

It was well established by many writers, yours truly included, that on Election Day, November 8, 2016, voters would uncomfortably choose between two seriously flawed candidates for president – Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump – and one of them would win.

Looking back at Ronald Reagan’s campaign against Jimmy Carter, a sitting president in his fourth year presiding over the government of a country in economic straits worsened by high inflation, Reagan asked the voting public, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” There was general agreement that folks weren’t any better off and Carter was limited to one term.

Once the 2016 GOP and Democratic Conventions were over and presidential campaigns begun in earnest, the Reagan question resurfaced, highlighting President Obama’s 8 years in office, during which he had been unable to turn around high unemployment and the wretched economy he had inherited, despite Democratic control of both Houses of Congress augmented by a filibuster-proof Senate during his first two years. He did manage to double our nation’s debt, however. Hillary Clinton, a flawed candidate to begin with, chose a flawed platform to run on, which amounted to four more years of the Obama administration.

While Hillary was in essence saying that our country’s stagnation was the “new normal,” Trump, also a flawed candidate but a successful business man not of the Washington elites, was vowing to “Make America Great Again” by increasing jobs, restoring the economy, and resurrecting the American way. It was a winning platform.

In the short time Trump has been in the White House, he has had moderate success making good on some of his campaign promises. In addition to improving the economy and gaining jobs, the Trump agenda is also aimed at restoring the vision of the Founding Fathers, guaranteeing individual freedom and rights under a non-intrusive government while requiring individual responsibility under government that is protective of rights and fiscally responsible. And that is what the Democrats are up in arms about.

Democrats seem to see our future being assured by greater government dependency, bigger government and America being more like Western Europe. Under both Democratic and Republican administrations our country has been on a slow slide down that slippery slope. The Trump agenda seeks to put on the brakes, and the electorate appears to agree with him if recent special Congressional elections to fill empty seats are a yardstick.

Justice Department Explores Court Challenges to ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Legal avenues would be aimed at forcing municipalities to aid Trump’s deportation effort By Laura Meckler

WASHINGTON—The Justice Department is quietly exploring new legal theories to take on so-called sanctuary cities in court, working to force them to aid the Trump administration’s aggressive deportation effort, people familiar with the discussion said.

Such a case, if filed, would significantly escalate the Trump administration’s pressure campaign against recalcitrant cities and counties.

The administration has already threatened to cut off federal funding to cities and counties that refuse to facilitate deportations, and it has sought to “shame” jurisdictions that don’t cooperate. If successful, the new court efforts would compel local authorities to assist federal immigration officers whether they want to or not.

Separately, on Friday the Justice Department filed papers in support of the state of Texas’ defense in federal court of one of the toughest anti-illegal immigration laws in the nation. The statute, which is set to take effect in September, prohibits Texas cities and police departments from limiting their cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

Under that law, local Texas law-enforcement officials and sheriffs can face criminal penalties—including jail sentences—if they don’t comply with requests from federal authorities to detain suspected illegal immigrants until they can be transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.

Many cities and counties in Texas and across the country have adopted policies of not honoring these requests, called detainers. Several Texas cities, including Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and El Paso, challenged the law, saying it unconstitutionally infringes on the rights of local governments to police their own residents. CONTINUE AT SITE

EMET’s David Defends Israel from a Goliath of Lies

“Thank you for taking a machete to the thicket of lies,” stated Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, in praise of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) at its June 14 gala in Washington, DC. Before a Grand Hyatt Hotel ballroom filled with America’s pro-Israel leaders, the exceptional speakers addressing EMET’s eleventh annual Rays of Light in the Darkness dinner indicated EMET’s rising importance as an Israel public advocate.

EMET founder and President Sarah Stern introduced the evening as “our most successful dinner yet,” a note of optimism befitting her own personal reflections on Israel’s history of triumphing over disaster. She recalled her namesake Aunt Sarah brutally massacred along with her Polish village by the Nazis in 1939. Her loss in the Holocaust manifested that before Israel’s existence “Jews were left utterly vulnerable and defenseless. Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people.”

Fifty years after the Six Day War, Stern recalled that in 1967 the “fledgling Jewish state was left totally isolated and on her own. Just 22 years after the Holocaust, it seemed that another Holocaust might be inevitable.” In her White Plains, New York, childhood home she remembered the “almost palpable tension in the air. We kept our television set on that Shabbat, something totally unheard of in my strictly Orthodox Jewish home.” “It is difficult to describe the sheer relief bordering on euphoria” after Israel’s miraculous victory, as demonstrated by her brother, who began proudly wearing his yarmulke without a baseball cap for concealment.

Colonel Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan and prominent public defender of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), similarly praised EMET. In this “phenomenal organization…they go from strength to strength,” he stated, while noting the importance of the acronym EMET’s meaning in Hebrew, namely truth. “In the Middle East, lies have become the central pillar of our enemies’ efforts against us.”

Kemp decried a widespread “weakness of the West,” particularly in relation to Palestinian leaders who “want only destruction of the Jewish state.” “For decades we have tried reasoning with the Palestinians, making concessions, patronizing them, it hasn’t worked and it won’t work. They see it as weakness, and weakness provokes them.” In contrast, he offered a policy of strength, noting that “Israel cannot withdraw its forces from Judea and Samaria and have a hope of survival” and that therefore “there cannot be a two-state solution.”

Dermer’s address similarly focused on Israel’s struggle with an “alternative universe of real lies with real consequences” where “Jews are the occupiers of Judea, the Western Wall is occupied Palestinian territory.” “In this alternative universe, Iran’s path to the bomb has been blocked. In the real world, Iran’s path to a nuclear bomb has been paved.” A “propaganda campaign conducted by a master of fiction manufactured moderation and filled echo chambers with nonsense” in order to achieve President Barack Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran.

EMET honoree Nadiya Al-Noor, a self-professing Muslim Zionist and “queer Muslim woman” with a Jewish father, discussed her own personal journey away from anti-Israel propaganda. “It saddens me that simply being a Muslim who does not hate Israel is considered award-worthy” today, she noted, but “unfortunately, antisemitism is a huge problem in the Muslim community, fueled by anti-Israel propaganda.” “College campuses these days are hotbeds of antisemitism under the guise of anti-Zionism” where once she “believed their hateful lies: Israel was an apartheid state; Israel is Nazi Germany 2.0; Zionism was racism.”