Displaying posts published in

July 2017



Eek!! A new scandal! Collusion! Treason! blah, blah blah…..Knickers are in a knot and petticoats are drawn. The Never Trumpers and the maybe Trumpers who have colluded with the media have run like hungry dogs to fake bones.
The ones that really get my goat are Republicans like John McCain and Lindsey Graham who have reached trade-in status and rise to new lows with each manufactured mini “scandal” to denounce the President. Add to them the “conservative” pundits that join the howling.
My message to them: Get over it jerks. What you cannot abide is that the American public and the President they elected are smarter than all of you. rsk

Canada’s Multi-Million-Dollar Pay-Out to a ‘Foreign Terrorist Fighter’ by Ruthie Blum

“Has any soldier who fought FOR Canada ever received as generous a reward as this soldier who fought against us?” — Canadian Senator Linda Frum.

In 2003, Khadr confessed to throwing the grenade that killed U.S. Special Forces Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer and caused Sgt. 1st Class Layne Morris to lose an eye. Years later, he retracted his confession, claiming it had been extracted under duress. In fact, it was part of a plea deal that enabled him to be extradited to Canada to serve the rest of his sentence there.

“There was a Canadian flag flying along with the American flag at our base there, so it’s quite a thing that now Canada is giving millions to a guy who would attack a compound where Canadians were serving. I don’t see this as anything but treason. As far as I am concerned, Prime Minister Trudeau should be charged.” — Sgt. 1st Class Layne Morris, who lost an eye from the grenade thrown by Omar Khadr.

The government of Canada recently issued an official apology — and acknowledged awarding an “undisclosed” sum of money — to Toronto-born Islamist terrorist Omar Khadr for his “ordeal” at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and “any resulting harm” he was caused by the “torture” (specifically, sleep deprivation, solitary confinement and threats) that led to his confession.

On July 7, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale released a statement announcing the “hope that this expression, and the negotiated settlement reached with the Government, will assist him in his efforts to begin a new and hopeful chapter in his life with his fellow Canadians.”

The civil settlement was reached with Khadr, 30, who was 10 when his family returned to the Middle East, and 15 when he was arrested fighting in Afghanistan with al Qaeda and the Taliban, the terrorist organizations to which his father was affiliated — on the basis of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In 2003, Khadr confessed to throwing the grenade that killed U.S. Special Forces Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer and caused Sgt. 1st Class Layne Morris to lose an eye. Years later, he retracted his confession, claiming it had been extracted under duress. In fact, it was part of a plea deal that enabled him to be extradited to Canada to serve the rest of his sentence there.

With news of the large settlement he received — 10,500,000 Canadian dollars (approximately USD $8,000,000) — he gave an extensive interview to CBC’s Power & Politics host Rosemary Barton, in which he said he thinks that the apology from the Canadian government “restores a little bit my reputation here in Canada, and I think that’s the biggest thing for me.” He declined to comment on having just received multi-millions in tax-free dollars.

He also had the effrontery to say that he just wants “to be a normal person” and finish his nursing degree to help under-served communities. “I have a lot of experience with… and appreciation of pain,” he explained, expressing only sorrow that the Speer and Morris families consider him responsible for their own pain.

Amid harsh criticism against the Liberal government by opposition Conservatives and members of the public outraged that their tax dollars are going to a convicted terrorist, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded to reporters’ questions on the matter during a press conference marking the July 8 close of G20 summit in Hamburg.

Trudeau said that the settlement had nothing to do with Khadr’s 2002 actions on the battlefield in Afghanistan, but rather with the fact that his rights had been violated. This is precisely what the Canadian Supreme Court ruled in 2008 and 2010, after Khadr’s lawyers sued for damages.

Trudeau added that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects all Canadians, “even when it is uncomfortable. When the government violates any Canadian’s Charter rights, we all end up paying for it.”

Meanwhile, Goodale tried to evade responsibility, by casting aspersions on the previous government, headed by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in power when Khadr was returned to Canada in 2012 to serve the remainder of his prison sentence for five counts of war crimes. Goodale accused Harper of having “refused to repatriate Mr. Khadr or otherwise resolve the matter.”

So Now American Zionists Want to Boycott Israel by Alan M. Dershowitz

“We shall . . . prevent any theocratic tendencies from coming to the fore on the part of our priesthood. We shall keep our priests [by which is meant Rabbis] within the confines of their temples.” – Theodor Herzl, Der Judenstaat

Tough love may be an appropriate response in family matters, but boycotting a troubled nation which has become a pariah among the hard-left is not the appropriate response to the Israeli government’s recent decisions regarding religion. The answer is not disengagement, but rather greater engagement….

To do otherwise is to engage in a form of BDS – the tactic currently employed by Israel’s enemies to delegitimate the Nation state of the Jewish people. Supporters of BDS will point to these benign boycotts as a way of justifying their malignant ones…. The role of American Jews is limited to persuasion, not coercion.

Western Wall In Israel. (Photo from PublicDomainPictures.net)

Several prominent American Zionists – including long-time supporters of Israel – are so outraged at the Israeli government’s recent decision regarding the Western Wall and non-orthodox conversion, that they are urging American Jews to reduce or even eliminate their support for Israel. According to an article by Elliott Abrams in Mosaic, Ike Fisher a prominent member of the AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] board, threatened to “suspend” all further financial support for Israel. Daniel Gordis, a leading voice for Conservative Judaism, urged American Jews to cancel their El Al tickets and fly Delta or United. He also proposed “withholding donations to Israeli hospitals, so that ‘They start running out of money’ and ‘begin to falter.'” This sort of emotional response is reminiscent of the temper tantrum outgoing President Barak Obama engaged in when he refused to veto the UN’s recent anti-Israel resolution.

I strongly disagree both with the Israeli government’s capitulation to the minority of ultra-Orthodox Jews, who wield far too much influence in Israeli politics, and with the proposals to cut back on support for Israel by some of my fellow critics of the Israeli government’s recent decisions with regard to religion.

I strongly support greater separation between religion and state in Israel, as Theodor Herzl outlined in his plan for the nation-state of the Jewish People in Der Judenstaat 120 years ago: “We shall . . . prevent any theocratic tendencies from coming to the fore on the part of our priesthood. We shall keep our priests [by which is meant Rabbis] within the confines of their temples.” It was David Ben Gurion, Israel’s founding Prime Minister, who made the deal with the Orthodox Rabbinate that violated Herzl’s mandate and knocked down the wall of separation between religion and state. He allocated to the Chief Rabbinate authority over many secular matters, such as marriage, divorce and child custody. He also laid the groundwork for the creation of religious parties that have been a necessary part of most Israeli coalitions for many years.

So, do not blame Israel’s current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for the recent capitulation. His government’s survival depends on his unholy alliance with allegedly holy parties that threaten to leave the coalition and bring down his government unless he capitulated. The alternative to a Netanyahu government might well be far to the right of the current government, both on religious matters and on prospects for peace. Reasonable people may disagree as to whether Netanyahu did the right thing, but I believe that given the choice between the current government and what may well replace it, PM Netanyahu acted on acceptable priorities.

Harvard Aims to Restrict the Freedom of Association If you’re a Harvard student who joins a sorority, get ready to be hauled in front of a disciplinary board. By Noah Daponte-Smith

Harvard University is one of America’s great institutions. It is a place of scholarship, its name is renowned across the globe, and its prestige adds to American power and influence. Harvard plays a key role in the development of the American elite, where the future titans of industry, politics, and culture intermingle, learning from one another and honing their skills for their illustrious careers to come.

It is also, apparently, a place that has forgotten the virtues of free association.

That is the lesson to be learned from the Report of the Committee on Unrecognized Single-Gender Social Organizations, made public earlier this week. The background: Last year, Drew Faust and Rakesh Khurana, respectively president of the university and dean of the college, announced that any member of an unrecognized single-gender social organization would be barred from holding leadership positions in recognized student organizations — including captaincies on sports teams — and from receiving the university’s endorsement for scholarships such as the Rhodes and the Marshall. Single-gender organizations, the reasoning went, run counter to the Harvard ethos, and the time for their elimination has come. Alumni objected, members of the organizations — the vaunted “final clubs” as well as run-of-the-mill fraternities and sororities — objected, and the student body voted overwhelmingly to repeal the sanctions. A new committee was convened, presumably to tone down the heat of the edicts.

The opposite has occurred. Instead of producing a policy more amenable to the various interest groups, the committee of faculty members and a few students has recommended that the policy take an even more radical direction. If the recommendations are implemented, students will be prohibited from joining or participating in “final clubs, fraternities and sororities, or other private, exclusionary social organizations that are exclusively or predominantly made up of Harvard students.” The purview of the edicts has expanded, from single-gender social organizations to all of them, and the prosecutorial power has increased: Those believed to be in violation of the policy will be hauled before the disciplinary board, not merely banned from the Rhodes scholarship.

That this constitutes an open attack on the freedom of association is obvious. If enacted, the policy will prohibit students from forming private clubs for the sake of discussion and enjoyment, among less salutary things. Doing so will carry the risk of serious censure from the university. The defense to be offered is the classical one, dating back to John Stuart Mill: Insofar as the freedom of association is an outgrowth of and accessory to the freedom of speech, it is a fundamental component of the university’s proper search for truth.

The typical response to the freedom-of-association argument is that the First Amendment, which codifies the principles in our constitutional regime, applies to the government, not to private actors, and that Harvard is free to impose whatever restrictions it likes on the conduct of its students. That is correct, as far as legal analysis goes. It would be fanciful to use the First Amendment as the basis of a legal case against Faust and Khurana. But this does not mean they have not violated one of its core principles, which aims to prescribe the ideal social ethic on the vast tapestry of American life.

Trump’s Admirable but Unlikely Goals on Immigration His leaked policies would be an improvement, but he’s burning political capital every day. By Michael Brendan Dougherty

“Someday people will look back on this time of mass immigration into America, from the 1970s to now, and wonder how it was that the language of humanitarianism was so easily and cheaply deployed to subordinate the very concepts of political community, democratic checks, and even the rule of law itself to the demands of employers. They will find perverse the way that progressives and unscrupulous employers worked in tandem to create a class of millions of legally vulnerable people who are unable to stand up to employers and afraid to call the police when they are abused. The truth is that American policymakers valued low-wage labor more than they valued any of our professed political values.”

As Republicans in the Senate stumble and fumble with their long-promised but never seriously planned repeal of Obamacare, the Trump administration is starting to leak its plans for what counts as ambitious immigration reform.

And it’s not all bad. The bill that the White House has in mind is based on the RAISE Act, introduced by Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue earlier this year. The giant headline measure is that the bill would cut in half the number of legal immigrants. The detail buried in paragraph 18 of most reports on it is that the bill will do this only after a decade of slowly lowering it to that level.

The biggest and most welcome change is that the proposal would begin to shift American immigration policy away from family-based chain migration and toward a merit-based system, with increased numbers of green cards available for qualified workers. Trump’s proposal would also discourage sanctuary-city policies. I’d love to discuss this bill on the merits, but this isn’t the first or last time Trump will make us talk about a policy that is never likely to become law. This White House has never had a strong influence on Capitol Hill, and its sway is weakening almost every day. Republicans in the Senate are struggling to deliver on a seven-year promise to repeal Obamacare, and they made no such promise on passing restrictionist legislation. Trump’s insurgent-style campaign meant that many Republican lawmakers felt no particular loyalty to Trump’s signature policy ideas or issues. And every day that the president is making headline headaches with his tweets, or with new revelations about his campaign’s connection to the Russians, the passage of a bill like this becomes an even more remote possibility.

The Trump administration was always going to have a hard time selling a bill that reduced overall rates of immigration into America. Consider where Republican lawmakers were on “comprehensive reform” in 2013. Many Republican senators voted for a bill that would have tripled the rate of legal immigration into the U.S. in perpetuity. Although it was advertised as an “enforcement first” policy, the CBO estimated that the proposed 2013 measures would reduce the rate of illegal immigration into America by just 25 percent over the next two decades. The only consequence of “failing to secure the border” in the 2013 bill was the eventual creation of a committee of bureaucrats to make more recommendations. This was the political reality before Trump — and since his election we’ve seen a major legal, media, and political blowback against Trump’s temporary travel ban.

Someday people will look back on this time of mass immigration into America, from the 1970s to now, and wonder how it was that the language of humanitarianism was so easily and cheaply deployed to subordinate the very concepts of political community, democratic checks, and even the rule of law itself to the demands of employers. They will find perverse the way that progressives and unscrupulous employers worked in tandem to create a class of millions of legally vulnerable people who are unable to stand up to employers and afraid to call the police when they are abused. The truth is that American policymakers valued low-wage labor more than they valued any of our professed political values.

After Liu Xiaobo’s Death, Let’s Work to Protect His Widow in Communist China It’s a cause that Republicans and Democrats alike, and the world, should honor. By Ted Cruz

Yesterday the world lost a hero of liberty and freedom. Liu Xiaobo, a voice for the voiceless and a defender of the oppressed in Communist China, passed away. Although the physical cause of his death was cancer, Dr. Liu’s primary battle was one of the soul. Ever since leaving the safety and comfort of America to lead the protests at Tiananmen Square in 1989, Dr. Liu sealed his fate as a persistent focus of persecution from the authoritarian PRC. From “reeducation through labor” and deprivation of property to unjust imprisonment and physical abuse, Dr. Liu bore the brunt of the Communist Party’s wrath for daring to challenge their system of political oppression by coauthoring of “Charter 08,” a manifesto of Chinese freedom that reverberates today more than ever.

Before his soul passed on from this world, Dr. Liu had one dying wish: to spend his final days with his wife Liu Xia in America. International physicians, including one from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, attested that Dr. Liu was fit to travel if released immediately. One man stood in the way of this final request: Xi Jinping. China has been known in select circumstances to release wrongfully imprisoned foreigners, and even the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un allowed Otto Warmbier to spend his final hours with his family. But something about Liu Xiaobo seemed particularly threatening to Xi and the apparatchiks in the Chinese Politburo. Perhaps it was his dignified commitment to speaking the truth about their regime in the face of every attempt on their part to silence him, something that Beijing has been so successful in doing with tens of millions of others since the founding of the PRC.

Although prevented from doing so during his 2009 sentencing, Liu Xiaobo was prepared to defend himself by claiming that “I have no enemies.” The power of nonviolent resistance has shown through the passing of time to strike terror into the heart of oppression, as evidenced by heroes Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi. Today, Liu Xiaobo joins their ranks. And in this, Xi Jinping’s worst fear has become reality: Dr. Liu’s spirit and bravery in life will endure as an inspiration to the countrymen he so desperately sought to liberate. His dream of a free, democratic China will persist. Although Xi has aligned himself with the ignominious and shameful company of dictators who imprisoned and killed Nobel laureates — and there are few in number — Liu Xiaobo’s dream will live on, and the United States must do everything in its power to ensure that it never perishes. Far from being an act of strength or defiance, Xi’s decision shows the weakness and fear of an increasingly cynical, technocratic, and frightened authoritarian clique.

As we grieve his loss, our immediate focus must be his widow Liu Xia. Because Xi Jinping refused their departure to America, their rightfully earned Nobel-prize money remains unclaimed, and Liu Xia is in danger. Although it is of no consolation regarding the death of her husband, I was pleased to hear yesterday from Liu Xiaobo’s counsel that the Norwegian Nobel Institute has now confirmed that it has found a legal way for Liu Xia to be able to inherit the $1.5 million monetary award for the Nobel Peace Prize that Liu Xiaobo was never able to collect. I intend to continue my longstanding effort to honor Liu Xiaobo and to secure Liu Xia’s livelihood, and I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, Republican and Democrat: If there is a cause that should unite us all, it is that the wife a Nobel Peace laureate speaking out for peace and democracy should not be kept hostage in Communist China.

— Ted Cruz is a U.S. senator from Texas.

Have Afghan Refugees in Europe Launched a ‘Rape Jihad’? A compelling piece from a member of the foreign-policy elite suggests the answer is ‘yes.’ By David French

One of the hallmarks of jihadists is their grotesque savagery against women. The classic Hollywood picture of a jihadist as a pure, pious young Muslim man is largely nonsense. The reality is far more brutish. The tales of sex slavery in ISIS-held Iraq and Syria should chill thinking people to the bone. During my own time in Iraq, al-Qaeda terrorists were known for systematically raping women as part of an effort to shame them into becoming suicide bombers. After brutal gang rapes, they were told that the only way they could “redeem” their allegedly lost honor was to strap a bomb on their broken bodies and blow themselves up at restaurants, checkpoints, and hospitals. It was pure evil.

Also striking was the nonchalance and fearlessness of the most hardened jihadists after their capture by Americans. By the end of my deployment, I could almost predict whether we’d snagged a committed jihadist by his attitude in detention. Al-Qaeda leaders would often laugh, act like they were on vacation, and sometimes attempt to engage their captors in casual conversation. I’ll never forget the arrogant confidence of an Oxford English-speaking leader of an al-Qaeda rape ring. They knew they were safe, and they gloried in their invulnerability.

It’s against this backdrop — savage treatment of women and contempt for Western justice — that I read with alarm a stunning report on “Europe’s Afghan crime wave.” The piece is notable not just for its content, but for its author. Cheryl Benard has worked sympathetically with refugees and was a subject-matter expert at the RAND corporation. In other words, this piece isn’t from the anti-Muslim fever swamps but from the heart of the elite national-security establishment. Her thesis is simple: European nations are grappling with a wave of vicious immigrant attacks against women, and the attackers are coming disproportionately from Afghanistan.

The stories are horrifying, sometimes involving attacks in broad daylight and in public spaces like parks, trains, and train stations. Read these stories and try to imagine them happening here:

In one recent case that raised a huge public outcry, a woman was out for a walk in a park on an elevation above the Danube. With her she had her two children, a toddler plus her infant in a baby carriage. Out of the blue, an Afghan refugee leapt at her, threw her down, bit her, strangled her and attempted to rape her. In the struggle, the baby carriage went careening towards the embankment and the infant almost plunged into the river below. With her second child looking on aghast, the woman valiantly fought off her assailant, ripping the hood off his jacket, which later made it possible for an Austrian police dog to track him down.

The Heritage of Natural Law: Mark Levin on Rediscovering Americanism The Constitution safeguards the liberties that the Declaration of Independence represents but did not create. By Andrew C. McCarthy

Is there an enduring American character?

For those who view our nation as at a tipping point, the question is urgent. Others scoff, “Why?” After all, if the American character is truly enduring, it will endure — the ship eventually will right itself to the extent it is off course. And if not, history will inevitably evolve it into something better, right?

My friend Mark Levin would counter that this is the wrong way to look at it. The foundation of Americanism, he posits, is natural law. That does not just spontaneously appear, nor passively persevere. Understanding our natural-law roots, reaffirming our attachment to them in the teeth of the progressive project to supersede them — this is hard work.

Necessary work, though. Discovering natural law is a prerequisite to rediscovering Americanism, an aim that, not coincidentally, is announced in the title of Mark’s ambitious new book, Rediscovering Americanismf: And the Tyranny of Progressivism. It is ambitious not merely because it endeavors to outline what it takes to grasp natural law, never an easy proposition and made all the harder by two centuries of contrarian political philosophy — with modern opinion elites poised to drive the last nail in the coffin.

Levin further undertakes to acquaint the lay reader with the political philosophers and theorists in the competing camps, in their own words.

Locke himself would have cautioned that this is an uphill climb. Not one he shied away from, of course. As philosophy students who have plowed their way through his much-debated oeuvre will recall, Locke divided his readers into the “hunters” and those “content to live lazily on scraps of begged opinions.” Levin, with his wide reach as a popular talk-radio host, bestselling author (yet again), and constitutional litigator, is not just looking for hunters. He’s trying to create them.

Or at least enough of them to stem the tide of change — change being the radical antithesis of reformation, the restorative enterprise Levin channels Burke in championing. As Levin reads Locke, “the fact that every person has the ability to reason and discover natural law . . . does not mean that all people will do so.” A critical mass of them must try, though. We are a deeply divided nation, and the prospect of that’s easing any time soon is dim. The solution, as Levin sees it, is for lovers of America not merely to feel patriotic fervor but to become knowledgeable of and conversant with the ideals on which it is founded. That means going to the sources.

It all goes back to natural law because of the Declaration of Independence, which is not the foundation but the reflection of the American character, already formed. So says none other than Jefferson, the Declaration’s principal author. Reflecting on his handiwork nearly a half-century later, Jefferson explained (in a letter to Henry Lee) that the founders were striving “not to find out new principles,” nor to say things never said or thought before, but to set down “an expression of the American mind.”

Levin’s point, the same one made in Paul Johnson’s magisterial A History of the American People, is that there was — and is — an America that pre-existed and gave essential content to the American nation. It is an interesting observation given the heavy emphasis on the primacy of the Constitution in much of Levin’s work. But the march is straightforward: The Constitution promotes the principles and safeguards the liberties of the Americanism that the Declaration represents but did not create.

Conservatives Are Right To Reject the Worth of Today’s Colleges By Tom Knighton

Growing up, I was told that college wasn’t just where the best and brightest should go, but also anyone who didn’t want to be a massive loser. While colleges tended to foster liberal ideas, conservatives certainly could find their place at many institutions of higher learning. Even most liberal professors would engage in intellectual debate with conservative students without rancor.

Of course, those days are long over. Today, colleges are actively hostile toward right-leaning students. Bloomberg’s Megan McArdle — noting that conservative support for the college experience has cratered from 58 percent to 36 percent in just a few years — addresses the situation:

Looking at this poll, Philip Bump of the Washington Post blames this on the focus “by conservative media on tensions at universities.”

“Conservative media,” he adds, “focused its attention on the idea of ‘safe spaces’ on college campuses, places where students would be sheltered from controversial or upsetting information or viewpoints. This idea quickly spread into a broader critique of left-wing culture, but anecdotal examples from individual universities, such as objections to scheduled speakers and warnings in classrooms, became a focal point.”

It’s the sort of theory that may sound plausible on first read, except … see the first sentence of this column. Conservatives in the media have been complaining about liberals in academia for a very long time — just about as long, in fact, as academia has been trending liberal. After all, William F. Buckley rose to fame, and midwifed the modern conservative movement, after writing “God and Man at Yale.” As the book’s title suggests, it complained that elite educational institutions were excessively secular, collectivist and disposed toward government intervention in the economy. It was first published in 1951.

So what changed?

Well, McArdle argues — and I completely agree — that colleges went from being places with a simple liberal bent to becoming dangerously hostile towards any right-of-center thought. We’ve seen riots because of right-leaning speakers at Berkeley and Middlebury. College campuses have made it clear that conservative and libertarian thinkers are persona non grata.

That’s not all, however:

Indeed, schools’ responses to leftists’ riots have been: to make it maximally inconvenient for conservatives to speak (or be heard); to deliver a slap on the wrist against violent protests; and to allow students to corner, bully and imprecate upon professors.

Academia is a left-wing institution, and I suspect that when the people in charge of it look at left-wing protesters, they see basically good-hearted kids who are overexuberant in their pursuit of the common good. And who wants to wreck the lives of a nice kid who made a bad mistake out of the best possible motives?

Whatever the reason that this has been allowed to happen, the picture that emerges from these events is of an academia where orderly conservatives are unwelcome, but disorderly — even violent — leftists are tolerated. No wonder conservatives’ opinion of academia is falling. CONTINUE AT SITE