Displaying posts published in

July 2017

Israeli Flags Burnt and Hezbollah Terror Banners Flown in London

The demonstration was sparked by new security measures on Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which have now been removed.

Protesters also waved Palestinian and Turkish flags, a well as pictures of the al-Aksa mosque. Cries of “Allahu-akbar” can be heard in amateur footage of the protest.

Israeli flags were snatched from members of a small counter protest, with one being burnt. Police intervened as a second flag was trampled on.
Yiftah Curiel, a diplomat and spokesman for the embassy, slammed “thugs” flying terror flags and said demonstrators were “cheering on the bloodshed” after three Israelis were murdered in their homes in the West Bank on Friday.

The Palestinian Forum in Britain (PFB) invited people to attend the so-called “Emergency Protest against Israeli aggressions in Jerusalem” in London on Facebook.
“Israeli government has closed al-Aksa Mosque, imposed tight security check on worshipers as part of its plans to seize the holy Muslim site”, they claimed on the event page.

The militant wing of Hezbollah is a banned terrorist organisation in the UK. However, the political wing is still legal, meaning police are powerless to remove Hezbollah flags if those flying them claim only to support part of the group.

Hundreds of flags of the terror group were on display at the anti-Israel al-Quds Day rally on London’s street in June.

Members of the Jewish community and Tory and UKIP members of the London Assembly slammed the Mayor, Sadiq Khan, for initially refusing to condemn the flags and push for them to be banned.

The Mayor later changed his position and now supports a ban.

Pro-Palestinian activists have waved Hezbollah terror banners and burnt the Israeli flag outside the Israeli Embassy London.

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2017/07/25/watch-israeli-flags-burnt-and-hezbollah-terror-banners-flown-in-london/ The demonstration was sparked by new security measures on Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which have now been removed. Protesters also waved Palestinian and Turkish flags, a well as pictures of the al-Aksa mosque. Cries of “Allahu-akbar” can be heard in amateur footage of the protest. Israeli flags were snatched from members of a small counter […]

Brennan: Exec. Branch Officials Should Refuse to Carry Out Trump’s Orders if He Fires Mueller By Debra Heine

During a recent appearance at a forum in Aspen, Colorado, former CIA Director John Brennan said that if President Trump moves to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, executive branch officials should refuse to follow the president’s orders, effectively calling for mutiny against the president should the occasion arise.

“I think it’s the obligation of some executive branch officials to refuse to carry out” such orders, Brennan told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer at the Aspen Security Forum on Friday.

Brennan was joined by fellow swamper James Clapper, the former director of National Intelligence, who called the appointment of Mueller as special counsel “an inspired choice.”

Both men said they had full confidence in Mueller’s investigation of Russian election interference and possible collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign.

“They don’t come any better,” said Brennan.

“Nobody better than Bob Mueller, who is a straight shooter and will not be intimidated by anything,” Clapper added.

Mueller has hired at least seven Democratic donors to work on his legal team, including one attorney who has reportedly donated $34,000 to Democrats.

“If he is fired by Mr. Trump or attempted to be fired by Mr. Trump,” Brennan continued, “I really hope our members of Congress — our elected representatives — are going to stand up and say ‘enough is enough’ and stop making apologies and excuses for things that are happening that really flout, I think, our system of laws and government.”

Blitzer reminded Brennan that, as president of the United States, Trump can tell Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to fire Mueller if he wants.

“If he’s fired, what would you want Congress to do?” Blitzer asked.

“First of all, I think it is the obligation of some executive branch officials to refuse to carry out some of these orders that — again — are inconsistent with what this country is all about,” Brennan answered.

He added, “I would just hope that this is not going to be a partisan issue. That Republicans and Democrats are going to see that the future of this country is at stake and there need to be some things done for the good of the future.” CONTINUE AT SITE

Believing ‘Speech Is Violence’ Justifies Actual Violence By Tom Knighton

When an outlet like PJ Media points out that saying “speech is violence” justifies actual violence, it gets dismissed because, after all, it’s our speech that’s supposedly violent. We’re the ones who stand up for the First Amendment on a daily basis, and the Left doesn’t like that.

Of course, claiming “speech is violence” can be used to justify violence isn’t controversial. Anyone with half a brain knows that. At least now an outlet that’s generally on the Left, The Atlantic, is pointing out the idiocy of that line of thinking:

This is why the idea that speech is violence is so dangerous. It tells the members of a generation already beset by anxiety and depression that the world is a far more violent and threatening place than it really is. It tells them that words, ideas, and speakers can literally kill them. Even worse: At a time of rapidly rising political polarization in America, it helps a small subset of that generation justify political violence.

A few days after the riot that shut down Yiannopoulos’s talk at Berkeley, in which many people were punched, beaten, and pepper sprayed by masked protesters, the main campus newspaper ran five op-ed essays by students and recent alumni under the series title “Violence as self defense.” One excerpt: “Asking people to maintain peaceful dialogue with those who legitimately do not think their lives matter is a violent act.”

The implication of this expansive use of the word “violence” is that “we” are justified in punching and pepper-spraying “them,” even if all they did was say words. We’re just defending ourselves against their “violence.” But if this way of thinking leads to actual violence, and if that violence triggers counter-violence from the other side (as happened a few weeks later at Berkeley), then where does it end? In the country’s polarized democracy, telling young people that “words are violence” may in fact lead to a rise in real, physical violence.

Free speech, properly understood, is not violence. It is a cure for violence.

That last sentence is key. CONTINUE AT SITE

Yes, a President May Be Indicted … and May Pardon Himself By Andrew C. McCarthy

The Trump-Russia “collusion” farce gets everything bass-ackwards.

As we’ve pointed out many times, collusion is not a crime; conspiracy is. To prove a conspiracy, you need more than mere association and collaborative action; you need an agreement to commit a specific statutory violation of penal law. Thus far, there is no indication that an actual crime has been committed.

Under the regulations for special-counsel appointments, there is supposed to be cause to believe a crime has been committed before a prosecutor is appointed. Yet, we have a prosecutor assigned to the case even though there is, as yet, no crime. The Justice Department has given this special counsel, Robert Mueller, carte blanche to hunt for a crime, notwithstanding that his jurisdiction is supposed to be circumscribed by the crime(s) that the Justice Department first specifies in appointing him – i.e., the suspected offenses trigger the appointment, the appointment is not supposed to trigger a search for suspected offenses.

Notwithstanding the lack of probable cause that a crime has been committed, much less any indication that the special counsel contemplates filing formal charges, two new premature questions have arisen: (1) May a president be indicted, and (2) may a president pardon himself?


The split in opinions over the first question was well summarized back in May by the New York Times’s Adam Liptak. I must say I don’t see this as a complex question: There is no legal reason why a sitting president should not be indictable. The complexities that attend the question are practical, not legal.

The president is in charge of the executive branch. The Justice Department answers to him. All U.S. attorneys are appointed by him and may be dismissed at will by him. It seems inconceivable, then, that a president would authorize his own indictment; he’d more likely dismiss any federal prosecutor who attempted to indict him. That includes any special counsel. As we have observed, there is no such thing as an independent prosecutor in our federal system. The special counsel is beholden to the attorney general (or the deputy attorney general when, as in the case of Mueller’s investigation, the attorney general has recused himself); the attorney general, in turn, is beholden to the president.

Still, even though these practical hurdles to a president’s indictment seem insuperable, there is no legal bar to the indictment of a president. The Constitution explicitly states (in article I, section 3) that an official who is impeached may be indicted in the justice system for any crimes committed. Some legal experts infer from this provision that a president must be impeached before he may be indicted. But the clause does not say that; it simply says that if an official is impeached, that is not a bar to prosecution.

The upshot is this: The status of being president does not provide immunity from prosecution.

As I explained in Faithless Execution, when executive misconduct is at issue, the Constitution’s main check is impeachment. But impeachment is a political remedy, not a legal one. It provides no double-jeopardy protection against criminal indictment. The political proceeding is vitally different from the legal one. Impeachment is about removing political power from a public official. Prosecution is about punishing an individual – i.e., depriving him of liberty or property – for violations of law, regardless of whether he also happens to be a public official.

Because the status of being president must not be construed to confer an immunity that would permanently foreclose prosecution, it seems to me that the statute of limitations demonstrates why sitting presidents cannot have immunity from indictment.

James Comey is Maxwell Smart How Comey’s botched mission to safeguard a Hillary presidency elected Trump. By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.

Terry McAuliffe, governor of Virginia and former prolific Clinton fundraiser, is no idiot when it comes to politics. In response to a general question about Hillary Clinton’s postelection deportment, he not only turned a recent Politico podcast discussion to Russia’s election meddling but zeroed in on fake Russian intelligence implicated in FBI chief James Comey’s election interventions.

Why this underplayed episode, among all the overplayed theories of Russian meddling, might weigh on his mind is no mystery. Put aside the obvious objection that if Hillary Clinton had been a better candidate, she would have won. Joshua Green, author of a new book about the election, “Devil’s Bargain,” says internal Trump polls showed a clear view of the race’s final days. Voters who liked neither candidate broke decisively for Mr. Trump after Mr. Comey’s Oct. 28 letter reopening the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s email server.

Nate Silver, the polling authority at FiveThirtyEight.com, reached the same conclusion using public surveys: “Hillary Clinton would probably be president if [Mr. Comey] had not sent a letter to Congress on Oct. 28.”

Mr. Comey, in public testimony, attributed his serial interventions to the Arizona tarmac meeting of Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch. A Washington Post headline blared: “Now we know: Bill Clinton cost his wife the presidency.”

Except that, in later reporting by the Post and other new organizations, it wasn’t the tarmac meeting at all; it was planted Russian intelligence about Attorney General Lynch that led to Mr. Comey’s intervention.

This story actually makes a lot more sense. The public knew about the tarmac meeting. Voters were already factoring it in. If the Justice Department worried how its Clinton decision would play, it could have leaked the Comey recommendation. It could have authorized him to speak publicly.

Plenty of Hillary surrogates, from President Obama on down, stood ready to lend credibility to a decision not to prosecute Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Comey’s unprecedented, protocol-violating step simply wasn’t required. CONTINUE AT SITE

Why Israel Removed the Metal Detectors The security services will do anything to prevent another intifada—including prop up Mahmoud Abbas. By Daniel Pipes

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah Party announced Saturday that the “campaign for Jerusalem has effectively begun, and will not stop until a Palestinian victory and the release of the holy sites from Israeli occupation.” Fatah demanded the removal of metal detectors and other security devices from the entrance to the Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount. A week earlier two Israeli policemen were killed by terrorists who had stashed their weapons inside the mosque.

The Fatah statement was illogical and hypocritical. Many mosques in Muslim-majority countries use the same security technology to protect worshipers, tourists and police. Yet Mr. Abbas managed to force the Israeli government to remove them. He did it by deflecting attention from the policemen’s murders and stoking fear of a religious conflagration with vast repercussions.

The Temple Mount crisis highlights with exceptional clarity three factors that explain why a steady 80% of Palestinians believe they can eliminate the Jewish state: Islamic doctrine, international succor and Israeli timidity.

Islam carries with it the expectation that any land once under Muslim control is an endowment that must inevitably revert to Muslim rule. The idea has abiding power: think of Osama bin Laden’s dream of resurrecting Andalusia and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hopes of regaining influence over the Balkans. Palestinians consistently report their belief that the state of Israel will collapse within a few decades.

A confrontation over the Temple Mount uniquely excites this expectation because it reaches far beyond the local population to arouse the passions of many of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims. The most prominent Muslim leaders and institutions overwhelmingly supported Fatah’s position on the Temple Mount security provisions. Islamic voices outside the pro-Palestinian consensus are rare. Palestinians rejoice in their role as the tip of an enormous spear.

Palestinians’ illusions of might enjoy considerable international support. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization routinely passes critical resolutions aimed at Israel. Columbia University houses something called the Center for Palestine Studies. Major corporations such as Google and news organizations like the British Broadcasting Corp. pretend there’s a country called Palestine. Foreign aid has created a Palestinian pseudo-economy that in 2016 enjoyed a phenomenal 4.1% growth rate. CONTINUE AT SITE

Repeal the Budget Control Act The ‘sequester’ hasn’t reduced spending, but it has crippled the military’s ability to plan. by Tom Cotton

Mr. Cotton, a Republican, is a U.S. senator from Arkansas.

‘We need Congress to do its job,” President Trump said Saturday at the commissioning ceremony for the USS Gerald R. Ford. “Pass the budget that provides for higher, stable and predictable funding levels for our military needs that our fighting men and women deserve.”

The president is right, but what’s standing in the way is the Budget Control Act of 2011. So why don’t we repeal it already?

In retrospect, the Budget Control Act of 2011 was ill-conceived from the start. Rather than attack America’s spending problem at its root, the law only clipped a few stray leaves off the branches. In the early Obama years, the federal deficit spiraled out of control, reaching $1.4 trillion in 2009 before settling in around $1.3 trillion for the next two years. Entitlement programs—which, combined with interest payments on the national debt, make up two-thirds of federal spending—are the key driver of our long-term debt challenges.

But President Obama refused to address this problem and instead made a deal with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner —neither of whom is in office today—to squeeze some savings from the remaining one-third of the budget, what’s called “discretionary” spending.

The BCA put budget caps on discretionary spending for 10 years, ending in 2021, and established a 12-member congressional “supercommittee” to find at least $1.2 trillion in additional savings over that same 10-year window. The law stipulated that should the committee fail, there would be an across-the-board cut, or “sequester,” to keep spending below the caps. Half the savings would come from the defense budget and half from nondefense spending, meaning the military would absorb 50% of the cuts, even though it accounts for only about 16% of all spending.

The BCA proved flawed in execution as well. To everyone’s dismay and no one’s surprise, the supercommittee deadlocked. In 2013, a sequester took effect, though the cuts in overall spending were short-lived.

It’s true that after the BCA became law, there was a modest decline in federal spending: from $3.6 trillion in 2011 to $3.5 trillion in 2012 and $3.4 trillion in 2013. But this diet proved as short-lived as most others. By 2015, federal spending was back to $3.6 trillion, and it’s been growing ever since.

Why? Because in 2013 and again two years later, Congress raised the BCA’s budget caps. We already know how 2017 will end. In September, Congress will pass what’s known as a continuing resolution, which essentially freezes spending at last year’s levels. Later in the fall, congressional leaders will meet behind closed doors to write a two-year budget deal that again raises the BCA caps. In December, Congress will pass a massive omnibus spending bill with all sorts of not-so-goodies slipped in undetected. Then, in December 2018, there’ll be another omnibus, and the cycle will likely repeat in 2019-20.

How do we know? Because that’s exactly what Congress did in 2013-14 and in 2015-16.

Trump’s Sessions Abuse His demand that his AG prosecute Clinton crosses a red line.

Donald Trump won’t let even success intrude on his presidential ego, so naturally he couldn’t let the Senate’s health-care victory stand as the story of Tuesday. Instead he continued to demean Jeff Sessions, and in the process he is harming himself, alienating allies, and crossing dangerous legal and political lines.

For a week President Trump has waged an unseemly campaign against his own Attorney General, telling the New York Times he wished he’d never hired him, unleashing a tweet storm that has accused Mr. Sessions of being “beleaguered” and “weak.”

Mr. Trump is clearly frustrated that the Russia collusion story is engulfing his own family. But that frustration has now taken a darker turn. This humiliation campaign is clearly aimed at forcing a Sessions resignation. Any Cabinet appointee serves at a President’s pleasure, but the deeply troubling aspect of this exercise is Mr. Trump’s hardly veiled intention: the commencement of a criminal prosecution of Hillary Clinton by the Department of Justice and the firing of special prosecutor Robert Mueller.

On Tuesday morning Mr. Trump tweeted that Mr. Sessions “has taken a very weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes. ” This might play well with the red-meat crowd in Mr. Trump’s Twitterverse, but Sen. Lindsey Graham was explicit and correct in describing the legal line Mr. Trump had crossed.

“Prosecutorial decisions should be based on applying facts to the law without hint of political motivation,” Sen. Graham said. “To do otherwise is to run away from the long-standing American tradition of separating the law from politics regardless of party.” Republican Sen. Thom Tillis also came to Mr. Sessions’ defense, citing his “unwavering commitment to the rule of law,” and Sen. Richard Shelby called him “a man of integrity.”

We will put the problem more bluntly. Mr. Trump’s suggestion that his Attorney General prosecute his defeated opponent is the kind of crude political retribution one expects in Erdogan’s Turkey or Duterte’s Philippines.

Mr. Sessions had no way of knowing when he accepted the AG job that the Russia probe would become the firestorm it has, or that his belated memory of brief, public meetings with the Russian ambassador in 2016 would require his recusal from supervising the probe. He was right to step back once the facts were out, not the least to shelter the Trump Administration from any suspicion of a politicized investigation.

If Mr. Trump wants someone to blame for the existence of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, he can pick up a mirror. That open-ended probe is the direct result of Mr. Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey months into his Russia investigation and then tweet that Mr. Comey should hope there are no Oval Office tapes of their meeting. That threat forced Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint a special counsel.

As a candidate, Mr. Trump thought he could say anything and get away with it, and most often he did. A sitting President is not a one-man show. He needs allies in politics and allies to govern. Mr. Trump’s treatment of Jeff Sessions makes clear that he will desert both at peril to his Presidency.

Restoring the Republic Means Reimposing ‘Regular Order’By Angelo Codevilla

The Republican congressional leadership’s failure to repeal Obamacare has led to suggestions that, perhaps, they should have approached their task through “regular order.” Since Congress has not operated under “regular order” at all since 2006, and with decreasing frequency in the decades before that, younger readers, especially, may be excused for not knowing what these procedures are. Far from being arcane ephemera, they are the indispensable catalyst that makes American government responsible to the people. Casting aside “regular order” was essential to the rise of the unaccountable administrative state and the near-sovereignty of party leaders, lobbyists, and bureaucrats.https://amgreatness.com/2017/07/23/restoring-republic-means-reimposing-regular-order/

Herewith, a summary of what “regular order” means, what purpose it once served, why and how it was shunned, and of what has ensued.

More than a half century ago, Daniel Berman’s college-level text, A Bill Becomes a Law, the template for K-12 civics courses, described more or less how Congress had operated since the 1790s. Bills introduced in House or Senate would be sent to the relevant committee, and thence to the proper sub-committee. The ones thought worthy—including those funding the federal government’s operations—would be the subject of public hearings.

The committees’ partisan majorities and minorities would try to stage manage the hearings to make the best case for the outcomes they desired on each point. In the process, public support would strengthen or wane for particular items and approaches. Then, each subcommittee’s public “mark up” of its portion of the bill would reflect the members’ votes and compromises on each item.

Once the several subcommittee products had made their way to the full committee, the same process would repeat. Votes on contested items, and on the whole bill, would end the full committee’s “mark up” and send the bill to be scheduled for action on the House or Senate floor.

Just to get to this point, every element of every bill had to be exposed to public scrutiny. Senators or congressmen on the committees offered amendments and had to vote on the record for each part of the bill. On the House floor, amendments would be limited. But in the Senate, there could be—and often were—“amendments by way of substitution.” By the time the “yeas and nays” were tallied on the final bill, just about all members had had as much of a crack at it as they wanted. The final product would be the result of countless compromises “on the record.”

In 2017, it is useful to recall that this process used to apply to each and every government activity that required a dollar from the U.S. treasury, each and every year. For the past 11 years, however, all the money drawn from the treasury have come from single “continuing resolutions” (CRs) or “omnibus” bills, drafted in secret by “leadership” staffers, executive branch officials, and lobbyists, on which there have been no hearings and which few members have ever read, and on which few if any amendments have been allowed. These “Cromnibuses,” served up as the government runs out of spending authority, end up being passed by the majority party’s near unanimity.

While this is consistent with the Constitution’s words, “no money shall be drawn from the treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law,” it wholly reverses their intent. Individual congressmen and senators are cut out of the legislative process. The voters can no longer hold each accountable. When Republican leaders make common cause with the Democratic Party against Republicans who won’t go along, whom they accuse of “shutting down the government,” they create a bipartisan ruling party. That makes both parties equally responsible, and ensures that changing your vote from D to R or R to D won’t make a difference.

Senators and congressmen abandoned regular order because it hinders their craving for power and flight from responsibility. Voters elect them to vote accountably on important matters. But since such matters are almost inevitably divisive, they do their utmost to avoid voting on them.