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January 2018

Donald Trump Should Refuse a Mueller Interview And as president, he shouldn’t even be asked. By Andrew C. McCarthy

Let’s cut to the chase: Donald Trump should not agree to be interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller — and President Trump should not even be asked.

See, there are two Trumps to consider here. There is the very eccentric and volatile man who is the subject of Mueller’s amorphous investigation. And there is the president of the United States, who has responsibilities to that vital public office. Here, the interests of both happen to align.

We’ll first examine Trump the man. No long history lesson is required here; let’s just take the last couple of weeks. Trump told a room full of lawmakers that he’d sign whatever immigration legislation they brought him —everything was negotiable. When senior legislators from both parties brought him the familiar Washington plan of amnesty now, security maybe someday, he said no way, no wall, no deal.

The eight-dimensional-chess explanation is that Trump realizes his supporters will never hold him to his commitments, so he makes bad ones in order to expose his opponents’ extremism. My preferred explanation is that Trump didn’t care what he said to lawmakers in the first meeting; his purpose was to refute Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury depiction of a demented doofus by appearing engaged and in command. Either way, the point is that Trump says stuff. And then he says other stuff. Quite often, the other stuff doesn’t match up with the first stuff.

Take this week’s sensational non-story: In June, Trump ordered his White House counsel, Don McGahn, to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which McGahn refused to do . . . so Trump dropped the idea and took no action.

There is no reason to doubt the veracity of the story produced by two veteran New York Times reporters, Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman. They have four sources who, though anonymous, appear well-placed (likely drawn from current and former White House staff, lawyers representing such witnesses, and Mueller’s investigators). And their account has the ring of truth: Trump, like all of us, longs to do things within his power that it would please him to do, but that would be really stupid to do, and so in the end he refrains from doing them. More idiosyncratically, Trump is torn between his brash persona (“You’re fired!”) and his real self (though wont to browbeat, he shrinks from personally delivering the pink slip, having subordinates do that dirty work).

More importantly, the Times report is harmless in its substance.

‘It Was Like An Orgy’: Pandemonium Ensues after French Market Slashes Price of Nutella By Paula Bolyard

Pandamonium ensued on Thursday when a French supermarket chain announced that it was slashing the price of Nutella by 70 percent. A half-dozen Intermarch supermarkets were overrun with customers hustling to get their beloved nutty spread, with long lines forming outside stores and violence reported at several locations.

The chain usually sells Nutella for 4.50 euros ($5.60 US). After the discount, the price dropped to 1.41 euros. One employee exclaimed, “70 percent off? That’s a steal!”

“People just rushed in, shoving everyone, breaking things. It was like an orgy,” one employee told AFP. “We were on the verge of calling the police.”

At a store in L’Horme, an employee described the tense scene to Le Progres: “We were trying to get in between the customers, but they were pushing us,” he said, adding that one customer received a black eye in the tussle.

Le Progres reported:

In Saint-Chamond, the store is quite small, it is an Intermarché Contact. But the 300 pots left in a quarter of an hour too. “It was fighting. We sold what we sell in three months. On the crate carpets, there was only Nutella,” says an employee, who says he has never known that in sixteen years.

“We need another system, we would prefer not to do it. It’s more of a nuisance than anything else. We are just intermediate, there is no margin and besides it was not our usual clientele. Our clients, they were crying because they had nothing, “adds the employee, who speaks of” Berezina “.

At the Intermarché de Saint-Cyprien, people fought, they threw themselves on the person who carried the Nutella pots on a pallet.

In Rive-de-Gier, the cell phones were out to film the riot: “They are like animals. A woman had her hair pulled, an elderly lady took a box on her head, another had a blood

Intermarche told AFP that it was “surprised” by the demand and apologized to customers who were inconvenienced.

Ferrero, the company that makes Nutella, said they weren’t involved in the decision to cut the price of their product.

“The company Ferrero wishes to recall that this promotion was decided unilaterally by the brand Intermarché,” Ferrero said in a statement. They added that the company “deplores this operation and its consequences that create confusion and disappointment in the minds of consumers.”
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Belgium: How Low Can a Low Country Get? by Bruce Bawer

French journalist Éric Zemmour facetiously suggested that France should forget about bombing Raqqa and should instead bomb Molenbeek.

Even the New York Times, of all places, ran an exposé about the ineffectiveness of Belgium’s anti-terror efforts, pointing up the chronic laxity, buck-passing, and turf-confusions that characterize every level of its government.

Shut up. Zip it. It is a pathetic and cowardly way of responding to reality, but it is, alas, a widespread behavior pattern in Western Europe today – and, at least in certain milieux in poor little Belgium, it has been all but raised to a sacrament.

In the 15 years that followed the Napoleonic Wars, a messy series of events — international conferences, great-power land swaps, treaties, riots, military skirmishes, and, finally, a brief revolution — resulted in a redrawing of borders in the Low Countries and the establishment of a new country called Belgium. Even in the best of times, it was hardly a country, fatally divided into a French-speaking south and a Flemish-speaking north, whose residents had little sense of shared identity. If, when the European Union came along, the Belgians embraced the idea so ardently — and welcomed the transformation of their own capital into the capital of the EU — it was largely because they had far less of a sense of nationhood than their Western European neighbors, and felt, or hoped, that the EU would artificially supply something ineffable that their own history and culture had failed to give them.

Even now, when the citizens of many Western European countries have been brought up to be ashamed of their national flags, some of these Europeans, at least, still exhibit intermittent signs of national pride: witness the crowds across the UK who, every year, sing “God Save the Queen”, “Jerusalem”, and “Land of Hope and Glory” during the broadcast of the Last Night of the Proms, or the spectacle of the French Parliament breaking spontaneously into “La Marseillaise” after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Such displays are few and far between in Belgium. It seems appropriate that, while the official proportions of the Belgian flag are 13:15, most of the flags flown over government buildings are 2:3. In other words, they do not even bother getting the proportions of their own flag right.

Living in Pakistan – A Hell for Non-Muslims by Rahat John Austin

In Pakistan, Muslims burn the homes of non-Muslims, burn their places of worship, burn their holy books, even burn their women and children alive — and there is no law or punishment to prevent this criminal behaviour or to make non-Muslims safe.

Non-Muslim women and children are raped and forcibly converted; this is considered a religious obligation to please “Allah,” the god of Islam. These taskmasters see themselves as “Soldiers of Allah”. Even if a case of “blasphemy” is not proven against Christians, they still can be killed by an angry mob or while in police custody. Non-Muslims can also easily be sentenced to death by a court: even a single claim by Muslim against a non-Muslim is enough to “prove” him guilty.

Christian leaders and organizations, especially the Pope, have failed to give any hope to persecuted Christians. Providing a press release or sending a note is not enough. The Pope truly needs to come to help his flock, to establish policies to safeguard these persecuted people from the Islamic world.

According to the official results of Pakistan’s 2017 census, as of August 25, 2017, the population of Islamic Republic of Pakistan is 207.74 million.

The country is divided into an overwhelmingly Muslim majority of 96.28%; and the remaining 3.72% are Christian, Bahais, Buddhists, Hindus, Ahmadis, Jains, Kalasha, Parsis and Sikhs, who are identified as non-Muslim minority Pakistanis.

Religious minorities in the territory of present-day Pakistan, at the time of the partition of India in 1947, were almost 23% of Pakistan’s population. But instead of their numbers increasing, they have decreased to the current 3.72%. If the Muslim population has grown, why have non-Muslim minorities not grown also?

This 23% represents millions of people; how have they vanished?

According to the same census, from 1998 to 2017, Pakistan’s overall population grew by 57%. Presumably, non-Muslim minorities should have increased at the same rate. Instead, their numbers have dangerously fallen.

The Hindu population, for example, which, according to the 1951 census, was 12.9%, is now only 1.6%.

These numbers begin to reveal the situation of minorities in Pakistan.

David Archibald The Problem with Norwegians

President Trump had best be careful what he wishes for. Some of those Nordic types he reportedly opined would make better immigrants to the US are quite likely to bring with them a leftist culture every bit as problematic as the mores of the lavatorial hell holes he derided.

The overwhelmingly left wing US foreign policy Establishment would not normally let slip that all is not peaches and cream in Africa, that the Dark Continent is a bottomless pit which will absorb aid funds without trace of improvement for all eternity. So what gave Foreign Policy cover to report that the U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe, a man of African ancestry, continues to be vilified in racial terms by the Zimbabwean government? It is likely the abuse was prompted by President Trump’s reported comment in which he is said to have used a pithy aphorism to describe some of the countries from which recent waves of immigrants have come.

The President, as you might recall, expressed a preference for migrants from Norway. Perhaps he was thinking of the likes of Ann-Margret, who migrated to the United States in 1946. Other Norwegians have been less pleasant — and there is a tie to Zimbabwe. Norway in the 1980s had a prime minister by the name of Gro Harlem Brundtland who secretly financed the establishment of communist regimes in southern Africa through the Norwegian Development Agency. That is one reason why the Brundtland commission on climate, forerunner to the UN climate commission, chose to convene its conferences in Harare over 1986-87.

Not to be outdone, Norway’s neighbour, Sweden, also was up to no good in Africa. Sweden pursued and fostered a secret military cooperation with Robert Mugabe and his then-head of state security, Comrade Mnangagwa, who recently replaced Mugabe as the country’s dictator. Funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), this cooperation, starting in 1969, was top secret, even from the Swedish parliament, which authorised SIDA budgets. Similar efforts were made by Swedish socialist governments to encourage and establish communist regimes in South Africa, Ethiopia, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau and Zambia.

The Islamization of Oslo In Groruddalen, a large neighborhood of the Norwegian capital, heavy Muslim immigration is testing multiculturalism’s limits. Bruce Bawer

With a population exceeding 600,000, Oslo is divided into two parts by Akerselva, a modest brook that runs from the mountains in the north down into the Oslo Fjord. West Oslo is the upscale side of town, with fancy townhouses near the city center and, farther out, elegant neighborhoods full of large, handsome houses and wide, well-tended lawns. East Oslo is grungier: on the downtown end, you’ll find East Village–type districts with cool bars and clubs and plenty of graffiti, plus a couple of largely Muslim areas, Tøyen and Grønland; farther east lies Groruddalen.

A broad, flat, relatively nondescript valley (dal means “valley” in Norwegian), Groruddalen is home to more than a quarter of Oslo’s population. Think San Fernando Valley, and you won’t be far off. For a few decades now, the valley has been associated in the Norwegian mind with Islam. On August 28, 2017, Rita Karlsen of Human Rights Service (HRS), an Oslo-based think tank, noted that it had been 16 years to the day since Labour Party politician Thorbjørn Berntsen had declared: “There’s a limit to how many immigrants Groruddalen can accept. That limit is beginning to be reached. I know of people who want to move because the city of Oslo is filling entire apartment buildings with asylum seekers and refugees. . . . We must simply admit that cultural conflicts are beginning to be noticeable.” Other politicians rejected Berntsen’s concerns. The Labour Party’s then-head in Oslo, Bjørgulv Froyn, insisted that Groruddalen’s problems had “nothing to do with immigrants.” The leader of Oslo’s Conservatives, Per-Kristian Foss, agreed, accusing Berntsen of “stigmatizing a neighborhood and a population group.” Foss, who is openly gay, chose not to address the fact that it was already becoming uncomfortable for homosexuals to live in certain parts of Groruddalen.

Berntsen’s warning, issued in 2001, has proved prescient. From 2008 to 2010, more than 6,000 ethnic Norwegians moved out of Groruddalen, while almost twice that number of immigrants—mostly Muslims—moved in. In 2009, fully 67 percent of the children born in Stovner, a borough at the far eastern end of the valley, had non-Western mothers. In 2010, immigrants made up more than 40 percent of Groruddalen’s population, and Lars Østby, chief demographer at Statistics Norway (SSB), the nation’s official statistics agency, predicted that, before long, a majority of the valley’s population would consist of immigrants and their children. Yet Østby did not see this as a problem—notwithstanding the grim reality of certain urban areas in next-door Sweden, such as Rinkeby in Stockholm and Rosengård in Malmö, that had become Muslim enclaves: parallel societies where sharia trumped Swedish law and where community leaders, imams, and gangs had largely displaced the authority of the Swedish government, police, and courts.

Israel Tries Arabic Outreach, Gets Mixed Response Military deploys social media to spread anti-Iran message Link copied… By Rory Jones in Tel Aviv and Nazih Osseiran in Beirut

As Saudi Arabia and Iran spar for influence across the Middle East, Israel is using the Arabic language to seek common ground with Tehran’s enemies and sway its sympathizers.

The efforts have been met at times with hostility and ridicule—in part because Maj. Avichay Adraee, the Israeli army spokesman leading the outreach, doesn’t shy away from provocation.

Maj. Adraee’s recent output includes a Facebook post of image of Iran’s flag superimposed over the Gaza Strip and a Twitter video simulating an Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon, home of the Iran-backed group Hezbollah.
Text messaging

A tweet from the Israeli military’s Arabic-language spokesman Maj. Avichay Adraee accuses Iran for dragging down Gaza, including the message that Iran “will not care about the peoples it attempts to exert its influence over.”

With 1.2 million followers on his Arabic Facebook page and more than 181,000 on Twitter, Maj. Adraee is the face of the Israeli messaging campaign. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has issued videos with Arabic subtitles denouncing Iran, and the foreign ministry routinely posts rosy images of Israeli-Arab coexistence for its own million-plus Arabic-language Facebook followers.

For Israel, which doesn’t have diplomatic relations with most of its neighbors, social media has become a way to engage with Arabs and reinforce a growing alignment with Sunni Muslim Arab states.

The most influential of those states is Saudi Arabia. In a sign of that emphasis, the Israeli military chose a newspaper owned by a Saudi publisher when it offered the first Arab-media interview with its chief of staff in more than 10 years.

Iran is the “biggest threat to the region,” chief-of-staff Lt. Gen Gadi Eisenkot told the publication, Elaph, which is based in London, in November. “In this matter, there is complete agreement between us and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

An official at Iran’s United Nations mission didn’t respond to a request for comment on Israel’s media outreach.

At #MeToo U, the Faculty Loses Its Ideological Immunity A ‘down’ Marxist prof is accused of harassing ‘young women and gender nonconforming people.’ By Allen C. Guelzo

The Pennsylvania Gazette, my alma mater’s glossy alumni magazine, doesn’t stray far from institutional self-admiration. Or it didn’t, until this month’s issue.

The letters column featured the frank narrative of a class of 1973 undergraduate who says she was sexually harassed by a long-affiliated, greatly honored (and deceased) chairman of the Graduate School of Fine Art. Women in the program called him “the Silver Fox,” the correspondent reports.

She managed to evade an invitation to his island retreat to “model” for him: “Somehow I knew I would avoid him sleeping with me, and I was successful at that,” she writes. But one-on-one sessions to discuss her work were 90 minutes of navigating sexual advances and innuendo.

Sexual harassment has been the official term for this since before Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas in 1991. But in the 1990s, that decade of third-wave feminism, it was assumed that sexual harassment was something conservatives visited upon women to punish them for straying from traditional roles. When Bill Clinton was caught in the act, progressives from Gloria Steinem to Susan Faludi and Ms. Hill herself rushed to confer ideological immunity upon him.

That immunity ended with Hillary Clinton’s political career, as Harvey Weinstein and a host of figures in entertainment, the news media, politics and the arts have learned. The Gazette letter is a sign that progressive immunity is disappearing from an even more politicized zone: higher education.

Not that colleges and universities haven’t come under scrutiny for sexual harassment before. The Obama Education Department’s notorious 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter insisted that Title IX, which prohibits schools receiving federal money from engaging in sex discrimination, required them to abandon due process in adjudicating accusations of sexual misconduct. CONTINUE AT SITE

Dreamers in Beltwayland By Pedro Gonzalez

Senate Democrats led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) shut down the government last weekend, ostensibly in defense of “Dreamers”—illegal aliens who arrived in the United States as minors. The Democrats, in effect, placed the progressive political project “above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country’s ability to serve all Americans,” as a White House press release put it.

This new and virtuous Schumer of 2018 stands in stark contrast with the Schumer of 2013, who vehemently denounced those who would “risk default for the nation” by shutting down the government over immigration. He called such obstinance the “politics of idiocy, of confrontation, of paralysis.” But that was before Trump and #TheResistance.

Just who are these “Dreamers” the Democrats are using as political props? The name comes from the proposed 2001 Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which has failed to pass repeatedly over the years. By most estimates, some 3.6 million illegal immigrants came to this country as children. Of that number, around 800,000 registered under the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Americans have been fed a line that Dreamers are among our “best and brightest,” but the reality is much different. While DACA and Dreamer are used interchangeably, the distinction makes a difference. DACA recipients are a subset of the Dreamers, and the soldiers and scholars among the DACA class are an even smaller subset. More importantly, even though the shutdown fight was reportedly about DACA, the Democrats aren’t simply seeking amnesty for those 800,000 program participants. They want all 3.6 million Dreamers included in the deal. A look at the bigger picture of what this might mean is sobering.

In Arizona, DACA recipient Francisco Rios-Covarrubias, 30, was arrested after offering a 3-year-old girl for sex to a man who notified authorities, the child was discovered bound with duct tape and showed signs of repeated sexual abuse.

George Soros: Trump Presidency Will ‘Disappear’ in 2020—or ‘Even Sooner’ By Debra Heine

At the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, this week, liberal billionaire investor George Soros declared that the Trump presidency is a “danger to the world” which will “disappear” in 2020 or sooner.

“Clearly, I consider the Trump administration a danger to the world,” Soros said. “But I regard it as a purely temporary phenomenon that will disappear in 2020, or even sooner. I give President Trump credit for motivating his core supporters brilliantly, but for every core supporter, he has created a greater number of core opponents who are equally strongly motivated. That is why I expect a Democratic landslide in 2018.”

Soros, a major left-wing donor, also said that his “goal” is to “reestablish a functioning two-party system” in the United States.

“My personal goal in the United States is to help reestablish a functioning two-party system. This will require not only a landslide in 2018 but also a Democratic Party that will aim at non-partisan redistricting, the appointment of well-qualified judges, a properly conducted census and other measures that a functioning two-party system requires,” he said.

“In the United States, President Trump would like to establish a mafia state but he can’t, because the Constitution, other institutions, and a vibrant civil society won’t allow it,” he argued, amping up his hyperbole. “Not only the survival of open society but the survival of our entire civilization is at stake. The rise of leaders such as Kim Jong Un in North Korea and Donald Trump in the United States have much to do with this.” CONTINUE AT SITE