European Elections: “No to Europe, Yes to Europe” Soeren Kern

“I have a dreadful feeling in my bones that future historians may write of the May 2014 elections: ‘This was the wake-up call from which Europe failed to wake up.'” — Timothy Garten Ash, The Guardian.

Anti-establishment parties from both the left and the right won big in the 28-nation European Parliament elections that ended on May 25.

Riding a wave of voter discontent over the existing political order in Europe, the electoral victories—especially those by euro-skeptic politicians in major EU countries such as Britain, France and Germany—mark a clear turning point in the debate over the future of the European Union.

The surge of anti-EU parties represents an important blow to the legitimacy of plans by the European establishment to transform the continent into a United States of Europe.

Europe-wide, nearly 150 representatives from anti-establishment parties won seats in the European Parliament. This is up from around 60 seats in the 2009 election. Established pro-EU parties will remain in control of roughly 70% of the 751-seat parliament, which manages the EU’s €143 billion ($200 billion) annual budget and passes EU-wide laws that affect more than 500 million citizens.

Moreover, Europe’s ruling elites are unlikely to allow these or any other election results to derail their quest to build a European superstate. Although European voters have sent an unmistakable message, efforts are already underway to discredit euro-skeptics by branding them as extremists.

Anti-establishment parties are also divided among themselves on many issues, a weakness that, if not overcome, will blunt their effectiveness in the European Parliament.

In summary, the euro-skeptics face a daunting set of long-term challenges to stop the seemingly relentless march toward European federalism. In the near term, however, the greatest impact of their electoral victories will be felt at the local and national levels.

BRIDGET jOHNSON: JOHN KERRY ” THIS ADMINISTRATION IS MORE ENGAGED WITH THE WORLD THAN ANYTIME IN AMERICAN HISTORY” ???!!

Coming off a week where President Obama laid out an Afghanistan withdrawal timetable and put forth his foreign policy vision, Secretary of State John Kerry declared Thursday that this administration is “more engaged” with the world “than at any time in American history.”

“I don’t think the president, frankly, takes enough credit for the successes that are on the table right now,” Kerry told PBS. “I mean, if you look at what has happened in Ukraine, the president led an effort to try to keep Europe unified with the United States, to put difficult sanctions on the table. Europe wasn’t thrilled with that. But they came along. That was leadership. And the president succeeded in having an impact ultimately, together with the Europeans, on the choices that face President Putin.”

“In Syria, the president obviously made his decision to strike Syria, and appropriately sent that decision to Congress. Congress didn’t want to move. But we came up with another solution, which was get all of those chemical weapons out, rather than just have one or two days of strikes,” he added.

Kerry then claimed “the president has now succeeded in getting 92 percent of those weapons out of Syria.”

“There is one last transfer that has to take place to get to 100 percent,” he said. “I believe it will take place.”

A May 23 letter to the UN Security Council from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon obtained by the New York Times paints a bleaker picture, noting that only five of 18 known chemical weapons production facilities had been closed in Syria. The deadline to clear the program is supposed to be June 30.

The Assad regime has also been using chlorine gas as its new chemical weapon of choice, a substance prohibited for weapons use under the Chemical Weapons Convention that Assad joined last year to avoid strikes.

Mike Bloomberg Warns Today’s College Kids, Profs to Knock Off the Neo-McCarthyism: Bryan Preston

Big Gulp banning Mayor Mike Bloomberg delivered an extraordinary speech at Harvard University. With conservative speakers getting banned and/or uninvited from university commencement ceremonies, Bloomberg took the opportunity at Harvard to, basically, tell the banners and uninviters to knock it off. He likened them to McCarthyism, which is unfair as McCarthy was actually fighting a totalitarian idea that was being pushed into the US by a hostile foreign power for the express purpose of weakening us and overthrowing capitalism. But that bit of moral confusion aside, and his support for the Ground Zero mosque aside along with it, Bloomberg delivers a strong defense of free speech. Stirring, even.

I’m as stunned to write that as you surely are reading it.

The important part starts after the six minute mark.

Bloomberg’s defenses of freedom of thought and speech are not a mere sidebar in the speech. They are the speech. Bloomberg strongly defends all dissent from the current leftist orthodoxy, even on gay marriage, and calls out universities for going so far left that they have become the very forces of intolerance they claim to oppose. And earns applause. No one even threw a pie at him.

Via Allahpundit, a few quotes.

“It is just a modern form of McCarthyism,” Bloomberg said of university “censorship” of conservatives. “Think about the irony: In the 1950s, the right wing was attempting to repress left wing ideas. Today, on many college campuses, it is liberals trying to repress conservative ideas even as conservative faculty members are at risk of becoming an endangered species.”

“And that is probably nowhere more true than it is here in the Ivy League,” declared Bloomberg…

Tidal Wave of Illegal Minors Crossing the Border By Rick Moran

More than 60,000 illegal children below the age of 18 will cross the border this year unaccompanied by an adult, and the government thinks that number is likely to double next year.

The flood of children from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and other Central American nations is putting a tremendous strain on government resources. Reuters reports that not only is there simply no room to house the children, but the budget problem makes it difficult to adequately care for them. It costs the U.S. $252 a day to care for each child and the total cost this year could reach $868 million. That number is expected to climb to $2 billion next year.

The tenfold increase in illegal minors crossing the border alone since 2011 is partly the result of relaxed deportation policies of the Obama administration. But it is also true that many of these children are escaping poverty, abuse, and rampant violence in their home countries.

The shortage of housing for these children, some as young as 3, has already become so acute that an emergency shelter at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, has been opened and can accommodate 1,000 of them, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in an interview with Reuters.

The issue is an added source of tension between Democrats and Republicans, who disagree on how to rewrite immigration laws. With comprehensive legislation stalled, President Barack Obama is looking at small, administrative steps he could take, which might be announced this summer. No details have been outlined but immigration groups are pressing him to take steps to keep families with children together.

The minors flooding over the border are often teenagers leaving behind poverty or violence in Mexico and other parts of Central America such as Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. They are sometimes seeking to reunite with a parent who is already in the United States, also without documentation.

“This is a humanitarian crisis and it requires a humanitarian response,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski said in an interview. The Maryland Democrat, a former social worker, has likened the flood of unaccompanied children to the “boat people” of past exodus movements.

Joe Kaufman :Florida Congressman (Joe Garcia (D) Florida-District 26) Accepts Money from Radical Muslim Group

Emerge USA is a Florida-based organization whose unstated goal is to give radical Muslims a political voice in America. One way they do this is by getting their leaders placed in key positions of power. Another way is by making friends with those already in power. United States Representative from Florida, Joe Garcia, is one of those friends. He has accepted thousands of dollars from Emerge for his 2014 reelection bid, and he has returned the favor by helping the group raise more money.

Earlier this month, Emerge held its annual fundraising dinner in Miami, at the DoubleTree Hotel and Airport Convention Center. Featured at the event was Sayed Ammar Nakshawani, an Islamic lecturer from England who is a devotee of Iran’s deceased terrorist leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and who has called for the destruction of Israel.

In a speech found on YouTube and the lecture section of his website, titled ‘Sayed Khomeini’s Quds Day,’ Nakshawani states, “The shame in this world is that, if we put ourselves down to a two-state solution, we would allow a country which has broken 60 UN resolutions to have their own freedom of peace. It is barbaric that this Zionist state is allowed to continue.”

Emerge advertised Nakshawani in an event flyer as well as an Emerge-produced video of Nakshawani telling people to attend.

Given Emerge’s past, having this man speak was no surprise. What was a surprise, though, was that a sitting U.S. Congressman, Joe Garcia, would also be speaking at the event, even after the leader of his political party, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, cancelled her keynote address in front of the same group just two years prior.

One of the two co-chairmen of Emerge is South Florida attorney Khurrum Basir Wahid. According to his bio, Wahid specializes in defending “individuals charged with allegedly committing or conspiring to commit acts of terrorism.”

Wahid’s clients include: Rafiq Abdus Sabir, who received a 25 year prison sentence for conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaeda; al-Qaeda member Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, who was given a life sentence for plotting to assassinate President George W. Bush; Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami al-Arian, who is presently under house arrest in Virginia; and Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan, a Miami, Florida imam who was convicted of funneling tens of thousands of dollars to the Taliban for the express purpose of murdering American troops.

Prior to helping found Emerge, Wahid was a legal advisor for the national office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and a director of CAIR’s Florida chapter. In 2007 and 2008, CAIR was named by the U.S. Justice Department as a co-conspirator to the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas.

In 2011, Wahid himself was placed on a U.S. government terrorist watch list.

DANIEL GREENFIELD: ON THE AMERICA-ISRAEL PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE (AIPAC)….(SEE NOTE PLEASE)

I agree with much in this column….but Greenfield is a tad too harsh here….AIPAC , like all the other major Jewish/Israel support groups has strayed from its founding mandate, namely, to represent the needs and goals of Israel. On the other hand, unlike others, who have waded into mainly liberal issues- abortion rights, climatology, etc., AIPAC has had a very beneficial outreach to conservative, Republican legislators who had no history of support for, or, interest in Israel….rsk

Like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, the Israel Lobby is a myth. AIPAC, like jolly bearded men sitting in shopping malls, exists. And like the men with fake beards and pillows under their red coats, it goes through the motions. Its activists lobby, its events attract politicians and the one thing that it and its enemies agree on is its vast sphere of political influence that, like Santa, is absolutely everywhere.

If you believe AIPAC, it’s an incredibly effective organization. If you believe its enemies, AIPAC runs America and parts of Canada. It’s not an accusation that AIPAC denies too hard. Mall Santas don’t deny that they have flying reindeer waiting for them on the roof. AIPAC is a fat man in a rented red suit and fake beard trying to pretend that it can do anything. But AIPAC would have better luck making reindeer fly than countering the dominant power of the anti-Israel left and the Saudi lobby in Washington D.C.

And that’s because it doesn’t even try.

When the Democratic Party’s platform deleted the usual mention of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, removed a call to boycott Hamas and opposition to the “Right of Return” vocal protests came from Jewish organizations.

AIPAC was not one of them.

DNC aides claimed that AIPAC had reviewed and approved the new party platform, a claim that it denied. AIPAC’s submission contained a reference to Jerusalem, but the organization, often wrongly described as “hard-line” or “right-wing” by the media, made no objection to its omission.

THE FIRST LADY’S CALORIES-The New School Lunch Rules Have Become a Rolling Fiasco.

One reason American politics is so polarized is the White House tendency to blindslide critics with personal attacks that misrepresent their views. This week’s school lunch drive-by is a classic of the genre, with first lady Michelle Obama and even the White House cook claiming Republicans are in favor of childhood obesity.

In remarks Tuesday, Mrs. Obama denounced what she called “efforts in Congress to roll back” federal nutrition standards for school cafeterias. “It’s unacceptable to me not just as first lady, but as a mother. . . . Our kids deserve so much better than that. They really do,” she said. The first lady followed up with a New York Times op-ed, “The Campaign for Junk Food,” in which she assailed “a bill to override science.”

Meanwhile, Sam Kass, who used to be an executive chef and now runs Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move program, declared that this anti-science bill would be “absolutely devastating” for child health, adding that “industry interests are definitely at play.” So Republicans aren’t merely wrong, they’re also on the take from the food lobby.

First lady Michelle Obama and Food Network chef Rachel Ray discussing lunches with students from the Eastside and Northside Elementary Schools in Clinton, Miss. in 2013. Associated Press

The GOP apparently provoked this carpet bombing by asking for modest flexibility in the nutrition regulations meant to promote more fruits, vegetables and whole grains and reduce meats and starch. The changes were mandated by a 2010 bill that passed with rare bipartisan support, but their implementation by the first lady and Agriculture Department has become a rolling fiasco.

The rules impose very specific quotas for the type and amount of food served. Cafeterias, for example, must feature five “vegetable subgroups” across “dark green, red/orange, beans/peas (legumes), starchy and ‘other’ vegetables.” Schools have had to eliminate popular menu items such as sandwiches. Two slices of bread over five days exceed the weekly grain limits.

DAVID GOLDMAN: THE POPE APPLIES A UNIVERSAL SLAVE TO THE MIDDLE EAST

There are two kinds of people: those who think that everyone will (or should be) saved, and those who don’t. Among the former are many – communist, socialists, and most present-day liberals – who assert that human agency can right all the world’s wrongs. There also are religious millenarians who believe that God has a plan for universal salvation, but because things do not work out this way, they feel obliged to help God accomplish what he does not seem eager enough to do on his own.

That is a religious outlook rejected by the Catholic Church. [1] After Pope Francis I’s journey to the Holy Land this weekend, though, it is hard to suppress the perception that in his heart he yearns for universal salvation, although his public discourse, to be sure, is consistent with Church doctrine. The Holy Father really seems convinced that he can fix the world, starting with a part of the world that no-one has been able to fix, and in any case does not especially require fixing.

His intervention into Middle Eastern politics, I believe, arises from deep theological convictions that override perceptions of fact and practicality. He appears to believe that a miracle will move the recalcitrant hearts of the contending parties in the Middle East. I believe in miracles, but I don’t think they can summoned at will.

Why focus on the Israel-Palestine issue to begin with? The Muslim world long since put it on the back burner, as Lee Smithobserved last year. In the pope’s mind, the problems of the Palestinians – benign as they are compared to those of Syrians, Iraqis or even Egyptians – stand as a symbol of the ills of the world that a just God would want to fix. Francis has mistaken windmills for giants.

The pope’s strangest gesture, but perhaps his most characteristic, was to invite Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestine Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas to the Vatican next month to pray for peace. Peres does not pray, as he hasacknowledged in public.

In the unlikely event that he were to pray, he could not do so in the Vatican, for Jews are forbidden to pray in buildings with Christian religious images. In any event he has no mandate to speak on Israel’s behalf, and will resign his largely ceremonial position in July. Outside of the world of miracles the exercise is triply pointless. According to most Islamic authorities, the same stricture applies to Abbas, who is not a religious man, either. A prayer session with Peres and Abbas is the stuff of the real maravilloso.

NIDRA POLLER: MARINE LE PEN SHOPPING FOR ALLIES IN THE EU- PART TWO

I endured a seven-hour TV marathon yesterday, beginning with Marine Le Pen’s press conference at the EU Parliament press center in Brussels, hopping from station to station, from newscast to debate, and ending with a 2-hour documentary on the Front National.

The Press Conference: a triumphant Marine Le Pen at the center and in the lead, flanked by Geert Wilders (PVV Netherlands), Harald Wilimsky (FPÖ Austria), Gerald Annemans (Vlaams Belang, Belgium), and Mateo Salvini (Northern League, Italy). Certain that her victory in France’s European elections has radically changed the face of Europe—“nothing will ever be the same”—she is supremely confident that she’ll find the two missing nationalities to complete her group and exert a strong influence in the EU Parliament as in domestic politics. The prospect is appetizing: if she can form a 7-nation group, she’ll get an operating budget of as much as 4 million euros, plus countless privileges and facilities. It’s not exactly equivalent to a seat on the UN Security Council, it will have little or no effect on the sluggish workings of the EU Parliament, but it will be hard cash and a sounding board to boost her French presidential ambitions.

The press conference was—theoretically—broadcast on the all-news BFM TV… except that they slipped coverage as soon as Geert Wilders began to speak… in English. I zapped, finally caught up with the event on France 24 / English in time to hear the last words of Wilders’ contribution. Then Wilinsky started to speak in German. No translation. And I haven’t been able to find a video of the entire press conference online.

From what I can gather, Marine is the Leader, the guys played supporting roles. L’Express cites a telling remark by Matteo Salvini: he says he is perfectly comfortable with Marine Le Pen even though members of the [Italian] Jewish community told him if he sat with her he would be outside the limits of democracy.

As it happens, President François Hollande was also in Brussels yesterday for a meeting of the EU Council (scheduled well in advance, not a crisis meeting as Marine Le Pen gleefully claimed). Hollande, known for his inveterate optimism, used his party’s disastrous score as leverage to warn the EU that it must heed the message and address the grievances of European citizens. This is a logical conclusion to the Socialist party line during the brief, pale, and unprofitable campaign. The problem with the EU, they argued, is not essential it’s partisan. Dominated by conservative parties, it produces austerity, inequality, injustice. When Europe-wide voters send a left wing majority to the EU Parliament, the people will have the Europe they want and need.

SYDNEY WILLIAMS: OBAMA AND THE COLLEGE RATING SYSTEM

The arrogance of President Obama and his Administration know no bounds. A recent example being a comment by the director of the White House Policy Council, Cecelia Muñoz, as quoted in Monday’s New York Times. The article, “Colleges Rattled as Obama Seeks Rating System,” dealt with a rating system the Obama Administration is designing for the nation’s 7000 colleges and universities that receive a total of $150 billion each year in federal loans and grants.

The problems the Administration cited as an excuse for another government bureaucracy are real: tuitions are rising at rates that exceed inflation, graduation rates have been declining, student debt is a growing concern and the job market sucks. All of these problems have at their source the incompetent hand of government. Assigning another government bureaucracy to fix the problem is akin to putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.

The article in the Times mentioned that many college presidents have taken umbrage with the idea that Washington is dictating a mandate that directly affects them. The president of a Virginia university is quoted: “This is a take-it-or-leave-it approach.” Ms. Muñoz countered that Mr. Obama had no patience for anyone who attempted to block the effort. “This is happening,” is the way she so imperiously put it.

Ignoring any feelings of schadenfreude at the squirming of college presidents who otherwise are so blindly liberal, it is the chutzpah of those like Ms. Muñoz and Jamienne Studley that is so disconcerting. The latter, a deputy under-secretary at the Department of Education flippantly announced that rating colleges would be “like rating a blender,” a curious but telling analogy, as blenders produce a uniform product from a variety of sources, while a university expects to produce thousands of products, differentiated by hundreds of fields of studies. While we blame these supercilious remarks on the individuals making them, they reflect the Administration.

Easy availability of student loans has allowed colleges to raise prices at a more rapid rate than free markets would have permitted. Pressure to increase funding for qualified students from low-income families has meant that those who can pay full freight must pay more. It has meant that only those in the top one percent of incomes can afford to pay full tuition. Many colleges have become bloated with administrative staffs that have grown more quickly than instructional staffs.