Google+

The Corner

The one and only.

The Latest Tweets from Team NRO . . .


Choosing to Remain Silent?



Text  


What Happened with Polygamy Law in Utah?



Text  



The decision by a Utah court yesterday regarding polygamy law only finalized a decision the court had made in December 2013, officially closing the case so the state can appeal to the Tenth Circuit.

A key point to remember: Polygamy is not now legal in Utah. One way to look at it is that Utah’s laws against the practice make it illegal to have more than one spouse at the same time. How would we know the law has been broken? Utah’s statute answers this by defining bigamy as “when, knowing he has a husband or wife or knowing the other person has a husband or wife, the person purports to marry another person or cohabits with another person.”

It’s the second part, regarding cohabitation, the court took issue with. Among other things, the court felt the state selectively prosecuted those who were open about being in polygamous relationships but not adulterers, even though the conduct is arguably the same. The judge also suggested there was some targeting of people who claim religious reasons for practicing polygamy (although it’s hard to think of any secular polygamists drawing attention to themselves in Utah).

A last note: There’s some real irony in the federal courts faulting Utah for its polygamy and same-sex marriage laws since guaranteeing only monogamous husband-wife marriage was probably the most important condition on Utah’s entry into the Union.

— William C. Duncan is director of the Marriage Law Foundation.

ADVERTISEMENT

Krauthammer’s Take: ‘I Thought the President Could No Longer Surprise Me. I Was Wrong’



Text  



On Thursday’s Special Report, Charles Krauthammer reacted to President Obama’s statement, “I don’t want to put the cart before the horse—we don’t have a strategy yet,” about the United States’ effort against the Islamic State. Krauthammer said he was shocked by Obama’s statement, especially considering the context in which the comment was made. 

“Look I thought that the president could no longer surprise me,” Krauthammer said. “I was wrong. He shocked me today. The President of the United States, in the middle of a real crisis, a few days after the beheading of an American, deliberately sort of spitting in the face of the country and demonstrating his cruelty, the president gets in front of the world and says, “I don’t have a strategy.” If that is true, don’t say anything. Why do you announce that you don’t have a strategy?”

But even worse than the president’s statement that he had no strategy to defeat the Islamic State, Krauthammer said, was his comment about Ukraine. Krauthammer summarized Obama’s comment on his strategy in Ukraine by saying Obama acknowledged that he had a strategy in Ukraine, which was “to do absolutely nothing.” 

“He basically said, “We’re going to do nothing. I’ll wait until I chat with the allies next week.” I thought he had a phone,” Krauthammer said. “How about picking up the phone and talking with the allies? You know the phone is a way to communicate rather rapidly.”  He went on to say Obama could have said today he would impose sanctions that have been discussed at great length. Host Bret Baier then chided Krauthammer for talking about a topic slated for the next panel discussion. Baier channeled Obama’s words from earlier today, saying that Krauthammer was “putting the cart before the horse,” to which Krauthammer responded, “But that’s because I don’t have a strategy.”   

Web Briefing: August 28, 2014

WH Clarifies Obama’s ‘We Don’t Have a Strategy’ Comment: We Have One, Just Not in Syria



Text  



​Within a couple hours of President Obama’s telling reporters that “we don’t have a strategy yet” for taking on the Islamic State, White House press secretary Josh Earnest clarified that President Obama does have a strategy, or at least part of one.

He told CNN that the White House has outlined an approach for addressing the Islamic State’s efforts in Iraq, but is still awaiting to hear back from the Pentagon on military options in Syria, which is what the president was referring to. In part, Earnest explained, the Pentagon is exploring a broader strategy beyond just American military involvement.

“Those options are still being developed by the Pentagon,” he said. “They obviously have spent a lot of time working on this, and they’re still working through it.”

Even though the president doesn’t yet have a plan for Syria, Earnest repeatedly referred to the president’s strategy as ”comprehensive.”

After the commercial, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki reiterated Earnest’s comments, saying that the administration has a larger strategy but no plan for Syria yet.

ADVERTISEMENT

Lerner’s BlackBerry: Is There a Scandal?



Text  



There’s nothing scandalous about the IRS’s discarding the BlackBerry of disgraced official Lois Lerner, says an agency IT official.

He tells me that “personal folders” — that is, e-mails moved from the IRS server to the hard drive of a user’s computer — are rarely synchronized with BlackBerry devices. It is the e-mails in the personal folders that the agency claims were lost forever when Lerner’s hard drive crashed in June 2011. The rest of her files were, of course, backed up on the server.

“If her personal folders had existed on her BlackBerry,” says the source, IT employees “wouldn’t have been jumping through all the hoops to recover data from the drive.” Those “hoops,” he says, include consultation with forensic technologists in the agency’s criminal-investigation division.

That was done not because Lerner was the subject of a congressional investigation — in fact, though the House Oversight Committee had begun to ask questions about the agency’s targeting of conservative groups in February 2012, there was no formal investigation underway when her device was tossed in June — but because she was “a big shot” and an official at the deputy-commissioner level demanded that IT officials go to great lengths to recover her information anyway.

So, based on the account of one IRS insider with knowledge of the agency’s IT procedures, Lerner and her various devices were getting special treatment, but not the sort that so many media accounts have broadcast.

Islamic Supremacism and Rape



Text  



As recounted in Ian Tuttle’s bracing reports (here and here) about rapes committed by Muslims in Rotherdam, England, this is a longstanding European scandal the cover-up of which brings shame – more shame – to the Western media. In my 2010 book The Grand Jihad, on the Islamist-supremacist threat to the West, I described rape by Muslim immigrants as “the unspoken epidemic of Western Europe.” The book goes on to discuss the unmentionable Islamic doctrinal and cultural underpinnings of the epidemic:

As a violent jihadist tactic, [rape] has long been an infamous weapon in the Sudanese Islamist regime’s genocidal arsenal, used first against Christians and animists in the south in the early Nineties and, more recently, in western Sudan against the Muslims of Darfur, whom Islamists judge to be insufficiently Islamic.  Now, with the tide of immigration, jihad by rape has been imported to Europe, where indignation by the politically correct press is predictably reserved not for the perpetrators but for the few journalists willing to report on it.

Consistent with [top Muslim Brotherhood sharia jurist] Sheikh [Yusuf] Qaradawi’s aforementioned view that the rape victim is to blame for her plight if she has failed to adhere to fundamentalist protocols for women’s attire, Shahid Mehdi, a top Islamic cleric in Denmark, has explained that women who fail to don a headscarf are asking to be raped (an admonition also given voice by Sheik Faiz Mohammed, a prominent Lebanese cleric, during a lecture he delivered in Australia) (See Sharon Lapkin, “Western Muslims’ Racist Rape Spree”, FrontPageMag.com, Dec. 29, 2005). Not surprisingly given such encouragement, Fjordman painstakingly documents that it has become a commonplace for young Muslim men to participate in sexual assaults and absolve themselves from culpability. (See here, here and here.) As a psychologist working in the prison system, the incomparable Theodore Dalrymple witnessed the six-fold spike in Britain’s Muslim inmate population between 1990 and 2005.  He bluntly notes that “thanks to their cultural inheritance, [the Muslims’] abuse of women is systematic rather than unsystematic as it is with” white and black inmates. (See Theodore Dalrymple, “Our prisons are fertile ground for cultivating suickde bombers”, The Times of London, July 30, 2005.) Robert Spencer elaborates [in “The Rape Jihad”, FrontPageMag.com, Sept. 24, 2004]:

The Islamic legal manual ‘Umdat al-Salik, which carries the endorsement of Al-Azhar University, the most respected authority in Sunni Islam, stipulates:  “When a child or a woman is taken captive, they become slaves by the fact of capture, and the woman’s previous marriage is immediately annulled.”  Why? So that they are free to become the concubines of their captors.  The Qur’an permits Muslim men to have intercourse with their wives and their slave girls:  “Forbidden to you are . . . married women, except those whom you own as slaves” (Sura 4:23-24).

As atrocious as rape is on its own, the Sudanese experience demonstrates that it is even more harrowing as a component in a broader intimidation campaign.  Writing in Frontpage Magazine, the former Australian army officer Sharon Lapkin has recounted (article linked above, my italics in excerpt):

Retired Australian detective Tim Priest warned in 2004 that the Lebanese gangs, which emerged in Sydney in the 1990s—when the police were asleep—had morphed out of control. “The Lebanese groups,” he said, “were ruthless, extremely violent, and they intimidated not only innocent witnesses, but even the police that attempted to arrest them.”  Priest describes how in 2001, in a Muslim dominated area of Sydney two policemen stopped a car containing three well-known Middle Eastern men to search for stolen property. As the police carried out their search they were physically threatened and the three men claimed they were going to track them down, kill them and then rape their girlfriends. . . .  As the Sydney police called for backup the three men used their mobile phones to call their associates, and within minutes, 20 Middle Eastern men arrived on the scene. They punched and pushed the police and damaged state vehicles. The police retreated and the gang followed them to the police station where they intimidated staff, damaged property and held the police station hostage.  Eventually the gang left, the police licked their wounds, and not one of them took action against the Middle Eastern men. Priest claims, “In the minds of the local population, the police are cowards and the message was, ‘Lebanese [Muslim gangs] rule the streets.’”

The situation, Lapkin learned, was the same in Malmo, Sweden’s third largest city, where police concede that they are no longer in control.  Muslim immigrant gangs rule the streets.  To make their dominion emphatic, even ambulance personnel are routinely attacked and abused.  They won’t go into many neighborhoods without police protection, and the police, in turn, will not enter without additional back-up. 

Islamists are taking the measure of the West and finding it to be a shallow, self-loathing husk.  When Muslims riot over mere cartoons, the intelligentsia’s first impulse is to condemn the publisher.  After an Islamist terrorist’s brutal murder of Theo van Gogh, who directed Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s screenplay “Submission,” about the treatment of women in Islam, the first impulse of the Netherlands was to encourage Ms. Hirsi Ali to leave the country.  In Birmingham, a conservative group called the “English Defense League” has demonstrated in opposition to what it is careful to call militant Islam, stressing that it has no quarrel with Islam or with Muslims who do not wish to change British law or life.  Predictably, Muslim groups reacted violently, exhorted by imams at the Birmingham Central Mosque to show the umma’s “solidarity.”  The first impulse of the British media?  To side with the rampaging Muslims, whom they portrayed as heroic “anti-fascists”—fighting side-by-side with their socialist allies, to challenge the “anti-Islamic” activists of the right-wing.” (See here and here.)

These are but a surface scratch of the mosaic that gives Sheikh Qaradawi such confidence that Islam will “conquer” Europe—that Islam is this minute conquering Europe—and that it will eventually bring America to heel as well. 

Gohmert: Pass ‘Declaration of War Against Radical Islam’



Text  



Congressional approval for military action against the Islamic State, as the president suggested today, isn’t an adequate response for Representative Louie Gohmert (R., Texas) — he wants a “declaration of war against radical Islam.”

Gohmert criticized the president’s approach to Syria, warning that bombing President Bashar Assad a year ago, as the president had initially promised, would have given the Islamic State control over the whole country, which would have been a much worse outcome. For the time being, the United States should not take actions that end up benefiting the Islamic State, Gohmert said, and should instead accept the lesser of two evils, the Assad regime.

“He has consistently chosen, with whatever ridiculous advice he’s been getting, the side of the radical Islamist,” Gohmert said on Fox News Wednesday. If the president were to call for military action against the Islamic State, the Texas congressman said, he’d get congressional approval for that and more.

“I think a lot us would be willing to have a declaration of war against radical Islam, including al-Qaeda, ISIS, ISIL, all of these splinter groups, the ones in Libya,” Gohmert said. “We could name them and I don’t think a lot of us would have a problem.”

Hillary Finally Speaks on Ferguson



Text  



After repeated calls from the left for her to comment on the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., Hillary Clinton’s offered her first public remarks regarding the shooting death of Michael Brown, choosing to repeat many of the same themes discussed over the past few weeks.

“This is what happens when the bonds of trust and respect that hold any community together fray,” she said on Thursday in San Francisco. “Nobody wants to see our streets look like a war zone — not in America, we are better than that.”

While she commended community leaders and law enforcement for their efforts to keep the peace, the potential 2016 hopeful also emphasized the root causes of the unrest, such as the lack of opportunity in minority communities and the perceived unfairness of the criminal-justice system.

She went on to invoke the words of Martin Luther King Jr. by calling on the crowd at the Nexenta’s OpenSDx Summit to help “make the dream real” for all Americans.

Obama: ‘We Don’t Have a Strategy Yet’ on ISIS



Text  



President Obama refrained from saying whether he would seeking congressional approval to take military action against the Islamic State due, in part, to his administration’s not having decided precisely what to do about the situation.

“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse — we don’t have a strategy yet,” the president told reporters on Thursday. While he will consult with Congress throughout the process, the president said the strategy is being developed, and believes he has the authority to act if need be.

“There’s no point in me asking for action on the part of Congress before I know exactly what it is that is going to be required for us to get the job done,” he continued.

Will Holder Ignore Double Voting in Virginia?



Text  



The latest discovery of illegal double voting in Virginia and Maryland will give Attorney General Eric Holder yet another opportunity to ignore voter fraud, which he has continually dismissed as an inconsequential problem.

In June, I wrote about how the U.S. Justice Department was totally uninterested in investigating or prosecuting possible non-citizens who had illegally registered and voted in Fairfax County, Virginia, where I formerly was a member of the electoral board.

While I was still on the board in 2011, we sent a letter to both the Justice Department and the county prosecutor, Raymond F. Morrogh (D.) informing them that in checking with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, we discovered 278 registered voters who, when they got their driver’s license, informed the DMV that they were not U.S. citizens; 117 of them had actually voted in multiple elections. Registration and voting by non-citizens are serious violations of both state and federal law.

Neither the Justice Department nor Murrogh did anything about this. The lone Democrat on our electoral board even voted against turning this information over to prosecutors, and the local Democratic party successfully lobbied local judges to make sure I was not reappointed to the board. Trying to ensure the integrity of the election process was apparently just too much for them.

Now, the current board has discovered 17 individuals who voted in both Fairfax County and Montgomery County, Maryland, in the 2012 election and “in some instances, on multiple occasions going back for a considerable period of time,” according to letters the board sent to the Justice Department, Morrogh, and Virginia attorney general Mark Herring on Aug. 22.

This is not a case of voters with the same name being mistakenly confused as the same individual. All 17 voters were identified by their full name, date of birth, and Social Security number, according to the Virginia Voters Alliance (VVA), a citizens’ organization that turned these names over to the electoral board.

It was the VVA — along with another citizens’ group dedicated to election integrity, Election Integrity Maryland (EIM) — that did the research on the voter files in Virginia and Maryland to find these illegal voters. And this may be only the tip of the iceberg: VVA and EIM turned the names of 43,893 individuals who appear to be registered in both states over to the State Boards of Elections in Virginia and Maryland. Fairfax County alone has more than 10,000 such duplicate registrations. These 17 voters are only a subset of at least 164 voters their research showed voted in both states in the 2012 election.

This in a state in which the 2013 attorney general’s race was won by Democrat Mark Herring by fewer than 1,000 votes out of 2.2 million cast, and the 2005 attorney general’s race was decided by fewer than 400 votes.

Will Eric Holder, Mark Herring, or Commonwealth attorney Raymond Morrogh do anything about this voter fraud? Or will they ignore it like both Holder and Morrogh did before? After all, Holder claims that efforts to curb voter fraud are merely attempts to deprive individuals of their right to vote — or in this case, their right to vote twice.

NR Seeks Full-Time Editor



Text  



National Review is hiring a full-time editor. Applicants should have several years of experience and be familiar with, and enthusiastic about, National Review. If you are interested, please send a résumé and a cover letter to editorial.applications (at) nationalreview.com.

Ex-KGB General: Russia Has Already Won



Text  



Russia has already won the real victory”​ in Ukraine, according to a former KGB general living in the United States.

“The Crimea is now Russian, that’s very important,” Oleg Kalugin, one of the top Soviet spies in the United States during the Cold War, told National Review Online. “Southeast of Ukraine, that’s part of the general battle between the Russians and Ukrainians, but it’s not as crucial as the real victory and pride of Russia — the Crimea, I mean.”

The Thursday-morning phone interview took place in the context of media reports that Russia had invaded Ukraine, but Kalugin reiterated that he does not believe Russian president Vladimir Putin wants annex another region of the country.

“I believe they’re just trying to do their best to keep as much as they can of pro-Russian population and communities in that area; but Russia does not plan, I am sure, to take the southeastern part of Ukraine just like they did with the Crimea,” Kalugin said.

“It will certainly do it’s best to provide secure access to the Crimea through that part of Ukraine, because otherwise the Crimea can only be accessed by the Black Sea, by water, and this is not the safest way,” he added.

Kalugin said he doubts Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko’s claims that “Russian troops were brought into Ukraine.”

“For political leaders, it’s important to maintain their stance and make people feel that things are still quite dangerous while he may know well that things are going to a peaceful solution,” Kalugin said. “Russia will not move any [troops] forward while western nations are alerted” due to the risk of expanded economic sanctions.

“It’s not in the interest of Putin,” Kalugin said. “His position as of today is fairly strong in the country, in his own country, so why put it at risk by moving further?”

Although Kalugin expects the Russians to keep a “low-profile” in Ukraine, he agreed that Putin has an interest in fomenting unrest in the country by providing weaponry and perhaps special forces assistance to the separatists.

“The tactical victory would be most likely the pro-Russian forces in that part of Ukraine will eventually triumph and Russia will be satisfied,” he said. “It will not necessarily be exactly to a Russian notion of how things should be, but at least it will not be pro-NATO, pro-Western.”

Dem Rep. Hopes Obama Will Amnesty Up to 6 Million Immigrants



Text  



Another Democratic representative remains hopeful that President Obama will follow through on reports that he may unilaterally grant legal status to 5 to 6 million immigrants in the United States illegally. Representative Raúl Grijalva of Arizona called the potential order the only option to address immigration reform at this point due to Congress’s inaction.

“We’re down to a final option where administrative relief will help many, many families and communities across this country,” Grijalva said on MSNBC on Thursday. “The president on a domestic issue of this size is doing the right thing by not being deterred — I hope it’s bold.”

He echoed Representative Luis Gutiérrez’s (D., Ill.) predictions that 5 to 6 million people could receive legal status, which would include those who are DACA-eligible and their families, among others.

More Rotherham Horrors: Teen Raped by 250 Men Over Two Years, Police Informed and Did Nothing



Text  



I wrote yesterday about the horrifying news from Rotherham, England: An estimated 1,400 children were victims of child sexual exploitation between 1997 and 2013, according to an independent inquiry commissioned last fall by Rotherham’s Metropolitan Borough Council. But because the perpetrators were overwhelmingly “Asian” — for the most part, Muslim men from Pakistan — local authorities, from social-services managers to law enforcement, regularly neglected reports of rape, assault, and sex trafficking for fear of being deemed racist.

Today, a U.K. newspaper illustrates in ghastly detail what young girls in Rotherham have faced for nearly two decades. The Mirror reports that a Rotherham teenager, “Emma,” was raped daily for two years and subjected to a mock execution. When she went to the police with the names of 250 of her attackers, law enforcement did nothing:

Emma told how she was first groomed aged 12 by a boy of 17 who came from a wealthy family with Pakistani heritage.

A year later she was raped at an outdoor market while her friend was forced to watch. . . .

Her abuser raped her once a week and then passed her around his friends and relatives, including his brother-in-law and cousins.

“We would be in Rotherham town centre and a car would pull up,” explained Emma. “They’d tell me to get into the other car. I was driven to the park and then locked in with a man. . . .

“They also locked me in a bedroom flat, took all my clothes off and sent in man after man. I was there for about six hours.” . . .

When Emma finally went to the police, she was told that, given that it was her word against her alleged abuser’s, her case “probably wouldn’t go to court.”

Emma is now 25.

Another teenager, “Jessica,” was 14 years old when she was “groomed” by a 25-year-old “Asian” abuser. Her relationship included not only sexual abuse, but life-threatening violence:

“I was so used to violence — he punched me, he headbutted me. That was normal life. He knew I was terrified of heights and used that to scare me.

“He would threaten to drive off a cliff with me in the car. So many times he sped up to 90mph and skidded to a halt just before the edge. He’d then say he was going to throw me off the cliff.

“He actually drove through two cars and into a church during one attempt to kill me. I was 15 and pregnant at the time. I was rushed to hospital.

“One time he saw me chatting to a boy at school. When I got in the car he smashed my face into the dashboard. I’d say he tried to kill me between 20 and 30 times.

“We went to the police every other day and spoke to some senior officers,” Jessica told the Mirror, “but nothing happened.”

The magnitude of Rotherham leaders’ dereliction of duty is staggering — and it is a direct consequence of political correctness. Moreover, the same thing is likely happening throughout England. What, exactly, has to happen before we can talk about that?

Against a Romney Rerun



Text  



I comment on the latest flurry of talk about Romney ’16 here.

Republicans in 2016 will be running for a White House that has been in the other party’s control for eight years. There will be natural “time for a change” sentiment, perhaps heightened by the likelihood that the Democratic nominee will be someone who has been at the highest level of American politics for a quarter century. That argues for a candidate who offers fresh ideas and a chance for the public to turn the page. Romney is not the most natural choice to deliver that message.

Report: Another American Dies Fighting for ISIS in Syria



Text  



A second Minnesota man has died fighting for the Islamic State in Syria, according to multiple reports.

The family of Abdiraaman Muhumed of Minneapolis recently received word of that their son had died in the same recent battle where American Douglas McAuthur McCain died as well. NBC News first reported the death of McCain, who also grew up in the Twin Cities area, earlier this week.

Minnesota Public Radio featured Muhumed in a June story, in which he said, “I give up this worldly life for Allah” and “Allah loves those who fight for his cause.” He added that he was “happy” with being considered a terrorist in the name of Islam, and hoped his mother would come to understand his decision to join the militant group.

Minneapolis, which boasts a large Somali community, has also seen young men leave the city to fight for al-Shabaab, a jihadist group in Somalia.

A local Somali community leader told KMSP that the Islamic State has not only been recruiting men in the area to fight on their behalf, but has started “brainwashing” women to marry them off to the fighters.

Vt. Diner That Took Down Bacon Sign Hires PR Firm



Text  



Sneakers Bistro and Cafe’s decision to take down a sign advertising its bacon following complaints from a vegan-Muslim woman has brought on a public-relations firm to deal with the fallout.

Over the weekend, the Winooski, Vt., diner apologized to a local woman after she left an online comment taking issue issue with an sign reading “Yield for Sneakers Bacon” in the city’s traffic median. The woman called it insensitive to those who don’t eat pork.

The Burlington Free Press reports Sneakers Bistro and Cafe brought on People Making Good, a local firm, following the slew of the national and social-media backlash. The firm will work to show how the diner made the correct decision in taking the sign down.

“Chances are if you’re making the right decision, it will end up okay in the end and I really do think that will be the case here for Sneakers,” a representative with the firm said. She predicted the local community will support the diner, even if national media attention is critical.

Did Obama Admin Even Consider Whether Executive Action on Tax Inversions Would Be Legal? Maybe Not.



Text  



The Obama administration may not have sought an opinion from the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel before seeking a questionable executive-branch fix to prevent companies from reducing their tax burden by moving overseas, new reporting from National Review Online finds.

Some background: The Wall Street Journal editorial page noted earlier this month:

Mr. Obama has conceded [overseas tax inversions] are legal, and as recently as July 16 Mr. Lew told CNBC that “we have looked at the tax code. There are a lot of obscure provisions that we do not believe we have the authority to address this inversion question through administrative action. If we did, we would be doing more.”

But lo, on [Aug. 5] a spokeswoman announced that Treasury “is reviewing a broad range of authorities for possible administrative actions” to limit inversions “as well as approaches that could meaningfully reduce the tax benefits after inversions take place.”

Hello? That sure sounds like rewriting tax law by executive fiat, which violates the Constitution’s separation of powers. The rewrite is all the more legally suspicious since no one at Treasury or the Justice Department seems to have been aware of this power before Mr. Obama began denouncing the “unpatriotic tax loophole.” From where does Mr. Lew derive this power to act like a one-man Ways and Means Committee?

Then again this Administration doesn’t seem to care if it has a legal explanation for its unilateral actions. That stands in marked contrast to other recent Administrations, which typically consulted the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) for advice on controversial legal issues.

We were curious, too, whether the Obama administration had sought a legal opinion before its whiplash-inducing reversal on whether it had the authority to impose tax-inversion restrictions.

So we filed a records request asking for “all OLC memos prepared for any executive agency or department regarding consultation on administrative actions (i.e., executive actions) to limit tax inversions or reduce the tax benefits after inversions take place.”

Here was the Department of Justice’s response:

A search of OLC’s files has located no documents responsive to your request. For your information, Congress excluded three discrete categories of law enforcement and national security records from the requirements of the [Freedom of Information Act]. … This response is limited to those records that are subject to the requirements of FOIA. This is a standard notification that is given to all our requesters and should not be taken as an indication that excluded records do, or do not, exist.

Pardon?

The DOJ’s letter could reasonably be interpreted as an Obama administration admission that it never sought an OLC opinion on the legality of potential executive action before plowing forward.

Then again, given this administration’s poor track record on transparency, perhaps it’s playing linguistic games: For example, maybe any opinion offered wasn’t in a format a form the DOJ considers a “memo,” or perhaps the DOJ doesn’t consider certain records a “consultation.”

We’ll be doing some more exploring, so stay tuned.

— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for National Review as a Thomas L. Rhodes Fellow for the Franklin Center. She is also a Senior Fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum.

‘Warren Buffett Betrays America’



Text  



I wrote my Politico column today on the Burger King fracas and the bumptious nationalism of the Left on this issue:

This outpouring of patriotic fervor is something to behold, especially from the same sort of people who used to think expecting a politician to wear a flag lapel pin was a crudely nationalistic imposition.

The left almost universally scorns the idea that a closely held family business might have religious motivations — and was outraged by the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision for this reason — yet believes that enormous globe-bestriding corporations should have patriotic feelings.

Burger King is owned, by the way, by a Brazilian private equity firm. Its Brazilian patriotism should be in doubt, too, since it showed no sign of sinking into a months-long funk after Germany crushed Brazil in the World Cup semifinal.

In most other contexts, Obama is a proud “citizen of the world.”

Except when it come to taxing businesses. Then, he is transformed into the Giuseppe Garibaldi of American progressivism. For him, patriotism is the last refuge of the taxman.

Ukrainian PM: ‘Russian Military Boots Are on Ukrainian Ground’



Text  



Ukrainian prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk accounced today that Russia had “unleashed a new war in Europe” and that “Russian boots are on Ukrainian ground.” According to BBC News, over 1,000 Russian troops (reports are unclear whether they are in official uniform) have crossed into Ukraine and are currently fighting alongside pro-Russian rebels. They now control the Ukrainian border city of Novoazovsk and are attempting to seize Mariupol, a strategic port located on the Sea of Azov — a rebel spokesman has said they will soon “liberate” the port city. The Ukrainian military is now concentrating on strengthening Mariupol’s defenses.

In an interview with Russian television, rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko claimed that all Russian troops fighting alongside the rebels are doing so as “volunteers,” and are either on leave or retired from active duty.

NATO Brigadier General Niko Tak told BBC News that in the last two weeks, the organization has “detected large quantities of advanced weapons, including air defense systems, artillery, tanks, and armored personnel carriers being transferred [from Russia] to separatist forces in eastern Ukraine.”

“Russia is reinforcing and resupplying separatist forces in a blatant attempt to change the momentum of the fighting, which is currently favoring the Ukrainian military,” he added.

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko abruptly canceled a planned trip to Turkey and convened a meeting of the Ukrainian security council in response to the conflict’s escalation.

Pages

Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

NRO Polls on LockerDome

Subscribe to National Review