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Jeff Sessions: House Border Bill Is a ‘Surrender To a Lawless President’



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Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) denounced the House Republican border bill as a “surrender to a lawless president” because the legislation does not include any language to prevent President Obama from expanding his unilateral legalization of illegal immigrants.

Here’s the statement:

The Obama Administration has openly declared its plan to implement a unilateral executive amnesty for 5–6 million more illegal immigrants. This unlawful amnesty—urged on by congressional Democrats—would include work permits, taking jobs directly from millions of struggling American citizens.

Any action Congress might consider to address the current border crisis would be futile should the President go forward with these lawless actions. Congress must speak out and fight against them. It must use its spending power to stop the President’s executive amnesty.

That the House leaders’ border package includes no language on executive actions is surrender to a lawless President. And it is a submission to the subordination of congressional power.

After years of falling wages and rising joblessness, American workers are pleading for someone to hear them. How can it be that our President is brazenly advertising that he will nullify and strip away American workers’ immigration protections, and their own elected leaders will not rise to their defense? Or to the defense of our laws and our Constitutional order?

There are other grave concerns with the Granger package as well: because it does not fix our asylum rules and loopholes, the end result of the additional judges and hearings will be more illegal immigrants gaining asylum and access to U.S. welfare. It is a plan for expedited asylum, not expedited removal.

Nor will this package make our rogue President actively enforce anything, coming nowhere close to the kinds of reasonable enforcement activities needed to restore the interior application of our immigration laws.

And finally, a package that is silent on blocking amnesty creates an opportunity for Senate Democrats to add elements of their party’s open borders and mass immigration agenda.

This legislation is unworthy of support.

 

Burn the Witch! Roger Pielke Jr. Out at FiveThirtyEight



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Well, this was predictable. Per Talking Points Memo:

Roger Pielke Jr. said Monday that he left FiveThirtyEight, ending a short-lived but turbulent stint with the site launched by Nate Silver earlier this year.

Pielke, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado, told Discover Magazine that after editors at the site “showed some reluctance” in publishing his work, he told FiveThirtyEight managing editor Mike Wilson that “it was probably best that we part ways.”

Pielke’s time at FiveThirtyEight got off to a stormy start shortly after the site went live in March. In his first piece for the site, Pielke wrote that the increased cost of natural disasters is not the result of climate change — a premise that was heavily criticized.

Pielke wrote a follow-up to that article two days later, and Silver commissioned a rebuttal the following week. But Pielke only wrote three more piecesfor the site after that, all of which focused on sports and not climate.

The viciousness with which the Left will turn on its own if they step even slightly out of line really is something to behold. As I noted earlier in the year, Pielke’s hiring was met with a full-on freakout:

“Disinformer!” the Daily Kos screamed. “One of the country’s leading tricksters on climate change,” charged the Huffington Post. “Inaccurate and misleading,” was ThinkProgress’s measured verdict. Even that doyen of professionalism and sworn enemy of hyperbole, Michael Mann, weighed in, knocking his foe for his “pattern of sloppiness.” The pile-on was as predictable as it was unjust. At root, Pielke’s biggest crimes are to have walked at slightly different pace than his peers and to have refused to bow to the president. Pielke accepts the IPCC’s view of the climate-change question but suggests in parallel that man’s response is unlikely to have a “perceptible impact on the climate for many decades” and that civilization should thus adapt to, rather than attempt to prevent, change. Elsewhere, Pielke has corrected Barack Obama’s “science czar,” John Holdren, who has recently taken to claiming that everything under the sun is the product of global warming — droughts, hurricanes, wildfires — and who never misses a chance, in Pielke’s words, to “[exaggerate] the state of scientific understanding.” For this unconscionable resistance to fashion, Silver and his hire were marked for destruction.

Later, he would fall foul of Michael Mann. Per TPM:

The fallout was compounded after two climate scientists who criticized the article, Michael Mann and Kevin Trenberth, came forward citing emails Pielke sent them.

“Once again, I am formally asking you for a public correction and apology,” Pielke wrote to Trenberth in an email, which was shared with the Huffington Post in March. “If that is not forthcoming I will be pursuing this further. More generally, in the future how about we agree to disagree over scientific topics like gentlemen?”

Pielke called the criticism “pretty coarse and perhaps even libelous” in his email to Trenberth, and he used similar language in his email to Mann.

“I see you quoted in the media characterizing my work, and in light of your ongoing lawsuit related to libel, I want to make sure that you have been quoted correctly,” Pielke said in the email, which was provided to TPM by Mann.

Pielke went on to cite three instances in which he claimed Mann engaged in “false and potentially libelous smears.”

In an interview with Discover Magazine, published yesterday, Pielke was resolute, suggesting that Nate Silver should have shown more “editorial backbone” and explaining that he could not fulfill his role if was expected to self-censor. “Seeing a campaign organized to have me fired from 538 also taught me a lesson about the importance of academic tenure,” he told Keith Kloor. Moreover:

If a widely published academic cannot publish on a subject which he has dozens of peer-reviewed papers and 1000s of citations to his work, what can he write on?  Clearly Nate is a smart guy, and I suspect that he knows very well where the evidence lies on this topic. For me, if the price of playing in the DC-NYC data journalism world is self-censorship for fear of being unpopular, then it is clearly not a good fit for any academic policy scholar.

Worst of all, Pielke argued, was the manner in which respected academics and journalists piled on. While the vitriol that was pushed his way, he said, was “a pretty strong indication that (a) your arguments matter and (b) people have a hard time countering them on their merits,” he was surprised to see the likes of Paul Krugman and John Holdren jumping in. “That they make such false claims with apparently no consequences says something about the nature of debate surrounding climate.” Indeed it does. But does it really matter? Ultimately, Krugman, Holdren, and all of the other sordid little conductors of the hive-minded mob got exactly what they wanted – ensuring in the process that the next editor who thinks it might be fun to include someone heteredox on his team will quickly see his outlet condemned in toto. Another win for the machine.

 

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NR Seeks Assistant to the Editor



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National Review is seeking an assistant to the editor to work in our New York office. Must be organized, detail-oriented, interested in politics, calm under pressure, and friendly. Key responsibilities and duties include:

Handling scheduling and travel arrangements

Light research, fact-checking, and editing

Assisting in production of magazine

Managing relationships with contributors

Please send a cover letter and résumé to mpeace (at) nationalreview.com with the subject line “Assistant to the Editor.”

Web Briefing: July 31, 2014

John Boehner: Harry Reid’s ‘Deceitful and Cynical’ Ploy to Kill House Bill



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House speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) accused Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) of making a “deceitful and cynical attempt to derail” the House Republicans’ border-crisis package by suggesting that Democrats would add the Gang of Eight comprehensive immigration legislation to the bill.

Boehner slammed the door on Reid’s idea in a statement provided to National Review Online:

“Senator Reid, embarrassed that he cannot strong-arm the Senate into passing the blank check President Obama demanded, is making a deceitful and cynical attempt to derail the House’s common-sense solution.  So let me be as clear as I can be with Senator Reid: the House of Representatives will not take up the Senate immigration reform bill or accept it back from the Senate in any fashion.  Nor will we accept any attempt to add any other comprehensive immigration reform bill or anything like it, including the DREAM Act, to the House’s targeted legislation, which is meant to fix the actual problems causing the border crisis.  Such measures have no place in the effort to solve this crisis, and any attempt to exploit this crisis by adding such measures will run into a brick wall in the People’s House.”

“While the White House has abandoned all pretense of governing and the Senate is doing almost nothing to address our struggling economy, Republicans remain committed to addressing the American people’s priorities, and that includes passing a responsible bill this week to help secure our border and return these children safely to their home countries.” 

 

 

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The Obama Approach Metastasizes



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Charlie A. Dooley, the county executive for St. Louis County, Missouri, has apparently decided to follow President Obama’s example, and simply sign an executive order when the legislature (in his case, the county council rather than Congress) won’t do his bidding. He then vetoed a subsequent bill because he didn’t like it as much as his executive order. 

The executive order he has signed is Obama-esque in its content, too, setting percentage “goals” (read “quotas”) by race for county contracting. What’s even more bizarre, though, is that the reason given for his contracting preferences is to increase workforce “diversity.”  That raises all kinds of additional constitutional problems and factual questions:

1. Has it been shown which groups are underrepresented in which workforce?

2. Has it been shown that all the companies being given contracting preferences have more underrepresented workers than all the companies that aren’t being given contracting preferences?

3. Of course, racial preferences in this context can be used only to remedy discrimination, but has the underrepresentation of some groups in the workforce been shown to be caused by discrimination?

4. And even if the answer to 3 is “yes,” are there no better ways to remedy the discrimination than the roundabout method of giving contracting preferences (especially if the answer to 2 is “no”)?

Another nice touch: The executive order defines the various favored racial “minorities” to include those who “Maintain cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition with any of the original peoples of the North American continent, or demonstrate at least one-quarter descent from such groups.” 

Mr. Dooley faces a primary vote next Tuesday, by the way, and it’s speculated that what we have here is some racial politicking by him.

‘So Yes, the Talk of Impeachment Is in Part a Plot by the White House.’



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That’s Paul Waldman over at the Plum Line at the Washington Post. His post is devoted to excoriating Republicans, but acknowledges the cynical game the White House is playing here.

Kiss of Death? Harry Reid Plans to Add Gang of Eight to ‘Meaningless’ House Border Bill



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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) announced his plan to add the ‘Gang of Eight’ comprehensive immigration legislation to any border crisis package that House Republicans might pass, a revelation so likely to diminish conservative support for the bill that it suggests he’s trying to spike the House package.

“If they pass that, maybe it’s an opening for us to have a conference on our comprehensive immigration reform,” Reid told reporters Tuesday when asked about the House Republican border package produced by Texas Representative Kay Granger’s working group.

“He can’t do that, he doesn’t have the votes,” a House leadership aide said in response, dismissing Reid’s comments as an attempt to kill the bill in the House.

When a reporter asked if that threat might discourage House members from passing anything, Reid denied that he was “threatening anything.”

Reid’s remarks can only elevate the fears of immigration hawks who have urged House Republicans from passing any legislation.

“I don’t want to see a vehicle coming out of the House that gives Harry Reid a chance to attach the Gang of Eight language to it and then send it back to the House and say, ‘We have all of these kids that are down here pouring into the United States, and we can’t fix that unless you first pass amnesty,’” Representative Steve King (R., Iowa) told National Review Online to explain why he hadn’t introduced a bill containing his preferred legislative remedy to the crisis.

The original Republican members of the immigration ‘Gang of Eight’ have pledged not to support using the border crisis bill as a Trojan horse for comprehensive immigration legislation.

“Any legislation considered this year must be focused exclusively on addressing the current crisis, halting the flow of unaccompanied children crossing the border and preventing future waves from making the dangerous journey north,” Senators Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), John McCain (R. Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), and Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.) said in a joint statement last week.

Reid denounced Republicans for obstructing President Obama’s legislative priorities.

Moments later, when asked if he had reached out to House leadership in order to broker a compromise between the House Republicans and Senate Democrats, Reid dismissed the House package as “a meaningless piece of legislation that would only make things worse.”

A Senate Republican aide told NRO on Monday, even before Reid raised the specter of a Gang of Eight conference, that Democrats don’t want House Republicans to pass anything.

“I think what they’re doing is they’re sitting out, waiting, hoping, that the House doesn’t pass anything so that they can say that Republicans left town without doing anything on the border,” the aide speculated.

How Bad is John Kerry’s Middle East Diplomacy?



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Per the Times of Israel, here was the PA the other day: 

The PA leadership issues a strongly worded statement against Secretary of State John Kerry’s ceasefire proposal, saying it “crosses all red lines,” according to Channel 2.

The Paris meeting on Saturday between the U.S., Turkey, and Qatar representatives was tantamount to an international gathering of “the friends of Hamas,” it says.

The PA is the only representative of the Palestinian people, it says.

Kerry has been castigated in Israel and the PA for drafting a ceasefire proposal deemed to undermine the Egyptian proposal, and to represent a capitulation to Hamas. Israel rejected the Kerry proposal on Friday. Kerry then flew to Paris and met with leaders from Qatar and Turkey for more consultations, and not with Israeli, PA, or Egyptian representatives.

I write about Kerry’s trip today in my column “A Hell of a Foray.”

Big Business Rewards Senator Mary Landrieu for Supporting Cronyism



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This is how cronyism works: A company wants a special privilege from the government in exchange for political support in future elections. If the company is wealthy enough or is backed by powerful-enough interest groups, the company will get its way and politicians will get another private-sector ally. The few cronies “win” at the expense of everyone else.

Here is one good illustration of this dynamic in action: Joe Nocera (though I wouldn’t consider him especially reliable) says that the Chamber of Commerce will support Democratic senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana over her Republican challenger. For that, Landrieu can thank her stellar record supporting corporate welfare, including her recent endorsement of the Ex-Im Bank.

In any case, she already has the supprot of many Chamber constituents. The Wall Street Journal reports:

America’s biggest businesses have made it a priority to help Republicans win control of the Senate this year. But in a crucial race in Louisiana, they are doing all they can to help the Democratic incumbent.

The political arms of large corporations have given nearly five times as much money to Sen. Mary Landrieu as to her Republican opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy, according to fundraising data compiled by The Wall Street Journal. Industry groups have run television advertisements supporting her re-election. And several big Washington trade associations that normally back Republicans, led by energy groups, are throwing their support behind the incumbent. …

“It does create a sort of a dilemma,” said Cal Dooley, the president of the American Chemistry Council, which represents chemical manufacturers and typically backs Republicans. The business association has bought television ads telling Louisiana voters Ms. Landrieu is “a proven leader who brings both sides together to get results.”

Mr. Dooley said his organization endorses Ms. Landrieu because “she has been a terrific supporter of our industry.”

No other Democratic senator has been as reliable a supporter of legislation backed by business interests as Ms. Landrieu. According to a vote scorecard from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, she votes more often for pro-business legislation than Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

There is a crucial distinction between being “pro-business” and being “pro-market”: Being pro-business often means being anti-market, as the Chamber of Commerce and Senator Landrieu, no friend of the market, readily demonstrate.

The only way to be pro-business and pro-market at the same time is to maintain an equal playing field for everyone. This means no special privileges and no “industrial policy.” It means that if you’re going to extend tax breaks, you have to extend them to every company, not just the ones that you want to donate to your next campaign. It means reforming our anti-growth regulatory regime to be lighter and more stable for businesses of all size and industry. It means finally eliminating the many subsidies that flow every year to a few American companies (and in the case of the Ex-Im Bank, foreign companies as well).

But that would take a lot of courage, because it means telling the Chamber of Commerce and other special-interest groups that they won’t be getting their special goodies anymore. Can our politicians muster that courage?

Hillary Praises W?



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If you were looking for straws in the wind, here’s one: Hillary Clinton said George W. Bush made her proud to be an American. If this sounds like an attempt to distance herself from Obama’s foreign policy, it sure is. If it seems new, it really isn’t. In 2008, during the long primary battle with Obama, she played up her American girl bona fides. But we’re not fooled. There is no difference between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on foreign policy. Here’s a very recent example.

Malaysian Muslims Offended by Adorable Puppies at Commonwealth Games (UPDATED)



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The Commonwealth Games — the quadrennial Olympics-like sporting event open to the Commonwealth of Nations, which comprises primarily territories of the former British Empire — opened last week in Scotland, and to endear themselves to any person with a beating heart, Scottish organizers planned a BuzzFeed-worthy spectacle: Each team was led into the stadium by a Scottie dog clad in tartan, the team’s name on the coat. Some teams, though, were less than enthused. The Daily Beast reports:

Mohamad Sabu, the deputy president of the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party told the Daily Telegraph: “This is just so disrespectful to Malaysia and Muslims — especially as it happened during Ramadan. Muslims are not allowed to touch dogs, so the organiser should have been more aware and sensitive on this issue.”

Dato Ibrahim Bin Ali, a far-Right politician, former MP and founder and president of Malay supremacist group Perkasa also called for an apology.

“I think it is unbecoming. The hosts have not been sensitive enough — especially in a so-called knowledgeable and civilised society like Britain. . . . It is shameful and has offended not only Malaysia as a Muslim country, but Muslims around the world.”

Perhaps the pup leading the Malaysian delegation knew he was unwelcome. He refused to move and had to be carried about the stadium.

UPDATE: If the spectacle of several dozen of these furry friends in parade does not make your day, you’re dead inside.

Also, courtesy of the UK Independent, peppy video of Scottie owners preparing their dogs for the big day. Cute canines and national pride in one place? These Scots can barely contain their excitement.

Everytown Shoots Itself in the Foot



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I am reliably informed that the folks over at Michael Bloomberg’s gun-control outfit, Everytown, believe earnestly that the above commercial makes the case for stricter gun control. The intended message, presumably, is: “We need to keep guns out of the hands of violent men with restraining orders.” A laudable aim, in and of itself.

Does this come across? Not really, no. What the video ends up doing instead is demonstrating a) that people who are willing to abduct children and shoot women in the face are not likely to follow the laws (the victim already has a restraining order out against her assailant, which frankly doesn’t seem to be doing much); b) that the victim would have been better off with a gun in her hand than with a phone connected to the police department; and c) that, firearms being a great equalizer between men and women, any rules that make it difficult for potential victims to get hold of guns (and make no mistake: Everytown supports them all) put vulnerable people in danger.

Mistake.

Failed ‘Debunking’ at the Hill



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Assuming strictly for the sake of argument that all risks to women from abortion are equal to those from any other medical procedure, Andrea Flynn, in her commentary at the Hill, neglects the fact that abortion fundamentally differs from other procedures because it involves the death of a human being. Induced abortion is simply not comparable to the natural progression of pregnancy. Abortion is inherently about death.

Flynn also ignores the tragic history of allowing the abortion industry to police itself. This is important because, contrary to its name, the “Women’s Health Protection Act” would impede states from enacting new legislation or even enforcing existing laws that protect women against dangerous abortion providers. Elevating mere “access” to abortion over the long-recognized State interest in protecting maternal health virtually immunizes abortion clinics from regulation.

The vast majority of women having abortions are not choosing, as Flynn insinuates, to avoid health risks of pregnancy. And while women of color, poor women, and young women certainly deserve improvement in pregnancy care, their children’s deaths should never be society’s “solution” to the healthcare disparity they experience, as Flynn implies.

Flynn repeats the same tired lines and distractions that many pro-abortion advocates use in trying to dismiss the growing body of evidence that abortion harms women. The proven health risks of abortion are often met with hostility because they undermine Big Abortion’s narrative that the abortion debate requires choosing sides between mothers and their unborn children. The truth is that abortion harms both mothers and children.

— Anna Franzonello is staff counsel at Americans United for Life

NYC’s First-World Problems



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Jim Epstein of Reason has some amusing observations about the phenomenon of “poor doors” in high-end Manhattan buildings — separate entrances that segregate tenants in so-called affordable-housing apartments from those paying the full price, which in Manhattan tops out at about $90,000 a month. High-end builders in Manhattan often take on some affordable-housing or rent-stabilization burdens in exchange for concessions from the city, generally in the form of tax breaks or in access to government-subsidized financing. If you’re surprised that those patriotically named Liberty Bonds are used to build pricey apartments in Manhattan or a new headquarters for Goldman Sachs, you don’t understand how American politics works.

The fundamental problem — which is not really a problem as normal English-speakers might understand that word — is that, just as the median California household is nowhere near being able to afford the median California house, the typical Manhattan household cannot come close to affording the typical Manhattan apartment. The local rule of thumb holds that you can afford a given apartment if your annual income is 40 times the monthly rent; if you make less than that, landlords will typically demand a guarantor to co-sign your lease, if they will rent to you at all. The difficulty involved is that the median rental in Manhattan is $3,200 a month (the mean is nearly $4,000), and 40 times $3,200 is $128,000, the annual income you’d need to afford the median Manhattan apartment. But the median household income in Manhattan — not in New York City, but in Manhattan — is only $66,739, or just a little more than half of what you’d need to afford the  median apartment. Put another way, well more than half the people who live in Manhattan cannot really afford to live there. Of course there are ambitious young people living eight to a hovel and middle-aged people living in roommate arrangements more suited to college students, but that is how it is.

I write that this is not really a problem because: There is no particular reason that most people living in Manhattan, much less those in households earning $66,739 or less, really need to live there. This is a wonderful example of how progressives invent social problems that have nothing to do with real privation or economic concerns and everything to do with the social ambitions of upper-middle-class, college-educated white people. There are much more affordable alternatives available within reasonable commuting distance from Manhattan; my own curriculum domuum includes Norwalk, Conn., about an hour away by train, and the South Bronx, about a 25-minute subway ride to National Review’s palatial headquarters at Buckley Towers. There are convenient and comfortable if unglamorous accommodations available in Queens, Yonkers, etc. Which is to say: An apartment in Manhattan is a luxury good — why should we organize any public policy around subsidizing the consumption of the residential equivalent of a Mercedes Benz?

As Mr. Epstein points out, the ridiculous upshot of this is housing subsidies for households earning nearly $200,000 a year. Can’t quite afford the lifestyle you’d prefer on $200,000 a year? That’s a pretty high-class problem. So why does it get top-tier billing?

The answer is that our managerial elites regard the satisfaction of their own tastes as public goods. Well-off New Yorkers are subsidized at every turn, from their homes to their transportation to their theater tickets. Helping relatively affluent people enjoy the things they value at a discount apparently is a municipal and national priority.

My own attitude about this is piratical: I am the happy occupier of a rent-stabilized apartment leased at what I take to be a substantial discount (though it doesn’t feel that way on the first day of the month!) as a result of precisely the sort of government financing subsidy I’d kill outright if I had the power to do so. (I’d get rid of Social Security, too, but in the unlikely event that the program and I both survive another 25 years, I will be happy to cash that check: I intend to claw back what I can from the politicians. If I thought I could get farm subsidies for whatever is growing in my refrigerator, I’d sign up in a second.)

My building doesn’t have a “poor door” per se; what we have is two separate banks of elevators: Turn left and the elevators will take you to the (relatively) reasonably priced apartments on the lower floors; turn right, and the elevators take you up to the shockingly expensive places up top. I like to test my socio-economic eye in the lobby and guess whether people are left-turners or right-turners, and I’m shooting about 80 percent, which makes me feel like a minor character in some modern version of an off-brand Henry James novel, a bush-league Morris Townsend.

But then, I’m a left-turner. 

Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz Condemn Israeli ‘Genocide’



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Has Israel surrendered yet? Surely the day cannot be far, now that Javier Bardem has taken a stand.

Over the weekend, the Oscar-winning actor distributed to Spanish media an open letter condemning Israel’s “genocide” against Gaza:

In the horror that is happening in Gaza there is NO place for distance or neutrality. It is a war of occupation and of extermination against a people without means, confined in a minimum territory, with no water, and where hospitals, ambulances and children are targets and presumed to be terrorists. It’s hard to understand and impossible to justify. . . .

I’m outraged, ashamed and hurt by all of this injustice and the killing of human beings. Those children are our children. It’s horrendous. I can only hope that those who kill will find it in their hearts to show compassion and be cured of this murderous poison which only breeds more hate and violence.

Bardem’s wife, actress Penelope Cruz, and other Spanish actors, musicians, and directors, issued a subsequent letter decrying “the Israeli occupation” that “continues to advance into and invade the Palestinian territories instead of returning to the 1967 borders.” The celebrities called for an end to Israel’s blockade of Gaza and renewed dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.

Bardem, known for roles in films such as the Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men, the Spanish-language film Biutiful, and the most recent James Bond installment, Skyfall, is an outspoken political activist and supporter of Spain’s Socialist party. Cruz won an Academy Award for 2007’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, in which she co-starred alongside her future husband.

Via Fox News.

Senate Democrat Floats Blowing Up August Recess over Border Crisis



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Retiring senator Tom Harkin (D., Iowa) suggested that Senate Democrats might force House Republicans to return to the Capitol during the August recess in order to pass a border-crisis bill.

Harkin allowed that “we don’t have to have a supplemental exactly right now,” explaining that President Obama’s administration only needs some of the funding he requested before the end of the fiscal year.

“Are [House Republicans] going to vote and then go home?” Harkin told National Review Online Monday evening when asked what happens if the House votes on its border-crisis package on Thursday. “That puts us in a bit of a bind, it always does. But under the Constitution, the House has the right to pass a spending bill first and send it over here. If that’s what they do, well, we might not act on it. You know, we don’t have to have a supplemental exactly right now. Or, maybe we should stay in. Maybe we should pass a bill and send it to the House and, if they’ve gone home, maybe they’d have to come back.”

A Senate Republican aide doubts that Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) would do that with the midterm elections less than 100 days away.

“It’s possible,” the aide says. “I don’t think Reid wants to keep his members here, though, because they’ve got a lot of seats to defend.”

Harkin’s preferred solution is that House and Senate lawmakers hammer out a compromise between the Senate’s plan to provide $2.7 billion for the border crisis and the House bill’s plan to pass a bill that offers less than $1 billion and includes border-security policy changes.

“There’s always room for compromise,” Harkin said. “I would hope that the House and us would pre-conference it and work out our differences right now so that we don’t have the specter of the House passing it and then going home.”

Reid hasn’t shown any interest in such negotiations, though, according to another Senate Republican aide.

“There is no energy on that side to resolve this or to work with Republicans to resolve it,” the aide said earlier Monday. “I think what they’re doing is they’re sitting out, waiting, hoping, that the House doesn’t pass anything so that they can say that Republicans left town without doing anything on the border.”

Judd Gregg’s Export-Import Bank Fantasy World



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What world is Judd Gregg living in? It’s certainly not the “real world,” despite the title of his recent piece at the Hill in favor of the Export-Import Bank.

Gregg, a Republican who served as senator from and governor of New Hampshire, first claims that populist rhetoric from the left and the right is unfairly converging to attack the corporatist establishment. While it’s true that some principled progressives like Ralph Nader and Senator Bernie Sanders remain consistently opposed to Ex-Im’s corporate welfare, the vast majority of Democrats have abandoned their principles and are defending the Obama administration’s plans. Even the poster girl of the populist left, Senator Elizabeth Warren, was quick to carry water for big business when the opportunity arose.

But we rapidly see that Gregg does not intend to provide political context, but to craft wing-nut strawmen. He bizarrely brings up the Trilateral Commission, Harvard elitism, and a lack of social justice to explain the populist skepticism that’s rising against Ex-Im. What in the world?

It’s actually Gregg’s mental acumen that is questionable here. He writes:

The bank does not, in fact, aid foreign countries, governments or businesses. It plays precisely the opposite role.

By allowing American companies, mostly very large ones, to finance the products they want to sell to a foreign company or government at a reduced rate, the Ex-Im Bank in fact represents an American commercial threat to foreign companies. It is the antithesis of foreign assistance.

This is just flat out wrong. Gregg can stamp his feet, randomly bring up the Trilateral Commission, and claim whatever he wants about the Export-Import Bank, but he cannot change economic reality.

Basic trade economics tells us that when a government subsidizes exports, either by providing cheap working capital to domestic companies or cheap loans to foreign ones, it generally raises the cost of domestic consumption and lowers the cost of foreign consumption. While Ex-Im Bank subsidies do help the tiny number of domestic and foreign companies, many of whom are lucky enough to have friends in Washington (we will soon see that Gregg thinks that’s a good thing), they hurt the millions of U.S. consumers and unsubsidized firms who lack Ex-Im connections.

This is what Paul Krugman has to say about export credit subsidies in the 2008 edition of his international trade textbook:

It is difficult to come up with any situation in which export subsidies would serve the national interest. The use of export subsidies as a policy tool usually has more to do with the peculiarities of trade politics than with economic logic.

Was Krugman worked up about the Trilateral Commission too?

Keep reading this post . . .

Why Anti-Zionism Is Modern Anti-Semitism



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Israel’s defensive Operation Protective Edge against Hamas rocket fire revealed that it took a military conflict to show that anti-Zionism cannot be decoupled from anti-Semitism.

As veteran observers of contemporary anti-Semitism are aware, the rejection of Jewish state sovereignty in Israel (i.e., anti-Zionism) has always been an inherent part of Jew-hatred. 

In the late 1960s, the Austrian Jewish writer and Auschwitz survivor Jean Amery wrote, “Anti-Zionism contains anti-Semitism like a cloud contains a storm.” To put it mildly, Amery’s definition of modern anti-Semitism wasn’t accepted by post-Holocaust Europe as a force to be combated. Anti-Zionism was deemed by many Europeans to be a politically and socially correct world view. In short, they viewed it as a form of legitimate “Israel criticism.”

The calls for the dismantling of Israel and shouts to kill Jews on the streets of London, Paris, Berlin, and Frankfurt, to name some of the major European cities where they’ve occurred, are indicative of a lethal anti-Semitic mass movement. What unifies many European elites, large numbers of Muslims, motley crews of leftists and neo-Nazis is a loathing of the Jewishness of Israel.

The 19th-century anti-Semitic German historian Heinrich von Treitschke infamously said, “The Jews are our misfortune.” For the modern anti-Semite that slogan has been transformed into “Israel is our misfortune.”  

Take a small sample of some of the headlines in the media about what is unfolding in Europe: “Neo Nazis, Islamists Declare ‘You Jews are Beasts’ During Protest of Israeli Operation” in Frankfurt; “Firebombs Fail to Ignite at Toulouse Jewish Center”; “Madrid Jews Vow Legal Action against Author Who Justified Expulsions”; “Jewish Museums in Norway closed for fear of Attacks”; “Well-Known Italian Philosopher: ‘I’d Like to the Shoot Those Bastard Zionists”’
; Pro-Palestinians Throw Molotov Cocktail at Paris Synagogue; It’s Like 1938, Says Israeli Ambassador to Germany”;Anti-Semitic Attacks Scar British Cities.

Germany, yes Germany, seems to be one of the main hubs of some of the most intense anti-Semitism. Protesters in Berlin chanted slogans calling for the gassing of Jews.

Continental Europe has tolerated enormous amounts of anti-Semitism over the last few decades. Critics correctly point out that there is a market demand for demonstrations of it in Europe. The pressing question remains: Why is there such tolerance for and such a great demand for hatred of Israel? The Israeli psychoanalyst Zvi Rex famously said, with biting sarcasm and irony,” The Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz.” The line can now be updated to: “Europe will never forgive the Israelis for the Holocaust.”

Continental Europe’s complicity in the Shoah helps explain the constant ad nauseam attacks aimed at the Jewish state. Many Europeans seek to cleanse their guilt about the Holocaust. Bashing the Jewish state — and tolerating those who seek to obliterate Israel — creates a catharsis effect.

The addition of Islamic-animated anti-Semitism by Muslims in Europe has created a pathologically violent climate for Jews. The European Left has stoked anti-Semitism and somehow believes it is insulated from the disease because the Left is supposed to be free from Jew-hatred. It is worth reading this timely piece in the British Telegraph: “Is the Left Anti-Semitic? Sadly, It Is Heading that Way.

To their credit, European leaders—Chancellor Angela Merkel and French president François Hollande — have issued condemnations of modern anti-Semitism in their countries.

But Germany and other European countries showed the disconnect between their official rhetoric and their actions by abstaining during last week’s crucial United Nations Human Rights Council vote. The UNHRC vote singled out Israel for a war-crimes investigation because of its defensive measures against the EU-designated terrorist group Hamas. Commentators deemed the UNHRC measure to be anti-Semitic.

Can Europe regenerate itself in terms of human rights and show that its democracies can mature in the 21st century? The litmus test will be how the EU deals with Israel.

Benjamin Weinthal is a Berlin-based fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow Benjamin on Twitter@BenWeinthal 

At This Point, Obama and Kerry Probably Would Have Demanded a Post-D-Day Ceasefire



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President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry’s obsession with ceasefires in Gaza has grown as tiresome as it is destructive. They yell “ceasefire” at Israel more often than a pair of cheerleaders chanting “Sis, boom, bah!” Their fetish is trite, unbecoming, and a needless obstacle to what they instead should promote: Israel’s immediate extermination of Hamas — a bloodthirsty, homicidal, militant-Islamic, Jew-killing machine.

“Hamas has broken five cease-fires that we accepted and we actually implemented,” Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Chris Wallace on the July 27 edition of Fox News Sunday. “They rejected all of them, violated all of them, including two humanitarian cease-fires in the last 24 hours.”

Netanyahu referred to last Saturday’s twelve-hour humanitarian ceasefire, to allow the Gazans time to rescue the wounded and recover the deceased. As the peaceful interval expired at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) unilaterally extended it for another four hours. But, “moments after the cease-fire officially ended, another three mortars were fired from Gaza and hit Israel in the Eshkol regional council,” CNN reported. “At about 4 p.m. ET, IDF said four rockets had been fired in the last hour.”

Thus, Hamas unilaterally launched more explosive rockets at Israel, igniting the violence anew. Obama and Kerry’s barking at Israel notwithstanding, Hamas simply will not take “ceasefire” for an answer.

Nonetheless, Kerry’s carbon footprint approaches Sasquatch proportions as he jets around with a peace plan that resembles a Hamas shopping list.

“To the ‘horror’ of the Israeli ministers, the Kerry proposal accepted Hamas’s demands for the opening of border crossings into Gaza — where Israel and Egypt fear the import of weaponry; the construction of a seaport; and the creation of a post-conflict funding channel for Hamas from Qatar and other countries,” the Times of Israel reported on Saturday. “The proposal, meanwhile, did not even provide for Israel to continue demolishing the Hamas network of ‘terror tunnels’ dug under the Israeli border.”

If Obama and Kerry were politically active during World War II, they might have screamed for a ceasefire soon after D-Day. Remember: The shooting, bombing, shelling, and other war-time carnage devastated French non-combatants.

Keep reading this post . . .

W. Va. Dem. Distances Herself from Previous Support for Obama



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After airing a new campaign ad showing her shutting off the lights at the White House, West Virginia Democratic Senate candidate Natalie Tennant tried to fend off questions about campaigning for President Obama.

Appearing on Fox & Friends on Tuesday, Tennant was asked if she was “a flip-flopper” for supporting the president in 2008. “I am disappointed and I am hurt with the way he has reacted to West Virginia,” said Tennant, criticizing the Environmental Protection Agency’s policy.

She noted that she led an investigation as secretary of state against three Democratic officials who “tried to steal an election” in 2010. “West Virginians know me — they know that I stand up for West Virginians first.”

While admitting she did campaign for Obama in 2008, she said she was “not sure” if she would so today, and dodged the question by noting that he is not on the ballot anymore.

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