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‘Hamas’ Useful Idiots’



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I wrote about the Gaza War today in Politico and the gruesome political calculus of Hamas:

Stalin infamously said that one death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic. Hamas is happy with either a tragedy (the four kids killed on the beach by Israeli shells last week) or a statistic (the climbing civilian toll), so long as it is death and so long as it can be used in the propaganda war against Israel.

Pro-Gaza Protesters Attack Israeli Soccer Team



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Adding to Europe’s recent spate of anti-Semitic violence, pro-Palestinian agitators attacked the Israeli club team Maccabi Haifa — during its Wednesday-night exhibition match in Austria against French team Lille OSC. About 20 people rushed onto the field with five minutes of play remaining in regular time. Waving Palestinian and Turkish flags, they shouted profanities at and physically assaulted members of the Israeli team.

Police were able to gain control of the situation, and while no one was injured, the game was immediately ended.

Below is a brief video of the scuffle:

(H/T: the Guardian)

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‘Stamp Them Out’: On Josh Barro and the New Sexual Moralism



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Last night, New York Times reporter Josh Barro tweeted out a disturbing message: “Anti-LGBT attitudes are terrible for people in all sorts of communities. They linger and oppress, and we need to stamp them out, ruthlessly.”

This is rather shocking. Barro is no angry blogger writing manifestos in his basement. He is a respected reporter from a prestigious newspaper that prides itself on equanimity in the face of heated debate. Yet he seems, by any reasonable measure, to be fomenting a campaign to rout out all dissenters from the sexual revolution. Erick Erickson wrote a brief response to Barro’s tweet, to which Barro replied that he thinks that “we should make anti-LGBT views shameful like segregation. Not saying we should off people.”

Okay. But “stamp out,” intensified by the qualifier “ruthlessly,” means something quite a bit stronger than inviting your interlocutor to tea and crumpets to discuss differences.

Barro’s sexual fundamentalism wants any dissent marginalized and he’s not reluctant to admit that. This attitude, which is emblematic of the increasing intolerance in many sectors of culture towards those with traditional beliefs about sexuality, penalizes citizens for their beliefs. What we see playing out, once more, is that for liberalism to take root, it must take root by authoritarian impulse where the lies of the sexual revolution, to be cemented, must be enforced through acts of social and legal coercion.

This sort of vitriol would spell disaster for a right-leaning journalist. But there’s been little outcry from Barro’s fellow liberals or, for that matter, his employer. Mr. Barro’s employer should take umbrage at his recklessness and hold him accountable for his irresponsible rhetoric.

We wonder if Mr. Barro is willing to consider what his words can portend.

Keep reading this post . . .

Web Briefing: July 29, 2014

Hamas Targets Journalists



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The Jerusalem Post reports that journalists who report rocket launches on Twitter are being threatened:

Several journalists from around the world reported seeing rockets fired from civilian areas in Gaza in recent days, and received threatening tweets in return accusing them of “informing” the IDF.

On Wednesday, Peter Stefanovic of Australia’s Channel Nine News tweeted: “Hamas rockets just launched over our hotel from a site about two hundred metres away. So a missile launch site is basically next door.”

An account called @ThisIsGaza said this was Stefanovic’s fourth time “passing and fabricating information to Israel… from GAZA” and threatened to sue him.

Another account, @longitude0 wrote: “You are a cretin. Are you working for the IDF” and “in WWII spies got shot.”

Financial Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief John Reed reported seeing “two rockets fired toward Israel from near al-Shifa hospital, even as more bombing victims were brought in.”

Shifa, in Gaza City, is the main medical facility in the Strip.

In response, @Saritah_91 tweeted: “We’ll hold you responsible if Israel uses your tweet to bomb the hospital & then justify it.”

Another twitter user, @ Faysal_FreeGaza, said he’s “subtly justifying and encouraging IDF attacks on hospitals,” and @Maysara_ ara wrote: “Get out of Gaza u informant.”

The piece cites other examples. Now, I understand why Gaza doesn’t want journalists reporting the truth — that Hamas is using innocent Palestinians as human shields and bloody props. But the fabrication charge is something different. If it’s not true, then the reporters are helping Hamas by giving the IDF bad intel. In a normal war, it’s helpful when the enemy thinks you are firing from someplace you’re not. Of course, this isn’t a normal war. It’s mass terror-theater and millions of useful idiots are falling for it. 

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We Have a Winner: The Worst Anti-Gun Column in American History



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This column, in Yahoo Finance, may be the most peculiar piece of anti-gun writing I’ve ever seen. It’s not just wildly ignorant and borderline illiterate, it’s downright weird — one-third press-release, one-third slapdash middle-school essay, one third hissy fit appropos of nothing. Every word is a disaster. Here it is in full:

Gun company Beretta is tone deaf when it comes to calls for restrictions on powerful guns sold in the United States. It must be the chance to make money.

Beretta’s website carried an announcement that the ARX100 is “shipping now.” Beretta markets the rifle as “Italian Design — American Built.” Regardless of its origins, the gun is unusually powerful.

Beretta marketers announced:

The ARX100 was engineered with one purpose in mind: to be today’s best tactical semiauto rifle. It takes the concept of a modular rifle to futuristic levels, while maintaining an absolutely simple operation that make it ultra-reliable. With ambidextrous controls, easily-replaceable barrel and virtually endless possibilities for customization and accessorization, the ARX100 is adaptable to any firing scenario and is perfect for today’s most demanding tactical shooter.

In common usage, “tactical shooter” is one of the descriptions of video game features.

The rifle is remarkably sturdy, according the Beretta:

The ARX100 features a constant contact/short-stroke gas piston system that makes it feed and fire under the most unforgiving conditions. The lightweight technopolymer receiver allows for reliable operation with virtually no lubricants. To make maintenance easy and trouble-free, this rifle has no pins and can be completely disassembled in a matter of seconds with no tools at all.

And maybe most important of all, the ARX100 is reasonably priced at $1,950, which does not include bullets.

For the real gun lover, the ARX100 is available at hundreds of locations, as this helpful search tool at the Beretta website shows.

What?

Leaving to one side that a writer for Yahoo Finance just took the time to review a press release, the notion that there is anything “unusually powerful” or “super” about the gun at all is an odd one. To an absolute layman, I’ll grant that Beretta’s description sounds rather impressive. But in reality, it’s just marketing fluff — of the sort that every industry indulges in. The ARX100 isn’t a nuclear weapon. It isn’t an anti-aircraft system. It isn’t even a powerful hunting rifle. It’s a bog-standard semi-automatic rifle in 5.56 and .22LR — nothing more, nothing less. The only way that you could freak out over this is if you literally had no idea what you were talking about.

The author goes on to suggest that those who might buy such a product are in some way dangerous or fringe. “In common usage,” McIntyre explains, ’tactical shooter’ is one of the descriptions of video game features.” This is a remarkably odd sentence. I think what he’s trying to say is that the phrase “tactical shooter” refers to the sort of shooter you find in scary, violent video games. In reality, of course, it’s the other way around. It’s video games that are doing the emulating, not real life. 

Either way, the suggestion that only oddballs would want a rifle such as the ARX100 is a bizarre one. Sporting rifles are extremely popular, and they are only becoming more so. Currently, there are between five and ten million in the United States. As more women and non-traditional groups take up the hobby, this is only going to increase.

McIntyre leaves his best suggestion until last:

And maybe most important of all, the ARX100 is reasonably priced at $1,950, which does not include bullets.

The gun doesn’t come with bullets? Really? Well that’s certainly a mark against it. How bravely iconoclastic of Beretta to sell a gun that isn’t loaded — y’know, unlike all the others. As one wag on Twitter observed, “I guess he thinks guns come loaded with the safety off and a hole in the package with a large arrow and ‘Try Me’ printed.” Another suggested:

What on earth prompted McIntyre’s bizarre little contribution? Ace of Spades has a theory:

Beretta has announced plans to move its factory from gun-controlling Maryland to gun-rights-respecting Tennessee. This gives the gun-control people, and perhaps some Maryland legislatures, a case of the Bothers, and they’ve been looking to rake Beretta for embarrassing them since.

That’s my speculation here: That they’ve been looking for any kind of reason to claim Beretta is terrible, just terrible, and they’ve seized upon a routine press release about a rifle as their vehicle of retribution.

I can’t think of any other reason this ridiculous article got written.

It’s all funny — until they vote.

Nancy Pelosi on Border: ‘Use This Crisis’ to Pass Immigration Reform



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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) wants Democrats to “use this crisis” on the border to pass comprehensive immigration legislation — just as immigration hawks fear they’ll do.

“The most important thing that we can do to use this crisis as an opportunity is to pass comprehensive immigration reform,” Pelosi told reporters in Texas while discussing the border crisis, per Politico. Of the House Republican Working Group’s proposal, she said she needed to see “what the amount is, hopefully with no offsets, hopefully with no language that changes immigration.”

Pelosi’s allusion to changing current law marks a departure from the original Democratic position, as House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) reminded reporters Thursday.

“You know, the administration started earlier this month by signaling some openness to changes in the 2008 law to accelerate the process of returning these children to their home countries,” Boehner said.  “The president called for this change, the Secretary of Homeland Security called for this change, and other administration officials have called for this change.  Now, the president and his team have apparently flip-flopped.  Now they want billions in new spending, with no commitment to actually solving the problem.”

The working group, led by Representative Kay Granger (R., Texas), proposed increasing border security — including by deploying the National Guard to the border — returning the unaccompanied children to their home countries, and changing the 2008 human trafficking law that mandates a slow process for returning children from noncontiguous countries.

The bill was previewed to the full House Republican conference on Wednesday; the lawmakers are meeting again Friday to discuss the legislation.

“Due to a packed schedule and the complexity of the issue, there was not enough time for Member feedback at yesterday’s meeting,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told reporters in an email.

Representative Steve King (R., Iowa) told National Review Online that 50-70 House Republicans fear that Senate Democrats will use the conference committee to attach the Gang of Eight legislation to any policy changes passed by the House.

“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,’” King said.

Senator Jeff Sessions (R. Ala.) raised a similar concern in his statement on the Granger plan, saying that “if portions of this plan are as similar to the Gang of Eight bill as they appear to be, it could open the door to substantial legislative mischief in the Senate.” 

Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) made the same argument to a group of House conservatives.

“In a Wednesday morning meeting, Cruz told a group of more than 20 House conservatives that they would regret passing legislation addressing the Texas border crisis because Senate Democrats were likely to gut it and use it as a vehicle to pass other immigration legislation,” The Hill reported.

Turkish PM Erdogan: Israel ‘a Terror State’



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Prime minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan “completely” stood by comments comparing Israel’s response to Gaza to Nazi Germany’s “barbarism.”

“Because Nazism, the fascism that was applied by Hitler, if you put all these on the table just like that, you can see that what Israel does to Palestine, to Gaza right now has surpassed what Hitler did to them,” he told CNN International in an exclusive interview that aired on Thursday.

Erdogan accused Israel of a “massacre” and “genocide,” and questioned whether Israel had a true desire to reach a ceasefire or two-state solution.

“It’s beyond comprehension that Israel is defended by the West, and the world is silent about it — we cannot remain silent about it, and we will not remain silent about it,” he said. “Israel is a terror state — they’re creating a wave of terror with what they’re doing now.”

He added that his concerns about the conflict are among the issues that keep him up at night.

Former Member of European Parliament: ‘Shoot Those Bastard Zionists’



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A prominent Italian philosopher and former member of the European Parliament says he would personally like “to shoot those bastard Zionists.”

Marxist philosopher Gianni Vattimo told national Italian radio that Israel is “a bit worse than the Nazis.” 

He said that Hamas is “fighting with toy rockets that don’t really kill anyone,” and suggested that Europeans raise money “to buy Hamas more rockets.”

Vattimo also wants the EU to fight alongside Hamas, just as foreign volunteers helped to fight against fascist dictator Francisco Franco.  

Stefano Jesurum, the Jewish community’s representative to the Milan city council, expressed his shock at the statement to Israel National News. ”Either Vattimo is completely nuts, or he was speaking in bad faith,” he said. “I refuse to believe that a well-educated European, a scholar, can see any parallel between Israel and Spain under Franco’s regime.”

Vattimo’s comments are part of a wave of anti-Semitism making its way through Europe. Protesters have attacked synagogues, Jewish-owned stores, and Jewish tourists. 

“Anti-Israeli sentiment is anti-Semitism dressed up in fancy clothes,” Italy’s first female rabbi, Rabbi Barbara Aiello, told The Local. “Imagine if what is said about Jews was said about Italians. For example: ‘I don’t object to Italians I just don’t believe that Italy has a right to exist!’”

View a slideshow of recently anti-Israel protests here

Poll: Most Nevadans Disapprove of Clinton’s $225K UNLV Speaking Fee



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University of Nevada–Las Vegas students aren’t the only ones taking issue with Hillary Clinton’s $225,000 speaking fee for an upcoming visit: Nevada voters are too.

A new poll by WPA Research finds that nearly twice as many likely Nevada voters think it was “unfair” of Clinton to accept nearly a quarter-million dollars for her appearance: 55 percent say it is unfair, while 29 percent feel it is fair. Among independent voters, the percentage that feel the high fee is unfair is slightly higher at 57 percent, with 24 percent saying it is fair.

Notably, half of women in Nevada also think the fee is unfair.

Nevada is a crucial primary state and swing state in the general election, one that Clinton will surely want to do well in should she choose to run in 2016. Clinton, who will be on campus in October for a school foundation fundraiser, is accepting the money at a time when tuition on campus is going up by nearly 20 percent.

Last month, UNLV student body president Elias Benjelloun called on Clinton to donate all or some of her fee to the university, according to Politico.

Clinton has come under fire for being out of touch following comments last month that she and her husband were “dead broke” after leaving the White House. Following her claim, numerous media reports shed light on Clinton’s grand lifestyle and steep speaking fees: She reportedly received $275,000 for a speech at SUNY Buffalo last year.

Why Cash Welfare Allowances Won’t Bring Down the Abortion Rate



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Earlier this month, Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig wrote a piece for The American Conservative making the case that pro-lifers should focus their policy efforts on improving the economic circumstances of women facing crisis pregnancies. She specifically recommends a no-strings-attached cash allowance for mothers. On Tuesday, I had a Corner post expressing skepticism that such an allowance would reduce the abortion rate. Bruenig responded on her personal blog later that day. I appreciate the fact that she engaged my arguments in a thoughtful, serious, and diplomatic way. Such décor is often lacking among people who are debating sanctity-of-life issues.

I want to begin by stating that debates about the level of public support to offer mothers are complicated. This is certainly an issue where pro-lifers of good faith can disagree. We are trying to build a culture of life in the long term while protecting unborn children in the short term. Most of the time, these goals are consistent with one another. Yet there are times when this isn’t the case. The question of how to handle pregnant students is a problem that many private Christian schools have grappled with in the past. Punishing such students might make them more likely to choose abortion; accommodating them might undermine norms against premarital sex and create a culture where abortions happen more often.

Overall, I made two arguments in my Tuesday post. The first was that a child allowance would increase the number of single-parent households and undermine mores against premarital sex. In her response, Bruenig doubts this to be the case, and even if it were, it would do little to change sexual mores. She does not specify all the details of how her proposal would work, but I wonder if women would receive an increase in their allowance for each additional child they had. This would likely result in an increased number of children raised by single mothers and in a generally more promiscuous society.

I’m also unsure a child allowance would work quite the way Bruenig intends. It might encourage some women to get married, but discourage others. After all, women would have more financial means to raise children on their own. Welfare programs can create a culture of irresponsibility where recipients end up engaging in repeat behavior and depending more on the government than their own initiative. Such a culture of irresponsibility is inconsistent with a more conservative sexual culture that is needed to reduce the abortion rate. And there are usually negative implications for the children raised in such a culture.

Keep reading this post . . .

Airbnb Fraudster Who Won’t Leave Now Has Renter Rights Under Calif. Law



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A cautionary tale to hosts who make use of the temporary-rental site Airbnb: It may be good to keep a lawyer on retainer. Cory Tschogl, 39, had to hire a lawyer when the guest at her Palm Springs condo refused to leave at the end of his 44-day contract. Her attorney informed her that under California law, the squatter has tenants’ rights, because he has been living at the property for longer than 30 days. The New York Daily News reports:

Cory Tschogl, 39, thought she’d found the perfect temporary tenant when the man, known online only as “Maksym,” asked to rent out the 600-square-foot property for 44 days.

But the deal turned into a “horror story” when, soon after checking in, he complained about cloudy tap water. He then demanded a refund of the 30 days rent he’d paid up front.

Fearing he was a “shady character,” San Francisco-based rehabilitation therapist Tschogl agreed to refund the cash.

She contacted Airbnb to ask him to leave, but the company didn’t respond to her emails or phone calls for two days.

Finally, a representative got in touch saying they’d ordered the guest out. However, Maksym decided to stay put. . . .

After the 44 days were up, Tschogl texted Maksym to say his contract had ended and she was going to shut off the power.

He replied saying he was legally allowed to remain at the property and that having no electricity would harm his work.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports he also threatened to press charges for “blackmail and damages caused by your negligence and malicious misconduct, including $3,800 PID Espresso machine as well as medical bills for my brother’s hospital visit after he got sick here drinking unfiltered tap water,” he said via text messages.

The Palm Springs-area Desert Sun reports that Airbnb has agreed to pay the full cost of Maksym’s reservation, and will provide additional legal assistance as Tschogl works to get the squatter out. Eviction proceedings in California typically require three to six months.

This is not the first abuse of Airbnb’s services. Escort services have used the site to find apartments in which to ply their wares, a Manhattan resident discovered that his Airbnb guest planned to use his apartment for a “XXX Freak Fest,” and an Airbnb renter threw an out-of-control party at the home of a Maryland man, who returned to find major property damage — that even spilled over to his neighbor’s property.

More than 350,000 people worldwide open their homes via Airbnb, and millions have used the site to find temporary accommodations.

 

Virginia Tech Professor Compares Israel to ISIS



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A Virginia Tech professor recently compared Israel to the Sunni radical group ISIS. English professor Steven Salaita tweeted Tuesday:

 
Salaita continued to explain why Israel is comparable to the terrorist group, and contributed other insights on the Israel-Palestine conflict.:


Truth Revolt noted the professor’s history of anti-Israel advocacy. He is a staunch supporter of the Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment campaign against Israel, arguing in a blog post that the American Studies Association should boycott “the colonial project of Zionism” because of “the indisputable evidence of academic complicity in Israel’s brutalization of Palestinians.”

In his most recent book, Israel’s Dead Soul, Salaita explains how “endowing nation-states with souls is a dangerous phenomenon because it privileges institutions and corporations rather than human beings,” according to the book’s Amazon description.

Questioning Lethal Injection



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What appears to be a rather horrifically botched execution in Arizona should give additional pause to those (me included) who continue to support the death penalty. This and other significant problems with lethal injection — including the growing evidence that it probably isn’t anywhere close to painless — means that it’s simply a barbaric practice that really ought to be ended posthaste. Given ongoing problems — and the existence of many surer, less-error prone methods of execution — there’s no reason to continue it. If shooting, hanging, and other forms of execution make people queasy, well, that’s fine; the death penalty should be used very rarely and only for people who have committed truly horrific acts.

Insofar as some people who want to abolish the death penalty are trying to use the problems with lethal injection to advance their goal, I’d say, “all power to them.” Problems with the way we execute people are, indeed, a pretty good reason to rethink the death penalty overall. I’m more of the “mend it don’t end it” school, and on that front, NYU’s Robert Blecker has some very good ideas. They’re well worth reading. 

— Eli Lehrer is president of the R Street Institute.

McCarthy: Only Chance for Peace in Middle East Is If Hamas Loses



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Photo of the Day: Mother Wears the Serenity of Freedom



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Mariam Ibrahim, the Sudanese mother who was condemned to death for apostasy — once released from prison, then recaptured — has arrived in Italy today. And she and her family have been blessed by Pope Francis:


Pope Francis has said that there are more Christians persecuted today than at any time in world history. What an image of mother and newborn child to bring that to the world’s attention … 

More on the Meriam’s courage and Christian persecution with Tina Ramirez of Hardwired here

Update video of the visit with the pope here:

Sessions: House Republican Working Group’s Plan May Mean More Would Be Granted Asylum



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Alabama senator Jeff Sessions, a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following response challenging a report from a working group of House Republicans led by Representative Kay Granger: 

The border crisis is the direct and predictable result of the President’s sustained policies undermining America’s immigration laws. The President’s continued determination to carry out this nullification remains the singular obstacle in the way of restoring lawfulness. It is therefore odd that the House working group did not mention President Obama even once in their released findings. Indeed, they made no mention of the President’s threat of sweeping new executive actions. Multiple reports indicate that these imminent actions are likely to take the form of administrative amnesty and work permits for 5-6 million illegal immigrants. Any attempt at improving the border situation would be rendered utterly void if the President follows through on his dramatic nullification acts. How can Congress ignore this brewing constitutional crisis? In fact, granting the President new funds without tackling these orders would be an institutional surrender to the planned illegality.

The document also appears to cement the idea that anyone who shows up unlawfully at our border is presumptively entitled to an asylum hearing in the United States. This cannot be so. We cannot allow unjustified claims of asylum to overwhelm our system. Also, because the working group does not explicitly demand a narrowing of the conditions for asylum, the end result of their plan may paradoxically be that more illegal immigrants are eventually granted asylum—enticing even greater numbers to arrive on the promise of speedy grants of lawful status.

The border security measures also raise concerns. The document calls for President Obama’s Department of Homeland Security to develop a ‘strategy’ and ‘plan’ to secure the border, which is less than what is actually required to do under current law. Meanwhile, it omits any discussion of restoring collapsed interior enforcement. If portions of this plan are as similar to the Gang of Eight bill as they appear to be, it could open the door to substantial legislative mischief in the Senate. With only days before Congress’ planned adjournment, a better strategy would be to focus on blocking the President’s threat of new executive actions—and insist that he enforce current laws—while these complex proposals are studied and revisited.

Finally, it is curious that the proposal makes no mention of the needs of Americans. Yes, this is a humanitarian crisis. But it is also a legal crisis. And so too is it a crisis for the American people who have begged and pleaded for a lawful system of immigration that serves their interests, protects their jobs, and increases their wages. Republicans should not be timid or apologetic, but present a bold defense of the American people. The House GOP has so far been the last bulwark protecting working Americans; it would be tragic for that defense to buckle in the closing days of this Congress.

Border Patrol Official Notices Decline in the Number Rio Grande Valley Border Crossings



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Albert Spratte, the sergeant-at-arms of the National Border Patrol Council Local 3307 in the Rio Grande Valley, says he has noticed a dramatic dip in the number of people coming across the border during the last two weeks or so.

He says one Border Patrol station in the valley recorded just 700 apprehensions for all of last weekend, which was equivalent to the amount of people the station had been apprehending per day. “We’ve had press come down and it’s like, ‘Hey, where is everybody?’ and it’s like, ‘Well it just kind of slowed down,’” Spratte says.

He attributes the decline in illegal immigrants arriving in South Texas to the derailment of “the Beast,” a train that thousands of illegal immigrants have ridden on top of as a part of their journey north through Mexico. The Beast derailed on July 9, stranding approximately 1,300 travelers in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, according to Reuters.

Spratte says he thinks the decrease in illegal immigration does not represent a permanent slowdown, and that the number of illegal immigrants arriving in the Rio Grande Valley will start growing again little by little. “It’s not like they’ve stopped all these people from wanting to come,” he says. “Maybe there’s another explanation at work that we don’t know about. It was kind of surprising to see. I figure with the Beast up and running again it should be increasing, and if not, then something else is out there working that we don’t know about.”   

Lowry: FAA Ban ‘an Overreaction and a Real Blow to Israel’



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NR and WFB, Matchmaker



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In Impromptus today, I start a two-part series, a mini-series: about Communism and anti-Communism. This is a spillover from a piece I had in the magazine: “Living Not by Lies: A gathering of the anti-Communist tribes.”

At this gathering, I met an illustrious couple, Roger and Juliana Pilon. They have long worked in freedom-loving circles, to put it succinctly. Juliana told me that NR and WFB had to do with their meeting — with bringing them together. How so? I asked her to write it up for us:

Picture a young woman recently arrived from Communist Romania, landing at the University of Chicago in the mid-Sixties, just as her generation was rejecting en masse the America her parents for 17 years had patiently waited to come to. Seeing the cultural carnage about her, she buried herself in Plato and his progeny. But it was National Review, which her father swore by, that gave her insight on this strange new world. Little did she know that this esoteric publication would in time change her life.

It happened in the coffee shop above the Philosophy Department — aptly named The Antinomies. Fresh from Columbia University — where he drove a cab to support himself — he was handsome, smart, and clearly sure of himself — intimidatingly so to one who’d spent much of her young life in libraries. That he’d been “around the block” raised only more concerns, until another suitor, seeing her guarded interest in this rogue, moved in with what he thought would be the coup de grâce: “You don’t want anything to do with that guy. He likes Bill Buckley and National Review!”

That did it. How bad could he be? Four decades and two kids later, the rogue and I still read National Review.

Marvelous.

Paul Ryan’s Anti-Poverty Program



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Representative Paul Ryan, outgoing chairman of the House Budget Committee, introduced a sweeping reform of federal anti-poverty programs this morning, focusing on devolving functions to the states and encouraging opportunity, mobility, and self-sufficiency. He’s speaking at AEI this morning to discuss the plan, which can be read here. It does run to 73 footnoted pages, so we’ve got a summary over at the Agenda, by NR intern Callie Gable. The main points:

Offer states the option of a big block grant to replace existing federal welfare programs

Expand the Earned-Income Tax Credit and make it work better

Fix federal education funding and make it more flexible

Acknowledge that mass incarceration is a huge impediment to mobility, and start addressing it

Get rid of regressive regulation

Emphasize evidence-based policy-making

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