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151  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Karl Rove: What Trump has to fear from Mueller on: June 14, 2017, 09:20:22 PM
second post

What Trump Has to Fear From Mueller
Special counsels can run amok. One went after me once for the crime of forgetfulness.
By Karl Rove
June 14, 2017 7:31 p.m. ET

While Jeff Sessions was testifying Tuesday on Capitol Hill, Sen. Ron Wyden suggested that the attorney general had recused himself from investigating Russian electoral meddling because of unknown, “problematic” reasons. “There are none—I can tell you that for absolute certainty,” Mr. Sessions shot back, dismissing the supercilious charge as “secret innuendo.”

Good for Mr. Sessions. But since Democrats seem intent on preparing the battlefield for the 2018 midterm elections, expect more such baseless charges. Never mind the damage they do to public trust.

Consider the accusation that President Trump obstructed justice in the FBI investigation of former national security adviser Mike Flynn. According to former FBI Director James Comey, the president told him: “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.”

“There’s no question he abused power,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said last week. Two Democratic backbenchers, Reps. Al Green of Texas and Brad Sherman of California, have even drafted articles of impeachment based on the charge.

But I talked to four legal experts—two former Justice Department officials, a former White House lawyer and a former U.S. attorney—who all agreed Mr. Trump has the rightful power, as head of the executive branch, to order the FBI to end any investigation.

One expert raised this thought experiment: If President John F. Kennedy had ordered FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to stop investigating Martin Luther King Jr., would that have constituted obstruction of justice?

It’s also far from clear Mr. Trump ordered anything. His words were vague. A hope is not an order. The president said he wanted to get to the bottom of Russian election meddling. He added that he hoped Mr. Comey would discover whether any of Mr. Trump’s “satellites”—an apparent reference to people who worked in his presidential campaign—had done anything wrong. Both statements suggest Mr. Trump wanted the Russian investigation to go forward and believed it would clear his name.

The statute that describes obstruction of justice speaks of “corrupt” conduct. Yet there is no evidence Mr. Trump acted with criminal purpose—for example, that he was bribed to shut down the Flynn investigation, or that he was trying to hide some personal financial interest in Mr. Flynn’s foreign lobbying. No wonder Mr. Comey, when discussing the conversation at the time with other officials, didn’t claim obstruction.

Still, Mr. Trump has created a potential problem for himself. At a Friday press conference, ABC’s Jonathan Karl asked the president whether he would be “willing to speak under oath to give your version of those events.” Mr. Trump replied: “One hundred percent.”

The president had better hope that Robert Mueller, the special counsel now looking into potential Russia-Trump ties, is nothing like Patrick Fitzgerald, the special counsel appointed in 2003 to investigate the leaking of a CIA official’s name to the columnist Robert Novak.

Mr. Fitzgerald knew within days, if not hours, of his appointment that the leak had come from Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage but that it violated no law since the CIA employee was no longer a covert operative.

Despite no underlying crime, Mr. Fitzgerald spent more than three years obsessed with trying to justify his existence by prosecuting someone in the Bush White House for lying under oath. I was one of those in his sights.

He focused on me because, while I could not remember a brief call in 2003 from a Time reporter, I had ordered my staff the following year to search for any evidence I had talked to the journalist. That was supposed to be proof I had lied. Mr. Fitzpatrick gave up hunting me only when he learned that my lawyer had directed me to search my files after hearing from the reporter’s colleague that I had talked with him.

Instead Mr. Fitzpatrick indicted the vice president’s chief of staff, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, a very good man, on a disagreement over who said what, when and to whom.

Today, given what we know, Mr. Trump is not vulnerable on obstruction of justice. But if Mr. Mueller turns out to be another Mr. Fitzgerald and finds no underlying offense, he may decide that he must still get someone for something, even over inconsequential differences of memory.

Promising to speak under oath is dangerous for Mr. Trump, since any trial would be in Washington, D.C. There were no Republicans on Mr. Libby’s jury, and Mr. Trump received a mere 4% of the vote there. The president better pray Robert Mueller is more responsible than Patrick Fitzgerald.

Mr. Rove helped organize the political-action committee American Crossroads and is the author of “The Triumph of William McKinley ” (Simon & Schuster, 2015).

Appeared in the June 15, 2017, print edition.
152  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Skullduggery ahead; who could have seen this coming? on: June 14, 2017, 08:20:34 PM

"A former senior official said "  i.e. an Obama official

"Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, has never said what exactly prompted him to appoint Mr. Mueller, "
Q: What, if any, connections between AG Rosenstein and Comey?
153  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Netanyahyu undoes UNRWA on: June 14, 2017, 07:42:49 PM
154  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Former Obama DHS advisor supports Qatar on: June 14, 2017, 06:58:26 PM
Former Obama DHS Adviser Tweets Support for Qatar
by John Rossomando  •  Jun 14, 2017 at 6:15 pm
155  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Morris: Media a danger to free press? on: June 14, 2017, 05:06:24 PM
156  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Umm, , , should this have been published? on: June 14, 2017, 04:47:18 PM
157  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Who is really colluding with the Russians? on: June 14, 2017, 01:37:53 PM
158  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Andrew McCarthy: AG Sessions recusal was unnecessary on: June 14, 2017, 01:22:18 PM
159  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy, Sedition, and Treason? on: June 14, 2017, 12:15:13 PM
 angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry
160  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 300+ Iraqi Christian refugees to be deported on: June 14, 2017, 12:11:07 PM
161  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Britain: Taquiya in refusal of funeral prayers? on: June 13, 2017, 03:39:02 PM
There's a Huge Catch in the 'Imams Refuse Funeral Prayers for London Jihadis' Story




Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks about Qatar at the State Department in Washington, Friday June 9, 2017. Tillerson is calling on Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to immediately ease their blockade on Qatar. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) gained worldwide headlines -- and praise -- for its announcement last week that 130 imams in the United Kingdom were refusing to perform funeral prayers for the London jihad mass murderers.

But as is so often the case, there was less to this much-heralded display of Islamic moderation than met the eye.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the following last Monday in New Zealand:

I was actually encouraged when I heard on the news this morning that a number of imams in London have condemned these attackers and said they will not perform prayer services over their funerals, which means they’re condemning their souls. And that is what has to be done, and only the Muslim faith can handle this.

Moderate Muslims stood up at last, right? It certainly seemed so. From the MCB statement:

Imams and religious leaders from across the country and a range of schools of thought have come together to issue a public statement condemning the recent terror attack in London and conveying their pain at the suffering of the victims and their families.

In an unprecedented move, they have not only refused to perform the traditional Islamic prayer for the terrorist -- a ritual that is normally performed for every Muslim regardless of their actions -- but also have called on others to do the same. They said:

“Consequently, and in light of other such ethical principles which are quintessential to Islam, we will not perform the traditional Islamic funeral prayer over the perpetrators and we also urge fellow imams and religious authorities to withdraw such a privilege. This is because such indefensible actions are completely at odds with the lofty teachings of Islam. This all sounds great, but there’s just one catch.

Muhammad himself is depicted in hadiths as forbidding funeral prayers formartyrs.

Islamic law forbids such prayers as well.

To be clear:

Withholding funeral prayers is an HONOR reserved for those who die while committing jihad.

In one hadith -- hadith are reports about Muhammad’s words and deeds that, when deemed authentic, are normative for Islamic law -- the prophet of Islam ordered:

[Two martyrs to] be buried with their blood (on their bodies). Neither was the funeral prayer offered for them, nor were they washed.

One of the martyrs’ sons recalled:

When my father was martyred, I started weeping and uncovering his face. The companions of the Prophet stopped me from doing so but the Prophet did not stop me. Then the Prophet said, "(O Jabir), don’t weep over him, for the angels kept on covering him with their wings till his body was carried away (for burial)" (Bukhari 5.59.406).

Muhammad told Jabir not to weep because his father was not dead, but alive:

But do not think of those that have been slain in Allah’s cause are dead. Nay, they are alive! With their Sustainer have they their sustenance (Qur’an 3:169).

Based on the hadith in which Muhammad orders the bodies of the martyrs not to be washed and funeral prayers not to be said over them, as well as others like it, Islamic law states:

[It is] unlawful to wash the body of a martyr … or perform the funeral prayer over him.

[A] martyr (shahid) means someone who died in battle with non-Muslims” (Reliance of the Traveller, g4.20).

What Rex Tillerson -- and much of the Western world, and certainly much of Western media -- took as a great show of Muslim rejection of terrorism was actually a display of Muslim adherence to Islamic law, Muslim acceptance of terrorist deaths as Islamic martyrdom, and application of Muhammad’s dictum “war is deceit” (Bukhari 4.52.268).

War is deceit, indeed. The Qur’an warns believers not to take unbelievers as “friends or helpers” (َأَوْلِيَا -- a word that means more than casual friendship, but something more like an alliance), “except when taking precaution against them in prudence” (3:28). This is a foundation of the Islamic idea that believers may legitimately deceive unbelievers when under pressure. The word used for “guard” in Arabic is tuqātan, from taqiyyatan -- hence the now familiar term taqiyya.

The renowned Qur’an commentator Ibn Kathir says that the phrase “except when taking precaution against them in prudence” means:

… believers who in some areas or times fear for their safety from the disbelievers … [may] show friendship to the disbelievers outwardly, but never inwardly. For instance, Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Ad-Darda’ said, "We smile in the face of some people although our hearts curse them." Al-Bukhari said that Al-Hasan said, "The Tuqyah [taqiyya] is allowed until the Day of Resurrection."

The MCB made sophisticated use of this weapon last week, fooling the international media and even the secretary of State into thinking that a demonstration of what they would call “extremism” was actually “moderation.”

It was an object lesson in the dangers of trying to formulate counter-terror policy without understanding the motivating ideology of the terrorists themselves.
162  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wesbury: May PPI on: June 13, 2017, 11:42:58 AM
The Producer Price Index was Unchanged in May To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist
Robert Stein, Deputy Chief Economist
Date: 6/13/2017

The Producer Price Index (PPI) was unchanged in May, matching consensus expectations. Producer prices are up 2.4% versus a year ago.

Energy prices declined 3.0% in May, while food prices declined 0.2%. Producer prices excluding food and energy rose 0.3%.

In the past year, prices for goods are up 2.8%, while prices for services are up 2.1%. Private capital equipment prices rose 0.2% in May and are up 1.1% in the past year.

Prices for intermediate processed goods rose 0.1% in May and are up 4.7% versus a year ago. Prices for intermediate unprocessed goods declined 3.0% in May but are up 7.5% versus a year ago.

Implications: In spite of no change in producer prices in May, the Fed is still poised to raise short-term interest rates by another quarter of a percentage point tomorrow. The reason overall producer prices were unchanged in May was because energy prices fell 3% while food prices – led by falling costs for fruits, vegetables and eggs - declined 0.2%. Take out these two volatile sectors, and you are left with "core" prices, which rose 0.3% in May (following a 0.4% rise in April), and have now risen 2.1% in the past twelve months. That's the first move above 2% since 2014. With both headline and "core" producer prices above the Fed's 2% inflation target, there can be little doubt that a rate hike is warranted. The increase in core prices in May was led by margins to wholesalers, which increased 1.1% and pushed prices for services up 0.3%. Goods prices were pulled lower by food and energy, but rose 0.1% in May when excluding those sectors. A look further back in the pipeline shows that prices for intermediate demand are also rising. Intermediate unprocessed goods prices declined 3.0% in May but are up 7.5% in the past year. Meanwhile prices for intermediate processed goods rose 0.1% in May and are up 4.7% over the last twelve months. The Fed will keep these prices, which give a hint to the direction final demand prices will follow in future months, in mind as they plan the path for monetary policy. We expect the Fed to raise rates one more time this year, after tomorrow's hike, while also starting the process of unwinding its bloated balance sheet later this year. The pouting pundits may paint a pessimistic picture of the Fed becoming tight, but as we noted in yesterday's MMO, the Fed has plenty of room for further rate hikes before risking recession or a bear market. If anything, the Fed should be concerned about staying too loose for too long.
163  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant/Self Intro on: June 08, 2017, 09:39:01 AM
On the road until Tuesday AM.
164  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / President Trump as a Democracy Promoter on: June 08, 2017, 01:46:33 AM


Trump as a Democracy Promoter
His responses to abuse in Syria and Venezuela suggest he cares about freedom and human rights.
By Judy Shelton
June 7, 2017 7:24 p.m. ET

Much has been made of President Trump’s supposed lack of interest in human rights and the promotion of American ideals. Stepping back from his rhetoric and looking at his actions suggests an alternative conclusion.

If it were an easy task to set up a flourishing democracy, the entire world would be experiencing peace and prosperity. But it has never been simple. Many people around the world understand that liberty, opportunity and fairness flow from democratic institutions. But establishing such systems takes time, and progress is uneven. The growing pains of warring internal factions and harsh retributions meted out by ruthless authoritarians slow the march toward democracy.

President Reagan sought to address the issue in a speech before the British Parliament on June 8, 1982. He affirmed it was a mistake to ignore the rise of tyrants: Britain had paid a terrible price in World War II after allowing dictators to underestimate its resolve. He further maintained that democratic nations needed to resist as a matter of self-expression. Reagan said we must think of ourselves as “free people, worthy of freedom and determined not only to remain so but to help others gain their freedom as well.”

The 40th president proposed countering totalitarianism and its terrible inhumanity by actively promoting freedom and democratic ideals throughout the world. He envisioned the creation of a bipartisan U.S. political foundation that would assist democratic development by openly providing support to those seeking equality and liberty for their countrymen. Building the infrastructure of democracy—free elections, free markets, free speech and rule of law—would empower people to choose their own way to reconcile their own differences through peaceful means. “Democracy is not a fragile flower,” Reagan observed. “Still, it needs cultivating.”

The National Endowment for Democracy, launched as a result of that speech, remains faithful to its founding mission: to help others achieve a system that protects the inalienable rights of individuals and guarantees the people’s freedom to determine their own destiny. The endowment provides modest grants to democracy activists around the world, but its greater gift is the imprimatur of moral support from the American people. Brave individuals on the front lines of the struggle for democracy in their own countries draw strength from that connection.

The efforts of five endowment grantees battling government corruption were applauded during a Capitol Hill ceremony on Wednesday, with remarks delivered by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Yet some argue that endorsing the spread of the American idea beyond the U.S. no longer aligns with the preferences of American voters. The most cynical voices claim Mr. Trump neither accepts nor comprehends the profound influence of America’s moral authority in the world.

That simplistic narrative is wrong. Consider Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s remarks to his department’s employees last month. He adjured them to “remember that guiding all of our foreign-policy actions are our fundamental values,” which include “freedom, human dignity, the way people are treated.” As Mr. Tillerson explained, the objectives of the administration’s America First approach—encouraging economic prosperity and maintaining military readiness—are crucial if the U.S. is to promote its values abroad.

Mr. Trump’s decisions ultimately make the difference. “I see in the president somebody who said a lot of things in the campaign,” former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice noted in a recent Journal interview. “But when he was sitting in that chair and watched Syrian babies choking on chemical gas said, ‘I can’t let that stand.’ ”

What Mr. Trump apparently felt at a gut level is entirely in keeping with that uniquely American quality of being unable to ignore injustice—that inability to stand idly by while the rights of others are cruelly violated by despots. Does he appreciate that America’s own hard-fought path to democracy and equal rights means we never retreat from leadership or abstain from righteousness in a world prone to malevolence?

One notable event may provide a telling indication. In February, Mr. Trump met in the Oval Office with Lilian Tintori, wife of jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. Afterward the president tweeted a thumbs-up photo of himself, together with Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, standing beside Ms. Tintori. “Venezuela should allow Leopoldo Lopez, a political prisoner & husband of @liliantintori (just met w/@marcorubio) out of prison immediately,” read his accompanying message.

“Here in Venezuela, jaws dropped,” wrote Emiliana Duarte, managing editor of the English-language blog Caracas Chronicles, in the Atlantic. “For Venezuelans accustomed to living in fear of their dictatorial government, the sight of the president of the United States siding publicly with the most fearless champion of Venezuelan democracy was powerful.”

As someone who has thought deeply about democracy promotion, I take this as evidence that America’s leader—an admirer of Reagan—has the head and the heart to act with fundamental decency. American decency is born of gratitude for what this nation’s founders had the courage and vision to establish. It is what compels Americans to stand for the rights and liberties of those who can’t stand for those rights and liberties themselves. It is what drives the aspiration to share the American values that have made the U.S. not only successful but honorable.

Ms. Shelton is chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy. She served on the Trump transition team.

Appeared in the June 8, 2017, print edition.
165  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Britain; London Mayor Sadiq Khan on: June 08, 2017, 01:16:41 AM
"He expedited the release and return of Gitmo detainees to the UK as well when he was a lawyer. Check out his bio on Wikipedia and Google search his name. Note they leave out his cases as a human rights attorney, you have to dig deeper to find the Gitmo connections."

" Oh, not to mention although he was not part of the defense team for 9/11 suspect Zacarias Moussaoui he did speak publicly in his defense. So don't be thrown off by Snopes saying the claim is false. Cheesy "

166  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Russian conspiracy, Comey, related matters on: June 08, 2017, 12:33:11 AM
Excellent post Rick!
167  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: June 08, 2017, 12:00:05 AM
So noted.  Thanks.
168  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / VDH: The Dems go full Jimmy Swaggart on: June 07, 2017, 11:59:31 PM
169  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / President Trump and AG Sessions kill DOJ extortion scheme on: June 07, 2017, 10:32:16 PM
170  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Puerto Rico on: June 07, 2017, 10:08:04 PM
This is a big deal!
171  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Prison labor at the AR gov's mansion on: June 07, 2017, 10:01:47 PM
172  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Beware hot IDF babes! on: June 07, 2017, 07:01:15 PM

173  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 2017 US Tribal Gathering of the Pack May 20-21 on: June 07, 2017, 02:06:35 PM
174  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Crafty Dog & Cunning Dog droned on: June 07, 2017, 01:55:57 PM
175  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / IPT: The Identity Crisis Fueling Euro Muslim Radicalization on: June 07, 2017, 01:28:31 PM

The Identity Crisis Fueling European Muslim Radicalization
by Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
June 7, 2017

[​IMG]When tanks entered the streets of Istanbul and Ankara last summer in an attempt to overthrow the Turkish government, people swarmed the streets to fight them off. At the urging of their president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, they pushed back against the coup, some waving Turkish flags, others waving guns. "What else would you do?" A friend in Istanbul asked me some months later. "When your government and your country are attacked, you fight back. It's to be expected."

Less expected, however, were the crowds of Turkish-Europeans who also took to the streets in cities like Rotterdam, where dozens demonstrated on the city's Erasmus Bridge, waving Turkish flags and, in some cases, crying out "Allahu Akbar." For many non-Turkish Europeans, the action felt almost threatening: Were these people Turkish or European? Could they reasonably be both? Or did they represent a fifth column, aiming to overtake Europe from within?

In Holland, members of Leefbaar Rotterdam (Livable Rotterdam), the populist political party founded by the late Pim Fortuyn, determined to address the issue head-on. They held a public panel discussion last week to debate the question of who these demonstrators were: traitors? Dual citizens with torn allegiances? Could they be true to both their Turkish heritage and to the Dutch culture in which they were born and raised?

Left unspoken were the more pressing questions, the ones the non-Turks really meant: do Dutch Turks identify more with the Islamist policies and values of Erdogan and his regime, or with the secular Enlightenment, the democratic culture of the West? What, after all, to think of the fact that the vast majority of European Turks voted for Erdogan in the November 2015 elections, and again voted against democracy in Turkey's April 16 referendum, which gave him virtually limitless powers until 2029?

While this particular debate took place in Rotterdam, once the home of the Renaissance humanist Erasmus, these questions have hovered over all of Europe since the 2004 terrorist attacks in Madrid and, even more, the 2005 attacks in London – and not only about the Turks, but about Muslim immigrants in general.

With Europe facing a near-continual onslaught of Islamist terrorist attacks often perpetrated by homegrown extremists, those questions feel more urgent than ever.

But both the issue and its urgency are far more complex than a matter of allegiance. For many second- and third-generation immigrant youth, especially those from Turkey and Morocco, it is also a matter of identity. As dark-skinned immigrants with names like Fatima and Mohammed, they are often discriminated against in their home countries. The values of their families and their religious leaders do not always mesh with the values of their communities and governments. But when they visit their cousins and grandparents in Anatolia and rural Morocco, they find they don't fit in there, either.

Many counterterrorism experts maintain that this situation makes Muslim European youth especially vulnerable to radicalization and recruitment by terror groups. As Belgian-Palestinian jihad expert Montasser AIDe'emeh has noted of Belgian Moroccan extremists such as the Paris and Brussels attackers, "The Islamic State is giving them what the Belgian government can't give them – identity, structure. They don't feel Moroccan or Belgian. They don't feel part of either society." And speaking to PBS's Judy Woodruff, Peter Neumann, director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization, observed that "the cause [of radicalization] is ultimately a conflict of identity. It is about second- or third-generation descendants of Muslim immigrants no longer feeling at home in their parents' or grandparents' culture, at the same time not being accepted into European societies."

If this is true, then what to make of the Turkish-European dual citizens choosing, as most have, to support Erdogan's Islamist policies while living in the liberal West? Are they integrated, assimilated, into the cultures in which they live, as most insisted during the Rotterdam debate? Or are they rather true to the norms of a Turkey that is becoming increasingly religious, turning increasingly eastward, and to a president who is gradually unraveling the secular Western vision of the republic's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk?

At the same time, does waving the Turkish flag when the country is attacked mean they are not actually Dutch? Should Dutch Jews not fly the flag of Israel, or Dutch-Americans have left their stars and stripes at home after 9/11?

"It's more than just flags," Ebru Umar, a Dutch-Turkish journalist who moderated last week's event, explained in an e-mail. "The flags symbolize who they are.... They claim to be soldiers of Erdogan." Hence, she said, "the people [demonstrating] on the [Erasmus] bridge were and are seen as not integrated. Ask them and they'll answer they are integrated. And [yet] they tell you of course they adore Erdogan." Indeed, she noted, they even stated it at the debate: "'You can't ask a child whom they love more: mum or dad.'"

It is a false equivalency, however. This is not about loving one parent more than another, but about accepting one of two opposing sets of values: those of secular democracies, or those of Islamist theocracies. There is no combining the two. There is no compromise.

Which is what makes these questions so very critical right now – not just for the Dutch, but for all Europeans, as they confront a complex, existential dilemma. Should they continue to alienate the growing population of young Muslims, and should those same young Muslims continue to resist assimilation, they will together be laying out the welcome mat for recruiters for jihad. But should Europe instead accept the Islamist leanings of those same Muslim youth, it will soon discover there was a fifth column after all – a movement to Islamize the West. And it will have succeeded.

Abigail R. Esman, the author, most recently, of Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West (Praeger, 2010), is a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands. Follow her at @radicalstates.
176  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Questions for the private Jim Comey on: June 07, 2017, 01:20:29 PM
The ‘Private’ Jim Comey
Some good questions the former FBI chief prefers not to answer.
James Comey appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday May 03, 2017.
James Comey appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday May 03, 2017. Photo: Getty Images
June 6, 2017 7:20 p.m. ET

The media are pitching James Comey’s Thursday testimony as the biggest since Watergate, and the former FBI director may provide high Trump ian drama. Let’s hope Congress also challenges Mr. Comey on matters he’d rather not talk about.

The politically savvy Mr. Comey has a knack for speaking in congenial forums such as the clubby Senate Intelligence Committee he’ll address Thursday. By contrast he is refusing to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee—where he came under a grilling in May, days before he was fired—though there is no bar to him testifying more than once.

Circa News is also reporting (and we have confirmed) that Mr. Comey is refusing to answer seven questions sent to him in a letter from Judiciary on May 26. The bipartisan request is from Republican Chairman Chuck Grassley and ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein, as well as the chairman and ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism.

The questions are aimed at discovering how the contents of Mr. Comey’s famous “memo” to himself came to be splashed across the press. This still private memo reportedly says President Trump asked Mr. Comey to back off an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and its contents surfaced in the New York Times not long after Mr. Comey was fired—courtesy of an unidentified Comey “associate.”

The Judiciary letter asks if Mr. Comey created other memos about interactions with Justice Department officials or Mr. Trump; if he shared the contents of his memos with people inside or outside the Justice Department; if he retained copies of the memos, and if so to turn them over to the committee.

We’re told Mr. Comey replied via email that he didn’t have to answer the questions because he is now a “private citizen.” But that same private citizen will be opining in front of a national TV audience before a committee investigating serious questions of law and intelligence. Mr. Comey shouldn’t be able to pick and choose which of his memos he sends to Congress and which he can keep for his memoirs. If Mr. Comey wrote those memos while FBI director, as his talkative pals claim, the memos are government work product and he has a duty to provide them to investigators.

The “private citizen” excuse is useful in that it exposes that Mr. Comey’s main goal will be providing testimony against Mr. Trump while reviving his own reputation. Tip for Thursday viewing: Notice if Mr. Comey answers questions selectively, ducking those he doesn’t like behind the cover of Robert Mueller’s special-counsel investigation.

The Intelligence Committee shouldn’t let him get away with it. If Mr. Comey wants a public stage to tell his side of the Trump story, fair enough. But he should also be required to provide actual copies of his memos (if they exist), disclose with whom he shared them, and where they are now stored. He should also tell the country if President Trump was a target of the Russia investigation while he supervised it at the FBI.

Oh, and someone should also ask Mr. Comey if it’s true, as the Washington Post has reported, that the FBI probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails was triggered by a phony document provided by Russian intelligence. The point of this Congressional oversight is to help the public understand how Russia tried to meddle with American democracy, and Mr. Comey’s duty didn’t end with his dismissal.

Appeared in the June 7, 2017, print edition.
177  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / NRO: Trump Administration Turnover on: June 07, 2017, 11:53:39 AM
Can Trump Really Be Fed Up with Sessions after Just Four Months?

This story is deeply troubling — assuming it is true; wariness about unnamed sources is understandable.

President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have had a series of heated exchanges in the last several weeks after Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe, a source close to Sessions told CNN Tuesday.

A senior administration official said that at one point, Sessions expressed he would be willing to resign if Trump no longer wanted him there.

Tuesday afternoon, White House press secretary Sean Spicer declined to say whether Trump has confidence in Sessions.
“I have not had a discussion with him about that,” Spicer said.

As of 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, the White House still was unable to say whether or not the President backs his attorney general, a White House official said. The official said they wanted to avoid a repeat of what happened when Kellyanne Conway said Trump had confidence in Flynn only to find out hours later that the national security adviser had been pushed out.

Remember that huge confirmation fight over Sessions? That was four months ago! What’s the point of going through all that trouble if Trump is going to get into a fight with his attorney general and want to get rid of him by June? Yesterday, I mentioned that there are only three people nominated by Trump working in the Department of Justice. Do you think Trump will be better off with only two? And if Trump has this much friction with Sessions, one of his earliest and most enthusiastic supporters, who’s out there who he’s going to work with better?

If Trump did ditch Sessions, how long would it take for him to find a replacement?

Remember at the end of May, when communications director Mike Dubke resigned? Sean Spicer is filling that job and the press secretary job… but of course, we’ve heard a lot of rumors that Trump has contemplated firing Spicer, too.

Remember all the reports back in April that Trump was considering getting rid of both Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon?

There’s one argument of management that says you shouldn’t get rid of someone until you have a good plan to replace them or at least have someone else who can temporarily handle their duties.

Michael Dubke, the White House communications director, said he would step down, but four possible successors contacted by the White House declined to be considered, according to an associate of Mr. Trump who like others asked not to be identified discussing internal matters [my emphasis].

Is it any wonder this White House is having a hard time attracting people?

We discussed how Trump tweets out messages that directly contradict the arguments of his lawyers. He gave Spicer an hour’s warning about the decision to fire Comey.

He didn’t even fire Comey face-to-face. And it’s Trump who apparently fumes that his staff is “incompetent.”
178  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Balfour Declaration on: June 07, 2017, 11:44:44 AM
179  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: June 07, 2017, 11:34:30 AM
BTW, if we had the Libertarian vote to Trump and the Green vote to Hillary we get:

Trump 67,474,339
Hillary  67,310,847

180  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The Ozone Hole on: June 07, 2017, 02:24:13 AM
181  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: D-Day Anniversary on: June 07, 2017, 02:13:47 AM
182  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Prisoner's Dilema; Game Theory on: June 07, 2017, 01:19:07 AM
Sorry, not following.  Please expound.
183  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Ontario Canada dramatically expands criteria for taking children from parents on: June 07, 2017, 01:17:38 AM
184  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Limp Bizquit? on: June 06, 2017, 11:28:13 PM
Not getting the reference to Limp Bizquit , , ,
185  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / DNI Coates and President Trump on: June 06, 2017, 08:20:50 PM
186  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Is there a Saudi Arms deal? on: June 06, 2017, 08:06:17 PM
Isn't there Qatar money behind Brookings now?  Anyway, caveat lector:
187  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Serious Read: Qatar on: June 06, 2017, 07:53:59 PM
188  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Forbes: Trump family corruption on: June 06, 2017, 07:52:42 PM
189  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Are you fg kidding me?!? Can no one keep his mouth shut?!? on: June 06, 2017, 07:47:44 PM
190  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Military Science, Military Issues, and the Nature of War on: June 06, 2017, 05:31:00 PM
BD-- "Trump on Qatar" is probably better in the "Articulating our Strategy" thread-- I'm thinking in the aftermath of Trump's Riyadh speech, this could be a good moment to re-assess that.
191  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Portland OR on: June 06, 2017, 03:55:18 PM
192  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Pentagon having hard time squaring President's comments on Qatar on: June 06, 2017, 03:43:30 PM
I have always said that a key to understanding Trump is in his life experience with "The Apprentice".  The values of the show are quite Machiavellian.
193  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: The $600B Man on: June 06, 2017, 03:41:11 PM
The $600 Billion Man
A new report highlights one cost of the Obama legacy.
By James Freeman
May 31, 2017 1:21 p.m. ET

As if taxes haven’t been high enough, the U.S. Government also forced Americans to spend an eye-watering $1.9 trillion in 2016 just to comply with federal regulations. That’s according to the latest annual “10,000 Commandments” report released today by Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “If it were a country, U.S. regulation would be the world’s seventh-largest economy, ranking behind India and ahead of Italy,” notes Mr. Crews. He adds that our regulatory tab is nearly as large as the total pretax profits of corporations.

Mr. Crews has become one of the most hated men in Washington by tabulating the hidden costs—those not counted in the roughly $4 trillion of direct federal spending—that politicians and bureaucrats impose on the American economy. And nobody imposed more than Barack Obama. According to the Crews annual scorecards, the yearly cost of federal regulation soared by more than $700 billion in nominal dollars from 2008, the last full year of the Bush Administration, through Mr. Obama’s final full year of 2016. Adjusting for inflation, you can call Mr. Obama the $600 Billion Man.

One measure of the amount of red tape spewing out of Washington is the number of pages of proposed and final rules printed in the Federal Register. “Of the top 10 all-time-high Federal Register page counts, seven occurred under President Barack Obama,” notes Mr. Crews. And let’s hope that Mr. Obama’s latest record, set on his final lap in 2016, will never be broken. Mr. Crews reports that the register “finished 2016 at 95,894 pages, the highest level in its history and 19 percent higher than the previous year’s 80,260 pages.”

Some readers will argue that the $600 billion figure wildly understates the costs inflicted on the U.S. economy by Mr. Obama given increases in on-the-books federal spending and the creation of future federal spending commitments. But on that score he must share the blame. It’s not easy to precisely assign responsibility between the executive branch and the Congress for each dollar of the historic increase in federal outlays that occurred early in the Obama presidency or the relative moderation that occurred after Republicans took control of the House in 2010.

In contrast, the executive branch is largely responsible for the costs of regulation. Yes, a Democratic Congress had to agree with Mr. Obama to enact laws like Dodd-Frank and ObamaCare that created new burdens, but the regulatory agencies have enjoyed broad discretion in deciding just how heavy those burdens will be and upon whom they will fall. And much of the Obama increase, especially in the area of environmental regulation, was due to new Obama interpretations of existing laws, not new legislation.

So our 44th president owns the additional $600 billion annual regulatory burden that he’s placed on American shoulders. This is real money, and to put it in context this column looked at the most recent Consumer Expenditure Survey from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Based on these data, the hidden Obama tax is more than twice what American consumers spend each year on gasoline and motor oil ($249 billion) and more than three times what we spend on electricity ($186 billion). It’s more than we spend on food while dining in ($529 billion) or dining out ($400 billion). It’s also roughly nine times the $66 billion that American consumers spend on alcoholic beverages, and your humble correspondent suspects there may be a connection here.

This column also suspects that the staggering burden of government rules has a lot to do with the historically slow growth of the Obama era and the expectation that President Trump will announce his intention to exit the Paris climate agreement this week.
194  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Military Science, Military Issues, and the Nature of War on: June 06, 2017, 03:36:31 PM
Excellent and timely piece BD.  Coincidentally I have been in some interesting conversations recently about exactly this.  Let's continue to follow this!

Hearty agreement with that piece GM-- It does a nice job summarizing the extent of Obama's devastation and I will be using it elsewhere to that end.

195  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) and the 4th & 9th Amendments on: June 05, 2017, 11:16:20 PM
 shocked shocked shocked
196  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Prisoner's Dilema; Game Theory on: June 05, 2017, 11:13:54 PM
Of course the counter argument is that continuing to play win-win when the others are playing zero sum is a failing strategy.
197  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / 10 ways to spot an American abroad on: June 05, 2017, 11:11:35 PM
198  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Germany: on: June 05, 2017, 10:25:01 PM
Funny nonetheless.

This however is not:
199  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trump discontent with Sessions on: June 05, 2017, 10:23:00 PM
WASHINGTON — Few Republicans were quicker to embrace President Trump’s campaign last year than Jeff Sessions, and his reward was one of the most prestigious jobs in America. But more than four months into his presidency, Mr. Trump has grown sour on Mr. Sessions, now his attorney general, blaming him for various troubles that have plagued the White House.

The discontent was on display on Monday in a series of stark early-morning postings on Twitter in which the president faulted his own Justice Department for its defense of his travel ban on visitors from certain predominantly Muslim countries. Mr. Trump accused Mr. Sessions’s department of devising a “politically correct” version of the ban — as if the president had nothing to do with it.

In private, the president’s exasperation has been even sharper. He has intermittently fumed for months over Mr. Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s election, according to people close to Mr. Trump who insisted on anonymity to describe internal conversations. In Mr. Trump’s view, they said, it was that recusal that eventually led to the appointment of a special counsel who took over the investigation.

Behind-the-scenes frustration would not be unprecedented in the Oval Office. Other presidents have become estranged from the Justice Department over time, notably President Bill Clinton, who bristled at Attorney General Janet Reno’s decisions to authorize investigations into him. But Mr. Trump’s tweets on Monday made his feelings evident for all to see and raised questions about how he is managing his own administration.
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Related Coverage

    Democrats Sought Inquiry of Testimony by Sessions at His Confirmation Hearing JUNE 1, 2017
    Sessions Was Advised Not to Disclose Russia Meetings on Security Forms MAY 24, 2017

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“They wholly undercut the idea that there is some rational process behind the president’s decisions,” said Walter E. Dellinger, who served as acting solicitor general under Mr. Clinton. “I believe it is unprecedented for a president to publicly chastise his own Justice Department.”

In his Twitter posts, Mr. Trump complained that his original executive order barring visitors from select Muslim-majority nations and refugees from around the world was revised in hopes of passing legal muster after it was struck down by multiple federal courts. The second version, however, has also been blocked, and last week the Justice Department appealed to the Supreme Court.

“The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.,” Mr. Trump wrote.

Then he added, “The Justice Dept. should ask for an expedited hearing of the watered down Travel Ban before the Supreme Court — & seek much tougher version!”

But the messages caused considerable head scratching around Washington since it was Mr. Trump who signed the revised executive order and, presumably, agreed to the legal strategy in the first place. His posts made it sound like the Justice Department was not part of his administration.

The White House had little to add to the president’s messages on Monday. Asked why Mr. Trump signed the revised order if he did not support it, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a White House spokeswoman, said he did it only to convince a California-based appeals court. “He was looking to, again, match the demands laid out by the Ninth Circuit and, for the purpose of expediency, to start looking at the best way possible to move that process forward,” she said.
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Alan M. Dershowitz, a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School who has frequently defended Mr. Trump on cable news, said the president was clearly voicing frustration with Mr. Sessions. But he said it was not clear to him that it was a personal issue as opposed to an institutional one with the office.

“What he’s saying is, ‘I’m the president, I’m the tough guy, I wanted a very tough travel ban and the damn lawyers are weakening it’ — and clients complain about lawyers all the time,” Mr. Dershowitz said. “I see this more as a client complaining about his lawyer. The lawyer in this case happens to be Jeff Sessions.”

David B. Rivkin Jr., a lawyer who served in the White House and Justice Department under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush, said Mr. Trump clearly looked at the case from the lens of a businessman who did not get his money’s worth.

“He’s unhappy when the results don’t come in,” Mr. Rivkin said. “I’m sure he was convinced to try the second version, and the second iteration did not do better than the first iteration, so the lawyers in his book did not do a good job. It’s understandable for a businessman.”

Mr. Sessions and the Justice Department remained silent on Monday. But at least one lawyer close to the administration suggested that there was consternation in the department over the president’s messages. George T. Conway III, who until last week was Mr. Trump’s choice for assistant attorney general for the civil division and whose wife, Kellyanne Conway, is the president’s counselor, posted a Twitter message suggesting that Mr. Trump’s tweets “certainly won’t help” persuade five justices on the Supreme Court — the majority needed — to uphold the travel ban.

In subsequent posts, Mr. Conway said that “every sensible lawyer” in the White House Counsel’s Office and “every political appointee” at the Justice Department would “agree with me (as some have already told me).” Mr. Conway stressed that he strongly supports Mr. Trump — “and, of course, my wonderful wife” — and was making his points because the president’s supporters “should not be shy about it.”

The frustration over the travel ban might be a momentary episode were it not for the deeper resentment Mr. Trump feels toward Mr. Sessions, according to people close to the president. When Mr. Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation, Mr. Trump learned about it only when he was in the middle of another event, and he publicly questioned the decision.

A senior administration official said Mr. Trump has not stopped burning about the decision, in occasional spurts, toward Mr. Sessions. Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who was selected by Mr. Sessions and filled in when it came to the Russia investigation, ultimately appointed Robert S. Mueller III, a former F.B.I. director, as special counsel to lead the probe.

In fact, much of the past two months of discomfort and self-inflicted pain for Mr. Trump can be tied in some way back to that recusal. Mr. Trump felt blindsided by Mr. Sessions’s decision and unleashed his fury at aides in the Oval Office the next day, according to four people familiar with the event. The next day was his fateful tweet about President Barack Obama conducting a “wiretapp” of Trump Tower during the campaign, an allegation that was widely debunked.

However, Mr. Trump is said to be aware that firing people now, on the heels of dismissing James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, would be risky. He has invested care and meticulous attention to the next choice of an F.B.I. director in part because he will not have the option of firing another one. The same goes for Mr. Sessions, these people said.

Mr. Dershowitz said he thought any frustration over Mr. Sessions’s recusal, like the travel ban, was probably not personal. “I think that’s also institutional,” he said. “Almost any A.G. would recuse himself. I think he’s railing against lawyers.”
200  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / UN gets into fake news biz on: June 05, 2017, 08:03:57 PM
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