Archive for August 2, 2017

Trump endorses new immigration bill to cut green-card limits, favor English speakers

August 2, 2017

Trump endorses new immigration bill to cut green-card limits, favor English speakers, Washington TimesDave Boyer and Stephen Dinan, August 2, 2017

Immigrant-rights groups accused Mr. Trump of catering to “white nationalists,” saying that non-white immigrants are far more prevalent among low-skilled, poor English-speaking immigrants who would be disadvantaged under the points system.

The measure would prohibit new immigrants from collecting welfare, which Mr. Trump called “a very big thing.”

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President Trump threw his support Wednesday behind a Senate bill that would cut legal immigration in half and implement a new merit-based system that emphasis English-speaking immigrants who can demonstrate job skills.

Meeting at the White House with GOP Sens. David Perdue of Georgia and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, the bill’s sponsors, the president said the revised legislation “would represent the most significant reform to our immigration system in half a century.”

The measure, known as the RAISE Act, “will reduce poverty, increase wages and save taxpayers billions and billions of dollars,” Mr. Trump said.

 The legislation would slash legal immigration in half, to 500,000 per year, over the next decade. The senators said it would replace the current permanent employment-visa framework with a skills-based system that rewards applicants based on their individual merits.

Mr. Cotton said the current immigration system is “an obsolete disaster” in which only 1 immigrant in 15 comes to the U.S. because of their job skills.

“I think it’s a symbol that were’ not committed to working-class Americans,” Mr. Cotton said of the current system.

The new system would reward education, English-language ability, high-paying job offers, past achievements, and entrepreneurial initiative. The White House said it would be similar to the merit-based immigration systems used by Canada and Australia.

The measure prioritizes immediate family members of U.S. residents, including spouses and minor children, but would end preferences for extended family members and adult children.

Mr. Trump said the U.S. has for decades issued green cards to “record numbers of low-wage immigrants,” and said it puts pressure on unskilled workers who are U.S. citizens already.

“It has not been fair to our people, to our citizens, and to our workers,” the president said.
He said the new system would “favor applicants who can speak English, financially support themselves and their families, and demonstrate skills that will contribute to our economy.”

Americans are divided on the right level of legal immigration. About 40 percent want to see the numbers cut, while another 40 percent want them to stay the same. The remaining 20 percent want to see increases.

The U.S. system is widely seen as broken, however, with immigrants — both legal and illegal — often having more say in the matter than the government itself. Extended families, business relationships and even a random lottery are used to award permanent visas.

Congress has pondered imposing a points system before, a decade ago, when then-President George W. Bush pushed for a massive overhaul that also would have legalized illegal immigrants. That bill died in the Senate.

Immigrant-rights groups accused Mr. Trump of catering to “white nationalists,” saying that non-white immigrants are far more prevalent among low-skilled, poor English-speaking immigrants who would be disadvantaged under the points system.

“Let’s call it as we see it: this is a white nationalist agenda masquerading as a bill about skill levels,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice.

The measure would prohibit new immigrants from collecting welfare, which Mr. Trump called “a very big thing.”

“They’re not going to come in and immediately go and collect welfare.They can’t do that,” he said.

The president of Numbers USA, a group seeking tighter immigration limits, said the legislation “will do more than any other action to fulfill President Trump’s promises as a candidate to create an immigration system that puts the interests of American workers first.”

“Our recent polling confirms that American voters overwhelmingly want far less immigration because they know mass immigration creates unfair competition for American workers,” said the group’s president, Roy Beck. “Seeing the president standing with the bill’s sponsors at the White House gives hope to the tens of millions of struggling Americans in stagnant jobs or outside the labor market altogether.”

The modern U.S. immigration system was established in 1965 when Congress decided the country should broaden traditional avenues of entry, abolish nationality quotas and expand family reunification.

The result was a system where about two-thirds of the green cards issued each year are for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, while employment green cards account for about 15 percent. Refugees and asylees also account for about 15 percent.

Then there’s the diversity visa lottery, established in 1990, which doles out green cards based on chance. The goal was to give potential immigrants who don’t have family ties or job prospects a shot at making it to the U.S.

The new bill would nix the lottery, with the Trump administration saying it “serves questionable economic and humanitarian interests.”

The new bill would also limit permanent resident status for refugees to 50,000 a year, which the White House says is in line with the average over the past 13 years.

Cornell University Law School professor Stephen Yale-Loehr, who studies immigration policy, said the chances of Congress approving the legislation in the next two years are slim.

“It has been very hard for Congress to fix our broken immigration system,” he said. “Like health care reform and tax reform, immigration reform is complex and controversial.”

Kill the Alligators, Then Drain the Swamp

August 2, 2017

Kill the Alligators, Then Drain the Swamp, Front Page MagazineBruce Thornton, August 2, 2017

(Please see also, The Administrative State Declares Independence. — DM)

Donald Trump campaigned on the promise to “drain the swamp” ––the D.C. establishment made up of most Congressmen from both parties, employees of executive agencies and bureaus, the political appointees who head up those agencies, and the hordes of lobbyists, fundraisers, Congressional staffers, “consultants,” “journalists,” and pundits. These are the “Beltway insiders” or the “political establishment” whose natural habitat is the swamp. These are the alligators Trump needs to get rid of.

Of course, many of these D.C. denizens of the establishment are permanent dwellers in the swamp, beyond the reach of the president or even Congress. Besides, monitoring Congressmen should be the business of their constituents, who should hold them accountable. But too often voters like the pork their alligators bring back to their states or districts. As for pundits, consultants, lobbyists, fundraisers, and journos, they are employees of private businesses, with the right of political free speech and association. Keeping them in line is the responsibility of citizens trading in the market-place of ideas, and imposing ballot-box accountability to punish the office-holders corrupted by these parasites.

Then there are 2.1 million federal employees. They manage the federal government’s agencies, execute the laws that they, not Congressmen, actually write, and judge whether the rest of us comply––collapsing together and usurping the separation of powers central to our Constitutional order. And they do so without any accountability to the voters who pay their handsome salaries and Cadillac benefits (85% higher in value than private employees’). They are, no surprise, stalwart supporters of big-government Democrats, to whom this last election they gave 95% of their political donations. And don’t forget the 3.7 million federal contract-workers who also do the federal Leviathan’s bidding.

Something could be done about reducing the size and intrusive scope of this bureaucratic behemoth. Trump has made a good start. He has left many vacancies open with a hiring freeze, and has proposed reducing some agency budgets in order to starve the beast and prune the regulations that empower it. In his 2018 budget proposal he also called for eliminating cost of living raises for employees in the Federal Employee Retirement System, cutting the Civil Service Retirement System’s COLAs by 0.5%, and making employees contribute more to their retirement annuities. If Congress approves, of course. Good luck with that. But he has not yet tackled reducing the more shadowy contract workers, although some are a legitimate resource for the military. When it comes to domestic affairs, however, they carry out the bidding of the federal agencies while most of us citizens have no clue who they are or what they’re up to.

As for Congress, it could pass legislation changing the laws that make federal employees almost untouchable. Like unionized teachers and professors, federal employees benefit from both union protections and virtual tenure––the civil service regulations that make disciplining or firing federal workers time-consuming and costly. There’s nothing to keep Congress from abolishing unions for federal employees, which were created 55 years ago by John Kennedy through an executive order. One of Ronald Reagan’s boldest and most consequential domestic actions came in 1981 when he fired nearly 12,000 air traffic controllers and decertified their union. A Republican Congress should likewise defang this reliably Democrat voting bloc.

Political appointees are another matter, since they’re easier to get rid of. They serve at the pleasure of the Chief Executive. There is no law that keeps the president from firing political appointees. There may be political costs, as Richard Nixon found out, but there are no Constitutional limits, outside of criminal behavior, on the reasons why he fires a political appointee. This is where Trump has been remiss.

Start with former FBI director James Comey, who immediately after the inauguration should have heard Trump’s trademark “You’re fired!” Comey’s careerism and arrogance made him mishandle the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s patent violations of the laws governing classified material, and her probable obstructions of justice. An indictment could have been justified based simply on the information already made public. Indeed, Comey himself laid out the predicates for indictment in his infamous July 2016 announcement. Then he rewrote the relevant statute to let Clinton off the hook, simply to spare AG Loretta Lynch, who had met with Bill Clinton in a private confab in an airplane, the pretext Comey used for usurping the prosecutor’s role. Along the way he violated the foundation of any free government––equality before the law.

Next, as soon as Jeff Sessions was confirmed as AG, Trump should have cleaned out every Democrat appointee left in the DOJ, starting with Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein. If he had, the whole “Russia collusion” and “hacking the election” fictions, which have led to an investigative slow death from a thousand leaks, would not now be assailing the Trump administration. The messy firing of Comey in May, which created the perception that Trump was trying to stop the Russia probe because he had something to hide, wouldn’t have happened. With Rosenstein replaced by a Trump appointee, Sessions could have recused himself more easily, knowing a politically reliable deputy would be making the decisions.

And that means Rosenstein, who appointed Robert Mueller as special prosecutor, wouldn’t have been around to turn a counter-intelligence investigation into a criminal one. Comey couldn’t have engineered his close friend Robert Mueller’s appointment by using illegal leaks to the media. There would be no investigative team stocked with Democrat donors and wannabe Javerts like Andrew Weismann. And Mueller would not now be running a partisan investigation in search of a crime, and providing endless leaked chum to the Trump-hating media sharks circling the president.

Instead, perhaps Sessions would have ordered a special prosecutor to investigate the real crimes that endangered national security, like Hillary’s illegal email server and pay-for-play State Department. Maybe then the real Russia “collusion” story could have been exposed––from the allegations that Hillary facilitated the Russian takeover of American uranium mines in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation, to the FBI’s buying a Russian-produced vulgar fake “dossier” about Trump from a “researcher” at GPS Fusion, a firm also patronized by Democrats, who are now helping the outfit’s chief stonewall Congress.

And let’s not forget the Obama administration’s partisan “unmasking” scandal, the leaking nearly 100 citizens’ identities that appeared “incidentally” in the course of surveilling foreign nationals. Or the Democrats’ IT scandal, in which a crooked, overpaid IT tech had access to the computer data of over 24 Democrat Congressmen as well as the Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs committees. Or Loretta Lynch’s meeting with the politically powerful husband of a person under investigation by Lynch’s FBI, or her browbeating the “Boy Scout” James Comey into spinning the Clinton investigation into a mere “matter.” Of course, nothing is stopping Sessions now from naming a special prosecutor to investigate any of these likely felonies, but he has been publicly battered by his boss and seems demoralized by this whole chain of events.

And that’s on Trump. His browbeating and humiliation of Sessions is unseemly because it was Trump who didn’t clean house on day one, and so created the circumstances that now distract him. And it’s not just the DOJ or FBI. Why is well-connected, long-time D.C. alligator John Koskinen still running the IRS? The same guy who was less than helpful (remember those “missing” emails?) in getting to the bottom of one of the worst scandals in IRS history? Even though the IRS, with the active, nay eager participation of Director of Exempt Organizations Lois “Toby Miles” Lerner, had been weaponized against conservative advocacy groups? That was one of the most despicable official acts against the Constitution and the citizenry in recent memory, a gross violation of equal protection under the law, the rules protecting citizens’ privacy, and the First Amendment, all to serve naked partisan interests.

Talk about “interfering in an election” with impunity. Nothing the Russians have done with their “hacking” of the DNC’s amateurishly secured computers, or their preposterous fabricated “dossier” on Trump, comes even close to what Lerner pulled off. Yet Koskinen, whom the House failed to impeach, let Lerner retire with a full pension and a $129K bonus. That was after she got away with providing misleading testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee, being found in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena, and then pleading the 5th Amendment, a de facto admission of guilt. But AG Loretta “Tarmac” Lynch’s DOJ just shrugged away this gross undermining of the integrity of a presidential election.

I’m not sure Trump really gets the depths to which Democrats and establishment Republicans despise and resent him for trashing their Kabuki theater of “decorum” and “acting presidential” and “bipartisan” comity, the whole hypocritical camouflage of “traditional protocols” and “selfless public servants” that hides the brutal, bare-knuckle politics, rank partisanship, featherbedding, and logrolling that has defined democracy ever since the ancient Athenian orators and comic playwrights accused their political rivals of being treasonous homosexual prostitutes spawned by barbarian whores.

If Trump did get it, he would realize it’s not enough to Tweet late-night insults and bluster. Such outbursts can never counter the Democrats’ willingness to lie shamelessly, and their advantage in having the deep-state 5thcolumnists, hysterical Republican NeverTrumpers, and squadrons of flying media monkeys eager to attack Republicans 24/7. Deeds, not words, are the best defense. And the most important action of a new administration is to clean out the partisan alligators who make the swamp so deadly.

Drug Cartels Fuming at New U.S. Policy Screening 100% of Mexican Cargo Trucks

August 2, 2017

Drug Cartels Fuming at New U.S. Policy Screening 100% of Mexican Cargo Trucks, Judicial Watch, August 1, 2017

Approximately 471,000 trucks pass through the U.S-Mexico border monthly, according to figures published by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Frontline customs agents stationed along the southern border confirm that trucks containing “legitimate” goods are often used by sophisticated drug cartels to move cargo north. This is hardly surprising since most illegal drugs in the United States come from Mexico, according to the DEA, and Mexican traffickers remain the greatest threat to the United States.

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In a major shift from lax Obama-era regulations, the Trump administration is finally allowing customs officers to screen all cargo trucks entering the U.S. from Mexico and sources on both sides of the border tell Judicial Watch Mexican drug cartels are fuming. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is using X-ray technology and other non-intrusive tools to screen 100% of cargo trucks crossing the southern border after eight years of sporadic or random screening permitted under the Obama administration.

“We felt like we were the welcoming committee and not like we were guarding our borders,” said veteran U.S. Customs agent Patricia Cramer, who also serves as president of the Arizona chapter of the agency’s employee union. “The order was to facilitate traffic, not to stop any illegal drugs from entering the country,” Cramer added. “We want to enforce the law. That’s what we signed up for.” Cramer, a canine handler stationed at the Nogales port of entry in Arizona, said illicit drugs are pouring in through the southern border, especially massive quantities of fentanyl, an opioid painkiller that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says is more potent than morphine.

Approximately 471,000 trucks pass through the U.S-Mexico border monthly, according to figures published by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The busiest port of entry is in Laredo, Texas where 167,553 trucks enter the U.S. from Mexico monthly, followed by Otay Mesa in California (76,953), El Paso, Texas (58,913), Hidalgo, Texas (45,355) and Nogales with 29,439. Other busy ports include East Calexico, California (29,173), Brownsville, Texas (16,140) and Eagle Pass, Texas (12,952). Trucks bring in everything from auto parts to appliances, produce and livestock. In fact, a veteran Homeland Security official told Judicial Watch that cattle trucks passed without inspection during the Obama administration because Mexican farmers complained that the security screenings frightened their cows. “Our guys were livid that we were not allowed to check cattle,” the federal official said.

Frontline customs agents stationed along the southern border confirm that trucks containing “legitimate” goods are often used by sophisticated drug cartels to move cargo north. This is hardly surprising since most illegal drugs in the United States come from Mexico, according to the DEA, and Mexican traffickers remain the greatest threat to the United States. They’re classified as Transitional Criminal Organizations (TCOs) by the government and for years they’ve smuggled in enormous quantities of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana. Last year the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the nonpartisan agency that provides Congress with policy and legal analysis, published a disturbing report outlining how Mexican cartels move record quantities of drugs into the U.S. Because cartels move the drugs through the Southwest border, western states have become part of what’s known as the “heroin transit zone,” according to the CRS.

Federal law enforcement sources tell Judicial Watch Mexican cartels operate like efficient businesses that resort to “other more treacherous routes” when necessary, but driving through a port of entry in a cargo truck is a preferred method of moving drugs. Cartels station shifts of spotters with binoculars in Mexican hills near border checkpoints to determine the level of security screenings. “They know if we’re on the job, the level of screening that we’re conducting,” Cramer said. “The cartels watch us all the time.” Nogales is a favorite for cartel spotters because the U.S. checkpoint sits in a valley surrounded by hills on the Mexican side, where unobstructed views facilitate surveillance. “They see everything,” Cramer said. For years the cartel spotters saw that much of the cargo passing through the checkpoint was waved through, according to agents contacted by Judicial Watch.

New Jersey: Court forbids residents to mention “Islam” or “Muslim” at public hearing on mosque construction

August 2, 2017

New Jersey: Court forbids residents to mention “Islam” or “Muslim” at public hearing on mosque construction, Jihad Watch

The Quicks reside within 200 feet of the proposed mosque construction in a zoned residential area. Yet, the settlement agreement prohibits them from describing the many unique features of Islamic worship which will impact design of the building, traffic density, water and sewage, traffic control problems, road construction, and parking arrangements. 

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Most Americans have no idea how severely imperiled the freedom of speech really is. I discuss in detail in my new book The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech (and Its Enemies). But as this fundamental freedom slips away, most people don’t even care. Look: Kardashians!

“Court: Residents Can’t Mention ‘Islam’ or ‘Muslim’ At Public Hearing on Mosque Construction; Thomas More Law Center Files Federal Lawsuit,” Thomas More Law Center, August 1, 2017:

ANN ARBOR, MI – In a settlement agreement, which reads more like an instrument of surrender, Bernards Township (“Township”), New Jersey officials agreed that, in addition to a $3.5 million payment to Islamic Society of Basking Ridge (“ISBR”), residents and citizens of the Township are prohibited from commenting on “Islam” or “Muslims.” at the upcoming public hearing to approve the settlement. Astonishingly, a federal judge approved the prohibition as a fully enforceable Order of the Court.

As a result of this suppression of speech, the Thomas More Law Center (“TMLC”), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, yesterday, filed a lawsuit in the New Jersey Federal District Court on behalf of Christopher and Loretta Quick. The lawsuit was filed by TMLC affiliated New Jersey attorney, Michael Hrycak. Mr. Hrycak was assisted by TMLC staff attorney, Tyler Brooks. The TMLC is representing the Quicks without charge.

TMLC’s lawsuit alleges that Bernards Township’s settlement agreement constitutes a prior restraint on speech based on content, as well as, a violation of the Establishment Clause because it prefers Islam over other religions. The lawsuit asks the court to: declare that the settlement agreement is unconstitutional; and to enter a preliminary and permanent injunction against its enforcement….

The Quicks reside within 200 feet of the proposed mosque construction in a zoned residential area. Yet, the settlement agreement prohibits them from describing the many unique features of Islamic worship which will impact design of the building, traffic density, water and sewage, traffic control problems, road construction, and parking arrangements. According to the settlement agreement, ISBR is permitted to make statements concerning Christians and Jews and their places of worship, but in contrast, the Agreement prohibits commentary relating to Islam or Muslims. In fact, ISBR has previously discussed the Christian and Jewish religions and their places of worship.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, commented: “As we have previously documented, ISBR has taken the extraordinary step of concealing significant links on their website to a radical group named by the federal government as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in America history, the Islamic Society of North America (“ISNA”). ISNA is claimed by the Muslim Brotherhood as one of “our organizations.” According to internal documents seized by the FBI, the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategy is to engage in a “grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within . . .”

Thompson continued, “While claiming that the Township had a religious animus against Muslims, ISBR hid from the public view its animus toward Christians and Jews, by not only hiding anti-Christian and anti-Semitic verses published on its website, but also hiding its significant ties to ISNA. Instead of standing up to defend its citizens against ISBR’s hate-filled anti-Semitic and anti-Christian bias, the Township colluded with ISBR’s “Civilization Jihad” by capitulating to payment of millions of dollars to ISBR, allowing the construction of the new mosque and Islamic center in violation of zoning codes, and now even suppressing speech concerning Islam or Muslims at a public meeting.”

In March 2016, ISBR filed a lawsuit in the New Jersey Federal District Court alleging that Bernards Township had discriminated against the Islamic Society when it declined to approve the construction of a large mosque on a lot that was far too small to handle the contemplated structure. And in November 2016, the United States represented by the U. S. Justice Department filed a second lawsuit against the Township on similar grounds. The settlement agreement covers both lawsuits….

Trump vs. MS-13

August 2, 2017

Trump vs. MS-13, Front Page MagazineMatthew Vadum, August 2, 2017

President Trump’s intensifying crackdown on transnational crime gang MS-13 is being met with fierce resistance by the Left.

Understanding the leftist mind is an inexact science but the complaints seem to center around the idea that in the Trump era trying to eliminate an ethno-culturally non-diverse criminal organization is somehow racist, no matter how horrifying and brutal the group’s crimes against innocent Americans may be. The Left habitually sides with antisocial causes, putting partisanship over the interests of the American people. Left-wingers promote so-called sanctuary cities which are magnets for illegal aliens and the crime that accompanies them. They don’t care about the damage such policies do to American society.

Although it may sound like hyperbole to some, leftists hate Donald Trump and everything he stands for, so if Trump comes out against rapists and serial killers, for example, the Left will defiantly take a stand in favor of rapists and serial killers.

Racist left-wing journalist Jamelle Bouie of Slate argues that MS-13 is nothing to be afraid of. It’s all hype. He writes that the president’s speeches on MS-13 and illegal aliens employ words to “make white people afraid.”

“Trump wasn’t just connecting immigrants with violent crime,” according to the in-your-face Black Lives Matter supporter. “He was using an outright racist trope: that of the violent, sadistic black or brown criminal, preying on innocent (usually white) women.”

The massive pile of corpses generated by MS-13 suggests otherwise.

Trump’s clampdown on MS-13 is “emboldening them, because this gives them the opportunity to tell immigrants, ‘What are you gonna do? Are you going to report us? They’re deporting other innocent people … [so] they’re going to associate you with us by you coming forward,'” says Walter Barrientos, Long Island coordinator for the far-left Make the Road, which CNN describes as an immigrant advocacy group.

“‘So what are you going to do? Who’s going to protect you?’ And that’s what really strikes many of us.”

Make the Road is heavily funded by George Soros’s philanthropies, National Council of La Raza, as well as by other left-wing funders, including the Tides Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund Inc., Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Surdna Foundation, and the Robin Hood Foundation.

What on earth could generate such apoplexy among left-wingers?

President Trump told law enforcement officials on Friday at the Van Nostrand Theatre in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., that his administration will bring MS-13 to heel.

Together, we’re going to restore safety to our streets and peace to our communities, and we’re going to destroy the vile criminal cartel, MS-13, and many other gangs. But MS-13 is particularly violent. They don’t like shooting people because it’s too quick, it’s too fast … they like to knife them and cut them, and let them die slowly because that way it’s more painful, and they enjoy watching that much more. These are animals.

Since January 2016, “MS-13 gang members have brutally murdered 17 beautiful, young lives in this area on Long Island alone.” Gang members “kidnap, they extort, they rape and they rob,” the president said.

They prey on children. They shouldn’t be here. They stomp on their victims. They beat them with clubs. They slash them with machetes, and they stab them with knives. They have transformed peaceful parks and beautiful, quiet neighborhoods into bloodstained killing fields. They’re animals.

Trump declared that it is “the policy of this administration to dismantle, decimate and eradicate MS-13,” and praised law enforcement for “liberating our American towns.”

This is like I’d see in a movie: They’re liberating the town, like in the old Wild West, right? We’re liberating our towns. I never thought I’d be standing up here talking about liberating the towns on Long Island where I grew up, but that’s what you’re doing.

To finish the job, Trump called for more than doubling U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) staff focused on enforcement and deportations.

Right now, we have less than 6,000 Enforcement and Removal Officers in ICE. This is not enough to protect a nation of more than 320 million people. It’s essential that Congress fund another 10,000 ICE officers — and we’re asking for that — so that we can eliminate MS-13 and root out the criminal cartels from our country.

And Trump laid the blame for the rise of MS-13 where much of it belongs: on former President Obama. The Obama administration “enacted an open-door policy to illegal migrants from Central America. ‘Welcome in. Come in, please, please.’”

Under Obama’s policies, “MS-13 surged into the country,” Trump said. “In the three years before I took office,” the president added, “more than 150,000 unaccompanied alien minors arrived at the border and were released all throughout our country into United States’ communities — at a tremendous monetary cost to local taxpayers and also a great cost to life and safety.”

Mara Salvatrucha, commonly called MS-13, reportedly operates in 42 states and in the District of Columbia, as well as Canada, Mexico, and Central America. Its motto is “kill, rape, control.”

Although often described as a Salvadoran criminal organization, that doesn’t tell the whole story. MS-13 was founded by Salvadoran immigrants in Los Angeles in the 1980s who came to the U.S. after the various Central American civil wars of the period.

According to investigative reporter Ines Rivera, MS-13 grew out of the Salvadoran Civil War (1979 – 1992) in which tens of thousands perished. During that conflict,

Many died or saw their loved ones killed in death squads, civilian massacres, beheadings, and in the crossfire. A reality often not talked about is the fact that many of the soldiers in the war were children. Using firearms, blunt objects or machetes, Ms-13 members have been known to leave their victims with their limbs severed, at times decapitating them as well; this kind of violence is a characteristic that distinguishes them from other gangs.

The origin of the name Mara Salvatrucha is disputed, but Rivera reports that it “is a conglomeration, combining the name of a violent street gang in El Salvador called, La Mara or gang, with Salvatruchas, a term referring to members of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, which was a group of Salvadorian peasants trained as guerilla fighters,” Rivera writes. “The ‘13’ is believed to stand for the letter M, the thirteenth letter of the alphabet, but it [has] also been rumored to pay homage to a California prison gang, the Mexican Mafia.” Others say the “13” refers to the 13 seconds new initiates to the gang are supposedly beaten by existing members in a hazing ritual.

No matter how despicable and loathsome MS-13 may be, there are plenty of activists on the Left who side with the group over America’s 45th president.

Vox’s Dara Lind idiotically proclaimed Trump’s address to police as “the most chilling speech of his presidency,” and accused him of “explicitly encouraging police violence.”

Lind sided with MS-13, implying Trump was spewing racism by “[r]eturning to the theme of scary immigrant criminals” so he could provide “tough talk before an adoring crowd.” She gave MS-13 a pass, mocking Trump for addressing in “gory” detail “the methods by which MS-13 members supposedly torture and kill Americans.”

Then there was the disgraceful recent performance by so-called Republican pundit Margaret Hoover on CNN.

The crackdown on MS-13 was part of a racially coded law enforcement sweep, she maintains.

“Trump was there to highlight the existence of criminal gangs,” and what Trump “was actually doing is he was highlighting the existence of a criminal gang that is South American, El Salvadorian,” said Hoover, whom Breitbart News describes as “one of many Republican useful idiots CNN trots out to bash Trump and his supporters in exchange for pats on the head and cheers of affirmation from Democrats and liberal media elites.”

Ignoring the specific threat posed by MS-13, Hoover said that Trump was focusing attention on the group because there “are individuals from other countries, sometimes there are citizens of the country, sometimes they’re not, of course Americans citizens get caught up and every violent criminal who is here should be deported, and they are on borrowed time.”

Trump’s attacks on the gang are a sop to “white supremacists,” Hoover said.

In other words, Trump is a bigot so of course he is trying to hurt minorities, in this case, members of MS-13.

Sane Americans sympathize with the president’s goal of taking a strong stand against the vile butchers of MS-13, regardless of whether they approved of President Trump.

That’s what patriots do.

But on the Left there aren’t many of those remaining.

Russia flies 2,000 mercenary troops into Syria

August 2, 2017

Russia flies 2,000 mercenary troops into Syria, DEBKAfile, August 2, 2017

Dmitry Utkin, director of the Wagner Group

President Vladimir Putin and his defense minister Gen. Sergei Shoigu have ramped up the Russian military presence in Syria without adding ground and armored troops – even though the Russian constitution bars the recruitment of mercenaries to fight overseas for profit.

Moscow is a veteran client of the Wagner Group contractors, which largely resemble the US Blackwater security contractor now calling itself Academi. It was hired to provide military personnel during 20014 and 2015 for Moscow’s battle to conquer Crimea and in support of the pro-Russian separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine.

The placement of Russian Muslim forces or hired mercenaries on Israel’s northern border – in the guise of ceasefire monitors – poses a serious problem for Jerusalem.

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Russia is engaged in a major buildup in Syria, both in support of the de-escalation zones established in conjunction with the United States, and in order to solidify its military control of the country.

DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources reported exclusively on Wednesday, August 2, that 2,000 mercenaries had just been airlifted into the country, boosting to a total of 5,000 the number of mercenaries on hire from the Wagner Group private contractors for service under the Russian flag in Syria. They are all retirees from elite units of the Russian ground forces, air force or navy.

In another new Russian project, our military sources also report the arrival in the past few days of Muslim troops from the republic of Ingushetia. Although clad in Russian military police uniforms, they are actually commandoes trained in anti-terror warfare. They have been posted as “ceasefire monitors” at the three de-escalation zones established by Russia and the United States along the Syrian borders with Israel, Jordan and Iraq.

President Vladimir Putin and his defense minister Gen. Sergei Shoigu have ramped up the Russian military presence in Syria without adding ground and armored troops – even though the Russian constitution bars the recruitment of mercenaries to fight overseas for profit.

Moscow is a veteran client of the Wagner Group contractors, which largely resemble the US Blackwater security contractor now calling itself Academi. It was hired to provide military personnel during 20014 and 2015 for Moscow’s battle to conquer Crimea and in support of the pro-Russian separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine.

Their mercenaries first arrived in Syria in October 2015, right after Moscow stepped up its intervention in the civil war. In March 2016, several hundred of them fought in the big battle that wrested Palmyra from ISIS.

Ironically, the Wagner Group does not officially exist and is not listed anywhere in Russia. However, a company bearing that name operates out of Argentina, even though its recruits receive training in Russia. They are trained, our sources reveal, at a base of the 10th special forces brigade of GRU military intelligence, located near the village of Molkino in the Krasnodar area of southern Russia, about 150km northeast of the Black Sea. The identity of Wagner’s boss is held secret, but Western intelligence sources name him as Dmitry Utkin, who until 2013 was a lieutenant colonel in the 2nd Spetznaz brigade.

The placement of Russian Muslim forces or hired mercenaries on Israel’s northern border – in the guise of ceasefire monitors – poses a serious problem for Jerusalem. Russia’s record for keeping its promises and commitments on its military moves in Syria is far from good. The US has confirmed that Russia gave Israel a commitment that Iranian and pro-Iranian forces, including Hizballah, would not be allowed to approach the Syrian-Israeli border. But Israel can’t be certain how the Ingushets or the mercenaries will react if confronted with such troops. Will they resort to arms to evict them or let them stay?

The coming DEBKA Weekly out on Friday, Aug. 4, expands on the Russian buildup in Syria and its repercussions. To sign up to this exclusive publication, click here.

Deadly False Narratives Drove the Temple Mount Crisis

August 2, 2017

Deadly False Narratives Drove the Temple Mount Crisis, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Yaakov Lappin, August 2, 2017

Until the attack, Israel had been relying on intelligence alerts, rather than physical security measures, to defend the site. But the shootings led the Israel Police to ask the Israeli government to beef up security, and install metal detectors.

The government agreed, despite the misgivings of the Israeli defense establishment, which was concerned that the move would fuel the propaganda of fundamentalist forces, leading to unrest and instability.

Iran helped fuel the unrestIsrael Hayom reported, by sending protesters “tens of thousands of … prepackaged meals along with notes in each one citing a famous quote attributed to 1979 Iranian Revolution leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini: ‘With the help of Allah, Palestine will be liberated! Jerusalem is ours.’ The note also depicted the Dome of the Rock and the Palestinian flag.”

Additionally, a senior Iranian official reportedly met with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad representatives in Iran, offering them assistance for Palestinians injured in clashes. The IRGC released a statement, condemning “the Zionist regime’s  aggressive and criminal actions against Al-Aqsa mosque.”

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The crisis between Israel and the Palestinians that raged in recent weeks over the Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa holy site in Jerusalem has died down, but the affair provides important clues about the rising ability of fundamentalist Islamists to seize control of the narrative.

Radical rhetoric espoused by those who sought to inflame religious conflict dominated the Temple Mount crisis.

“Israel wants more than ever before to implement its plan for complete control over al-Aksa Mosque,” Hamas politburo chief Ismael Haniyeh said, even after Israel moved to defuse the situation. Days earlier, Hamas had called for a “religious war” against Israel.

Islamists in Gaza, Jordan, east Jerusalem, and within the Israeli Arab community, had the upper hand in their ability to push their interpretation of events. They claim Israel wants to take over the holy site and destroy the mosque to make way for a third Temple. This baseless narrative sweeps away the terrorist attack that caused the crisis and presented three Palestinians killed in subsequent clashes with Israeli security forces in Jerusalem as martyrs who died defending Islam.

Not to be outdone by their Islamist rivals, Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders peddled the same falsehoods. Religious Affairs Minister Sheikh Yusuf Idai’is told the official PA television channel that Israel “has plans to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and establish the alleged Temple in its place.”

Those seeking religious strife were able to mobilize masses onto the streets, with the help of self-organizing demonstrators and rioters who were infected with the Islamist fervor, and spread it themselves on social media.

Together, these elements forced pragmatic Arab leaders – who do not subscribe to Islamist ideology – to adopt the Islamist narrative, and to deal with Israel as if it was guilty of the Islamic hard-liners’ fabricated accusations.

A recap: The crisis erupted when a terrorist jihadist cell, made up of three Arab-Israeli gunmen, used firearms smuggled into the Al-Aqsa Mosque – Islam’s third holiest site – to shoot dead two Israeli police officers. Security forces then returned fire, killing the gunmen.

Until the attack, Israel had been relying on intelligence alerts, rather than physical security measures, to defend the site. But the shootings led the Israel Police to ask the Israeli government to beef up security, and install metal detectors.

The government agreed, despite the misgivings of the Israeli defense establishment, which was concerned that the move would fuel the propaganda of fundamentalist forces, leading to unrest and instability.

The defense establishment’s concerns came true. Rioting erupted in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Mass demonstrations were held in Israel’s eastern neighbor, Jordan, and included members of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood.

A Palestinian knife attacker, pledging to “die for Al-Aqsa” on his Facebook page, massacred three members of an Israeli family in their home in the West Bank.

All of these events were driven by incitement to religious violence. The unrest was sparked by the false accusation that Israel was seeking to change the status quo at Al-Aqsa, and that the site needed defending from Israelis schemes. It is a conspiracy theory that has been peddled by Palestinian hardliners for decades, dating back to the days of Hajj Amin Al Husseini in the 1920s and 30s.

Hamas in Gaza and Palestinian Islamic Jihad praised the Temple Mount shooters as “heroic,” and called for more attacks. They issued a rallying call to defend Al-Aqsa. A Salafist-jihadist group in Gaza fired two rockets at southern Israel.

Israel responded with tank fire at a Hamas military post.

Turkey, ruled by a pro-Hamas variant of the Muslim Brotherhood, exploited the tensions to urge all Muslims to “protect Jerusalem,” and called on Israel to end the crisis. Israel’s Foreign Ministry called it “absurd that the Turkish government, which occupies northern Cyprus, brutally represses the Kurdish minority and jails journalists, lectures Israel, the only true democracy in the region. The days of the Ottoman Empire have passed.”

Iran helped fuel the unrestIsrael Hayom reported, by sending protesters “tens of thousands of … prepackaged meals along with notes in each one citing a famous quote attributed to 1979 Iranian Revolution leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini: ‘With the help of Allah, Palestine will be liberated! Jerusalem is ours.’ The note also depicted the Dome of the Rock and the Palestinian flag.”

Additionally, a senior Iranian official reportedly met with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad representatives in Iran, offering them assistance for Palestinians injured in clashes. The IRGC released a statement, condemning “the Zionist regime’s  aggressive and criminal actions against Al-Aqsa mosque.”

In Israel, Sheikh Raed Saleh, the former leader of the now banned Islamic Movement – a sister organization to Hamas – led a funeral procession for the three Arab Israeli terrorists. Thousands of mourners marched belligerently by the coffins of the terrorists, shouting, “By fire and with blood we will redeem you, Al-Aqsa,” and, “You are the martyrs of Al-Aqsa.”

Palestinian social media buzzed with calls to defend Al-Aqsa. The Islamist narrative had won the day.

Israel tried to challenge this mythology by directly addressing Palestinians. “So that the truth is clear, when did the Temple Mount incidents erupt?” IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai asked in Arabic on Al Jazeera. “A week ago. After a terror attack was committed by three Muslims, who entered the Temple Mount with weapons and opened fire. Israel does not want to change the status quo. This is a clear message to the world from the Muslim world.”

His message appeared to largely fall on deaf ears. With the fundamentalist rhetoric leading the way, even pragmatic Arab leaders, some of whom rely on cooperation with Israel for the very stability of their rule, felt the need to play according to the radical playbook, in order to avoid being tagged as Israel’s ‘abettors.’

The most obvious example was Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas. Without Israel’s steps to quell Hamas in the West Bank, Abbas’s Palestinian Authority would have faced multiple armed attempts by Islamists to depose him .

During the Temple Mount unrest, Abbas cut security coordination between his forces and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

“Jerusalem is ours. It is our capital and our sovereignty. As long as the situation in occupied Jerusalem does not return to what it was before July 14 [when Israel installed metal detectors], there will be no changes [in our position],” Abbas said, according to a Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translation.

Promoting the lie that the Al-Aqsa Mosque required protection from Israel, Abbas told east Jerusalem Palestinians, “What you did was defend your honor, your religion and your holy sites. It was the true answer to those who wish to harm our holy sites and the principles of our faith. We supported you in what you did and are [still] doing. We decided to suspend the security coordination; [that decision] still holds. We [decided to] defend the holy sites; that still holds as well.”

The Fatah movement, which runs the Palestinian Authority, added fuel to the fire. With the full knowledge that it was risking new clashes, Fatah’s Central Committee called for mass protests.

Egypt and Jordan, both of whom are busy combating Islamist threats at home, called on Israel to remove the metal detectors.

The situation in Jordan became even more complicated when an Israeli embassy guard was stabbed by a local youth. The guard opened fire to defend himself, killing the attacker and accidentally shooting dead a second Jordanian citizen who was nearby.

Jordan’s King Abdullah refused to allow the Israeli guard to leave Amman, reversing his decision only after Israel said it would remove the metal detectors.

King Abdullah, one of the Arab worlds’ most moderate leaders, whose Kingdom shares many common interests with Israel, still felt the need to issue a statement vowing to prevent the “Judaization” of holy sites in Jerusalem.

Jordan controls the Jerusalem Islamic trust in charge of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, called the Waqf. Behind the scenes, Jordan helped end the Temple Mount crisis, which threatened to destabilize it.

The Waqf told Islamic worshipers that they could re-enter the Temple Mount after Israel had removed the metal detectors.

Even after the crisis reached a resolution, the Palestinian Authority remained highly wary of being labeled as a collaborator with Israel.

An aide to Abbas said security coordination with Israel would only be resumed “gradually,” to avoid giving the impression that the Palestinian Authority is too enthusiastic about working with the Israeli military in the West Bank.

The crisis provides a clear indication of the influence that Islamist propaganda has on the area. Even Arab leaders who are directly threatened by radical forces feel they must march according to their drumbeat, or risk their very legitimacy.

Israel’s decision to dismantle the metal detectors was designed to prevent the Islamist pyromaniacs from using the Al-Aqsa crisis to set the region on fire.

The fact that the Islamists came so close to succeeding, however, is the latest indication of who is in charge of the popular narrative in the region.