Archive for the ‘Trump presidency’ category
News, Fake News, Very Fake News: A Primer, PJ Media, Roger Kimball, February 27, 2017White House Press secretary Sean Spicer takes questions from the media during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
The motor of fake news is not inaccuracy. It’s malice.
I had an insight into this important truth a couple weeks back when I was at a swank New York club for an evening event. The establishment in question is overwhelmingly conventional, i.e., leftish in that smug “We’re-all-beautiful-people-who-are-you?” sort of way that publications like The New Yorker and the New York Times, along with such media outlets as CNN and MSNBC, exude like the cloying aroma of paperwhites.
I ran into an acquaintance, a female journalist I hadn’t seen in years. I knew that her politics were echt conventional in the above sense, but I had also found her an amusing and lively person. We were chatting with a couple of other people about this and that when someone she knew from the Times joined in. I then overheard him explain to her that she had to be careful about what she posted on Facebook, Twitter, etc., because anything too explicitly anti-Trump could be used against her when that glorious day came and “they” — the conventional fraternity of groupthink scribblers — finally took down that horrible, despicable man.
“We’ve got dozens of people working on it all the time,” he explained, adding that it was only a matter of time before they got the goods on Trump and destroyed him.
There in a nutshell, I thought, is the existential imperative that has been so gloriously productive of fake news and its exacerbated allotrope, first delineated by Donald Trump in his famous media-bashing presser on February 16, “very fake news.”
News is the reporting of facts. Someone says “this happened on such-and-such a day in such-and-such a way,” and independent, publicly available sources confirm that, yes, what was alleged happened at just that time and in just that fashion.
Fake news insinuates a skein of innuendo and a boatload of shared presumption floating on an ocean of fantastic desire into the mix. Repetition, like Rumor in the Iliad, whips this unstable congeries into an intoxicating frenzy:
” Trump’s transition is in chaos, pass it on.”
“Trump is a puppet of Putin, pass it on.”
“Trump is Steve Bannon’s puppet, pass it on.”
“Trump, like Steve Bannon, is a white supremacist/racist/homophobic/woman-hating xenophobe, really pass that one along.”
Every one of these fantasies is not only untrue, but ostentatiously, extravagantly untrue. Liberals of sound mind understand this.
Thus the British journalist Piers Morgan, than whom a more reliably left-liberal figure is hard to imagine, noted to Tucker Carlson that the Left’s hatred of Donald Trump has blinded them to reality. Godwin’s law, which states that the longer an online exchange proceeds, the more likely it is that Adolf Hitler will be dragged into the conversation, has been exacerbated in the case of Trump. It is true that every Republican since at least Ronald Reagan has been compared to Hitler, but in the case of Trump the comparisons have taken on an especially surreal tone. This, too, is something that Piers Morgan, in another interview with Tucker Carlson, noted with a sense of exasperated amazement.
In fact, Donald Trump’s first 30-odd days have been extraordinarily successful. That’s the news.
As Charlotte Allen noted in a column for USA Today, to date Trump has been even more successful than was Reagan in beginning to fulfill his campaign promises. All of his cabinet nominees have been confirmed (Trump withdrew his nominee for Labor secretary, Andrew Puzder, after it became clear that the two differed on immigration). He has moved quickly to get the ball rolling on tax cuts, repealing Obamacare, strengthening the military, enforcing the country’s immigration laws, and cutting the jungle of business-sapping regulation down to size. He has, as Allen observes, “already taken steps … to fulfill at least a dozen of his campaign promises.”
But listen to the New York Times or any of the other conventional (see above) “news” sources, and you would think Trump is a malevolent and incompetent monster who, despite his supreme incompetence, is somehow tipping the country into moral Armageddon.
Harken, for example, to Andrew Sullivan, who in a column for New York called “The Madness of King Donald,” tells his readers:
This man is off his rocker. He’s deranged; he’s bizarrely living in an alternative universe; he’s delusional.
There is no anchor any more. At the core of the administration of the most powerful country on earth, there is, instead, madness.
Hmm. The dogs are barking, but the caravan keeps moving along, Andrew.
So there’s news (well, there was news) and then there is fake news. Here’s one bit of news: the stock market has risen by nearly 3000 points since Trump’s election.
Here’s another bit of news: while Trump’s personal popularity remains low for a new president, the mood of the country as a whole has exploded with optimism, whereas towards the end of Barack Obama’s reign, 70% of those polled said that the country was moving in the wrong direction.
But what about “Very Fake News”? One could investigate the Left’s truly bizarre Russian fantasy to get a glimpse of the phantasmagoric nature of very fake news. Memo to CNN: Donald Trump was correct when he said the whole Russian gambit was “a ruse.” One of my favorite lines from the English essayist William Hazlitt is: “Those who lack delicacy hold us in their power.” It is ironical, to say the least, to find the very same people who decried Republicans for “red scare” tactics and the like now turn around and pretend that a man who is actively rebuilding America’s military, encouraging native energy production, and taking steps to unleash economic growth is somehow playing into Vladimir Putin’s hands.
That whole Russia narrative is deserving of the epithets served up by Andrew Sullivan: “deranged,” “delusional,” and smack dab in the middle of an alternate universe.
But Very Fake News is really more an attitude, an exfoliation of a moral atmosphere, than a putatively factual account. An exquisite specimen of the genre was vouchsafed us by the New York Times back in July, when the anti-George W. Bush historian Bruce Bartlett revealed that the Republican Party had become … the “party of hate.”
How did that terrible thing happen? Apparently, by a process akin to alchemical transformation.
Bartlett knows that the Democratic Party was the party of slavery in the 19th century, the party of segregation and Jim Crow in the early 20th century, and the party of identity politics, i.e., neo-segregation, now. He also knows, though he doesn’t come right out and say, that the Civil Rights Act was orchestrated overwhelmingly by Republicans over concerted Democratic opposition.
But then afterwards, somehow, Republicans became Democrats, or at least they became Southerners, i.e. the epitome of all that is racist, intolerant, homophobic, etc.
Note the logic: the GOP ushered in the Civil Rights and and the Voting Rights Act, but — pay attention now:
… in the process, Republicans absorbed the traditions of racism, bigotry, populism and rule by plutocrats called “Bourbons” that defined the politics of the South after the Civil War. They also inherited an obsession with self-defense, allegiance to evangelical Christianity, chauvinism, xenophobia and other cultural characteristics long cultivated in the South.
What do you think of that?
You should, I submit, think badly of it, on logical, moral, and historical grounds. Whence this alleged “process” of “absorption”? Is there any justification, any, for the deployment of those negative epithets racism, bigotry, populism? (And how did that last one sneak in?)
Bartlett’s dog’s breakfast of accusation is nothing more than a bagful of insults, utterly without content. He continues the disreputable campaign in the next paragraph:
The Southern states have long followed what are now doctrinaire Republican policies: minuscule taxes, no unions, aggressive pro-business policies, privatized public services and strong police forces that kept minorities in their place. Yet the South is and always has been our poorest region and shows no sign of converging with the Northeast, which has long followed progressive policies opposite those in the South and been the wealthiest region as well.
Personally, I am in favor of “minuscule taxes,” but, alas, the Republicans don’t favor them, at least not the ones writing the laws. Unions? There’s a place for unions in the private sector. But public sector unions, as even FDR understood, are a prescription for corruption. Privatized public services? Why not? What’s better: FedEx or the U.S. Postal Service? Then there’s “pro-business policies.” I like them, the more “aggressive” the better. Successful businesses make money, ergo they employ people and add to the country’s material well-being. It is true that Democrats favor the opposite strategy, but is that something to brag about?
As for the police, “strong police forces,” as Heather Mac Donald has shown (and Donald Trump has echoed) are valuable not only because they keep crime low but because they protect minorities, especially those in inner cities.
As for the relative prosperity of North and South, Bartlett is stuck in the 1850s. For more than a decade now, the South has outpaced the North in economic growth if not, thank God, in “progressive,” i.e., leftwing, anti-prosperity attitudes.
Bartlett’s scurrilous essay is one of those productions that, merely contemptible in itself, is nonetheless worth noting as a symptom. It exemplifies, even as it contributes to, that surreal atmosphere of groundless accusation and intimidation that has made the conventional (again, see above) reception of Donald Trump such a carnival of malignancy and groundless apocalyptic self-dramatization.
Steve Bannon was right to brand the media the “opposition party.”
To an extent marvelous to behold, it has become a factory for the production of fake and very fake news: not just the dissemination of lies, half-truths, and unsubstantiated fantasies, but also the perpetuation of that echo-chamber in which political paranoia feeds upon the bitter lees of its impotent irrelevance. As I say, that old adage about the barking dogs and the moving caravan is deeply pertinent to our situation. If Donald Trump is at all successful in his efforts to help the country, we will look back on the behavior of the media and its enablers circa 2017 with a mixture of horror and contempt.
US-Russian steps vs Iran await new NSC chief, DEBKAfile, February 14, 2016
Michael Flynn’s abrupt resignation as National Security Adviser Monday night, Feb. 13, was a crippling blow to Donald Trump’s foreign policy strategy, less than a month after he entered the White House. Flynn was the architect and prime mover of the president’s plans for close cooperation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He was brought down by misinforming Vice President Mike Pence – and very likely the president too – on the content of the conversation he held with the Russian ambassador before Trump’s inauguration.
Although retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg takes over as acting NSA, the White House is urgently considering a permanent replacement to fill Flynn’s large shoes. Former CIA Director David Petraeus’ name has come up, but his indiscretions over state secrets still count against him. Vice Admiral Robert Harward, a former Navy SEAL, is a strong contender, although more may emerge.
Even before picking his next national security adviser, Trump will need to determine how to proceed with his détente with Putin, the highly sensitive details of which were managed personally and confidentially by Mike Flynn as the centerpiece of the new administration’s foreign policy.
His contacts with Moscow were under heavy fire from the president’s friends and foes alike, both before and after the November election. It was defended stalwartly by Trump himself, Pence and Flynn. However, neither the president nor the vice president can tell exactly what Flynn promised the Russians and to what deals he committed them. Therefore, his successor will be required to start building Washington’s ties with Moscow from scratch.
While Flynn’s departure has caused havoc in the Trump administration, it is a catastrophe for the Middle East, because a core objective of the US-Russian partnership, which he shaped as a model for other regions, was to have been to clip Iran’s wings and cut down its standing down as premier Middle East power conferred by Barack Obama.
(How the Flynn mechanism was to work plus detailed analysis of the fallout from his departure will be covered exclusively in the coming issue of DEBKA Weekly out next Friday).
Flynn alone was privy to arrangements concluded with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh, Jordan’s King Abdullah in Amman, President Putin in Moscow, Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisis in Cairo and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
Some of his output began taking shape on the day he stepped down, when Syrian rebel groups led by Jordanian special operations officers attacked Syrian army positions in the southern town of Daraa. This was the start of an operation to drive Syrian government forces and their Iranian and Hizballah allies from the lands bordering on Jordan and Israel.
In Cairo, too, President Michel Aoun of Lebanon and his host, El-Sisi were hashing out a plan for the Egyptian army and Gulf forces to go into action against Hizballah in Syria and Lebanon.
Wednesday, Feb. 15, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is to visit the White House for his first meeting with Trump as president. They too were scheduled to discuss US operations against Hizballah and the role Israel would play.
In the coming hours, Trump will have to decide whether to go ahead with these initiatives in the absence of Flynn and his detailed knowledge of how they should go forward, or simply put them on hold until his successor is in place and has time for a full study of their complicated ins and outs. At the same time, a different national security adviser in the White house might have different plans to those laid out by his predecessor.
It is short-sighted and reckless to blame President Trump for trying to protect his country and keep his country safe — as any good leader is supposed to do. It would be much wiser to direct our anger where it belongs — at Muslim extremists and Muslim terrorists.
To many people, it must be easier to go after the U.S. president than after ISIS terrorists. That way, critics of the president can also pose as “heroes” while ignoring the real threats to all of humanity.
Critics of Muslim extremists get numerous death threats from some people in the West because they courageously oppose the grave human rights violations — forced marriages, honor killings, child rape, murdering homosexuals and female genital mutilation (FGM), among others.
Why do we even call criticism of such horrific practices “courageous”? It should have been the most normal and ordinary act to criticize beheadings, mutilations and other crimes committed by radical Muslims. But it is not.
On the contrary, the temporary ban aims to protect genuine refugees such as Bennetta Bet-Badal, who was murdered in San Bernardino. It would be much wiser to direct our anger where it belongs — at Muslim extremists and Muslim terrorists.
In San Bernardino on December 2, 2015, 14 people were murdered and 22 others seriously wounded in a terrorist attack. The perpetrators were Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married couple. Farook was an American-born U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, who worked as a health department employee. Malik was a Pakistani-born lawful permanent resident of the United States.
Among the victims of the terror attack was Bennetta Bet-Badal, an Assyrian Christian woman born in Iran in 1969. She fled to the U.S. at age 18 to escape Islamic extremism and the persecution of Christians that followed the Iranian revolution.
“This attack,” stated the Near East Center for Strategic Engagement (NEC-SE), “showcases how Assyrians fled tyranny, oppression, and persecution for freedom and liberty, only to live in a country that is also beginning to be subject to an ever-increasing threat by the same forms of oppressors.”
“NEC-SE would like to take this opportunity to once again urge action to directly arming the Assyrians and Yezidis and other minorities in their indigenous homeland, so that they can defend themselves against terrorism and oppression. This tragedy is evidence that the only way to effectively counter terrorism is not solely here in the US, but abroad and at its root.”
Members of the Islamic State (ISIS) have declared several times that they target “kafirs” (infidels) in the West.
In 2014, Syrian-born Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the official spokesperson and a senior leader of the Islamic State, declared that supporters of the Islamic State from all over the world should attack citizens of Western states, including the US, France and UK:
“If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way, however it may be.
“Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him.”
It is this barbarity that the new U.S. administration is trying to stop.
FBI Director James Comey also warned in July of last year that hundreds of terrorists will fan out to infiltrate western Europe and the U.S. to carry out attacks on a wider scale, as Islamic State is defeated in Syria. “At some point there’s going to be a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we’ve never seen before. We saw the future of this threat in Brussels and Paris,” said Comey, adding that future attacks will be on “an order of magnitude greater.”
How many ISIS operatives are there in the U.S.? Are ISIS sleeper cells likely in American cities? The people who are trying to create hysteria over the new steps taken by the Trump Administration should focus on investigating these issues more broadly, but they do not. To them, it must be easier to go after the U.S. president than after ISIS terrorists. This way, they can also pose as “heroes” while ignoring the real threat to all of humanity.
It is not only Islamic terrorists that pose a threat. It is also the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, the font of all the modern extremist Muslim ideologies.
The crimes committed by radical Muslims are beyond horrific, but it is getting harder to expose and criticize them. Many critics of Islam in Western countries — including those of Muslim origin — have received countless death deaths and have been exposed to various forms of intimidation.
Some were murdered, such as the Dutch film director, Theo van Gogh. His “crime” was to produce the short film Submission (2004) about the treatment of women under Islam. He was assassinated the same year by Mohammed Bouyeri, a Moroccan-Dutch Muslim.In 2004, Moroccan-Dutch terrorist Mohammed Bouyeri (left), shot the filmmaker Theo van Gogh (right) to death, then stabbed him and slit his throat.
Some have had to go into hiding. American cartoonist Molly Norris, who promoted an “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”, had to go into hiding in 2010 after her life was threatened by Islamic extremists. She also changed her name and stopped producing work for the Seattle Weekly, the New York Times reported.
Who are these people hiding from? From the most radical and devoted followers of the “religion of peace”.
Why should people living in free Western countries be forced to live in fear because they rightfully criticize a destructive and murderous ideology?
They get numerous death threats from some people in the West because they courageously oppose grave human rights violations — forced marriages, honor killings, child rape, murdering homosexuals and female genital mutilation (FGM), among others.
Why do we even call criticism of such horrific practices “courageous”? It should have been the most normal and ordinary act to criticize beheadings, mutilations and other crimes committed by radical Muslims. But it is not. It does require tremendous courage to criticize these acts committed in the name of a religion. For everybody knows that the critics of Islam are risking their lives and security.
In the meantime, “an Islamic State follower posted a message on the Telegram app that said President Trump was wasting his time by blocking refugees from Syria,” reported the journalist Rowan Scarborough.
“‘Trump is preventing the entrance of the citizens of [seven] countries to protect America from terrorism,’ said the message captured by the Middle East Media Research Institute. “Your decision will not do anything to prevent the attacks; They will come from inside America, from Americans born in America, whose fathers were born in America and whose grandparents were born in America.”
President Trump’s executive order is not a ban on Muslims. Individuals of all religious backgrounds of these seven countries have been affected. Nor is it a ban on refugees. On the contrary, the ban aims to protect genuine refugees such as Bennetta Bet-Badal, who was murdered in San Bernardino.
It is short-sighted and reckless to blame President Trump for trying to protect his country and keep it safe — as any good leader is supposed to do. It would be much wiser to direct our anger where it belongs — at Muslim extremists and Muslim terrorists.
(“And miles to go before I sleep.” — DM)
During his campaign for the presidency Donald Trump frequently disdainfully scowled when he spoke about how most politicians were “All talk and no action.”
Candidate Trump promised that immigration would be a primary focus of his administration.
President Trump has indeed focused on multiple aspects of the immigration crisis that go well beyond building a wall along the U.S./Mexican border.
His selection of Senator Jeff Sessions to be his Attorney General was the best possible choice for this important position.
Sessions had chaired the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest.
Consider that on February 25, 2016 that subcommittee conducted a hearing on the topic, “The Impact of High-Skilled Immigration on U.S. Workers.”
When the Obama administration conducted meetings for “Stakeholders” on the immigration issue corporate leaders were invited to attend as were immigration lawyers representing illegal aliens and special interest groups that advocate for illegal aliens.
However, no one in attendance represented the “average American.”
Even the union leaders representing the Border Patrol, ICE agents and the adjudications officers were barred from participating in those meetings.
On February 9, 2017 President Trump held a news conference in the Oval Office to conduct a public swearing in ceremony of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Immediately after Vice President Pence swore in Jeff Sessions, President Trump signed three executive orders:
President Trump promised to be the “Law and Order” President and he has certainly hit the ground running.
His executive order to prevent violence against law enforcement officers is tangible evidence of his keeping his promise to look out for law enforcement officers.
Let’s next consider how he articulated the purpose for his executive order on enforcing federal laws to attack transnational criminal organizations:
Section 1. Purpose. Transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations, including transnational drug cartels, have spread throughout the Nation, threatening the safety of the United States and its citizens. These organizations derive revenue through widespread illegal conduct, including acts of violence and abuse that exhibit a wanton disregard for human life. They, for example, have been known to commit brutal murders, rapes, and other barbaric acts.
These groups are drivers of crime, corruption, violence, and misery. In particular, the trafficking by cartels of controlled substances has triggered a resurgence in deadly drug abuse and a corresponding rise in violent crime related to drugs. Likewise, the trafficking and smuggling of human beings by transnational criminal groups risks creating a humanitarian crisis. These crimes, along with many others, are enriching and empowering these organizations to the detriment of the American people.
A comprehensive and decisive approach is required to dismantle these organized crime syndicates and restore safety for the American people.
That statement underscores his understanding of how important immigration law enforcement and border security are to combatting transnational criminals.
What is unfathomable is how many politicians who have to understand this issue have opposed Trump at every opportunity. Only they can explain their conduct. However, I have to conclude that those who would oppose President Trump’s efforts to secure our nation’s borders and effectively enforce our immigration laws are siding with the cartels and transnational criminal organizations.
This certainly apply to mayors of “Sanctuary Cities” and governors who want to create “Sanctuary States.”
Sanctuary Cities should be called “Magnet Cities” because they attract criminal aliens including members of transnational gangs, fugitives and international terrorists.
The politicians’ claims that by shielding vulnerable illegal aliens from immigration law enforcement they would be willing to come forward when they fall victim to criminals is a blatant lie that ignores that Sanctuary Cities Endanger – National Security and Public Safety.
Sanctuary policies attract more violent criminals who are likely victimize members of the ethnic immigration communities. However the false narrative serves to vilify valiant ICE agents who go in harms way every day they report for duty, seeking to protect national security and innocent lives.
Statutorily, U Visas are available for victims of human trafficking and other crimes if they come forward and assist with law enforcement efforts to apprehend the criminals. Similar visa programs are available for illegal aliens who provide assistance to criminal investigations.
If those duplicitous politicians really wanted to assist illegal alien victims of crimes they would bring them to immigration offices and urge them to cooperate with the investigations of their criminal assailants.
That way everyone would win.
But then the politicians would not get their campaign contributions from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a host of special interest groups, and who know who else, who are literally and figuratively making out like bandits by exploiting the immigration system.
In continuing to consider Trump’s executive order on trafficking I call your attention to two of the key elements of this executive order are proverbial “music to my ears.”
(e) develop strategies, under the guidance of the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security, to maximize coordination among agencies — such as through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), Special Operations Division, the OCDETF Fusion Center, and the International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center — to counter the crimes described in subsection (a) of this section, consistent with applicable Federal law; and
(f) pursue and support additional efforts to prevent the operational success of transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations within and beyond the United States, to include prosecution of ancillary criminal offenses, such as immigration fraud and visa fraud, and the seizure of the implements of such organizations and forfeiture of the proceeds of their criminal activity.
I speak from extensive experience when I say that this task force approach to identifying, investigating and dismantling international drug trafficking organizations is extremely effective. I spent the final ten years of my career with the INS as a Senior Special Agent assigned to the OCDETF program in New York City.
As for immigration fraud and visa fraud, these two issues are elements of “Extreme vetting” that Trump promised when he campaigned for the presidency.
On May 18, 2004 I testified at a hearing by the House Immigration Subcommittee on the topic of Pushing the Border Out on Alien Smuggling: New Tools and Intelligence Initiatives that addressed the issues of visa fraud and also the strategy of providing visas for illegal alien informants.
On May 20, 1997 I testified before the House Immigration Subcommittee on the topic, Visa Fraud And Immigration Benefits Application Fraud.
That hearing was predicated on two deadly terror attacks carried out in 1993 at the CIA and first World Trade Center Bombing.
In one way or another, all of those involved with those attacks had gamed the visa system and/or the immigration benefits program.
The Clinton administration’s failures to address these vulnerabilities of visa fraud and immigration fraud that enabled these two deadly attacks to be conducted on American soil literally and figuratively, left the door open to the deadly terror attacks of 9/11.
The report, “9/11 and Terrorist Travel – Staff Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States” included this excerpt found on pages 46 and 47:
In addition, Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the attack, and Ahmad Ajaj, who was able to direct aspects of the attack despite being in prison for using an altered passport, traveled under aliases using fraudulent documents. The two of them were found to possess five passports as well as numerous documents supporting their aliases: a Saudi passport showing signs of alteration, an Iraqi passport bought from a Pakistani official, a photo-substituted Swedish passport, a photo-substituted British passport, a Jordanian passport, identification cards, bank records, education records, and medical records.6
“Once terrorists had entered the United States, their next challenge was to find a way to remain here. Their primary method was immigration fraud. For example, Yousef and Ajaj concocted bogus political asylum stories when they arrived in the United States. Mahmoud Abouhalima, involved in both the World Trade Center and landmarks plots, received temporary residence under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers (SAW) program, after falsely claiming that he picked beans in Florida.” Mohammed Salameh, who rented the truck used in the bombing, overstayed his tourist visa. He then applied for permanent residency under the agricultural workers program, but was rejected. Eyad Mahmoud Ismail, who drove the van containing the bomb, took English-language classes at Wichita State University in Kansas on a student visa; after he dropped out, he remained in the United States out of status.
In the years since the terror attacks of 9/11 more terror attacks were carried out in the United States while other attacks, for one reason or another, failed. Most of those attacks involved aliens who committed visa fraud and/or immigration fraud.
Trump’s executive orders address our immigration vulnerabilities and Attorney General Sessions will provide the legal horsepower.
All Americans should be thrilled that this President is keeping his promises.
(The video focuses mainly on President Trump’s agenda and slow-walking by the Republican establishment in Congress. — DM)
Will Trump back Israel in the next war? Israel Hay0m, Ruthie Blum, February 10, 2017
Analysts on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean — and of the political spectrum — have been scrutinizing every syllable uttered by members of the new administration in Washington to determine whether U.S. President Donald Trump is as good a friend to the Jewish state as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hopes.
So far, four issues have been discussed and debated ad nauseam: U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley’s pronouncement that her government would not abandon Israel at the world body, as the Obama administration did when it enabled the passage of Security Council Resolution 2234, which deemed all Jewish presence beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines illegal; the nomination of David Friedman — a settlements sympathizer who supports relocating the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — as U.S. ambassador to Israel; a recent Trump administration warning that Israeli settlement construction could be potentially harmful to peace negotiations toward Palestinian statehood (the “two-state solution”); and the omission of any mention of Jews in the statement issued by the administration on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Where the bigger picture is concerned, Israel is observing Team Trump’s behavior toward Iran, telling Tehran that its saber-rattling and ballistic missile tests will incur serious consequences; imposing new sanctions on the mullah-led regime; and openly weighing the designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization.
But the one question that has not been raised is how the Trump administration will respond when Israel is forced to go to war, yet again, with Hamas in Gaza and/or with Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Middle East experts have been predicting, albeit cautiously, that neither scenario is likely in the near future, due to the internal difficulties each terrorist group is currently experiencing. Hezbollah is deeply entrenched in the Syrian civil war, and has already lost many of its men in the fighting. Hamas is suffering from a loss of income, as a number of European countries begin to reconsider the process of transferring cash earmarked for the rehabilitation of Gaza, which ends up paying for the rebuilding and enhancement of tunnel and rocket infrastructure.
Recent developments indicate, however, that more serious military action — in addition to retaliatory IDF moves following errant or aimed fire on Israel from just beyond its southern and northern borders — may be unavoidable.
This week, a Haifa court ordered the temporary closure of the city’s 12,000-ton ammonia tank, pending further discussion on Sunday. This was after the municipality requested that it be shut down completely, following a report indicating that in any explosion, tens of thousands of people in the area would be killed. And since Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah threatened in February to attack it, residents of the region have been living in fear.
Meanwhile, over the past few days, Hezbollah has been engaging in a crowd-funding campaign on social media hashtagged “Money for jihad is a must,” with a video appeal featuring fighters and clerics asking people to donate to the “resistance.”
Though this is clearly a result of the organization’s dwindling resources, caused by its extended stint in Syria, Nasrallah’s deputy, Naim Qassem, said in an interview with the Lebanese newspaper Al-Binaa that the group’s message to Israel remains the same: “We are willing to pay the price of the conflict. Are you?”
Hamas, too, has been busy threatening Israel online. In a new music video — titled “Zionist, You Will Die in Gaza” — the terrorist organization that reigns supreme in the enclave lodged between Israel and Egypt warns, “A rocket will come to you, Zionist, wherever you live. You will die sleeping, awake or on the mountain. I will make you drink from the glass of death; what a bitter taste.”
It would appear, then, that war is on the horizon.
During Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s battle against Hamas in Gaza in the summer of 2014, then-President Barack Obama said that though the Jewish state had a right to defend itself, it should exercise “restraint.”
In a meeting at his New York office with Jewish journalists during the U.S. presidential primaries, Trump was asked whether he agreed with the statement — made by Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders to the editorial board of the Daily News — that Israel had used “disproportionate force” in Gaza.
“When missiles are being shot into your country, I don’t know what ‘disproportionate force’ is supposed to mean,” he replied.
It is a matter of when — not if — this attitude in relation to Israel and its enemies is put to the test. So far, Netanyahu, who will be convening with Trump on Wednesday in the White House, has good reason to believe that Obama’s successor will pass it with flying colors.