Thursday, February 23, 2017

WHY DO THE EUROCRATS HATE HIM?

WHY DO THE EUROCRATS HATE HIM?

Yesterday, in discussing Mike Pence’s speech in Munich, I argued that the animosity towards President Trump expressed by some of our European allies has little or nothing to do with Trump’s statements about Russia and NATO. Rather, the animosity stems from the fact that Trump isn’t a leftist and the view that he is a vulgarian.
American left-wing elites despise Trump. Why expect European left-wing elites not to?
I forgot, however, to mention the one substantive issue that engenders European hatred. Trump is not supportive of Europe’s ultimate left-wing project, the EU.
Wolfgang Ischinger, a former German ambassador to Washington who ran the Munich conference, gave voice to this concern. He wondered whether Trump will “continue a tradition of half a century of being supportive of the project of European integration, or is he going to continue to advocate E.U. member countries to follow the Brexit example?” If he takes the latter course, “it would amount to a kind of nonmilitary declaration of war.”
There you have it. Forget about Russia. The Eurocrats are demanding that Trump take their side in a domestic policy dispute. If he doesn’t, he has declared “nonmilitary war.”
Not surprisingly, the nations that have the most to fear from Russia, and know it best, are taking a different line. The president of Estonia said of Trump and Pence, “I put my trust in them, so I am reassured.” Other Baltic leaders “echoed this sentiment,” according to the Washington Post.
The Post suggests that these leaders are merely giving Trump the benefit of the doubt because their parlous situation with Russia leaves them with “little choice.” That’s possible, although (as I will discuss later today), the Russians agree with their neighbors that, as president, Trump has not been pro-Russia).
In any case, true allies will give their partners the benefit of the doubt when a new administration comes to power. They will not reject its reassurances or condition acceptance of them on supporting their domestic policy preferences.
The EU is in trouble, but it’s problems are not of Donald Trump’s making. Trump is merely expressing the obvious when he points them out.
The EU’s problems stem from arrogance and overreach, both of which were on clear display in the Eurocrats’ reaction to the Trump administration’s overtures this past weekend.

ANTI-TRUMP EUROPEANS DECLINE TO BE REASSURED BY MIKE PENCE

ANTI-TRUMP EUROPEANS DECLINE TO BE REASSURED BY MIKE PENCE

As I discussed yesterday, President Trump sent his “A Team” to Europe to demonstrate America’s commitment to NATO. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and Vice President Mike Pence all traveled to a major conference in Munich for that purpose.
Kelly, Mattis, and Pence said the right things. Pence, who told the conference he was sending a message of reassurance directly from President Trump, stated that the U.S. “strongly supports” NATO and that it would be “unwavering” in its commitment to trans-Atlantic institutions like NATO.
As for Russia, Pence said that “the United States will continue to hold Russia accountable, even as we search for new common ground which as you know President Trump believes can be found.” Lest their be any concern that the “common ground” would include selling out Ukraine, Pence added that the U.S. would demand that Russia honor a 2015 peace deal agreed upon in Minsk, Belarus, aimed at ending violence in eastern Ukraine.
Pence summarized the Trump administration’s position on Europe and NATO as follows:
We have been faithful for generations — and as you keep faith with us, under President Trump we will always keep faith with you. The fates of the United States and Europe are intertwined. Your struggles are our struggles. Your success is our success. And ultimately, we walk into the future together.
Were the Europeans reassured? They were not, as this New York Times article makes clear.
But why weren’t they? That’s less clear from the article.
The Times complains that Pence and the others provided only “boilerplate.” But what the Times calls boilerplate is actually an unequivocal statement of support for NATO and for Ukraine.
The Times cites alleged concerns about power struggles within the White House and uncertainty about who the new national security adviser will be. But here were the U.S. vice president and secretary of defense, both of whom by all accounts hold great sway in this administration, speaking to the Europeans on behalf of the president. And here is the New York Times telling us that “Europeans were ‘chilled’ when Robert S. Harward, a retired vice admiral, turned down an offer to replace Mr. Flynn because he would not be given autonomy over his staff.”
Rubbish.
In my view, the Europeans pronounced themselves not reassured because they hate President Trump for reasons having little to do with his supposed admiration for Putin (which consists of the obvious truth that Putin is a strong leader) and his supposed skepticism about NATO (which consists of the obvious truth that NATO needs to be updated and the reasonable demand that members meet their financial commitments to the organization).
European leaders hate Trump for the same reason their left-wing counterparts in America do — Trump isn’t a left-winger and he’s a crass, vulgar guy. The Europeans look down on him and nothing is likely to change this. The threat to our alliance with Europe comes more from this arrogance than from anything Trump has done, or even said, so far.
I must add that John McCain’s presence didn’t help. According to the Times, he said the administration is “in disarray,” and added: “The president, I think, makes statements and on other occasions contradicts himself. So we’ve learned to watch what the president does as opposed to what he says.”
The second statement isn’t wrong. But I think it is wrong for McCain to go to Munich and express doubts about the administration before it has taken any action towards Europe that warrants criticism.
I will also add that if the Europeans want to worry about a core NATO member, perhaps they should focus on Germany. Here, via Andrew Stuttaford, is a report on what Germany’s president had to say about NATO, Eastern Europe, and Russia:
Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke out against recent Nato military exercises in Poland and the Baltics, describing them as “sabre-rattling”.
“The one thing we shouldn’t do now is inflame the situation with loud sabre-rattling and warmongering,” the minister told Bild am Sonntag newspaper. . . .“We would be well advised not to provide a pretext to renew an old confrontation.”
The military exercises in question were the annual war games NATO conducts in Eastern Europe. This one simulated a Russian invasion of Poland. Apparently, the German president would rather not prepare for such a possibility.
Steinmeier’s position as president is largely ceremonial. However, he was elected by the German parliament.
Maybe it is Germany that needs to reassure America.

Donald Trump vs. the Deep State


REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk
I've made no secret of my objections to Donald Trump, and I haven't hidden my impatience with those who are willing to support him in anything even at the expense of truth and principle. But in any major conflict involving the fate of the nation, there comes a point when you have to choose sides. No sophistry can get you around this binary responsibility. When one of two forces is going to win, if there's any moral difference between them at all, you have to stand for the better. That's why I overcame my objections and voted for The Donald when the choice came down to him and a corrupt leftist who would surely have imperiled the American experiment at every level of government. It was a painful decision but not a difficult one.
There's a similar choice to be made now. The President or the Deep State.
The Deep State is that collection of influential people in the bureaucracies and intelligence agencies who largely remain in place no matter who wins an election. The power of these people lies, for the most part, in regulation, obstruction and the control of government secrets. A law is passed in Congress by elected officials using constitutional means so that we the people have some say in its contents. But the enforcement of that law through regulation is wholly beyond our reach. If an irresponsible and power-hungry president should decide, say, that a law against sex-based discrimination can suddenly be interpreted to cover people who think they're the sex that they're not, it would give the federal government control even over who uses bathrooms in your child's school. I know that's an extreme example of something that could never happen in real life, but the point remains. And those who attempt to stand in opposition to such abusive regulatory power can find themselves in unarmed battle against the Godzilla of government. Massive fines, the destruction of livelihood and even prison can result in violating a rule that poured straight from the pen of a bureaucrat without ever seeing the light of democracy.
The left and the news media — but I repeat myself — love the Deep State because it gives power to elites like themselves and strips it from those irritating everyday Americans who have no means to influence the bureaucracy.
But President Trump has promised to help us fight back. He has said his administration will be dedicated to “transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to... the people.” And so far, at least, he's been as good as his word. He has ordered a federal hiring freeze and put limits on new regulations. He has appointed agency heads wisely suspicious of their own agencies. Most importantly, he has tapped a prospective Supreme Court justice dedicated to an honest reading of the Constitution, the greatest protection against centralized power we have.
In doing all this, he seems to have roiled the Deep State's serpents. Intelligence operatives are leaking classified information to compliant journalists, who then spin this illegal information into fantastical conspiracies. They comparea mischievous Russian hack of John Podesta's emails  into an attack comparable to 9/11 or Pearl Harbor; they exaggerate communications that apparently broke no laws into a scandal comparable to Watergate; they allow anonymous sourcesto make outrageous conspiracy claims that are denied at every official level. Meanwhile, unelected bureaucrats try to stand in the way of presidential appointments, suspiciously left-wing protestors disrupt town halls inconservative areas, and judges overturn legal executive orders with patently dishonest arguments.
Those whose opposition to Trump has overcome their dedication to the American idea support even the worst of this — appallingly enough. Never Trumper Bill Kristol tweets: "Obviously strongly prefer normal democratic and constitutional politics. But if it comes to it, prefer the deep state to the Trump state." Leftist filmmaker Rob Reiner says hopefully: "Intelligence community will not let DT destroy democracy." From Leftist Harvard Law Prof Lawrence Tribe: "Props to the intel officials! They're putting their duty to protect the nation from hostile Russian acts above their loyalty to this POTUS."
It's ugly to accuse people of being unAmerican. But the idea that freedom is served by the CIA undermining our elected president — that's unAmerican.
If you care about liberty, there's really only one side here. In the fight between Donald Trump and the Deep State, I'm for Trump one hundred percent. Unconstrained bureaucrats, rogue spies, and their media fellow travelers — I hope he defeats them all.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Sweeping New Guidelines from DHS to Ease Deportation of Illegals

Reading these new guidelines from Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is a revelation. In fact, the new policy will be revolutionary if, as expected, most aspects of it are adopted.
Basically, the new policy, contained in memos from Secretary Kelly, repeals almost all Obama-era directives on the deportation of illegals and substitutes several reforms that are long overdue.
The new procedures would allow authorities to seek expedited deportation proceedings, currently limited to undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for two weeks or less, to anyone who has been in the country for up to two years.
Another new provision would be to immediately return Mexican immigrants who are apprehended at the border back home pending the outcomes of their deportation hearings, rather than house them on U.S. property, an effort that would save detention space and other resources.

The guidelines also aim to deter the arrival of a growing wave of 155,000 unaccompanied minors who have come from Mexico and Central America over the past three years. Under the new policies, their parents in the United States could be prosecuted if they are found to have paid smugglers to bring the children across the border.
“This memo is just breathtaking, the way they really are looking at every part of the entire system,” said Marielena HincapiĆ©, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.
Joanne Lin, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement that “due process, human decency, and common sense are treated as inconvenient obstacles on the path to mass deportation. The Trump administration is intent on inflicting cruelty on millions of immigrant families across the country.”
Cruelty"? To enforce existing law? Even open-borders advocates can't really believe that.
As far as "common sense" is concerned,  it's a fact that more than 850,000 illegals have been given deportation orders and have disappeared off the federal government's radar. By deporting them while not denying their due process rights, the government satisfies the requirements of the law while drastically curtailing the ability of illegals to avoid deportation.
The current "catch and release" policy only leads to hundreds of thousands of illegals failing to show up in court at all.
The memos don’t overturn one important directive from the Obama administration: a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that has provided work permits to more than 750,000 immigrants who came to the country illegally as children.

Trump had promised during his campaign to “immediately terminate” the program, calling it an unconstitutional “executive amnesty,” but he has wavered since then. Last week, he said he would “show great heart” in determining the fate of that program.
The memos instruct agency chiefs to begin hiring 10,000 additional ICE agents and 5,000 more for the Border Patrol, which had been included in Trump’s executive actions.
Kelly also said the agency will try to expand partnerships with municipal law enforcement agencies that deputize local police to act as immigration officers for the purposes of enforcement.
The program, known as 287(g), was signed into law by the Clinton administration and grew markedly under President George W. Bush’s tenure. It fell out of favor under the Obama administration.
The Trump administration is still mulling what to do about DREAMers -- children of illegal parents who have been in the U.S. for more than five years. Trump has suggested a cautious approach to the issue, which means that guidelines will be written at a later date.
These are reforms that are long overdue. They won't stop the problem of illegal immigration, but it is hoped that swift deportation of those caught at the border will deter at least some illegals from crossing in the first place.

DOJ TELLS BALTIMORE COPS WHAT PRONOUNS THEY MUST USE

DOJ TELLS BALTIMORE COPS WHAT PRONOUNS THEY MUST USE

Jim Scanlan describes the compliance nightmare that looms for the Baltimore Police Department as a result of the consent decree the City reached with the Justice Department. The events that led to the decree are well known.
It stemmed from the death of Freddy Gray through injuries sustained in police custody. There was no convincing evidence that the police did much wrong, and prosecutors were unable to convict any of the officers involved.
However, the Justice Department investigated the Department’s practices to determine whether they are unfair to African-Americans. It found that they are, but its report is too flawed to be taken seriously, as Heather Mac Donald has shown and we have discussed.
Let’s assume, though, that the Baltimore police department is systemically unfair to African-Americans. How would that finding justify the following directive in the consent decree (at page 31) that Jim Scanlan pointed out to me:
Ensure that BPD officers address and in documentation refer to all members of the public, including LGBT individuals, using the names, pronouns, and titles of respect appropriate to the individual’s gender identity as expressed or clarified by the individual. Proof of the person’s gender identity, such as an identification card, will not be required.
It wouldn’t. The federal government has simply taken upon itself, in the name of political correctness, to tell Baltimore police officers what pronouns to use in talking to criminals, suspects, witnesses, and the public generally. And if a male crook insists on being addressed as “Miss,” or (perhaps) “Your Highness,” and an officer doesn’t comply, the department will be in violation of the consent decree.
This is egregious federal overreach. Surely, it is hard enough to police the mean streets of Baltimore, which have become considerably meaner as a result of the left’s attacks on the department, without having to worry about the gender identity of the folks officers encounter.
And what about the gender identity treatment those who have been arrested and convicted. As Jim suggests, if you can chose your bathroom, there seems no reason why you cannot chose whether to be incarcerated among men or among women.
The madness should be nipped in the bud. The Trump administration needs promptly to pick a head of DOJ’s civil rights division who will, insofar as possible, get the federal government out of the business of policing local police departments and stop the obsession with gender identity.

SALLY YATES’S LEGACY OF INJUSTICE

SALLY YATES’S LEGACY OF INJUSTICE

Long-time Power Line reader Howard Root abandoned his legal practice at Minneapolis’s Dorsey law firm and his work as general counsel of a medical device company to design highly useful medical products himself and to found the successful medical device company Vascular Solutions. He has nevertheless chosen to take a hike. In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal Howard gives a glimpse of his harrowing story with a local Minnesota angle. Here is the opening paragraph:
I quit. Friday I walk away from the company I started 20 years ago and grew into 650 U.S. employees and $1 billion in sales of over 100 new medical devices. I didn’t quit because I’m old—I’m 56—or want to play golf. The reason I sold my company and ended a career I loved is to avoid the risk of being criminally prosecuted under the federal government’s “responsible corporate officer” doctrine for the second time.
Howard alludes to the criminal charges brought against him — criminal charges that were brought against him for no good reason and supported by wild prosecutorial misconduct. Unlike many in his situation, Howard chose to put up a costly fight that resulted in a verdict completely exonerating him:
The “crime” for which they indicted me was a few salespersons’ words about our Vari-Lase Short Kit. Prosecutors claimed that my company’s salespeople told physicians the kit should be used to treat perforator rather than saphenous varicose veins. The prosecutors continued to pursue the case even though their own experts admitted that the kit was FDA-cleared to treat all varicose veins, that it never harmed a patient, and that it constituted 0.1% of our sales. Federal prosecutors told our attorneys they had “invested their blood, sweat and tears” and needed “a body” in return. That body was me.
Fortunately, my company had the money to fight back. Our day in court finally came in February 2016. The four-week trial ended with not-guilty verdicts on all charges, without our calling a single witness in our defense. Following the trial, one juror emailed me: “What the federal government did to you, your company and your employees is nothing short of criminal.”
In the background of Howard’s persecution was one Sally Yates. Indeed, Sally Yates was instrumental to Howard’s persecution. Yes, the Sally Yates — the Sally Yates turned by the media into a hero of the resistance to President Trump.
Here is the Yates angle:
Why did the prosecutors take this path? To comply with their marching orders, detailed in a five-page Justice Department memo written in 2015 by then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. According to the Yates Memo, prosecutors must “focus on individual wrongdoing from the very beginning” of every corporate investigation and “fully leverage” resources to identify individuals for prosecution. Instead of a balanced approach to justice, the Yates Memo advocates an obsession with individual criminal prosecutions in order to recover “as much money as possible.”
The strategy works. In 2016 Justice boasted that it obtained $4.7 billion in “recoveries,” with a precisely calculated 610% return on investment in its “fight” against health-care fraud….
Howard first told a condensed version of his story in the 2016 Star Tribune column “I’m ‘not guilty,’ yes, but outraged by unjust prosecution.” He highlights the Yates angle in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal column “Sally Yates’s legacy of injustice at the Department of Justice”(unfortunately, behind the Journal’s paywall). Howard tells the full story in the riveting book (written with Stephen Saltarelli) Cardiac Arrest: Five Heart-Stopping Years As a CEO on the Feds’ Hit List.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Obama-linked activists have a ‘training manual’ for protesting Trump

Obama-linked activists have a ‘training manual’ for protesting Trump


An Obama-tied activist group training tens of thousands of agitators to protest President Trump’s policies plans to hit Republican lawmakers supporting those policies even harder this week, when they return home for the congressional recess and hold town hall meetings and other functions.
Organizing for Action, a group founded by Obama and featured prominently on his new post-presidency website, is distributing a training manual to anti-Trump activists that advises them to bully GOP lawmakers into backing off support for repealing ObamaCare, curbing immigration from high-risk Islamic nations, and building a border wall.
In a new Facebook post, OFA calls on activists to mobilize against Republicans from now until Feb. 26, when “representatives are going to be in their home districts.”
The protesters disrupted town halls earlier this month, including one held in Utah by House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz, who was confronted by hundreds of angry demonstrators claiming to be his constituents.
The manual, published with OFA partner “Indivisible,” advises protesters to go into halls quietly so as not to raise alarms, and “grab seats at the front of the room but do not all sit together.” Rather, spread out in pairs to make it seem like the whole room opposes the Republican host’s positions. “This will help reinforce the impression of broad consensus.” It also urges them to ask “hostile” questions — while keeping “a firm hold on the mic” — and loudly boo the the GOP politician if he isn’t “giving you real answers.”
“Express your concern [to the event’s hosts] they are giving a platform to pro-Trump authoritarianism, racism, and corruption,” it says.
The goal is to make Republicans, even from safe districts, second-guess their support for the Trump agenda, and to prime “the ground for the 2018 midterms when Democrats retake power.”
The goal is to make Republicans, even from safe districts, second-guess their support for the Trump agenda
“Even the safest [Republican] will be deeply alarmed by signs of organized opposition,” the document states, “because these actions create the impression that they’re not connected to their district and not listening to their constituents.”
After the event, protesters are advised to feed video footage to local and national media.
“Unfavorable exchanges caught on video can be devastating” for Republican lawmakers, it says, when “shared through social media and picked up by local and national media.” After protesters gave MSNBC, CNN and the networks footage of their dust-up with Chaffetz, for example, the outlets ran them continuously, forcing Chaffetz to issue statements defending himself.
The manual also advises protesters to flood “Trump-friendly” lawmakers’ Hill offices with angry phone calls and emails demanding the resignation of top White House adviser Steve Bannon.
A script advises callers to complain: “I’m honestly scared that a known racist and anti-Semite will be working just feet from the Oval Office … It is everyone’s business if a man who promoted white supremacy is serving as an adviser to the president.”
The document provides no evidence to support such accusations.
Protesters, who may or may not be affiliated with OFA, are also storming district offices. Last week, GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher blamed a “mob” of anti-Trump activists for knocking unconscious a 71-year-old female staffer at his Southern California office. A video of the incident, showing a small crowd around an opening door, was less conclusive.
Separately, OFA, which is run by ex-Obama officials and staffers, plans to stage 400 rallies across 42 states this year to attack Trump and Republicans over ObamaCare’s repeal.
“This is a fight we can win,” OFA recently told its foot soldiers. “They’re starting to waver.”
On Thursday, Trump insisted he’s moving ahead with plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which has ballooned health-insurance premiums and deductibles. “Obamacare is a disaster, folks,” he said, adding that activists protesting its repeal are hijacking GOP town halls and other events.
“They fill up our rallies with people that you wonder how they get there,” the president said. “But they’re not the Republican people that our representatives are representing.”
As The Post reported, OFA boasts more than 250 offices nationwide and more than 32,000 organizers, with another 25,000 actively under training. Since November, it’s beefed up staff and fundraising, though as a “social welfare” non-profit, it does not have to reveal its donors.
These aren’t typical Black Lives Matter or Occupy Wall Street marchers, but rather professionally trained organizers who go through a six-week training program similar to the training — steeped in Alinsky agitation tactics — Obama received in Chicago when he was a community organizer.
Chicago socialist Saul Alinsky, known by the left as “the father of community organizing,” taught radicals to “rub raw the sores of discontent” and create the conditions for a “revolution.” He dedicated his book, “Rules for Radicals,” to “Lucifer.” Michelle Obama quoted from the book when she helped launch OFA in 2013.
Obama appears to be behind the anti-Trump protests. He praised recent demonstrations against Trump’s travel ban. And last year, after Trump’s upset victory, he personally rallied OFA troops to “protect” his legacy in a conference call. “Now is the time for some organizing,” he said. “So don’t mope” over the election results.
He promised OFA activists he would soon join them in the fray.
“Understand that I’m going to be constrained in what I do with all of you until I am again a private citizen, but that’s not so far off,” he said. “You’re going to see me early next year, and we’re going to be in a position where we can start cooking up all kinds of great stuff.”
Added the ex-president: “I promise you that next year Michelle and I are going to be right there with you, and the clouds are going to start parting, and we’re going to be busy. I’ve got all kinds of thoughts and ideas about it, but this isn’t the best time to share them.
“Point is, I’m still fired up and ready to go, and I hope that all of you are, as well.”