Sunday, March 19, 2017
Politically correct court ruling against Trump travel restrictions reveals judicial tyranny
Under the ridiculous ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson of the District of Hawaii, temporary travel restrictions on immigration — grants of power to the president enacted by Congress decades ago — from any Muslim-majority countries somehow violate the First Amendment.
But only if the restrictions are issued by President Donald Trump.
Citing “significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus driving the promulgation of the Executive Order,” including Trump campaign statements purported to be discriminatory of Islam, the court found special First Amendment rights to immigrate to the U.S. to Muslims throughout the world who neither live here nor have any protections under the Constitution.
But not for Jews, Christians, Hindus or anyone else, apparently, because Trump had not promised announce to block immigration from Israel, Europe or India on the campaign trail. Presumably, Trump could restrict immigration from any country that is not predominantly Muslim, since there were no statements from the Trump campaign in 2016 about doing so.
And, under the ruling, any other president besides Trump might be able to exercise these same powers against predominantly Muslim countries, delegated to the president under the 1952 immigration statute.
There’s only one problem. That is not what the law says, which is a broad grant of power to the president. Not certain presidents based upon a judicially ascertained motive determined by what might have been said on the campaign trail.
Under 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), enacted in 1952, “Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”
In other words, the law is blind to motive. It does not matter why Trump wants the travel restrictions, just that he finds certain immigrant entries would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States.” It is a subjective determination, a political question with which the executive has discretion.
Discretion is the key component there. Congress has authorized the president to close down the entire border if he feels it is necessary. It does not matter why. The court has overstepped its bounds.
Americans for Limited Government President in a statement noted the absurdity of the ruling, saying, “If it would be constitutional if issued by former President Obama, then it must then be constitutional under President Trump. The rule of law means equal application of the law and by the judge’s own words, that is not what we have here.”
The judge even acknowledged that “the Executive Order does not facially discriminate for or against any particular religion, or for or against religion versus non-religion.” But never mind what the order actually said. Or that other presidents could issue the order under Judge Watson’s precedent.
And never mind the fact that the government had narrowly tailored the order to apply to just six countries, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, thought to be of higher risk of exporting terrorism — leaving the vast majority of Muslim-majority countries unaffected by the order.
Not finding any evidence of any actual religious discrimination in Trump’s order, the court decided to invent some out of whole cloth, ruling against the order the court wished Trump had issued so that it could overturn it, relying on statements from the president on the 2016 campaign trail to somehow deduce a discriminatory motive by President Trump.
Which, by the way, even if Trump had issued an order barring new non-citizen Muslim entry into the U.S., as he had proposed on the campaign trail, it still would not have violated the Constitution or the statute, because those constitutional protections do not extend overseas.
As Manning concluded in his statement, “It is now clear that federal courts do not intend to hold the acts of President Trump to the same standards as other presidents past or future, instead imposing a separate body of law simply for his administration. In essence, by denying the powers of the president to Trump, the courts are attempting to render their verdict on the outcome of the 2016 election, an intolerable abuse by the judicial branch that Congress must now rein in.”
That is, the exercise of executive power in the conduct of foreign relations — in this case in the area of immigration — under the Constitution and as authorized by Congress, has absolutely zero recourse in courts of law. And it is time Congress said so, by limiting the jurisdiction of federal courts not to examine travel restrictions or any other executive functions where the rights of foreigners who have never set foot on U.S. soil are being invoked.
Politically correct media lies and misrepresentations
Has the media gotten worse? Or am I just grouchier? Every day I see things that are wrong or that so miss the point I want to scream. Four examples:
As this week’s storm approached the East Coast, the media reverted to breathless hype: “monster storm … very dangerous.” Here I blame my beloved free market: Predicting scary weather works. Viewers tune in.
What galls me more is the reporters' government-centric thinking. “Everything is closed,” they say. “Employees can’t get to work.”
But the corner grocery stayed open. So did many gas stations and restaurants.
Why is it that when government buildings close, so many private businesses stay open? Because their own money is at stake.
The store’s employees probably make less money than government workers. They are less likely to own all-wheel-drive cars. But they get to work. Some sleep there. Their own money is on the line.
Reporters don’t think about the distinction.
The Deep State
Monday, The New York Times ran the headline “What Happens When You Fight a ‘Deep State’ that Doesn’t Exist?”
The article explained that unlike Egypt or Pakistan, America doesn’t really have a powerful deep state, and to claim that it does “presents apolitical civil servants as partisan agents.”
Give me a break. “Apolitical civil servants”?
A deep state absolutely exists. Some call it “administrative state” or “regulatory state.” These are the people who crush innovation and freedom by issuing hundreds of new rules. Regulators, if they don’t pass new rules, think they’re not doing their job.
Even “anti-regulator” President George W. Bush hired 90,000 new regulators. Calling them “nonpartisan” doesn’t make them harmless — it just means we put up with them through multiple administrations.
Even if you exclude the military and post office, more than 20 million Americans work for the government. Because of civil service rules, it’s almost impossible to fire them.
The Times calls these 20 million people “apolitical”. Please. Most are just as partisan as you or I. Maybe more so, as leaks and signs of bureaucratic resistance to presidential edicts demonstrate.
People who choose to work for, say, the EPA, tend to be environment zealots. This should surprise no one. Somehow, New York Times reporters don’t see it.
“Chief of EPA Bucks Studies”
Speaking of the EPA and the Times, its front page claimed President Donald Trump appointee Scott Pruitt is “at odds with the established scientific consensus.” That makes Pruitt sound like an anti-science idiot. But the headline is bunk.
Pruitt only said that he does not agree that man is “the primary contributor to global warming.”
That’s “at odds” with Times reporters and government flunkies on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but many scientists say there is so much uncertainty to climate measurements that no one can know if man’s greenhouse gases are the “primary” cause of warming.
The earth warmed similarly last century, well before we emitted so much carbon dioxide.
British comedian John Oliver hosts one of the better political talk shows. He’s like Bill Maher but funnier and not as mean. Yesterday, on an airplane, I watched an episode that led with a report on the chaos in Venezuela.
I perked up, expecting Oliver to at least mention Venezuela’s caps on corporate profits, abolition of property rights, media censorship, regulation of car production “from the factory door to the place of sale,” etc. In other words: socialism.
But no, Oliver didn’t mention any of that.
He mocked President Maduro’s speeches but said Venezuela was in trouble because its economy depends on oil and oil prices dropped. What?
Kuwait, Nigeria, Angola and other countries exported more oil than Venezuela. But they survived the price drop without experiencing the misery that Venezuela suffers. The suffering was created by socialism.
America’s leftists cannot see the horrors of socialism even when they are right in front of them.
European Populism Not ‘Going Away’ Despite Dutch Election Result
Wilders actually increased the number of seats he won. Another such increase next time and he might be in the box seat
A far-right nationalist party in the Netherlands led by charismatic and controversial leader Geert Wilders failed to score a decisive victory in what was billed as the first electoral test for European populism since last year’s “Brexit” referendum and Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States.
Indeed, Wilders did not meet expectations in the Dutch election Wednesday, according to unofficial results, failing to earn the support of a majority of voters to back his platform of barring Muslim immigration and leaving the European Union.
Though the Dutch result dulls populist momentum—with elections involving rising nationalist parties still to come this year in France and Germany—political observers and experts say Wilders’ defeat does not signal that European populism is waning.
“People will see this result demonstrating that the populist balloon has busted a little bit,” Mathew Burrows, who studies Europe at the Atlantic Council, said in an interview with The Daily Signal. “I don’t see populism going away.”
Center Keeps Power
To be sure, the Dutch vote was a relief to centrist and anti-populist politicians across the region.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s center-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy retained power despite possessing fewer seats than in the last Parliament. The left-leaning Green Party, led by 30-year-old Jesse Klaver and his anti-populist platform, at least tripled its seats.
In the Netherlands’ fractured political system—28 parties ran and 13 are likely to have positions in the 150-seat lower house of Parliament—Rutte will have to form a coalition with others.
But that coalition isn’t likely to include Wilders’ Party for Freedom despite the fact he is expected to finish second, with 20 seats, an increase of eight.
That’s because other parties consider Wilders’ views to be so toxic that they have refused to govern with him in a coalition.
“The center is holding—that’s the essential message of the Dutch election,” Ivo Daalder, president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, said in an interview with The Daily Signal.
“The politics in Europe over the last year and a half seemed to be running away from the center, and away from the establishment and elite,” added Daalder, who previously was the U.S. ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and served on the National Security Council as director for European Affairs.
“But the Dutch voted for pro-system parties that are pro-EU [European Union] and support sensible immigration policies and free trade,” Daalder said. “So an essential part of the message of the post-World War II period is retained, and that’s an important message.”
‘Move to the Right’
Yet observers based in the Netherlands say Wilders’ proposed policies have had impact, forcing politicians such as Rutte to shift their positions to the right—especially on immigration—to appease a portion of the electorate that is apprehensive about rising migration from non-Western countries.
Wilders has called for banning the Quran and for closing mosques and Islamic cultural centers and schools.
“His radical positions have forced parties ideologically close to his to try to accommodate those stances,” Bert Bakker, a communications professor at the University of Amsterdam, said in an interview with The Daily Signal. “Other parties moved a bit to the right on immigration.”
The Netherlands’ immigration policy is among the toughest in the EU, Bakker says, and Rutte’s rhetoric and recent actions—which have included a spat with Muslim-majority Turkey—have become more hardline.
Bakker notes that Wilders—a veteran of parliament who first got elected in 1998—is not the first Dutch politician to target immigration and Islam.
List Pim Fortuyn, a party led by Pim Fortuyn, a gay conservative critical of immigration and Islam, won 26 seats in 2002, more than Wilders’ peak of 24 seats in 2010. Fortuyn was assassinated on the campaign trail, just days before the 2002 election. “We have seen a revolt against multiculturalism earlier,” Bakker said. “That’s part of our brand as a country.”
Like other European countries, the Netherlands has been affected by the surge of asylum seekers and refugees fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.
According to the Netherlands Institute for Social Research, a government research agency, non-Western immigrants rose from 7.6 percent to 12 percent of the Dutch population between 1996 and 2015.
The total population of the Netherlands grew by more than 110,000 in 2016, driven by a net migration of 88,000—mostly from Syria—according to the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics.
Conservative politicians in some European countries—and Trump, among others in the U.S.—have criticized the EU for its initial response to the refugee crisis, especially Germany’s Angela Merkel.
Merkel, who is scheduled to meet with Trump in Washington on Friday, allowed tens of thousands of asylum-seekers from Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East to enter Germany. Merkel’s governing coalition praised the Dutch election result.
“One of the biggest takeaways from this election is that mass immigration, border control, and the Islamist threat will remain as major issues in elections across Europe, especially in France,” said Nile Gardiner, an expert on transatlantic relations at The Heritage Foundation.
James Jeffrey, a former U.S. ambassador to Iraq and Turkey who also has held diplomatic posts in Europe, predicts that populists in Europe, including France’s Marine Le Pen, will face challenges in actually taking power despite their growing sway.
“The far right will not be successful in seizing power,” Jeffrey told The Daily Signal. “They will continue to scramble politics, but many of these European countries are far more left wing and international and multicultural than the progressives we see in the U.S. These people are gonna fight like hell to preserve that. For them, these are values, this is peace, and they see themselves as the alternative to the 19th and 20th century in Europe.”
While cheering the center’s hold on power in the Netherlands, Daalder, the former ambassador to NATO, says politicians should pay attention to the underlying grievances that are inspiring populism and resistance to an integrated Europe.
“The sentiment of these people doesn’t disappear in any one election,” Daalder said. “The task of all governments whether populist or not is to address that anxiety. There is no doubt the next Dutch government will continue to demand a clawback of power from Europe. The reality of politics hasn’t changed.”
Why I, editor of the Jewish Chronicle, think anti-Semites should be allowed on YouTube
Should you choose to believe what has been written about me on social media, you will think I am a paedophile who threatens to rape women who disagree with me. I suppose I should point out that these are lies.
Unfortunately for me, so too is the assertion that I control the media, which is also said about me. That’s not just Jews generally controlling the media – but me, personally.
According to some posts on Twitter and Facebook, I determine not only what other Jews write, taking orders from my Israeli masters – I also order around the many non-Jews in my (heavily moneyed) pocket.
So the accusations contained in a now infamous video by the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, titled “Jews admit organising white genocide”, are pretty standard fare to anyone who has ever seen what Jew hate looks like.
The video was posted on YouTube in 2015 but has only attracted attention this week when it was used as a stick by the Home Affairs Select Committee with which to beat Google, which owns YouTube.
Giving evidence to the committee on Tuesday, Peter Barron, Google’s vice-president for communications, said that the video was certainly antisemitic but that YouTube nonetheless had no intention of removing it.
Cue gasps of astonishment and ridicule.
Yvette Cooper, who chairs the committee, told Mr Barron: “Your answers feel like a bit of a joke.” And every right-thinking person has seemed to join in the pillorying of Mr Barron and Google.
It’s clear that the video is indeed antisemitic. In it, Mr Duke says: “The Zionists have already ethnically cleansed the Palestinians, why not do the same thing to Europeans and Americans as well? No group on earth fights harder for its interests than do the Jews. By dividing a society they can weaken it and control it.” So there’s no debate that this is Jew hate in all its traditional poison.
And I’m sure Ms Cooper is right when she says: “Most people would be appalled by that video and think it goes against all standards of public decency in this country.”
But the near universal assumption among politicians and policymakers that because the video promotes repellent views it should therefore be banned takes us into very dangerous territory. Had the video told viewers that their duty was to seek out Jews and attack them – as many posts on social media do – then clearly it should be banned. Incitement to violence is an obvious breach of any coherent set of standards.
But banning views simply because many, or even most, people them find abhorrent is a form of mob rule dressed up in civilised clothes.
My penchant for chicken soup doubtless sickens vegetarians. Some vegetarians have compared the slaughter of animals for human food with the murder of human beings for pleasure. I find such a comparison grotesque, as I imagine do most meat eaters. Should we ban vegetarians from making the comparison because it so offensive to so many people?
You say no, because the Duke video is different altogether. So who decides just what we are sufficiently appalled by to ban: Yvette Cooper? A judge? An algorithm? A popular vote? Since we are talking about Jews, the most obvious example of this is Holocaust denial.
In some countries, such as Germany and Austria, it is illegal to deny the Holocaust. Given their particular histories, one can understand why.
But understanding why a view might be banned is not the same as accepting it should be. Silencing the Holocaust-denier David Irving and his ilk through the law achieves nothing except a larger prison population. Silencing them through the destruction of their reputation and the exposure of their lies actually defeats them.
It was not Irving’s incarceration in an Austrian cell that destroyed his reputation. It was his lost libel action against the legitimate historian, Deborah Lipstadt.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.