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Less than a week after President Donald Trump rallied the world behind ending the violence in Syria, he will meet with the top civilian leader of NATO, an organization he criticized during the campaign as “obsolete.”
The top issues will still likely be how much allies are contributing when NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg visits the White House for a bilateral meeting with Trump Wednesday. The two will also hold a joint press conference. While contributions will be the priority, issues pertaining to the Middle East, Syria, and the Islamic State will also be high on the agenda.
Just before his inauguration, Trump reiterated his view about NATO member countries not investing enough in their own defense.
Under the agreement, member nations pledge to spend 2% of their gross domestic product on defense. However, many fail to meet their obligations.
“This will be a big opportunity for the president to establish himself as the leader of NATO,” Alexander Vershbow, a former deputy secretary of NATO, told The Daily Signal. “Clearly the No. 1 issue will be defense spending.”
Next year, eight of NATO’s 28 member nations are projected to meet the 2% of GDP goal.
The previous goal was for each member nation to spend 3% on defense, which was determined in 1997. In 2006, that goal declined to 2%, Vershbow said.
A second priority will be addressing what the alliance can do in the Middle East, said Vershbow, who was a U.S. ambassador to Russia and South Korea under the George W. Bush administration, and ambassador to NATO during the Bill Clinton administration.
“For the sake of NATO’s future, it will have to focus on terrorism,” Vershbow said.
Vershbow noted the alliance has provided assistance in Afghanistan for the last 15 years. But, he said, NATO has provided only minimal training in Iraq and Jordan for those countries to be self-sufficient against the Islamic State. He said NATO is capable of doing more if asked.
Last week, Stoltenberg backed Trump’s strike against Syria and the government of dictator Bashar Assad. He stated: “NATO considers the use of chemical weapons as a threat to international peace and security. NATO supports all international efforts aimed at achieving peace and a political solution in Syria.”
There could be limits on NATO’s role in Syria, Thomas Spoehr, director of the Center for National Defense at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal.
Spoehr said that NATO may not have a direct role in Syria. But, he said, member nations, as well as U.S. like-minded countries in the Middle East, would likely join the United States against the Assad regime.
Trump seems to have “evolved as a leader” on international affairs, Spoehr said, stepping away from a dismissive attitude toward NATO. That could be a result of listening to his Cabinet members, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Defense Secretary James Mattis.
“We don’t hear him talking about NATO as obsolete and freeloaders,” Spoehr said. “We have heard administrations talking for years about NATO members [paying their fair share]. None have been as forceful and Trump. It does seem we are seeing a change in trends.”
During an April 2016 campaign speech on foreign policy, Trump said:
In NATO, for instance, only four of 28 other member countries, besides America, are spending the minimum required 2 percent of GDP on defense. We have spent trillions of dollars over time—on planes, missiles, ships, equipment—building up our military to provide a strong defense for Europe and Asia. The countries we are defending must pay for the cost of this defense—and, if not, the U.S. must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves.
When asked during a CNN town hall in March 2016, “Do you think the United States needs to rethink involvement in NATO?”
Trump responded, “Yes, because it’s costing us too much money. And frankly, they have to put up more money. They’re going to have to put some up also. We’re paying disproportionately. It’s too much. And frankly, it’s a different world than it was when we originally conceived of the idea.”
Trump also told Bloomberg News during his presidential campaign, “NATO may be obsolete. NATO was set up a long time ago … We were a rich nation then. We had nothing but money. We had nothing but power, and you know, far more than we have today.” He continued that NATO “doesn’t really help us.”
Though his critics accused him of wanting to leave NATO, FactCheck.org stated that was not the case.
I agree with Trump, we shouldn't be paying as much as we do. We can cut that down big time.
The Cancer Eating Away at College Campuses!
The average American has little knowledge of the extent to which our institutions of higher learning have been infected with a spreading cancer.
One aspect of that cancer is akin to the loyalty oaths of the 1940s and ’50s. Professors were often required to sign statements that affirmed their loyalty to the United States government, plus swear they were not members of any organizations, including the Communist Party USA, which sought the overthrow of the United States government.
Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down loyalty oaths as a condition of employment in 1964.
Today we’re seeing the re-emergence of the mentality that gave us loyalty oaths, in the form of mandating that faculty members write “diversity statements,” especially as part of hiring and promotion procedures. They are forced to pledge allegiance to the college’s diversity agenda.
For example, the University of California, San Diego requires that one’s “Contributions to Diversity Statement” describe one’s “past experience, activities and future plans to advance diversity, equity and inclusion, in alignment with UC San Diego’s mission to reflect the diversity of California and to meet the educational needs and interests of its diverse population.”
George Leef, director of research at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, has written an article titled “Loyalty Oaths Return with Faculty ‘Diversity Statements.’”
His article documents the growing trend of mandated faculty diversity statements—such as that at Virginia Tech, in which “candidates should include a list of activities that promote or contribute to inclusive teaching, research, outreach, and service.”
College diversity agendas are little more than a call for ideological conformity. Diversity only means racial, sex, and sexual orientation quotas.
In pursuit of this agenda, colleges spend billions of dollars on offices of diversity and inclusion, diversity classes, and diversity indoctrination. The last thing that diversity hustlers want is diversity in ideas.
By the way, the next time you hear a college president boasting about how diverse his college is, ask him how many Republican faculty members there are in his journalism, psychology, English, and sociology departments.
In many cases, there is none, and in others, the ratio of Democrats to Republicans might be 20-to-1.
Nearly 100 percent of political campaign contributions from liberal arts faculty go to Democrats. At Cornell University, for example, 97 percent of contributions from faculty went to Democrats. At Georgetown University, it was 96 percent.
A study by my George Mason University colleague Daniel B. Klein, along with Charlotta Stern, titled “Professors and Their Politics: The Policy Views of Social Scientists,” concluded:
The academic social sciences are pretty much a one-party system. Were the Democratic tent broad, the one-party system might have intellectual diversity. But the data show almost no diversity of opinion among the Democratic professors when it comes to the regulatory, redistributive state: They like it. Especially when it comes to the minimum wage, workplace-safety regulation, pharmaceutical regulation, environmental regulation, discrimination regulation, gun control, income redistribution, and public schooling.
The fascist college trend that we are witnessing today is by no means new. As early as 1991, Yale University President Benno Schmidt warned:
The most serious problems of freedom of expression in our society today exist on our campuses. The assumption seems to be that the purpose of education is to induce correct opinion rather than to search for wisdom and to liberate the mind.
What diversity oaths seek is to maintain political conformity among the faculty indoctrinating our impressionable, intellectually immature young people. Vladimir Lenin said, “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.”
That’s the goal of the leftist teaching agenda.
You might ask, “Williams, what can be done?” Parents, donors, and legislatures need to stop being lazy. Check to see whether a college has diversity mandates for faculty. Check to see whether campus speakers have been disinvited.
College administrators have closed minds about their diversity agenda, but there’s nothing more effective in opening up closed minds than the sound of pocketbooks snapping shut.
They certainly have been drained of real intellectual diversity. Can you believe that some day these guys will be leaders and that is why we need to make some changes to the Education System. Most of the time they cannot explain why they think the way they do!! I think we need new teachers in the colleges that have brain power to realize that they are teaching math, science, reading and etc., and not telling them what to think and how to act. WE need to bring out the sun and melt the snowflakes and what they have learned and get some of their brains working if at all possible.
Department of Homeland Security: Courthouse Arrests Are Necessary Because of Sanctuary City Policies.
The Department of Homeland Security rejected calls Tuesday for its agents to stop making immigration arrests at courthouses.
The Department of Homeland Security rejected calls Tuesday for its agents to stop making immigration arrests at courthouses, a tactic that has pitted state judicial officers against the Trump administration in recent weeks.
A spokesman for the agency said immigration enforcement agents will continue to have authority to seize illegal immigrants at courthouses, if they believe it is the best place to make an arrest. And that authority won’t change even if the illegal immigrant in question is also a victim of a crime or a witness to a crime.
“Just because they’re a victim in a certain case does not mean there’s not something in their background that could cause them to be a removable alien,” spokesman David Lapan told reporters. “Just because they’re a witness doesn’t mean they might not pose a security threat for other reasons.’’
Immigration and Customs Enforcement has recently come under fire for conducting immigration enforcement operations at “sensitive” locations, including local and state courts. Critics say the practice intimidates undocumented crime victims and witnesses and prevents them from testifying in criminal cases.
House Democrats recently introduced a bill to ban the arrests.
Last month, the chief justices of the California and Washington state supreme courts each wrote letters to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, asking them to put a stop to courthouse arrests.
California’s top judge, Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, accused ICE agents of “stalking undocumented immigrants” at courthouses and said that courts should not be “used as bait in the necessary enforcement of our country’s immigration laws.”
Sessions and Kelly penned a joint letter in response, defending the right of ICE agents to make arrests of illegal immigrants “where probable cause exists to believe that such aliens are in violation of immigration laws.” They also said courthouse arrests were necessary because sanctuary policies in states like California make it harder for ICE agents to arrest removable aliens at local jails.
The policies “specifically prohibit or hinder ICE from enforcing immigration law by prohibiting communication with ICE, and denying requests by ICE officers and agents to enter prisons and jails to make arrests,” Sessions and Kelly wrote.
Lapan said that illegal immigrant crime victims and witnesses can also be criminal aliens who pose a threat to public safety or who have been issued orders of removal in the past. He added, however, that there is a special visa category, known as U-visas, for illegal immigrants who are the victims of crimes, such as sexual assault and domestic violence.
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 10,000 U-visas are available annually, and there is no cap on the number of immediate family members that can derive temporary legal status from the principal applicant.
As Sessions pointed out, Kate Steinle, a resident of San Francisco, was shot and killed two years ago by an illegal alien as a direct result of San Francisco’s policy of refusing to honor federal detainer warrants.
The killer, Francisco Sanchez, had seven previous felony convictions and the city released him from custody despite the fact that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had filed a detainer with San Francisco asking that he be kept in custody until immigration agents could pick him up.
Sanchez even admitted to a television reporter that the only reason he came to San Francisco was because of the city’s sanctuary policy.
Sessions also mentioned another such incident that happened just within the last two weeks.
According to the attorney general, Ever Valles, another illegal alien, was charged with the murder and robbery of a man at a light rail station.
The only reason he was on the street was because the city of Denver refused to honor a detainer that ICE had filed with the city and released him from the Denver jail in December.
Valles is just one of many such criminal aliens who are being loosed on the American public by the reckless policies of sanctuary cities.
ICE recently released the first of its weekly reports on cities that have refused to honor ICE detainer warrants, as mandated by President Donald Trump’s executive order, “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.”
The report details all of the local jurisdictions across the country from Florida to New York to Washington state that refused ICE detainers from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3 and released criminals from their jails rather than turn them over to the federal government for deportation.
The crimes committed by these illegal aliens, as outlined in a report covering just a single week, include: domestic violence, arson, aggravated assault, burglary, forgery, intimidation, possession of a dangerous weapon, intimidation, drug trafficking, sexual assault, homicide, and a host of other crimes. This is also no surprise.
As I have outlined before, prior reports by the Government Accountability Office that have reviewed the criminal histories of illegal aliens in federal, state, and local jails show a path of destruction and repeated criminal behavior by criminal aliens that is truly shocking.
There are literally millions of Americans like Steinle who have been victimized by crimes committed by illegal aliens that should not have happened and would not have happened if we actually enforced our immigration laws and if local jurisdictions cooperated with federal authorities instead of trying to obstruct them.
Sessions said that the American people “are justifiably angry” about these sanctuary policies that endanger them. They understand something that irresponsible local officials don’t seem to care about: “When cities and states refuse to help enforce immigration laws, our nation is less safe.”
The failure to deport criminal aliens like Valles puts “whole communities at risk—especially immigrant communities in the very sanctuary jurisdictions that seek to protect the perpetrators.”
The amount of federal grant money at stake is more than $4.1 billion, which the Justice Department distributes through its Office of Justice Programs.
Sessions said that all jurisdictions applying for such grants will have to certify that they are in full compliance with 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1373, which bans local and state jurisdictions from prohibiting their employees—including law enforcement—from exchanging information with the federal government over the citizenship status of any individual.
The American people certainly agree with what Trump and Sessions are doing. Sessions cited a poll in which 80% of Americans agreed that illegal aliens arrested by cities should be turned over to immigration authorities.
Sessions urged state and city officials to “consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to enforce our immigration laws, and to rethink these policies.”
Hopefully, the added incentive of losing access to billions of federal dollars will help them “rethink” their rash sanctuary policies.
I agree with Trump and Sessions, if the cities don't follow the law and keep those who have committed murder and different crimes then they shouldn't get any Federal Money. That is the only way to stop it. Those cities can handle the illegals and what they do. I would think the people that live there would fight having Sanctuary Cities but some of them are as dumb as their leaders!!! Why give money to those that don't obey the law!!
That is what you get when you elect a Liberal as a Governor or Mayor. They are going to suffer for sure and it will be fun to watch. Picking illegals over Citizen's would certainly not make me happy so it will be interesting to see what happens when the money is cut.
President Donald Trump’s revised executive order restricting travel from terrorist safe havens is just as constitutional and legal as his original order, despite what some courts such as the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said about the original order.
But the revisions he has made, which clarify that the executive order does not apply to any foreigners who already hold visas to enter the U.S., will make it tougher for activist judges to justify any injunction orders they might be inclined to issue against it. Yet there is little doubt that progressive groups will seek such orders.
The executive order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” confirms what the administration had previously announced, which is that the temporary, 90-day suspension of entry into the U.S. from certain designated countries will not apply to:
*Lawful permanent residents as well as diplomatic, NATO, and U.N. personnel.
*Foreign nationals admitted after the effective date of the executive order.
*Individuals with a visa valid on the date of the executive order.
*Dual nationals travelling on a passport issued by a non-designated country.
*Individuals already granted asylum or refugee status before the effective date of the executive order.
This is an important revision because it voids the due process concerns that the 9th Circuit expressed—namely, that individuals who had already received approval to enter or reside in the United States might have that right taken away from them without a review and appeal process.
The revised executive order reduces the number of designated countries to which the visa suspension applies by one. Iraq has been removed from the original list, while Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen remain on the list.
Apparently, the administration conducted negotiations with Iraq last month that resulted in Iraq agreeing to increase its cooperation in vetting Iraqis applying for travel into the U.S.
The six remaining countries had been designated by the Obama administration as “countries of concern” (Libya, Somalia, and Yemen) or state sponsors of terrorism (Iran, Syria, and Sudan). The new executive order lists specific reasons for each country’s inclusion in the suspension taken from the State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism 2015 (released in June 2016).
It is certainly common sense (and easy to understand) why one would suspend entry from countries whose governments are official sponsors of terrorism, given that we could not trust any records those governments produce when their citizens are being vetted.
And the executive order points out that the other three countries were designated as “countries of concern” by Jeh Johnson, President Barack Obama’s secretary of homeland security, in 2016 based on three statutory factors set out by Congress:
So under the prior administration’s own standards, this 90-day suspension until a more thorough vetting process can be implemented is only from countries that are, in essence, terrorist safe havens that the government has been concerned about for many years.
The revised executive order repeats the 120-day suspension of refugee admissions to allow the Department of Homeland Security to revise its screening procedures to ensure that refuges do not pose a security risk, although the suspension will not apply to any refuges already formally scheduled for transit by the State Department.
The order also makes a point of refuting claims that were raised in various lawsuits that the original order was intended to discriminate against Muslims: It “did not provide a basis for discriminating for or against members of any particular religion.”
The original order did allow for prioritization of refugee claims, once the 120-day suspension period lapses, from persecuted religious minorities—but that priority “applied to refugees from every nation, including those in which Islam is a minority religion, and it applied to minority sects within a religion.”
That prioritization is not in the revised order, although that is not really needed since federal immigration law (8 U.S.C. §1101 (a)(42)(A)) already defines refugees as including those persecuted because of their religion.
Finally, the revised executive order also takes the time to answer another question that arose in the litigation over the previously issued executive order. The order specifically states that since 2001, “hundreds of persons born abroad have been convicted of terrorism-related crimes in the United States. They have included not just persons who came here legally on visas but also individuals who first entered the country as refugees.”
That includes the two Iraqi nationals convicted in 2013 for multiple terrorism-related offenses who were admitted as refuges in 2009. According to the order, Trump has been informed by the attorney general “that more than 300 persons who entered the Untied States as refuges are currently the subjects of counterterrorism investigations” by the FBI.
This executive order is clearly within the president’s authority under 8 U.S.C. § 1182 (f), in which Congress clearly delegated to the president the authority to suspend the entry of any aliens into the U.S. when he believes it would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States.”
Whether that will deter activist judges who don’t like this policy from enjoining it is still another question.
It might even go to the Supreme Court but the President should have authority to keep us safe and this is one way to do it until the wall is built. I hope it will go through and we can stop some of the people coming in.