Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Indispensable Man


Charles Krauthammer, R.I.P.

June 22, 2018

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It’s hard to put your finger on what caused millions of readers to develop a deep personal attachment to Charles Krauthammer, who died yesterday at 68, but the clearest sign of this extraordinary sentiment came from the Washington Nationals baseball team: they held a moment of silence for Charles at their home game last night. Many great writers and thinkers among us command our respect and attention, but the outpouring of emotion expressed now, and since his announcement two weeks ago that he had but a short time to live, tells us that he existed in a class by himself. His poignant farewell statement called forth the insight of Seneca, who said that it is the hallmark of a well-regulated mind to be able to call a halt at will and dwell at peace within itself.
The clarity of his writing and the precision of his comments on television had a nearly hypnotic effect. Charles was riveting, and usually decisive. He may not have literally had the last word on an issue, but such was his gravitas that when he finished speaking, the subject was done. The measured pace of his speech was directly related to his disability; he needed to regulate his breathing carefully. A lot of viewers never knew that he was confined to a wheelchair and had very limited use of his arms, the result of a tragic accident at age 22. Maybe this is the key to understanding why he became such a compelling person.
I’ve wondered whether Charles’s disability in some way contributed to his laser-like clarity and lucidity of his prose. You often hear that people who can’t see develop a keener sense of hearing, or that humans compensate in other ways for specific disabilities. Pascal said that all the ills that afflict a man proceed from one cause—the inability to sit quiet and contentedly in a room. Charles had no choice in the matter, though I’ve seldom perceived someone so energetic. And he didn’t let his disability limit his mobility all that much. I once watched as he sped down the sidewalk in Washington in his powered wheelchair—a typical sight, I’m told. He had a specially outfitted van with custom hand controls that he could drive himself, usually to Nationals baseball games after he finished a stint on the Special Report panel on Fox.
I didn’t know him well, but you only needed to spend a short time in his company to appreciate his generosity and humor. In person, he had a wry smile that you only seldom caught on TV. At a small gathering in San Francisco two years ago, I asked him what costume he might wear if he went trick or treating. His answer, accompanied by a mischievous grin: “I’d like to dress up as one of those creepy clowns . . . and show up at Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s front door!”
At an age when he might have started to scale back and enjoy more leisure, Charles did just the opposite. The election of Barack Obama in 2008 energized him and stimulated his combativeness, and suddenly he stepped up his television appearances to mount a sustained critique of the new administration. He never openly or directly admitted his motivation for this, but you got the sense that duty as much as interest drove his exertions to provide a vigorous opposition to Obama’s machinations.
It was my privilege to host and introduce him for speeches on three occasions in California. Here’s part of what I said then, which I can’t improve on just now:
Charles Krauthammer’s complete biography, both literary and personal, is extraordinary, but also very long, and that’s what the Internet is for.  So I will move quickly to the main event with a single observation drawn from one of his articles included in his new collection, Things That Matter.
It is from his fine essay about Winston Churchill.
These two men have many things in common.  Both have a wit as dry as a properly mixed martini.  They both exhibit an unparalleled intellectual capaciousness, enabling a supremely wide range in their writing.  Both men dictate their prose.
Charles may think my comparison of him to the great statesman is extravagant, but I do not think so, for this simple reason: Charles rightly refers to Churchill in his essay as “the indispensable man.”  Well, for those of us trying to make sense of what is happening in our country right now, Charles is our indispensable man.
I will miss the indispensable Charles Krauthammer, along with millions of other Americans.

A Tribute to Charles Krauthammer


By David M. Weinberg
https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/A-tribute-to-Charles-Krauthammer-560590
June 21, 2018

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Dr. Charles Krauthammer, perhaps the most luminous and incisive columnist of this generation, announced two weeks ago that he was stricken with terminal cancer and had only weeks to live. I feel an obligation to pay homage to this incredible man, and to add a Jewish, Zionist and personal angle to the many tributes to him that have rightly poured forth.

For 38 years, Krauthammer’s columns, essays, and lectures have stood as pillars of conservative principle and moral clarity.


On foreign policy matters, he was unquestionably the most radiant intellectual hawk in America, and on Middle East affairs he was the most consistent defender of Israel and the US-Israel special relationship.

Two examples of his razor-sharp writing regarding Israel and American Mideast policy will suffice, among hundreds of exhibits.

Krauthammer wrote in 2014 about “Kafkaesque ethical inversions” that make for Western criticism of Israel. “The world’s treatment of Israel is Orwellian, fueled by a mix of classic antisemitism, near-total historical ignorance and reflexive sympathy for the ostensible Third World underdog,” he wrote.

He understood that eruptions featuring Palestinian casualties (such as recent Hamas assaults on the Gaza border) were “depravity.”

“The whole point is to produce dead Palestinians for international television; to deliberately wage war so that your own people can be telegenically killed; indeed, moral and tactical insanity,” he said. “But it rests on a very rational premise. The whole point is to draw Israeli counter-fire; to produce dead Palestinians for international television, and to ultimately undermine support for Israel’s legitimacy and right to self-defense.”


In 2015, he repeatedly skewered then-president Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, calling it “the worst agreement in U.S. diplomatic history.”

To Obama, he wrote accusingly: “You set out to prevent proliferation and you trigger it. You set out to prevent an Iranian nuclear capability and you legitimize it. You set out to constrain the world’s greatest exporter of terror threatening every one of our allies in the Middle East and you’re on the verge of making it the region’s economic and military hegemon.”

Krauthammer’s profound understanding of Jewish history, his admiration for Israel, and his very deep concern for its future were on fullest display in a magisterial essay he published in The Weekly Standard in 1998 entitled “At Last, Zion.”

The essay conducted a sweeping analysis of Jewish peoplehood, from Temple times and over 2,000 years of Diaspora history to the modern return to Zion.

Krauthammer understood that American Jewry was dying. “Nothing will revive the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe and the Islamic world. And nothing will stop the rapid decline by assimilation of Western Jewry.” The dynamics of assimilation were inexorable in America and elsewhere, he wrote.

Israel, Krauthammer understood, was different. “Exceptional,” he called it – because Israel was about “reattachment of Russian and Romanian, Uzbeki and Iraqi, Algerian and Argentinean Jews to a distinctively Hebraic culture,” and this gave it civilizational and societal staying power for the long term.

Israel “is now the principal drama of Jewish history,” he wrote. “What began as an experiment has become the very heart of the Jewish people – its cultural, spiritual, and psychological center, soon to become its demographic center as well. Israel is the hinge. Upon it rest the hopes – the only hope – for Jewish continuity and survival.”

However, because the “cosmology of the Jewish people has been transformed into a single-star system with a dwindling Diaspora orbiting around,” Krauthammer was apprehensive. It frightened him that “Jews have put all their eggs in one basket, a small basket hard by the waters of the Mediterranean. And on its fate hinges everything Jewish.”

Israel’s centrality, he feared, was a “bold and dangerous new strategy for Jewish survival” because of the many security threats posed to the country, chiefly among them the specter of Iranian nuclear weapons.

Indeed, Krauthammer’s essay “thinks the unthinkable” and “contemplates Israel’s disappearance.” And while Jewish political independence has been extinguished twice before and bounced back following centuries of dispersion, Krauthammer doubted that the Jewish People could pull the trick again. “Twice Jews defied the norm [and survived Diaspora]. But never, I fear, again.”

I challenged Krauthammer about his pessimistic perspective on the survival of Israel and the Jewish People at a Tikvah Fund seminar in 2016, where he engaged the Fund’s erudite chairman, Roger Hertog, in the deepest of conversations on strategy and identity.

In this lengthy conversation (which you can watch and read online; search Charles Krauthammer At Last Zion Tikvah), Krauthammer admitted to “trembling doubt” about God alongside belief in some transcendence in the universe, and then he repeated his sobering solicitudes about Israel’s precariousness. He spoke of the impossibility of a fourth Jewish commonwealth – were Israel, transcendence forbid, to be crushed.

I gently reproached Krauthammer on theological terms, by saying that “those of us who moved to Israel out of a grand meta-historic sense of drama believe that our third Jewish commonwealth won’t fail. Whatever it takes, we’ll make it work.”

I sensed that Krauthammer was glad for my emotive intervention, since he immediately and poignantly responded (in Hebrew): “Netzach Yisrael lo yishaker [The eternity of Israel will not lie, or fail].”

Krauthammer: “That’s what my father used to say when he talked about Israel. I too feel as an obligation to make sure of that throughout my life. I have done what I could, because that prospect [Israel’s disappearance] would make everything I’ve done lose its value. There’s nothing more important than that.”

And then referencing my aliyah, Krauthammer said, “I honor your choice… I commend you for that.” (He went on to describe how he too considered moving to Israel after college, at the urging of his then-philosophy professor David Hartman).

And then Krauthammer asked me: “I wonder what it’s like, and maybe you could tell me, to be an Israeli putting your kids on a school bus, raising them while knowing that one day Iran could have the bomb? Once the nuclear bomb is in the hands of genocidists – then what does that feel like? Do you think there might be emigration as a result? Do you have a feeling about that?” I answered: “My personal sense is that Israeli society is becoming more traditional, more deeply rooted, more ideological than before. I’m talking even about secular Israeli society. So we’re digging- in for the long term, and not being frightened away despite the shadow that you’re talking about.”

And Krauthammer responded to me, again in Hebrew: “As you people say, ‘kol ha-kavod [Well done].’” 

So now it’s time for me to return the compliment, and say to Dr. Charles Krauthammer in his dying days: kol ha-kavod to you! On behalf of so many Jews, Americans and Israelis alike, thank you for your resilience, brilliance and steadfast support. We miss you already.


The author is vice president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies, jiss.org.il. His personal site is davidmweinberg.com.



Friday, June 22, 2018

An Example and an Immortal


By 
https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/an-example-and-an-immortal/
June 21, 2018

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I can’t pay tribute to Charles Krauthammer in a little post — I owe him so much — but here goes.
I suppose I first read him in about 1983, in The New Republic. I also read him in Time. These were early college years for me. I can’t tell you how important he was to those of us migrating rightward (as he was). It was daunting to reject the Left and join the Right. Krauthammer said, in effect, “Don’t worry — we’re doing what we must. Here are the reasons.”
He wrote something, and you could wave it around, saying, “See? See? This is what I mean. This is what I wish to say.”
In his Democratic days, he wrote speeches for Mondale, about which the Right teased him ever after. “I loved him,” he once told me about Mondale. (He said the same about Reagan.) Recently, I read and reviewed a book about the Carter presidency by Stuart Eizenstat, Carter’s chief domestic-policy adviser. Mondale is quoted throughout, enjoyably. I could see why Krauthammer loved him.
In 1995, President Clinton gave a speech that vexed me (more than most of his speeches did). I was hoping that Krauthammer would respond, in his Friday column. I waited for that day. And when it arrived, I bought the Washington Post, and, lo, Krauthammer had.
I had to drive to work — but I didn’t want to wait till I got there to read the column. I read it on the way, at stoplights and maybe a little in between.
 wrote Krauthammer a letter to thank him for the column — and I told him how I had read it. “Thank you,” he answered. “But next time, at stoplights only, please.”
When I write about music — about performance — I’ll sometimes say, “It had the quality of just-rightness.” It was just right in tempo, phrasing, dynamics, nuance, architecture, spirit, understanding. So it was with Krauthammer, time and time again. Just right.
He knew the value of liberal democracy, and countered its enemies, on all sides. He knew the true nature and the importance of America. He stood up for Israel. He loved baseball — like his fellow Washington Post conservative George Will — and spoke about it compellingly.
A few years ago, I was doing a Q&A with him in front of an audience. I said, “I often see baseball diamonds grassed over for soccer. Tell me: Is soccer evil?” “Yes,” he said, and expounded. The audience laughed and laughed. I wish I had a tape of Dr. K.’s remarks.
(To be clear, he was kidding about soccer. Mainly.)
I guess I’ve been talking with Charles for 20, 25 years, and writing about him, citing him . . . Here is a longish piece from 2009. Here is a podcast from 2015. Last August, I said, “How about another podcast?” He said of course, “but I must delay. I’m having surgery tomorrow and will be incapacitated for about two weeks. Let’s plan for shortly after that.”
He was important to us at every stage, in the course of his career. He was definitely important in this current period, when the Republican party and the conservative movement have changed dramatically. Last year, I thanked him (as one did) for something he had written. He answered, “I must admit that when I write these days I have the feeling that everything I say is so perfectly obvious that there’s no need to write it. Except that these days, that’s all the more reason to write it.”
Yes, yes.
I could go on and on, but I suppose I’ll finish by saying I loved him and will be forever grateful for him. Forgive me for writing so personally in this tribute — so much “I.” Charles Krauthammer left a deep mark on me, as on so many, I know. A sage and a prince he was. Is.
And should I mention the physical courage that few of us could have known about? Physical, mental, and spiritual courage? The obstacles that he had to surmount, to carry on with life — and a brilliant, useful, and indelible life, at that?
An example and an immortal.
JAY NORDLINGER — Jay Nordlinger is a senior editor of National Review and a book fellow at the National Review Institute.

The irreplaceable Charles Krauthammer

June 22, 2018

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Having worked in Washington conservative circles for over a decade, I wish I had a great personal anecdote to share about Charles Krauthammer, who by all accounts was as wonderful a human being as he was a writer.
Unfortunately, on the few occasions on which I had the opportunity to meet him, I was too tongue-tied and bumbling to sustain any sort of conversation, not quite knowing what to say to a man who I felt I had so much to say.
As part of my job, I’ve had to interact with a number of public figures, and typically have had no qualms about pressing cabinet officials, presidential candidates, or members of Congress. Yet why is it that of all the people I’ve met in this city, I was so awestruck in the presence of another writer?
Of course, the answer is that it’s because Krauthammer wasn’t just another writer. In an era of YouTube and social media, when anybody with an Internet connection can spout out an opinion that could potentially go viral, it seems absurd to think of any political pundit as irreplaceable. Yet that’s the word I keep coming back to when I think of the sad passing of Charles Krauthammer. He is simply irreplaceable.
To start, Krauthammer was undeniably brilliant. After graduating from Harvard Medical School, he was well on his way to making a name for himself as a psychiatrist before changing course and entering the world of political writing. The fact that he was able to shift gears so seamlessly speaks to his mental agility.
But there are a lot of people who are brilliant. What was different about Krauthammer is that he was able to use his intellect to form opinions and then communicate them in an accessible way to broader audiences without dumbing down his arguments.
The 800-word column format presents a challenge to writers, who often struggle to make a broader point and provide enough evidence to back it up, without going into excessive detail. Krauthammer was a master of the format. Read through his columns, and they weren’t typically filled with fancy prose or lengthy Latin phrases. Instead, his intelligence came through in the clarity of his thought and his ability to work through issues with reason using just enough supporting evidence.
His column ran every Friday, and while the rest of us rushed to weigh in on the ongoing controversies in Washington that consumed any given week, he managed to write something that took a bigger picture view, simultaneously seeming obvious yet fresh. For many conservatives, his columns often expressed ideas that were kind of floating around in their minds, but that they couldn’t quite articulate as clearly. He coined the term the ”Reagan Doctrine” to describe President Ronald Reagan’s strategy to win the Cold War, and “Bush Derangement Syndrome” to diagnose the hysterical way that opponents reacted to President George W. Bush.
Under President Barack Obama, Krauthammer set the standard for substantive criticism that was harsh yet steered clear of the bile and conspiratorial thinking that tempted some conservative pundits. Whether the issue was Obamacare, the disastrous Iran deal, executive overreach, or his parting shot toward Israel at the U.N., Krauthammer offered blistering yet fair critiques of Obama’s presidency.
Krauthammer made no secret of his disapproval of President Trump and fretted about the awful choice in the 2016 election, yet in his final column written last year, he expressed relief that the guardrails of democracy seemed to be keeping Trump’s worst impulses in check.
Perhaps above all, Krauthammer managed to convey a sense of moral clarity, something that was on full display whenever he wrote about Israel, and was also demonstrated in a powerful 2004 column in which he grappled with the issue of stem cell research and where to draw the line on medical experimentation given the “competing human values” of searching for cures and respecting life.
“When I was 22 and a first-year medical student, I suffered a spinal-cord injury,” he wrote. “I have not walked in 32 years. I would be delighted to do so again. But not at any price. I think it is more important to bequeath to my son a world that retains a moral compass…”
Charles Krauthammer has left this world far too soon and will be sorely missed, but his legacy will not soon be forgotten.

America Lost Its Greatest Political Commentator in Krauthammer


BY ROGER L SIMON 
https://pjmedia.com/rogerlsimon/america-lost-its-greatest-political-commentator-in-krauthammer/
June 22, 2018

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When you call someone the greatest at anything, you risk being accused of foolishness or worse; but it's safe to say that Charles Krauthammer, who passed away Thursday, was the greatest political commentator of our time.

I write this not just because he won the Pulitzer for commentary as a conservative, a near Herculean task.  And I say this even though I sometimes  disagreed with him, especially lately. Whom do we not disagree with at one time or another -- even ourselves?

I write this because Krauthammer was the gold standard of columnists, the most incisive mind in political journalism augmented by the most elegant and precise prose. For much of his life, no one was even close.  In recent years, others have stepped forward as Charles had, as happens after many years in the limelight, more difficulty wrapping his mind around contemporary events.  But as we now know, he was desperately ill.

That he was ill most of his life made many of us underestimate how serious it was despite Charles' own warnings of his demise, because his personal bravery was legendary.  He was a profile in courage if anyone was, having overcome that diving accident that made him a paraplegic days before entering Harvard Medical School.  And then, to everyone's amazement, continuing on and graduating at the top of his class, only to abjure the psychiatric career for which he was training.

With characteristic wit, he called himself a psychiatrist in "remission."  That was a remission that benefited the mental health of the country as, first as a liberal with The New Republic, he entered the journalistic world.  But his keen analytical mind wouldn't allow him to remain an orthodox liberal for long.  He was among the first to recognize there was actual political depth behind Ronald Reagan's affable California facade and wrote (for Time magazine in 1985 -- imagine that today) "The Reagan Doctrine," coining a phrase that lasted. From there, he continued to migrate rightward.

What Krauthammer accomplished was to show that conservatives (not liberals or progressives) were the true smart guys, that conservatives could be cool.  He showed the way for an entire generation in that regard.

In a sense he was the living embodiment of the saying oft-attributed (probably wrongly) to Churchill that "a man who isn't a liberal in his twenties has no heart; a man who isn't a conservative in his thirties has no brain." (This quote obviously was originated some time ago before a time when people waited until forty-seven to grown up.)

I only met Krauthammer briefly, bumping into him through my friend Lionel Chetwynd with whom I did the Poliwood show on PJTV.  Charles, a film buff, was interested in what we were doing. I also attended the Churchill dinner of The Claremont Institute at which he was the principal speaker.  The man was genuinely funny, for me always a sign of intelligence.

Is this where I'm supposed to say RIP?  Okay, RIP!  If anyone deserves a peaceful rest, Charles Krauthammer does.  The man loved his country and fought for it every single day.

Roger L. Simon - Co-founder and CEO of PJ Media - is a novelist and screenwriter.

Charles Krauthammer, a Diagnostician of Our Public Discontents

By George Will
June 21, 2018
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When he was asked how to become a columnist, Charles Krauthammer would say, with characteristic drollery, “First, you go to medical school.” He did, with psychiatry as his specialty because, he said with characteristic felicity, it combined the practicality of medicine and the elegance of philosophy. But he also came to the columnist craft by accident. Because of one.
It has been said that if we had to think about tying our shoes or combing our hair we would never get out of the house in the morning. Life is mostly habitual — do you actually remember any details of driving home last evening? The more of life’s functions that are routinely performed without thinking, the more thinking we can do. That, however, is not how life was for Charles after his accident.
In 1972, when he was a 22-year-old student at Harvard Medical School, he was swimming in a pool. Someone pushed the diving board out, extending over a shallower part of the pool. Charles, not realizing this, dove and broke his neck. At the bottom of the pool, “I knew exactly what happened. I knew why I wasn’t able to move, and I knew what that meant.” It meant that life was going to be different than he and Robyn had anticipated when they met at Oxford.
He left two books at the pool. One was a text on the spinal cord. The other was Andre Malraux’s novel Man’s Fate.
Paralyzed from the neck down, he completed medical school, did an internship and, one thing leading to another, as life has a way of doing, became not a jewel in the crown of the medical profession, which he would have been, but one of America’s foremost public intellectuals. Nothing against doctors, but the nation needed Charles more as a diagnostician of our public discontents.
During the 1980 presidential campaign, Charles wrote speeches for the Democratic vice presidential candidate, Walter Mondale, who did not realize — neither did Charles — that the campaign harbored a thinker who soon would be a leading light of contemporary conservatism. Dictating columns when not driving himself around Washington in a specially designed van that he operated while seated in his motorized wheelchair, crisscrossing the country to deliver speeches to enthralled audiences, Charles drew on reserves of energy and willpower to overcome a multitude of daily challenges, any one of which would cause most people to curl up in a fetal position. Fortunately, with more brain cells to spare than the rest of us have to use, he could think about doing what was no longer habitual, and about national matters, too.
Charles died at 68, as did, 19 years ago, Meg Greenfield, the editor of the Washington Post‘s editorial page. For many years, Meg, Charles, and this columnist met for Saturday lunches with a guest — usually someone then newsworthy; now completely forgotten — at a Washington greasy spoon whose name, the Chevy Chase Lounge, was grander than the place. Like Meg, Charles was one of those vanishingly rare Washingtonians who could be both likable and logical. This is not easy in a town where the local industry, politics — unlike, say, engineering; get things wrong and the bridges buckle — thrives on unrefuted errors.
Medicine made Charles intimate with finitude — the skull beneath the skin of life; the fact that expiration is written into the lease we have on our bodies. And his accident gave him a capacity for sympathy, as Rick Ankiel knows.
Ankiel was a can’t-miss, Cooperstown-bound pitching phenomenon for the St. Louis Cardinals — until, suddenly and inexplicably, he could not find the plate. Starting the opening game of a playoff series at age 21, the prodigy threw five wild pitches and his career rapidly spiraled far down to . . . resurrection as a 28-year-old major league outfielder, for a short but satisfying stint in defiance of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s dictum that there are no second acts in a life. As Charles wrote, Ankiel’s saga illustrated “the catastrophe that awaits everyone from a single false move, wrong turn, fatal encounter. Every life has such a moment. What distinguishes us is whether — and how — we ever come back.”
The health problems that would end Charles’s life removed him from the national conversation nine months ago, so his legion of admirers already know that he validated this axiom: Some people are such a large presence while living that they still occupy space even when they are gone.
GEORGE WILL — George Will is a Pulitzer Prize–winning syndicated columnist. His email address is georgewill@washpost.com.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

4 Things The Media Won’t Tell You About The Border Crisis


June 20, 2018
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The images and stories now being reported from the southern border—families torn apart, children crying for their parents, parents with no idea where their children are—are disturbing and heartbreaking
The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration enforcement policy has obviously created chaos along the border, tasking already overburdened federal agencies with the seemingly impossible job of taking into custody everyone—men, women, and children—caught crossing the border illegally. The number of children taken from their parents and placed in federal custody climbed to about 2,000 from April 19 through May 31, according to figures from the Department of Homeland Security. With border facilities overwhelmed, some teenagers are now being housed in temporary shelters outside El Paso.
But the reporting from the border has also been incomplete, misleading, and at times biased and emotionally overwrought. It’s no secret the mainstream media disagrees with Trump’s push to crack down on illegal immigration and tighten border security, but that shouldn’t excuse the lack of nuance and granularity in much of the reporting we’ve seen over the past week or so.
Illegal immigration and its attendant problems along the U.S.-Mexico border are vastly complex and defy easy solutions. With that in mind, here are four key aspects of the border crisis that the media has failed to report or adequately explain.

1. Prior To ‘Zero Tolerance,’ Families Who Crossed The Border Illegally Were Often Released

For a long time, the vast majority of illegal border crossers were single men from Mexico looking for work. Dealing with them was a fairly straightforward matter: most would be immediately deported to Mexico. It’s not that there weren’t families and unaccompanied minors also illegally entering, but they made up a small subset of illegal immigration.
Beginning in 2014, the situation changed. Large numbers of families and unaccompanied minors began showing up on the border in unprecedented numbers, many seeking asylum from dangerous criminal gangs in their home countries. Most of these foreign citizens were from Central America, not Mexico, and under a 2008 federal law designed to protect victims of human trafficking, migrants from noncontiguous countries have a right to a deportation hearing.
That meant the Obama administration had to figure out what to do with tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors and families that could not be quickly deported. Some were placed in shelters run by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) along the border, but because shelter space was limited, many more were placed with family members while they awaited hearings. Thousands have waited more than three years for a hearing, and thousands more have been ordered to be removed from the country in absentia (they never showed up for their hearing).
During this time, Obama was attacked from the Left for operating family detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania. A New York Times editorial from July 2016 criticized the administration’s detention policies, saying the “privately run, unlicensed lockups are no place for children. Or mothers.”
Click on the link below to read the rest of the article:

Switzerland Welcomes Radicalization


by 

No foreign financing for Swiss mosques, preaching in national language – lower house
Minaret of Geneva mosque in the neighbourhood of Le Petit-Saconnex Geneva. © Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

Switzerland has just rejected a proposed law preventing mosques from accepting money from abroad, and compelling them to declare where their financial backing comes from and for what purpose the money will be used. According to the proposal, imams also would have been obliged to preach in one of the Swiss national languages.

While the proposal narrowly passed in the lower house of parliament already in September 2017, the upper house recently rejected it. The proposal was modeled on regulations in Austria, where already in 2015, a law banning foreign funding of religious groups was passed. The Austrian law aims to counter extremism by requiring imams to speak German, prohibiting foreign funding for mosques, imams and Muslim organizations in Austria, and stressing the precedence of Austrian law over Islamic sharia law for Muslims living in the country.

The Federal Council, which constitutes the federal government of Switzerland, was also against the proposal, and claimed that it constituted 'discrimination': "We must not discriminate against Muslim communities and imams and put them under general suspicion," Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said. The Federal Council noted that in Austria, Islam is officially recognized, whereas it is not in Switzerland. According to the Swiss government, therefore, the model applied in Austria does not apply to Switzerland, as "One cannot demand obligations without rights". Instead, the Federal Council evidently believes that the risks posed by extremist Islamist preachers and communities can be combated within existing law.

There are approximately 250 mosques in Switzerland, but the authorities do not know who finances them. The authorities have no jurisdiction to collect data on the financing of Muslim associations and mosques apart from exceptional cases in which internal security is threatened. By rejecting the proposal compelling mosques to disclose who finances them, the Swiss authorities can now remain willfully blind.

Several experts have pointed out the foreign Muslim networks at work in Switzerland. In 2016, Reinhard Schulze, professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Bern, pointed out that donations from the Muslim World League, based in Saudi Arabia, and other funds from Saudi Arabia were flowing to "those mosques and organizations that are open to the Wahhabi tradition". Another expert on Islam in Switzerland, Sa├»da Keller-Messahli, has spoken andwritten widely on how "Huge sums of money from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Turkey are flowing to Switzerland", and how the Saudi-based Muslim World League is behind "a whole network of radically-oriented mosques in Switzerland... with the clear intention of spreading Salafist thought here".

In addition to the Salafist influence, there are an estimated 35 Turkish mosques, financed by Turkey's official Religious Affairs Directorate, known as Diyanet. (Previous reports have mentioned 70 Turkish mosques in Switzerland).

According to a report published by Diyanet in 2017, Islam is "superior" to Christianity and Judaism and "Interfaith dialogue is unacceptable". Turkey supports the Muslim Brotherhood and its terrorist off-shoot Hamas.

In fact, the building of another Turkish mosque was just given the go-ahead in the Swiss town Schaffhausen. The people behind it reportedly claim that the 1.5 million Swiss francs (approx. $1.5 million) will be collected locally, and not from Turkey, but the imams for the mosque will nevertheless be sent from Turkey.

None of these facts, however, appears to bother the Swiss government, which seems to want to continue the flow of foreign funding of mosques and Islamic centers into the country.

Above all, the Swiss government seems not to have considered the rights of Swiss non-Muslim citizens, who are the ones left to live with the consequences of the government's ill-thought-out policies.

One such consequence was recently on display in Swiss courts, as three board members of the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland (ISSC) were on trial for charges of having produced illegal propaganda for al-Qaeda and related organizations. One of them, Naim Cherni, was given a suspended prison sentence of 20 months for publishing an interview he conducted with Saudi cleric Abdullah al-Muhaysini in Syria in 2015, in which al-Muhaysini called on young Muslims in Europe to join the jihad. The two other board members, chairman Nicolas Blancho and Qaasim Illi, were acquitted.

In contrast to Switzerland, Austria recently announced plans to shut down seven mosques and expelling up to 60 imams belonging to the Turkish-Islamic Union for Cultural and Social Cooperation in Austria (ATIB), a Muslim group close to the Turkish government, on the grounds of receiving foreign funding.

The response from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman was that the policy was part of an "Islamophobic, racist and discriminatory wave" in Austria.

The strong message that the Swiss government is sending to those Muslim states and organizations that are fueling radicalization in Switzerland by funding Salafist, Turkish and other radical mosques, is that they are welcome to continue doing so; the Swiss government has no intention of stopping them, let alone asking any unpleasant questions. It might as well put up a sign, saying, "Radicalization Welcome".

Judith Bergman is a columnist, lawyer and political analyst.