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Joel B. Pollak

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Former Vice President Joe Biden attempted to take partial credit for the historic peace deal announced Thursday by President Donald Trump between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), saying he laid the groundwork for the agreement.

In a statement, Biden praised the agreement, under which Israel and the UAE will achieve full normalization of relations. He promised that he and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) would build on the deal if they are elected to office in November.

But Biden also tried to claim that he, and former President Barack Obama, deserved some of the credit for the peace deal:

The coming together of Israel and Arab states builds on the efforts of multiple administrations to foster a broader Arab-Israeli opening, including the efforts of the Obama-Biden administration to build on the Arab Peace Initiative. I personally spent time with leaders of both Israel and UAE during our administration building the case for cooperation and broader engagement and the benefits it could deliver to both nations, and I am gratified by today’s announcement.

In fact, the Israel-UAE peace deal was impossible during the Obama-Biden administration, for two reasons. The first was that Obama and Biden insisted on criticizing and condemning Israel, creating “distance” between the U.S. and the Israeli government. Biden himself was the administration’s point man in attacking Israel over its housing policy in Jerusalem.

The second reason was the Iran nuclear deal. The “agreement” — which was never signed by anyone — allowed Iran to become a nuclear power after a decade or so, and did nothing to stop Iran from threatening the Sunni Arab states. The U.S. lost leverage with the Sunni Arab states as a result. To the extent Israel and the UAE moved closer during the Obama-Biden administration, that was because the U.S. allowed the Iranian regime to become a greater threat to both.

The Trump administration reversed the Obama-Biden administration’s anti-Israel policies and withdrew from the Iran deal, building a new regional alliance that united the Sunni Arab states against Iran — and that made room for Israel.

Author: Joel B. Pollak

Source: Breitbart: Joe Biden Takes Some Credit for Trump Peace Deal in Middle East

Chicago officials announced Monday morning that police would be placed on high alert, with 12-hour shifts and expanded patrols throughout the city after the Magnificent Mile downtown was attacked by organized looters overnight.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot stopped short, however, of calling for the National Guard, which had been used to protect the downtown area after an initial wave of riots in late May. There was no mention of federal law enforcement, either.

(Update: At a subsequent press conference, Lightfoot, standing alongside Governor J.B. Pritzker, said that “both of us believe this is not an incident that requires the National Guard. … We do not need federal troops in Chicago. Period. Full stop.” She added that President Donald Trump should help by enacting “common-sense gun control.” If Trump wanted to help, she said, he should not “rattle the saber” but rather enact gun control, which she said would provide “real safety.”)

Superintendent David Brown told journalists at a press conference (carried live on the Facebook page of local ABC affiliate WLS-7 TV) that the looting was triggered by a shooting on the South Side of Chicago, when a 20-year-old suspect who was fleeing police fired at officers in pursuit. After officers returned fire and injured the suspect, who was hospitalized and is expected to survive, a crowd gathered.

“Tempers flared, fueled by misinformation as the afternoon led into evening,” Brown said, and posts on social media called for downtown Chicago to be looted.”

Other neighborhoods in the city were also looted, according to police and local news reports:

Though police mobilized in response, they were overwhelmed by “car caravans” that coordinated the looting. Police made 100 arrests and 13 officers were injured. Shots were fired at police, and a civilian and private security guard were hit by gunfire.

Yogi Dalal hugs his daughter Jigisha as his other daughter Kajal, left, bows her head at the family food and liquor store Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, after the family business was vandalized in Chicago. Chicago’s police commissioner says more than 100 people were arrested following a night of looting and unrest that left several officers injured and caused damage in the city’s upscale Magnificent Mile shopping district and other parts of the city. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Brown said that the looters acted as if they believed there would be “no consequences,” and strongly suggested that the criminal justice system should impose harsher penalties on looters than it had done in the past. He noted that there had also been 31 shootings over the weekend, and three murders, and hundreds of guns recovered by Chicago police. He added that access to downtown Chicago would be restricted from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for the near future.

The mayor, who said the city had woken up “in shock,” angrily denounced the looting, which she said had no connection to legitimate protests. “This had nothing to do with legitimate, protected, First Amendment expression,” Lightfoot said.

President Trump offered federal law enforcement help to Chicago and other Democrat-run cities last month, as riots continued to rage:

Lightfoot initially responded angrily: “Under no circumstances will I allow Donald Trump’s troops to come to Chicago and terrorize our residents,” she tweeted. However, once it became clear that federal law enforcement deployed as part of Operation Legend would be supervised by the U.S Attorney, Lightfoot — a former federal prosecutor — relented.

Separately on Monday, President Trump suggested that the National Guard be used to restore order in Portland, Oregon:

On Monday, Lightfoot placed the blame on judges and state and local prosecutors. “‘These people need to be held accountable, and not cycled through the system,” she said, urging criminal justice officials to act more assertively.

Other officials insisted that Chicago remained a “world-class city,” and that they would work to ensure that it remained so.

“We are not going to let our city be taken over by criminals and vigilantes,” Lightfoot said.

Author: Joel B. Pollak

Source: Breitbart: Lori Lightfoot Rejects National Guard in Chicago After Night of Looting

Bari Weiss, a New York Times opinion editor who prided herself on her centrist views and openness to argument, has resigned from the paper, posting a scathing resignation letter on her personal website accusing the Times of intolerance.

Weiss, who used to work at the Wall Street Journal, joined the anti-Trump left in 2016 and departed the Journal after 2016 with her colleague, Bret Stephens. (It is unclear whether Stephens, a columnist at the Times, will stay there.)

Ironically, Weiss herself tried to “cancel” or marginalize Breitbart News and other conservative voices, falsely accusing those who supported Trump of bigotry, and accusing the president himself of being a threat to liberal values (in the classical sense).

But Weiss found herself a victim of, and witness to, intolerance at the liberal paper of record, as she recalled in her letter Tuesday:

lessons that ought to have followed the election—lessons about the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society—have not been learned. Instead, a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.

Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions. I was always taught that journalists were charged with writing the first rough draft of history. Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.

My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I have learned to brush off comments about how I’m “writing about the Jews again.” Several colleagues perceived to be friendly with me were badgered by coworkers. My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in. There, some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly “inclusive” one, while others post ax emojis next to my name. Still other New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action. They never are.

There are terms for all of this: unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge. I’m no legal expert. But I know that this is wrong.

Read Weiss’s full resignation letter here.

Author: Joel B. Pollak

Source: Breitbart: Read: Bari Weiss Resigns from New York Times; Accuses Liberal ‘Paper of Record’ of Intolerance, Antisemitism

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that states may punish “faithless electors” — those members of the Electoral College who refuse to cast their ballots for the candidate whom the majority of voters in the state have chosen.

As Breitbart News recounted in May, the issue arose in earnest after the 2016 election, when opponents of President-elect Donald Trump attempted to convince enough electors to change sides or cast their ballots for other candidates to prevent Trump from actually taking office:

Chiafalo v. Washington … [is] a case involving three presidential electors in the State of Washington who were fined $1,000 after casting their Electoral College votes for Colin Powell rather than Hillary Clinton.

The electors challenged their fine and were represented by Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig — who ran for president himself in 2016, and tried to recruit electors to defect rather than voting for Donald Trump after the 2016 vote.

Lessig agreed that the states can ask electors to pledge to vote for a certain candidate, but cannot fine them for doing so, arguing that presidential elections are a federal function.

The arguments on both sides took an originalist form, as the two sides argued about the original intent of the Framers in setting up the Electoral College.

Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the Court, concluded:

Article II and the Twelfth Amendment give States broad power over electors, and give electors themselves no rights. Early in our history, States decided to tie electors to the presidential choices of others, whether legislatures or citizens. Except that legislatures no longer play a role, that practice has continued for more than 200 years. Among the devices States have long used to achieve their object are pledge laws, designed to impress on electors their role as agents of others. A State follows in the same tradition if, like Washington, it chooses to sanction an elec- tor for breaching his promise. Then too, the State instructs its electors that they have no ground for reversing the vote of millions of its citizens. That direction accords with the Constitution—as well as with the trust of a Nation that here, We the People rule.

Justice Clarence Thomas issued a concurring opinion in which he said the basis of the Court’s decision should not have been Article II, but the Tenth Amendment, which reserves all powers and right to the states not expressly given to the federal government — including the power to patrol electors.

Author: Joel B. Pollak

Source: Breitbart: Supreme Court: States Can Punish ‘Faithless Electors’; Unanimous Decision

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio defended his administration’s practice of locking playgrounds on Tuesday morning, even though he personally has participated in crowded Black Lives Matter and transgender protests in recent weeks.

De Blasio was addressing reporters at a press briefing the a day after city workers welded the gates shut around parks in Brooklyn — and Orthodox Jews used bolt cutters to re-open playgrounds in their neighborhoods later the same day.

De Blasio claimed that the city’s policy was to keep playgrounds closed until “Phase Two” of re-opening after the coronavirus pandemic, and warned that people who used playgrounds without permission risked spreading the disease.

Q: Yes, I have a second question on a different topic. We have several reports yesterday, and this morning, where parents have shown up to playgrounds to cut the locks on them. These are specifically in Williamsburg and in other areas of Brooklyn. You’ve gotten questions about this in the past where there’s some frustration that the playgrounds are not opening up yet. They say they are going against your orders, and cutting these locks open. So, your reaction to that — and is the city going to show up and close them again, and are you going to have to clean them up? What is the process here?

A: We are not going to allow people to take the law into their own hands. It just doesn’t work. So people are not allowed to open up a playground that is not yet available to the public. It is for a reason. Look, I was very sympathetic in the beginning, to every parent, as a parent myself, why people wanted to be on those playgrounds. We tried to make it work. It wasn’t working effectively. Right now, we are not going to make a change with the playgrounds until we get to phase two. Now, Phase Two, as everyone knows, could be as early as June 22nd. I’ve said I think it’s going to take a little longer than that just to make sure we are absolutely certain. But until the order is given that playgrounds are open, people need to stay off the playgrounds. It is not appropriate to take their own action. We are doing this so we can get to Phase Two and beyond. So I understand people’s frustrations. But if folks act prematurely and that causes the disease to start spreading again, then that’s the kind of thing that undermines our ability to get to Phase Two, and stay in Phase Two. So, I know it is not easy. But people have to understand, there’s a reason for these rules — it is to help us move forward.

He did not explain why he, along with tens of thousands of other left-wing New Yorkers, marched in Black Lives Matter protests or protests on behalf of black transgender people, where social distancing rules were generally not observed.

Author: Joel B. Pollak

Source: Breitbart: WATCH: Bill De Blasio Defends Locking Playgrounds While Joining Black Lives Matter, Transgender Protests

Orthodox Jews used bolt cutters Monday to cut through gates that had been welded shut by New York City authorities earlier in the day to prevent children in Jewish neighborhoods from playing, ostensibly because of fears of coronavirus.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has continued cracking down on religious observance, and on religious Jews in particular — while supporting large, crowded Black Lives Matter and transgender demonstrations in the city over the past several weeks.

The community has been eager to use the parks again, but the city has removed children from them. As Breitbart News reported earlier Monday, the city actually welded shut the gates to prevent families from gaining access to the parks.

De Blasio personally oversaw the breakup of a Jewish funeral procession in April, and criticized the community directly for violating social distancing guidelines. He has been sued, along with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, for religious discrimination based on their differential enforcement of coronavirus restrictions during the past few weeks.

Author: Joel B. Pollak

Source: Breitbart: WATCH: Orthodox Jews Cut Open Bill de Blasio’s Locked Parks

The State of California is offering $500 each to illegal aliens as part of a $75 million coronavirus relief program — even as it asks federal taxpayers for help paying for its $54 billion deficit.

The program, which launched on Monday, saw phone lines jammed as “undocumented immigrants,” who are ineligible for the federal aid provided thus far, called a state hotline.

The New York Times reported:

Within minutes after the phone lines opened, many people reported they could not get through, and by 10 a.m., an hour after it opened, many of the phone lines crashed.

The $75 million cash assistance program, awarded on a first-come first-served basis, was being conducted almost entirely by telephone to avoid hazardous in-person contacts.

The available funding will allow only about 150,000 immigrants to benefit, according to state officials.

The governor, Gavin Newsom, announced in mid-April that the state would provide $75 million in cash assistance to the 150,000 who are selected. Philanthropic organizations and private donors pledged an additional $50 million, for another 100,000 immigrants.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom told CNN’s Jake Tapper on State of the Union on Sunday that the federal government has a “moral” and “ethical” obligation to fund ailing state and local governments. He added that Republicans who did not provide such funding would be short-changing “our heroes, our first responders, our police officers, and firefighters.”

Notably, Newsom discussed “citizens,” not “residents,” in describing the beneficiaries of federal aid to the states: “We have an obligation, a moral, an ethical obligation to American citizens all across this country to help support cities, states and counties,” he said.

Neither Newsom nor Tapper addressed the issue of California’s “sanctuary” laws, which limit cooperation with federal immigration law enforcement. President Donald Trump has commented that he might make lifting “sanctuary” laws a condition of receiving federal aid.

Author: Joel B. Pollak

Source: Breitbart: Illegal Aliens Jam Phone Lines as California Offers $500 Each in Coronavirus Relief

Democrats declined to require Dr. Rick Bright, the “whistleblower” who appeared before the House on Thursday, to testify under oath as he told a subcommittee that the Trump administration had not responded adequately to the coronavirus pandemic.

Bright, the former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), was reassigned last month to a position at the National Institutes of Health. He claimed he was a victim of retaliation for his opposition to President Donald Trump’s support for the use of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and zinc to treat coronavirus patients.

However, plans to remove Bright were reportedly in the works before the coronavirus pandemic, as he was accused of “incompetence and insubordination.” Politico also reported that Bright had written in support of hydroxychloroquine.

Bright, who has failed to show up for work at his new job, immediately hired attorney Debra Katz, who represented Christine Blasey Ford in 2018 during Democrats’ effort to stop the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

At the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing, Ranking Member Rep. Dr. Michael Burgess (R-TX) noted that this was only the first hearing the committee was holding on the pandemic, five months after it first began.

Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) noted that Katz was seated at the table next to Dr. Bright with a microphone, calling the arrangement “extraordinarily unusual” for a government witness to be testifying along with a private attorney.

Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) raised a parliamentary objection, noting that Dr. Bright was not testifying under oath. “[If] he’s … not under oath, if we get into whistleblower allegations, how can we be sure the witness is telling the truth under oath if they’re not under oath, and if they’re not under oath, then how can you talk about the whistleblower complaints in a fair and equitable manner?” he asked.

Committee chair Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) declined to place Dr. Bright under oath before his testimony, but noted that “all witnesses know that it is illegal to lie to Congress.”

Dr. Bright’s opening statement consisted largely of criticisms and concerns about the Trump administration’s policy response to the pandemic. He praised experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of President Trump’s coronavirus task force.

Author: Joel B. Pollak

Source: Breitbart: Democrats Decline to Put ‘Whistleblower’ Dr. Rick Bright Under Oath

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously last week against the improper use of amicus briefs by judges to shape a court case as they wish — which is what Judge Emmet G. Sullivan is doing, critics say, in the ongoing Michael Flynn case.

On Tuesday, Judge Sullivan announced that he would accept amicus briefs about whether he should grant the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) motion to dismiss the case against Flynn. On Wednesday, Sullivan went a step further, appointing retired judge John Gleeson as amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) to argue against dismissal, and to argue Flynn be held in criminal contempt.

(Gleeson had already expressed his views in an op-ed in the Washington Post on Monday, attacking the DOJ’s motion.)

But last week, in the case of U.S. v. Sineneng-Smith, the Supreme Court held that the Ninth Circuit acted improperly by appointing three amici and directing them to brief issues that the judges wanted to consider — but the litigants had not raised.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for a unanimous Court, held:

In our adversarial system of adjudication, we follow the principle of party presentation … [O]ur system “is designed around the premise that [parties represented by competent counsel] know what is best for them, and are reponsible for advancing the facts and argument entitling them to relief.” Id., at 386 (Scalia, J., concurring in part and concurring in judgment).

In short: “[C]ourts are essentially passive instruments of government.” United States v. Samuels, 808 F. 2d 1298, 1301 (CA8 1987) (Arnold, J., concurring in denial of reh’g en banc)). They “do not, or should not, sally forth each day looking for wrongs to right. [They] wait for cases to come to [them], and when [cases arise, courts] normally decide only questions presented by the parties.” Ibid.

While such amicus briefs could be used in “extraordinary circumstances,” the Court’s list of examples did not include cases in which prosecutors simply dropped a case.

Sullivan has been criticized for inviting the intervention of amicus briefs. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Wednesday, for example, Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz argued that judges are “umpires,” not “ringmasters”: “If the litigants come to an agreement, there is no controversy. The case is over. … Judge Sullivan should get back to the business of deciding actual controversies and get out of the business of producing political shows.”

Author: Joel B. Pollak

Source: Breitbart: Supreme Court Ruled Unanimously Last Week Against Improper Use of Amicus Briefs; Relevant for Flynn Case

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany called out Sen. Elizabeth Warren for presiding false statistics on the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday.

McEnany addressed Warren’s comments earlier in the day during the testimony of White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci before the Senate Health Committee.

Warren tried to use her questions to Dr. Fauci to embarrass the president, who had promised earlier in the year — when not much was known about the coronavirus — that the pandemic would be “contained.”

“Do we have the coronavirus contained?” she asked Fauci.

Dr. Fauci replied that it depended on the meaning of “containment,” and that the virus was not “completely out of control.” He noted that though there were “spikes” in parts of the country, the country was heading in the “right direction.”

Warren then asked: “We have about 25,000 new infections a day, and over 2,000 deaths a day. I think that’s the right numbers. And some are estimating we could be at 200,000 new cases a day by June 15. Is that right, Dr. Fauci?

He replied: “I don’t foresee that as 200,000 new cases [a day] by June. I am hoping and looking at the dynamics of things starting to flatten off and come down that we will be much, much better than that, Senator.”

Warren then asked again: Just so I could understand — we are right now at 2,000 new infections a day, and — 25,000 new infections a day, and 2,000 deaths a day.”

He said, “Right.”

Warren went on to slam the president, saying that the pandemic was not under control, adding: “President Trump needs to stop pretending that if he just ignores bad news it will go away.”

But the figures were incorrect.

McEnany used the opportunity of a question about when the press would speak with Dr. Deborah Birx again to correct Warren:

I talk to Dr. Birx regularly. In fact, I talked to her just before I came out here, because I had questions on funny numbers I heard from Senator Elizabeth Warren. And she helped me to correct those numbers, which I’d like to correct there, because I think it is unfair to the American people to give inflated case numbers and mortality numbers, because it leads to those same Americans to making the decision to not get a mammogram, to not have the cancer screenings they need. So I would like to just reveal to you some information Dr. Birx just shared with me. Elizabeth Warren erroneously said there were 25,000 new cases today. In fact, there were less between 20,000. Senator Warren said there were 2,000 deaths. In fact, there have been less than 1,000. So, I’d encourage our Democratic colleagues and all Americans to make sure we’re putting out there good information because it does have consequences.

McEnany referred to mammograms and cancer screenings because she had earlier referred to her own screenings, following a preventative double mastectomy, which she has written about before.

McEnany said that hospitals were empty because of the consequences of restrictions related to the pandemic, and that she was concerned about the potential results for cancer patients like herself.

Author: Joel B. Pollak

Source: Breitbart: Kayleigh McEnany Corrects Elizabeth Warren’s ‘Inflated’ Coronavirus Numbers

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