Current Events Write-Up: 7/14/2018

Time for my weekly Current Events Write-Up.

“Wider Consequences of U.S. Withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council,” by Richard Falk

Falk interviews Daniel Falcone.  Among other things, Falcone states the following about Europe’s reaction to President Donald Trump, which is relevant to this past week’s NATO visit:

“Trump’s crude pushback against European allies has generated confusion. On the one side, there is a European sense that the time has come to cut free from the epoch of Cold War dependence on Washington, and forge security and economic policy more independently in accord with the social democratic spirit of ‘Europe, First.’ At the same time, there is a reluctance to risk breaking up a familiar framework that has brought Europe a long period of relative stability and mostly healthy economic development to Europe. Such considerations create a mood of ambivalence and uncertainty, perhaps thinking that Trump is a temporary aberration from reestablishing a more durable framework versus the idea that Trumpism has given Europe and the separate states an opportunity to achieve a political future more in accord with the values and interests of the region and its member states than its longtime deference to the shifting moods and priorities of Washington. Also, Europe is now facing its own rising forms of right-wing populism, chauvinistic nationalism, and a resulting crisis of confidence in the viability of the European Union under pressures from the refugee influx and the unevenness of economic conditions in northern Europe as distinct from Mediterranean Europe.”

Clarissa’s Blog: “Will of the People”

“It seems that many people have forgotten this, but at first and for years Putin was very pro-American, pro-Western, pro-EU, pro-modernization, and pro-NATO expansion into former Soviet Republics. He was positively glowing with approval when the Baltics joined. I have quotes if people have forgotten.”

Clarissa offers an idea about what influenced Putin to change his mind.

Townhall: “Wait–How Many Immigrants Are On Welfare Again?”, by Matt Vespa

A number of low-skilled immigrants receive some sort of welfare, but Vespa does not specify how many of them are legal or illegal.  Some on the right argue that the parents may be low-skilled and receiving welfare, but their children will grow up, become educated, and enter the middle class, putting money back into the system.

The Nation: “What Does It Mean to Abolish ICE?”, by Julianne Hing

Ever since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s stunning victory in New York, more and more Democratic politicians are saying that we should abolish ICE.  What exactly do they have in mind?  Julianne Hing explores this question.  Progressive activists are rather nebulous.  Democratic politicians are seeking to be pragmatic about it.

The Federalist: “How Obama’s Medicaid Director Andy Slavitt Sabotaged Obamacare,” by Christopher Jacobs

The subtitle says: “If the Trump administration wanted to use the risk adjustment ruling to ‘sabotage’ Obamacare, it would have halted the program immediately after a February court ruling.”  The article argues that the Trump Administration is not seeking to sabotage Obamacare in this case, and that Andy Slavitt created the problems that set the stage for the current series of events.  I cannot say that I understood everything in this article, and I am sure that there is another side to the story, but this particular perspective deserves a hearing, too.

“Is Norway a Model for Democratic Socialism?”, by Daniel J. Mitchell

“But it’s an artificial number when looking at Norway since the government controls the nation’s oil and also has a big sovereign wealth fund that was financed by oil revenue.  In other words, Norway is geographically lucky because all that oil boosts Norwegian GDP. It makes Norwegians relatively prosperous. And it definitely helps partially offset the economic damage of big government.  But it’s nonsensical to argue that oil-rich Norway somehow provides evidence for overall notion of democratic socialism. It’s sort of like looking at data for Kuwait and asserting that the best economic system is a hereditary sheikdom.”

National Review: “Brett Kavanaugh Won’t Shield Trump from Robert Mueller,” by Andrew C. McCarthy

President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, and critics are saying that Kavanaugh supports exempting the President from prosecution.  “How convenient for Trump!”, they proclaim.  Andrew C. McCarthy contends that Kavanaugh was not suggesting that the President is above the law.

Reason: “Kavanaugh and Executive Power—-The Good, the Bad, and the Overblown,” by Ilya Somin

Reason is a libertarian publication, and there has been libertarian concern about Kavanaugh.  Ilya Solyin states that Kavanaugh said that Congress should pass a law minimizing prosecution against a sitting President.  Congress would need to pass a law, so it is not as if Kavanaugh would try to exempt Trump from prosecution as a Supreme Court justice.  Solyin likes some of Kavanaugh’s record, while seeing other aspects as a cause for grave concern.

The Federalist: “Left Cries Extremist, but Brett Kavanaugh Has Supported ‘Common Sense Gun-Control,'” by Margot Cleveland

Kavanaugh is not against all gun control, but he is against banning semi-automatics because a number of Americans own them.

Ralph Reed on Criminal Justice Reform

Ralph Reed is head of the conservative Faith and Freedom Coalition.  He made the following heartening statement: “The next time someone tells you bipartisanship is dead, remind them that one of the top legislative priorities of Faith & Freedom Coalition, The First Step Act, passed the House of Representatives yesterday 360-59, the first major criminal justice reform bill to move through Congress in a generation. It gives prison inmates a second chance at a better future be gaining early release from prison by pursuing educational, vocational, and addiction treatment programs. We need a prison system that gives offenders a chance at redemption, not long-term incarceration, which only leads to more crime and recidivism. Special thanks to Congressman Doug Collins for sponsoring the bill and to President Trump for strongly supporting it.”

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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