“A Twitter Exchange For the Ages”

That’s what Mark Hemingway called it; who are we to argue? Via InstaPundit, here it is.

But first: the exchange stars Scott’s daughter Eliana, whom I have known since she was maybe six years old. Eliana is now doing tremendous work for National Review, and the only people prouder of her than me are her parents. Well, probably her sisters too. Anyway, here it is. It has to do with the story on the Michelle Nunn connection to Hamas that Eliana broke:


Heh. Eliana is a member of the new generation of conservatives who are arriving at the barricades, maybe just in time.

An Immigration Trio

Jeff Sessions is mounting a heroic campaign to persuade Congress to block President Obama’s apparently imminent decree legalizing, in essence, five to six million illegal immigrants by granting them work permits. The Obama administration has been lawless in many ways, but this is stark illegality even by its standards. This is what the actual law says:

INA Sec. 274A– Unlawful Employment of Aliens

(a) Making employment of unauthorized aliens unlawful

(1) In general

It is unlawful for a person or other entity—

(A) to hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an alien knowing the alien is an unauthorized alien (as defined in subsection (h)(3) of this section) with respect to such employment, or

(B)(i) to hire for employment in the United States an individual without complying with the requirements of subsection (b) of this section…

President Obama proposes to nullify the law by executive degree. He has no constitutional power to do so. If the roof were not falling in on America in so many ways, this kind of usurpation would precipitate a constitutional crisis.

Senator Sessions has tirelessly made the legal and policy arguments against the administration’s promotion of illegal immigration, but today he stepped out of character, just for a moment, to note the political consequences of sneering at the will of voters on this topic:

A reader who has been a dogged critic of the illegal immigration celebrationists writes:

Glenn linked to the Volokh Conspiracy:

And even for America, the influx of millions of new citizens — both the potentially legalized current illegal immigrants and the many others who are likely to come in the wake of the legalization — can affect the society and the political system in considerable ways. It seems to me eminently sensible to be concerned about the illegal immigrants who may well change (in some measure) your country even if your ancestors were themselves…immigrants who changed the country as it once was.

There are two big questions:

(1) What’s in it for us?…..native-born, existing Americans?

ANSWER: Nothing. Actually, worse: grotesque giantism, crowdedness, ecological destruction as future population levels not too far in the future approach those of India and China not so long ago…plus unwanted and unnecessary demographic and cultural change. John O’Sullivan writes:

[M]ost of us faced up honestly to that question a long time ago when the electoral consequences of immigration seemed less immediately threatening than today. Our answers then included the following: Immigration was not necessary for the growth of the U.S. economy; its net economic advantages for native-born Americans were at best nugatory, at worst slightly negative; its fiscal costs outweighed any such advantages; it was reducing the wages and job opportunities of low-paid and poorer Americans, including minority Americans; it was weakening the social bonds of Tocquevillian America; and it was a carrier of multiculturalism which, as Samuel Huntington argued in “Who are We?”, was a kind of program for the deconstruction of America’s national identity.

(2) When did we vote for New Transformed America?

ANSWER: Never. In fact, we have been systematically lied to, misled and deceived by political and media elites acting in bad faith who want unlimited immigration. What we did vote for, a restrictive immigration and labor law regime, has been systematically subverted by an unholy alliance of scofflaw employers, unscrupulous cowardly politicians, crazed ideologues, race hustlers and a feckless MSM all conniving to effect a regime we were told would never come about–all while treating resistance as racism and displaying unbridled contempt for opposition to their connivance.

The current border crisis is only a microcosm of a much broader problem, but it is revealing:

“I don’t usually get into the political part of it,” explained Chris Cabrera, now a vice president in the National Border Patrol Council Local 3307, “but I find it odd that their whole thing is, ‘We are going to get amnesty when we get here. Where is my permiso? Where is my permission to go north so I can get my medical care and my schooling and all that? President Obama is going to take care of us and make sure we’re all OK.’

“Whether it’s the adults or the young kids, one thing we consistently hear is, ‘Obama will take care of us,’” Cabrera said.

Meanwhile, if you live in Baltimore, there is nowhere to go for asylum.

Michelle Nunn’s charity and Hamas

Democrats are hoping partially to offset the Senate seats they will lose in November by picking up a seat in Georgia. Their vehicle is Michelle Nunn, daughter of popular former Senator Sam Nunn.

Nunn is trailing Republican David Perdue in most polls. However, she is running close enough to provide some hope for her beleaguered Party.

Since 2007, Nunn has served as the CEO of Points of Light, a charitable organization founded by George H. W. Bush to encourage volunteerism across the country. Noble in concept, Points of Light — like so many originally high-minded ideas and organizations — has been infected by a left-wing political agenda.

Thus, Eliana Johnson reports that under Nunn’s leadership Points of Light has given money to some organizations that have less to do with fostering volunteerism than with fostering pet leftist causes. These include the Lesbian and Gay Band Association, which seeks to promote a global network of, yes, lesbian and gay bands.

Less innocently, they also include a group with ties to terrorists.

According to the IRS Form 990s that Points of Light filed in 2008 and 2011, the organization gave a grant of over $33,000 to Islamic Relief USA, a charity that says it strives to alleviate “hunger, illiteracy, and diseases worldwide.” Islamic Relief USA is part of a global network of charities that operate under the umbrella of Islamic Relief Worldwide. . . .

Islamic Relief Worldwide has ties to Hamas, which the U.S. designates as a terrorist organization. In June, Israel banned the charity from operating in the country because, according to Israeli officials, it was funneling cash to Hamas. In 2006, Israelis arrested Islamic Relief Worldwide’s Gaza coordinator, Ayaz Ali. They said he was working to “transfer funds and assistance to various Hamas institutions and organizations.”

Ali admitted to cooperating with local Hamas operatives while working in Jordan and, on his computer, Israeli officials found photographs of “swastikas superimposed on IDF symbols,” and of Nazi officials, Osama bin Laden, and al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Not surprisingly, then, Islamic Relief Worldwide’s ties to terrorists extend beyond Hamas:

According to a former Israeli intelligence official. . .Islamic Relief Worldwide’s country director in Palestine, Muneed Abugazaleh, met in April 2012 with Dr. Omar Shalah, a leader of the terror group Islamic Jihad and of the Riyad al-Saleheen Charitable Society, which is affiliated with the group. He is also the brother of Ramadan Shalah, the leader of Islamic Jihad.

The Nunn campaign is concerned, as it should be, about the political implications of Points of Light’s financial contribution to Islamic Relief, USA. Eliana reports that an internal campaign strategy memo that was posted online (inadvertently, I assume) cites the contribution as a vulnerability.

One would hope so. Apart from being Sam Nunn’s daughter, Michelle Nunn’s tenure as CEO of Points of Light is just about her only credential for political office.

Nor has candidate Nunn been willing to take a stand on certain key issues, including Obamacare. For this, she has been criticized by the likes of Mika Brzezinski, Chuck Todd, and Stuart Rothenberg.

The fact that Points of Light, Nunn’s only substantive calling card, has funneled money to an organization with ties to Hamas should certainly tarnish her reputation and harm her campaign, which probably has little margin for error.

Hamas hits Shifa Hospital (with playground update)

Applying the theses explicit and implicit in my “14 Israel-Gaza notes,” I’m going with the IDF statement that Hamas is responsible for today’s attack on Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital. The best account I can find at the moment is the Algemeiner’s, at which Dave Bender reports as follows:

he Israeli army said it was not operating in the vicinity of Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza on Monday, where an explosion reportedly killed and wounded dozens of Palestinians.

“A short while ago Al-Shifa Hospital and Al-Shati Refugee Camp were struck by failed rocket attacks launched by Gaza terrorists,” the army said in a statement sent to reporters.

The failed attempt to fire the projectile apparently hit a car near the center, according to Israel’s Channel 2 News, causing the casualties.

The station said that a “Hamas Fajr-5 rocket aimed at central Israel, which was fired from a playground outside the Shifa hospital and exploded on the site causing casualties, had at least a 100 kg (220 lbs) warhead,” according to The Times of Israel.

Reporter Nir Devori of Channel 2 and analyst Ehud Yaari confirmed the carnage was most likely the result of a failed Fajr rocket launch — aimed at central Israel.

Palestinian reports are claiming at least seven dead and dozens wounded in a “failed rocket launch” by Hamas from the vicinity of the medical compound, according to Israeli Channel 1 reporter Yoram Cohen.‏

The Algemeiner performs the service of running the suggestive photograph below with the caption: “Nick Casey, The Wall Street Journal’s Middle East Correspondent, posted a photo to Twitter of a Hamas spokesman being interviewed on camera at Gaza’s Al Shifa Hospital, which Hamas uses as a base. The photo has since been removed. Photo: Nick Casey / Twitter.”


UPDATE: Let’s also credit Islamic Jihad terrorists with hitting the playground at a Gaza refugee camp today, as announced by the IDF and reported here by the Times of Israel.

Inversion Therapy for Liberals

Liberal Idiot copyAs we note here frequently—like yesterday, on the minimum wage—when it comes to economics liberals suffer from a severe case of cranial-rectal inversion.

Liberalism’s latest trip to a tight dark place is over the issue of —irony alert— “inversions,” whereby American corporations buy foreign companies and “relocate” their headquarters to a foreign nation to lower their corporate income taxes.  Kind of like what rich northeasterners do when they retire and move to Florida (no personal income tax), or as any number of American companies have done by moving to Texas (lower taxes and less nonsense of every other kind).

The reason for inversions is simple: the U.S. has the highest corporate income tax rate in the world, by a full ten points over the next highest.  To be sure, by taking advantage of the many wrinkles in the tax code carved out for favored industries or government purposes (like “green” energy—yeah, it’s green, but a different kind of “green” than you thought), many American corporations have a net tax bill that is far lower than the “rack rate” of 35 percent, but that just shows the corruption and special dealing that riddles our tax code, and is a screaming advertisement for genuine tax reform.

On the other hand, as Walter Galvin explains this morning in the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. not only has the highest corporate tax rate in the world, but is also the only country that taxes corporations on their worldwide profits—not just what is earned inside the U.S.  This means that many corporations pay foreign tax and then U.S. tax.  If you then receive a dividend and pay income tax on it, it will mean the profit has been taxed three times, with governments getting a larger total portion than the shareholders.  And this, Democrats say, is not enough.  Even Hillary Clinton in 2007 and 2008 made careful noises (careful not to rile the Democratic Party base) that the corporate tax rate should be cut.

Naturally today’s Democrats disdain even to discuss the idea.  Instead, Obama and other liberals are charging that American businesses that invert are “unpatriotic,” with Obama claiming without any self-awareness that “You don’t get to pick which rules you play by.”  Because picking your own rules is his job!

More than 20 years ago I got to watch a highly amusing demonstration of liberal economic illiteracy at work.  California back in the 1980s imposed its sales tax on capital equipment purchases, which most states sensibly exempted for the simple reason that it drove away large capital investment.  A 6 percent sales tax on a $1 billion high tech chip plant adds substantially to the cost of a new plant, so many companies would locate outside of California.

I watched the head of tax compliance for a major Silicon Valley company that was deciding whether to build a new $1 billion plant in California or New Mexico attempt to explain the facts of life to the Senate Finance Committee in Sacramento in the following way.

Tax person: Senator—you are not going to collect an equipment sales tax from us.  There are two ways you aren’t going to collect this tax.  You aren’t going to collect it if we build our plant in New Mexico.  And you aren’t going to collect it if we build here in California.

Chairman of the Committee: But we need the revenue!

Tax person: Let me explain again. . .

The committee chairman (in whose district the new plant would have been built, incidentally) never did get it.  The plant was built in New Mexico.  California eventually got it, and exempted capital equipment from the sales tax.

Even if Congress were to be so foolish as to prohibit the current “inversion” strategy, nothing prevents American corporations from relocating overseas for real.  I’m sure most Apple executives ands engineers would find Switzerland a pleasant place to live and work.

Oh, and this news item: Record number of Americans renouncing their citizenship for tax reasons.  Maybe someone can send flashlights for liberals to extract themselves from their rectal-cranial inversions.

Report: At least 160 children died digging Hamas’ tunnels

Because of their size and agility, children make good tunnel-diggers. The English knew this when they were digging coal mines during the Victorian era; Hamas knows it now.

Thus, the Journal of Palestine Studies (edited by President Obama’s pro-Palestinian friend Rashid Khalidi) reported in 2012 that Hamas uses children to help dig tunnels into Israel. The finding appears in a paper called Gaza’s Tunnel Phenomenon: The Unintended Dynamics of Israel’s Siege.

The author of the paper, Nicolas Pelham accompanied a police patrol in Gaza during December 2011. He reported that “nothing was done to impede the use of children in the tunnels, where, much as in Victorian coal mines, they are prized for their nimble bodies.”

He also found that “at least 160 children have been killed in the tunnels, according to Hamas officials.” And, as noted, this was as of the end of 2011. How many more Palestinian children have died digging tunnels for Hamas since then?

It’s not surprising that Hamas endangers Palestinian children by having them engage in highly dangerous child labor. Hamas is willing to use children as human shields, so why would it not use them to dig tunnels?

Still, this additional example of Hamas’ inhumanity is worth noting.

Republicans are maintaining, and maybe expanding, their edge in battle for Senate

The Upshot, the New York Times’ successor to Nate Silver’s 538, gives the Republicans a 60 percent chance of winning a majority in the Senate. This assessment is similar to the one Silver rendered in June. Both assessments are based on poll averages.

However, the research firm YouGov, in partnership with The New York Times and CBS News, has just released poll results that seem more favorable to the GOP. The results come from an online panel of more than 100,000 respondents nationwide. Thus, in most states the sample size tends to be larger than the typical single poll, though not as large as in a poll average.

Note, however, that the YouGov poll lacks another major virtue of poll averages — methodological diversity — and suffers from whatever limitations inhere in internet polling. Nate Cohn of the Upshot discusses these issues here.

The YouGov poll has the Republican ahead in five hotly contested states where the seat at stake is held by the Democrats — Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Iowa, and Michigan. Adding these five to the three states where a Republican pickup is highly likely — Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia — brings to eight the total of states where a Republican gain is more likely than not. (No Democrat is leading in a race involving a Republican-held seat).

This compares favorably to the poll average data used by the Upshot to calculate Republican chances of winning a Senate majority. These poll averages show the Republicans gaining seats only in Louisiana, Arkansas, Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia. The 60 probability of Republicans gaining more than five seats arises from the fact that the Republican challenger is only slightly behind in a fairly large number of other states (notably Iowa, Colorado, Michigan, and Alaska).

Accordingly, if one were to use the YouGov poll to estimate the probability of Republicans winning the Senate, their chances might well be better than 60 percent.

The YouGov poll arguably overstates Republican chances of picking up the Michigan seat. Most polls have Democrat Gary Peters leading Republican Terri Lynn Land.

At the same time, I think YouGov understates Republican prospects in Alaska. For one thing, the Republicans haven’t yet settled on a nominee. For another, the poll encompasses only 452 Alaskans.

Other than these two states, the YouGov results seem quite plausible to me.

Many of the margins are razor thin and, of course, much can happen in the next three months. But burdened by their unpopular president, the Democrats are running uphill, and there is good reason for Republicans to be optimistic about their Senate prospects.