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Westlake Legal Group > News (Page 37)

Pelosi: We were going to fly commercial to Afghanistan — but Trump’s letter created a security risk

Westlake Legal Group p-6 Pelosi: We were going to fly commercial to Afghanistan — but Trump’s letter created a security risk Trump travel The Blog security risk pelosi flight danger codel Afghanistan

I can’t believe we had to wait almost 24 hours for her to reply to yesterday’s White House letter. We live in the Netflix era. We should be able to binge-watch every episode of this pitiful melodrama in a day.

“After President Trump revoked the use of military aircraft to travel to Afghanistan, the delegation was prepared to fly commercially to proceed with this vital trip to meet with our commanders and troops on the front lines,” [Pelosi spokesman Drew] Hammill said.

Overnight, he added, a new State Department threat assessment indicated “that the President announcing this sensitive travel had significantly increased the danger to the delegation and to the troops, security, and other officials supporting the trip. . . . This morning, we learned that the Administration had leaked the commercial travel plans as well.”

They leaked the commercial travel plans too? To whom? That’s a serious allegation, all but accusing the White House of having deliberately created a security risk to Pelosi to deter him from making it to the region on her own. Who did that? Name names.

Hammill’s not referring to this, is he?

There’s nothing in there to suggest that she still intended to travel, just Trump acknowledging that she planned to do so before he revoked her military aircraft.

The White House says Hammill’s full of it:

Not so, says Hammill:

Anyway, because we’re governed now by wailing babies, apparently no one gave the Pentagon advance notice that Pelosi’s trip was being canceled despite the logistics involved:

Pelosi’s chief of staff worked with a liaison from the U.S. Air Force who was the lead in setting up travel arrangements and the itinerary for the trip. Senior officials at the Pentagon also had been read in on the speaker’s plans, especially those regarding her visit to war-torn Afghanistan, where extra security was needed for her time in Kabul. Two senior officials on the ground in Afghanistan said they received the itinerary for the trip, as they do other congressional trips, weeks in advance and held it close to the chest. Fellow members of Congress made similar accommodations as they prepared to accompany the Speaker on the CODEL…

“We’re still gathering information just like you,” one Pentagon official told The Daily Beast [on Thursday afternoon]. “We are trying to figure out what is going on.” One other source inside the Pentagon said that the White House had not coordinated with senior officials in Kabul about the cancellation, either.

Pelosi threw a tantrum and told Trump not to show for the State of the Union so Trump threw a tantrum by canceling her Afghanistan trip, with the military left holding the bag. It can’t be overstated what pure trash our political class is. To grasp it, just ruminate on the fact that we’re on Day 28 of the shutdown, hardship stories are getting more dire and widespread, the disagreement is over nothing greater than a $5 billion outlay, and somehow … there are no meaningful negotiations at all happening to resolve the standoff. Five-hundred-plus people in the House and Senate and to a man or woman they’re either too partisan or too afraid of their respective bases to compromise to break the logjam. Rank human garbage.

The post Pelosi: We were going to fly commercial to Afghanistan — but Trump’s letter created a security risk appeared first on Hot Air.

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Mohammed Amin: The Government should talk to the Muslim Council of Britain – though talking doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing

Mohammed Amin MBE is Chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum. He is writing in a personal capacity.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) was created after three years of community consultation in the 1990s, with the encouragement of John Major’s Government.

It was modelled on the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Accordingly, its members are other organisations (“affiliates”) and not individuals.

For most of the 1997-2010 Labour Government, relations between the MCB and the Government were reasonably good, albeit with some spectacular fallings out. Apart from the occasional contacts with Liberal Democrat ministers mentioned on the MCB’s website, the Conservative/Lib-Dem coalition and the subsequent Conservative Government have studiously ignored the MCB. In my view, this is a mistake.

About the MCB

The MCB claims about 500 affiliated organisations. Its transparency was never great (e.g: no accounts on its website) and at some stage the list of local, regional and national affiliates the MCB used to publish on its website has disappeared.

There is no other Muslim organisation remotely approaching it in coverage. During the periods of falling out, the Labour Government regularly tried to “big up” other Muslim organisations as replacements for dialogue, but the exercise was always risible.

As explained in my website’s 2011 article “The Muslim Council of Britain’s Need for Constitutional Reform”, effective control of the MCB has always been held by a small number of organisations who act together. That article did not discuss ideology, but the organisations I listed were broadly intellectual followers of either Abul A’la Maududi or Hassan al-Banna (respectively founders of the Jamaat-e-Islami and the Muslim Brotherhood.)

From the beginning, the MCB has been dominated by Muslims of South Asian and Arab ethnicity, with relatively little participation by other ethnic groups even though they represent a growing (though still minority) proportion of British Muslims.

The MCB’s achievements

Despite always being desperately under-resourced, the MCB can be proud of many things. I will list just a few.

In the early days of Islamic finance in the UK, technical specialists who were also closely involved with the MCB played a major part in helping the Government to understand Islamic finance and how to remove obstacles to it in the UK.

Perhaps its greatest single achievement was the inclusion of a question about religion in the 2001, and subsequently 2011, census. Accordingly, policymakers have a good handle on the number of Muslims in the UK. Equivalent data does not exist in countries such as the USA or France, where one must depend on surveys that often produce wildly different results, or use estimates from immigration and ethnicity.

More recently, the MCB’s Miqdaad Versi has done an outstanding job tackling patently inaccurate media reporting about Muslims, despite operating on a shoestring. Visit My Mosque Day has been running for several years and is the kind of initiative that would not happen without an umbrella body to coordinate it.

The MCB’s failings

As a close observer of the MCB, I believe its fundamental problem is that it spends its time following rather than leading British Muslims and impairs its effectiveness by trying to keep the entire spectrum of British Muslims happy.

For example, the MCB’s objectives, set out in Clause 2 of its Constitution and the way it describes itself on its “About” page, are domestically focused. That is what one would expect, and its leadership has in the past told me the MCB avoids foreign issues. However, that is selective.

Using Google to search the MCB website for the word “Israel” returned 274 results, many of them highly critical. Conversely, a search for “Taliban” had only 14 results. All were about refuting claims that British Muslims supported the Taliban or were neutral references in extracts of other material. I could not find a single unequivocal condemnation of the Taliban. Nor do I recall ever seeing one in any MCB material.

On many issues of great importance to British Muslims, the MCB has nothing to say. For example, searching found nothing about the problem of Muslim religious marriages and divorces. There are only four occurrences of “nikah” (a religious marriage contract), none of which mentions the growing problem of “nikah only” relationships with no civil marriage, or the problems Muslim women have getting religious divorces.

In my view, the MCB’s greatest failure has been its consistent determination to ignore or downplay the religious motivation of terrorist organisations such as Al Qaeda and of individual terrorists such as the 7/7 London bombers. It has consistently railed against the Prevent policy, but offered nothing useful to help address the problem of radicalisation – because, in my opinion, it is in denial about its reality.

The benefits of talking to the MCB

At present, apart from any “back channel” contacts that may or may not exist, the Government can only challenge the MCB on its failings via “megaphone diplomacy.” It really would be much better to do so face-to-face.

At the same time, the MCB is a meaningful conduit for the Government to learn about the views of its many affiliates. Also, the MCB does have some useful things to say, albeit interspersed with other things that are less useful. Ministers should quite capable of distinguishing between them.

Ignoring it does not help Government to achieve its own objectives. For example, just because the MCB is currently hopeless on radicalisation does not mean it cannot be encouraged to help in tackling the problem of Muslim religious marriages and divorces.

Full disclosure

From June 2008 to June 2010, I was an elected member of the MCB’s Central Working Committee and chairman of the MCB’s Business and Economics Committee, placing me on the periphery of the dozen or so “wider leadership team” although not one of the key officers. Since then, our relationship has been friendly but relatively distant (I get invited to their annual Muslim Leadership Dinner in what I suspect is the last wave of invitations) and I donate £100 p.a. to the MCB Charitable Foundation.

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Pompeo meets North Korea’s lead negotiator

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made no comments during a camera spray at the top of his meeting with North Korea’s Kim Yong Chol at a Washington hotel. Both Pompeo and Kim ignored questions on whether a location for a second summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong UN has been agreed upon.

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Westlake Legal Group X7H1c2w-WWc Pompeo meets North Korea's lead negotiator

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Trump to Mnuchin: Your junket to Davos is canceled too, pal

Westlake Legal Group mnuchin-plane Trump to Mnuchin: Your junket to Davos is canceled too, pal World Economic Forum The Blog Steve Mnuchin Nancy Pelosi Government Shutdown Fundraising donald trump Davos canceled

First the State of the Union address gets canceled, and then all CODELs get grounded. Now the US delegation to the World Economic Forum has its wings clipped. Maybe government shutdowns should happen more often!

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin got a similar message from Sarah Huckabee Sanders as Nancy Pelosi did from Donald Trump yesterday, albeit it with a bit more lead time. Was Mnuchin on the bus when this went out? I’d guess no:

The White House on Thursday scrapped a scheduled trip by several Cabinet officials to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, citing the partial government shutdown. …

“Out of consideration for the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay and to ensure his team can assist as needed, President Trump has canceled his delegation’s trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

At least that spreads the impact to both the executive and legislative branches. If the two branches can’t agree on funding packages to open a significant portion of the federal government, the least they can do is stick around Washington DC rather than jet around the world on the taxpayers’ dime. Even if that means all they do is sit around the Beltway and glower at each other. Or maybe especially if it means that’s all they do.

Thus far, the only things lost by public officials (as opposed to employees and customers) in this shutdown are grandstanding privileges and junkets. The perks of privilege undoubtedly have some substantive value, but if one goes because of the crisis, they should all go. For Mnuchin and the Davos junket team, it’s strictly symbolic, as none of them have much to do with budget negotiations in this shutdown. When it comes to CODELs, it’s a different story, as Trump reminded everyone this morning:

Canceling the Davos delegation allows Trump to argue that he’s putting his money where his mouth is. Speaking of money, however, he’s also putting his mouth where the cash is:

“THE STATE OF THE UNION IS NOT FOR LIBERAL OBSTRUCTIONISTS,” the letter from the president blares in characteristic bolded all-caps. “IT IS FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE!”

President Trump’s joint fundraising committee blasted out an email blasting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for “illegitimately ‘disinviting’” the president from making his State of the Union address. Then Trump asked his supporters for some money.

“Americans DEMAND the truth, so we need to make a CLEAR STATEMENT and raise $1,OOO,OOO by Midnight TONIGHT to show your support for Border Security (the REAL security concern),” reads the kicker. Small donors are obviously the target because the note then includes options to contribute anywhere from $5 to $20 dollars.

Undoubtedly, both sides will be using this as an opportunity for fundraising, but Trump will likely have the edge in this case. He needs to rally his base hard for this effort, and they’re more passionate about supporting a wall than opponents likely are about not allowing one to be built. More importantly, as Philip Wegmann pointed out last night, it demonstrates how deeply dug into this trench Trump has become, and how difficult it will be to move negotiations in the short term. Expect plenty of glowering over the next couple of weeks.

Even if we do get a faster resolution to the standoff, can we just pretend it’s still ongoing? That way we can dispense with the dreadful and embarrassing State of the Union spectacle, self-serving CODELs, and pointless participation in “economic forums” junkets.

The post Trump to Mnuchin: Your junket to Davos is canceled too, pal appeared first on Hot Air.

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