Lies and Distraction from Trump, Putin’s Dangerous War in Syria

American president Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, arrive at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 20, 2017
American president Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, arrive at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 20, 2017 (White House/Shealah Craighead)

First the lies:

Just like they don’t want to solve the DACA problem, why didn’t the Democrats pass gun control legislation when they had both the House & Senate during the Obama Administration. Because they didn’t want to, and now they just talk!

  1. It’s the president who unilaterally ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program last year and who is now blocking a compromise. Democrats and center-right Republicans are ready to do a deal.
  2. Democrats tried to get tougher guns laws under Barack Obama. They were frustrated at every turn by Republicans, who turned the filibuster into standard operating procedure in the Senate, as a result of which it now takes sixty votes to get anything of consequence done. When Democrats could briefly muster sixty votes in the early years of Obama’s presidency, they used that opportunity to reform health care. Read more

Corbyn’s Spy Career, Catalan Language War

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn meets with in Highbury, North London, January 8
British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn meets with in Highbury, North London, January 8 (Catholic Church England and Wales)

The Sun reports that, as a freshman parliamentarian, Jeremy Corbyn was targeted for recruitment by the Czech secret police in 1986 and met at least three times with an intelligence officer posing as a diplomat.

Corbyn says he never knowingly consorted with an East Bloc agent, but John Schindler, an intelligence expert, points out that only one year before the Labour politician was approached, Britain had expelled 25 Soviet “diplomats” who were really KGB officers “and the high-profile case got nonstop coverage in the British media.”

For Corbyn not to have considered the possibility he might be meeting with a spy would have been incredibly naive.

Moreover, Czech human rights abuses under communism were well-known even at the time. What was Corbyn thinking?

Corbyn, I’m sure, will argue it’s important to hear both sides. That’s what he said when he was asked to defend inviting Hamas and Hezbollah representatives to London in 2009. Except he never invited or met with Israeli representatives, just as he didn’t seek meetings with American officials during the Cold War.

Corbyn has a long history of instinctively siding with enemies of his country and the West, from Irish republican terrorists to Fidel Castro to Hugo Chávez to Muammar Gaddafi. Michael J. Totten wrote a good overview in The Atlantic last year. That’s what makes the Czech spy story, despite coming from the notoriously sensationalist The Sun, so believable. Read more

Catalan Liberals Start Language War to Woo Conservatives

Inés Arrimadas, the leader of Catalonia's Citizens party, gives a radio interview, February 1
Inés Arrimadas, the leader of Catalonia’s Citizens party, gives a radio interview, February 1 (Ciutadans)

Spain’s liberal Citizens party has proposed eliminating the Catalan language requirement for civil servants in the region.

Catalan would be plus, but no longer a prerequisite for most jobs in the public sector.

The idea is unlikely to go anywhere. Although the Citizens made their proposal in the Spanish Congress, which could attempt to overrule the separatist majority in the Catalan parliament, national parties would be foolish to aggravate relations with the province.

So why bother? Because it’s another way for the Citizens to prove to voters in other parts of Spain that they are a national party now. Read more

Still No Government in Catalonia, Shades of Fascism in the United States

Oriol Junqueras and Carles Puigdemont, the leaders of the Catalan ruling party, deliver a news conference in Barcelona, Spain, March 1, 2017
Oriol Junqueras and Carles Puigdemont, the leaders of the Catalan ruling party, deliver a news conference in Barcelona, Spain, March 1, 2017 (Generalitat de Catalunya/Rubén Moreno)

Catalonia’s independence parties are still struggling to form a government after narrowly defending their majority in the regional legislature in December.

Together for Yes, the largest party, has requested a rules change to allow Carles Puigdemont to be sworn in as president from abroad.

Puigdemont is wanted by Spanish authorities for organizing an independence referendum that had been ruled illegal by the Constitutional Court. He has lived in Belgium for the last three months.

The Republican Left, whose leader, Oriol Junqueras, sits in prison awaiting trial, does not support the effort, fearing it is doomed to fail.

Spain maintains that Puigdemont cannot resume his post so long as he is wanted for crimes against the state. Read more

Summary of Recent Developments in Catalonia

Catalan president Carles Puigdemont delivers a televised address from the regional government palace in Barcelona, Spain, March 23, 2016
Catalan president Carles Puigdemont delivers a televised address from the regional government palace in Barcelona, Spain, March 23, 2016 (Generalitat de Catalunya/Jordi Bedmar)

Here is what has happened in Catalonia since the separatists defended their majority in the regional legislature in December. Read more

Spanish Liberals Take Rajoy’s Place in Polls

Jordi Cañas and Albert Rivera of the Spanish Citizens party talk in Madrid, August 6, 2013
Jordi Cañas and Albert Rivera of the Spanish Citizens party talk in Madrid, August 6, 2013 (Ciudadanos/Jordi Esteban)

The liberal Citizens party has risen to the top of the polls in Spain, receiving 26-27 percent support in two recent surveys against 23-25 percent for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s conservative People’s Party.

Support for the mainstream Socialists is unchanged at 22 percent while the far-left Podemos has gone down from 21 to 15 percent since the last election. Read more

Catalonia in Common Rules Out Supporting Unionist Government

Inés Arrimadas, the leader of Catalonia's Citizens party, films an election commercial in Barcelona, November 26, 2017
Inés Arrimadas, the leader of Catalonia’s Citizens party, films an election commercial in Barcelona, November 26, 2017 (Ciutadans)

Catalonia’s far left has ruled out supporting a regional government led by the pro-business and unionist Citizens party, making another separatist administration almost inevitable.

Although the Citizens placed first in December’s election, winning 36 out of 135 seats, their gains came at the expense of other parties that want Catalonia to remain Spanish.

The balance between separatists and unionists has barely changed: the former have seventy seats, the latter 57.

The remaining eight seats went to Catalonia in Common, a left-wing alliance that includes the regional branch of Podemos. It rejects both independence and Spain’s suspension of Catalan home rule. Read more