Smart Ideas: The Costanza Defense for President Trump

A Saudi special forces soldier stands alert Friday, Feb. 4, 2005 at a check point in front of flags of participant countries of the Counter-Terrorism International Conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
AP Photo/Amr Nabil
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July 5, 2017, 8 p.m.

Saudis "foremost" among countries who bankroll terror in UK

Tom Wilson, writ­ing for The Henry Jack­son So­ci­ety

“For­eign fund­ing for Is­lam­ist ex­trem­ism in Bri­tain primar­ily comes from gov­ern­ments and gov­ern­ment linked found­a­tions based in the Gulf, as well as Ir­an. Fore­most among these has been Saudi Ar­a­bia, which since the 1960s has sponsored a mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar ef­fort to ex­port Wah­h­abi Is­lam across the Is­lam­ic world, in­clud­ing to Muslim com­munit­ies in the West.” Across the United King­dom, this fund­ing has primar­ily “taken the form of en­dow­ments to mosques and Is­lam­ic edu­ca­tion­al in­sti­tu­tions, which have ap­par­ently, in turn, played host to Is­lam­ist ex­trem­ist preach­ers and the dis­tri­bu­tion of ex­trem­ist lit­er­at­ure.” Oth­er European na­tions, not­ably Aus­tria and France, have taken steps to lim­it the fund­ing of mosques from abroad. Even if the Brit­ish gov­ern­ment stops short of block­ing for­eign fund­ing, “meas­ures might be con­sidered that would ob­lige in­sti­tu­tions to show more trans­par­ency on cer­tain kinds fund­ing from abroad.”

Localities are driving the train on legalizing immigrants

Tanvi Misra, writ­ing for CityLab

With cit­izen­ship ap­plic­a­tions at their highest rate in two dec­ades, it is im­port­ant to note that much of the in­crease is not ne­ces­sar­ily due to anxi­ety over the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s im­mig­ra­tion policies but “a push for cit­izen­ship by city and loc­al gov­ern­ments, es­pe­cially those so-called heart­land states.” Get­ting im­mig­rants out of leg­al limbo “can help the av­er­age im­mig­rant im­prove earn­ings by $3,200 a year, and also im­prove homeown­er­ship and em­ploy­ment rates,” lead­ing to a lar­ger tax base and in­creased rev­en­ue. “Still, many leg­al per­man­ent res­id­ents who are eli­gible to ap­ply don’t. The reas­on? Pro­hib­it­ive ap­plic­a­tion fees and lan­guage bar­ri­ers. That’s where loc­al gov­ern­ments can help. Among oth­er things, they can pro­mote Eng­lish lan­guage pro­grams, cit­izen­ship classes, and mit­ig­ate some of the rising costs.”

Donald Trump as George Costanza?

Jac­ob Sul­lum, writ­ing for Reas­on

Journ­al­ists who cov­er Pres­id­ent Trump “tend to treat every in­ac­cur­ate, un­foun­ded, or even de­bat­able state­ment he makes as a lie.” This is a mis­take. While he cer­tainly ut­ters many un­truths, such state­ments “are best un­der­stood not as lies but as ego-strok­ing de­lu­sions,” from the crowd sizes at his in­aug­ur­a­tion to the size of his elect­or­al vic­tory. The me­dia must be cau­tious in judging “the pres­id­ent’s state of mind when he says things that are in­con­sist­ent with real­ity. Point­ing out the in­con­sist­ency is fair and ne­ces­sary in re­port­ing the news; reach­ing a con­clu­sion about the pres­id­ent’s motive is neither.” After all, maybe it’s not a lie if the pres­id­ent truly be­lieves it.

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