A False Choice on ‘Extreme Vetting’

Ever since Donald Trump called for a complete ban on Muslim travel to the United States, the Republican presidential candidate has been gradually moving away from that extreme and morally repugnant proposal. The latest twist on the idea came in his foreign policy speech on Monday in which, among other things, he called for a change in the U.S. immigration system to include “extreme vetting”—something that might be described as an ideological test to keep supporters of radical Islamic terrorism out of the country. The reaction to it has been predictable. Liberals decried it as merely a fig leaf on his original idea that still smacks of religious prejudice. Others, meanwhile, pointed out the massive cost and the likely complications for relations with U.S. allies, whose citizens would seemingly come under the pall of Trumpian suspicion no matter whether their nation was working with the U.S. against the terrorists or not.

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A False Choice on ‘Extreme Vetting’

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What Tillerson Got Right

Calling out genocide.

The New York Times on Thursday reported that the Trump administration is preparing to oust Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in the coming weeks. The White House and the State Department denied the story, which was sourced to unnamed senior administration officials. “Secretary Tillerson enjoys this job,” a State spokesperson told reporters. “He has a lot of work to do.” Even so, rumors of Tillerson’s imminent departure have been swirling in Washington for months. The former Exxon Mobil CEO reportedly takes a dim view of Donald Trump, and the president has in turn undercut Tillerson’s diplomacy with his wild tweeting on more than one occasion.

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The Coming Entitlement Reform Panic

An avoidable crisis.

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Are Trump’s Tweets Helping the Tax Bill?

Podcast: Crazy like a fox?

On the second COMMENTARY podcast of the week, we ask whether the constant swirl of dust around the president might actually be helping the Senate Republicans convince members to vote for tax reform because they are not constantly center stage as they were during the repeal-Obamacare debate. And we wonder whether Nancy Pelosi has brought a Democratic Tea Party down on her own head. Give a listen.

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The Naked Public Square Redux

The limits of secularism.

In May 2015, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) imposed a temporary ban on all “issues-oriented” political and religious advertising on its vehicles and inside its facilities. The transit authority extended the policy indefinitely later that year, making permanent its violation of Washingtonians’ free-speech rights. Now the policy will face a challenge in the courts, thanks to a lawsuit filed this week by Washington’s Catholic archdiocese.

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Gaza’s Latest Lesson in Self-Inflicted Misery

Rent seekers gonna seek rent.

Observing developments since Hamas and Fatah signed their latest reconciliation deal in October is an object lesson in just how much of the Palestinians’ misery is self-inflicted–or to be more precise, inflicted by their two rival governments.

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