tv The Journal Editorial Report FOX News March 23, 2013 11:00am-11:30am PDT
>> this week on the journal, editorial report. president obama's middle east mission, he is calling for renewed peace in the area, as the syrian conflict escalates with claims of chemical weapons, will it make a difference? the president courts controversy at home with his pick to the labor department. did thomas perez interfere with a supreme court court of decision, and his theory on discrimination. and labor's effort to hide
cigarettes will meet the same fate as the big soda ban? >> it is possible, it is possible. i'm not saying it's guaranteed. i can't even say that it is more likely than not, but it is possible. >> paul: welcome to journ"the journal editorial report", i'm paul bgigot. that's president obama in israel and the first thawing the often frosty relationship with benjamin netanyahu. is it a turning point in the region? let's ask dan henninger and global view columnist bret stevens. so, bret, the big news out of this, or at least at the surface, that a new good
feeling between prime minister y netanyahu and president obama. real or does it makes a difference? >> real, and it's definitely good in terms of the optics, president obama spent the first four years trying to put as much distance between him avenue sn the israelis as he could. it didn't serve american interests or anyone's interest. now he's there and talking about my friend bb. maybe it's not sincere, but it's creating a perception of greater closeness. that's a good thing. israelis respond better when they're being held than when they're being scolded. no question, the speech went over well. the real question is whether the president has a realistic vision for-- >> well, he raised the prospects of this peace agreement with the palestinians. he's clearly, john kerry, the secretaries of state made this a priority or wanted to. what are the pluralistic prospects?
>> you saw a bit in ramallah when-- >> that's in palestine. >> it's the capital of the west bank, if you will, when he was having a press conference with mahmoud abbas and the american president said, look, let's not have negotiations with pre-conditions and insist that the israelis end settlement activities. and he was effectively scolded by the palestinian president. so, the real nub of the problem here isn't so much the settlements or this or that israeli activity. it's a refusal by the palestinians to make any kind of compromises with the israelis. >> well, let's talk a little about barack obama. he is asking fundamentally the israelis to take a risk on behalf of peace. >> and that's why he wanted to reassure them about the american security commitment? >> well, that's right. but think about what obama's the attitude has been towards the middle east in the first term of the presidency. the libyan intervention, he
brought up the rear after the europeans went in first. we have syria now completely blowing apart and the president has kept the syrian rebels at arm's length for nearly two years and he shows up and tells the israelis that they should take a risk for peace in the middle east when he's been-- the president holding the region at arm's length. >> paul: you're saying a credibility problem he's going to have with the israelis. >> absolutely. >> paul: they've seen four years and not going to buy it. on the other hand, he tried to appeal, bret, to the israelis self-interest, with the demographic, you have to come to an agreement if you want to survive in the region. >> that's right, in theory, that's right. in 20, 25 years israel will face a demographic problem. in the here and now egypt is under the control of the muslim brotherhood. you don't know what's going to happen in syria or in lebanon. the future of jordan where the
president also visited, it's very clouded, very unclear. you have to take your problems in the order in which they alive. the real problems, iran, chaos in the rest of the world, and the rest of the of the demographic it's rule, but-- >> and in the few years, israel and the palestinians? >> no chance, but it can be managed. >> paul: it can be managed so there's not an outbreak. and the president, i thought his rhetoric on iran was at least as forceful and i've ever heard him. basically saying, look, we're not going to let them get a bomb. it's containable, if it gets one. it seems to put him on the hook if iran doesn't react d diplomaticall diplomatically. >> it seems to raise a question of the president's credibility.
u.s. standing probably has risen under president obama, but clout has fallen for the reasons i stated earlier, because of his reluctance to get involved over there. if you're the iranians and he says something like this, do you really take it it seriously at this point or is it simply barack obama saying things because he believes them himself? >> i would bet bret takes issue with the point about the standing question of the-- >> we're less popular in the arab world than we were, in much of the arab world than we were in the last year of george w. bush's presidency. >> paul: george, you mentioned jordan. is king abdullah, be the next arab ruler to fall in that region? and what would be the consequences, not just for israel, but for our own interests? >> it would be a disaster, we'd lose one of the last few moderates in the arab world and israel would lose along its longest border and-- >> how much trouble is the king in? i know there have beenprotests,
price of energy and so on. >> he has a financial crisis and he's vocally opposed by the muslim brotherhood and no longer has the backing of the tribe, traditional-- >> he's flooded from refugees and as is lebanon. >> paul: a good indication of how our stepping back has created problems for everyone there. questions surrounding president obama's controversial pick to lead the labor department. did thomas perez work behind the scenes to prevent the supreme court from ruling on an important race discrimination case? well you can see if the hotel is pet friendly before you book it, and i got a great deal without bidding. and where's your furry friend? oh, i don't have a cat. now you can save up to 50% during priceline's spring hotel sale use promo code spring for additional savings on all
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rights division at the justice department will have questions to answer, but the doj's decision to drop that now infamous voter intimidation case against the new black panther party, as well as a case headed to the supreme court that could have struck down his legal theories on racial discrimination, for more we're joined by editorial board member mary kissle and political diary editor jason riley. mary, you broke the story a year ago about the involvement in the st. paul case, we've since discovered a lot more details thanks to your digging. why did perez get himself involved in in case? >> well, the city of st. paul, minnesota was challenging, a theory of racial discrimination that tom perez and the justice department were using to accuse banks of discrimination, and so, he feared that if the court struck down this particular rule, that he would have to stop doing that, it would cut off a big source of funding, actually, for the justice department. >> so he leaned on st. paul to
drop the case and they'd been litigating for ten years. >> in fact, they did a quid pro quo in exchange for st. paul dropping the supreme court case. the federal government said we would not join two false claims access cases that would be brought again. >> paul: by private citizens and the department of housing and urban development had wanted the justice department to intervene on behalf of the claimants and perez got them to back off that in turn for st. paul dropping the case. now, what is the theory of racial discrimination is called disparty impact could be-- they worship at the altar of parity and 13% of freshman and
13% of the class and firemen that basis alone.mination can >> you don't have to prove it in an individual case. >> right, if the policy in place, however race neutral it is, if it's producing disparate outcomes then it's the policy. >> paul: and perez was housing housing law to prosecute banks with this theory. >> that's right. >> paul: and he thought this might be illegal, why? because the disparate is used in some parts, but not in housing. >> it's employment. but they don't have the same language as title vii law and he was afraid at that st. paul would win this case. by the way, st. paul itself said it thought it would win, but dropping the case because it it didn't want to endanger important anti-discrimination
work that the justice department was doing. so think about that, you have a senior member of the justice department leaning on other parts of government to withdraw a case, deny the supreme court the ability to rule on this disparate practice under the fair housing act and in the meantime, having the government in the join two cases that could have brought tens of millions of dollars to taxpayers. >> paul: can you believe any case like this, jason, where the official basically got somebody to drop a case the supreme court had already accepted? >> no, no, i can't. but perez has credibility problems. he was head of the civil rights division of justice he when they decide today drop a case against the new black panther party and this involved a case of the members of the black panther party on election day, standing outside of the polling station, armed with batons and yelling racial
epithets at the passersby. it was on the video and the internet and the cost of a victory until they decided to stop the prosecution and there were hearings about this and perez was asked at one of these hearings whether or not it was a decision made by a political appointee at justice. he said no. it turns out subsequent e-mails shows in fact political employees at justice were consulted on this and i hope the senators at his confirmation hearings ask him about this. >> paul: we should point out the justice department make accessible, the spokesman as well as the city of st. paul and they've all declined, dan. >> well, i hope the senators bring this up. he is nominated to secretary of labor which has enforcement authority over the entire american workplace, pensions, minimum wage, and compliance.
and if mr. perez goes into that job and uses these statistically based theories against the workplace, then we will have difficulties. >> paul: mary, how likely do you think it's going to be become what we've talked about, the black panther case, but more importantly, the perez case, extraordinary intervention in the judiciary, will become an issue and could complicate his confirmation. >> we've already had a couple of senators raise questions about him, including chuck glassry, looking at the st. paul streak case for a long time. vitter of louisiana as well. and this is a practice that perez has been been using more than decades throughout his career and seems to view the law as something that's malable and incidentally if it conflicts with his goals. >> paul: we'll be following this one. when we come back, fresh off the big soda smackdown, mayor
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>> well, a judge may have ruled against his big soda ban, but new york city mayor michael bloomberg is at it again. the target this time, cigarettes. if the mayor has his way, stores in the city may no longer be able to publicly display tobacco products and instead keep them under the counter or behind curtains. the proposed legislation is the latest crackdown by bloomberg who successfully banned smoking in new york city restaurants and bars in 2003 and has since taken on not just the sugary drinks, but salt, trans fat and even baby formula.
so, mary, the mayor would say, look, sometimes the people need to be led, even though some people call him a nanny mayor for it. what do you think? >> yeah, well, where is the evidence that this is going to lead to better health outcomes and why do we need government hiding products from us? what's next? is he going to hide the beer? is he going to hide the big macs and mcdonald's? look, it's much better to empower consumers than to try to nudge them in the right direction which he seems to be trying. >> paul: he would say he has public proof. in the campaign against cigarettes and trans fats and that new york outcomes are better and sometimes the public needs to be led in the right direction and sometimes yanked. >> i think the mayor needs to be reminded of the concept of a free society. he's acting like a joe stalin. >> joe stalin, don't you think that's a tad-- >> well, if bloomberg -- (laughter) public health is a good.
there are other competing goods in this world. one of them is the freedom to be a little overweight or the freedom to smoke cigarettes or the freedom to gamble and by the way, the state and city profit fairly handsomely off the bad habits of americans, cigarettes and the rest of it. >> paul: you don't object to the government taxing, so-called syntaxiin taxing, say he we want to defer the use of that? >> this is a real problem, it's a vision of government which is supposed to lead citizens to virtue. that's very different. that's not the constitutional vision. we have a free society in which people make choices and then accept the consequenceses of those choices. i would add, by the way, i can think of few measures designed to make cigarettes popular again among young people than to put them behind counters and make them seem elicit and cooler than they ought to be.
>> this isn't just mike bloomberg's obsession. it's huge in public policy, how would you want to look at behavior of people, seat belt laws and singapore has a mandatory savings program, we do not. another big example, the board that barack obama set up in the middle of obamacare, the 15 people who in medicare will decide which medical practices work and which ones don't and the whole medical community will be asked to comply with this. the bigger question and that board is is an example, where do you draw the line? once you allow experts to decide whose behavior is right and wrong, where could you stop? >> where would you draw the line? >> i don't know, heavy smoking obviously imposes costs on the health care system. would i ban smoking? i would not. i think the burden should be put back on individuals themselves who incur those costs rather than making the
rest of us pay them. >> paul: should the distinction be if you want to use the tax code or government incentives in some way, for example, savings incentives, but when you issue dictates, you cannot do this, you must do that. that's much more coercive. >> they can increase or roll back or eliminate. there's something controlled by the public. i think what disturbs me he so much about the bloomberg edicts, it's one man, dictating to us how a bodega owner should display his products and by the way, with the cigarette ban, has anybody told michael bloomberg cigarettes are addictive and illegal to sell to minors? who is this law-- >> one thing about mayor bloomberg, i live in lower manhattan and they've been working on two blocks of the street and gut the pipes, that's taken longer than from the freedom tower to rise from
the basement to the 105th floor. i would like to mayor to focus on things that mayors are supposed to do instead of telling me or anyone else what we can eat, smoke, drink. >> paul: we have to take one more break. when we come back hits and misses of the week. what's droid-endurance ? the longest 4g lte battery in a razr thin profile. with 32 hours of battery life that turns an all-nighter, into a two-nighter. the droid razr maxx hd by motorola. droid-endurance. droid-powerful. love your passat! um. listen, gary. i bought the last one. nice try. says right here you can get one for $199 a month. you can't believe the lame-stream media, gary. they're all gone. maybe i'll get one. [ male announcer ] now everyone's going to want one. you can't have the same car as me, gary! i'm gettin' one. nope! [ male announcer ] volkswagen springtoberfest is here and there's no better time to get a passat. that's the power of german engineering. right now lease one of four volkswagen models for under $200 a month. visit vwdealer.com today.