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August 2015

The Decline—and Fall?—of Religious Freedom in America by Bruce Abramson

Bruce Abramson, director of policy at the Iron Dome Alliance and a senior fellow of the London Center, is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on topics mainly at the intersection of technology, economics, law, and public policy.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.—U.S. Constitution, First Amendment

America’s “first freedom” is under attack from an ascendant cultural secularism. Christians are its first target, but Jews and Judaism may not be far behind.

Religious freedom in America is under threat, and the battle is already in progress. For the most part, the burden of the struggle has been borne by Christians. America’s Jews, living safely behind the front lines, have paid little heed. But that safety is likely to be ephemeral. If freedom falls for those now fighting for their religious rights, it can fall for all, prominently including a community characterized by its attachment to an ancient and traditional moral code and defining ritual practices.

The threat emanates from a classic question: what is the proper relationship between church and state? The tension is as old as recorded history. It appears in the Epic of Gilgamesh and throughout Greek mythology. Some societies, from the pharaohs of ancient Egypt to Japan’s chrysanthemum throne, imbued their rulers with divinity. In Christendom, western kings answered to the pope while eastern churches supported the emperor. In Islam, the caliph held titles of both temporal and spiritual authority. England maintains an established church still today, while France severed its formal ties to Catholicism more than a century ago. In Jewish tradition, the Second Temple period was replete with conflicts between royals and priests—hence the rabbinic reluctance to embrace the Hasmoneans, priestly usurpers to the throne whose victories are celebrated annually by today’s Jews at Ḥanukkah. In modern-day Israel, selected areas of civil governance have been relegated entirely to religious authorities.

Demand the Documents Stephen F. Hayes and William Kristol

To paraphrase Lincoln, if we could first know where Iran is and whither Iran is tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it. To evaluate the Iran deal, we need, to the degree possible, to understand the Iranian regime, its nature and its history, its past and present behavior.

The bad news is that the Obama administration doesn’t want us to have all the information available to judge that regime and its behavior. The good news is that Congress can insist the information be provided.

Here’s an important instance. We have been told by six current or former intelligence officials that the collection of documents captured in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound includes explosive information on Iran’s relationship with al Qaeda over the past two decades, including details of Iran’s support for al Qaeda’s attacks on Americans. Some of these officials believe this information alone could derail the deal. We haven’t seen it. But the American people should see it all before Congress votes on the deal in September.

The Islamic State’s Campaign Plan by Vijeta Uniyal

ISIS wants to trigger this final conflict by unleashing attacks on Indian soil. If the U.S. comes to India’s aid, ISIS would declare a global Jihad, calling upon a billion Muslims to heed the call.

Despite the propaganda onslaught by ISIS, Indian authorities have apparently not yet grasped the true nature of the conflict between ISIS and India that is unfolding before their eyes. As ISIS raises an army among Indian Muslims and publicizes its apocalyptic goals for the Indian subcontinent, some in the Indian establishment still hope to lure the ISIS rank-and-file with government-funded welfare programs.

“Accept the fact that this caliphate will survive and prosper until it takes over the entire world and beheads every last person that rebels against Allah. … This is the bitter truth, swallow it.” — The Islamic State.

President Obama might not yet have a strategy to combat the Islamic State (ISIS), but the Islamic State has a strategy. It is, apparently, to bring about the “end of the world.” According to a document uncovered by American Media Institute (AMI) and reviewed by U.S. intelligence officials, ISIS is preparing to attack India, in the hope of forcing the U.S. to come to India’s aid and get mired in an apocalyptic conflict.


July is the month that commemorates our independence from Great Britain. The Declaration begins with the memorable words by Thomas Jefferson: “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another…” The Declaration of Independence speaks to the rights of man that were endowed by our Creator, and that among those rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

While not specifically mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, honor and virtue were traits that defined the character of the Founding Fathers. Two events this past month indicate how far we have strayed from that time. One was the secret filming at Planned Parenthood where doctors casually and callously negotiated the price of fetal tissues while sipping wine over lunch. It was revolting. Most of us recognize the value of scientific research, but most of us also see life as sacred. Reconciling the sanctity of life and the research that helps sustain it is not easy, but that is one function of Planned Parenthood. To listen to them defend what they did on legal grounds, but ignore the question of ethics was disrespectful and dispiriting. All human remains should be treated with respect. It was obvious that, to the people at Planned Parenthood, the fetuses discussed never represented life – hearts and lungs could have been carburetors or fan belts.

Kerry Wanted to Ban Coal in US While Getting Iran Nukes Daniel Greenfield

Just another sign of how demented and hypocritical the left is.Kerry thinks coal is too dangerous for America, but nukes are safe for Iran.

While John Kerry was working to help Iran go nuclear, he was fighting a different kind of covert energy war in the US.

The final shape of the Clean Power Plan was hashed out over months of often contentious meetings as administration officials debated how to balance two competing objectives. On one side were advocates who pushed for the deepest possible cuts in U.S. greenhouse-gas pollution to help build momentum for international climate talks this December in Paris. On the other were experienced regulators and lawyers who saw trouble ahead as the proposed rule picked up growing numbers of opponents in Congress and in the utilities industry…

Among those pushing for the strongest possible rule was Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who will represent the United States in talks later this year on a proposed international climate treaty. Kerry “pushed very hard internally” for a tough regulation, according to a diplomatic official familiar with the private discussions, arguing that the United States needed to set a strong example if it expected other countries to join in a global pact to reduce greenhouse-gas pollution blamed for accelerating Earth’s warming.

Burqa Ban Expanding In Africa :Stephen Brown

Cameroon latest country to outlaw Islamic garment after Boko Haram suicide bombers launch string of deadly attacks.

Only a month after the Muslim-majority nation of Chad announced in June a ban on the burqa and full-face veils, neighbouring Cameroon has done likewise. And for the same reason – to save lives.

Female suicide bombers wearing the Islamic garments left a trail of death and destruction in July in Cameroon, a West African nation of 22 million. Forty-three people perished in different attacks and dozens more were injured in the first suicide bombings ever to take place there.

The previous month, Chad had experienced the same devastation from suicide bombers, involving both men and women dressed in the all-concealing religious clothing. A twin suicide attack on June 15 in the country’s capital of N’Djamena, the first also for Chad, left 38 people dead. Another suicide attack in N’Djamena on July 12, involving a male bomber disguised in the Islamic dress, claimed an additional 15 lives. Chad announced its burqa and veil ban right after the June attack.

Shreya Sen :The Skin Game

A conservative of Indian heritage who is running for the White House, Louisiana’s Governor Bobby Jindal has committed what his detractors on the left regard as the greatest possible crime: He demands to be judged on this ideals and performance, not his race
The issue of race in politics is a contentious one, not just in Australia but also in the United States. In 2008, when Barack Obama became the first African-American president of what used to be called the Free World, there was massive celebration in the U.S. and, indeed, all around the globe. Yet Bobby Jindal (left), the conservative governor of Louisiana now running for the White House, has been showered with vitriol purely because of his skin colour. It seems the possibility of a brown man on the Republican ticket is such an affront to leftist sensibilities that no racist nor intellectually dishonest abuse is deemed beyond the pale.

The Washington Post, for example, opined in a Twitter post promoting its political coverage that “there’s not much Indian left in Bobby Jindal”. NBC News editorialised on the strength of minimal evidence that Indian-Americans reacted to Jindal’s presidential nomination bid “with jokes, embarrassment and critique”. That opinion must have taken its cue from little-known comedians and self-styled social commentators Hari Kondabolu and Aasif Mandvi, who launched the hash-tag #BobbyJindalSoWhite, prompting further abuse of Jindal wrapped in intellectual and political self-righteousness. Kondabolu tweeted, “I would rather have Apu (from The Simpsons) run for President than Bobby Jindal.”

Iran, the Munich Comparison, and the Abuse of History Posted By Victor Davis Hanson

The Iranian deal has called to mind the Munich Agreement of 1938. Then Britain and France signed away the sovereignty of Czechoslovakia, in hopes that Adolf Hitler would be content with absorbing the German-speaking Sudetenland borderlands and cease further territorial acquisitions. But that appeasement only accelerated Nazi atrocities, from Kristallnacht at home to the dismemberment of all Czechoslovakia and, the next year, the invasion of Poland.

Is the Munich disaster a sound analogy for the current proposed agreement with Iran?

The Obama administration and its supporters say no. And they have offered a variety of odd arguments. How can anyone compare the once most powerful state in industrial Europe with the current, relatively isolated, and backward Iran, whose theocracy supposedly poses a far smaller threat than did Adolf Hitler’s Wehrmacht?

How Obama Shrank the Military By Mark Moyar

He’s used the budget sequester to accomplish what looks to have been his political goal from the start.

News last month of the U.S. Army’s decision to cut 40,000 active-duty soldiers, shrinking to 450,000 by 2017, drew fusillades inside the Beltway. Sen. John McCain assailed “another dangerous consequence of budget-driven strategy.” Adam Smith, ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, fumed: “Sequestration and the Budget Control Act, which are responsible for slashing the defense budget, exist because the Republican Party held our economy hostage and threatened to default on our loans.”

These sound bites might bewilder Americans unfamiliar with the details of sequestration. Explanation is in order.

To start at the beginning: In 2011 Democrats controlled the White House and Senate, but Republicans promising fiscal restraint had swept the 2010 elections and controlled the House. That set up an inevitable confrontation, which culminated in the summer of 2011.

Clinton Needs to Read Up on the Castros By Mary Anastasia O’Grady

The embargo does not block the sale of books to Cuba, or isolate its economy from the world.

Getting to the left of Vermont senator and avowed socialist Bernie Sanders is no easy feat. But Hillary Clinton’s speech in Miami Friday was an excellent effort. What could be more reassuring to the extreme fringe of the Democratic Party (i.e., primary voters) than a candidate who uses the talking points of Fidel and Raúl Castro to explain Cuban isolation and misery?

The problem for the rest of the electorate is what the speech says about Mrs. Clinton’s foreign-policy judgment. Her remarks do not inspire confidence that she has a strategy for dealing with the intransigent Castro dictatorship.