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January 2017

Trump Should Dump Obama’s Transgender Shower Decree Unlike the major social reforms in America’s history, it was enacted without debate. By Deroy Murdock

Obama’s transgender bathroom, locker-room, and shower-stall decree belongs high atop the list of edicts that President Donald J. Trump should obliterate. From priorities to prematurity to procedure, this is public policy at its worst.

Obama jointly used his departments of Justice and Education to declare that all learning institutions that take federal funds — from kindergarten through graduate school — must allow students to enjoy the lavatories, locker rooms, showers, other facilities, and sports teams that correspond not to their objective genitalia but to their subjective “gender identity.” According to the DOJ and the DOE: “Gender identify refers to an individual’s internal sense of gender. A person’s gender identity may be different from or the same as the person’s sex defined at birth.”

This pronouncement emerged via a May 13 “guidance letter.”

At that time, Americans were enduring flaccid, 0.5 percent GDP growth, ever-longer wait lists at VA medical centers, and an explosion in homicides, including a 57 percent hike in murders of Chicagoans. Among those killed, 78 percent were black.

What a perfect time for Obama to cleave the country over an issue that was hardly on anyone’s menu. Yet again, his priorities were beyond baffling.

Second is the problem of prematurity:

Liberals love “national conversations.” Agree or disagree with the conclusions, Americans indeed engaged in national conversations before major social reforms.

We certainly had wide, open, vigorous debates before women secured the right to vote in August 1920, via the 19th Amendment, and afterward, throughout the feminist movement.

Decades of debate and discussion preceded the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and desegregation.

The Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision in June 2015 followed a national dialogue on gay marriage. Americans concurrently discussed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and other gay-rights topics.

But where was the equivalent national conversation on transgenderism?

The Obama/Kerry Tailwind to Terror by Evelyn Gordon

A few weeks ago, the security threat Israel faced from Palestinian terror looked relatively low. But then Barack Obama and John Kerry decided to meddle. The consequences were eminently predictable: They got to enjoy feeling self-righteous, while Israelis and Palestinians pay the price in blood.http://evelyncgordon.com/the-obamakerry-tailwind-to-terror/

Here’s what things looked like a few weeks ago: The lone-wolf Palestinian terror attacks that were proliferating a year ago had largely died down since most Palestinians had concluded (correctly) that they weren’t accomplishing anything. Rocket attacks from Gaza were at their lowest point in 11 years, with only 15 rockets fired in all of 2016, down from 24 in 2015. Moreover, the fact that just 39 rockets were fired in the two years following the Gaza war of 2014 showed that this war had created far greater deterrence than its predecessors. By comparison, 261 rockets were fired in the two years after the 2009 war and 412 in the two years after the 2012 war. And if further proof were needed of the war’s deterrent effect, there was Hamas’s bizarre offer last month to share its homemade rockets with anyone willing to use them against Israel–a clear indication that it had no intention of waging its own war anytime soon. If it did, it would be stockpiling its rockets rather than trying to hawk them.

But by last week, things looked very different. Israeli defense officials reported a sharp upsurge in attempted Palestinian attacks–primarily rock-throwing, but there was also a deadly car ramming in Jerusalem that killed four soldiers and wounded 16. In a highly unusual statement, the officials noted that this rise had occurred in the two weeks since the UN Security Council passed a resolution condemning Israeli settlements on December 23. And while the increase was partly attributable to the Palestinian exam season (when more teens are out throwing rocks because regular classes are canceled), it was much steeper than the usual exam-period spike.

That this upsurge occurred immediately after the UN resolution is no coincidence. Defense officials obviously can’t spell out the causal connection. It would be highly unseemly for them to accuse the Obama Administration of fomenting anti-Israel terror. But a commentator is subject to no such restraints, so let me explain.

In the months preceding the resolution, the international community had started paying more attention than ever before to the way the Palestinian Authority incites and encourages terror. For instance, a July report by the Quartet (comprising the U.S., UN, EU and Russia) infuriated the PA by including an unequivocal condemnation of PA incitement, complete with examples. Even more significantly, the British government announced last month that it was putting new restrictions on aid to the PA because of its payment of salaries to imprisoned terrorists, while the U.S. Congress isconsidering slashing aid to the PA for the same reason. Since the PA is already facing seriousfunding shortfalls, these were worrisome developments. Consequently, it had begun ratcheting its anti-Israel incitement ever so slightly downward.

Postmortem on a ‘Political Corpse’ What the Obama years represent about our political order and its future. Bruce Thornton

The last days of the Obama presidency are being filled with “legacy” talk. Critics have catalogued all the domestic and foreign policy disasters Obama will leave in his wake, from Obamacare to the rise of ISIS. The president himself has held a revival-tent rally and made various public statements that describe an alternate universe in which his manifest failures are transformed into epochal achievements. But in the long view, what do the Obama years represent about our political order and its future?

We can start with the complete discrediting of the mainstream media, the culmination of a degradation that started, like most of our political, social, and cultural diseases, in the sixties. The biased, politicized coverage of the Watergate scandal and the war in Vietnam marks the point when journalism moved from the usual liberal prejudices into activist advocacy. The open contempt with which most of the press covered Ronald Reagan and his presidency was another milestone, in contrast to the generally favorable coverage of Bill Clinton, followed by the malicious, sometimes vicious treatment of George W. Bush.

The candidacy of Barack Obama both climaxed this decades-long abandonment of journalistic ethics and integrity, and raised the press’s advocacy to levels of worshipful praise that would have embarrassed the foppish courtiers and groveling sycophants in Louis XIV’s Versailles: he was a “rock star,” the Democrats’ “Tiger Woods,” a politician “it’s hard to be objective when covering,” who made one reporter’s leg “tingle,” and whose very trouser-crease astonished another; one “so impressive, so charismatic,” “something special,” possessing “chiseled pectorals,” a “keen analytical intelligence,” “prodigious talents,” an “amazing legislative agenda,” and “huge achievements”; “one of our brightest presidents,” a “huge visionary,” “our national poet,” “the most noble man who has ever lived in the White House”; the “political equivalent of a rainbow,” “a sudden preternatural event inspiring awe and ecstasy,” “something special, a man who makes difficult tasks look easy,” the “visionary leader of a giant movement”; a president “able to game out scenarios before the experts in the room,” “a confident, intelligent, fascinating president riding the surge of his prodigious talents from triumph to triumph,” Hegel’s “world historical soul”; “the perfect father, the perfect husband, the perfect American,” a president “better than the body politic deserved,” and “a great speech writer” whose words comprise “one of the most moving, inspiring valentines to this country that I’ve ever heard.”

Add the media’s ongoing deranged, duplicitous coverage of president-elect Donald Trump, and Rich Noyes’ catalogue is a fitting epitaph for the mainstream media. Except with their fellow progressive cultists weeping and cowering in “safe spaces,” they have no credibility or journalistic dignity left. Their collective suicide is Obama’s legacy.

ISIS Burns Mother And Four Children Radical Islamic terrorists justify killing infidel children while enlisting child soldiers for jihad. Joseph Klein

The Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, keeps taking brutality in the name of Islam to new lows. For example, members of the Islamic State are reported to have tied up a mother and her four children, including a 9-month-old boy, poured oil over them and set them on fire. The victims’ capital crime was to leave the land occupied by the Islamic State caliphate. Islamic State faithful used a different means to kill 250 children at a bakery in Syria. “They were put in the dough mixer, they were kneaded,” a Syrian Christian woman described, as quoted by the Express. “The oldest one of them was four-years-old.” The woman’s 18 year old son was beaten and then shot to death because he would not renounce his Christian faith. Other mothers have had to witness their children crucified.

In a horrifying example of a mass execution videotaped by ISIS, 200 children were shot to death by ISIS members in a depraved act of barbarism.

A United Nations body dealing with the rights of children issued a report nearly two years ago denouncing the “systematic killing of children belonging to religious and ethnic minorities by the so-called Isis, including several cases of mass executions of boys, as well as reports of beheadings, crucifixions of children and burying children alive.”

All non-believers are “legitimate targets” as far as ISIS is concerned – including children. The Counter Jihad Report has pointed to an ISIS essay entitled “The Kafir’s blood is Halal for you. So shed it,” which seeks to justify the killing of non-believers with citations to the Koran and early Muslim scholars. The essay concluded by telling Muslims who live in the lands of non-believers that shedding the infidels’ blood and killing them “is a form of worship to Allah, the Lord, King, and God of mankind.”

When the ISIS savages are not busy killing children, they use children as executioners. One sickening video released by ISIS shows a little kid – whom they call a caliphate “cub” – shooting a Kurd “apostate” at close range, while what appears to be religious chants can be heard in the background.

ISIS boasted in the eighth edition of its propaganda publication ‘Dabiq’ that it has established “institutes for “ashbāl (lion cubs) to train and hone their military skills and to teach them the book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam).”

Because Nothing Says ‘I CAIR’ Like a Pardon By Andrew C. McCarthy

Thinking about what else could happen in the next 48 hours?

The Investigative Project on Terrorism reports that CAIR (the Council on America-Islamic Relations) is leading a furious lobbying campaign by Islamists in the U.S. to persuade President Obama to free the five Hamas operatives convicted in the Holy Land Foundation case.

Isn’t that rich?

The HLF prosecution is the most significant terrorism financing case the Justice Department has ever done. Hamas, a designated terrorist organization under federal law, is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. In the HLFcase, the government proved not only that leading Islamist organizations in America were helping the Brotherhood transmit millions of dollars overseas to Hamas; prosecutors further demonstrated – using the Brotherhood’s own internal memoranda – that the Brotherhood saw its mission in the United States as “a grand jihad to eliminate and destroy Western civilization from within.”

In this grand jihad, the Brotherhood was in cahoots with these leading Islamist organizations, many of which had roots in the Brotherhood. One of these was … CAIR.

Indeed, Hamas and Brotherhood activists created CAIR in 1993-94 because they realized they needed an organization with legal know-how and media polish to advance the Islamist agenda. Having studied the United States (in a way that we resist studying radical Islam), they also realized that if they labeled their new creation a Muslim “civil rights” organization, the media would play along – CAIR would be lauded as a social justice warrior rather than revealed as a jihadist mouthpiece.

So CAIR was shown to be an unindicted co-conspirator in the HLF case. After the convictions of the five HLF officials in 2008, however, the incoming Obama administration opted against prosecuting CAIR and the other Islamist organizations that had assisted the conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization. In fact, early in his administration, Obama proclaimed his commitment “to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat.”

Environmentalists’ Fact-Free Case against Scott Pruitt Pruitt’s record is one of defending the environment and attempting to get the EPA to operate within the law. By David B. Rivkin Jr. & Andrew Grossman

Environmentalists know that they don’t like Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general whom President-elect Donald Trump has tapped to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. But they don’t seem to know exactly why, based on the fact-free attacks being lobbed in his direction. Could it be that they’re simply mistaken?

Sure, Pruitt’s led the movement of states resisting the Obama-era EPA’s overreaches and challenging them in court. (In full disclosure: He brought us in to represent Oklahoma in its challenge to EPA carbon-emission rules.) But his point in those cases has always been that the EPA has to live within the limits of the law, including the constitutional prohibition on the federal government from directing the states to do its bidding. So when the EPA overstepped the line, Pruitt took it to court. A desire to see the agency follow the law isn’t exactly disqualifying for an EPA administrator.

It also doesn’t say much about how Pruitt regards the environment. He’s on record as arguing that conservatives should recognize the important role of the EPA in addressing pollution that flows across state lines, which is a uniquely federal problem. But that, he’s said, should be the EPA’s focus. Echoing the Clean Air Act itself, Pruitt’s view is that most pollution is the primary responsibility of states and local governments. Only they can understand and act on the trade-offs involved in environmental protection and have the flexibility to take into account local needs, rather than impose one-size-fits-all nationwide rules.

On that score, Pruitt has practiced what he preached. When he entered office in 2011, one of the most serious environmental problems facing Oklahoma was poultry runoff, mostly from Arkansas farms, fouling the waters of the Illinois River and Lake Tenkiller in the eastern part of the state. Oklahoma had brought a federal lawsuit against 14 poultry producers in 2005, and it took nearly five years for the case to be teed up for a decision, in 2010.

After waiting two more years for the court to act, Pruitt decided to take matters into his own hands and negotiated a solution directly with Arkansas. The states commissioned Baylor University researchers to study Oklahoma’s water-quality standards and worked together to reduce runoff through increased waste treatment and disposing of poultry waste outside the river basin.

J. D. Strong, the former head of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, specifically credits Pruitt with getting all the responsible parties “around the table” to make progress. During Pruitt’s tenure, Strong told Energy & Environment News, the state “made great strides when it comes to actual efforts to clean up scenic rivers in Oklahoma.”

It’s No Revelation That Intelligence Agencies Are Politicized Trump is acknowledging a fact that recent history has repeatedly demonstrated. By Victor Davis Hanson

Furor has arisen over President-elect Donald Trump’s charges that our intelligence agencies are politicized.

Spare us the outrage. For decades, directors of intelligence agencies have often quite inappropriately massaged their assessments to fit administration agendas.

Careerists at these agencies naturally want to continue working from one administration to the next in “the king is dead; long live the king!” style. So they make the necessary political adjustments, which are sometimes quite at odds with their own agency’s findings and to the detriment of national security. The result is often confusion — and misinformation passed off as authoritative intelligence.

After Barack Obama won the 2008 election, George W. Bush intelligence adviser John Brennan stayed on as Obama’s homeland-security adviser. He is currently the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Under Obama, Brennan loudly criticized the use of enhanced interrogation techniques under the Bush administration. Brennan praised his new boss for his superior approach to combating terrorism.

Brennan, who had served a year as the director of the National Counterterrorism Center under Bush, later assured the nation that enhanced interrogation techniques had helped “save lives” and were an important tool in combating terrorism.

In 2010, Brennan inexplicably declared that jihad was “a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community,” rather than the use of force against non-Muslims to promote the spread of Islam, as it is commonly defined in the Middle East.

Brennan assured the nation that the Obama administration’s drone assassination program had not resulted in “a single collateral death” — a claim widely disbelieved even by administration supporters.

Pope Francis Strengthens Palestinian Refusal to End Hostilities with Israel by Giulio Meotti

By opening the Palestinian embassy during this critical time of intensified anti-Israel animosity, was the Pope justifying the Palestinian-Arab attempt to isolate the Jewish State and to impose on it unacceptable conditions of surrender through international pressure?

Unfortunately, Pope Francis’s papacy has been marked by a long list of anti-Israel gestures which did not advance the cause of peace the Pope claims to champion.

The Pope also met with Palestinian “refugees,” as if the 1948 war were the source of conflict between the two peoples, instead of centuries of Muslims having displaced Christians and other non-Muslims from Persia, the Christian Byzantine Empire, all of North Africa, Southern Spain, and most of Eastern Europe.

The Pope called Abbas an “angel of peace”. Really? An angel of peace? According to Shmuely Boteach, “Abbas spent his life murdering Jews,” by financing the Munich terror attack in 1972, by inciting against Jews and by glorifying Palestinian terrorists. The Pope, in short is praising a corrupt supporter of terrorists, a torturer who has abolished any democratic process in the West Bank.

During these four years, Pope Francis has continually put significant barriers in the way of peace between Israelis and Palestinians — a peace based on dialogue, mutual respect and the end of conflict. Instead, this supposed man of peace has strengthened Abbas’s refusal to negotiate with the Jews — the Christians’ “elder brothers”, as Pope John Paul II bravely called them — and to end hostilities with them. If this is his view of Caritas, what a tragic shame.

Mahmoud Abbas’s activities in Rome began on January 14, with the formal opening of the Palestinian Embassy to the Vatican.

The “Palestinian president”, now in the twelfth year of his four year term, then met with Pope Francis for the third time since the start of his papacy four years ago. The high-profile get-together took place in the middle of the Palestinian attempt to bypass the talks with Israel and to internationalize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A few weeks ago, the UN Security Council in Res. 2334, condemned Israel for its “settlements”; failed to mention any wrongdoing, such countless Palestinian stabbings and car-rammings of Israeli civilians, and the US Administration, which had planned and orchestrated the UN ambush, refused, for the first time in forty years, to veto the anti-Israel resolution, thereby ensuring it would pass.

This week, on January 15, 2017, the “Palestinian question” dominated the French summit in Paris. By opening the Palestinian embassy during this critical time of intensified anti-Israel animosity, was the Pope justifying the Palestinian-Arab attempt to isolate the Jewish State and to impose on it unacceptable conditions of surrender through international pressure?

Unfortunately, Pope Francis’s papacy has been marked by a long list of anti-Israel gestures which did not advance the cause of peace that the Pope claims to champion.

When the Pope landed in Israel n 2014, he was photographed praying at Israel’s security barrier, which had been created simply to stop the wave of Palestinian suicide attacks against Israeli civilians. The Pope then stood beneath a graffiti that compares Palestinians with Jews under the Nazis. “Bethlehem looks like the Warsaw Ghetto”, the graffiti said. If it does, it only looks that way because, since the once Christian-majority city Bethlehem was transferred to total Palestinian Authority control in 1995, most of its beleaguered Christians have fled.

Turkey and Terrorists by Burak Bekdil

Common sense would expect such a front-runner victim at least to have some sense of empathy for terror victims elsewhere. Right? Wrong. Not in Turkey.

Unfortunately, Erdogan’s ideological attachments visibly defeat his fake rhetoric that there are no good terrorists and bad terrorists.

Unsurprisingly, Erdogan who “opposes terror regardless of the terrorist’s identity, rhetoric or [religious] faith … whoever it targets,” has not condemned the latest attack in Jerusalem.

Ten statements in total condemning terror. Not a single word for the young victims of terror in Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a good point when, a day after a terrorist attack in Istanbul killed 38 people on Dec. 10, he said that he condemned all terrorism in Turkey and expected that Turkey did the same when terror targeted Israel. “The fight against terrorism must be mutual,” Netanyahu said. “It must be mutual in condemnation and in countermeasures, and this is what the State of Israel expects from all countries it is in contact with, including Turkey,” Netanyahu said a day before Ankara and Jerusalem formally normalized their frozen diplomatic relations. Netanyahu’s expectation was legitimate but not realistic, especially with Turkey.

A few days later, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman issued an order outlawing the Istanbul-based International Kanadil Institute for Humanitarian Aid, a Turkish aid group, accusing it of funnelling money to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. “The Kanadil foundation is identified with Hamas and with the Muslim Brotherhood and in recent years had been used as a main pipeline for funding projects by Hamas in Jerusalem,” Lieberman’s spokesperson said in a statement. Turkey’s logistical and political support for its ideological next of kin, Hamas, did not come as a surprise, despite normalization with Israel: for Turkey’s rulers, there are terrorists, and terrorists who go with fancy tags.

In a November interview with Israel’s Channel 2, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he does not view Hamas as a terrorist organization. He called it instead a “political movement born from [a] national resurrection.” He also said he meets with Hamas “all the time.”

Turkey Turns Church into Museum; Greece Builds New Mosque by Uzay Bulut

When one talks about Christians in Turkey, one tends to think of them as migrants who moved to the area after Muslims took over or as if Muslims have always been the majority there.

The truth is Bilecik and the rest of Asia Minor, which today has a tiny, dwindling Christian minority, used to be majority-Christian lands, the great Christian-Byzantine Empire.

“The Greek community is dying, and it is not a natural death.” — A Greek an in Istanbul to Helsinki Watch, 1992.

“The Greek community in Istanbul today is dwindling, elderly and frightened,” Helsinki Watch reported. “Their fearfulness is related to an appalling history of pogroms and expulsions that they have suffered at the hands of the Turkish government.” — Helsinki Watch, 1992.

“The conquest of Bilecik is not a random conquest of a territory. The conquest of Bilecik means the establishment of the Ottoman state. And the establishment of the Ottoman state means the beginning of a blessed march. When future generations see this project, they will understand they should be proud of their ancestors and history.” — Selim Yagci, Mayor of Bilecik.

As Turks are taught to take pride in every single thing in their history — including all of the crimes of their ancestors — they still continue committing similar crimes.

Turkish newspapers have recently reported that plans are underway to restore the historic Greek Hagios Georgios Church, referred to as “Aya Yorgi” in Turkish. The church will be converted into a museum and a cultural site.

Osmaneli Mayor Munur Sahin said that the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, also visited the region, and said:

“We re-evaluated the situation of the church. This place will never be opened to worship again. It will serve as a museum and a cultural venue. We obtained the necessary permits; we will bring movable cultural artifacts from around Osmaneli and keep them here.”

The restoration project, approved by the Council of Monuments, is set to be finished in two years. The church lies in ruins — largely because the congregants were either murdered or forcibly deported during and after the 1914-1923 Greek genocide.