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May 2017

Gunmen leave 26 dead, 25 injured in bus attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt

CAIRO, May 26 (Reuters) – Gunmen attacked buses and a truck taking a group of Coptic Christians to a monastery in southern Egypt on Friday, killing 26 people and wounding 25 others, witnesses and the Health Ministry said.

An Interior Ministry spokesman said the unidentified gunmen had arrived in three four-wheel-drive vehicles.

Eyewitnesses said masked men stopped the two buses and a truck and opened fire on a road leading to the monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor in Minya province, which is home to a sizeable Christian minority.

Security forces launched a hunt for the attackers, setting up dozens of checkpoints and patrols on the desert road.The grand imam of al-Azhar, Egypt’s 1,000-year-old center of Islamic learning, said the attack was intended to destabilize the country.

“I call on Egyptians to unite in the face of this brutal terrorism,” Ahmed al-Tayeb said from Germany, where he was on a visit.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called a meeting of security officials, the state news agency said. The Health Ministry put the toll at 26 dead and 25 wounded.

Coptic Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 92 million, have been the subject of a series of deadly attacks in recent months.

The Big Money Behind Fake News What really powers the media’s fake news scandal machine. Daniel Greenfield

Fake news is profitable.

The New York Times hit piece on the Comey memo earned the paper its most concurrent readers per second. Pretty good for a piece about a piece of paper that the leftist paper had never even seen and which was, supposedly, described to it by one of Comey’s associates.

But that didn’t stop it from racking up over 6 million views.

Media fake news isn’t just an agenda. It’s enormously profitable. Hit pieces powered by anonymous sources bring in over 100,000 readers in an age when live is king. For individual reporters, finding a source, real or fake, that can back up the left’s Trump conspiracy theories can put them on the map.

The Comey story comes from Michael Schmidt who made a name by supposedly finding documents relating to media claims of a “Haditha Massacre” in a Baghdad junkyard where “an attendant was burning them as fuel to cook a dinner of smoked carp.” It was dashing and also very convenient.

The claims didn’t hold up in court. Most of the Marine heroes who were dragged through the mud over Haditha had their cases dropped. One case dragged out and ultimately came out to very little. But the New York Times cashed in. And Schmidt did much better out of it than Cpl. Stephen Tatum.

Haditha was the Times’ discount version of Mai Lai. Now in a desperate effort to reclaim the glory days of the media left, the New York Times and the Washington Post are trying to recreate Watergate.

It’s no coincidence that many of the big vital hit pieces aimed at President Trump have come out of the Washington Post. At the end of last year, the paper owned by Amazon boss Jeff Bezos went on a hiring spree. The goal was “quick turnaround investigative reporting”.

Washington Post editor Marty Baron explained, “We are creating a rapid response investigative team to do investigative stories more quickly, using a lot of the digital tools that are available to us now. We hugely value the longer, deeper investigations as well, but we want to supplement that with quicker investigations that can have an impact almost immediately.”

How do you do “quicker investigations”? How can you predict that an investigation will pay off rapidly? The best way to make sure that your investigation will quickly deliver a major story is to fake it.

Those quick investigative stories haven’t been coming from digital tools. They are based on anonymous sources. Real investigative reporting takes time. But a fake news story full of innuendo backed by a bunch of anonymous sources that repeat what “everyone” in the media already knows is true, is quick.

That’s what having “an impact almost immediately” means. You don’t do the hard work. You fake it.

The Washington Post has racked up viral hit fake news stories backed by anonymous sources. And it’s paying off. The Post claimed a traffic increase of 50% at the end of last year with a 75% increase in new subscribers. The official line is that Jeff Bezos has transformed the Post’s digital strategy. The reality was conveyed by its new anti-Trump slogan. “Democracy dies in darkness.” The silly slogan was an exercise in branding. It announced that this was the paper of choice for “researched” attacks on Trump.

Now the Post has hit $100 million in digital revenues and added hundreds of thousands of digital subscribers. All of this is quite a change from a few years ago when the Post was losing $50 million a year and Baron was talking about shrinking the newsroom.

The National Association of Scholars’ “Beach Books Report” College “Common Reading Programs” are as “progressive” as you think. Jack Kerwick

Depending on the institution of one’s choice, those who are planning to enter college for the first time in the fall may be expected to read an assigned book over the summer. That is, many schools have a “common reading program,” a program designed to insure that incoming students read the same book before embarking upon their college career.

As the National Association of Scholars has amply demonstrated in its recent “Beach Books Report (BBR),” the ideological indoctrination of college students can’t begin quickly enough.

The BBR is a study of 348 institutions of higher learning. This includes 171 public four-year schools, 81 private sectarian schools, 70 private nonsectarian institutions, and 26 community colleges. Fifty-eight of these schools were identified by U.S. News & World Report as among the top 100 universities in the country, while 25 are among the top 100 liberal arts colleges. The colleges and universities covered by the BBR report are located in 46 states and Washington D.C.

What the study found is that colleges “rarely assign” classic texts, making “the common reading genre…parochial, contemporary, and progressive.” In fact, 75% (271) of the common reading books were published between 2010 and 2016 while 94% (327) were published between 2000 and 2016.

The books were all published during the lifetime of the students.

As for the most popular subjects and themes, anyone who knows anything at all about contemporary academia won’t be surprised by the BBR’s findings.

For the academic year 2016-2017, the study’s authors ascribed to the common readings 576 subject labels that are divided into 30 subject categories. “The most popular subject categories,” it states, “were Civil Rights/Racism/Slavery (74 readings), Crime and Punishment (67 readings), Media/Silence/Technology (34 readings), Immigration (32 readings), and Family Dysfunction/Separation (31 readings).”

The BBC also broke the readings down into 251 theme labels and 18 theme categories. That most of these “register the common reading committees’ persisting interest in ‘diversity,’ defined by non-white ethnicity at home and abroad,” is hardly unexpected to readers of this column. Some other findings, though, while anything but shocking, are nevertheless telling.

“Many common readings discuss books of which a film or television version exists, an increasing number are graphic novels [what used to be called “comic books”] or memoirs, many have a protagonist under 18 or simply young-adult novels, and a significant number have an association with National Public Radio (NPR).”

Comic books; young-adult novels; books based on popular films and TV shows and associated with NPR—this is much of the stuff of common reading programs.

The BBR summarizes its findings: “The themes register most strongly the common reading genre’s continuing obsession with race, as well as the infantilization of its students, its middlebrow taste, and its progressive politics.”

Indeed. This past academic year, “the most popular themes were African-American (103), Latin American (25), Protagonist Under 18 (25), African (15), and Islamic World (13).”

For the last three consecutive years, “Racism/Civil Rights/Slavery and Crime and Punishment were the two most popular subject categories,” and “African-American themes were…the most popular theme [.]” These subjects and themes became even more popular this past year than they had been in the two preceding years.

The “top books” for common reading illustrate this trend. The most routinely assigned text is Bryan Stevenson’s, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. This is a work of nonfiction. The theme is “African-American” and the subject categories are “Civil Rights/Racism/Slavery” and “Crime and Punishment.”

Then there is Ta-Nehisi Coates’ memoir, Between the World and Me. The theme is “African-American,” and the subject categories are “Civil Rights/Racism/Slavery” and “Crime and Punishment.”

The Fourth Circuit Distorts the Law to Defeat Trump’s Travel Ban Call it ‘Trumplaw.’ By David French see note please

This is written by a “Never Trumper” who has not let up on his criticism, so this column is very important….rsk

A strange madness is gripping the federal judiciary. It is in the process of crafting a new standard of judicial review, one that does violence to existing precedent, good sense, and even national security for the sake of defeating Donald Trump. We’ll call this new jurisprudence “Trumplaw,” and its latest victim is once again the so-called Trump travel ban. The perpetrator is the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

This afternoon, the Fourth Circuit upheld a nationwide injunction on Trump’s temporary halt on immigration from six majority-Muslim countries — each of which is either a state sponsor of terrorism (Sudan and Iran) or overrun with terrorist violence, with entire regions under jihadist control (Libya, Yemen, Syria, and Somalia). Indeed, some of these countries no longer have a recognizably functional government.

Here is the essence of the court’s ruling: Trump’s campaign statements were so grotesque that they not only (1) hurt the feelings of a Muslim resident so much that he was granted standing to challenge an executive order that did not apply to him, but also (2) rendered an otherwise lawful executive order so damaging that the harm to the plaintiff’s feelings (and his wife’s possibly delayed entry into the United States) outweigh the government’s asserted national-security interest in pausing to reexamine foreign entry from hostile and war-torn countries.

Since Trumplaw is such a novel form of jurisprudence, it’s exceedingly hard to square with existing precedent. So, when existing precedent either doesn’t apply or cuts against the overriding demand to stop Trump, then it’s up to the court to yank that law out of context, misinterpret it, and then functionally rewrite it to reach the “right” result.

Take, for example, the Fourth Circuit’s reading of a Supreme Court case called Kleindienst v. Mandel. In Mandel, a collection of scholars demanded that the U.S. grant a non-immigrant visa to Belgian Marxist journalist. The government had denied him entry under provisions of American law excluding those who advocated or published “the economic, international, and governmental doctrines of world communism.” Make no mistake, the First Amendment protects the right to advocate or publish Marxist doctrines every bit as much as it protects the free exercise of the Islamic faith. Yet the Supreme Court still ruled against the Belgian journalist:

We hold that, when the Executive exercises [its] power negatively on the basis of a facially legitimate and bona fide reason, the courts will neither look behind the exercise of that discretion, nor test it by balancing its justification against the First Amendment interests of those who seek personal communication with the applicant.

The meaning is clear. If the order is supported by legitimate and bona fide reasons on its face, you simply don’t go beyond the document. By that standard, the executive order is easily and clearly lawful. On its face, the order asserts a legitimate and bona fide national-security justification. On its face, the order isn’t remotely a Muslim ban. On its face it doesn’t target the Muslim faith in any way, shape, or form. On its face it describes exactly why each nation is included. The Fourth Circuit, however, interpreted Mandel to argue that the Court looked only at the face of the document to determine whether its supporting reasons were legitimate, not whether they were “bona fide.” It could go “behind” the document to determine “good faith.”

Shock: Complete MSM News Blackout on NSA Illegal Spying Bombshell By Debra Heine

“The legacy media’s institutional left-wing bias has always been obvious, but it’s never been quite this sickening.”

On Wednesday, investigative news site Circa News broke a blockbuster story about illegal spying during the Obama years. So far, only Fox News and a handful of conservative websites have covered the bombshell news. According to Newsbusters, the big three networks — ABC, CBS, and NBC — have completely omitted the story from their evening broadcasts. So have the Washington Post, the New York Times, and every other major mainstream media outlet. They’ve opted instead to cover RussiaGate fodder that continues to bear little fruit and negative news about Donald Trump.

“Trump shoved someone in Brussels today!” every mainstream media news outlet in America reported ad nauseam on Thursday.

In their report, Circa revealed that “the National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall.”

“More than one in 20 internet searches conducted by the National Security Agency, involving Americans, during the Obama administration violated constitutional privacy protections,” Fox News’ Bret Baier reported near the top of Special Report Wednesday evening. “And that practice went on for years. Not only that, but the Obama administration was harshly rebuked by the FISA court for doing it.”

Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen cut to the chase: “On the day President Obama visited Los Angeles last October to yuk it up with Jimmy Kimmel, lawyers for the National Security Agency were quietly informing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that NSA had systematically violated the rights of countless Americans.”

Via Newsbusters:

“Declassified documents, first obtained by the news site Circa, show the FISA court sharply rebuked the administration,” Rosen noted as he began to read a passage from the FISA court’s opinion. “’With greater frequency than previously disclosed to the Court, NSA analysts had used U.S. person identifiers to query the results of internet ‘upstream’ collection, even though NSA’s Section 702 minimization procedures prohibited such queries.’”

The Fox News reporter was intrigued by the documents because: “These disclosers are timely though, as Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act—one of the primary means by which U.S. citizens are caught up in incidental surveillance—is up for reauthorization, Bret, by the Congress at year’s end.”

John Soloman, one of the Circa reporters who broke the story, talked with Rosen and told him that “tonight, for the first time, we can say confidently that there’s been a finding that some of that espionage, that spying on Americans, actually violated the law.”

The condemning evidence seemed to have no end, as Rosen reported that:

The documents show it was back in 2011 that the FISA court first determined NSA’s procedures to be, quote, “statutorily and constitutionally deficient with respect to their protection of U.S. person information.” Five years later, two weeks before Election Day, the judges learned that NSA had never adequately enacted the changes it had promised to make. The NSA inspector general and its office of compliance for operations “have been conducting other reviews covering different time periods,” the judges noted, “with preliminary results suggesting that the problem is widespread during all periods of review.”

Rosen had also mentioned how “the judges blasted NSA’s ‘institutional ‘lack of candor’’ and added ‘This is a very serious fourth amendment issue.’” CONTINUE AT SITE

Why Won’t the FBI Give Congress the Comey Memos? By Rick Moran

The FBI says it won’t give Congress the memos written by former FBI Director James Comey that reportedly gave his impressions of conversation he had with President Trump.

They say they must check with Special Counsel Mueller first and that there are “other considerations.”


The House Oversight Committee and other congressional panels requested the memos earlier this month after The New York Times reported that Comey wrote in one that Trump had asked him to shut down the FBI’s investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Trump denied the allegation.

In a letter to Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the FBI’s assistant director for congressional affairs, Gregory Brower, said the bureau can’t provide the memo until it consults with Robert Mueller, the new special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s election meddling.

In light of Mueller’s appointment “and other considerations,” Brower wrote, “we are undertaking appropriate consultation to ensure all relevant interests implicated by your request are properly evaluated.” Brower pledged to update the Oversight panel “as soon as possible.”

Chaffetz responded to Brower’s letter on Thursday by restating his demand for the memos and setting a new deadline of June 8.

“Congress and the American public have a right and a duty to examine this issue independently of the special counsel’s investigation,” Chaffetz said. “I trust and hope you understand this and make the right decision – to produce these documents to the committee immediately and on a voluntary basis.”

“All relevant interests”? The only “relevant interest” that should concern the FBI is a speedy resolution by the people’s representatives to a situation that is harming the president and — not coincidentally — the Republican Party.

And how long does it take to get the special counsel on the phone and ask him if it’s OK to release the memos to Congress?

The FBI is slow walking the investigation and is resisting cooperating with Congress, letting Trump dangle while his political enemies savage him. Can you say “revenge”?

Note to FBI: Stop playing cutesy with the most important pieces of evidence you have and give the damn memos to Congress.

Trump’s Israel Trip Was ‘the Moment’ to Announce Embassy Relocation, Lawmakers Say By Nicholas Ballasy

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of House members called on President Trump to move the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Some had speculated that Trump would announce the embassy relocation, which was one of his campaign promises, during his recent trip to Israel.

“With new prospects for supporting Israel under President Trump, Congress needs to do everything it can to fulfill our promise of recognizing Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the state of Israel and to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” said Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) at an Israel Allies Foundation congressional reception on Wednesday evening. “Jerusalem is the site of Israel’s president, parliament and Supreme Court. However, you have a world community that’s not letting Israel have official world acceptance of that and that’s wrong. I don’t know of any other country in the world that’s not allowed to name its own capital and be accepted by the rest of the world.”

Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas) said President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush “committed” to moving the embassy but did not follow through with the 1995 law requiring the relocation. Green said that he hopes Trump moves forward with the embassy relocation but described Trump’s visit to Israel earlier this week as “a good trip” overall.

“Why would we not have our embassy in the capital city of Israel? It just doesn’t make any sense, and if somebody wants to stop the peace process because of that they have a whole bunch of things they’re not going to agree on,” Green told PJM. “I’m a Democrat and I’m not sure what’s going through President Trump’s head to do that, but he committed to it. But again, on a bipartisan basis, we’ve been deflated before – hopefully that won’t be this time, because next time I go to Israel I would hope we’ll see groundbreaking on our embassy there.”

Some of the lawmakers at the event were disappointed that Trump make a statement in Israel committing to the embassy move. The administration has said it’s considered the proposal, and has also indicated that a Mideast peace agreement is a priority.

“I think the embassy should be moved to Jerusalem because Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. I’m sorry that President Trump, who said during his campaign that we would move it, hasn’t done it, but I’m hoping he will in the future,” said Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.). “I was in favor of moving the embassy to Jerusalem. I voted for it in the original legislation.”

Engel continued, “To be fair to President Trump, none of the presidents moved the embassy. I think it’s frankly something President Bush should have done, something President Obama should have done and something President Trump should do. You know, he’s new. There’s still plenty of time – let’s hope he does the right thing.” The law includes a national security waiver that presidents have invoked to stall the move.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) said now is the time to move the embassy.

Unadulterated Evil: Remembering Manchester By Eileen F. Toplansky

In The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, radical evil is described in the following fashion:

By the way, a Bulgarian . . . told me about the crimes committed by Turks and Circassians in all parts of Bulgaria[.] They burn villages, murder, outrage women and children, they nail their prisoners by the ears to the fences, leave them so till morning, and in the morning they hang them all – all sorts of things you can’t imagine. People talk sometimes of bestial cruelty, but that’s a great injustice and insult to the beasts; a beast can never be so cruel as a man, so artistically cruel.

These Turks took a pleasure in torturing children too; cutting the unborn child from the mother’s womb, and tossing babies up in the air and catching them on the points of their bayonets before their mother’s eyes. Doing it before the mother’s eyes was what gave zest to the amusement.

Imagine a trembling mother with her baby in her arms, a circle of invading Turks around her. They’ve planned a diversion; they pet the baby, laugh to make it laugh. They succeed, the baby laughs. At that moment a Turk, points a pistol four inches from the baby’s face. The baby laughs with glee, holds out its little hands to the pistol, and he pulls the trigger in the baby’s face and blows out its brains.

The above passage was used in a 1980 essay by Kenneth R. Seeskin titled “The Reality of Radical Evil,” wherein he describes the actions of the Nazis against the Jews during the Holocaust.

Seeskin maintains that such evil describes “the actions of someone who understands only too well what human dignity is and takes pleasure in mocking it.” In fact, “he has chosen to profane the tenderest and most sacred of living creatures and to do so in a manner destined to show the victim and everyone else that he is fully aware of the horror in what he is doing.”

Seeskin makes a distinction between those murderers with a conscience and those who do not possess one. He maintains that this describes the “essence of radical evil. It both denies God and puts something awful in His place. In theological terms, it is really a form of idolatry – only not the kind which is satisfied with pagan gods or graven images. The person who attempts to exterminate a whole people does not just succumb to evil, he worships it.”

As with the Holocaust, Islamic jihadist evil is a “nihilistic, demonic celebration of death.” Consider the word celebration. In the Muslim world, when the infidel is slaughtered, “they hand out sweets in jubilation” as the murderers are praised, and the families of the evildoers are paid for the evil perpetuated.

Unfortunately, despite philosophers’ and religious leaders’ attempts to explain the evil, “morality has nothing to say to those who appear to choose evil purely for its own sake, nor reason to those who insist on knowing why such choices are made.”

But there certainly is a common thread that describes such evil. It “unites cruelty, desecration, humiliation, and every other form of depravity. Where God creates what has dignity or lasting significance, [evil doers] seek to reduce it to nothing. Human beings, sacred articles, transcendent ideals – all are turned to waste.” Consider the destruction by ISIS of artifacts dating back thousands of years.

Furthermore, “[a]s Joseph Contrad once said: ‘[t]he belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary, [as] men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.'”

As many so-called pundits and politicians attempt to mitigate the evil by equivocation and mouthing absurdities, it is important to recall “that when evil is so foul that its full horror defies description, the categories of more or less and of better or worse no longer apply.”

Anatomy of a Deep State The EPA’s ‘Science Integrity Official’ is plotting to undermine Trump’s agenda.By Kimberley A. Strassel

On May 8 a woman few Americans have heard of, working in a federal post that even fewer know exists, summoned a select group of 45 people to a June meeting in Washington. They were almost exclusively representatives of liberal activist groups. The invitation explained they were invited to develop “future plans for scientific integrity” at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Meet the deep state. That’s what conservatives call it now, though it goes by other names. The administrative state. The entrenched governing elite. Lois Lerner. The federal bureaucracy. Whatever the description, what’s pertinent to today’s Washington is that this cadre of federal employees, accountable to no one, is actively working from within to thwart Donald Trump’s agenda.

There are few better examples than the EPA post of Scientific Integrity Official. (Yes, that is an actual job title.) The position is a legacy of Barack Obama, who at his 2009 inaugural promised to “restore science to its rightful place”—his way of warning Republicans that there’d be no more debate on climate change or other liberal environmental priorities.
Team Obama directed federal agencies to implement “scientific integrity” policies. Most agencies tasked their senior leaders with overseeing these rules. But the EPA—always the overachiever—bragged that it alone had chosen to “hire a senior level employee” whose only job would be to “act as a champion for scientific integrity throughout the agency.”

In 2013 the EPA hired Francesca Grifo, longtime activist at the far-left Union of Concerned Scientists. Ms. Grifo had long complained that EPA scientists were “under siege”—according to a report she helped write—by Republican “political appointees” and “industry lobbyists” who had “manipulated” science on everything from “mercury pollution to groundwater contamination to climate science.”

As Scientific Integrity Official, Ms. Grifo would have the awesome power to root out all these meddlesome science deniers. A 2013 Science magazine story reported she would lead an entire Scientific Integrity Committee, write an annual report documenting science “incidents” at the agency, and even “investigate” science problems—alongside no less than the agency’s inspector general. CONTINUE AT SITE

Trump Sells Out NATO! Well, no, but a Trump speech triggers another overwrought uproar.

Donald Trump creates many of his own problems, but sometimes he can’t win no matter what he does. Consider the uproar on Thursday because the President supposedly did not explicitly endorse NATO’s Article 5 commitment that an attack on one ally is an attack on all.

Nicholas Burns, a Harvard professor and beating heart of the U.S. diplomatic establishment, followed Mr. Trump’s speech with a Twitter barrage that included: “Every US President since Truman has pledged support for Article 5—that US will defend Europe. Not so Trump today at #NATO. Major mistake.” The herd of independent media minds then stampeded with the theme that Mr. Trump had deliberately failed to commit the U.S. to defending Europe against attack.

But is that really what happened? Mr. Trump was speaking, briefly, at an event at NATO headquarters in Brussels unveiling the Article 5 and Berlin Wall Memorials. The Article 5 Memorial commemorates the only time that NATO has triggered Article 5, which came after al Qaeda’s attack on the U.S. on 9/11. The Memorial includes a remnant of the World Trade Center’s North Tower.

Here is what Mr. Trump said in the third paragraph of his speech: “This ceremony is a day for both remembrance and resolve. We remember and mourn those nearly 3,000 innocent people who were brutally murdered by terrorists on September 11, 2001. Our NATO allies responded swiftly and decisively, invoking for the first time in its history the Article 5 collective defensive commitments.”