http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/detail/state-departments-credibility-remains-in-tatters?f=puball After the news broke that the ambassador to Belgium and members of his security detail had allegedly been soliciting prostitutes, including in some cases minors, President Obama quietly announced that he would reward another major fundraiser, Denise Bauer, by naming her as the replacement for that post. Bauer had been “finance chair for Women […]
In September 1995, then-first lady Hillary Clinton spoke on human rights for women and girls, detailing in a speech in China a shocking list of abuses around the world.
“It is time for us to say here in Beijing … that it is no longer acceptable to discuss women’s rights as separate from human rights,” she said at the Fourth World Conference on Women. She even criticized the host country for limiting discussions of women’s issues.
Clinton talked, in devastating detail, about violations committed globally. She spoke against selling women and girls into slavery or prostitution, or raping them as a terror tactic or prize of war.
Clinton has used the rights of women and girls as the cornerstone of her career since graduating from law school and working as an attorney for the Children’s Defense Fund. She continued to do so as first lady, as a U.S. senator, as secretary of State. Last week, she did it again, as a Clinton Global Initiative advocate.
How jarring, then, for allegations to emerge of top State Department officials under Clinton concealing abuses of women and children by U.S. diplomatic staff.
A State Department whistleblower has accused high-level officials of a vast cover-up that included squelching investigative findings that members of then-Secretary Clinton’s security detail – as well as the U.S. ambassador to Belgium – solicited prostitutes.
Perhaps the major theological problem confronting the revisionist Muslim community today—i.e., those whom we call “moderates” or “secular-oriented intellectuals”—is the canonical scriptures which define their faith and without which Islam would cease to exist. The dilemma for these “enlightened Muslims” is the Koran itself, with its ubiquitous summons to warfare, conquest, enslavement and social and economic persecution of vanquished peoples, which is why they are preoccupied, to the brink of obsession, with the twin concepts of re-interpretation and contextualization.
These meliorists are convinced that Islam is diametrically opposed to something called “Islamism,” that Islam is essentially a “religion of peace” rather than a bellicose imperial movement and that its founding texts therefore invite reinterpretation. This belief can be readily demolished by anyone with a cursory acquaintance with the Islamic literature and a modicum of common sense. For once the incendiary and violent passages are expurgated from the Koran and the Hadith, and the philosophical and political curriculum appropriately bowdlerized, there is far too little left over on which to base a credible and authoritative, world-historical faith. Indeed, as I have argued before, the result would resemble a version of Baha’i’ and could no longer legitimately be called Islam. Re-interpretation is effectively a dead end, a theological placebo swallowed by the naïve or the willfully ignorant who find the strong medicine of reality unpalatable or even abhorrent.
The notion of contextualization fares no better. Here the thesis is that one must adopt a historical or dialectical perspective on the progressive evolution of belief systems. The repugnant portions of the scriptures are understood to apply only to the times in which they were conceived and written. Of course, there is some truth to this contention. The Bible also contains offensive passages which have been despumated with the passing of time. But the difference between the Bible and the Koran is categorical. The former is largely narrative and parabolic in structure and the parts we would regard as objectionable are comparatively few. The Koran, on the contrary—especially the longer, Medinan section—is almost unrelentingly belligerent and exhortative, commanding the believer to slay, conquer, oppress and impose draconian taxes on those who have been subjugated.
http://frontpagemag.com/2013/lloyd-billingsley/tsarnaev-hasan-and-deadly-political-correctness/print/ On Wednesday Dzhohkar Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty to 30 counts in the Boston Marathon bombings and jury selection began in the case of U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan, accused of murdering 13 at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009. The Hasan and Tsarnaev cases emerged the same day in testimony before the House Homeland Security […]
http://frontpagemag.com/2013/davidhornik/obamas-israeli-turkish-detente-goes-bust/print/ Last March 22, at the tail-end of President Obama’s visit to Israel, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu “apologized” over the phone to Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident—in which Israeli commandos, in fighting for their lives against a club- and knife-wielding mob of Turkish Islamists, killed nine of […]
Two related pieces that appeared in Haaretz on Thursday illustrate the pitfalls of diplomacy. One is an interview with outgoing Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren, by Ari Shavit. The other is an op-ed by J Street Vice President for Communications Alan Elsner on Ron Dermer, slated to replace Oren in the fall.
In the interview, Oren is characteristically eloquent. Summing up his stint in Washington, he remains ambassadorial. This would not be a problem if it were clear from the article which country he has been representing for the past four and a half years.
The confusion does not stem from the fact that he was born and raised in the USA. Oren is a Zionist who immigrated to Israel decades ago.
To be sure, his impeccable English, knowledge of Beltway politics and familiarity with American culture undoubtedly figured into the calculation that led to his appointment by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. That Oren looks and sounds good on television must also have been considered an asset.
But these traits were not the only reason that Oren was selected over other candidates for the coveted position. Just as important to Netanyahu — who appropriated key Foreign Ministry functions from its minister, Avigdor Lieberman — was Oren’s lack of public affiliation with the Israeli Right.
Respect for the dignity of the human being requires more than formally sound institutions; it also requires a cultural ethos in which people act from conviction to treat one another as human beings should be treated: with respect, civility, justice, compassion,” Robert P. George writes in his new book, Conscience and Its Enemies: Confronting the Dogmas of Liberal Secularism.
He works toward rebuilding just this ethos as a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton and a visiting professor at Harvard, and in his public writing and speaking. What is conscience? Who is shaping how we think of it? George discusses these questions — along with controversies over marriage, immigration, and religious freedom — and his latest book with National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez.
KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: Can conscience have enemies if we don’t even agree on what conscience is?
ROBERT P. GEORGE: Sure. But one’s identification of the enemies of conscience will depend on one’s view of what conscience is. Today, many on the Left and even some on the Right imagine that “conscience” is a matter of sorting through one’s feelings to see whether one would feel badly about doing something — badly enough, that is, that one would prefer the option of not doing it. Where one strongly desires to do something, and especially where one sees some advantage to oneself in doing it, “conscience,” understood in this way, tends to be reliably permissive. If one wants to do something badly enough, “conscience” can pretty much be counted on to produce a “permission slip” — especially if one can manage to conceptualize the conduct in question as purely “self-regarding.”
This conception of conscience, which one finds, for example, in the magazine Conscience, produced by the ostensibly Catholic, but in truth anti-Catholic, pro-abortion organization “Catholics for Choice,” is rather obviously associated with ethical subjectivism (i.e., the idea that ethical beliefs are projections of feeling, not objective principles of what Aristotle called practical reason) and with a view of “liberty” as the right to do as one pleases whatever one pleases, so long as one doesn’t cause immediate and palpable harm to someone whose existence and rights one is prepared to recognize. If one buys into this constellation of ideas, then one will likely suppose that the “enemies of conscience” are those who call for limits on individual autonomy and “lifestyle freedom.” The distinction between liberty and license — a distinction critical to the thought of the founders of our nation and the architects of our Constitution — loses its intelligibility, and those who defend traditional notions of morality, virtue, and the common good come to be perceived and derided as reactionaries, and even “bigots” and “haters.”
As I argue in Conscience and Its Enemies, however, this is a false and indeed corrupt conception of conscience. Authentic conscience is not a writer of permission slips to act on feelings or desires. Rather, in the words of the brilliant 19th-century English intellectual John Henry Newman, “Conscience is a stern monitor.” It is one’s last best judgment — an unsentimentally self-critical judgment — informed by critical reason and reflective faith of one’s strict duties, one’s feelings or desires to the contrary notwithstanding. Authentic conscience governs — passes judgment on — feelings and desires; it is not reducible to them, and it is not in the business of licensing us to act on them. And, as Newman observed, “Conscience has rights because it has duties.” Those moral duties reflect our reasoned judgments of what respect for human dignity and integral human well-being requires.
James Madison observed that the Constitution guarantees to each individual the security not only of his person and his property but also of “those sacred rights of conscience so essential to his present happiness and so dear to his future hopes.” By “happiness” he did not mean the mere satisfaction of wants or appetites. The concept as understood by 18th-century thinkers retained moral content. It referred not to a desirable psychological state (one that might just as well be induced by a drug or be the product of licentious conduct or ignorance of unwelcome truths), but rather to the virtuous pursuit of worthy ends. The moral inflection of that concept of happiness is still intelligible to us when we read sentences like “Happy the man who walks on the paths of justice and righteousness.”
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/353230/obamas-alinskyite-administration-john-fund The Justice Department’s involvement in the Zimmerman case is highly suspect. Judicial Watch, a conservative legal foundation, has used the Freedom of Information Act to uncover documents that show Eric Holder’s Justice Department used a “community relations” unit to support and stage-manage public protests in Florida against George Zimmerman after his controversial February 2012 […]
A descendant of Col. Charles Beckwith, who in 1977 founded the Army’s Delta Force that today hunts and kills Islamic terrorists, passed the test in May to become a member of the elite special operations forces.
The graduate is not a burly Beckwith man, but the late colonel’s 20-year-old granddaughter.
Airman 1st Class Mary Howe is one of the few women qualified as an aerial gunner aboard Air Force special operations AC-130 gunships — the warplanes with accurate cannons unleashed in Iraq and Afghanistan to support troops on the ground.
Airman Howe is the daughter of retired ArmyMaster Sgt. Paul Howe — featured prominently in the best-selling book “Black Hawk Down” about a Delta Force operation in Somalia — and Connie Beckwith Howe, a former Army Reserve major and one of the colonel’s three daughters.
“I hold gunships really close to my heart,” Airman Howe said from Hurlburt Field on the Florida Panhandle. “They’ve been over my dad. They watched over him when he was in the military.”
“What’s not to like? This fuel is all-American, and the profits stay here — not in the hands of people who want to kill us.”
The only thing deeper than a natural-gas well is the ignorance of the anti-fracking crowd.
Fracking — formally called hydraulic fracturing — involves briefly pumping water, sand and chemicals into shale formations far below Earth’s surface and the aquifers that irrigate crops and quench human thirst. This process cracks these rocks and liberates the gas within. Though employed for decades with seemingly no verified contamination of groundwater, anti-fracking activists behave as though this technology were invented specifically to poison Americans.
“Fracking makes all water dirty,” declares a poster that Yoko Ono recently exhibited at a Manhattan carpet store. According to another: “Pretty soon there will be no more water to drink.”
Matt Damon’s 2012 film “Promised Land” dramatizes fracking’s supposed dangers by showing a toy farm devoured by flames.
In contrast to this hyperventilation, former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in May 2011, “I’m not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water.”
Frackophobes would be astonished to see how m