Friday, December 10, 2021

Dozens of IAF warplanes to take part in simulated attack on Iran - Israel National News

by Israel National News

Exercise will take place over Mediterranean Sea. "The aim is to prepare for every eventuality; we will not allow Iran to go nuclear."

The Israeli Air Force is currently in the midst of preparations for a broad-ranging exercise in which dozens of airplanes will participate, in preparation for a possible attack on Iran.

According to a report on Channel 11, the exercise will take place in the coming spring over the Mediterranean Sea, and will be held openly. Enhanced budgets have been allotted toward this exercise, which involves, among other things, flights of over 1000 kilometers in length, similar to what pilots would be traveling if they were headed to Iran.

Three months ago, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi announced that the IDF was accelerating its plans for scenarios involving attacks on Iran – the announcement was made partly as a message to the world in order to convey Israel’s intentions and the seriousness with which it regards the current situation.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday night Defense Minister Benny Gantz departed for Washington D.C., where he will be holding talks with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on possible military options for destroying Iran’s nuclear facilities, in the event that diplomacy fails. The talks between Gantz and Austin follow an October 25 briefing by Pentagon leaders to White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, on the full set of military options available to ensure Iran does not become capable of producing a nuclear weapon.

Gantz is expected to request of the United States that it continue to exert pressure on Iran – via retaining substantial armed forces in the Middle East, as well as taking steps to display its might against the Islamic regime. Israel is working under the assumption that such steps will be seen as more significant if they occur within the timeframe of the nuclear talks in Vienna which are set to resume on Thursday, and that with the talks appearing to have stalled, a show of force could prove effective.

Gantz has also assessed that now is the right time to advance what in the United States is known as “Plan B” – that is, sanctions along with a credible military threat. Prior to leaving for Washington, Gantz met with Kochavi and also with the head of IDF Military Intelligence, in order to be updated on the latest developments with regard to the Iran issue.

Commenting on the aerial exercise, Housing and Construction Minister Zeev Elkin (New Hope) told KanNews, “The aim is for us to prepare for every eventuality. Israel needs to be ready for any scenario; we will not allow Iran to go nuclear. Unfortunately, Israel has shown weakness in the past, and it’s vital that we address the situation alertly now.

“Anyone with eyes in his head can see that the Iranians are trying to entrench themselves in Syria,” Elkin added. “We are doing everything that we can and so far, we have had a large number of successes. I’m not going to relate to anything specific, but Israel has red lines,” he concluded.

 

Israel National News

Source: https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/318342

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Arabs to Biden: Do Not Let Iran Play You for a Fool - Khaled Abu Toameh

 

​ by Khaled Abu Toameh

The message these Arabs are sending to the Biden administration: take a tough stance towards Iran before it is too late. Far from being a danger to Israel alone, Iran is terrorizing Arab countries and threatening world peace and security.

  • Iran has been insisting on its conditions and demands, including that Washington and the Western powers release frozen Iranian funds before reaching an agreement, according to Tariq Alhomayed, a Saudi journalist and former editor-in-chief of the Arabic-language newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat. He added that Iran was refusing to discuss ballistic missiles, drones and its terrorist militias in the Middle East as the mullahs continue their alarming rate of uranium enrichment.

  • "It is evident that Washington has been begging Iran to return to the negotiating table," he said. "Washington did not threaten Iran with the use of force. It is true that we hear statements from Washington about impatience, but they are neither serious nor real. The Americans did not convey any serious message to the Iranians." — Tariq Alhomayed, Asharq Al-Awsat, November 24, 2021.

  • Iraqi writer Ali Alsarraf believes that by seeking guarantees that the US will not reimpose sanctions on Iran in the future, the mullahs in Tehran are hoping that they will become immune from anything that their militias do in the Middle East, including striking American bases and forcing them to leave Iraq and Syria.

  • "As with North Korea, the world would be forced to grapple with Iranian aggression very cautiously because of the likelihood that it could rain down ballistic and nuclear weapons upon neighbors. Unlike North Korea, Iran has proxy forces deployed throughout the region which henceforth could act with impunity, shielded by Iran's nuclear umbrella." — Baria Alamuddin, award-winning Lebanese journalist and broadcaster, Arab News, November 28, 2021.

  • It is impressive to see that a growing number of Arabs, especially those... whose countries are occupied by Iranian-backed militias, share Israeli fears of the mullahs' evil plans.

  • The message these Arabs are sending to the Biden administration: take a tough stance towards Iran before it is too late. Far from being a danger to Israel alone, Iran is terrorizing Arab countries and threatening world peace and security.

On the eve of the resumption of the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna, Arabs have again warned the Biden administration against being duped by the mullahs of Tehran. (Image source: iStock)

On the eve of the resumption of the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna, Arabs have again warned the Biden administration against being duped by the mullahs of Tehran.

The Arabs, who share Israel's concern over Iran's accelerated efforts (and deceptive tactics) to achieve nuclear weapons, also warned the Biden administration against reaching a temporary deal that would give Iran more time to proceed with its disastrous and dangerous plans.

"Undoubtedly, a temporary nuclear agreement, if it is implemented, reflects the failure of the policy of President Biden's administration, which announced that it would seek a wider, stronger and more comprehensive agreement," wrote Saudi writer and political analyst Yahya Talidi.

Talidi pointed out that the US administration seems confused because of its changing policy priorities and objectives in the Middle East, "which reflects a lack of interest in strengthening and factors of stability and security in the region." The previous nuclear agreement in 2015, he added, was a failure.

"The failure has logical and realistic causes, most notably that it was limited to a specific time period (it expires in 2025) and did not address the ambitions of hegemony and expansion of the Iranian regime and its ballistic missiles.

"This failure may be repeated today in Vienna. A temporary agreement could become permanent, allowing Iran to maintain its nuclear infrastructure and supply it with uranium, with which it has doubled its stockpile, and then the region will become mired in an uncontrollable nuclear arms race."

Tariq Alhomayed, a Saudi journalist and former editor-in-chief of the Arabic-language newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, warned the Biden administration that Iran was only trying to buy more time by returning to the negotiations with the US and other world powers:

"The Vienna negotiations aimed at reaching a final agreement on the Iranian nuclear file are supposed to resume next week, and all indications are that we are facing time-wasting negotiations...

"It is clear that the Iranian [leaders] are not seeking to seriously revive these negotiations, and therefore are not keen on the completion of the agreement, especially since the achievement of the agreement may weaken them at home."

Alhomayed pointed out that Iran has been insisting on its conditions and demands, including that Washington and the Western powers release frozen Iranian funds before reaching an agreement. He added that Iran was refusing to discuss ballistic missiles, drones and its terrorist militias in the Middle East as the mullahs continue their alarming rate of uranium enrichment.

"Iran is doing all of this to take advantage of the time factor... If a nuclear agreement is not achieved, Tehran will have reached levels of enrichment that would allow it to implement its nuclear project by imposing a fait accompli and declaring victory."

According to Alhomayed, the Biden administration has failed to send a tough message to Iran ahead of the resumption of the Vienna talks.

"It is evident that Washington has been begging Iran to return to the negotiating table... Washington did not threaten Iran with the use of force. It is true that we hear statements from Washington about impatience, but they are neither serious nor real. The Americans did not convey any serious message to the Iranians."

Iraqi writer Ali Alsarraf expressed concern that Biden might commit with Iran the same "sin" he committed with Afghanistan.

Iran, he said, cannot make any concessions on its demands because other parties, including Russia, are encouraging the mullahs to endorse a hardline approach in its dealings with the Biden administration:

"The current situation is that Iran and Russia are speaking with one voice, saying that there is no way to reach an agreement unless the original agreement is preserved without any additions to it...

"This position says, in other words, that all the previous six rounds were meaningless. Iran also wants all sanctions to be lifted at once, and on top of that, it wants guarantees that the US will not reimpose sanctions after the full return of the agreement. Returning to the original version of the nuclear agreement means refraining from adding any issues related to Iran's destabilizing activities in the region, including the activities of its terrorist militias in Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen."

Alsarraf believes that by seeking guarantees that the US will not reimpose sanctions on Iran in the future, the mullahs in Tehran are hoping that they will become immune from anything that their militias do in the Middle East, including striking American bases and forcing them to leave Iraq and Syria.

"With Iran's recent announcement that it has produced 25 kilograms of 60% enriched uranium, postponing the talks for an unknown period does not appear to be an acceptable option... Because 90% of the enrichment required to produce a nuclear weapon is very close. There is no doubt that Iran is using this for blackmail purposes."

Baria Alamuddin, an award-winning Lebanese journalist and broadcaster in the Middle East, said she supported the use of military force to stop Iran from gaining nuclear weapons.

Iran's attainment of nuclear capacity, Alamuddin wrote, has immediate implications for global security.

"As with North Korea, the world would be forced to grapple with Iranian aggression very cautiously because of the likelihood that it could rain down ballistic and nuclear weapons upon neighbors... Unlike North Korea, Iran has proxy forces deployed throughout the region which henceforth could act with impunity, shielded by Iran's nuclear umbrella."

She pointed out that despite spectacular Israeli acts of sabotage, Iranian scientists have gone to extraordinary lengths to rebuild and keep nuclear development on schedule, even at a time when thousands of impoverished citizens are dying from never-ending COVID-19 outbreaks and much of the country is running out of water.

"According to intelligence officials, Tehran replaced damaged equipment with new technology that operates faster and at higher volumes... Hence, reliance on cyberattacks and pin-prick sabotage has only made Iran double down on its efforts. The US dilemma is simple: If Iran is hellbent on developing nuclear weapons, and the world is serious about stopping Iran, then ultimately there may be no alternative to some form of military force, such as surgical strikes for permanently eliminating nuclear sites. There is no sugaring this pill. The ayatollahs must be under no illusion that they can stealthily filibuster their way toward nuclear breakout capacity".

Alamuddin warned that Western ambivalence and naivety have only made matters worse: "Iran must be bluntly and forcefully told: If you proceed down this path, we will stop you!"

Rafik Khoury, another Lebanese writer and political analyst, also expressed concern over the Biden administration's soft approach towards Iran.

"Washington seems to be begging Tehran to return to the indirect negotiations," Khoury noted.

"The men of the first row in the Biden administration were the men of the second row in the administration of President Barack Obama. Biden's men learned the lesson of driving from the back seat, despite Biden's statement that 'America is back in command.'"

Khoury advised the Biden administration to avoid making the same mistake Obama did by relying on empty and false promises by Iran.

He noted that Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan initially insisted on a broader and more permanent agreement that would be linked to a halt to missile development and "destabilizing" activities by Tehran in the Middle East.

"When Tehran refused to discuss any issue outside of returning to the nuclear agreement and the lifting of sanctions, the US administration backed down," Khoury added.

The views expressed by these Arab writers and journalists are not uncommon in the Arab world, where many continue to regard Iran as a major threat to security and stability in the Middle East.

It is impressive to see that a growing number of Arabs, especially those living in the Gulf states or those whose countries are occupied by Iranian-backed militias, share Israeli fears of the mullahs' evil plans.

The message these Arabs are sending to the Biden administration: take a tough stance towards Iran before it is too late. Far from being a danger to Israel alone, Iran is terrorizing Arab countries and threatening world peace and security.

  • Follow Khaled Abu Toameh on Twitter

 

Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/17995/arabs-biden-iran

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Federal judge grants Project Veritas' request for third party to review James O'Keefe's phones seized by FBI - Joseph A. Wulfsohn

 

​ by Joseph A. Wulfsohn

The FBI raided the Project Veritas founder's home as part of its investigation into the 'stolen' diary of Ashley Biden

Project Veritas' James O'Keefe speaks out in an exclusive 'Hannity' interview

Project Veritas founder describes the FBI raid on his New York home on 'Hannity.'

A federal judge is siding with Project Veritas over its request for an independent party to review the cellphones the FBI seized from the group's founder James O'Keefe

On Wednesday, District Court Judge Analisa Torres from the Southern District of New York is ordering a "special master" to be appointed to oversee the review of O'Keefe's devices, citing "potential First Amendment concerns." 

FEDERAL JUDGE ORDERS DOJ TO HALT DATA EXTRACTION FROM JAMES O'KEEFE'S PHONES FOLLOWING FBI RAID

"The Court recognizes, as other courts in this district have concluded, that ‘the Southern District prosecutors have integrity and decency,' and the filter team alone could conduct the review ‘with utmost integrity,’" Torres wrote. "However, the Court determines that the appointment of a special master is warranted here because ‘it is important that the procedure adopted… not only be fair but also appear to be fair.’ … In light of the potential First Amendment concerns that may be implicated by the review of the materials seized from Petitioners, the Court finds that the appointment of a special master will ‘help to protect the public’s confidence in the administration of justice.'" 

"The appointment of a Special Master over the objections of the Department of Justice is further evidence of Government overreach in their heavy-handed violation of the First Amendment and journalistic privilege during the investigation of the purported theft of a diary belonging to the daughter of the President," a representative for Project Veritas told Fox News in a statement. 

"Project Veritas appreciates the ruling but continues to insist that the Government show the public why they conducted these raids and return legally privileged material immediately," the representative added. 

The judge previously ordered the Department of Justice to halt its review of O'Keefe's phones pending Project Veritas' request for a special master. 

PROJECT VERITAS' JAMES O'KEEFE SPEAKS OUT AFTER FBI RAIDED HOME: ‘THIS IS AN ATTACK ON THE FIRST AMENDMENT’

The counsel for Project Veritas sent a letter to chairmen and ranking members of congressional committees urging them to investigate the DOJ's actions. 

"These raids were not justified by any legitimate law enforcement concern. Project Veritas acted lawfully and within its First Amendment right to investigate a potential source of information relevant to the public interest," attorney Mark Paoletta wrote to lawmakers on Wednesday. "The FBI and DOJ try to justify their targeting of Project Veritas by arguing that it isn’t a real news organization, and its reporters aren’t real journalists… This is absurd. Project Veritas is a news gathering organization that engages in undercover journalism, which has long been a form of investigative journalism used to hold the government, corporations, and other organizations accountable. And as a news organization, it is entitled to the protection the Attorney General promised in his memo. But more importantly, the First Amendment’s protection is not limited to those the government or other legacy media deign to call ‘real’ journalists. It belongs to all the people of the United States who engage in reporting and 'press' activities, whether formally or informally."

Project Veritas founder James O'Keefe speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference CPAC held at the Hilton Anatole on July 09, 2021 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Project Veritas founder James O'Keefe speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference CPAC held at the Hilton Anatole on July 09, 2021 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images) ( (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images))

Last month, the homes of O'Keefe and two other Project Veritas associates were raided by the FBI as part of an investigation into the alleged "theft" of a diary belonging to President Biden's daughter, Ashley Biden. 

"I woke up to a pre-dawn raid," O'Keefe told Fox News' Sean Hannity in an interview. "Banging on my door, I went to my door to answer the door and there were ten FBI agents with a battering ram, white blinding lights, they turned me around, handcuffed me and threw me against the hallway. I was partially clothed in front of my neighbors. They confiscated my phone. They raided my apartment. On my phone were many of my reporters' notes. A lot of my sources unrelated to this story and a lot of confidential donor information to our news organization." 

FBI RAIDS HOME OF PROJECT VERITAS' JAMES O'KEEFE AS PART OF INVESTIGATION INTO ASHLEY BIDEN'S ‘STOLEN’ DIARY

"I've heard 'the process is the punishment.' I didn't really understand what that meant until this weekend. And Sean, I wouldn't wish this on any journalist," O'Keefe said. 

O'Keefe said he was "in a state of shock" as FBI agents spent over two hours searching his apartment, telling Hannity they took two of his iPhones.  

Ashley Biden speaks by video feed during the 4th and final night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. August 20, 2020. 2020 Democratic National Convention/Pool via REUTERS

Ashley Biden speaks by video feed during the 4th and final night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. August 20, 2020. 2020 Democratic National Convention/Pool via REUTERS

The investigation, which is also being conducted by the Southern District of New York, surrounds a "stolen" diary belonging to Ashley Biden that went missing just days before the 2020 presidential election.

O'Keefe alleged in a video statement that "within an hour" of the FBI's raid of the home of a Project Veritas reporter, The New York Times contacted that reporter for comment. 

NYT MEDIA COLUMNIST ON FBI RAID OF JAMES O'KEEFE: ‘I DON’T THINK JOURNALISTS SHOULD BE CHEERLEADING THIS ONE'

"We do not know how the New York Times was aware of the execution of a search warrant at our reporter's home or the subject matter of the search warrant as a grand jury investigation is secret," O'Keefe said. "The FBI took materials of current, former Project Veritas journalists despite the fact that our legal team previously contacted the Department of Justice and voluntarily conveyed unassailable facts that demonstrate Project Veritas' lack of involvement in criminal activity, and or criminal intent."

"Our efforts were the stuff of responsible ethical journalism, and we are in no doubt that Project Veritas acted properly at each and every step," O'Keefe asserted. 

Conservative political activist James O'Keefe speaks during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, on March 1, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Conservative political activist James O'Keefe speaks during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, on March 1, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images) ( (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images))

The Project Veritas founder then explained that "tipsters" approached his group late last year alleging to have Ashley Biden's diary containing "explosive allegations" about her father, then the Democratic nominee, and that the diary was allegedly abandoned in a room that she had stayed at and that they stayed after. 

The "tipsters," who O'Keefe said he had never met prior, were apparently negotiating with media outlets to sell Biden's diary and that ultimately, Project Veritas did not publish the book's contents because his group was not able to independently verify its authenticity. 

"Project Veritas gave the diary to law enforcement to ensure it could be returned to its rightful owner. We never published it," O'Keefe said. "Now, Ms. Biden's father's Department of Justice, specifically the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, appears to be investigating the situation, claiming the diary was stolen. We don't know if it was but it begs the question: In what world is the alleged theft of a diary investigated by the President's FBI and his Department of Justice? A diary?"

O'Keefe went on to claim the investigation "smacks of politics" but that Project Veritas will "not back down." 

 

Joseph A. Wulfsohn is a media reporter for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @JosephWulfsohn.

Source:https://www.foxnews.com/media/judge-project-veritas-special-master-james-okeefe-phones

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The Turn - Liel Liebovitz

 

​ by Liel Liebovitz

Hat tip: Dr. Jena-Charles Bensoussan 

When I saw the left give up everything I believe in, I changed politically. You can, too.

or many years—most of my politically cognizant life, in fact—I felt secure in my politics. Truth and justice, I believed, leaned leftward. If you were some version of a decent human being, you cared about those less fortunate than you, which meant that you supported a whole host of measures designed to even the playing field a little. Sometimes, these measures had unintended consequences (see under: Stalin, Josef), but that wasn’t reason enough to despair of the long march to equality. Besides, there was hardly an alternative: On the other end of the political transom lurked despicable creeps, right-wing orcs who either cared for nothing but their own petty financial interests or, worse, pined for benighted isms that preached prejudice and hate. We were on the right side of history. We were the people. We were the ones giving peace a chance. And, no matter the present, we were always the future.

This belief carried me through high school, and a brief stint in a socialist youth movement. It accelerated me in college, sending me anywhere from joint marches with Palestinians to a two-week hunger strike in Jerusalem trying (and failing) to lower tuition for underprivileged students. It pulled me to New York, to Columbia University, to more left-wing politics and activism and raging against Republicans whose agenda, especially in the 2000s, seemed like nothing more than greed and war.

And it wasn’t just an ideology, some abstract set of convictions that were accessible only through cracking open dusty old books. It was the animating spirit of life itself: The dinner parties I attended on the Upper West Side required dismissive comments on President Bush just as much as they did a bit of wine to make the evening bright, and there was no faster or surer way to signal to a new acquaintance that you were a kindred spirit than praising the latest Times editorial. It wasn’t performative, exactly. At least, it felt real enough, the reverent rites of a good group of people protecting itself against the bad guys.

I embraced my people, and my people embraced me. They gave me everything I had always imagined I wanted: a Ph.D. from an Ivy League university; a professorship at NYU, complete with a roomy office overlooking Washington Square Park; book deals; columns in smart little publications; invitations to the sort of soirees where you could find yourself seated next to Salman Rushdie or Susan Sontag or any number of the men and women you grew up reading and admiring. The list goes on. Life was good. I was grateful.

And then came The Turn. If you’ve lived through it yourself, you know that The Turn doesn’t happen overnight, that it isn’t easily distilled into one dramatic breakdown moment, that it happens hazily and over time—first a twitch, then a few more, stretching into a gnawing discomfort and then, eventually, a sense of panic.

You may be among the increasing numbers of people going through The Turn right now. Having lived through the turmoil of the last half decade—through the years of MAGA and antifa and rampant identity politics and, most dramatically, the global turmoil caused by COVID-19—more and more of us feel absolutely and irreparably politically homeless. Instinctively, we looked to the Democratic Party, the only home we and our parents and their parents before them had ever known or seriously considered. But what we saw there—and in the newspapers we used to read, and in the schools whose admission letters once made us so proud—was terrifying. However we tried to explain what was happening on “the left,” it was hard to convince ourselves that it was right, or that it was something we still truly believed in. That is what The Turn is about.

You might be living through The Turn if you ever found yourself feeling like free speech should stay free even if it offended some group or individual but now can’t admit it at dinner with friends because you are afraid of being thought a bigot. You are living through The Turn if you have questions about public health policies—including the effects of lockdowns and school closures on the poor and most vulnerable in our society—but can’t ask them out loud because you know you’ll be labeled an anti-vaxxer. You are living through The Turn if you think that burning down towns and looting stores isn’t the best way to promote social justice, but feel you can’t say so because you know you’ll be called a white supremacist. You are living through The Turn if you seethed watching a terrorist organization attack the world’s only Jewish state, but seethed silently because your colleagues were all on Twitter and Facebook sharing celebrity memes about ending Israeli apartheid while having little interest in American kids dying on the streets because of failed policies. If you’ve felt yourself unable to speak your mind, if you have a queasy feeling that your friends might disown you if you shared your most intimately held concerns, if you are feeling a bit breathless and a bit hopeless and entirely unsure what on earth is going on, I am sorry to inform you that The Turn is upon you.

The Turn hit me just a beat before it did you, so I know just how awful it feels. It’s been years now, but I still remember the time a dear friend and mentor took me to lunch and warned me, sternly and without any of the warmth you’d extend to someone you truly loved, to watch what I said about Israel. I still remember how confusing and painful it felt to know that my beliefs—beliefs, mind you, that, until very recently, were so obvious and banal and widely held on the left that they were hardly considered beliefs at all—now labeled me an outcast. The Turn brings with it the sort of pain most of us don’t feel as adults; you’d have to go all the way back to junior high, maybe, to recall a stabbing sensation quite as deep and confounding as watching your friends all turn on you and decide that you’re not worthy of their affection any more. It’s the kind of primal rejection that is devastating precisely because it forces you to rethink everything, not only your convictions about the world but also your idea of yourself, your values, and your priorities. We all want to be embraced. We all want the men and women we consider most swell to approve of us and confirm that we, too, are good and great. We all want the love and the laurels; The Turn takes both away.

But, having been there before, I have one important thing to tell you: If the left is going to make it “right wing” to simply be decent, then it’s OK to be right.

Why? Because, after 225 long and fruitful years of this terminology, “right” and “left” are now empty categories, meaning little more than “the blue team” and “the green team” in your summer camp’s color war. You don’t get to be “against the rich” if the richest people in the country fund your party in order to preserve their government-sponsored monopolies. You are not “a supporter of free speech” if you oppose free speech for people who disagree with you. You are not “for the people” if you pit most of them against each other based on the color of their skin, or force them out of their jobs because of personal choices related to their bodies. You are not “serious about economic inequality” when you happily order from Amazon without caring much for the devastating impact your purchases have on the small businesses that increasingly are either subjugated by Jeff Bezos’ behemoth or crushed by it altogether. You are not “for science” if you refuse to consider hypotheses that don’t conform to your political convictions and then try to ban critical thought and inquiry from the internet. You are not an “anti-racist” if you label—and sort!—people by race. You are not “against conformism” when you scare people out of voicing dissenting opinions.

When “the left” becomes the party of wealthy elites and state security agencies who preach racial division, state censorship, contempt for ordinary citizens and for the U.S. Constitution, and telling people what to do and think at every turn, then that’s the side you are on, if you are “on the left”—those are the policies and beliefs you stand for and have to defend. It doesn’t matter what good people “on the left” believed and did 60 or 70 years ago. Those people are dead now, mostly. They don’t define “the left” anymore than Abraham Lincoln defines the modern-day Republican Party or Jimi Hendrix defines Nickelback.

So look at the list of things supported by the left and ask yourself: Is that me? If the answer is yes, great. You’ve found a home. If the answer is no, don’t let yourself be defined by an empty word. Get out. And once you’re out, don’t let anyone else define you, either. Not being a left-wing racist or police state fan doesn’t make you a white supremacist or a Trump worshipper, either. Only small children, machines, and religious fanatics think in binaries.

Which isn’t to diminish the anger, hurt, and confusion you’re feeling just now. But it’s worth understanding that your story has a happy ending. The freedom you feel on the other side is so real it’s physical, like emerging from a long stretch underwater and taking that first deep breath in the cool afternoon air. None of it makes the lost friends or the lost career opportunities any less painful; but there’s no more potent source of renewable energy than liberty, and your capacity to reinvent—yourself, your group, your life—is greater than you realize.

So welcome to the right side, friend, and join us in laughing at all the idiotic name-calling that is applied, with increasing hysteria, to try and stop more and more normal Americans from joining our ranks. Fascists? Conspiracy theorists? Anti-science racist TERFs? Whatever. We have a better word to describe ourselves: free.

 

Liel Liebovitz is a senior writer for Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.

Source: https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/the-turn-liel-leibovitz

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New book by Trump envoy Jason Greenblatt to reveal story behind Abraham Accords - Israel National News

 

by Israel National News

'In the Path of Abraham' to be released in 2022, revealing details of how Trump admin brokered 1st Arab-Israeli peace deal in decades.

 

Abraham Accords Signing Ceremony
Abraham Accords Signing Ceremony                           Official White House Photo Andrea Hanks

Jason Greenblatt, a former White House special envoy and one of the architects of the Abraham Accords Middle East peace deal, has penned a new book revealing the details of the first major peace agreement between Israel and the Arab world in over a quarter century.

The book, titled In the Path of Abraham: How Donald Trump Made Peace in the Middle East–and How to Stop Joe Biden from Unmaking It, is set to be released in June 2022 by publisher Wicked Son.

“I lived and breathed peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors for nearly three years at the White House,” Greenblatt said Thursday.

“Here is the inside story on how the Abraham Accords developed and why they offer a way forward to a new era of peace and prosperity in the Middle East. It's a book about what we saw, what we learned, and how we used it to move history forward.”

Greenblatt, a long-time confidant of Donald Trump, served as executive vice president of the Trump Organization before he was tapped as special envoy to the Middle East in 2017.

In a recent conversation with Arutz Sheva, Greenblatt expressed concern over the Biden administration’s handling of the Abraham Accords following the transfer of power, but said it is too early to blame the new administration for the “lack of progress.”

 

Israel National News

Source: https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/318377

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Biden’s vaccine mandates turning into a political disaster - Thomas Lifson

 

​ by Thomas Lifson

When the Dems have lost Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer's support for the mandate, you can be sure the political winds have shifted.

Federal courts have serially rebuked President Biden’s vaccine mandates for federal employees, federal contractors, and employers of over 100.  But the mandates are not merely a legal disaster, they are becoming a political disaster as well.

Yesterday, two Democrat senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and John Tester of Montana, joined all 50 Republicans to vote to repeal the OSHA mandate for employers of over 100 workers. Under the terms of the Congressional Review Act, simple majorities of the House and Senate can repeal regulations issued by the executive branch. The New York Times downplayed it as “symbolic,” but Politico forthrightly characterized it as a “rebuke.”

It has been generally assumed that the House’s narrow Democrat majority will heed the Speaker’s push and vote down the bill. But there is ample evidence that Democrats are scared of the mandate’s political fallout. The Politico West Wing Playbook writes:

Three months ago, as California Gov. GAVIN NEWSOM was turning around his fate in the state's recall election, many Democrats came to the conclusion that they'd struck political gold. Mandates to get the Covid-19 vaccine weren't just extremely valuable public health policy but they were electorally powerful too.

Now, moderate and frontline members of the party are singing a different tune.

In recent comments, several high-profile Democrats have stated their opposition to vaccine mandates, specifically applied to private businesses. The most recent Democratic lawmaker to voice her concern was Michigan Gov. GRETCHEN WHITMER. Once considered to be Biden’s vice president, Whitmer said she opposes mandates, citing the impact on the state’s workforce — as Michigan grapples with upticks in cases and residents are split on whether or not to get the vaccine.

"We’re an employer too, the state of Michigan is," Whitmer said on Monday, according to the Daily News in Greenville. "I know if that mandate happens, we’re going to lose state employees. That’s why I haven’t proposed a mandate at the state level. Some states have. We have not, we’re waiting to see what happens in court." (snip)

Gov. PHIL MURPHY (D-.N.J.), shortly before an unexpectedly close re-election win, shied away from embracing a strict vaccine mandate for teachers and other public workers. Gov. KATHY HOCHUL (D-N.Y.), who is running for election after taking over for disgraced former Gov. ANDREW CUOMO (D-N.Y.), has stated her opposition to a “broad-based mandate for all private-sector workers in New York.”

Vaccine mandates have denuded many police agencies of experienced manpower, and with rising crime a growing concern, vaccine mandates may take a further political hit on the basis of crime. The same story goes for supply chain disruptions and inflation because vaccine mandates drive down supply by driving workers out of key jobs necessary to move goods.

If the House should join the Senate in voting out the OSHA regulation (still considered unlikely), it would be a massive loss of face for Biden and the vaccine Nazis. But even if it never comes to a vote, more Democrats are going to be running for cover as the foolishness and unconstitutionality of the policy becomes clearer day by day.

 

Thomas Lifson

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2021/12/bidens_vaccine_mandates_turning_into_a_political_disaster.html

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There’s an unspoken reason that Blacks are attacking Asian people - Andrea Widburg

 

​ by Andrea Widburg

With another senseless Black-on-Asian murder in Chicago, it’s time to be honest about the source of some of this aggression.

Woom Sing Tse arrived in America from communist China almost 50 years ago with $100 to his name and worked his way up to owning a successful restaurant. On Wednesday, a 23-year-old Black career criminal executed him on Chicago’s streets. Maybe a rival paid for this hit or maybe this was yet another example of the Black community’s incredible hostility to Asians.

The core story is awful:

A Chicago man who loved ones said was the “epitome” of the American dream was shot dead while walking to buy a newspaper a block from his home Tuesday.

Woom Sing Tse, 71, had just finished eating lunch with his wife at their Chinatown home, when he was executed by a man who pulled up in a silver car as he walked to his local store, according to WGN.

Surveillance video obtained by the station showed the gunman opening fire from inside the car. The driver then got out of the car to fire another shot at Tse as he laid on the ground, the footage showed.

The suspect, identified as Alphonso Joyner, 23, was later arrested, and charged with first-degree murder, CBS Chicago reported.

Joyner had previously been arrested four times, including two gun charges, one of which he had pleaded guilty to, the station said. No motive for the ghastly attack was reported.

(At the same link, you can see a video, slightly redacted, showing Joyner gunning Mr. Tse down. I chose not to include it here because it’s sad and adds nothing to this post.)

This is not the first Black-on-Asian attack to show up in the news. We read regularly about Blacks attacking Asians, whether it’s stories about beating them up, stabbing them, or shooting them. Back in August, the FBI reported that hate crimes against Asians had risen by 70% over the past year. The report does not mention that it’s mostly Blacks who are committing these crimes.

At the most primitive level, the anti-Asian crimes increased because ill-educated people, when hearing that the Wuhan flu originated in communist China, decided to make their displeasure known by attacking people who had escaped from communist China. This simplistic thinking is common in marginalized communities—and marginalized often means Black.

Image: Chinese workers on the transcontinental railroad.

At a secondary level, Blacks have for decades competed with Asians for resources in poor neighborhoods. In San Francisco, as Asians poured in from the 1960s through the 1980s, they moved into the Tenderloin and Bayview Districts, both of which had long been Black redoubts. Just as happened when Puerto Ricans started moving into historically Black districts, there was an uptick in Black violence against the interlopers, who were squeezing them out of rental property and entry-level jobs.

Both of those are acknowledged reasons for Black on Asian violence. But there’s another reason that few people like to talk about: Asians go from ghetto to suburbs in one generation and, often, from suburbs to chi-chi upper-class communities in just one or two generations. If you think about the fact that Asians came to America broke, speaking no English, and often facing substantial prejudice, their success puts the lie to Black claims that there’s no way Blacks can achieve success in a country as racist as America.

California, for example, a state with a huge Asian population, long had the Asian equivalent of Jim Crow laws. This article lists law after law, riot after riot, and court decision after court decision, all aimed at ridding California of what was then called the “Yellow Peril.” Democrats imprisoned thousands of them during WWII. Even in 1967, Hollywood produced a comic movie, Thoroughly Modern Millie, that showed Asians engaged in sex trafficking. In many ways, Asians experienced every bit as much discrimination as Blacks.

Additionally, Asians, unlike Blacks with deep roots in America, but like Mr. Tse, arrived here relatively recently, broke, and unable to speak English. In that regard, one might say that Blacks have been better positioned for success.

The real difference between the two groups is simple: Education. Asians revere it. When I attended San Francisco's Lowell High School that requires an exam to enter, Asian students whom we called “FOBs,” or “fresh off the boats,” within a year or two were pulling higher grades than any native-born California kids. Just look at this chart at the left-wing Brookings website showing the homework difference between the races.

Meanwhile, as John McWhorter detailed in his superb Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America, educational attainments are too often denigrated in Black America as something that is “White.” Although McWhorter first wrote the book some years ago, nothing has changed.

Sadly, rather than seeing Asian behavior as something to emulate to achieve Asian success rates, too many Blacks see Asians as a group that needs to be destroyed, perhaps because they put the lie to Black narratives about generational failure in America.

 

Andrea Widburg

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2021/12/theres_an_unspoken_reason_that_blacks_are_attacking_asian_people.html

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Dems showing signs of panic over gasoline prices as Biden gaffe in Kansas City speech will make for great GOP video ads - Thomas Lifson

 

​ by Thomas Lifson

Apparently, public anger over high gas prices came as a surprise to the taxi, Uber, and limousine-riding elites that command Democrat party policies

The wealthy, mostly white environmental activists who donate so much to Democrats want high gasoline prices because it helps force people out of cars and encourages the purchase of electric vehicles, diminishing the Original Sin of CO2 emissions.  Joe Biden started pandering to them on Day One of his presidency by cancelling the Keystone Pipeline. Predictably, as gasoline prices soared, most people got angry over seeing their budgets busted at the gasoline pump.

Apparently, this came as a surprise to the taxi, Uber, and limousine-riding elites that command Democrat party policies, who are reportedly tormented by the blizzard of “I did that!” stickers appearing at gas pumps, distributed by grass roots activists who buy the stickers themselves.

Their first reaction was to squander a chunk of the strategic oil reserve built up under President Trump when oil prices were low, getting a one-time minor price decrease, and then gaslighting the public with a misleading graph pretending that a significant price decline was underway. Biden pathetically begged the petrocrats of OPEC to increase production (they declined), and started pretending that oil companies were price gouging.

It’s gotten so scary for the Democrats that:  

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday proposed reducing the amount of ethanol and other biofuels that must be blended into gasoline this year and retroactively lowered last year’s mandate, in a win for refiners who warned that raising the requirement would lift prices at the pump.

The decision comes as the price of ethanol, the most-dominant biofuel, has risen to its highest level in a decade. While U.S. gas prices are driven by the price of crude oil, refiners say ethanol prices have contributed to higher prices at the pump, though gasoline has dipped from recent highs.

The ethanol blending requirement is a boon to corn farmers in Iowa, but is hardly the core concern of the greenies, since its combustion produces CO2. Nonetheless, there will be a political cost for Biden.

Yesterday, in a speech in Kansas City aimed at touting his infrastructure bill, Biden returned to the theme that oil company price gouging, not supply restriction by curtailing fracking and stopping pipelines, is why prices are up. But at the same time he was claiming no responsibility for prices going up, he contradictorily claimed credit for prices going down – all of 7 cents a gallon.

But then he committed a major gaffe, invoking the expression Democrats use to justify raising taxes:

“We’re making progress. We’re going to keep at it to ensure the American people are paying their fair share for gas, not being gouged for gas,” he said. [emphasis added]

 

“Ensure Americans to pay their ’fair share’ for gas” will make for good TV ads for Republicans in 2022.

Photo credit: YouTube screengrab

 

 Thomas Lifson

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2021/12/dems_showing_signs_of_panic_over_gasoline_prices_as_biden_gaffe_in_kansas_city_speech_will_make_for_great_gop_video_ads.html

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Students testify to anti-Semitism on Israeli university campus - Israel National News

 

​ by Israel National News

In Tzfat Academic College, Jews now fear to study alongside Arabs, following violent threats & intimidation. Despite appeals, administration has taken no action.

 

Tzfat Academic College
Tzfat Academic College

Students from Tzfat (Safed) Academic College have described their fears to step on campus, following multiple instances of harassment and threats by Arab fellow students.

Shelly Tobol, a Behavioral Sciences student at Tzfat Academic College and a member of the Im Tirzu movement, testified on the threats and harassment she experienced during the past year during her studies, at a meeting discussing the recent increase in Arab violence.

"During Operation Guardian of the Walls, an Arab classmate began uploading anti-Semitic posts. After I asked her why she was uploading these posts, she sent Palestinian flags to the group of students. She started harassing me, and she posted my Instagram account on the net with an explicit threat: 'We will conquer your region, we will win with the help of Allah.'

"In addition, she posted my phone number which led to explicit threats on my life. The administration did nothing to address the issue; instead, it preferred to present it as a conflict between students. Today I am afraid to go to college; I study online instead. I'm afraid to walk around the campus. I'm afraid for my life."

Rinat Rousseau, another student at Tzfat Academic College, also experienced similar attacks. "I feel like a guest at Tzfat College and that the homeowners are the Arab students. For example, just one Jewish student among over 50 Arab students took a course on the Holocaust. When examinations were held and she arrived to take the test, she saw that Arab students had written 'Nazi' on her desk. She left without taking the test, and when the lecturer asked the other students what had happened, no one replied. Later, she complained to the lecturer, but nothing was done. This student ended up leaving the college; this incident was the last straw.

"We have approached the college again and again - and the response is general statements of condemnation, but nothing real has been done to deter, punish, and prevent subsequent incidents," Rousseau concludes.

 

 

Israel National News

Source: https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/318352

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Thursday, December 9, 2021

How Obama Sabotaged the American Military - Daniel Greenfield

 

​ by Daniel Greenfield

Obama fundamentally transformed the military the way that he did the country.

 


Frontpagemag Editors' note: This article on the subversion of the American military is one of a series Daniel Greenfield has written on what is probably the greatest and most immediate threat to America’s security and survival. It's a subject surrounded by silence. See the Freedom Center's articles on this issue at its new campaign site, Committee for a Patriotic Military. Also make sure to read Daniel Greenfield's booklet, Disloyal: How the Military Brass is Betraying Our Country.

By the time Barack Obama left office, every branch of the military was smaller than it had been on September 11. But the change in size concealed the true impact of America’s most left-wing president in undermining our national security and weakening us in the face of our enemies.

"I've got a pen, and I've got a phone,” Obama famously boasted. He used the pen to unleash a blizzard of executive orders and memorandums. Some led to outraged protests, but some of his most devastating penned assaults on our nation’s military flew under the radar.

One of those took place during the end of his last year in office. His memorandum, “Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in the National Security Workforce”, created the woke military of the Biden administration by putting identity politics, diversity quotas, and political indoctrination at the heart of the military’s mission.

Obama had always resented the military. Even former General McChrystal, an Obama loyalist fired for describing his boss a little too aptly in the presence of a Rolling Stone reporter, described him as “uncomfortable and intimidated” by generals. But Obama’s parting shot at the military cut the generals down to size by transforming them into community organizers.

His order redefined diversity as the military’s “greatest asset” and reinvented national security as a system for maximizing employment diversity by race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and every identity politics metric, but not the military metrics that truly mattered, readiness, competence, and a willingness to wage war in defense of the homeland.

Along with transforming the military into another quota-based federal employment agency in which skills and capability mattered much less than being a disabled transgender Eskimo, the order also demanded that national security agencies should make "implicit or unconscious bias" training mandatory for "senior leadership and management positions". Divisions that didn't earn sufficiently high IQ (Inclusion Quotient) scores would also be hit with bias training.

Implicit bias training is a form of political indoctrination which asserts that all white people are racist. Its sessions force participants into accepting its radical racial worldview or be treated as obstacles to the new organizational mission. Implicit bias training has succeeded in forcing out talented executives from corporations and officers from the military, replacing them with political activists and bootlickers cowardly enough to repeat Marxist dogma for the sake of their careers.

Obama’s memorandum led to the expansion of implicit bias within the military such as Army Secretary Eric Fanning’s infamous Directive 2017-06 ordering mandatory implicit bias training for “soldiers and employees in senior leadership and management positions” that was protested by chaplains for infringing on religious freedom. While the Trump administration later ordered a ban on such abusive training in the military, by then Obama’s order had long since been circulating in its cultural and organizational bloodstream, and was quickly restarted by Biden.

Biden’s first executive orders not only rescinded the ban, but doubled down on making the military more woke, more racist towards white Americans, and more incapable than ever. The new equity push went even further by attributing any failure to meet racial, gender, and other identity politics quotas to the grand hoax of “systemic racism” –a practice outlawed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Meeting these quotas became the foremost task of senior leadership.

China might beat us in the hypersonic weapons race, but America’s top military brass would pull out all the stops to make sure that they had the most diverse arrangement of people, preferably in senior leadership positions, to establish their progressive credentials.

The ‘wokening’ of the military was not a bottom-up, but a top-down phenomenon, imposed at every step from branch leaders to academy superintendents, after originating from the White House. Obama’s “Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in the National Security Workforce” was one of the final building blocks for his key administration goal of bringing the most conservative arm of the federal government into compliance with the political agendas of the radical Left.

Obama's former NASA administrator, Charles Bolden, had caused a stir when he frankly told Al Jazeera that his boss had given him three top priorities, none of which involved space, but one of which was Muslim self-esteem. No military leader had come out with an equally honest assessment, but Obama’s priorities for the military was looting its physical resources for environmental gimmicks like the Navy’s disastrous biofuels programs, and its human resources for a massive community organizing and Marxist indoctrination effort under the flag of diversity.

Obama didn’t just leave the military smaller in size, but smaller in spirit, its leadership class no longer dedicated to national security, but to the identity political agendas of the radical Left.

By Obama’s second term, male Army ROTC cadets were being forced to march in women’s high heels. The humiliating woke rituals, whose purpose is not the stated one of inclusion, but of exclusion, of demeaning and destroying the morale of the traditional fighting man, continue to hollow out the military readiness of armed services waging a culture war against themselves.

Obama remade the military just as he remade the nation, from a team based on individual worth into a broken system divided by the intractable gulfs of oppressors and the oppressed.

No military organization can function that way and no nation can survive that way.

Obama understood the nature of big government all too well. It’s a lot easier to program a bad leftist idea into the system than to get it out again. Bill Clinton had tried to tame the military through incremental changes, but Obama went for broke by transforming its mission.

By making diversity the mission, politics in the form of diversity and inclusion also became the mission. The new military mandate was to recruit diversity and to purge its opposite, the traditional white males who made up the backbone not only of the leadership, but of active duty combat personnel. Once an apolitical institution on matters beyond its purview, the military adopted leftist politics as its guiding light. The new advisers pushing diversity and inclusion warned the brass that the military could not become truly inclusive unless it adopted identity politics and all the Marxist ideas and anti-American attitudes that came with it.

That’s why Ibram X. Kendi, a disgraceful racist, showed up on reading lists and why Naval officers denounce America as if they were being held captive by the Viet Cong.

The road to our disgrace in Afghanistan was paved by the Obama administration which embraced a policy of military defeatism on the battlefield and in its institutions. Long before the Taliban entered Kabul, the moral struggle had already been lost in Washington D.C.. While the Taliban were carving up Afghanistan, the nation’s military leaders were busy implementing diversity quotas, imposing implicit bias training, and promoting critical race theory.

The brass who had accepted Obama’s diversity mandate began destroying the military in order to save the military. And they kept it up under the Trump administration even when Obama was gone. Any officer who protested was punished, smeared, and forced out. It will take more than a change of administrations to break that vicious cycle. It will take a change of leadership.

Obama fundamentally transformed the military as he did the nation. It must be fundamentally reformed by removing the brass who traded victory for diversity and anti-Trump lunacy. Gen. Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who had ranted to aides that President Trump was spreading the "gospel of the Fuhrer'', and defended critical race theory, is proof.

Milley and other failed military and political leaders who have undermined our national defense must go so that the military can return to the fundamentals of national defense.

Otherwise the defeat in Afghanistan may become the first of even worse defeats to come.

 

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center specializing in investigative reporting on the Left and Islamic terrorism.

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/12/how-obama-sabotaged-american-military-daniel-greenfield/

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Dems’ SCOTUS scheme face plants as Biden’s commission to evaluate expanding court unanimously declines to recommend packing - Thomas Lifson

 

​ by Thomas Lifson

Yesterday the plotters received a body blow to any such plans when the special commission appointed by President Biden last April to study changes to the Court conspicuously failed to recommend any changes at all.

Last week’s oral arguments in the Mississippi abortion case provoked more dark muttering from Democrats threatening to pack the Supreme Court if they don’t get their way. But yesterday the plotters received a body blow to any such plans when the special commission appointed by President Biden last April to study changes to the Court conspicuously failed to recommend any changes at all.

Just the News reports:

President Joe Biden's Supreme Court commission unanimously approved Tuesday a final report that pointedly declined to make recommendations on the most controversial ideas offered by liberals such as expanding the number of justices.

"The commission takes no position on the validity or strength" of arguments for or against increasing the number of justices, an idea often called packing the court, the final report noted.

While avoiding a recommendation, the panel noted most serious scholars opposed court packing.

“No serious person, in either major political party, suggests court packing as a means of overturning disliked Supreme Court decisions, whether the decision in question is Roe v. Wade or Citizens United,” the final report said.

”Scholars could say, until very recently, that even as compared to other court reform efforts, ‘court-packing’ is especially out of bounds. This is part of the convention of judicial independence."

The 34-member commission's 288-page report is likely to disappoint liberals

I’d say that the report kills the idea for the foreseeable future. There will not be even a fig leaf to cover the naked power grab. Senators Manchin and Sinema are not going to back such a radical measure, even if Speaker Pelosi pushes a measure through the House.

Take a sigh of relief. And let the Justices deliberate Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health free from worry over court-packing.

Photo: GNU Free documentation license

 

Thomas Lifson

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2021/12/dems_scotus_scheme_face_plants_as_bidens_commission_to_evaluate_expanding_court_unanimously_declines_to_recommend_packing_.html

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Roe vs. Wade: On the Ropes? - Joseph Klein

 

​ by Joseph Klein

The Left sweats.

 


“Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts?” Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked as she contemplated the potential overturning of Roe v Wade. Justice Sotomayor made this remark during oral arguments before the Supreme Court on December 1st in the case involving a challenge to Mississippi’s law prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, with limited exceptions.

Concerned that the Supreme Court’s reversal of its abortion rights precedents following a change in the ideological composition of the Supreme Court would make the Court look too political, Justice Stephen G. Breyer expressed the view that such a perception is “what kills us as an American institution.”

Justice Elena Kagan raised similar concerns.

The liberals on the Supreme Court, in short, are raising the specter of loss of legitimacy of the highest court in the land to justify leaving Roe v. Wade, as reaffirmed in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, untouched.  Overruling or fundamentally changing these precedents would jeopardize this legitimacy, they argue.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh challenged the liberals' argument with a long list of major precedents the Supreme Court has overruled in the past, most notably the separate-but-equal decision in Plessy v. Ferguson overruled by Brown v. Board of Education. The liberal justices and the attorneys arguing to preserve Roe and Casey tried to distinguish the Brown v. Board of Education decision overruling Plessy from what would happen if Roe and Casey were overturned or sharply curtailed.

Roe’s defenders argue that tampering with the Roe and Casey precedents would have a profoundly negative effect on peoples’ lives while Brown’s overturning of Plessy had the positive effect of providing more equal opportunity for a quality education irrespective of race. Women have relied on the right to choose an abortion for generations, the liberals’ argument goes, which has relieved them of the burden of forced motherhood and thereby helped them to achieve true equality.

It is true that deference to Supreme Court precedents – the principle known as stare decisis – is an important means of maintaining continuity and stability in jurisprudence, enhancing the credibility of an independent judiciary in the long run. However, while legal precedents should ordinarily not be overruled without very strong reasons for doing so, some court decisions were clearly wrong when they were decided or became hopelessly outdated over time.

Brown v. Board of Education has won so much respect over the years because it finally overturned the horrible prior precedent of Plessy v. Ferguson that certainly deserved no deference. Plessy v. Ferguson’s separate-but-equal doctrine had given legal cover to Jim Crow-era state laws imposing racial segregation that ran counter to constitutional amendments enacted following the Civil War. The 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments had explicitly sought to expand racial equality under the law.

Despite initial resistance in parts of the country, the Brown v. Board of Education decision helped move the country closer to national acceptance of the notion that segregation of public education based solely on race was a violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law regardless of race. The history and text of the 14th Amendment in particular clearly pointed in this direction. Moreover, Brown laid down a clearly understandable and enforceable rule of law.

Nothing in the Constitution provides a credible basis for the Supreme Court’s abortion rights decisions. In fact, the Supreme Court’s abortion jurisprudence broke with historical precedent when it took the power to regulate abortion largely out of the states’ hands and created a new constitutional right to abortion out of whole cloth. The Roe decision concluded that only after the fetus reaches the stage of viability may a state promote “its interest in the potentiality of human life” by regulating, and even proscribing, abortion, with limited medical necessity exceptions.

There is in fact actual human life developing inside the woman’s womb before birth that will continue to develop after birth unless something or someone intervenes to stop it. Human life is a continuum. Viability is only one point in time during that continuum, not an on-off-switch for human life.

Viability, particularly with advancements in science changing the definition and timing of viability, is not a workable legal standard for practical purposes. Indeed, in another abortion case, the Supreme Court acknowledged “the uncertainty of the viability determination itself,” adding that “the probability of any particular fetus' obtaining meaningful life outside the womb can be determined only with difficulty.”

Nevertheless, the Supreme Court jeopardized its own legitimacy in Roe by bestowing upon pregnant women a new supposed “due process” right to end an evolving human being’s life before that human being even has the chance to remain “viable” outside the woman’s womb. According to Roe, a pregnant woman’s “liberty” from the burdens of continued pregnancy and of motherhood is given so much constitutional protection that the human life temporarily growing inside that woman can be treated like a disposable appendage.

The majority in the Roe decision determined arbitrarily that the word “person” as used in the Constitution for invoking constitutional protections of individual rights did not apply to the unborn human being, Yet, in a display of inconsistency, the majority still recognized that what it called “potential human life” deserved some measure of government protection in its own right before birth. Just as arbitrarily, the Supreme Court chose the elusive “viability” threshold as the tipping point for granting such protection.

The Supreme Court majority in Roe recognized “the sensitive and emotional nature of the abortion controversy, of the vigorous opposing views, even among physicians, and of the deep and seemingly absolute convictions that the subject inspires.” However, the Court’s abortion decisions have done nothing in nearly five decades to resolve the controversy and help the nation reach a reasonable consensus. Indeed, they have caused more polarization and confusion over this highly “sensitive and emotional” issue.

Such complex policy issues as abortion are tailor made for resolution through the democratic political process. Moreover, the health and welfare of the mother and of the fetus are clearly within the jurisdiction of each state to regulate through laws passed by elected officials accountable to the people. This had been the case when it came to dealing with the abortion issue until the 1973 Roe. v. Wade decision suddenly reversed many years of historical precedent.

verturning Roe and Casey, or at least sharply reducing their potential to interfere with the rights reserved to the states and the people under the Constitution’s 10th Amendment, would restore judicial respect for the democratic will of the people in each state, as expressed through their elected representatives.

Defenders of Roe and Casey claim that their decades-old guarantee of a woman’s constitutional right to decide whether to end her pregnancy before viability has engendered too much individual and societal reliance to turn the clock back now. Women, as explained by U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar during the Mississippi case oral arguments, have counted on the ability to organize their lives with the knowledge that they have substantial time during pregnancy to choose whether to have a child. These include decisions about where to live, what relationships to enter into, their education, and their careers.

This reliance argument is very weak for several reasons.

First, the fact that individuals and society have supposedly relied for decades on an entrenched precedent can be used perversely to justify adhering stubbornly to an abominable precedent. As Justice Samuel Alito pointed out during the oral arguments, referencing the South’s build up of a whole society based on an edifice of legal segregation, “there was a lot of reliance on Plessy…It was reliance on an egregiously wrong understanding of what equal protection means.”

Second, claiming reliance on Roe and Casey begs the question of what norms of behavior regarding abortion had developed as a direct result of those decisions.  “Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare” was the formulation that pro-abortion Democrats had used for years following the Roe and Casey decisions to describe the societal norm they had in mind. Even Hillary Clinton – an avowed abortion supporter – used this formulation as late as her 2008 presidential campaign. But abortion rights advocates have since moved the goal posts to embrace the more extreme standard of permissive abortion in the name of  “autonomy” and “bodily integrity.”  

In short, the “reliance” that abortion rights advocates are now talking about is not reliance on the “safe, legal, and rare” norm of behavior that had originally emerged following the Roe and Casey decisions and which remained that way for years thereafter. Rather, these activists mean “reliance” on their own permissive version of a norm that encourages easily accessible and plentiful abortions.

Third, upholding Mississippi’s 15-week limitation on most permissible abortions, or even overturning Roe v. Wade altogether, would not ban abortions nationwide. It would simply restore power to the states to regulate abortion in their respective jurisdictions unless Congress steps in and legislates a national policy.

This is not 1973, the year that Roe was decided, when abortion was generally legal in only four states. Today, while the country is still deeply divided on how to resolve the abortion issue, abortion “would remain legal in more than half of states,” according to a New York Times report. The New York Times estimates that abortion would be banned or severely restricted in twenty-two states.  

Even without Roe and Casey still in place, women in many more states than fifty years ago would still have the same liberties that they have today to choose whether to have an abortion. Women in those states with strict limitations on abortions will have more states to travel to where such restrictions on abortions would not exist, with whatever financial help if needed that pro-abortion donors are willing to provide.  

The Supreme Court will probably not release its decision on the Mississippi case until next June or early July. Although the Supreme Court’s liberal bloc - Justices Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor – will no doubt dissent from any outcome that would change the Roe and Casey rulings, most Supreme Court prognosticators are predicting that Roe and Casey will not survive intact.

Some prognosticators are predicting a complete overruling of Roe and Casey. They believe, based on comments and questions during the oral argument, that at least the five most conservative justices – Justices Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett – are ready to make a definitive break from the past. Other prognosticators are predicting a narrower outcome that would uphold the Mississippi law’s 15-week cut-off for permitted abortions while not overruling Roe and Casey entirely, at least for now. This more incremental approach, which could gain the support of Justices Kavanaugh and/or Barrett, would seem to be where Chief Justice John Roberts is heading. The chief justice has on a number of occasions demonstrated concern for preserving the institutional legitimacy of the Supreme Court as his top priority.

In either case, it is a fair bet that a significant change in the Supreme Court’s abortion jurisprudence is in the offing and that the left will not be happy.

 

Joseph Klein

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/12/roe-v-wade-ropes-joseph-klein/

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