Saturday, November 12, 2022

UN votes to take Israeli 'occupation' of Palestine to Hague international court - Tovah Lazaroff, Lahav Harkov

 

by Tovah Lazaroff, Lahav Harkov

Israel, the United States, Canada and Australia were among those nations who opposed the move.

The UN General Assembly voted 98-17 to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the illegality of Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian territories on the grounds that it can be considered de-facto annexation.

The resolution specifically asked the ICJ for an opinion on the status of Jerusalem, which is one of the most volatile and contentious points of discord between Israelis and Palestinians.

The broad-range resolution also ignored Jewish ties to its holiest site, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, referring to it solely by its Muslim name of al-Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary).

Israel, the US, Canada and Australia were among the nations who opposed the ICJ referral when the UN General Assembly Fourth Committee held its preliminary vote on Friday in New York. In recent weeks, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken asked Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas not to put the resolution to a vote and lobbied like-minded countries to oppose it.

The issue must get final approval from the full UNGA before going to The Hague.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid warned that the vote could ignite more violence from the Palestinians.

“This step will not change the reality on the ground, nor will it help the Palestinian people in any way; it may even result in an escalation,” he said. “Supporting this move is a prize for terrorist organizations and the campaign against Israel.”

Lapid said Israel rejects the Palestinian resolution, a “unilateral... move which undermines the basic principles for resolving the conflict and may harm any possibility for a future process.

“We call upon all the countries that supported yesterday’s proposal to reconsider their position and oppose it when it’s voted upon in the General Assembly. The way to resolve the conflict does not pass through the corridors of the UN or other international bodies,” the prime minister stated.

Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan tweeted that “there is no authority that can declare that the Jewish nation is an occupier in its homeland.”

“Unilateral measures” such as an ICJ appeal “will be met with unilateral measures,” Erdan warned.

What does the resolution say?

THE RESOLUTION states that after 56 years, Israel’s hold on territories it captured from Jordan, Egypt and Syria in the defensive 1967 Six Day War, can be considered tantamount to de-facto annexation and thus illegal under international law.

Since the Six Day War, Israel has applied sovereignty to east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights but left the West Bank under IDF military and civilian rule.

The international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, and only the US accepts Israel’s annexation of the Golan.

Israel withdrew from Gaza, but the international community still holds that the coastal enclave is under Israeli “occupation” due to the IDF’s control of much of its borders.

"By co-opting the ICJ to impose a political decision the Palestinians are given the perfect excuse to continue boycotting the negotiating table to perpetuate the conflict."

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan

The Palestinians hold that all of east Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza territory should be part of the borders of the future state. Israel, in contrast, has insisted that a two-state resolution to the conflict cannot be based on that pre-1967 boundary.

Past peace processes have not bridged that difference.

An ICJ opinion on the matter is non-binding, but would help codify into international law the Palestinian insistence that all that pre-1967 territory should be within the final boundaries of its future state.

At Friday’s meeting, the United States and Israel charged that the resolution was an attempt to bypass a negotiated resolution to the conflict with the Palestinians and, as such, ran counter to past UN resolutions including at the Security Council, which called for such talks.

“The Palestinians have rejected every single peace initiative, and now they embroil an external body with the excuse that the conflict has not been resolved – but the only reason why it has not been resolved is because of their rejectionism,” Erdan said.

“They claim that they are ready to negotiate, but what they fail to mention is that they are only ready to do so if they are guaranteed 100% of their demands before they even sit down at the negotiating table,” the ambassador explained.

He noted that it was convenient for the Palestinians to historically reject peace plans and then claim that the conflict was permanent and illegal because Israel had not met its demand for a full withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines.

“Exploiting a UN organ by enlisting the UN’s politicized anti-Israel majority for the purpose of forcing your demands instead of negotiating, is clearly a unilateral step,” he said.

Erdan also took issue with the resolution’s failure to speak of the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount.

 ISRAELI AMBASSADOR to the United Nations Gilad Erdan stated that ‘Holocaust denial has spread like a cancer.’ (credit: REUTERS) ISRAELI AMBASSADOR to the United Nations Gilad Erdan stated that ‘Holocaust denial has spread like a cancer.’ (credit: REUTERS)

“This is not an ignorant mistake, but another attempt to distort history and erase the bond between the Jewish people and Jerusalem,” he said.

US Representative Andrew Weinstein said the “failure” in such resolutions “to acknowledge the shared history of the [al-] Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount, a site sacred to both Jews and Muslims, is perhaps the clearest demonstration that they are intended only to denigrate Israel, not to help achieve peace.”

Palestinian ambassador thanks those who voted for 

AFTER THE vote, PA Ambassador Riyad Mansour thanked all the nations that endorsed and supported the resolutions.

“Nothing justifies standing with Israeli annexation and occupation,” Mansour said, noting that these actions went against the UN Charter.

“This occupation needs to end,” he said.

The resolution asks the ICJ to advise on “the legal consequences arising from the ongoing violations by Israel of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination from its prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967.”

This includes, the resolution stated, “measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.”

In addition, the resolution asked the ICJ to explain how Israel’s policies and practices “affect the legal status of the occupation” and what are the “legal consequences that arise for all states and the UN from this status.”

Among the nations that opposed the text were Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Liberia, Lithuania, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palau.

Many European countries abstained including Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Latvia, Lichtenstein, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Ireland, Poland and Ukraine, which continued to ask Israel for military aid as recently as last week, were among the countries that supported the ICJ referral.

This is the second such ICJ referral. In 2004, the court issued an advisory opinion against Israel’s security barrier, explaining that its construction in east Jerusalem and the West Bank was illegal.


Tovah Lazaroff, Lahav Harkov

Source: https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/article-722141

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A Cold Winter for Europe: Blame Strategic Blindness - Burak Bekdil

 

by Burak Bekdil

Only a few weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Biden surprised the EastMed partners by abruptly withdrawing U.S. support for the pipeline, thereby effectively killing the project, preventing a diversified energy supply to Europe, and further assuring Putin's energy blackmail against Europe.

  • In 2008, the "flawless democrat" Putin invaded Georgia. The West was shocked. Putin critics... were shocked that the West was shocked. In 2014, Putin invaded the Crimean Peninsula, sovereign Ukrainian territory. The West remained shocked. In February 2022, Putin invaded Ukraine and annexed parts of the sovereign state. Was the West still shocked? It should not have been.

  • Apparently the "flawless democrat" Putin is hoping to weaponize winter and force Europe to surrender, but giving in to the Kremlin would be disastrous.

  • The EastMed pipeline project was designed to improve Europe's energy security by diversifying its routes and sources and providing direct interconnection to the production fields while reducing dependence on Russian gas supplies.... U.S. President Joe Biden stepped in with a historic strategic miscalculation that came with a strategic cost: appeasing NATO's pro-Putin, part-time ally Turkey and jeopardizing Europe's energy security.

  • Only a few weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Biden surprised the EastMed partners by abruptly withdrawing U.S. support for the pipeline, thereby effectively killing the project, preventing a diversified energy supply to Europe, and further assuring Putin's energy blackmail against Europe.

  • The White House said the $6.7 billion project was antithetical to its "climate goals." Biden presumably hopes no one will actually still be using fossil fuels by 2025, the date for the planned completion of the EastMed pipeline. The Biden administration also cited a supposed lack of economic and commercial viability, even though a 2019 study financed by the EU confirmed that "the EastMed Project is technically feasible, economically viable and commercially competitive."

  • If the Europeans freeze this winter or must pay sky-high bills, they should drink a toast to the likes of Schroeder and Biden.

(Image source: iStock)

The story goes back to early 2000's when German's then Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder decided to develop strategic relations between Berlin and Moscow. He went so far as to offer partnership to Russia in EADS, a multinational European defense and aerospace powerhouse. In November 2004, Schroeder called Russian President Vladimir Putin a "flawless democrat." Unsurprisingly, in 2004, Schroeder hailed Turkey's Islamist autocrat, then prime minister (now president) Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan as a "great reformer."

On the evening of December 9, 2005, seventeen days after Schroeder left office as chancellor, he got a call from his friend Putin. Since leaving public office, Schroeder has worked for Russian state-owned energy companies, including Nord Stream AG, Rosneft, and Gazprom, for a salary of $1 million a year. On March 8, 2022, German's Public Prosecutor General initiated proceedings related to accusations against Schroeder of complicity in crimes against humanity due to his role in Russian state-owned corporations.

In 2008, the "flawless democrat" Putin invaded Georgia. The West was shocked. Putin critics, including this author, were shocked that the West was shocked. In 2014, Putin invaded the Crimean Peninsula, sovereign Ukrainian territory. The West remained shocked.

In February 2022, Putin invaded Ukraine and annexed parts of the sovereign state. Was the West still shocked? It should not have been.

In 1972, natural gas exports from the Soviet Union accounted for around 4% of European gas consumption. By 2021, Russia was providing almost 40% of Europe's gas. As Moscow's market share has gradually increased, so has its ability to manipulate prices and trigger crises. Most Europeans now acknowledge that this reliance on Russia represents a major strategic blunder. Too late. Europe's "green energy transition" features one major flaw: it relies on Russian gas imports.

Back to the future. This will be an extremely difficult winter for all Europeans, whether they face blackouts or heating issues and sky-high energy bills. Apparently the "flawless democrat" Putin is hoping to weaponize winter and force Europe to surrender, but giving in to the Kremlin would be disastrous.

Back to the past. In 2017, the governments of Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Israel signed a declaration to confirm their support for the development of the East Mediterranean Pipeline (EastMed), a $6.7 billion, 1,900-km natural gas pipeline project to connect the gas reserves of Israel and Cyprus to Greece and onward to Europe. The pipeline would have an initial capacity to transport 10 billion cubic meters per year (bcm/y) of gas to Greece, Italy and other southeast European countries. The capacity would then be increased to a maximum of 20 bcm/y in the second phase. The project was confirmed as a "Project of Common Interest" (PCI) by the European governments.

The EastMed pipeline project was designed to improve Europe's energy security by diversifying its routes and sources and providing direct interconnection to the production fields while reducing dependence on Russian gas supplies. It would provide an opportunity for European Union member state Cyprus to connect to the European gas network, which would further enhance gas trading in southeast Europe.

Turkey, after a punishing international isolation following several diplomatic crises with Israel, threatened militarily to challenge EastMed. In contrast, other countries in the region such as Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the Gulf states supported what later became the EastMed group, also favored by the EU and United States. So far so good. But wait.

As the past several years saw the East Mediterranean turning into a slow-fuse time bomb sitting over rich hydrocarbons that are claimed questionably by Turkey as a stand-alone regional force, versus an alliance of Greece, Cyprus and Israel, U.S. President Joe Biden stepped in with a historic strategic miscalculation that came with a strategic cost: appeasing NATO's pro-Putin, part-time ally Turkey and jeopardizing Europe's energy security.

Only a few weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Biden surprised the EastMed partners by abruptly withdrawing U.S. support for the pipeline, thereby effectively killing the project, preventing a diversified energy supply to Europe, and further assuring Putin's energy blackmail against Europe.

The White House said the $6.7 billion project was antithetical to its "climate goals." Biden presumably hopes no one will actually still be using fossil fuels by 2025, the date for the planned completion of the EastMed pipeline. The Biden administration also cited a supposed lack of economic and commercial viability, even though a 2019 study financed by the EU confirmed that "the EastMed Project is technically feasible, economically viable and commercially competitive."

Biden's miscalculation must have caused much laughter and substantial champagne consumption in the Kremlin. "Welcome to the brave new world where Europeans are very soon going to pay €2.000 for 1.000 cubic meters of natural gas!" tweeted Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, and the country's former president and prime minister, on February 22, 2022.

Even if Putin was hesitant about making Ukraine his new war theater in January, Biden's mistake assured him that he was on the right track. If the Europeans freeze this winter or must pay sky-high bills, they should drink a toast to the likes of Schroeder and Biden.


Burak Bekdil, one of Turkey's leading journalists, was recently fired from the country's most noted newspaper after 29 years, for writing in Gatestone what is taking place in Turkey. He is a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/19065/europe-energy-strategic-blindness

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The Dangerous Nexus: Russia and Iran's Mullahs - Majid Rafizadeh

 

by Majid Rafizadeh

Biden's new nuclear deal, if reached, will also allow Russia to cash in on a $10 billion contract to further expand Iran's nuclear infrastructure.

  • The Iranian regime, which has long argued that it is not seeking to develop nuclear weapons... has lately changed its tone and is boasting that it currently has the ability to build a nuclear bomb.

  • Biden's new nuclear deal, if reached, will also allow Russia to cash in on a $10 billion contract to further expand Iran's nuclear infrastructure.

  • Sadly, this still seems to be the legacy that the Biden administration wants to leave: Iran's predatory regime, the top state sponsor of terrorism, armed with nuclear bombs, and an empowered Russia that does not hesitate to use aggression and military force to invade other countries.

  • No wonder Biden is being called a "Russian stooge."

(Image source: iStock)

The Iranian regime is now providing weapons and troops to Russia with full impunity. What are the ruling mullahs of Iran getting in return?

First of all, Iran's theocratic establishment is rushing to cross the nuclear threshold in order to become a nuclear-armed state. Iran wants Russia to help it bolster and speed up its nuclear program. On October 24, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accurately warned:

"In eight months of full-scale war, Russia has used almost 4,500 missiles against us. And their stock of missiles is dwindling. Therefore, Russia went looking for affordable weapons in other countries to continue its terror. It found them in Iran."

Zelensky added:

"I have a question for you – how does Russia pay Iran for this, in your opinion? Is Iran just interested in money? Probably not money at all, but Russian assistance to the Iranian nuclear program. Probably, this is exactly the meaning of their alliance."

The Iranian regime, which has long argued that it is not seeking to develop nuclear weapons due to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's reported "fatwa" forbidding such an act, has lately changed its tone and is boasting that it currently has the ability to build a nuclear bomb.

In July, Kamal Kharrazi, Iran's former foreign minister, acknowledged to Al Jazeera:

"It's no secret that we have become a quasi-nuclear state. This is a fact. And it's no secret that we have the technical means to produce a nuclear bomb... In the past, and within just a few days, we were able to enrich uranium up to 60%, and we can easily produce 90% enriched uranium."

Kharrazi added that "what we want is a Middle East without any nuclear weapons" -- most likely meaning that only Iran will hold onto nuclear weapons, but not any other country.

Other Iranian officials have also come out admitting that the regime's nuclear program was always designed to manufacture nuclear weapons. In April, it was reported that former deputy speaker of the Iranian Parliament Ali Motahari said:

"From the very beginning, when we entered the nuclear activity, our goal was to build a bomb and strengthen the deterrent forces but we could not maintain the secrecy of this issue."

The former head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani, also acknowledged that his work was part of a "system" designed to develop nuclear weapons. According to a report from November 2021:

"The former AEOI head also told IRNA that he worked with [nuclear scientist Mohsen] Fakhrizadeh on 'nuclear defense.'

"Abbasi claimed that Fakhrizadeh had been targeted by Iran's enemies for years, but 'when the country's all-encompassing growth came concerning satellites, missiles, and nuclear weapons, and [Iran] crossed the various frontiers of knowledge, the issue became more serious for them.'"

The Biden administration's non-existent leadership has helped the ruling mullahs to buy time in the last two years and speed up their nuclear program, increasing their uranium enrichment from 20% to 60%, conducting uranium metal research, development and production, and adding additional advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges. The emboldened regime of the mullahs even announced that they would not allow the International Atomic Energy to see images of the centrifuges.

Even a joint statement issued by the UK, France and Germany stressed that Tehran "has no credible civilian need for uranium metal R&D and production, which are a key step in the development of a nuclear weapon."

Russia and Iran previously worked together to construct several nuclear reactors in Iran and advance the regime's nuclear technology.

Biden's new nuclear deal, if reached, will also allow Russia to cash in on a $10 billion contract to further expand Iran's nuclear infrastructure. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has stunningly made it clear to US lawmakers that the Biden administration will not stand in the way of Russian-Iranian nuclear cooperation and Russia cashing in on the $10 billion contract. State Department spokesman Ned Price repeated the Biden administration's stance by pointing out:

"We, of course, would not sanction Russian participation in nuclear projects that are part of resuming full implementation of the JCPOA".

Sadly, this still seems to be the legacy that the Biden administration wants to leave: Iran's predatory regime, the top state sponsor of terrorism, armed with nuclear bombs, and an empowered Russia that does not hesitate to use aggression and military force to invade other countries.

No wonder Biden is being called a "Russian stooge."


Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US Foreign Policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/19100/iran-russia-nexus

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GOP must insist on a return to pre-2020 election system in competitive states or die - Jared Peterson

 

by Jared Peterson

It’s the electoral mechanics, stupid!

It’s entirely possible that the Republicans will not win the House. If they do, it will be by a razor thin margin under circumstances that should have produced a blowout.

The main reason for this second in a row reversal of all historic electoral precedent is plain to anyone who wants to look and be honest:

Florida has an electoral law that most closely recreates the US election DAY mechanics of all time prior to 2020: No mass mailing of unrequested absentee ballots to all registered voters - only those registered voters requesting an absent ballot no later than 10 days before the election get one; and their ballot is counted only if received by a specific date.  In Florida there was strict enforcement of date deadlines, and larger percentages of voters than elsewhere voted at the polls.

Ergo: in Florida there was fast counting and quick results; and much less time for shenanigans.

And a Republican blowout.

In Florida there was no collecting/harvesting of ballots. And - even more important - no voting by that substantial segment of the Democrat party base that’s too disorganized and generally out of it to either remember to go to the polls or to request an absentee ballot.

The mass mailing of millions of absentee ballots, coupled with lengthy return periods and allowed methods of return (e.g., unsupervised drop boxes) has, in a multitude of ways, expanded the Dem vote. 

It may save them both the House and Senate this time.

This was foreseeable. In Florida it was fixed. What was wrong during the last two years with the rest of the Republican leadership?

This election conclusively establishes that until the corrupt electoral mechanics established in 2020 in almost all competitive states are abolished, and something like Florida’s electoral laws put into place, Republicans will be laboring not merely against the entire corporate and tech media, but under vote mechanics that give the Dems: 1. every opportunity to engage in fraud; and 2. constitute a national remedial help plan for several million Democrat-inclined incompetents who, in the absence of these mechanics, would not vote at all.

All of this adds up to an unknown but significant number of votes for the Dems that were never available to them in years prior to 2020. This advantage, coupled with numerous others (see above) is too much for the traditional conservative party to overcome. Even in circumstances like those prevailing on November 8, 2022, which, under the electoral mechanics that prevailed before 2020, would have produced a Republican blowout.

All the blather about weak candidates, wrong messaging, abortion and Donald Trump are so much barking up wrong trees. This atrocious Republican electoral outcome will have been produced by the electoral mechanics that the timid Republican establishment allowed to be adopted in 2020, and then to be extended to this election, and - for all the fight on this issue Republican leaders have shown - probably forever.

 

Republicans, conservatives and patriots! 

It’s the electoral mechanics, stupid!

Fight those mechanics in the courts, change them in the legislatures, or continue to watch Democrats eat your lunch.

Photo credit: The Examiner CC BY-SA 2.0 license


Jared Peterson

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2022/11/gop_must_insist_on_a_return_to_pre2020_election_system_in_competitive_states_or_die.html

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Detransitioned teen wants to hold 'gender-affirming' surgeons accountable: 'What happened to me is horrible' - Ashley Carnahan

 

by Ashley Carnahan

Chloe Cole underwent a double mastectomy at 15 and still suffers from health complications

Teenager Chloe Cole started on puberty blockers and testosterone at 13, underwent a double mastectomy at 15 and detransitioned from male to female at 16.  

Cole said Thursday on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" that doctors pushed transitioning as the way to treat her gender dysphoria. 

She was 12 when she told her parents she was "distressed" with her gender and wanted to transition from female to male. 

"They were concerned, and they wanted what was best for me, but they weren’t really sure what to do with me, so they sought professional help, and from then on, I was basically referred [to] in my gender identity without any questioning from any medical professionals, and they pushed transitioning as the way to treat gender dysphoria," she said. 

Chloe Cole underwent a double mastectomy at 15 to treat her gender dysphoria.

Chloe Cole underwent a double mastectomy at 15 to treat her gender dysphoria.  ((Screenbrab/TuckerCarlsonTonight))

Cole told host Tucker Carlson she is "devastated" at the loss of her breasts and has trouble coping. 

"As an adult, I will never be able to breast-feed whatever children I will have. I don’t even know if, because I was put on puberty blockers and testosterone at only 13 years old, I don’t know if I’ll be able to conceive a child naturally," she said. "I made an adult decision as a child."

JUDGE BLOCKS BIDEN ADMIN'S TRANSGENDER SCHOOL BATHROOM RULE, ATHLETES

The teenager said she is suing the doctors who performed the "gender-affirming" surgery because she wants to end the practice. "I want to hold the adults that put me in harm’s way accountable because what happened to me is horrible, but it also didn’t only happen to me, that’s the worst part. It’s happening to children all over the U.S., all over the West, and it’s spreading all over the world," she said. 

Cole transitioned from female to male for roughly four years

Cole transitioned from female to male for roughly four years (iStock)

"I want to be able to create a precedent for other people who have been in my situation to find justice themselves."

Attorney Harmeet Dhillon outlined the case against the doctors, telling host Tucker Carlson they are bringing forth a medical malpractice suit. Cole is being represented by non-profit organization the Center for American Liberty. 

"Our website at libertycenter.org has the letter, a very detailed letter that details all of the medical symptoms that Chloe has and the medical malpractice. And frankly, the mutilation that was perpetrated by these medical professionals," Dhillon said. 

The Center for American Liberty is representing Chloe Cole and is bringing forth a medical practice suit.

The Center for American Liberty is representing Chloe Cole and is bringing forth a medical practice suit.  ((Credit: iStock))

Cole's attorney said they plan on putting and end to the practice and want other people who have had complications from the surgeries to come forward as well. 

"We intend to shut down these barbaric and unnatural practices down."


Ashley Carnahan is a production assistant at Fox News Digital.

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/media/detransitioned-teen-hold-gender-affirming-surgeons-accountable

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Federal courts to Joe Biden: You're no king! - John Solomon

 

by John Solomon

Historic Supreme Court ruling this summer has empowered judges to rein in Biden executive actions not authorized by Congress.


Emboldened by a historic Supreme Court ruling earlier this year, federal courts from coast to coast are erasing Joe Biden's efforts to expand his executive powers to encompass everything from imposing vaccine mandates to canceling personal debt without Congress' blessing.

With each ruling, judges are sending an unmistakable message to the 46th president: America has no kings under its Constitution.  

Biden's latest repudiation came Thursday night in Texas, where a judge offered a history lesson ripped from the Federalist Papers in striking down the administration's student loan forgiveness plan that would have shifted more than $400 billion in personal debt to taxpayers without the blessing of Congress.

U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman called Biden's election year gift to young voters the most egregious abuse of executive power in presidential history, equating it to the sort of tyranny the Founding Fathers sought to eradicate with the Constitution.

"In this country, we are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone," the Trump-appointed jurist wrote. "Instead, we are ruled by a Constitution that provides for three distinct and independent branches of government. As President James Madison warned, 'the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.'"

While the most colorful of the recent rulings against Biden, Pittman's message was nearly identical to those in district and appellate courts across the United States this year.

The judgments against executive overreach have become sharper and more frequent since June, when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its historic West Virginia v. EPA decision, which declared a Democrat effort to restrain coal power carbon emissions could not use executive fiat to create law that Congress did not approve.

In September, U.S District Judge Terry A. Doughty in Louisiana ruled the Biden administration could not require Head Start program teachers, staff, and volunteers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, nor can it require adults or students to wear masks. That ruling permanently enjoined the vaccine and mask mandate in 24 states.

"The public interest is served by maintaining the constitutional structure and the liberty of individuals who do not want to take the COVID-19 vaccine," Doughty wrote.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court used a similar rationale when it struck down the Biden administration's Occupational Safety and Health Administration order requiring private businesses to impose vaccine or testing requirements on their employees.

"OSHA has never before imposed such a mandate," the majority justices wrote. "Nor has Congress. Indeed, although Congress has enacted significant legislation addressing the COVID–19 pandemic, it has declined to enact any measure similar to what OSHA has promulgated here."

Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz told the "Just the News, No Noise" television program Thursday that the courts are sending a consistent message to the Biden administration.

“We've given far too much power to the executive branch. That's one of the few things that I think Hamilton and Jefferson probably would have agreed on with Madison and the other framers of the Constitution,” he said.

”We didn't want an executive who was like the king. We wanted an executive who was independent who can't be impeached, except for serious crimes like treason and bribery. But we don't want to give them the power to decide issues that should be decided by the legislature,” he added.

Pittman's decision Thursday came in a case brought by two Americans and supported by the small business group Job Creators Network.

"Whether the Program constitutes good public policy is not the role of this Court to determine," the judge wrote. "Still, no one can plausibly deny that it is either one of the largest delegations of legislative power to the executive branch, or one of the largest exercises of legislative power without congressional authority in the history of the United States." 

Specifically, Pittman concluded that Biden's plan violated the separation of powers in the Constitution. 

"The Court is not blind to the current political division in our country," he wrote. "But it is fundamental to the survival of our Republic that the separation of powers as outlined in our Constitution be preserved."

Job Creators Network President Alfredo Ortiz, whose group brought the cases that resulted in both the student loan and private vaccine mandate rulings, hailed the latest decision.

"This ruling protects the rule of law which requires all Americans to have their voices heard by their federal government," Ortiz told Just the News. "This attempted illegal student loan bailout would have done nothing to address the root cause of unaffordable tuition: greedy and bloated colleges that raise tuition far more than inflation year after year while sitting on $700 billion in endowments.

"We hope that the court's decision today will lay the groundwork for real solutions to the student loan crisis."


John Solomon

Source: https://justthenews.com/government/white-house/federal-courts-joe-biden-youre-no-king

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Pennsylvania lawmakers investigate expanding nuclear energy - The Center Square Staff

 

by The Center Square Staff

Some skepticism remains over cost-efficiency in such an expansion.

 

Nuclear power remains a significant energy source in Pennsylvania, and one lawmaker wants to explore the possibilities of an expansion.

Some skepticism remains, however, over cost-efficiency in such an expansion.

House Resolution 238, sponsored by Rep. Tom Mehaffie, R-Hershey, would direct the Joint State Government Commission to carry out a study on “the benefits of nuclear energy and small modular reactors.”

Small modular reactors require less land and investment to develop and can use coolants other than water, giving them the ability to be placed away from lakes or rivers.

Mehaffie argued nuclear energy could create jobs and bring energy stability and independence to Pennsylvania.

“This study is needed, it’s justified, and it is something I think we all have to start looking at in realms across the United States, but especially Pennsylvania,” Mehaffie said. “I think those with the infrastructure that’s there for the generation of electricity, there’s (nowhere) better to locate these SMRs than in the vicinity of these plants to use the existing technology.”

Pennsylvania is the third-largest generator of electricity in the nation behind Texas and Florida, and second in the nation behind Illinois for its nuclear power generating capacity. In 2020, the state’s four nuclear power plants provided 30% of the state’s electricity generation, compared to 4% of renewable energy resources.

A study from the commission could clarify how much Pennsylvania could expand its nuclear footprint.

“Without a study, we can’t really tell what’s needed, how much is needed, what’s going on,” Mehaffie said.

“I’m not here to cast a bad cloud over anybody, but I want to make sure we’re in the position that we can produce enough electricity in the good and bad times of Pennsylvania so that our commonwealth is supplied with the proper amount of electricity and we can export what’s needed,” he continued.

The economics of nuclear energy, however, can get tricky.

“It's the kind of issue that comes around every 10 years or so – barring a Fukushima accident – but really doesn't go anywhere,” said David Hess, a former secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection. “I can't get really excited about this iteration of nuclear power because it would necessarily be on a very long timeline.”

Though natural gas price increases make nuclear power more competitive and the federal Inflation Reduction Act created new tax credits and incentives for nuclear energy, cost overruns have haunted nuclear expansions in other states.

A planned nuclear plant in Georgia has seen major delays and its price tag balloon from $14 billion to $30 billion and counting.

Nuclear energy has been credited for being a leader in decarbonization efforts, but advocates warn that overregulation and unfair government subsidies have been responsible for its cost issues.

Mehaffie was “very confident” that the resolution would pass in the House.

“We want to be in front of the curve and make sure we’re making all the right decisions as lawmakers and I think this is just a great first step,” he said.


The Center Square Staff

Source: https://justthenews.com/nation/states/center-square/pennsylvania-house-resolution-would-investigate-expanding-nuclear

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Biden admin to appeal Texas federal judge’s ruling on student loan handout - Elizabeth Pritchett

 

by Elizabeth Pritchett

Jean-Pierre said the Department of Justice has filed an appeal against the ruling and it will 'prevail in court'

 

Hours after a federal court in Texas ruled against President Biden's student loan handout, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre released a statement on the administration's opinion toward the ruling.

Jean-Pierre stated the administration "strongly disagrees" with the District Court's decision and an appeal has been filed by the Department of Justice.

"The President and this Administration are determined to help working and middle-class Americans get back on their feet, while our opponents – backed by extreme Republican special interests – sued to block millions of Americans from getting much-needed relief," Jean-Pierre added.

She said the Department of Education will hold onto the information of all 26 million borrowers who have applied for the handout, so their relief can be "quickly" processed once they "prevail in court."

BIDEN'S STUDENT LOAN HANDOUT STRUCK DOWN BY FEDERAL JUDGE IN TEXAS

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks at a podium

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during a briefing at the White House, Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The program aims to cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt for Pell Grant recipients in college and up to $10,000 for others who borrowed using federal student loans.

Sixteen million applicants have reportedly been approved for the handout, according to Jean-Pierre.
  
"We will never stop fighting for hardworking Americans most in need – no matter how many roadblocks our opponents and special interests try to put in our way," the statement said.

BIDEN STUDENT LOAN HANDOUT FACES ANOTHER EMERGENCY LEGAL CHALLENGE

President Biden speaking on student loan handout program

President Biden speaks as Miguel Cardona, US secretary of education, right, listens in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Monday, Oct. 17, 2022. (Bonnie Cash/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In the ruling Thursday night, U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman said the court's role is not to decide what "constitutes good public policy," but to decide if Biden's plan is too large of a decision to make without congressional authority.

"In this country, we are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone. Instead, we are ruled by a Constitution that provides for three distinct and independent branches of government," Pittman said. "The Court is not blind to the current political division in our country. But it is fundamental to the survival of our Republic that the separation of powers as outlined in our Constitution be preserved."

Student loan forgiveness protesters holding signs

Activists encouraging President Biden to fully cancel all student debt hold signs as they attend a Student Loan Forgiveness rally on Pennsylvania Avenue and 17th street near the White House on April 27, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images / Getty Images)

Elaine Parker, President of Job Creators Network Foundation, which brought the lawsuit, reacted to Thursday's ruling, Fox News Digital reported earlier.

"This attempted illegal student loan bailout would have done nothing to address the root cause of unaffordable tuition: greedy and bloated colleges that raise tuition far more than inflation year after year while sitting on $700 billion in endowments. We hope that the court’s decision today will lay the groundwork for real solutions to the student loan crisis."


Elizabeth Pritchett

Source: https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/biden-admin-appeal-texas-federal-judges-ruling-student-loan-handout

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Media defending slow vote count in Nevada, Arizona, grew frustrated with stalled tally in 2020 Iowa caucuses - Gabriel Hays

 

by Gabriel Hays

Vote counting is still ongoing in major midterm election races in Arizona and Nevada

 

As mainstream media pundits have been defending the multi-day long vote counts for Arizona and Nevada’s midterm races, urging a frustrated electorate that this is "normal," "ordinary," and "part of the process," press coverage of the 2020 Democratic Iowa caucuses showed hosts and pundits growing exasperated over the stalled vote tally.

Media watchdog outlet NewsBusters compiled two video montages, one of the media’s reactions to 2022’s still ongoing vote count, and one of reactions to the delayed counting in the key 2020 Democratic presidential caucus state.

Side by side, the videos reveal two contradictory media attitudes to similar prolonged vote tabulation processes. 

KARI LAKE SLAMS CHAOTIC ARIZONA ELECTION TABULATION AS SHE CLOSES GAP ON HOBBS

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 11: Election workers open mail-in ballots at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center on November 11, 2022, in Phoenix, Arizona. Ballots continue to be counted in Maricopa County three days after voters went to the polls for the midterm election in Arizona. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 11: Election workers open mail-in ballots at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center on November 11, 2022, in Phoenix, Arizona. Ballots continue to be counted in Maricopa County three days after voters went to the polls for the midterm election in Arizona. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)  (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The footage from 2022 show pundits such as MSNBC's Katy Tur, MSNBC contributor Michael Steele, and CNN’s John King, among others, urging viewers to stay calm and recognize that Arizona taking nearly four days now to count its votes for the governor and U.S. Senate race is part of the process.

However, the video from 2020 reveals growing frustrations among many of the pundits from these mainstream networks that vote counting was being dragged out over multiple days to decide who won the major Democratic contest in Iowa.


 

Watching these videos in succession reveals the hypocrisy of the media concerning the country’s vote counting process.

In the 2022 video, Tur urged her viewers to understand that the count in Arizona and Nevada is "gonna take time, and that is normal." ABC reporter Terry Moran told "Good Morning America" viewers, "This is normal. Ordinary Arizonans will continue the ordinary work of counting votes."

The race between GOP candidate Kari Lake and Democrat Katie Hobbs is still undecided.

The race between GOP candidate Kari Lake and Democrat Katie Hobbs is still undecided.

MSNBC political analyst Michael Steele is shown telling MSNBC viewers, "This is part of the process. This is normal. Don’t get upset." CNN anchors and correspondents are then shown in quick succession saying the counting process "takes time" as if it were a talking point. 

CNN anchor John King told viewers, "We need to be patient." NBC late night host Seth Meyers says, "We have to be patient," and CNN anchor Don Lemon claims, "And they’re working really, really hard to get everything done in a timely fashion, and so patience, patience, patience." 

TRUMP BLASTS MARICOPA COUNTY AFTER ARIZONA SEN. MARK KELLY DEFEATS BLAKE MASTERS: 'DO ELECTION OVER AGAIN!'

However, in the compilation of 2020 reactions to extended Iowa vote counts, pundits from some of the same outlets were shown clearly lacking patience. That video opens with MSNBC anchor Hallie Jackson quipping, "Breaking this morning, the Iowa Caucuses. They’re what’s breaking because the system is actually broken." Then-CNN anchor Chris Cuomo calls the delayed results an "epic failure by the Iowa state Democratic Party." 

MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle is shown emphatically saying, "We still don’t know the numbers." CBS’s Gayle King makes flippant remarks, saying, "It seems the jokes are gonna start writing themselves." The video then provides a quick succession of cuts with journalists from CNN, MSNBC and ABC claiming "chaos" with regard to the count.

The Nevada U.S. Senate race between Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Republican Adam Laxalt is still undecided.

The Nevada U.S. Senate race between Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Republican Adam Laxalt is still undecided. (Associated Press)

CNN anchor Van Jones then calls the count "a real debacle," and a then-"CBS This Morning" anchor describes it as "not a good look for Democrats."

NewsBusters senior research analyst Bill D’Agostino, who compiled both videos, captioned the latter, stating, "FLASHBACK: Vote counting for the 2020 Democratic Iowa Caucus was so abysmally bad that even the media dunked on it. Keep in mind, this is the same media who are now wagging their fingers at you like kindergarten teachers, and lecturing you about patience in Arizona and Nevada."

 

Gabriel Hays is an associate editor for Fox News Digital.

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/media/media-defending-slow-vote-count-nevada-arizona-grew-frustrated-stalled-tally-2020-iowa-causcuses

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Red wave after all? GOP winning popular vote by wide margin despite incongruous results - Aaron Kliegman

 

by Aaron Kliegman

Millions more Americans voted for Republicans than Democrats in House races. So why didn't the GOP win more seats?

 

The country may have experienced a red wave after all. It just didn't translate into the electoral outcomes that have historically accompanied major political shifts — and after the initial wave of instant narratives extemporized by pundits on election night, close observers are now just beginning to dig for the reasons underlying the model-shattering disconnect.

Republicans are currently winning the national popular vote for the House in Tuesday's midterm elections by a large margin, according to the latest data from the Cook Political Report.

Specifically, GOP candidates have so far received 50,672,592 votes, or 52.3% of the total ballots cast as of this writing. Democrat candidates, by comparison, have so far received 44,802,597 votes, or 46.2% of the total.

These figures come from Cook's 2022 National House Vote Tracker, which is being updated as states continue counting ballots.

This support for the GOP appears to fit with what pre-election polling data had suggested heading into Election Day. Several Republican candidates nationwide, including those running for the Senate and governors' mansions, had been rising in the polls in the last couple months, indicating positive momentum for Republicans.

Polling also found that the economy (particularly inflation) and crime were the top two issues for voters and that voters trusted Republicans more than Democrats to handle each issue.

President Biden's approval rating was also on average in the low 40s heading into Election Day, while other polling showed about 70%-80% of Americans thought the country was on the wrong track — both strong indicators historically that the party in control of the White House would lose a significant number of seats in the midterms.

However, Republican hopes for a landslide, red wave victory faded Tuesday night as Democrats performed better in House races than expected and won key Senate and gubernatorial seats considered vulnerable.

As the vote count currently stands, neither party has secured a majority in the House or Senate, with more ballots to be tallied and more states to be decided. Republicans are leading and still likely to win control of the House, but by a much smaller margin than expected. As for the Senate, it's anyone's guess, but any majority will be razor thin.

It's unclear at this point what explains the glaring incongruity between the GOP's underwhelming performance in terms of winning seats on one hand and its significant lead in the popular vote on the other.

"The craziest thing: Republicans are winning the House popular vote by 6.4% so far but just scraping by in the race for control," tweeted Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report. He noted the GOP margin will narrow when votes come in from deep blue Oregon, Washington, and California, as well as from cities that take longer to count ballots.

Still, Republicans are projected to win the popular vote.

While waiting for the full results and accompanying data, some experts have been opining about why the GOP appears poised to win the popular vote despite underperforming against expectations.

"Republicans did relatively well with black and especially Hispanic voters. But it didn't translate to seats," tweeted Sean Trende, senior election analyst for RealClearPolitics. "An easy story is uncontested seats; there were about 8 more GOP uncontested than Democrats. But in some of those, they don't count any votes, so it net hurts the GOP. And there are seats where two Democrats ran against each other, so Ds double dip."

Democrats have been increasingly calling since 2016 to replace the current election system with the popular vote, particularly in presidential races that are determined by the Electoral College as mandated by the U.S. Constitution.

In past midterm elections that saw landslide victories, the party that won the most seats also won the popular vote by a significant margin.

In 1994, for example, Republicans famously retook control of the House in a red wave election by gaining 52 seats in the House and eight in the Senate. As for the House popular vote, Republicans received 36,325,809 votes, or 51.5% of the total ballots cast. Democrats received 31,542,823 votes, or 44.7% of the total ballots.

In 2010, another red wave, Republicans gained 63 seats in the House and six in the Senate. As for the House popular vote, Republicans received 44,593,666 votes, or 51.4% of the total ballots cast. Democrats received 38,854,459 votes, or 44.8% of the total ballots.

Turning to the two most recent midterm races, in 2014, Republicans gained 13 seats in the House and nine in the Senate. As for the House popular vote, Republicans received 39,926,526 votes, or 50.6% of the total ballots cast. Democrats received 35,368,840 votes, or 44.9% of the total ballots.

And in 2018, somewhat of a blue wave election, Democrats gained 40 seats in the House while Republicans gained two in the Senate. As for the House popular vote, Republicans received 50,467,181 votes, or 44.3% of the total ballots cast. Democrats received 60,319,623 votes, or 52.9% of the total ballots.

All data on past elections came from official vote counts collected and published by the House clerk.


Aaron Kliegman

Source: https://justthenews.com/politics-policy/elections/red-wave-after-all-gop-winning-popular-vote-wide-margin-despite

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Thursday, November 10, 2022

Nides: US will fight against Israeli annexation attempts - Lahav Harkov

 

by Lahav Harkov

US Ambassador Tom Nides’s comments come as Smotrich demanded that Israeli settlements be governed by the relevant ministries rather than the IDF.

 

 US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides at the Jerusalem Post Conference in New York, September 12, 2022 (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides at the Jerusalem Post Conference in New York, September 12, 2022
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

The US will push back against any Israeli attempts to annex parts of the West Bank, US Ambassador Tom Nides warned as the Religious Zionist Party has demanded steps in that direction in coalition talks.

“Our position is quite clear: We do not support annexation,” Nides told KAN Bet. “We will fight any attempt to do so, which is by the way the position of most of the Arab countries.”

“Our position is quite clear: We do not support annexation. We will fight any attempt to do so, which is by the way the position of most of the Arab countries.”

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides

Nides’s comments come as Religious Zionist Party leader Bezalel Smotrich demanded that Israeli settlements be governed by the relevant ministries, rather than the IDF’s Civil Administration, as part of the next coalition agreement.

Moving the authority over settlements from the military to the regular government would be akin to extending Israel’s sovereignty to those parts of the West Bank, a step towards annexation.

As for reports that the Biden administration plans to snub Itamar Ben-Gvir, the far-right Religious Zionist MK likely to become a minister in the next Israeli cabinet, Nides said: “I’m not going to make draconian statements that I’m not going to talk to anyone Left or Right.

 US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides visited the Allenby Crossing on early Wednesday, to hear an update on the pilot program which has seen the crossing remain open 24 hours a day, November 9, 2022 (credit: Jeries Mansour, US Office of Palestinian Affairs) US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides visited the Allenby Crossing on early Wednesday, to hear an update on the pilot program which has seen the crossing remain open 24 hours a day, November 9, 2022 (credit: Jeries Mansour, US Office of Palestinian Affairs)

“We’ll see who gets into which positions and what positions they take,” the ambassador said. “We want to see, rhetorically, what they say and how they act… At this point, the government isn’t even formed… Then, we’ll determine what conversations can take place.”

Nides said he wants to have a strong and close relationship with the new government and presumptive prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“This is a country that is a democracy, that elected its government and I intend to work with them,” Nides stated.

However, the ambassador added, the US will “stand up for the things that we believe in...We are a very, very strong ally to the State of Israel but there are times where we will articulate what we believe and what our differences are.”

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said he had yet to hear concerns about Ben-Gvir from foreign diplomats and officials.

“Even if I will encounter [concerns], I think that people who believe in democracy understand that we need to respect the democratic process,” Erdan told Army Radio. “Here in the US, you know, there are a lot of stances that some of the people here view as extreme, but they don't stop supporting America because these stances are expected by large segments of the population.”

“I expect the same, whether from US Jewry or countries around the world, to look at the democratic process in the State of Israel,” Erdan stated.

Allenby Crossing 'good for Palestinians'

Nides also praised the Israeli pilot to open the Allenby Border Crossing 24 hours a day, saying that it’s “good for the Palestinian people and it’s good for the Israelis.”

He expressed hope that the next government will continue to advance projects to help the Palestinians’ quality of life, such as allowing 4G Internet.

The Allenby Crossing between Israel and Jordan opened to passenger traffic 24 hours a day on Sunday morning and will continue until Friday afternoon on a pilot program that is a step towards fulfilling a promise the Israeli government made to US President Joe Biden during his visit to Israel in July.

 Israeli soldiers stand near the entrance to Allenby Bridge, a crossing point between Jordan and the West Bank, March 10, 2014. (credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS) Israeli soldiers stand near the entrance to Allenby Bridge, a crossing point between Jordan and the West Bank, March 10, 2014. (credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)

Israel repeatedly postponed the date on which it would open the Allenby crossing allowing West Bank Palestinians to travel abroad through Jordan, which was set for September, then pushed off until after the Jewish holidays to mid-October.

Most Palestinians in the West Bank are barred from traveling abroad through Ben-Gurion Airport. They exit the West Bank through the Allenby Crossing and fly abroad from the airport in Amman.

The crossing was previously open from 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.


Lahav Harkov

Source: https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/article-722007

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