Friday, August 21, 2015

The Media Stays Shamefully Silent about the Most Shocking Planned Parenthood Video Yet

By Ian Tuttle — August 19, 2015

The seventh Planned Parenthood video is a bombshell.

It features former StemExpress technician Holly O’Donnell, who has appeared in several of the other videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, describing an average day at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte’s Alameda Clinic in San Jose, Calif.:
“I want you to see something kinda cool. This is kinda neat,” [her coworker says.] So I’m over here, and . . . the moment I see it, I’m just flabbergasted. This is the most gestated fetus and the closest thing to a baby I’ve seen. And she is, like, “Okay, I want to show you something.” So she has one of her instruments, and she just taps the heart, and it starts beating. And I’m sitting here, and I’m looking at this fetus, and its heart is beating, and I don’t know what to think.
It’s that same fetus, heart still aflutter, whose brain O’Donnell is then asked to harvest. “[The coworker] gave me the scissors and told me that I had to cut down the middle of the face,” she recalls. “I can’t even describe what that feels like.”

As my colleague David French notes, assuming O’Donnell’s account is accurate, Planned Parenthood unquestionably violated state and federal laws. And it would not be the first time. In a recorded conversation excerpted in the video, Dr. Ben Van Handel, executive director of Novogenix Laboratories, LLC, which partners with Planned Parenthood to procure fetal organs, admits: “There are times when after the procedure is done that the heart actually is still beating.”

Debate, if you like, the moral status of the in utero “product of conception.” Wonder, if you want to, about the precise point of “viability” or “quickening.” No such arguments apply here. This was allegedly a living baby, exposed on a counter and murdered. This was not a “conceptus” or a “specimen.” This was a person, vested with a constitutional right to life and guaranteed the full protection of the United States government.

This should be different.

But it won’t be. As of Wednesday afternoon, major media outlets remained utterly silent about the latest video. There is no mention of it on the online front pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, or the Chicago Tribune; it is not on the homepages of CNN or the news arms of ABC, NBC, or CBS. These are the same august outlets from which you can currently learn about “the smells of summer” in New York City, a viral deleted scene from the sitcom Friends, or security camera footage of a Utah police officer dancing to the Silento song “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” at a 7-Eleven.

This is nothing new. According to a YouGov poll taken earlier this month, 68 percent of respondents reported having heard “nothing at all” about the Planned Parenthood videos. And as for government leaders, two weeks ago Josh Earnest confessed that, to his knowledge, no one in the White House had watched any of the videos, and that he was simply parroting Planned Parenthood’s talking points. It is sadly predictable that the White House has said, and will say, nothing of substance in response to the videos.

But, again, this time should be different. What O’Donnell says took place at the Alameda Clinic was not an abortion; by law, it was an execution. Government has a duty to investigate alleged crimes and to prosecute lawbreakers. A conscientious press has a duty to ferret out the facts of a story, and to hold wrongdoers accountable in the public eye. Their refusal to do so in this case is a national disgrace almost as shameful as the one they’re ignoring.

— Ian Tuttle is a William F. Buckley Fellow in Political Journalism at the National Review Institute.

Questions Every Planned Parenthood Supporter Should Have To Answer

August 20, 2015

Questions Every Planned Parenthood Supporter Should Have To Answer

Question: Would you be okay with a government-subsidized company performing vivisections on a baby panda? You know, cutting one of those adorable things open, taking parts out of them while their hearts were still beating? What if we could make a few bucks while, maybe, sorta, using those organs for scientific study—even though several other methods are available to researchers? Is that acceptable?

Obviously, I can only guess how people would answer that question. But after reading about how thrilled many Washingtonians were that National Zoo officials had spotted a fetus in the giant panda the very same day I watched a video about Planned Parenthood and how “cool” it is to see a human fetus’ heart pumping after his face was ripped open … well, the question just popped into my head.
But pro-abortion advocates never really have to defend the ethical or the moral limits of their positions, do they? It’s just a decision between a woman, her doctor, and her family. Period. Any coverage beyond that point is about political sparring and the inevitable conservative overreach. Science becomes malleable. Abortion is quickly conflated with contraception. 
Question for the media: Do you believe there are two legitimate sides to the abortion debate? If so, should your theoretically unbiased editors and reporters be accepting awards from the best-funded and best-connected advocates for abortion in the country?
Planned Parenthood handed out its Maggie Awards for Media Excellence earlier this week (named after the xenophobe quackologist Margaret Sanger), honoring 16 journalists from mainstream outlets like Buzzfeed, Yahoo! Health and MSNBC, for their work shilling for the group. Color me skeptical, but does anyone believe a senior health editor who accepts this honor can be trusted to ask questions that matter about the groups she covers?
Question: Please describe what happens when a 20-week-old fetus is aborted? How many journalists or media figures weighing in on this topic could answer with any specificity?
Pro-choice media regularly employ euphemisms and rely on non-sequiturs about “women’s health,” but they never want to talk about the actual procedure—the thing that all this is all really about. Read this recent Dana Milbank column with the evergreen headline, “Conservatives double down on antiabortion extremism,” for a template. Though Milbank offers the customary framing—Republican nuts are overreaching again—he takes issue with a powerful Ross Douthat piece debunking the popular canard that abortionists reduce abortion rates. At one point, Milbank notes, “…halfway through his 1,973-word takedown, which included no fewer than three references to crushing fetuses…”
Hearing that unborn babies are crushed before having their organs harvested is quite off-putting. It’s also quite true. Hearing it three times in a nearly 2,000-word post probably gets really irritating. It must be especially disconcerting for liberal readers of major newspapers who rarely, if ever, are confronted with the straightforward description Douthat uses.
Milbank is put off by hearing about a dismembered fetus, but he is happy to concentrate on the fact that some Republicans, though they have not proposed any laws to deal with it, have a moral dilemma with “abortion in cases of rape, incest or even to save the life of the mother — non-starters all in American public opinion.” Fair enough. This is, admittedly, the trickiest pro-life position to defend. GOP candidates should have far more thoughtful answers to give voters.
Democrats, of course, are never asked to answer comparably tough queries about the parameters of their abortion support—also non-starters with the American public opinion. Hillary Clinton will get away with dropping broad banalities, as have all Planned Parenthood supporters. Yet, there are plenty of queries worth posing to them.
If a baby is outside the womb, with lungs, a beating heart, and a functioning brain, is it alive? And if it is, is killing that baby morally wrong?
If not, do you support the unlimited right of women to dismember viable fetuses whenever they want for whatever reason they like? If so, what is the limit? Before 20 weeks? Before 30 weeks? A week before the delivery date? Before the umbilical cord is removed? When does the child deserve protection?
(The position of most elected Democrats, incidentally, is never.)
Do you believe it’s moral for a Planned Parenthood technician to cut through the face of a healthy fetus in order to harvest his organs? If so, do you believe taxpayers should be funding this practice?
What is the moral difference between killing a viable fetus and a five-day old child?
Do you believe that people who think it’s “kinda cool” to stop and start the heart of an ex-utero human should be investigated for potential criminality?
If there is no ethical problem with vivisecting a fetus in the cause of science, what would you say if your son or daughter wanted to become an abortionist?
How does the idea of “women’s health” comport with cutting open a healthy fetus just so you can harvest and sell her organs?
What’s more offensive to you: the term “anchor babies,” or hearing Planned Parenthood’s senior director for medical services talk about dismembered babies as though they were a la carte menu items?
The Center for Medical Progress has now released seven videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s business of selling aborted babies and their body parts. But it’s done much more. It’s exposed the inhumanity and vulgarity of the project. It is probably the most effective pro-life campaign since Roe v. Wade was decided. Yet, no major Democrat has had to seriously answer questions about the ethical consequences of what’s gone on.

“‘I want you to see something kinda cool,’” Holly O’Donnell, a former procurement technician at StemExpress, a California company that got aborted baby parts from Planned Parenthood, says her supervisor told her. “And she just taps the heart, and it starts beating. And I’m sitting here and I’m looking at this fetus, and its heart is beating, and I don’t know what to think.”
I imagine more Americans would know what to think if the media were more interested in covering an organization that treats human beings worse than people would a bear, or a lion. But the media don’t have much interest in the story or the questions. Which probably explains why so many reporters and editors walked home with Maggie Awards for Media Excellence last night.
Photo Jason Taellious

Thursday, August 20, 2015


By Ann Coulter
August 19, 2015

Based on the hysterical flailing at Donald Trump -- He's a buffoon! He's a clown! He calls people names! He's too conservative! He's not conservative enough! He won't give details! His details won't work! -- I gather certain Republicans are determined to drive him from the race.

These same Republicans never object to other candidates who lack traditional presidential resumes -- Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain, to name a few. I'm beginning to suspect it's all about Trump's opposition to mass immigration from the Third World.

Amid the hysteria, Trump is the only one speaking clearly and logically, while his detractors keep making utter asses of themselves.

By my count -- so far -- Fiorina, Chris Christie, Rick Perry and the entire Fox News commentariat are unfamiliar with a period of the nation's history known as "the Civil War." They seem to believe that the post-Civil War amendments were designed to ensure that the children of illegal aliens would be citizens, "anchor babies," who can then bring in the whole family. (You wouldn't want to break up families, would you?)

As FNC's Bill O'Reilly authoritatively informed Donald Trump on Tuesday night: "The 14th Amendment says if you're born here, you're an American!"

I cover anchor babies in about five pages of my book, Adios, America, but apparently Bill O'Reilly and the rest of the scholars on Fox News aren't what we call "readers."

Still, how could anyone -- even a not-very-bright person -- imagine that granting citizenship to the children of illegal aliens is actually in our Constitution? I know the country was exuberant after the war, but I really don't think our plate was so clear that Americans were consumed with passing a constitutional amendment to make illegal aliens' kids citizens.

Put differently: Give me a scenario -- just one scenario -- where guaranteeing the citizenship of children born to illegals would be important to Americans in 1868. You can make it up. It doesn't have to be a true scenario. Any scenario!

You know what's really bothering me? If someone comes into the country illegally and has a kid, that kid should be an American citizen! 

Damn straight they should!

We've got to codify that. 


No, it isn't, but that amendment will pass like wildfire! 

It's like being accused of robbing a homeless person. (1) I didn't; (2) WHY WOULD I DO THAT?

"Luckily," as FNC's Shannon Bream put it Monday night, Fox had an "expert" to explain the details: Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox's senior judicial analyst.

Napolitano at least got the century right. He mentioned the Civil War -- and then went on to inform Bream that the purpose of the 14th Amendment was to -- I quote -- "make certain that the former slaves and the native Americans would be recognized as American citizens no matter what kind of prejudice there might be against them."

Huh. In 1884, 16 years after the 14th Amendment was ratified, John Elk, who -- as you may have surmised by his name -- was an Indian, had to go to the Supreme Court to argue that he was an American citizen because he was born in the United States.

He lost. In Elk v. Wilkins, 112 U.S. 94, the Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment did not grant Indians citizenship.

The "main object of the opening sentence of the Fourteenth Amendment," the court explained -- and not for the first or last time -- "was to settle the question, upon which there had been a difference of opinion throughout the country and in this court, as to the citizenship of free negroes and to put it beyond doubt that all persons, white or black ... should be citizens of the United States and of the state in which they reside."

American Indians were not made citizens until 1924. Lo those 56 years after the ratification of the 14th Amendment, Indians were not American citizens, despite the considered opinion of Judge Napolitano.

Of course it's easy for legal experts to miss the welter of rulings on Indian citizenship inasmuch as they obtained citizenship in a law perplexingly titled: "THE INDIAN CITIZENSHIP ACT OF 1924."

Yeah, Trump's the idiot. Or as Bream said to Napolitano after his completely insane analysis, "I feel smarter just having been in your presence."

The only reason the 14th Amendment doesn't just come out and say "black people" is that -- despite our Constitution being the product of vicious racists, who were dedicated to promoting white privilege and keeping down the black man (Hat tip: Ta-Nehisi Coates) -- the Constitution never, ever mentions race.

Nonetheless, until Fox News' scholars weighed in, there was little confusion about the purpose of the 14th Amendment. It was to "correct" -- as Jack Nicholson said in "The Shining" -- the Democrats, who refused to acknowledge that they lost the Civil War and had to start treating black people like citizens.

On one hand, we have noted legal expert Bill O'Reilly haranguing Donald Trump: "YOU WANT ME TO QUOTE YOU THE AMENDMENT??? IF YOU'RE BORN HERE YOU'RE AN AMERICAN. PERIOD! PERIOD!" (No, Bill -- there's no period. More like: "comma," to parents born “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States “and of the state wherein they reside.”)

But on the other hand, we have Justice John Marshall Harlan II, who despite not being a Fox News legal expert, was no slouch. He wrote in the 1967 case, Afroyim v. Rusk, that the sponsors of the 14th Amendment feared that:

"Unless citizenship were defined, freedmen might, under the reasoning of the Dred Scott decision, be excluded by the courts from the scope of the amendment. It was agreed that, since the 'courts have stumbled on the subject,' it would be prudent to remove the 'doubt thrown over' it. The clause would essentially overrule Dred Scott and place beyond question the freedmen's right of citizenship because of birth."

It is true that in a divided 1898 case, U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, the Supreme Court granted citizenship to the children born to legalimmigrants, with certain exceptions, such as for diplomats. But that decision was so obviously wrong, even the Yale Law Journal ridiculed it.

The majority opinion relied on feudal law regarding citizenship in a monarchy, rather than the Roman law pertaining to a republic -- the illogic of which should be immediately apparent to American history buffs, who will recall an incident in our nation's history known as "the American Revolution."

Citizenship in a monarchy was all about geography -- as it is in countries bristling with lords and vassals, which should not be confused with this country. Thus, under the majority's logic in Wong Kim Ark, children born to American parents traveling in England would not be American citizens, but British subjects.

As ridiculous as it was to grant citizenship to the children born to legal immigrants under the 14th Amendment (which was about what again? That's right: slaves freed by the Civil War), that's a whole order of business different from allowing illegal aliens to sneak across the border, drop a baby and say, Ha-ha! You didn't catch me! My kid's a citizen -- while Americans curse impotently under their breath.

As the Supreme Court said in Elk: "[N]o one can become a citizen of a nation without its consent."

The anchor baby scam was invented 30 years ago by a liberal zealot, Justice William Brennan, who slipped a footnote into a 1982 Supreme Court opinion announcing that the kids born to illegals on U.S. soil are citizens. Fox News is treating Brennan's crayon scratchings on the Constitution as part of our precious national inheritance.

Judge Richard Posner of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is America's most-cited federal judge -- and, by the way, no friend to conservatives. In 2003, he wrote a concurrence simply in order to demand that Congress pass a law to stop "awarding citizenship to everyone born in the United States."

The purpose of the 14th Amendment, he said, was "to grant citizenship to the recently freed slaves," adding that "Congress would not be flouting the Constitution" if it passed a law "to put an end to the nonsense."

In a statement so sane that Posner is NEVER going to be invited on Fox News, he wrote: "We should not be encouraging foreigners to come to the United States solely to enable them to confer U.S. citizenship on their future children. But the way to stop that abuse of hospitality is to remove the incentive by changing the rule on citizenship."

Forget the intricate jurisprudential dispute between Fox News blowhards and the most-cited federal judge. How about basic common sense? Citizenship in our nation is not a game of Red Rover with the Border Patrol! The Constitution does not say otherwise.

Our history and our Constitution are being perverted for the sole purpose of dumping immigrants on the country to take American jobs. So far, only Donald Trump is defending black history on the issue of the 14th Amendment. Fox News is using black people as a false flag to keep cheap Third World labor flowing.

As the EPA and IRS Have Shown, with Big Government Comes Little Accountability

by VICTOR DAVIS HANSON August 20, 2015

EPA chief: Colorado mine spill 'pains me'

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy speaks at a news conference on the recent Colorado mine spill after speaking at a Resources for the Future policy leadership forum, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Social observers from Aristotle and Juvenal to James Madison and George Orwell have all warned of the dangers of out-of-control government. Lately, we have seen plenty of proof that they were frighteningly correct.

The Environmental Protection Agency spilled 3 million gallons of toxic sludge into a tributary of the Animas River in Colorado. The stinky yellow flume of old mine waste — rife with cancer-causing mercury and arsenic — threatens to pollute the drinking and recreational water of three states.

Had a private oil company acted so incompetently and negligently, it would have been fined billions of dollars by the same EPA. The company’s top executives might have been subject to criminal prosecutions. The business’s reputation would have been tarnished for years. Just ask BP officials what the Obama administration did to the corporation after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico.

But who will police the green police at the EPA?

When EPA administrator Gina McCarthy promises that the agency will take “full responsibility,” what does that tired banality mean? Will she resign? Will bureaucrats responsible for the toxic spill face fines and jail sentences? Will residents be able to sue McCarthy and her subordinates for diminishing their quality of life? Will the Sierra Club and the Environmental Defense Fund rush to federal court to file briefs?

Consider the vast bureaucracy of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Is it culpable for knowingly not enforcing immigration law and thus allowing some undocumented immigrants to commit violent crimes?

In cases where innocent Americans are killed by undocumented immigrants with long histories of felonies and deportations — such as the recent killing of Kate Steinle in San Francisco — can the victims’ families sue ICE or sanctuary cities for either releasing or hosting criminals who were residing in the U.S. illegally?

In our litigious society in which plaintiffs sue fast-food franchises for serving excessively hot coffee, why do government bureaucrats escape culpability when the innocent die or are injured as a result of bureaucratic negligence?

When the IRS hounds citizens about their taxes, can Americans inform the agency that they are invoking the Fifth Amendment and refusing to answer out of fear of self-incrimination — and expect to face no criminal consequences?

No? Why, then, was high-ranking IRS official Lois Lerner able to sign off on the excessive scrutiny of some conservative nonprofit groups, lie about it, and then invoke the Fifth — without any legal consequences?

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton likely broke a number of federal laws while secretary of state in using a private e-mail server at her home to conduct both private and public business. One, she kept documents containing classified information at an unauthorized location. Two, she either destroyed or removed official communications entrusted to her as a public servant. Three, she was legally responsible for the loss of information involving national defense. Four, she likely destroyed documents to block federal agencies’ examination of them.

So far, Clinton had escaped any consequences.

What is the common denominator in these government scandals — as well as the recent scandals involving the needless deaths of veterans waiting for care at Veterans’ Health Administration facilities, the sex and booze escapades of Secret Service agents, the Las Vegas junketing at the General Services Administration, the snooping at the National Security Agency, and the lack of cyber-security at Office of Personnel Management?

The bigger that government gets, the more employees who are hired, and the more unaccountable power that accrues to bureaucracies, the more government takes on a life of its own. Public grandees resemble Hollywood’s out-of-control androids or Frankenstein monsters that turn on their creators — in these cases, us, the taxpayers.

Secure, high-level government administrative jobs — where dismissal is rare and automatic promotion common — promote mediocrity. Institutionalized incompetence explains why NASA can no longer launch its own astronauts into space without help from Russia, or why the cost of the California high-speed rail project soars before an inch of track is laid.

Clearly, Clinton and Lerner apparently assumed that as federal officials, they were not subject to the same laws imposed on other Americans. They reckoned that others in the fraternity of big government would protect them from legal jeopardy. And they are probably right.

Under the Obama administration, there is also a more disturbing trend: the equation of big government with social justice and hostility to private enterprise. If the EPA and other federal agencies are felt to be on the “right side” of fairness and equality, then why object when their means to supposedly noble ends violate or neglect the law?

Big government has become the new Terminator, at war with those who created it, who fund it — and who must obey it.

— Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author, most recently, of The Savior Generals. You can reach him by e-mailing © 2015 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Donald Drives the Debate

Phyllis Schlafly | Aug 18, 2015

"If it weren’t for me," Donald Trump told the Fox News moderators at the first Republican presidential debate, "you wouldn’t even be talking about illegal immigration." The record-breaking audience of 24 million, which is ten times Fox’s usual nightly viewership, had to agree.
Trump’s new position paper reinforces the blunt talk that has propelled his rise in the polls: "A nation without borders is not a nation. A nation without laws is not a nation. A nation that does not serve its own citizens is not a nation."
That’s a refreshing contrast to the immigration paper recently released by Jeb Bush, who is the candidate of the big-money, big-business faction of the Republican party. Jeb famously said illegal immigrants were guilty only of "an act of love," and his plan would reward them with permanent "legal status" which he said must be "combined with" long-overdue measures to secure the border.
If Jeb’s candidacy falters despite the $114 million he raised, the establishment’s next choices, Senator Marco Rubio and Ohio Governor John Kasich, have basically similar views. Kasich said the 12 million illegals should be "legalized once we find out who they are," and Rubio said Obama’s executive amnesty "can’t be terminated because there are already people benefiting from it."
Rubio’s statement was made in Spanish on the Spanish-language network Univision, which is reason enough to eliminate him from serious consideration. When somebody is running for president of the United States, why should we have to get somebody to translate his remarks into English?
Trump’s new position paper answers his opponents with the plainspoken truth that "America will only be great as long as America remains a nation of laws that lives according to the Constitution. No one is above the law" – including the 300-plus sanctuary cities and counties that openly refuse to help remove illegal aliens even after they commit horrible crimes.
Donald Trump launched his campaign in June by accusing Mexico of sending its worst criminals, murderers, and rapists to live here illegally -- a charge that was tragically confirmed by the July 1 murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco. The rampage continued with the July 24 rape and murder of Marilyn Pharis in her own home in Santa Maria, California; the July 27 attempted rape of a 14-year-old girl and murder of Peggy Kostelnik in Lake County, Ohio, near Cleveland; and the July 29 murders of Jason and Tana Shane of the Crow Nation in Montana – all crimes committed by Mexicans living here illegally who should have been deported for previous crimes.
Having proved his point about crimes by immigrants, Donald Trump’s position paper goes on to address the economic harms of unrestricted immigration, both legal and illegal. This subject was introduced to the presidential campaign in April when Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said immigration should be "based on making our No.1 priority to protect American workers and their wages" – a statement that alarmed Republican donors and the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board.
In a section subtitled "Put American Workers First," Trump’s new position paper elaborates on Walker’s idea by noting that the enormous influx of foreign workers "makes it difficult for Americans – including immigrants themselves – to earn a middle class wage." Trump would restrict the admission of low-earning workers and he would require companies to hire from the domestic pool of our own unemployed before importing foreigners to fill "jobs Americans won’t do."
As for the millions of people who settled here illegally since the last amnesty, Trump said without hesitation, "They have to go. We either have a country, or we don’t have a country."
A recent guest on my weekly radio program, political expert Steve Deace, emphasized that the "ground game" is decisive in Iowa, where voters want to shake hands with the candidates, look them in the eye, and hear them answer questions about issues that are important to the grassroots. Iowans seem to like Donald Trump’s brash New York style, and a Nevada poll even has him winning the Hispanic vote among Republicans.
Trump’s high profile assures that the crisis of uncontrolled immigration can’t be avoided by presidential candidates of both parties. Hillary Clinton’s promise to "go even farther" than Obama in granting legal status to millions of illegal aliens has been challenged by Senator Bernie Sanders, who on July 30 denounced the concept of "a completely open border, so that anyone can come into the United States of America. If that were to happen, there is no question that that would substantially lower wages in this country."


Now that Clinton is being investigated, will scrutiny finally fall on her Islamist-linked right-hand woman?

August 19, 2015

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talks with her deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin

Editor's note: Hillary Clinton is finally being investigated for her email server scandal and potential security breaches of sensitive information that may have occurred during her tenure as Secretary of State. During this investigation, will authorities finally look into the security threat at the Clinton State Department that involved Clinton's longtime confidant and senior aide, Huma Abedin? The question remains: How was an individual with such extensive ties to the Muslim Brotherhood allowed high-level access to the State Department? To understand the extreme menace to national security posed by the Abedin-Clinton partnership, read the in-depth DiscoverTheNetworks profile of Hillary's right-hand woman below. 
Huma Abedin was born in 1976 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Her father, Syed Abedin (1928-1993), was an Indian-born scholar who had worked as a visiting professor at Saudi Arabia's King Abdulaziz University in the early Seventies. 

Huma's mother, Saleha Mahmood Abedin, is a sociologist known for her strong advocacy of Sharia Law. A member of the Muslim Sisterhood (i.e., the Muslim Brotherhood's division for women), Saleha is also a board member of the International Islamic Council for Dawa and Relief. This pro-Hamas entity is part of the Union of Good, which the U.S. government has formally designated as an international terrorist organization led by the Muslim Brotherhood luminary Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

When Huma was two, the Abedin family relocated from Michigan to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. This move took place when Abdullah Omar Naseef, a major Muslim Brotherhood figure who served as vice president of Abdulaziz University (AU), recruited his former AU colleague, Syed Abedin, to work for the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (IMMA), a Saudi-based Islamic think tank that Naseef was preparing to launch. A number of years later, Naseef would develop close ties to Osama bin Laden and the terrorist group al Qaeda. Naseef also spent time (beginning in the early 1980s) as secretary-general of the Muslim World League, which, as journalist Andrew C. McCarthy points out, "has long been the Muslim Brotherhood’s principal vehicle for the international propagation of Islamic supremacist ideology."

It is vital to note that IMMA's "Muslim Minority Affairs" agenda was, and remains to this day, a calculated foreign policy of the Saudi Ministry of Religious Affairs, designed, as Andrew C. McCarthy explains, "to grow an unassimilated, aggressive population of Islamic supremacists who will gradually but dramatically alter the character of the West." For details about this agenda, click here.

At age 18, Huma Abedin returned to the U.S. to attend George Washington University. In 1996 she began working as an intern in the Bill Clinton White House, where she was assigned to then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Abedin was eventually hired as an aide to Mrs. Clinton and has worked for her ever since, through Clinton's successful Senate runs (in 2000 and 2006) and her failed presidential bid in 2008.

From 1997 until sometime before early 1999, Abedin, while still interning at the White House, was an executive board member of George Washington University's (GWU) Muslim Students Association (MSA), heading the organization's “Social Committee.”

It is noteworthy that in 2001-02, soon after Abedin left that executive board, the chaplain and "spritual guide" of GWU's MSA was Anwar al-Awlaki, the al Qaeda operative who ministered to some of the men who were among the 9/11 hijackers. Another chaplain at GWU's MSA (from at least October 1999 through April 2002) was Mohamed Omeish, who headed the International Islamic Relief Organization, which has been tied to the funding of al Qaeda. Omeish’s brother, Esam, headed the Muslim American Society, the Muslim Brotherhood’s quasi-official branch in the United States. Both Omeish brothers were closely associated with Abdurahman Alamoudi, who would later be convicted and incarcerated on terrorism charges.

From 1996-2008, Abedin was employed by the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs(IMMA) as the assistant editor of its in-house publication, the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs (JMMA). At least the first seven of those years overlapped with the al Qaeda-affiliated Abdullah Omar Naseef's active presence at IMMA. Abedin's last six years at the Institute (2002-2008) were spent as a JMMA editorial board member; for one of those years, 2003, Naseef and Abedin served together on that board.

Throughout her years with IMMA, Abedin remained a close aide to Hillary Clinton. During Mrs. Clinton's 2008 presidential primary campaign, a New York Observer profile of Abedin described her as "a trusted advisor to Mrs. Clinton, especially on issues pertaining to the Middle East, according to a number of Clinton associates." "At meetings on the region," continued the profile, "... Ms. Abedin’s perspective is always sought out."

When Mrs. Clinton was appointed as President Barack Obama's Secretary of State in 2009, Abedin became her deputy chief of staff. At approximately that same point in time, Abedin's name was removed from the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs' masthead.

Apart from their working relationship, Abedin and Mrs. Clinton have also developed a close personal bond over their years together, as reflected in Clinton's 2010 assertion that: “I have one daughter. But if I had a second daughter, it would [be] Huma.” In 2011, Secretary Clinton paid a friendly visit to Abedin's mother, Saleha, in Saudi Arabia. On that occasion, Mrs. Clinton publicly described her aide's position as “very important and sensitive.”

On July 10, 2010, Huma Abedin, a practicing Muslim, married then-congressman Anthony Weiner in a ceremony officiated by former president Bill Clinton. A number of analysts have noted that it is extremely rare for Islamic women—particularly those whose families have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood—to marry non-Muslims like Weiner, who is Jewish. Indeed, Dr. Anwar Shoeb, the highest-ranking faculty authority at the prestigious College of Sharia and Islamic Studies in Kuwait, formally declared that Abedin's marriage to Weiner was “null and void” under the dictates of Sharia Law, which explicitly forbids matrimony between a Muslim woman and an "infidel"; in fact, Shoeb classified the Abedin-Weiner union as a form of “adultery.”

Abedin went on maternity leave after giving birth to a baby boy in early December 2011. When she returned to work in June 2012, the State Department granted her an arrangement that allowed her to do outside consulting work as a “special government employee,” even as she remained a top advisor in the Department. Abedin did not disclose on her financial report either the arrangement or the $135,000 she earned from it, in violation of a law mandating that public officials disclose significant sources of income. Abedin's outside clients included the U.S. State Department, Hillary Clinton, the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation, and Teneo (a firm co-founded by Doug Band, a former counselor for Bill Clinton). Good-government groups warned of the potential conflict-of-interest inherent in an arangement where a government employee maintains private clients.

In June 2012, five Republican lawmakers (most prominently, Michele Bachmann) sent letters to the inspectors general at the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and State, asking that they investigate whether the Muslim Brotherhood was gaining undue influence over U.S. government officials. One letter, noting that Huma Abedin's position with Hillary Clinton "affords her routine access to the secretary [of state] and to policymaking," expressed concern over the fact that Abedin “has three family members—her late father, mother and her brother—connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations.” Some other prominent Republicans such as John McCain and John Boehner disavowed the concerns articulated in the letters.

On February 1, 2013—Hillary Clinton's final day as Secretary of State—Abedin resigned her post as Mrs. Clinton's deputy chief of staff. Yet she would continue to serve as a close aide to Clinton. 

On March 1, 2013, Abedin was tapped to run Clinton’s post-State Department transition team, comprised of a six-person “transition office” located in Washington. 

In early March 2015, it was reported that throughout her entire four-year tenure as Secretary of State (SOS), Hillary Clinton had never acquired or used a government email account, and instead had transmitted -- in violation of government regulations -- all of her official government correspondences via a personal email account that was housed on private server. In addition, Abedin and Mrs. Clinton's chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, also had email addresses on the secret server while employed at the State Department.

After Hillary Clinton announced in the spring of 2015 that she was running for president (2016), Abedin was named vice chair of the Clinton campaign.

Huma Abedin's brother, Hassan Abedin, has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and is currently an associate editor with the JMMA. Hassan was once a fellow at the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies, at a time when the Center's board included such Brotherhood-affiliated figures as Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Abdullah Omar Naseef.

Huma's sister, Heba Abedin (formerly known as “Heba A. Khaled”), is an assistant editor with JMMA, where she served alongside Huma prior to the latter's departure.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

What Tolkien and Lewis teach us about surviving dark times

By Joel J. Miller
August 17, 2015
loconte hobbit wardrobe great war tolkien lewis
What happens when a whole way of life disintegrates before your eyes? Augustine lived through such a time. The men coming home from World War One did as well. It might feel as if we’re living through such a time right now.
One way to navigate treacherous times is to learn from those who have traversed similar moments before. And a penetrating new book by historian and King’s College professor Joseph Loconte can help us do exactly that.
A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War takes us into the wartime lives of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. More importantly, it takes us into their postwar lives as well. How did they cope? How did they rebuild? And how did they help others do the same?

The world torn to pieces

The trauma of the Great War is almost impossible to comprehend. More than sixteen million were killed. That again plus five million more were wounded. And those who recovered physically were often irreparably scarred in other ways. Shell shock, what today we would call PTSD, had longterm effects. Suicide and alcoholism often finished what bullets and bombs could not.
According to one contemporary study of shell-shocked American, “[S]even years after the war less than 40 percent were regarded as functioning normally, and nearly 20 percent were found to be a burden to society.” Of that 20 percent, half were unemployable, and the rest weren’t much better.
Michele Barrett recounts these and other statistics in her 2007 bookCasualty Figures, noting that the British government paid over two million pounds a year to prop up those who could no longer prop up themselves.
But the far-reaching crisis of faith may have surpassed all others. For those that endured it, the cataclysm and its aftermath was like the end of the world. What was left to believe in? Writes Loconte,
For the intellectual class as well as the ordinary man on the street, the Great War had defamed the values of the Old World, along with the religious doctrines that helped to underwrite them. Moral advancement, even the idea of morality itself, seemed an illusion. . . . [T]he war to make the world safe for democracy, the holy war to advance Christian ideals, was an unholy delusion.

The virtue of disillusionment

In his previous book The Searchers, Loconte explains the virtue of disillusionment, how it can serve—even with brutal and terrible imperfection—to sever us from harmful fantasy. He returns to that theme now with the example of the pre-war Myth of Progress.
This myth, says Loconte,
was proclaimed from nearly every sector of society. Scientists, physicians, educators, industrialists, salesmen, politicians, preachers—they all agreed on the upward flight of humankind. Each breakthrough in medicine, science, and technology seemed to confirm the Myth.
Christian ministers and theologians got swept along, baptizing and proof-texting all manner of bogus utopianism. And then it all went to hell. Every oracle of progress, including the preachers, looked like fools or charlatans. When the survivors cleared the rubble, many mistook the Myth for Christianity itself and tossed both in the garbage bin.
The war made utopianism impossible. But for those who could disentangle Christianity from the failed Myth of Progress, it remained a vital force for renewal. Tolkien was—and Lewis became—two such people.
“Fortified by their faith, they proclaimed to their generation—and ours—a True Myth about the dignity of human life and its relationship to God,” says Loconte. Through the characters they created, “we are challenged to examine our deepest desires, to shake off our doubts, and to join the struggle against evil.”
Tolkien and Lewis reframed discussions about science, political power, human freedom, and more. And it resonated. The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia have together sold more than a quarter billion copies. And that’s to say nothing of similarly important books like The Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity or a whole catalogue of lesser but vital works.
So where does that leave us today?

How we can follow Tolkien and Lewis’ lead

Loconte is not prescriptive, but there’s nothing stopping us from teasing out of his excellent book several things we can do in our own time of disillusionment.
1. Disentangle the permanent from the passing. Christianity, as Lewis once said about another topic, is like gin. It mixes well with other things, some quite pleasing. But it also gets mixed with much that leaves a bad taste. Both progressive and conservative politics provide plenty of examples.
One of Russell Moore’s many virtues is his willingness to discuss and act on this problem. As he says in his new book Onward, “Christian efforts at cultural and political engagement have been sometimes disastrous for the mission of the church.” Like Moore, we all need to be willing to see where our agendas and allegiances conflict with the faith and be willing to jettison what hinders the kingdom.
2. Present a new vision. Whether in fiction, reportage, criticism, memoir, music, or the visual arts, we must strive to present a vision not only congruent with the faith but also aesthetically and rhetorically compelling. “Truth rendered artfully is still truth,” as author and lit prof Karen Swallow Prior recently said. “Perhaps even more so.”
Truth rendered artfully is precisely what Tolkien and Lewis accomplished. “In the end,” writes Loconte, “the creators of Narnia and Middle-earth offer a vision of human life that is at once terrifying and sublime.” It may not work for everyone, but it inspired enough to transform generations of readers and listeners down to our own day. It’s safe to say that this is an area where we need considerable improvement.
3. Celebrate and encourage.This is key. Tolkien, Lewis, and the rest of their small literary society, the Inklings, celebrated and encouraged each other’s work. They critiqued early drafts of each other’s books and both privately and publicly recommended them upon publication. Lewis even nominated Tolkien for a Nobel behind his back.
This serves two purposes. First, it makes for better work. Critique and support from engaged peers and friends sharpens and sustains our efforts. Second, it takes a network to publicly promote, validate, and elaborate on someone’s work. Without that, in most cases, it will sink without a ripple. This is triply so in today’s marketplace of ideas.
To survive challenging times requires connection to the timeless. Tolkien and Lewis managed it in their own day, and we can manage it in ours, thanks in part to their example.