DENNIS PRAGER – Importance of “Merry Christmas”; VICTOR DAVIS HANSON – Cannibals & Kings.
LEADS: DINAN – Alien exports down; WSJ – Lawless EPA; McCARTHY – Jihad denial; WASHINGTON TIMES – Loose lips; SHAPIRO – Barry’s top 10 violations; EMERSON & HOEKSTRA – CAIR terrorists; PHILLIPS – Merry Christmas, Brunei.
PA: KNEPPER – House budget; ADDY – Wolf’s plan moves forward.
END NOTES: REINHARD – Joyful Tortoise; INGA BARKS (MARK LEVIN) (12/22/15)
Obama’s national security strategy is suicidal because it mulishly denies two unavoidable facts: (a) terrorism is rooted in Islamic supremacism’s literalist construction of scripture, and (b) even if Islamic supremacism is not the only way of interpreting Islam, it is a mainstream interpretation of Islam. Andrew McCarthy
“Ryan and his top aides ‘really gave away the store,’ Democratic leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
declared Dec. 18. Her report-card phrase — “they really gave away the store” — doesn’t appear in Politico or TheHill, even by Dec. 22.”
Dennis Prager, RCP: “Saying ‘Merry Christmas’ Is Very Important”
“. . . I have been wished ‘Happy Holidays’ by every waiter and waitress in every restaurant I have dined; by every one of the young people who welcome me when I go to the gym; by every flight attendant and pilot on every one of my flights; and by every individual I have dealt with on the phone.
“When I respond ‘Thank you. Merry Christmas,’ I sometimes sense that I have actually created some tension. While many of those to whom I wish ‘Merry Christmas’ may actually be happy that someone felt free to utter the C-word, all the sensitivity training that they’ve had to undergo creates cognitive dissonance.
‘Christmas’ has also been eliminated by many — probably the majority — of our elementary schools, high schools and universities. Thus, for example, they no longer have a ‘Christmas vacation,’ but a ‘winter vacation.’
The opponents of ‘Merry Christmas’ and other uses of the word ‘Christmas’ know exactly what they are doing. They are disingenuous when they dismiss defenders of ‘Merry Christmas’ as fabricating some ‘war on Christianity.’
“Of course it’s a war on Christianity, or more precisely, a war on the religious nature of America. The left in America, like the left in Europe, wants to create a thoroughly secular society. Unfortunately, most people do not realize that the left believes in secularism just as fervently as religious Christians believe in Christ.
“That’s why “Merry Christmas” so bothers the anti-religious left. It is perhaps the single most blatant reminder of just how religious America is — and it must therefore be removed from public discourse. Here’s a safe prediction: The ACLU and other secular activists on the left will eventually move to have Christmas removed as a national holiday. . .”
Victor Davis Hanson, NRO: “Of Cannibals and Kings”
“Black Lives Matter and other, related groups are still demanding that Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel step down well before his term expires. It appears that Emanuel did not release for over a year a police video showing the possibly unjustified shooting of criminal suspect Laquan McDonald. He apparently was too afraid of losing his reelection bid to another liberal — and expected that, as a former Obama confidant, he would be granted immunity from inner-city anger.
“Is liberal anger at the liberal Emanuel a new trend? Will populists one of these days go after the newly declared populist Hillary Clinton for her Wall Street shakedowns? Will greens cannibalize Al Gore and John Kerry for their dinosaur-sized carbon footprints? Will reformers swallow Barack Obama for his scandal-ridden administration?
“In Baltimore, crowds of angry minorities rioted and burned stores over the death of detained suspect Freddie Gray — despite the reassurances of a black mayor, black police chief, and black prosecuting attorney. Community anger at police is now a hallmark of nearly every major American city.
“Note that in all these cases the protests and riots were directed at city hall and its assorted bureaucracies — run for generations by liberal Democrats. There is not an easy villain, like Bull Connor or Lester Maddox, to be found among current American officials. In both his elections, Obama, for example, captured overwhelmingly the votes in megalopolises like Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. None of these cities in recent years has elected moderate Republican reformers demanding greater transparency, meritocratic hiring practices, lower taxes, less regulation, open bids for municipal services, balanced budgets, and an end to union monopolies.
“Instead, the liberal municipal template of generous government pensions, lavish subsidies and welfare, unionized workforces, identity politics, lots of regulations, and high taxes apparently has ensured permanent underclasses of Democratic voters in the inner city. And for some reason, they are now furious at Democratic city halls, the police, and city administrators. . .”
LEADS . . .
Stephen Dinan, Washington Times: “U.S. deports fewer illegals, criminals as Obama amnesty kicks in”
“Chance of illegal immigrant being deported is 1 in 164
“President Obama slashed the number of deportations in 2015, the administration announced Tuesday, removing out only about 235,000 aliens from the U.S. as his amnesty kicked into full gear, putting most illegal immigrants out of reach of agents.
“Overall deportations dropped by 32 percent, and even deportations of criminals — whom Mr. Obama had said he wanted to focus on — dropped by 27 percent compared to fiscal year 2014, according to year-end statistics released by Homeland Security.
“Homeland Security officials cheered the drop, saying they’ve made good on Mr. Obama’s plan to stop deporting rank-and-file illegal immigrants who have kept out of trouble, other than violating immigration laws.
“And they claimed good news on the border as well, where apprehensions are down dramatically, falling to about 337,000, or the lowest number since 2011, and is far lower than the peak of 1.6 million caught at the border in 2000.
“Apprehensions are seen to be a good indicator of overall flows, so if the number of those caught drops. it’s believed to be a good indicator that fewer people are even trying to jump the border.
“But the good news may be short-lived.
“Already two months into fiscal year 2016, which began in October, the number of Central American children traveling alone and families traveling together has surged to its highest rate ever, leaving Homeland Security scrambling to address a problem Mr. Johnson had thought he’d licked in 2014.
“‘We will be challenged again by a variety of factors driving illegal migration to the U.S., mostly from Central America, and we are redoubling our border security efforts now to meet that challenge,’ Mr. Johnson said in a statement acknowledging the problem and detailing the final 2015 results. . .”
WSJ: “Brushing Back a Lawless EPA”
“President Obama continued to use executive agencies to exceed his constitutional power in 2015, none more so than the Environmental Protection Agency. The courts have pushed back on occasion, and now Congress is beginning to use its powers to do the same.
Though it didn’t get much media attention, Congress used the Congressional Review Act to put two bills blocking EPA rules on Mr. Obama’s desk the past two months. One would have nullified the EPA’s draconian new Clean Power Plan that will force lower emissions from existing power plants. A second measure is designed to block new coal-fired plants.
The Congressional Review Act allows a bill to pass without 60 votes in the Senate, and the GOP put together a bipartisan majority in both houses. Mr. Obama rejected both measures with rare pocket vetoes that let a President refuse to sign a bill when Congress is out of session, as it has been since Friday.
The bills were still useful in showing Mr. Obama’s hand to voters in energy states and showing the courts that the legislative branch rejects Mr. Obama’s regulatory interpretation of Congressional statutes. This could help in particular the 27-state legal challenge to the Clean Power Plan.
Meanwhile, Congress is also using its power of the purse to complicate the EPA’s legal evasions. Conservatives are understandably frustrated that last week’s budget bill didn’t include policy riders to halt new climate and water regulations—though GOP disunity didn’t help. But Republicans did at least pinch the EPA’s budget. . .”
Andrew McCarthy, PJM: “Obama’s Denial of Jihad’s Ideological Roots Gravely Endangers the Nation”
“The Obama administration calls its national security strategy ‘Countering Violent Extremism.’ In the benighted times before January 20, 2009, we used to call it counter-terrorism.
“Why does Obama insist on the more fuzzy “extremism”? Because “terror” has its roots in Islamic scripture. This fact ought to be undeniable, but Obama denies it — and in Washington, he’s far from alone in that.
“It is not just that the word terror appears several times in the Koran; it is that the word appears in a particular context: The duty of Muslims to act as Allah’s instrument to terrorize non-Muslims is a recurring scriptural theme. In Sura 3:151, to take one of several examples, Muslims are admonished:
Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers.
“Omar Abdel Rahman, the ‘Blind Sheikh’ I prosecuted in the mid-’90s after his cell bombed the World Trade Center and planned similar strikes against other New York City landmarks, was a renowned scholar of Islamic jurisprudence. Indeed — and this is worth pausing over — his mastery of our enemy’s ideology was the sole source of his authority to approve jihadist attacks. Think about that: his blindness, and various other maladies, render Abdel Rahman unable to do anything useful for a terrorist network. He can’t build bombs, command forces on the battlefield, execute assassinations, and so on. But his authority is unquestioned because of his scholarship and rhetorical power in the scripture-based doctrine our president pretends is non-Islamic and of marginal importance.
“Sheikh Abdel Rahman was adamant that terror is fundamental to Islamic doctrine:
‘Why do we fear the word terrorist? If the terrorist is the person who defends his right, so we are terrorists. And if the terrorist is the one who struggles for the sake of God, then we are terrorists. We … have been ordered with terrorism because we must prepare what power we can to terrorize the enemy of Allah and your enemy. The Koran [said] “to strike terror.” Therefore, we don’t fear to be described with “terrorism.” … They may say, “He is a terrorist, he uses violence, he uses force.” Let them say that. We are ordered to prepare whatever we can of power to terrorize the enemies of Islam.’
“Obama’s national security strategy is suicidal because it mulishly denies two unavoidable facts: (a) terrorism is rooted in Islamic supremacism’s literalist construction of scripture, and (b) even if Islamic supremacism is not the only way of interpreting Islam, it is a mainstream interpretation of Islam. (emph added, jb)
“Islamic supremacism is not merely the creed of outlier “violent extremists,” but of hundreds of millions of Muslims, the ocean in which jihadists comfortably swim . . .”
Washington Times:” How loose lips sink a ship”
“When Donald Trump calls Hillary a liar, her words prove it
“Donald Trump, with his usual delicacy and tact, calls Hillary Clinton a “liar,” and her own words prove it. She has a habit, to the fear and fury of her campaign, of saying whatever pops into her pretty head, with no thought whether it’s true, sort of true, could be true, or she merely wishes were true. It’s a dangerous habit that can sink a ship, or a presidential campaign.
In the spirit of the season, the Democratic front-runner accused the Republican front-runner of something close to treason, or would be treason if the nation were officially at war. She said a video of Mr. Trump’s remarks about Muslims had become a tool for the Islamic State, or ISIS, to recruit soldiers to the terrorist cause.
“Hillary’s accusation has been widely sliced, diced, analyzed and discussed by pundits, activists, academics and no doubt the taxi drivers and beauticians who are said to be the reliable thermometers of public opinion. But it turns out that there is no such video. Hillary just made it up, and even when proved a liar by friendly fact-checkers she has no regrets.
“After The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN News checked out the accusation and found no evidence to support her inflammatory factoid, someone asked her spokesman, Brian Fallon, whether Hillary would apologize to Mr. Trump. ‘Hell, no!’ he explained. . .”
Ilya Shapiro, NRO: “President Obama’s Top Ten Constitutional Violations of 2015”
“. . . when the reelected President Obama announced his second-term economic plans, he explained that “I will not allow gridlock, or inaction, or willful indifference to get in our way.” “Accordingly, it hasn’t been difficult to point to constitutional abuses; the hard part is narrowing them down to a top-ten list. I did so in 2011 and 2013 (and once for Eric Holder when he resigned as attorney general), and now it’s time to do so again. Obamacare alone is a never-ending bonanza of lawlessness, so I’m limiting myself to five entries there. “In any case, herewith is my best stab at the list of President Obama’s top ten constitutional violations of the year (including actions taken in 2014 whose effects continued into 2015) . . .” www.nationalreview.com/article/428882/obama-violate-constitution-top-ten-2015
Steve Emerson & Pete Hoekstra, NRO: “Breaking from the U.S., the U.K. Condemns the Muslim Brotherhood, Calling It a Terrorist Group”
“Following an intensive 18-month governmental study, the United Kingdom issued a startling indictment of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). It described the organization as fiercely anti-democratic, openly supportive of terrorism, dedicated to establishing an Islamist government, and opposed to the rule of law, individual liberty, and equality.
“We use the word “startling” not because this is news but because, in such a politically correct world, it took guts for a world leader to acknowledge the obvious about a movement that purports to represent more than a billion people. If anyone at all — in particular our own president, former secretary of state, and high priesthood of political correctness, the New York Times — had simply bothered to read the Brotherhood’s own words, they would have inescapably reached the same conclusion. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/428877/united-kingdom-muslim-brotheroood-terrorist-organization
Judson Phillips, Washington Times: “Merry Christmas, Brunei”
“The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is called a free trade deal. It is nothing of the sort. It gives foreign nations and foreign corporations the greatest gift they could ever get. Not only do they get access to American markets, they get access with advantages over American businesses.
“Do you want to buy American? Forget about it. Under this deal, there can be no labeling to tell you a product is made in America. Do you want to boycott Brunei because of the way it treats Christians and because it is implementing Islamic law? Good luck finding labeling that tells you products were made in Brunei. Under the TPP, it is even arguable that citizen boycotts of the products of a certain nation could open the individuals up to litigation.
“Hassanal Bolkiah, the sultan of Brunei, is known as an international playboy who is bound and determined to drag his nation back into the 7th Century. The question is why America would reward this nation with all of the benefits of the Trans Pacific Partnership?
“Soon Brunei will have all of the horrors of an Islamic nation. Under the Islamic code that will go into effect, there will be stonings, amputation of limbs for them, whippings and the death penalty for insulting Mohammad and the Koran.
“Donald Trump has been ripping the Obama Regime for the lousy deals it has negotiated. The TPP is one of the worst deals ever. While the deal itself is bad enough, considering what it will do to real Americans, perhaps a better question to ask is why is the Obama Regime is willing to include a nation like Brunei in this agreement . . .”
PA . . .
Leo Knepper, CAP: “Which Republicans Just Set Up Vote for Tax Hiking Budget?”
Earlier this evening there was some procedural wrangling in the Pennsylvania House. The activity set up a vote tomorrow on a budget, which if passed, will set us up for a massive tax hike. Here is the list of Republicans who joined with the entire Democratic Caucus to move this irresponsible budget forward (full roll call here):
Rep. Steve Barrar (Chester and Delaware County) 717-783-3038 Rep. Brian Ellis (Butler County) 717-787-7686 Rep. Harold English (Allegheny County) 717-260-6407 Rep. Frank Farry (Bucks County) 717-260-6140 Rep. Robert Godshall (Montgomery County) 717-783-6428 Rep. Kate Harper (Montgomery County) 717-787-2801 Rep. Adam Harris (Franklin, Juniata and Mifflin County) 717-783-7830 Rep. Harry Lewis (Chester County) 717-787-1806 Rep. Nick Miccarelli (Delaware County) 717-787-3472 Rep. Duane Milne (Chester County) 717-787-8579 Rep. Bernie O’Neill (Bucks County) 717-705-7170 Rep. John Payne (Dauphin County) 717-787-2684 Rep. Marguerite Quinn (Bucks County) 717-772-1413 Rep. Chris Ross (Chester County) 717-783-1574 Rep. James Santora (Delaware County) 717-783-8808 Rep. John Taylor (Philadelphia County) 717-787-3179 Rep. Tarah Toohil (Luzerne County) 717-260-6136 Rep. Mike Vereb (Montgomery County) 717-705-7164 Rep. Martina White (Philadelphia County) 717-787-6740
In addition to the above list, two more Republicans voted against a motion to recommit:
Rep. Jim Christiana (Beaver and Washington County) 717-260-6144 Rep. Craig Staats (Bucks County) 717-783-3154
A final vote of interest was a procedural vote to “revert” the House budget back to the more expensive Senate budget adds one more name to the list of suspects for the final vote tomorrow, Rep. John Maher (Allegheny and Washington County) 717-783-1522.
“If you see your Representative’s name listed above, please contact them immediately. Tell them to oppose SB 1073.”
Jason Addy, Politics PA: “PA-BGT: House Moves Wolf’s Spending Plan Forward”
“The PA House of Representatives has scheduled marathon sessions on Wednesday to try to end the six-month budget impasse, after several votes Tuesday cleared the way for a $30.8 billion spending plan agreed to by the State Senate and Gov. Tom Wolf.
“The House narrowly moved the bill to full consideration on the House floor, with a final vote of 100-97. 19 moderate Republicans joined 81 Democrats to work toward passing a budget package before leaving for the holidays. 5 lawmakers – 3 GOP, 2 Dems – did not participate in the final vote.
“House Majority Leader Dave Reed – who championed a stopgap proposal on Monday – said the House will not be able to move forward until the Senate signals its intent for tax revenues.
“‘We can’t send a budget bill to the governor without a tax code bill to pay for it,’ Reed said.
“It is unclear what the tax plan will look like, but it is estimated the state will need to raise $650 to $700 million to balance the budget. Wolf is looking for closer to $1 billion to address the state’s structural deficits.
“‘I think we’re a step closer to the budget we all want,’ was Wolf’s only comment to reporters on Tuesday. . .”
END NOTES . . .
Beth Reinhard, WSJ: “Joyful Tortoise”
Younger sons frequently have trouble – Teddy comes to mind. . .
“ALTON, N.H.—Republican Jeb Bush started off his presidential campaign describing himself as a “joyful tortoise.” As voters leaned toward political outsiders, he dubbed himself a “disrupter.” Then he emphasized competence and went on the “Jeb Can Fix It” tour.
“Mr. Bush’s latest incarnation: Trump slayer.
“Inspired by his confrontational approach in last week’s debate toward front-runner Donald Trump, Mr. Bush is seeking to revive his campaign by repositioning himself as the New York businessman’s leading nemesis.
“He’s also accusing his rivals of being “intimidated” by Mr. Trump. A new campaign video mocks Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz—who are better positioned to win over Mr. Trump’s supporters—for not being as aggressive as Mr. Bush. . .”
Inga Barks (Mark Levin) (12/22/15)
“On Tuesday’s Mark Levin show, Inga Barks of KNZR in Bakersfield, CA fills in for Mark. Gun owners are not the same as terrorists like some liberal cartoonists would have you believe. Syed Farook provided minimal information on his relationship with his fiancée and yet government is requiring law abiding Americans to jump through so many hoops to acquire a firearm.
“Also, some would say there were some conservative victories in the omnibus spending bill but it was at the cost of massive Obama policies getting through. Republicans keep saying all America needs to do is elect a Republican majority, but this majority has repeatedly failed to protect the interest of Americans since they acquired the House and the Senate.
“Later, Dinesh D’Souza calls in to discuss what his experience with gangsters taught him about President Obama and the Democrat Party. Finally, establishment Republicans continue to limit freedoms and are disappointing Americans like liberals.”